Facing destruction and exile: Inner-biblical exegesis in Jeremiah and Ezekiel

Dalit Rom-Shiloni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Contributing to the growing interest in inner-biblical interpretation, this paper calls attention to one social-historical setting that can illuminate the evolution of exegesis already by the first decades of the sixth century BCE. An exegetical discourse between the prophets and their opponents is exemplified in two passages from the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel (Jer 21,1-7; Ez 20,1-38). The study shows that independent lines of argumentation are introduced, through the reuse of earlier sources within quotations of »other voices«, on the one hand, and through the prophets' refutations, on the other. The allusions to earlier sources meet the need to correlate the present distress with the past, or with the enduring qualities of God, by way of analogy or polarity. Hence, it is claimed that inner-biblical exegesis is not restricted to the prophets. The quotations illustrate an exegetical process within non-prophetical circles, on the basis of which they approach the prophets. The latter refute their contemporaries in diverse ways. In an effort not to contradict directly cherished heritage or traditional concepts of the divine, the prophets present the opposing exegesis as a deplorable misinterpretation. Thus, inner-biblical exegesis motivates the echoes and allusions in the polemic between the prophets and their audiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-205
Number of pages17
JournalZeitschrift fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


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