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The Untold Story of the Kingdom of Judah

(E8) The Untold Story of Jeremiah the Prophet

Prof. Oded Lipschits

Jeremiah was not one of the popular figures in Jerusalem on the eve of the Temple’s destruction. The ideology he held was contrary to that of many of the ministers and public leaders who championed the rebellion in Babylon and believed in the divine protection over the city, the temple and the dynasty of the House of David who were chosen by God and were given the eternal promise. This was also the ideology of the biblical historiographers, against whom the prophet stood on the eve of the destruction of Jerusalem.
The prophet’s attitudes and his hostile attitude towards the priests, the royal house and the Jerusalem elite, and the hostile attitude of many in Jerusalem towards the prophet, are all connected to the definition of his origin in the opening verse of the book “The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin,” and to the questions of why this is mentioned in the opening of the book, and why is this information regarding his being a priest who comes from a family in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin described as part of Jeremiah’s presentation? It seems that the untold story about the fate of the Shiloh and Nob priests, and their connection to the family of priests in Anathoth, even if it is historically reliable, whether it is a historiographical work from beginning to end, or a compilation of details based on fragments of information from various sources, can give depth and a better understanding of Jeremiah’s views on the eve of the destruction of Jerusalem, his ideology and his actions during this period. Against this background, it can also be assumed that it was the association with the family of the priests who were expelled from Jerusalem that placed Jeremiah in such an oppositional position to the House of David, who was responsible for their deportation to Anathoth, despite the family patriarch’s unreserved loyalty to David, and for the physical elimination of his family, the priests of the temple in Nob. In the description of the chronicles of the Kingdom of Judah, the things are not explicitly stated, and Jeremiah himself is not mentioned in the historical description.

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