Return to Main Page
- Jeremiah was a prophet of God for almost 50 years and yet he was chosen as
a prophet by God long before that ! How can one be appointed a prophet before
his birth? Check it out!
- "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I
set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations". God speaking
to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5)
- "But the Lord said to me, "Do not say I am a youth, because
everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall
speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you,"
declares the Lord. Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth,
and the Lord said to me, "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See,
I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck
up and break down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant." (Jer
- "Now, behold, I have made you today as a fortified city, and as a
pillar of iron and as walls of bronze against the whole land, to the kings of
Judah, to its princes, to its priests, and to the people of the land, and they
will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to
deliver you," declares the Lord (Jer 1:18-19)
- Time period: 627 bc - 580 bc (48 yrs)
- Prior to this time period, the divided kingdom period existed; The Northern
kingdom, known as Israel, consisted of 10 tribes; The Southern kingdom, known
as Judah, consisted of 2 tribes.
- In 722 bc (100 yrs before Jeremiah), the Northern kingdom was destroyed and
carried off to Assyria. (Throughout the book of Jeremiah, he proclaims did you
not remember what the Lord did to your brothers in Israel?)
- In 612 bc, Nineveh, the capital of Assyria was captured by the Babylonians.
- In 605 bc, Egypt was defeated by Babylon
- Therefore, Jeremiah was a prophet to the remaining kingdom, the Southern
kingdom (Judah). Interestingly, Jeremiah prophesied during their last years
and was present for their destruction and captivity by Babylon in 586 bc
- Jeremiah, a prophet for 50 years, served under the following kings of
||640 - 609 bc (31 years- Jeremiah came in the 13th yr of his reign)
- Came to the throne at 8 yrs old, ruling for 31 yrs
- One of the most Godly kings in all of Judah despite inheriting a throne
where corruption was its worst ever in the 400 year history of Judah.
- Reinstated God's law as Judah's way of life and worshipped the Lord in the
- 2 Ki 23:25 - "Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like
him who turned to the Lord as he did with all his heart and with all his soul
and with all his strength, in accordance with the Law of Moses."
||609 bc (3 months)
- Son of Josiah who reigned only 3 months
- He chose evil !
- Pharoah of Egypt took Jehoahaz captive and Jehoahaz died in captivity
- During this time, Babylon becomes a world power
||609 - 597 bc (11 years)
- Put on the throne by Egypt, while his brother Jehoahaz was in prison in
- First, Jehoiakim was a puppet king under Egypt and then under
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon
- Burned the scroll of God's word dictated by Jeremiah.
- He revolted against Nebuchadnezzar and was carried off and died in
||597 bc (3 months)
- Grandson of Josiah
- He was a political prisoner in Babylon for 37 yrs.
- He was then treated kindly, treated as royalty and dining with the king.
||597 - 586 bc (11 years)
- Son of Josiah, the third son to reign.
- For 2 yrs, Babylon laid seige outside the city to cause a famine
- Main portion of people had been carried off to Babylon
- Jeremiah pleaded with Zedekiah to submit to Babylon and be carried off into
- Zedekiah imprisons Jeremiah
- Zedekiah follows the advice of Egypt and rebels against Babylon
- Jeremiah prophesies 70 yrs of exile
- Zedekiah's sons were slain before his eyes and his own eyes were put out
and he was carried in chains to Babylon.
- The end of the 510 yr Jewish kingdom begun under Saul and, at its apex,
under King David.
THE SUFFERING (some
information provided by Rich Vincent, Singles minister, College Park Baptist
Church, Indianapolis, IN):
- God clearly stated that Jeremiah's ministry would be very difficult and
full of suffering:
- "Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you.
Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them... They will
fight against you but but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will
rescue you" declares the Lord. ( Jer 1:17-18)
- For almost 50 years, Jeremiah preached a very unpopular message of
repentance to the people of Judah. For this same time period, there was no
measurable change in their lives. (Can you imagine dedicating your whole life
to a cause and having it fall on deaf ears ?)
- In addition, he was shunned, rejected, imprisoned beaten and persecuted -
FOR 50 YEARS !!!!. He had few, if any, friends, no sympathizers to his
cause, never married or have children because God instructed him not to (Jer
16:2) and lived a life marked by constant sadness. Consider 9:1 - "Oh,
that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep
day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people."
