When Prophets Quote Prophets

I am preparing a lesson the fifth chapter of Jeremiah. My audience is very well educated in things biblical, so they appreciate the finer details of exegesis. In a previous study on Micah I became aware of a passage therein which is quoted by Jeremiah. Note the following:

Therefore, on account of you Zion will be plowed as a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins, And the mountain of the temple will become high places of a forest. (Mic. 3:12)

Now note how Jeremiah uses this passage:

“Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah; and he spoke to all the people of Judah, saying, ‘Thus the LORD of hosts has said, “Zion will be plowed as a field, And Jerusalem will become ruins, And the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.”‘ (Jer, 26:18)

The passage goes on to remark how king Hezekiah feared the word of Micah, eventually changing the LORD’s mind about the coming calamity (Jer. 26:19). Very interesting indeed.

Today I found another place where Jeremiah quotes Micah. It, perhaps not coincidentally, is the passage just prior to the one cited above. Note the following:

Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, Her priests instruct for a price And her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD saying, “Is not the LORD in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us.” (Mic. 3:11)

Note the bold part of the passage, and then compare this passage from Jeremiah:

They have lied about the LORD And said, “Not He; Calamity will not come on us, And we will not see sword or famine. (Jer. 5:12)

I looked at the Hebrew in both passages (Jer. 5:12 and Mic. 3:11) and the phrase, which I have in bold letters, is the same!

It seems that Jeremiah is aware of something like the book of Micah, or at least his prophetic traditions. It is also interesting to see how Jeremiah interacts with the Micah passages.

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200Too often interpreters of the Bible focus on the NT quotations from the Hebrew Bible. Yet how often are we giving attention to how and when the Hebrew Bible quotes the Hebrew Bible? Here are two instances where Jeremiah interacts with the Micah tradition. Perhaps we should not forget how the ninth chapter of Daniel interacts with Jeremiah, where seventy years gets modified into seventy sevens!

Just some food for thought.

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2 thoughts on “When Prophets Quote Prophets

    1. Jeremiah speaks of 70 years of exile, and Daniel 9 turns it into seventy sevens (490). So it seems to be both a modification and a new prophecy.

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