Monday 22 February 2016

Bible Book:

“For as the loincloth clings to one’s loins, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord, in order that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory. But they would not listen.” (v. 11)

Jeremiah 13:1-11 Monday 22 February 2016

Psalm: Psalm 39


Jeremiah was "the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were inAnathoth in the land of Benjamin" (Jeremiah 1:1), a village a few miles north-eastof Jerusalem. This means that, despite the proximity to Jerusalem,he was from northern kingdom of Israel rather than southern one ofJudah. He believed that he had been consecrated by God before hewas born and appointed to be a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). He began his ministry in 627 BC,the thirteenth year of the reign of the reforming King Josiah (Jeremiah 1:2), producing adverse reactions inhis home town (Jeremiah 11:21 and 12:6). His prophetic ministry continued forover forty years, including the days of King Jehoiakim and KingZedekiah (Jeremiah 1:3), and so he prophesied during aperiod of Egyptian control and then the rise of the Babylonians whocaptured and destroyed Jerusalem in 587 BC. Following theassassination of Gedaliah (a Babylonian governor), Jeremiah wastaken to Egypt where he died.

Today's passage is an account of what some think is one ofJeremiah's symbolic actions and others think is a vision. If it isa symbolic action, we have to reckon with the prophet travellingapproximately 700 miles from Jerusalem to the Euphrates and backagain or an alternative rendering of the Hebrew word translated'Euphrates'; a footnote in the New Revised Standard Version of theBible indicates that the Hebrew 'Perath' could be rendered 'Parah',the name of a village a few miles north-east of Anathoth. (TheRevised English Bible simply uses 'Perath'.) Another reasonpointing to this being a vision is that symbolic actions, such asthe breaking of a pot in Jeremiah 19:1-13, are usually performed, and aninterpretation offered to an audience; this passage, however,depicts a conversation between God and Jeremiah.

The story focuses on what Jeremiah is told to do and does with alinen loincloth; its meaning is made clear in verses 8-11.

To Ponder

  • How do you react to the loincloth as a metaphor of the intimaterelationship between God and the people of Judah and Israel? Whatmetaphors do can you think of that express therelationship God desires with God's people?
  • The prophet says that pride and not listening are importantfeatures of the spoiled relationship between the people and God:where do you see them affecting relationships with God today?
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