The Book of Jeremiah
Introduction to the Book of Jeremiah in the Bible
Jeremiah 1:17-19 - Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them. For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I [am] with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.
Jeremiah 3:16 - And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit [it]; neither shall [that] be done any more. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
Jeremiah 23:5-6- Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this [is] his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
The Old Testament - A Brief Overview
Bible Survey - Jeremiah
Quick Overview of Jeremiah. – –1 – – the call of Jeremiah– – 1-20– –Jeremiah's prophecies against Judah under the reigns of Josiah and Jehoiachim– – 21-39 – –Jeremiah's prophecies against Judah until the fall of Jerusalem– – 40-45 – – Jeremiah's prophecies after the fall of Jerusalem – – 46-51 – – Jeremiah's prophecies against the surrounding nations – – 52 – – the historical appendix.
The prophet Jeremiah prophesied to the Jews in Jerusalem and Judah about 50 years before Jerusalem would fall and be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Jeremiah continually preached against the folly of idolatry and pleaded with the people the Word of God, "what injustice have you found in me?" he cried, "why have you gone far from me and followed idols, and have become idolaters?", "I brought you into a beautiful country to eat of its fruit and its goodness, but you have defiled my land and made my heritage and abomination." Jeremiah warned that Jerusalem would be destroyed and the Jews would be taken away as captives to the land of Babylon. The words of Jeremiah were violently rejected and he was continually persecuted, but God warned them at the beginning of his ministry not to be "afraid of their faces". While Jeremiah was in prison grieving over the sins of his people the Lord came to him and said "behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant" (Jeremiah 31). Soon afterwards Jerusalem was indeed destroyed in 586 BC as Jeremiah prophesied. But he claimed that their captivity would only last 70 years and then they would return to their land. Jeremiah also prophesied against the pagan nations around Israel. Later he was forced to go and live in the land of Egypt and there is no record of what happened to him.
"Behold, I will bring a nation against you from afar, O house of Israel," says the LORD. "It is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know, nor can you understand what they say. . . "Hear the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Behold, I will bring such a catastrophe on this place, that whoever hears of it, his ears will tingle." Jeremiah 5:15; 19:3
The prophet Jeremiah began his ministry during the reign of King Josiah, and he prophesied the Word of the Lord until the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC when Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came and destroyed the city and her Temple (Jeremiah 1), and he continued to prophesy even after this event. Jeremiah began ministering in 627 BC during the reign of King Josiah, he was the "son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth" which was a city near Jerusalem. When the Lord called him he was very young (Jeremiah 1:6), and the Lord revealed to him that his word would be rejected and yet he was not to be afraid of their faces. They also learned that an enemy from the North would come and bring about the destruction of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 1:11-16), and this time it would not be the Assyrians as with the northern kingdom of Israel, but it would be the Babylonians. All the kings who reigned during the time of Jeremiah were: Josiah, Jehoa-haz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah and Jerusalem was destroyed in the 11th year of the reign of king Zedekiah in 586 BC. The event of the burning of the city of Jerusalem and of the Temple of Solomon is found in 2 Kings 25:8,9 and Jeremiah 52:12-13.
Jeremiah was quick to obey God and to reveal to the children of Israel in Judah their sins, and as God had warned him he was hated with much hostility both in his hometown of Anathoth and in Jerusalem (Jeremiah 11:18-23). It even indicates that his own family "dealt treacherously" with him (Jeremiah 12:6), but this was a calm before the storm for Jeremiah who was known as the weeping prophet. Because of his fearless prophesying during the reigns of the next four kings of Judah, and the fact that he predicted the destruction of Jerusalem because of the people's sins he was hated all the more. He went into hiding because of the wrath of Jehoiakim who had cut up his book of prophecies and burned them. Judah finally went into a first wave of captivity by the Babylonians under Jehoiachin, and they placed Zedekiah in his stead as a puppet king. Eventually Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon but was warned by Jeremiah not to do so (Jeremiah 27:12). Finally the inevitable happened, on the terrifying day of Av 9 in the Jewish calendar Nebuchadnezzar's forces destroyedthe Temple of Solomon and the city of Jerusalem making true all of Jeremiah's prophecies about the Babylonian invasion.
Jeremiah stayed in Jerusalem but finally was forced to go to Egypt and his companion and secretary, Baruch came with him. They are in Egypt, in the city of Tahpanhes we have the last mention of Jeremiah's life, and after this there is no information and nothing is certain. His book was completed and he lived a very long life. According to Christian tradition the Jews at Tahpanhes, hating him for his prophecies stoned him to death. There is also a Jewish tradition that when Nebuchadnezzar had conquered Egypt, Jeremiah and Baruch had escaped to the land of Judea where they were allowed to die in peace.
The book of Jeremiah is recognized as his own writings and a complete book just like the book of Isaiah. In Jeremiah 36:1-2, 4, 8, 32 it is written that Jeremiah collected his own writings and prophecies, some speculate that he put the book together with Baruch in the land of Egypt but there is no way to know for certain.
Jeremiah's prophecies consisted of these primary messages:
1 ) The impending destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon;
Outline of the Book of Jeremiah
The prophecies contained in the book are not in chronological order, a factor which makes logical analysis somewhat difficult; however, the following general divisions of the material is outlined here:
1) The call of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1).
The Story of the Bible
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