Poor Jeremiah! He stands at the temple and preaches doom and no one believes him; worse, they threaten to arrest him, or kill him. I wish they had – I’m so sick of this book.
Jeremiah wears an ox yoke to symbolize that all the nations will be forced to serve Nebuchadnezzar. He believes that god told him to do this. Is he hearing voices, or what? And then we get another dose of the ‘do not listen to false prophets’ rhetoric – like how are people supposed to know which is true and which is false?
Now another prophet, named Hananiah, shows up, and he disagrees with Jeremiah. He says that Yahweh will remove the yoke of Babylon within 2 years. How can the people know who’s right? That’s easy – god strikes Hananiah dead. That’ll prove it once and for all! This is so clichéd!
Jeremiah writes to the exiles in Babylon, and unbelievably, there’s some good advice in the first part of his letter – basically, get on with your lives and don’t mope (v 5-7). But then it gets a little sketchy; he tells them they will be there 70 years (wrong) and that god will then bring them back home (v 10-14). Is that supposed to be reassuring? It wouldn’t be to me – 70 years is a lifetime, i.e. most of the recipients of the letter are basically being told they will never see home again. Furthermore, they learn that their relatives still in Jerusalem will suffer and perish (v 16-18). But trust the fundies to cherry-pick a verse out of this that they can cling to out of context.