Before I get into this post, on a cosmetic note, the chapters of Jeremiah are much longer (on average) than those of Isaiah. I know that a teacher of mine taught us that the chapters that we know today are largely arbitrary, with no deep significance. They were canonized by Christian theologians, so I don’t know if there’s any particular reason that these chapters seem to be longer, but thought I’d share the observation nonetheless.
The verse that I’m choosing to reflect on for this chapter is a curse that God gives to the Israelites. “I will scatter them among the nations, whom neither they nor their fathers have known; and I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them (Jeremiah 9:15).” The curse put on the Israelites is that of exile, of being strangers in the lands where they live, and separated from the rest of the people. It’s only after noting the exile and alienness that God says the people will be consumed by the sword. I think that’s because when the people are united and strong, they won’t be so vulnerable and susceptible to the fallout of enemies. They’ll be able to defend themselves, an ability that’s taken away during exile. The entire experience of the Jewish people has been shaped by generations of otherness. The curse was what brought us to our current reality, and it’s still a relatively new phenomenon to have a central hub for Jews worldwide. It therefore has yet to be seen exactly how that will reshape the global Jewish experience, just as the Diaspora has up until now.