Lectionary Year B
January 5, 2003
Jeremiah 31:7-14

Step II: Disposition

A. Genre

(JFC) This poetic passage calls people, all people, from everywhere on the earth to come together to praise God and to request of God salvation. It might be enthusiasm that is so much of an exaggeration that it challenges its purpose. God promises to get them safely to this activity even as they are returning to a former venue, which goes unnamed. It repeats that God will accomplish this gathering based on past records of having done so previously (the Exodus?). It repeats that the many people will be gathered together, again and again by God's doing. These paragraphs seem to focus on God one minute then on the people the next and then right back onto God before returning to mention the people again and again, over and over. It also paints an unmistakable picture of amiability - the flock shepherded by God, the brooks of streaming waters, the well-watered garden, the singing and the radiance, the young and the elderly together being happy and comforted and rejoicing after having just been in mourning, all accomplished by God, did I say?

B. Personal Interaction

(JFC) Does Jeremiah's vision try to cover too many bases realizing some others might feel left out, discriminated against? Does the prophet really believe God "scattered Israel"? Is the promise that they will "never languish again" going too far, or do the hearers/readers of that time realize exaggerations are for making points, using symbols?

C. Organization

(JFC) The many bases are enumerated in verses 8, 9, 12 and 14. God's having "scattered Israel" is in the 10th verse and "never languishing again" is promised at the end of verse 12.

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