The prophetic ministry of Jeremiah, described in the Old Testament books of Jeremiah and Lamentations, took place during a time of chaos and tragedy for the people of Israel: the fall of Jerusalem, the destruction of the temple, and the exile to Babylon. Yet, in the midst of this loss and in hope of the restoration of God's people, Jeremiah is able to declare: "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lam 3:22-23).
Reflecting on these verses, Reformation commentators, who were themselves familiar with the turbulent realities of their own sixteenth century, heard not only hope for the renewal of Israel, but prophetic promise for the coming of the Messiah. Lutheran theologian and pastor Nikolaus Selnecker wrote, "Is not what Jeremiah says immeasurably beautiful, lovely, and consoling? You will think, what is my soul saying to me? That is a strong Amen, when the spirit of the heart knows and can say, 'God hears me, I know it. My heart tells me. I do not doubt God's grace. I am a child of God. He is my father and will help me.'"
In this volume of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture, church historian J. Jeffery Tyler guides readers through a diversity of early modern commentary on the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations. Readers will hear from familiar voices and discover lesser-known figures from a variety of theological traditions, including Lutherans, Reformed, Radicals, Anglicans, and Roman Catholics. Drawing upon a variety of resources—including commentaries, sermons, treatises, and confessions—much of which appears here for the first time in English, this volume provides resources for contemporary preachers, enables scholars to better understand the depth and breadth of Reformation commentary, and seeks to help everyone remember that God's mercies never come to an end.
J. Jeffery Tyler (PhD, University of Arizona) is professor of religion at Hope College. He is the author of Lord of the Sacred City: The 'Episcopus Exclusus' in Late Medieval and Early Modern Germany.