Good Figs, Bad Figs begins by reviewing how the Old Testament depicts YHWH exercising judgement in Israel. Three broad categories of judicial action are identified: selective, unselective, and national. It is noted that more than one of these may be juxtaposed within the same text, and that each is a corollary of a wider theological frame of reference.The rest of the study focuses on the concept of judicial differentiation in the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah 1 20 announce wrath upon all Judah, while chs. 30 33 prophesy restoration for the entire Diaspora. Elsewhere, however, YHWHs judicial action is more nuanced. Jer. 21 24 differentiates between those who stay in Jerusalem and those who surrender (21.1-10), between Israels leaders and people (23.1-8), and between the exiles and non-exiles (24.1-10). Jeremiah 27 29 also distinguishes between exiled and non-exiled communities, but adds a people and prophets polarity. Finally, Jer. 37 45 offers hope to those who surrender (38.1-3) or remain in the land (42.1-22), alongside salvation oracles for two individuals who do not conform to these conditions (39.15-18; 45.1-5).Three main conclusions are drawn.
Firstly, the polarities of judgement and salvation in Jer. are more varied than has generally been appreciated. Secondly, this diversity of perspective is theologically significant; it is suggested that each polarity offers a valid though incomplete lens through which to interpret Gods judicial action. Thirdly, the concepts of judicial differentiation and non-differentiation may offer a helpful framework in which to read the book of Jeremiah as a whole.
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Author Biography - R.J.R. Plant
Robin J.R. Plant, PhD (University of Edinburgh). Since 2003, he has been living in Timisoara, Romania, teaching Christian theology in local churches and Bible schools. He is currently a visiting professor at the Evangelical Theological Seminary, Osijek, Croatia.