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Acta Theologica

On-line version ISSN 2309-9089
Print version ISSN 1015-8758

Acta theol. vol.38  suppl.26 Bloemfontein  2018

http://dx.doi.org/10.18820/23099089/actat.sup26.9 

ARTICLES

 

Jeremiah 51:1519 (MT): an "unintentional" link between the oracles against Babylon and the remainder of the book of Jeremiah1

 

 

M.D. Terblanche

Research Fellow, Department of Old and New Testament Studies, University of the Free State, South Africa. Email: mdterblanche@absamail.co.za

 

 


ABSTRACT

The oracles against Babylon seem to be an anomaly in the Book of Jeremiah. The doxology in Jeremiah 51:1519 (MT) does, however, serve as a link between these oracles and the remainder of the book of Jeremiah. By giving the impression of being a deliberate quotation of 10:12-16, 51:15-19 takes the reader back to 10:1-16, a composition in which the contrast between the idols of the nations and YHWH is emphasized. YHWH has the power to execute his plan to destroy Babylon. 51:1519 did, however, attain a distinct identity through its close connections with the oracles against Babylon. It paradoxically functions as a link between these oracles and those against Judah. In contrast to YHWH's actions, which resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem, his future dealings would result in the fall of Babylon and the return of his people from exile.

Keywords: Jeremiah 51:15-19, Doxology, Oracles against the Nations, Babylon


Trefwoorde: Jeremia 51:15-19, Doksologie, Profesieë teen die Nasies, Babilon


 

 

1. INTRODUCTION

The oracles against Babylon, occurring in Jeremiah 50:1-51:58 (Masoretic Text), seem to be an anomaly in the Book of Jeremiah. When the prophet Jeremiah addressed the representatives of the countries that were gathered in Jerusalem in 594 B.C.E., he announced that revolt against Nebuchadnezzar would, under the circumstances, be a revolt against YHWH. YHWH, who had created the earth, the people and the animals, had given dominion over the world to the king of Babylon (see 27:5-6). In the oracles against Babylon, on the other hand, YHWH announces that he will repay Babylon and all who live in Babylon for all the wrong they had done to Zion (see 51:24). In contrast to 27:6, where Nebuchadnezzar is called the servant of YHWH, 51:34 depicts the Babylonian king's actions with regard to Zion as those of an insatiable monster. Remarkably, 51:5964 assigns the scroll containing the oracles against Babylon in chapters 50 and 51 to 594 B.C.E., the year of the conference in Jerusalem.

A doxology that sets YHWH in opposition to the idols of the Babylonians is found in Jeremiah 51:15-19. Although 51:15-19 is frequently regarded as an intrusion in chapter 51, I will argue that this doxology became a link between the oracles against Babylon and the remainder of the Book of Jeremiah. 51:15-19 corresponds almost verbally with 10:12-16. Except for small differences in orthography, the only major variation is found in 51:19, which reads , instead of 10:16's rendering of (Parke-Taylor 2000:178). Although the vast majority of scholars are of the opinion that 51:15-19 was adopted from 10:12-16, there are a few dissenting voices. Carroll (1986:255), for instance, believes that 10:12-16 should be attributed to the composer of chapter 51. Köszeghy (2007:87) attributes 10:12-16 and 51:15-19 to the same redaction. Three kinds of literary dependence are possible: 51:15-19 is dependent on 10:12-16; 10:12-16 is dependent on 51:15-19, and 10:12-16 and 51:15-19 trace back to the same author (Wöhrle 2012:6). Diachronic analysis has yet to determine conclusively the direction of dependence. However, by its placement in chapter 51, the doxology in 51:15-19 gives the impression of being a deliberate quotation of 10:12-16. According to Schultz (1999:227), quotation establishes a relationship to a specific, previously expressed statement. Quotation recalls not only the quoted words, but also the context of their original use.

One should abstain from reading Jeremiah 51:15-19 exclusively through the lens of 10:12-16. A detailed comparison between the parallel texts and their respective contexts is essential (Schultz 1999:235). To analyse quotation synchronically involves interpreting it within the context of the entire book or books in which it is located (Schultz 1999:233). This article thus sets about with a comparison of 10:12-16 and 51:15-19 within their respective contexts. Subsequently, it explores the role of 51:15-19 in the oracles against Babylon and in the entire Book of Jeremiah.

