|Patrick Dempsey as Jeremiah?|
The word for the day is JEREMIAD. The word actually has two separate meanings, both related to the Prophet Jeremiah. A jeremiad can be a speech of lamentation, a long expression of suffering and woe. It can also be an admonition of terrible things that will befall people who do not correct their bad behavior.
The prophet himself issued the admonitions first -- after all, it's only fair to warn folks before God smites them. The Hebrews had drifted from their covenant with God -- drifted so far, in fact, that they were sacrificing children to idols of Baal. I'm thinking that's three commandments broken in a single act. So Jeremiah warned them to repent, and when they didn't, he prophesied the end of God's favor and seventy years of slavery.
|Michelangelo's Jeremiah in the Sistine Chapel|
For his tribulations, Jeremiah was released from prison and allowed to choose where he would live. He chose to stay put, which was fine while Gedaliah, the governor of Judah for Nebuchadnezzar, lived. But nationalists hate a collaborator, and Yishmael and his band of merry assassins shanked him. Gedaliah's heir, Yochanan, packed up the whole household -- Jeremiah included -- and headed to Egypt. There are some stories that Jeremiah continued to make jeremiads down there and was subsequently stoned to death, but that's not biblical. Some folks just need everyone to be martyred, as if all the stuff he put up with back in Judah wasn't bad enough.