Rejected Silver (Jer 6:26-30)

Metallurgy is arguably the most important technology in the ancient world. We even measure time by it: Iron Age, Bronze Age, and so on. We don’t think of it this way, but to them metallurgy may have been sexy and advanced high-tech — it’s their cyberspace, their augmented reality, their rocket-science. I have long found it interesting that so frequently Old Testament authors make reference to metals and even metallurgical processes as analogies for spiritual truths — they do not always draw their metaphors from nature or from relationships, but also from ‘the artificial.’

This passage in Jeremiah is such a case — the author’s knowledge of the tech includes not just the processes, but also how the processes fail. The bellows aren’t burning away the impurities in v 29, which means the refining isn’t working. Isn’t that interesting? The author knows enough that he doesn’t only write that the website is unreachable but that there’s been a DNS error. How much detail was common knowledge? Surely some matters must have been trade- even state-secrets?

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