Heading of Jeremiah|
The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, to whom the word of the LORD came in the days of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of King Zedekiah son of Josiah of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month. (Jer 1:1-3 NRSV)
Jeremiah means may Yahweh raise up, or Yahweh loosens [the womb] (see Althann, ABD, 3: 684).
1:1 Jeremiah is a Levitical priest of Anathoth, also mentioned 11:21-23; 29:27; 32:7, and thus, perhaps it was extracted from there by the compiler or editor for the heading here (so McKane, ICC, 1: 1). The priests were of Eli’s line, who were expelled from Jerusalem to Anathoth (1 Kgs 2:26-27) Abiathar the highpriest is great grandson of Eli (1 Sam 22:11-23; cf. 4:3; also see 23:6-11; 2 Sam 20:25). Jeremiah refers to the destruction of his ancestral sanctuary at Shiloh 7:12-14; cf. 26:6. His father Hilkiah is not the same person mentioned in 2 Kgs 22; 2 Chron 34 (see Sweeny, 87).
1:2-3 the thirteenth year of Josiah (627 BCE) to the eleventh year of Zedekiah (586 BCE) means he had a forty plus year ministry. Thus, Jeremiah began his ministry five years before the discovery of the scroll that led to the great Deuteronomistic revival under Josiah (622 BCE; see 2 Kgs 22:8-13). Jeremiah and Zephaniah may have been early proponents of the kind of Deuteronomistic revival promoted by Josiah. Did Jeremiah later see the revival as superficial and short-lived, thus explaining some of the plurality or diversity in his book? Since Jeremiah still ministered after 582 BCE when Gedaliah was assassinated, is the forty years an “idealized” number (i.e., to be “like Moses” [so Seitz], or a generational schema)?
How did the compiler/editor arrive at the date thirteenth year of Josiah? Perhaps from 25:3 where the same date is given (see McKane, ICC 1: 3).
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