Summary of the Book of Jeremiah
The book of Jeremiah is Prophetic Oracle and Narrative History, although not completely in chronological order. The prophet Jeremiah wrote it sometime during his ministry about 626-586 B.C. Key personalities are the many kings Judah, Baruch, Ebdemelech, King Nebuchadnezzar, and the Rechabites.
Its purpose was to warn of the destruction that they were about to face and to urge Judah to return and submit to God. Jeremiah was a priest who God calls to be His prophet. Jeremiah identifies their sins and treachery, as he wants them to realize the serious condition of their sinful ways. He then gives prophecies of the coming king and the New Covenant that would be made.
“In chapters 1-10, God calls Jeremiah and proclaims,
…I have put My words in thy mouth” (1:9).
Jeremiah condemns Judah for their sins and attacks their faithlessness, obviously angry over their blatant sin.
Chapters 11-28, Jeremiah warned of the destruction that would be poured out on Judah. He writes about God’s hard dispense of holy anger. At one point God says,
…I will pluck them out of their land….(12:14).
A lot of the wickedness that angered God was the constant worship of false idols and gods, and the sacrifices they were burning to them.
From chapters 29-38, Jeremiah writes about the New Covenant and the hope that God would bring when He delivers them after the captivity. King Zedekiah who did not heed his warning throws Jeremiah into prison and then into a cistern. Nevertheless, Jeremiah warned that the King would fall into the hands of the King of Babylon.
Chapters 39-52, Jeremiah records the events of the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. As many prophets had announced in the past, the Empire of Babylon indeed laid siege to Jerusalem and the land of Judah.
This completes the exile of both kingdoms, the Northern Kingdom in 722 B.C. and now the Southern Kingdom in 586 B.C. As Jeremiah had declared in 37:17, King Zedekiah was captured and his son murdered in his presence, he was blinded, bound and dragged off to Babylon in captivity.
In chapter 50, God says,
…Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: is a scattered flock, the lions have driven them away. First the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.
Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will punish the king of Assyria (50:17-18).
The capital of Assyria was destroyed so severely it was not discovered until the 19th century A.D.
Jeremiah lived about 2600 years ago. He was the son of Hilkiah and lived in the town of
Anathoth in the land of Benjamin in Judah. His ministry began during the reign of Josiah, and continued through the reigns of Jehoiakin, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah.
Jeremiah, according to the Bible book that bears his name, preached from about 628 BC to 586 BC in Jerusalem. During that time, the Babylonian Empire had taken control of Jerusalem. The Babylonians took Jews as captives to Babylon as early as 605 BC and 597 BC. Babylon destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
Jeremiah lived through the invasions by the Babylonian armies, the deportations of his people, the slaughter of Jews living in Jerusalem, and the destruction of the Temple.
Jeremiah warned the people of Jerusalem that they would be punished harshly for their sins. He pleaded with the people to turn away from sin and to turn back to God, but to little avail. In return, Jeremiah was targeted with scorn and persecution.
When the people of Jerusalem were being deported, Jeremiah was given a choice of either staying in Judah or going to Babylon. He chose to stay in Judah, but was compelled later to flee to Egypt after a group of fanatics killed the Babylonian who had been appointed governor of Judah. It is believed that Jeremiah died in Egypt.
Jeremiah prophesized that the Jews would be scattered from their homeland and persecuted. He also said that God would protect the Jews from total destruction and that they would one day return to their homeland and that the “second” Israel would be more impressive than the first.
Today, we can see with our own eyes that the Jews have indeed survived worldwide dispersion and that they have re-established Israel (in 1948), after 19 centuries of exile and persecutions throughout the world.
The book of Jeremiah is the second of the four Major Prophets. The four Major Prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel.