Yirmiyahu Forty: Diaspora

This chapter opens with Jeremiah with Nebuzaradan, the chief Babylonian executioner. Nebuzaradan has released Jeremiah, and invites him to come to Babylon with him in his care. But it’s Jeremiah’s choice, and Jeremiah decides to stay in the land, with the remnant of the people who have stayed. “And all the Jews returned from all the places they had been driven, and they came to the land of Judah to Gedaliah to Mizpah, and they gathered very much wine and dried figs (Jeremiah 40:12).” It really seems to be the fringes of society that stayed in the land, those who for whatever reason were able to remain in spite of the destruction and the exile. The people are now split between their locations, and therefore by their experiences. There will no longer be one fully shared story of the people, because the multiple factions will develop differently. It’s a real diaspora story, for one of the first times in our history. How do we stay one people when we’re developing differently?

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