Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jeremiah, Chapters 31-33: Joy to the fishies in the deep blue sea

Chapter 31

Blah blah blah covenant. Blah blah blah land of milk and honey. For some reason this chapter causes Jerry Falwell's crack team of bible "scholars" to cream their pants and devote an entire page of commentary to it. The only interesting thing to come out of it is that he tells us the covenant is written in the same style as a Grand Royal Treaty. In other words, the religious powers are imitating the secular powers in the effort to usurp their authority.

There's a reference to Rachel, which the new testament will apparently try to say refers to the massacre of baby boys around the time of Jesus' birth. If you'll remember, Rachel was the prize in Jacob's labours for Laban, she stole her father's idols and pretended she was on the rag so he wouldn't look for them in the cushion she was sitting on, and is the mother of Joseph of Technicolour Dreamcoat fame, and Benjamin. What this has to do with weeping about the sack of Jerusalem, I don't know. Ephraim, Joseph's son, is there as well, causing god bowel trouble, but the New Testament ignores him.

Did we all know that 'sour grapes' is biblical? Because verse 29 says The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge.

Chapter 32

Since padded cells don't exist yet, king Zedekiah shuts Jeremiah up in the only place he has: prison. Alas, he neglects to sew Jeremiah's lips shut, so he keeps babbling, first about how the king is going to be kidnapped and taken to Babylon along with the rest of them, and then about a bizarre real-estate transaction he got involved with.

So the story is that one of his uncles wants Jeremiah to buy a field. God supports this purchase, so he tells him to accept the deal when one of his cousins comes to the prison to negotiate. Then he goes along to the notary with the deed, which ought to be impossible since he's supposedly locked up in prison and all, but narrative consistency is not this books strong suit, so whatever. Anyway, after the papers have been notarised, he announces his intention to put them into clay jars so he can claim it back after the exile. He urges the others to do the same.

Chapter 33

Jeremiah is back in prison, still spouting off a laundry list of punishments for the Israelites and promises of good things for people who follow him, namely that the king of Israel will always be a descendent of David.

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