For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded,
I mourn, and dismay has taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of the daughter of my people
not been restored?
Jeremiah is called the "weeping prophet" because he, more than any of the other prophets of the Old Testament, embodied the terrible grief that the prophetic mission meant. It was Jeremiah's task to speak hard truths to his people, not only when they were up, but even when they were down. He had a mission to call a defeated people to submit to their conquerors. More than this, he had to make his people see that their defeat and their submission to Babylon did not mean that Babylon was right, merely that Babylon was the particular instrument of rebuke which God had opted to use in chastising Israel. He was rejected, conspired against, thrown down wells, and ultimately murdered by his grateful countrymen who, like us, only figured out his greatness after he was gone. Today, thank God for prophets who bug you.
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