6.69 Jeremiah -- The Foe from the North
As in other prophets, the nations are called to witness the judgment that will come upon Judah (Jer 6:18, Jer 18:13, Jer 22:8-9). In keeping with the covenant curse of Deut 28:25, the Lord will make Judah "a thing of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth" (Jer 15:4, Jer 24:9, Jer 29:18, Jer 34:17). All who pass by Jerusalem will hiss at the shocking sight.
Again as in other prophets, other nations also figure as the Lord’s instruments for bringing judgment. From the very beginning of his ministry, Jeremiah received visions and words concerning a "foe from the north," pouring out disaster like a tipped pot (Jer 1:13-16). It is an ancient nation, a lionlike destroyer. By 605, during Jehoiakim’s reign, we find him specifying that the agent of wrath will be the Babylonians (Jer 25:8-11) led by the Lord’s "servant," Nebuchadnezzar. But it is the Lord Himself who is deploying not only the sword but also starvation and beasts, "famine and plague" (Jer 14:12). The fall of Jerusalem is summed up in chilling words:
in the end he thrust them from his presence (Jer 52:3).