In the Septuagint, the oracles against the nations are placed after Jeremiah 25:13. In the Masoretic Text, these oracles appear at the end of the book. The placement of the oracles against the nations in the Septuagint seemingly represents an earlier development phase of the book. In the Masoretic Text, 25:13 appears as the conclusion of the threat against Babylon, and not as heading of the oracles against the nations (Stipp 1994:84-85). There are, however, legitimate reasons for the argument that the oracles against the nations originally concluded the second part of the book, containing narratives regarding the prophet Jeremiah. The end of the Jeremiah narrative constitutes a thematic bridge to the first oracle against Egypt in chapter 46. Albertz (2003:320-321) believes that the shift in the oracles to judgement against the nations to precede the oracles of salvation for Israel and Judah presents an attempt to let the structure of the Book of Jeremiah conform at least partially to the tripartite structure of the Books of Isaiah and Ezekiel. Because this attempt could not produce an entirely satisfactory result, the textual tradition presented by the Masoretic Text shifted the foreign nation oracles back to their original position. Rofé (1989:397) believes that the editors responsible for the arrangement found in the Septuagint were later scribes, who took care of several other prophetic books.

In the Septuagint, the oracles against Babylon follow the oracles against Elam (25:14-20) and Egypt (26:1-28), a position to which no importance can be attached. In the Masoretic Text of the Book of Jeremiah, however, the oracles against Babylon seem functional (Peels 2007:86). They represent the climax of the oracles against the nations (Hill 1999:161-163; Kessler 2004:63). This article will take the order of the oracles against the nations attested in the Masoretic Text as point of departure.

Carroll (1986:38) views the term "book" as a misleading description of the 52 chapters of the Book of Jeremiah. He believes that John Bright's description of the Book of Jeremiah as a collection of shorter "books", with the addition of miscellaneous material, seems to be more appropriate. For McKane (1986:lxxxiii), the notion of a rolling corpus provides the key to the understanding of the compositional history of Jeremiah. According to him, the Masoretic Text of the Book of Jeremiah is to be understood as a commentary or commentaries built on pre-existing elements of the Jeremianic corpus. Several scholars do, however, find order amid the chaos. Stulman (1998:94), for instance, argues that the placement of the oracles against the nations in die Masoretic Text serves a significant structural and theological purpose in the book's present organization. Allen (2008:14) finds evidence of an overall shape that the Masoretic Text redaction imposed on the older text, developing intimations already found there. Kessler (2004:65-66), also referring to the Masoretic Text, asserts that the Book of Jeremiah, taken as a whole, is well structured, with a scaffolding composed of three "columns" on which the entire frame rests. If Kessler is correct by regarding Jeremiah 50-51 as one of these "columns", it is conceivable that the placement of the doxology in 51:15-19 may be meaningful for the Book of Jeremiah as a whole.

 

2. READING JEREMIAH 51:15-19 THROUGH THE LENS OF 10:12-16

2.1 An outline of the doxology occurring in Jeremiah 10:12-16 and 51:15-19

The doxology occurring in Jeremiah 10:12-16 and 51:15-19 has an ABA' structure. Praise of YHWH is punctuated by a denunciation of idol worship (Allen 2008:124). The doxology is introduced by three clauses describing YHWH's acts of creation. A description of YHWH's control of weather conditions follows (Rudolph 1968:74; Kruger 1993:374). A portrayal of the folly of idols comes next. This, in turn, is succeeded by a statement that YHWH is not like the idols. He is the creator of all and has a close bond with Israel. Finally, the doxology concludes with the refrain: YHWH of hosts is his name. The Septuagint version of 10:16, which lacks , is not necessarily the better reading (Lundbom 1999:599).

The emphasis on the close bond between YHWH and his people is noteworthy. Israel was not simply another nation to YHWH. YHWH is called the "portion of Israel", a phrase unique to Jeremiah 10:16 and 15:19. Elsewhere, YHWH is called "portion" (Num. 18:20; Ps. 16:5; 53:26; 119:57; 142:6; Lam. 3:24). Moreover, Jeremiah 10:16 and 51:19 describe Israel as the people that belong to YHWH. The Septuagint lacks ("Israel is the tribe of") in 10:16, while, in 51:19, the Masoretic Text lacks ("Israel").

