Old Testament Essays
On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919
WESSELS, Wilhelm J.. Prophet versus prophet in the Book of Jeremiah: In search of the true prophets. Old testam. essays [online]. 2009, vol.22, n.3, pp.733-751. ISSN 2312-3621.
The aim of this article is to examine the collection of oracles against the prophets in Jeremiah 23:9-40, with special focus on verses 16-17 and 18-22. The questions to which answers will be sought are: Who were the prophets opposing Jeremiah, and why are they called false prophets? What were the reasons for the conflict, and what criteria are applied to judge the opponents? It seems that the collectors of the Jeremiah oracles had their own ideas about what constitutes a true prophet, and were using Jeremiah's oracles to serve their own purpose. We have learnt that the opposing prophets were part of the power structures in Jerusalem and significant contributors to the moral depravity in Judah. We are dealing with a Jerusalem-based prophetic group close to the power base in Jerusalem. They are blamed for transgressions similar to those committed by the kings of Judah, and were therefore as guilty as everyone else in violating the covenant stipulations. Their deception of the people, however, extended further in that they falsely prophesied under the pretence of speaking on behalf of Yahweh. The people of Judah and its leaders, as a consequence of Yahweh's punishment, would be exiled to Babylonia.