The Book of Jeremiah

Jeremiah

The book of Jeremiah was written by Jeremiah, where he writes about God’s judgement for unrepentant Judah. The date writing was 585-580 B.C.

Background

Jeremiah’s ministry was towards the southern kingdom of Judah during the last 40 years of its history (626-586 B.C.). In his life he witnessed the Babylonian invasions of Judah leading to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.

Jeremiah, was a priest and was born/raised in the priestly village of Anathoth, during the reign of King Manasseh. Jeremiah started his prophetic ministry during the 13th year of the reign of good King Josiah, who he supported in his reform movement. Shortly, he saw that it was not resulting in genuine change of heart among the people. Jeremiah warned that unless there was true national repentance, judgment and destruction would come.

In 612 B.C., Assyria was conquered by a Babylonian coalition. About four years after King Josiah’s death, Egypt was defeated by Babylon at the battle of Carchemish. During the same year, Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian army invaded the Holy Land, captured Jerusalemand deported some of Jerusalem’s brightest youth, one of those being Daniel. A second campaign against Jerusalem took place in 597 B.C., with 10,000 captives being taken to Babylon, among whom was Ezekiel. During this time Jeremiah’s prophetic warnings were not taken seriously. Finally, devastation came to Jerusalem, the temple and the entire kingdom of Judah in 586 B.C.

The book of Jeremiah, reveals that Jeremiah, (often called the weeping prophet) was a man with a harsh message but a sensitive and broken heart. His spirit made his suffering more intense as his family and friends, and the people of Judah as a whole, rejected God’s word. Though lonely and rejected all his life, Jeremiah was one of the boldest and bravest of all the prophets. In spite of great opposition, he faithfully carried out his prophetic call to warn his fellow citizens that God’s judgement was at hand.

The book’s author is clearly stated in Jeremiah 1:1 that it is Jeremiah. After 20 years of prophesying to Judah, Jeremiah was instructed by God to put his messages in written form, which he did so by dictating his prophecies to his secretary, Baruch (36:1-4). Jeremiah was banned from appearing before the king, Jeremiah sent Baruch to read the prophecies in the temple, after which Jehudi read them to King Jehoiakim. The king demonstrated his contempt for Jeremiah and the Lord’s word by cutting the scroll in pieces and throwing it into the fire (36:22-23). Jeremiah again dictated his prophecies to Baruch, this time including even more than were in the first scroll.

About the Book of Jeremiah

The purpose of the book of Jeremiah being written was 1) to provide an enduring record of Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry and message, and 2) to reveal God’s inevitable and inescapable judgment when His people broke the covenant and persisted in rebellion against God and His word, and then 3) to demonstrate the authenticity and authority of the prophetic word.

This book is essentially a collection of prophecies by Jeremiah, addressed primarily to Judah, but also to nine foreign nations, which focus primarily on judgment, though there are some that concern restoration. These prophecies are not arranged chronologically or thematically.

There are seven major features characterizing the book of Jeremiah:

  • It is the second longest book in the Bible, and has more words than any other book except Psalms.
  • The personal struggles and persecution of Jeremiah as a prophet are revealed in greater depth and detail than those of any other Old Testament prophet.
  • It is full of sadness and heartache over Judah’s rebellion.
  • Backsliding is used 12 times and is a common theme of God’s inescapable judgment for rebellion and apostasy.
  • Its greatest single theological revelation is the concept of the “new covenant”, which God would establish with His faithful people at a future time of restoration.
  • It’s very poetic
  • There are more references to the nation of Babylon in Jeremiah’s prophecies (160) than in the remainder of the Bible.

Many of Jeremiah’s prophecies were fulfilled in his own lifetime: 16:9, 20:4, 25:1-14, 27:19-22, 28:15-17, 31:10-13, 34:1-5. Here are some of his other prophecies involving the far-distant future were fulfilled later or are yet to be fulfilled: 23:5-6, 30:8-9, 31:31-34, 33:14-16.

I’m excited to get into the book of Jeremiah and really start studying it.

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