Ben-Dov (2000:126) detects a tension between the references to YHWH's acts of creation and the nationalistic-particularistic ideology expressed by the phrases and . Jeremiah 31:35-37 does, however, testify to the fact that YHWH's choice of Israel should not be set against the belief in him as the creator of everything. His activity in history cannot be separated from his activity as creator.

There is no hint of a battle between YHWH and the gods of the nations in Jeremiah 10:12-16 and 51:15-19. YHWH is the creator of the world and the one who maintains the creation. By contrast, the idols of the nations are nonentities.

2.2 Jeremiah 10:12-16 within its immediate context

Jeremiah 10:12-16 is part of a larger composition, 10:1-16, which celebrates, in liturgical form, the absolute sovereign rule of YHWH over all nations and the utter impotence and falsehood of their symbol systems (Stulman 1999:52). The Masoretic Text of 10:1-16 alternates sharp criticisms against images with doxologies to YHWH (Lundberg 2007:221). 10:1-5 is presented as a word of YHWH addressed to the people of Israel. This is followed in verses 6-7 by a doxology addressed to YHWH, extolling him as incomparable. Verses 8-9 depict the work of the craftsman as stupid and foolish. In verse 10, a second doxology proclaims YHWH as the true, living God. The alternation in the Masoretic Text of contempt for pagan gods and their idols with hymnic descriptions of YHWH sets forth in the most vivid way possible the contrast between the gods and their idols, which is unreal, and YHWH, who is incomparable (Holladay 1986:328).

At Qumran, manuscripts have been found that support both the Septuagint version and the Masoretic version of Jeremiah 10:1-10. If the Septuagint presents an earlier, shorter version of the text, the doxologies in verses 6-7 and 10, absent from the Septuagint, should be regarded as secondary additions (Allen 2008:124). Vonach (2009:215) and Lundberg 2007:219) have, however, presented strong cases for the view that the longer text of 10:1-16 attested in the Masoretic Text is older than the shorter text reflected by the Septuagint. Lundbom (1999:582) reckons that, if the longer text of 10:1-10 developed from the shorter text, it simply has to be said that the claim has yet to be argued convincingly.

The vocabulary of Jeremiah 10:11 is taken from verse 12 ("made the earth"); from verse 13, where the order of the nouns is reversed, and from verse 15 ("will perish") (Allen 2008:127). This could be interpreted as a sign that 10:11 was formulated by utilizing material from verses 12-15. If, at one time, 10:12 followed directly on 10:10, the antecedent of the opening participle in 10:12 is YHWH, referred to in 10:10 (Lundbom 1999:597).

Jeremiah 10:14-15, which contains a polemic against idols, is linked to 10:1-5; 8-9 through the use of the words (10:3, 8, 15) and (10:8, 14). Through this link, a contrast is set between YHWH and the idols (Lundbom 1999:600). Loyalty to YHWH, the only true God, who is the creator of all, and who has a special relationship with Israel, is called for (Lundberg 2007:224).

Jeremiah 10:1-10 refers primarily to Mesopotamian practice. The "signs of the heaven" in 10:2 is obviously a reference to Babylonian astrology (Lundberg 2007:223). The emphasis on the incomparability of YHWH in 10:6 could be directed at Marduk. According to the available texts from Babylonia, incomparability was by far the most frequently applied to Marduk (Labuschagne 1966:40). After the battle against Tiamat, Marduk was declared victor and highest god, and he was given fifty names of honour. Marduk's incomparability is mentioned in the commentary on several of these names (Labuschagne 1966:51). Jeremiah 10:5, however, refers to the gods of the nations in general. The emphasis on the incomparability of YHWH in 10:6-7 is, therefore, not necessarily solely directed against the claims made in relation to Marduk.

Jeremiah 10:12-16, which sharply contrasts YHWH and the idols, functions as a hymnic development of 10:1-5 (Allen 2008:127). YHWH is the creator God who works with immense power through all creation. The idols, on the other hand, are nonentities. Crüsemann (1969:112) asserts that the polemic against idols should not be understood as a continuation of the hymnic utterances in 10:12-13. One should reckon with the possibility that the hymnic utterances were expanded as a polemic against idols. The emphasis in 10:12-16 on YHWH as maker, while the images themselves are made, demonstrates that YHWH is the only God and that any other object of worship is simply the material it is made of (Lundberg 2007:222).

