“On the day I Took Them out of the Land of Egypt”: A Non-Deuteronomic Phrase within Jeremiah’s Conception of Covenant

in Vetus Testamentum
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This paper proceeds in three stages, and sets three goals. First, through the careful study of one prose passage in Jeremiah (11:1-14), I aim to complicate our sometimes simplistic perception of the use of Deuteronomic expressions in Jeremiah. One crucial phrase clearly draws on Priestly style and covenant conceptions, and is repeated in another four prose prophecies within the book (Jer 7:21-28 [22]; 11:1-14 [4, 7]; 31:31-34 [32]; 34:8-22 [13]). Thus, the second goal of this paper is to consider this (Priestly) phrase’s contribution to Jeremiah’s conception of covenant. Third, the proximity of both Deuteronomic and Priestly pentateuchal materials in a single prophetic context moves us beyond questions of authorship to literary strategies of allusion to and exegesis of both Deuteronomic and Priestly pentateuchal materials within the prophecy. The tendency within the book to harmonize diverse pentateuchal traditions has far-reaching implications for the study of both Jeremiah and the Pentateuch.

“On the day I Took Them out of the Land of Egypt”: A Non-Deuteronomic Phrase within Jeremiah’s Conception of Covenant

in Vetus Testamentum




See S. MowinckelZur Komposition des Buches Jeremia (Kristiania: Dybwad1914) 31-45. Mowinckel based his investigations on Duhm Jeremia; see for instance Mowinckel ibid. xvi-xxii 107-8. These two scholars have shaped Jeremiah scholarship throughout the twentieth century and beyond.


See also ThielDie Deuteronomitische Redaktion von Jeremia 1-25142-43.


See R. RendtorffThe Covenant Formula: An Exegetical and Theological Investigation (trans. M. Kohl, Edinburgh: Bloomsbury Academic1998) 11-37 esp. 13-14 22-26 87-92. The partial formula (with the people becoming God’s people Rendtorff’s B formula) is the regular form in Dtn (Deut 4:20; 7:6; 14:2; 27:9; 28:9); yet in this partial form it occurs only once in Jeremiah (13:11). The two-way formula appears in Pentateuchal sources only rarely (p/hl Exod 6:7 presents a hapax phrase with לקח [“take”]: ולקחתי אתכם לי לעם והייתי לכם לאלהים; otherwise with היה in hl Lev 26:12; and three times in Deut 26:17-18; and הקים / היה in 29:12). Rendtorff (ibid 13 n. 14) explained the formula as referring to the process of becoming which he found in the construction היה ל- ל but considered synonymous also with other verbs such as לקח קום עשה כון. Priestly occurrences use the other way the establishment of God as the lord of his people (Rendtorff’s A formula see Gen 17:7 8; Exod 29:45; Lev 11:45; 22:33; 25:38; 26:45; Num 15:41; and once in the assumed E Gen 28:21).


See D.M. CarrThe Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction (New York: Oxford University Press2011) 3-36.


Y. KaufmannToldot HaEmunah HaYisraelit (Jerusalem: Bialik, 19371976) 185-220 esp. 212 (in Hebrew).


D. Rom-Shiloni“Ezekiel and Jeremiah: What Might Stand Behind the Silence?” HeBAI 2 (2012): 203-30with an Appendix published on my University webpage (http://humanities.tau.ac.il/segel/dromshil/).


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