At the beginning of ch. 22 Jeremiah announces a condition on which the kings of David’s line shall continue on the throne of Jerusalem. All of these conditions have to do with social justice. Just a few short chapters ago, back in ch. 17, he gave a different condition: Observance of the Sabbath. So which is it? Does the religious law trump the social law, or vice versa? Or do they both apply, and God through Jeremiah here draws out the ultimate equivalence and correspondence of these laws?
Ch. 23:1-4 describes two distinct sets of shepherds over God’s flock. The first, the rulers and priests of Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s time, have let God down and failed to properly shepherd God’s people in the ways of righteousness and holiness. Who, then, are the latter shepherds? An obvious answer is Christ, and I believe that to be correct, but only in part. He mentions shepherds, plural, not just one. Who shares in the work of shepherding Christ’s flock? To whom is the priesthood given in the New Covenant? I submit that all believers share in this responsibility. Are we, then, proving worthy of the calling to properly shepherd God’s flock in the ways of righteousness and holiness? What does that look like in this world? Who, specifically, qualifies as God’s flock in this context?
Jer. 23:30-32: When exactly is God going to deal with these lying prophets? Even now we have lying prophets – prosperity gospel preachers, the Westboro Baptist Church, extremists of all manner corrupting and perverting the Word of the Lord for their own ends and deceiving people throughout the land with their wicked talk. Why does God continue to allow this? What evil will God not allow in His name? When, exactly, will God deal with these lying prophets?
Very interesting commentary in the JSB on ch. 24: The editors feel that the pro-exilic prophecy must have been written by someone other than Jeremiah since it so contradicts his typical views. Jeremiah elsewhere sharply denounces Jehoiachin and routinely favors the land, and so it seems unlikely that in this passage he would so strongly pivot towards the exiles being the only true people of God. The perspective, so the editors say, more closely matches that of Ezekiel and Deutero-Isaiah, both of whom actually went into exile in Babylon.