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Jeremiah 4:19 NABRE

My body! my body! how I writhe The walls of my heart! My heart beats wildly, I cannot be still; For I myself have heard the blast of the horn, the battle cry.

The context here is a prophecy in which God promises redemption to the people of the north (Israel) if they repent, but strictly warns the people of the south that they will soon face an invasion:

Jeremiah 4:3, 11-13 NABRE

3 For to the people of Judah and Jerusalem, thus says the Lord... 11... A scorching wind from the bare heights comes through the wilderness toward my daughter, the people. 12 Not to winnow, not to cleanse, a strong wind from there comes at my bidding. Now I too pronounce sentence upon them. 13 See! like storm clouds he advances, like a whirlwind, his chariots; Swifter than eagles, his horses:

Question: Does verse 4:19 express

a) God's heart of anguish, expressed anthropomorphically

b) the prophet's own spiritual experience

c) his physical experience as it occurs in real-time and/or

d) a prediction of a future experience either of the prophet or the people of Judah?

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  • @argaza I normally appreciate your edits since I'm not as careful as I should be in copy-editing. In this case, however, I retained the original formatting of my bible because without it, the poetic sense of passages is largely lost. You edited out my "retain original formatting" commands. I think I've noticed that you do this routinely and I'd like to discuss the pros and cons of this with you. Where can we talk about this? Commented Oct 24, 2023 at 22:19

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Jer 4:10-31 is a prophecy about the coming doom of Jerusalem. Now, the prophets are always very careful to reveal who is speaking. In almost all cases, when the prophet quotes the LORD, the passage is preceded by the phrase, "This is what the LORD says" or similar. Thus, we may analyze Jer 4:10-31 as follows:

  • V10-12 - a brief conversation between the LORD and Jeremiah.
  • V13-18 - a sermonette from Jeremiah to the people
  • V19-26 - a lament for Jerusalem in a similar style to those in Jeremiah's Lamentations
  • V27-31 - a verbatim prophecy from the LORD about Jerusalem's doom

Therefore, in answer to the OP's question, V19ff the prophet is speaking (lamenting) the approaching doom of Jerusalem. It is only in V27 that Jeremiah reports the words of the LORD.

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  • I'll upvote this as clear and helpful although I'm not yet ready to accept it. Can you point me to a source beyond your personal observation for your statement that "the prophets are always very careful to reveal who is speaking." Commented Oct 24, 2023 at 22:23
  • @DanFefferman - that statement is my personal observation after reading the OT many times.
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 24, 2023 at 23:03
  • with that caveat, I accept your answer... Obviously I don't agree that it is as clear as you suggest or I would not have asked, but I agree that v. 19 is most probably Jeremiah's lament. An interesting question still remains as to whether he had literally experienced the bodily agony he described or foresaw it. Commented Oct 25, 2023 at 15:35
  • @DanFefferman - Jeremiah, known as the "weeping prophet" frequently records his visceral reactions to his own prophecies. This is a good example. I can imagine such a compassionate person have such deep emotion that it spills into the physical side of his being such as when a parent looses a young child - the distinction between physical and emotional pain becomes blurred.
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 25, 2023 at 20:58

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