Reflections on Jeremiah

The book of Jeremiah doesn’t really have any women in it. There are lots of mentions of women and the prophecies do occasionally talk to the women as well as the men, but it’s mostly about prophecies of what’s to come and then that stuff coming about. The only people discussed individually are Jeremiah and the king of Judah and those few that surround what I’ll call the “plot”, like the kings of some other places that either help or invade.

The prophecies tend to sound like they’re talking only to men, and maybe they are, but there are often references to women and to the people of Judah personified as a woman. In the beginning there’s a lot of disparaging references on women’s behavior, but they aren’t actually talking about women. They are talking about Judah as if it were a woman. They were also talking about it in terms of what is attractive to men, so I don’t exactly put a lot of stock in that this is or is not how women “should” act. This is God telling men that they don’t appreciate it when women act like this toward them and so they should not act like that toward Him. At least that’s how I see it. Well, then there was that troubling rape imagery back in chapter eleven too.

There are also tons of references to these same men feeling pain in battle that makes it out to be like the pain that women experience in labor. I have to say that if the wounds of battle are compared to birth in this way, I can’t say that God is calling us weak nor should it be taken that we are weaker than men. Men only experience this pain when in battle and it was a completely unavoidable experience for women (unless unable to get pregnant at all in that time) because they were having more children than we do now and didn’t have the drugs we do now. I’m sure they had some birthing practices that relieved some pain, but I couldn’t find anything that goes far enough back to say whether it was ever really relieved for them. Its repeatedly referenced as if it is the worst known pain to have and that these men should beware of the consequences coming their way on account of it.

For the most part, this is one of the darker books of the Bible so far. There are prophecies of hope for times to follow those immediately ahead and a message or two that things will eventually be turned bright again, but it seems to mostly be about things that will befall them account of behavior that is honestly not very different from what we see in the world today. That’s honestly the most troubling part.

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