The so-called “true branch” prophecy in Jeremiah 33:14–26 is lacking in the Septuagint version. Some scholars regard this passage as the work of a later redactor.1 I disagree.

The passage affirms the perpetual nature of the covenant between God and Israel and assures that the Davidic line will rule forever and that the levitical priests will likewise continue to serve. In short, the promise of posterity made to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 13:16, 15:5, 22:17) is now applied to the monarchy and the priests.

The passage reads as follows:

See, days are coming—declares the Lord—when I will fulfill the promise that I made concerning the House of Israel and the House of Judah. In those days and at that time, I will raise up a true branch of David’s line, and he shall do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah shall be delivered and Israel shall dwell secure. And this is what she shall be called: “The Lord is our Vindicator.” For thus said the Lord: There shall never be an end to men of David’s line who sit upon the throne of the House of Israel. Nor shall there ever be an end to the line of the levitical priests before Me, of those who present burnt offerings and turn the meal offering to smoke and perform sacrifices.

The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: Thus said the Lord: If you could break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that day and night should not come at their proper time, only then could My covenant with My servant David be broken—or with My ministrants, the levitical priests. Like the host of heaven which cannot be counted, and the sand of the sea which cannot be measured, so will I multiply the offspring of My servant David, and of the Levites who minister to Me.

The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: You see what this people said: “The two families which the Lord chose have now been rejected by Him.” Thus they despise My people, and regard them as no longer a nation. Thus said the Lord: As surely as I have established My covenant with day and night—the laws of heaven and earth—so I will never reject the offspring of Jacob and My servant David; I will never fail to take from his offspring rulers for the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Indeed, I will restore their fortunes and take them back in love.

Jeremiah 33:14–26

There is no reason to deny this passage to Jeremiah, even though it is not in Edition I, which is preserved in the Septuagint. As suggested in the accompanying article, Edition II of the book does contain authentic Jeremiah material not contained in Edition I. Moreover, this passage contains several Jeremianic expressions that are reminiscent of passages that are undeniably authentic and that are also found in Edition I. For example, the phrase “the promise” (literally “the good thing”) (v. 14) also appears in Jeremiah 29:10 (Edition II); “the house of Israel… the house of Judah” (v. 14) is found in Jeremiah 3:18, 13:11, 31:27, 31:31 (all Edition II); and “in those days and at that time” (v. 15) repeats 50:4, 20 (Edition II).

In short, authentic material not included in Edition I probably continued to circulate among the prophet’s followers even after Edition I was completed.