The prophet and traditions of Israel

Just as Jeremiah drew on the rich traditions of his people, so too did later writers of the Old Testament draw on the prophet.

Jeremiah, notes LeClerc, made frequent reference to the Genesis creation stories, to the exodus, and to wandering in the wilderness. He called on the memory of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “Jeremiah is an extraordinary conservator of the religious traditions of his people and a skilled divine spokesman who can use those traditions to make known in familiar ways God’s word to the people of the covenant.” (Introduction to the Prophets, 269)

The later books Ezra, 2 Chronicles, and Daniel speak of Jeremiah, but he is most richly remembered in the Deuterocanonical and apocryphal literature. There he is associated with the end times and the day of restoration. Second Maccabees remembers Jeremiah as a prophet who prayed for and defended his people. It also preserves the tradition that Jeremiah protected the most sacred objects of worship. Before the Babylonian invasion, he ordered removal from the temple of the Tent of Meeting, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Altar of Incense. They were to be hidden in a secret cave. “The place shall remain unknown until God gathers his people together again and shows his mercy.” (2 Mac 2:7).

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