By Fr. Felix (African Times Guest Writer)
The Book of Jeremiah now enters its second
phase, solemnly dated to the first year of King
Jehoiakim. Gone is the time for urging
repentance; it is time now for doom and
The Temple will be like Shiloh. Shiloh had been
the first long-term sanctuary in the Holy Land,
latterly presided by Eli and the prophet Samuel.
It was seen as the dwelling-place of the Lord
until the Ark itself was taken into battle and
captured by the Philistines; it was then totally
destroyed, a grim precedent for Jerusalem.
Jeremiah’s own crisis is also approaching, the
decision whether ‘the priests and prophets’ of
the Temple are trustworthy or Jeremiah
himself. Initially the crowds side with Jeremiah
against the officials.
There follows (in the next passage) a sort of
trial scene. Jeremiah is acquitted, but
henceforth he is at loggerheads with elements
of the leadership, an opposition which will
break out again in force in chapter 36.
In fact some hold that the arrangement of the
Book is not at all chronological, but grouped by
subjects, the warnings being grouped in the first
part of the Book. In this case the present scene
might be Jeremiah’s first public proclamation in
the Temple, and the fierce denunciation of the