Jeremiah 26:2-3 Commentary

Part of the ongoing Verse Quick Reference project.

Jer 26:2  “Thus says the LORD: Stand in the court of the LORD’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the LORD all the words that I command you to speak to them; do not hold back a word. 
Jer 26:3  It may be they will listen, and every one turn from his evil way, that I may relent of the disaster that I intend to do to them because of their evil deeds. 

In Jeremiah 26, the Word of the Lord comes to Jeremiah and tasks him with preaching to the people. Yahweh is talking and commands Jeremiah to tell them “all the words that [He] commands”. In this way, Yahweh suggests that if all the words are used the people just might repent. Still in Yahweh’s voice, the text reads “It may be they will listen”, and God states that in response He might repent (nacham).

In this text, God plans on repenting if the people repent. God is showing that He changes in relation to the actions of people. He states that He will repent of things He planned on doing. And all this is “if” the people repent. God does not yet know if the people will repent so tasks Jeremiah will forcible preaching. None of this language lines up with timelessness, immutability, or exhaustive knowledge of the future. Instead it is about an uncertain future and a reversal of future plans.

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