In eight prose texts in Jeremiah, the curse serves a polemical function that justifies the existence of one particular socioreligious community (the Babylonian exiles), while marginalizing others (the remnant in Judah, Judeans who fled to Egypt, and foreign nations). This curse is not used as an invocation of misfortune but has a metonymical sense which describes the embodiment of that misfortune. Although specific curse terminology and order vary, the phrase "you will be a reproach, a byword, a taunt, and a curse" is directed against these three rivals to the Babylonian community and foreshadows the heterogenous constitution of the Judean communities in the Exilic, Postexilic, and Second Temple Periods.

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