March 12, 2013
Prophets and Figurative Language
Jeremiah was a prophet called upon by God at a very young age to do His work. Jeremiah spoke against those who disobeyed God and spoke on the consequences of sin. He had a very hard job of trying to get the people of God to obey Him once again and to get them to stop sinning against Him. Jeremiah used figurative language to tell stories and to explain to the people what was going to happen if they continued to sin. The natural imagery that Jeremiah uses can be seen as useful in getting his point across to the disobedient people because he used it to paint a scary picture of how God would devour the people, but he was also able to paint a peaceful picture of how he was like a lamb; all while using things that were relevant and ordinary to them so that it made sense to them.
In Jeremiah 5:14 we see nature being used figuratively as a force of destruction, “Because they have spoken this word, I am now making my words in your mouth a fire, and this people wood, and the fire shall devour them.” God is very explicit here and you have no doubt in what he wants to do to the people. He uses very simple forces of nature that are relevant and known to the people. You know that God is upset because he uses the word “devour,” where as He could have used “burn,” but the word itself shows the force He is willing to strike with. “Fire” and “wood” are elements that are known and when put together we know what happens, so it was useful to put these together so that the people can see how great God is. The “fire” is not even God’s own actions, but His words put into Jeremiah’s mouth, so it leaves you to imagine and wonder what would happen if it was coming straight from God, without an intermediate. The book of Jeremiah is filled with terrifying figurative language of destruction and death so it is hard to find a positive example of natural imagery. In Jeremiah 11:19, Jeremiah compares himself...
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