Original Research

Jeremiah 23:23–24 as polemic against prophets’ views on Yahweh’s presence

Wilhelm Wessels
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 3 | a3162 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i3.3162 | © 2016 Wilhelm Wessels | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 August 2015 | Published: 31 May 2016

About the author(s)

Wilhelm Wessels, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa


Jeremiah 23:23–24 is a short passage in the cycle of oracles in which the prophet Jeremiah is supposedly in conflict with other prophets in his society. It is possible that this short passage first had an independent existence before it became part of the collection of oracles in 23:9-40 This article argues that as an independent oracle the passage claims that Yahweh is not just a localised god, but an omnipresent God from whom no person can hide. When read as part of the mentioned cycle, it should be regarded as a polemic against a view held by some prophets that Yahweh’s nearness guarantees peace and security. Their domesticated view leads to complacency and disregard. It is argued that Jeremiah opposes their view by stating that Yahweh is also a distant God who is aware of their false and deceitful attempts to provide revelatory knowledge to the people. In this regard chapter 23:23–24 serves as a polemic against so-called false prophets and implies a threat of judgement.

Keywords: False prophets, temple, Yahweh's presence, polemic


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