Although Jeremiah 10:1-16 was added secondarily to the material in chapters 8-10, the Masoretic version of the text is well integrated into the larger context (Lundbom 1999:577). It interrupts the language of siege and desperation in die preceding passages. Judah's destruction had nothing at all to do with the ravaging and invading nations and their gods. Instead, it had everything to do with YHWH, the "true God", "the living God", "the everlasting God" (10:10). Both the idols of the nations and Judah's trust in the temple are considered "falsehood" (10:14; 7:4, 8) (Stulman, 1998:94).

2.3 Jeremiah 51:15-19 within its immediate context

Jeremiah 51:15-19 occurs in a totally different context from that of 10:12-16. In spite of the fact that the epithet , occurring in 51:19, seems to be a suitable transition to the war club song in 51:20-23, verses 15-19 are thematically different to verses 20-26. In addition, verses 15-19 are constructed in the third person, whereas verses 20-26 are in the second person masculine, except for verse 24, which has a second person masculine plural addressee. Verses 27-33 begin with second person masculine plural imperatives in verses 27-28, as a call to battle. In verses 29-32, the battle unfolds and Babylon is defeated. It concludes with a reaffirmation that Babylon's demise is inevitable (Hill 1999:171, no. 29).

The expression in Jeremiah 51:19 links the doxology with the oath sworn by in 51:14 (Aitken 1984:48). Verses 15-19 also exhibit a close relationship with verses 11-14 with regard to the terminology being used. The following roots and substantives occur in both: (verses 12, 15, 16); (verses 12, 15); (verses 13, 16); (verses 13, 16); (verses 11, 16, 17); (verses 13, 16), and (verses 14, 17) (Kessler 2003:113).

Jeremiah 51:11-14 focuses on Babylon's fall. Verses 11-12 consist of two calls to war against Babylon. Each call to war is connected to a prose addition providing the motivation for the call to war. Verse 13 is a word addressed to Babylon, announcing that its end has come. Although Babylon might be self-assured, its end was near. The decision of YHWH to destroy Babylon is confirmed by an oath by YHWH (verse 14) (De Jong 1978:237).

There is no need to insert with Christensen (1975:268) YHWH as subject of the verbs in Jeremiah 51:15. The lack of an antecedent implies that the subject of the three participia is YHWH, referred to in the preceding verse. The placement of the doxology in 51:15-19 directly after 51:11-14 testifies to the fact that YHWH is more absolute than the awesome superpower (Brueggemann 2000:163). YHWH, who has sworn in 51:14 that he would execute his plan, could indeed do what he had announced.

2.4 Deliberation

In view of the absence of actual divergences between the two texts, it is evident that Jeremiah 51:15-19 does not distance itself from 10:12-16. Sommer (1998:12) asserts that the reader brings certain elements of the evoked text to bear on the alluding text. 10:1-16 accentuates the outright difference between YHWH and the idols. The doxology in 51:15-19 utilizes this theme. YHWH has the power to execute his plan to destroy Babylon. The close relationship of 51:15-19 with 51:11-14 does, however, allow the doxology to attain a distinct identity. While 10:12-16 is concerned with the idols of the nations, 51:15-19 has Marduk in mind. Marduk would not be able to counter YHWH's plan to destroy Babylon.

 

3. LINKS BETWEEN JEREMIAH 51:15-19 AND THE ORACLES AGAINST BABYLON

Aitken (1984:44) challenges the view that Jeremiah 50-51 is a disordered and chaotic conglomerate of at best thematically related elements. He proposes that these chapters are composed of six movements set within a common framework. Smelik (2004:90) believes that chapters 50 and 51 structurally resemble a musical composition rather than a political manifesto. He proposes that the text consists of brief episodes around central themes that keep returning in the text. The authors do not finish one theme in order to continue with another, but move from one theme to another. With each treatment, other aspects come to the fore. Van Hecke (2003:85) has also recognized a strong development within chapters 50 and 51, both for the description of Israel's and Judah's fate and for the conceptualisation of Babylon's lot.

Jeremiah 51:15-19 exhibits various linkages to other parts of chapters 50-51, besides 51:11-14. There is a catchword connection between Jeremiah 51:15-19 and 50:2, where the defeat of Babylon is directly linked to the demolition of Marduk (Kessler 2003:71). Twice in 50:2, the verb depicts the humiliation of the Babylonian gods. Bel appears, in this instance, as a title of Marduk in 50:2 (McKane 2014:1252). Marduk is thus repeatedly referred to. In 51:17, the verb describes the anguish of every goldsmith when the idols are discredited. The use of creation language in 51:15-19, therefore, seems to have Marduk in mind. The chief god of Babylon, who, according to Babylonian belief, was regarded as the creator, was a nonentity.

