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Local gossip


I worked for the local parks department as a relief tractor driver / garden labourer for three summers in the 1970s. Every morning we all crushed into what we called the "howf" at 7.00am to await the call to load up the trailers when the gaffer gave us our allocated task for the day. This "howf" was a very small dimly lit room where we listened to all the local gossip and sorted out the worlds problems.

I can imagine the 'howf' where the priests gathered each morning in Jerusalem at the time when Jeremiah was called to God's service. They had just heard that this young upstart had been seen in the streets of Jerusalem telling folk that he was on a mission from God.

"Who does he think he is?"
"He's not even a real priest!"
"He comes from that wee dump Anathoth."
"What right has a Benjamite to claim to be a priest!"
"If he thinks he can tell me what God is saying, he has another think coming."
"Did you know that his great great great grandfather was given the heave by King Solomon?"
"Who was that?"
"Abiathar - he was a real dodgy character."
"This clown, Jeremiah's father is not much better"
"Who is he anyway?"
"I heard he is Hilkiah's son?"
"And who is he when he is at home?"

This does not sound like a promising start for God's prophet who has to give the nation a real catalogue of bad news stories - especially that the Babylonians will attack and destroy Judah. It is just as well that he has God on his side because he has few friends around in the capital city.

R Neilly