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kirn sent men to Egypt, Elnathan, the son of Achbor, and people with him to Egypt. 23. And they brought Uriah away from Egypt, and brought him to King Jehoiakim; and he slew him with the sword, and cast his corpse into the graves of the common people. 24. But the hand of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, was with Jeremiah, that he delivered him not into the hand of the people to kill him.

on good terms with the Egyptian court. Elnathan, son of Achbor, mentioned also in xxxvi. 12, 25 among the princes more favourably disposed to Jeremiah. His father is perhaps the Achbor named 2 Kings xxii. 12 among the officers of Josiah; he himself perhaps was the father of Jehoiachin's mother, 2 Kings xxiv. 8. Ver. 23. He slew him, and cast, i.e. had him slain, and his body cast into the graves of the common people, as in 2 Kings xxiii. 6, who had no special tombs. Ver. 24. Ahikam, son of Shaphan, was the father of the governor Gedaliah, xxxix. 14, xl. 5; 2 Kings xxv. 2. Cf. also 2 Kings xxii. 12, and on xxxvi. 10.

Exposition.

Contents of ch. xxvi. Judicial Prosecution of Jeremiah on account of the Temple-Discourse delivered under Jehoiakim: a. Recapitulation of that discourse, vv. 1-6. b. Judicial Action thereupon, vv. 7-19. c. Appendix: Death of the Prophet Uriah, vv. 20-24.

There follows here a historical supplement to the templediscourse of chs. vii.-ix., which had a judicial epilogue similar to the one in chs. xix., xx. First that discourse itself, and especially its most caustic sayings are recalled, vv. 2-6; and then the attack on the person of the prophet following upon it in the temple-court is narrated, ver. 7 ff. That temple and city should become like the ruined site of Shiloh, was a statement touching too nearly leaders of the people (vii. 4-8), who boasted of the impregnability of the place, for them to accept such a public testimony calmly. Jeremiah thus made deadly enemies of the priests, whose interests were so closely interwoven with the outward temple-service, and of the prophets who were in alliance with them (cf. v. 31; in xx. 6 there is a priest and prophet in one person)—of course the members of both orders who were most alienated from God, but whose numbers and influence were not inconsiderable. They demand his death, and insist on it before the tribunal (ver. 11), after the princes have come forward in consequence of the popular excitement; they evidently had the power of life and death, whereas the priestly overseer of the temple (xx. 2) could only inflict disciplinary punishment. The demand for the extreme penalty was backed up, without doubt, by the statement that prophesying against city and temple was gross blasphemy, as in the trial of Stephen, Acts vi. 13 f. Jeremiah, on the other hand, appeals to his divine mission (ver. 12), and points out how irrational it is to punish the boldness of a prophet who simply speaks at the behest of the Most High. His words indeed, on the lips of some one else, would betray an impious, nay, blasphemous disposition, and demand the interference of authority; but he stands as a genuine prophet, who cannot speak otherwise than as God commanded him. He is ready, indeed, to seal his testimony with his blood; but would fain not see his people stained also with such guilt. This simple, incontestable reply seems to have made a profound impression. His embittered enemies among the priests and prophets were not, of course, pacified by his words; but those in judicial power who were not led away by passion thought his defence conclusive. The princes here appear more favourable to him than in xxxvii. ff. But the people are drawn hither and thither (cf. vv. 8, 16, 24). On the first excitement they sided with the priests against Jeremiah; on calmer reflection, and after hearing his defence, they took part with the princes for him against the priests. This was greatly helped by the action of some of the more considerable "elders," who referred to former precedents. The memory of Micah of Moresheth was the more easily revived by this discourse of Jeremiah (chs. vii.-ix.), as the discourse in several respects recalled the predictions of that prophet. Did then Hezekiah dream of killing Micah, who uttered so much evil against Jerusalem and the holy place? On the contrary, he made his peace with an angry God, and so turned aside the punishment. This is the only wise course when God's word threatens. Thus Jeremiah escaped the plot.

The appendix, ver. 20 ff., is meant to show how serious the danger was, and perhaps to contrast with Jeremiah's faith and courage the timidity of Uriah, who fled to Egypt and yet did not escape his enemies, but found a sad end. In him the threat of i. 17 was fulfilled. Jeremiah, on the other hand, remained unhurt, even after that occurrence, by the rage of his opponents and of the people instigated by them, especially through the advocacy and protection of Ahikam, the worthy father of Gedaliah.