The divine designation in Jeremiah 51:19 links the doxology to 51:57, a verse that seemingly also reflects an anti-Marduk polemic. YHWH, referred to as the king, announces that he will make all the officials of Babylon drunk. According to the Enuma Elish, Marduk, before he took on Tiamat, had to request that he should be proclaimed king (Kessler 2003:139). By contrast, YHWH was worthy of the title "king". The claim that YHWH reigns functions as the organizing centre and the dominant metaphor of the oracles against the nations. This claim is made explicitly at both the beginning and the end of these oracles, namely in 46:18 and 51:57. In the oracles against Babylon, YHWH's sovereignty implies that Babylon will be destroyed. Marduk was a nonentity and thus not a factor to be reckoned with.

YHWH's incomparability is raised in Jeremiah 50:44. In this verse, which utilizes a quotation of 49:19, YHWH asserts that there is no one like him. His decision regarding Babylon cannot be called into question. The use of the formula of incomparability at least presupposes the claim that YHWH created the heavens and the earth. The sole explicit reference in the oracles against Babylon to YHWH's acts as creator does, however, occur in the doxology in 51:15-19. Verse 15 contains three clauses describing YHWH's acts as creator. In verse 19, YHWH is depicted as the creator of all. Elsewhere in the Book of Jeremiah, references to YHWH as creator are occasionally linked to the depiction of him as the lord of history, for instance in 27:5-6 and 32:17. Since chapters 50-51 announce the end of Babylon, the doxology in 51:15-19 evidently has YHWH's acts in history in mind. With the claim that YHWH is creator of all, 51:15-19 emphasizes YHWH's ability to destroy Babylon.

The close bond between YHWH and Israel, pronounced in Jeremiah 15:19, is also mirrored elsewhere in the oracles against Babylon. Bellis (1999:181) notes that the central focus in 50:2-20 is not the fall of Babylon, but Israel's apostasy (verses 6-7); the need for divine forgiveness (verses 4, 20) and the establishment of a covenant that will not be abandoned (verse 5). In 50:6, YHWH refers to Israel as ("my people"). In 50:29, YHWH is called and in 51:5 .

Besides YHWH's commitment to his plan to destroy Babylon, the oracles against Babylon have a subtheme: Israel's return (Thelle 2009:215-216). It is noteworthy that Jeremiah 51:15-19 relates to both the dominant theme and the subtheme. The linkage with 51:11-14, which focusses on Babylon's fall, underlines that YHWH would execute his plan to punish Babylon for what she had done to his inheritance, Israel. As a result, 51:15-19 is at odds with Jeremiah 1-45, which proclaims the destruction of Jerusalem and depicts Nebuchadnezzar as the servant of YHWH.

 

4. LINKS BETWEEN JEREMIAH 51:15-19 AND MATERIAL OUTSIDE THE ORACLES AGAINST THE NATIONS

Links among texts may be noticed, whether the authors of the texts knew each other or not. Since expressions in a given text reflect linguistic, aesthetic, cultural, or ideological contexts of the text at hand, other texts may share those contexts (Sommer 1998:7). Alleged links between Jeremiah 51:15-19 and material outside the oracles against the nations, therefore, do not necessarily imply that the author of the doxology specifically responded to those texts. For the reader, on the other hand, the link might seem deliberate.

In Jeremiah 51:15, YHWH is presented as the one who made the earth by his might. The expression reminds one of 27:5, where it is also applied to describe YHWH's work of creation. A contrast is seemingly set with the assertion in the latter text that YHWH, who had created the earth, the people and the animals, had given dominion over the world to the king of Babylon. According to 51:15-19, YHWH the creator of all was behind the turmoil that Babylon would experience according to chapters 50 and 51. The God, who, according to 27:5-6, had given dominion over the world to Nebuchadnezzar, was the God who would cause Babylon to be conquered. 27:7, a plus in the Masoretic text, which interrupts the continuity between verses 6 and 8 (Holladay 1989:116), anticipates YHWH's announcements in chapters 50 and 51. According to 27:7, all nations would serve the king of Babylon until the time when many nations and great kings would enslave him.

