Posts in the category “Jeremiah.”

July, 2008

Jeremiah and Josiah's Reform

Posted Monday, July 28, 2008 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Old TestamentJeremiah   Comments: None
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One of the odd facts surrounding Jeremiah is that he never mentions Josiah's reform. Shouldn't Jeremiah have been excited about it? He was alive and seems to have been active during the time period. Why didn't Jeremiah praise Josiah and the reforms? This oddity has produced a number of speculative theories. But the more I thought about it the less odd it became in my mind for two reasons. One is a parallel: Isaiah and Hezekiah. Hezekiah enacted similar reforms to Josiah, but we read nothing about them in Isaiah. Why not? Which leads to a second reason: the purpose of the prophets. Prophets go from central to peripheral in the course of the OT. The earliest prophets, such as Abraham and Moses, are the center leadership. The next group of prophets are still associated with the central government, but are not the center themselves, such as Nathan and Gad. But by the time we get to Elijah and Elisha and the writing prophets, we mostly have prophets who speak from the outside (there are exceptions, and in postexilic times the prophetic role seems to return to a more central role, it seems). But the peripheral prophet works to challenge sinners and abuse; in other words, the prophets come in when the times are evil. Hence, if the king is enacting reforms, there is little role for peripheral prophets. They are needed most when the king and leaders are opposed to God. Hence, it is not surprising that Jeremiah does not mention the reforms: that was the not the time when prophets were in action.

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