SECTION XX.

Jeremiah And The False Prophets, Chs. Xxvii.-xxix.

L The Yoke Of Babylon, Ch. Xxvii.

XXVII. 1. In the beginning of the reign of (Jehoiakim) Zedekiah* the son of Josiah,king of Judah, this word came to

Chapter XXVII.

Ver. 1. Almost literally as in xxvi . 1. Perhaps by a transcriber's error Jehoiakim has crept in here from that passage instead of Zedekiah, which is required by ver. 3 ff. On the writing of the name Josiah, see on ii. 25. The somewhat artificial supposition of Movers, Hitzig, Niigelsbach, that the heading to the present chapter, wanting in LXX, is to be sought in xlix. 34 (striking out D^jrbK!), which verse the LXX make an addendum to the oracle respecting Elam (which again is explained by the fact that the oracles respecting foreigners with Elam at the close preceded the present chapter, so that the heading of ch. xxvii. was joined to what went before), is no better an explanation than the simple supposition of a confusion with the similar beginning of xxvi. 1. Especially it gives no relief as to the main difficulty, which is, that here the beginning of the reign is spoken of, whereas according to xxviii. 1 the fourth year of Zedekiah is meant. Perhaps there a general date (after the manner of xxvi. 1 and others) and a more specific one clashed with each other. There can be no doubt that ch. xxvii. really belongs to the fourth year. The king installed by Nebuchadnezzar could not easily think of revolting against the latter at the very beginning of his reign. In the fourth year itself Zedekiah journeyed to Babylon (li. 59), perhaps in order to contradict the rumour of his rebellious plan.—That chs. xxvii.xxix. were composed somewhat later than the occurrence of the events themselves, is self-evident. On the other hand, we must not infer from certain forms of the proper names that the section was revised by a much later (post-exilian) hand (Movers, de Wette, Hitzig). In favour of this view, reference

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Jeremiah from Yahveh, saying: 2. Thus said Yahveh to me: Make thee bands and yokes, and put them on thy neck. 3. And send them to the king of Edom, and the king of Moab, and the king of the sons of Amnion, and the king of Tyre, and the king of Sidon, by the hand of the messengers who are come to Zedekiah, king of Judah. 4. And give them a charge to their masters, saying: Thus says Yahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Thus shall you say to your masters: 5. I have made the earth, the men and the cattle that are on the earth, by my great strength and my outstretched arm, and give them to whom it seems lit to me. 6. And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, my servant, and I have delivered to him even the wild beasts of the field to serve him. 7. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his grandson until the time of his land also has come, and many nations with great kings

is made to the brief form n'DV only appearing in these three chapters (xxvii. 1 and several times), D'pIv (xxvii. 12 and several times), rni3' (xxvii. 20, etc.), which interchange with the longer forms, without our assigning them to different sources. In the same way the form Nebuchadnezzar prevails here; Nebuchadrezzar in xxix. 21 only, as usual elsewhere in this book (except xxxiv. 1, xxxix. 5). These variations are to be put down to the account of the copyists rather than of the authors (Graf). Ver. 2. Bands and yokes or carrying-poles. Connected with the wooden yoke are cords, fastening it to the body. The sing. nBiD, xxviii. 10, interchanges with the plural, xxviii. 13, even where one yoke is spoken of; mDlD are properly the vecies jugi (Lev. xxvi. 13) going round the neck of the ox; here the entire framework of the yoke. Cf. Kiehni, Hdbk. Alt. p. 20. Ver. 3. The wording demands that Jeremiah really delivered such yokes, like the one he himself wore, to the ambassadors, an action quite in keeping with Oriental fondness for concrete symbols. Ver. 5. Properly, to whom it is right in my eyes (to give); cf. with the phrase, xviii. 4. Ver. 6. Nebuchadnezzar, see on xxi. 2, xxvii. 1. Even the free beasts of the field are to be subject to him, a sign of the absolute giving up of the land into his power; cf. xxviii. 14. Ver. 7 wanting in LXX. But it is not to be attacked because it does not exactly agree with the history. For Nebuchadnezzar was only followed by his son Evil-Merodach, who was slain by his brother-in-law. The statement is only meant to

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