The words and in Jeremiah 51:19 recall 12:7-13, an oracle of disaster. In contrast to 51:19, however, does not refer to Israel in 12:10, but to the land. The repeated use in 12:7-9 of is nonetheless striking. In contrast to 2:7, 3:19 and 12:14, where refers to the land, it refers metaphorically to Israel in 12:7, 8, 9 (Holladay 1986:386). The depiction of Israel as the of YHWH emphasises the close bond between YHWH and Judah. In spite of 51:19 stating that YHWH was the of Israel, there seems to be a connection between 12:7-13 and 51:19. Like 51:19, 12:79 stresses that Judah was not simply another nation to YHWH. He calls his people ("my house"), ("my possession"), and ("the beloved of my soul"). YHWH has, however, abandoned his people. On the other hand, 51:19 emphasizes that the close bond between YHWH and his people was still a reality and would result in the return of the exiles to their land.

These examples illustrate that Jeremiah 51:15-19 paradoxically functions as a link between the oracles against Babylon and those against Judah. It sets a contrast between YHWH's actions that led to the destruction of Jerusalem, reflected in the oracles against Judah, and his future dealings with Babylon and his people, announced in the oracles against Babylon.

 

5. CONCLUSION

In the Masoretic Text of the Book of Jeremiah, the oracles against Babylon represent the climax of the oracles against the nations. These oracles against the nations themselves are placed at a crucial place in the book, namely at the end. The oracles against Babylon constitute the "great reversal". There was a time when Babylon, as a world power, inflicted punishment on Judah. Now Babylon herself is punished, which spells redemption for Judah (Kessler 1999:70). To the reader, the placement of the doxology in Jeremiah 51:15-19, which displays various linkages to other parts of chapters 50-51, would thus seem to be meaningful for the Book of Jeremiah as a whole.

When the reader encounters the doxology in Jeremiah 51:15-19, the reminiscence to 10:1-16 reminds him/her of the affirmation that YHWH is the only living God (10:10). The idols of Babylon are nonentities who would cause their makers to be ashamed. The wider context of 10:1-16 is also brought to mind: Judah's destruction had nothing at all to do with the ravaging and invading nations and their gods. YHWH could change the destiny of both Babylon and Israel.

The oracles against Babylon are linked to the oracles concerning the Foe from the North by the reuse of keywords and phrases (Hill 1999:177-179; Holt 2003:196). The reuse, in 50:41-43, of the oracle in Jeremiah 6:22-23, originally directed at Zion, suggests that Babylon would also experience an invasion of the Foe from the North. The tables would be turned. Jeremiah 51:15-19, which alludes to both the dominant theme and the subtheme of the oracles against Babylon, links these oracles to material outside the oracles concerning the Foe from the North. 12:7-9 stresses that, although Judah was not simply another nation to YHWH, he abandoned them. On the other hand, 51:19 stresses the close bond between YHWH and his people. YHWH's plan with regard to Babylon would be to their advantage. In contrast to 27:5-6, which announces that YHWH as creator had appointed Nebuchadnezzar for a specific task, 51:15-19 suggests that YHWH as the creator of all would cause Babylon's downfall.

Placing an item at the end may radically alter the process of reading as well as the final product (Granowski 1992:175-176). At the end of the Book of Amos, the salvation oracles in 9:11-15 displace the preceding doom oracles from their position of authority (Terblanche 1997:319). The oracles against Babylon, Jeremiah 50-51, displace the doom oracles in chapters 1-45 from their position of authority. The doxology in Jeremiah 51:15-19 obviously displaces the announcement, in 27:5-6, that YHWH had given dominion over the earth to Nebuchadnezzar, from its position of authority.

The doxology in Jeremiah 51:15-19 plays a distinctive role in the integration of the oracles against Babylon in the Book of Jeremiah. Although it is not possible to substantiate, beyond reasonable doubt, that 51:15-19 is dependent on 10:12-16, through its placement in chapter 51, the doxology gives the impression of being a deliberate quotation of 10:12-16. By obtaining a distinct identity, 51:15-19 paradoxically links the oracles against Babylon to the remainder of the Book of Jeremiah. As is suggested elsewhere in the oracles against Babylon, the tables would be turned. As a result of the action of YHWH, who is the sovereign creator of all, Babylon would fall and YHWH's people would return from exile.

 

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1 This article is dedicated to prof. S.D. Snyman.

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