- Jeremiah's outer troubles:
- The people will not listen or answer Jeremiah (7:25, 17:23)
- False prophets preached good news to the people (14:14, 23:16-17,21, 30-34)
- People devised plans to bring him down (18:18, 22)
- People wanted to kill him (11:19, 21-23, 18:23, 38:4 )
- His own relatives betrayed him (12:6)
- Not allowed to go to a house of feasting with anyone (16:8)
- He was beaten and put in stocks by a temple overseer (20:2)
- He experienced social rejection, mockings and public ridicule - "a
laughingstock all day long" (20:7)
- Everytime he spoke, he cried aloud (20:8)
- All his trusted friends are watching for his fall and ready to take revenge
- The word of the Lord resulted in reproach and derision all day long (20:8)
- He was seized by the priests, prophets and all the people in order to put
him to death (26:8-15)
- He was shutup in the king's prison (32:1-5)
- He was forbidden to go into the temple (36:5)
- He was accused of treason, beaten, placed in a dungeon cell for many days
- He was committed to the court of the guardhouse until the day Jerusalem was
captured (37:21, 38:28)
- He was imprisoned in a muddy cistern, where he was let down with ropes and
he sank in the mud and left starving for dead (38:6-10)
- He was held under arrest in the courtyard of the guard until Jerusalem was
- Taken in chains as an exile into Babylon
- Taken with the remnant to Egypt, against God's commands
- Tradition states Jeremiah was stoned to death in Egypt
- Jeremiah's inner struggles:
- 4:19 - 21 - Read Jeremiah's words: "Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I
writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot
keep silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; I have heard the battle
cry. Disaster follows disaster; the whole land lies in ruins. In an instant my
tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment. How long must I see the battle
standard and hear the sound of the trumpet? "
- 7:30 - 8:1 - Jeremiah is told about the future of Judah - - named the
"Valley of Slaughter": " 'The people of Judah have done
evil in my eyes, declares the LORD . They have set up their detestable idols in
the house that bears my Name and have defiled it. They have built the high
places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters
in the fire-something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind. So beware,
the days are coming, declares the LORD , when people will no longer call it
Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter, for they will
bury the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. Then the carcasses of
this people will become food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the
earth, and there will be no one to frighten them away. I will bring an end to
the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in the
towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, for the land will become desolate.
'At that time, declares the LORD , the bones of the kings and officials of
Judah, the bones of the priests and prophets, and the bones of the people of
Jerusalem will be removed from their graves."
- 8:18-22 - "O my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me.
Listen to the cry of my people from a land far away: "Is the LORD not in
Zion? Is her King no longer there?" "Why have they provoked me to
anger with their images, with their worthless foreign idols?" "The
harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved." Since my
people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. Is there no
balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for
the wound of my people?"
- 9:1-6 - "Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a
fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people. Oh,
that I had in the desert a lodging place for travelers, so that I might leave
my people and go away from them; for they are all adulterers, a crowd of
unfaithful people. "They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot
lies; it is not by truth that they triumph in the land. They go from one sin to
another; they do not acknowledge me," declares the LORD . "Beware of
your friends; do not trust your brothers. For every brother is a deceiver, and
every friend a slanderer. Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth.
They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning. You
live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge
me," declares the LORD ."
- 10:19-25 - "Woe to me because of my injury! My wound is incurable! Yet
I said to myself, "This is my sickness, and I must endure it." My
tent is destroyed; all its ropes are snapped. My sons are gone from me and are
no more; no one is left now to pitch my tent or to set up my shelter. The
shepherds are senseless and do not inquire of the LORD ; so they do not prosper
and all their flock is scattered. Listen! The report is coming- a great
commotion from the land of the north! It will make the towns of Judah desolate,
a haunt of jackals. Jeremiah's Prayer I know, O LORD , that a man's
life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. Correct me, LORD ,
but only with justice- not in your anger, lest you reduce me to nothing. Pour
out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you, on the peoples who
do not call on your name. For they have devoured Jacob; they have devoured him
completely and destroyed his homeland."
- 11:14, 14:11-12 - The Lord commanded Jeremiah not to even pray for his
people, not to cry for them, for He vowed not to listen to their prayers.
- 14:7 - "Although our sins testify against us, O LORD , do something
for the sake of your name. For our backsliding is great; we have sinned against
- 14:19-22 - "Have you rejected Judah completely? Do you despise Zion?
Why have you afflicted us so that we cannot be healed? We hoped for peace but
no good has come, for a time of healing but there is only terror. O LORD , we
acknowledge our wickedness and the guilt of our fathers; we have indeed sinned
against you. For the sake of your name do not despise us; do not dishonor your
glorious throne. Remember your covenant with us and do not break it. Do any of
the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send
down showers? No, it is you, O LORD our God. Therefore our hope is in you, for
you are the one who does all this. "
- 15:1-4 - Jeremiah knew what was going to happen to these people - the 4
dooms of the Lord - the sword to slay, the dogs to drag off, the birds of the
sky and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy.
- 15:10-11 - "Alas, my mother, that you gave me birth, a man with whom
the whole land strives and contends! I have neither lent nor borrowed, yet
everyone curses me. The LORD said, "Surely I will deliver you for a good
purpose; surely I will make your enemies plead with you in times of disaster
and times of distress. "
- 15:15-18 - "You understand, O LORD ; remember me and care for me.
Avenge me on my persecutors. You are long-suffering-do not take me away; think
of how I suffer reproach for your sake. When your words came, I ate them; they
were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty.
I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them; I sat alone
because your hand was on me and you had filled me with indignation. Why is my
pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? Will you be to me like a
deceptive brook, like a spring that fails?"
- 19:9 - Jeremiah knew what was going to happen to these people -"And I
shall make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters,
and they will eat one another's flesh in the siege..."
- 20:9 - If I speak I am terribly persecuted - If I don't it's as if my heart
is a burning fire shut up in my bones - I cannot hold it in and endure it.
- 20:14, 18 - Cursed the day of his birth wishing his mother was his grave
- 20:18 - His birth resulted in seeing only trouble and sorrow and believed
all his days were spent in shame
- Jeremiah stayed faithful to his calling despite seeing the deterioration of
the nation leading to their destruction and captivity.
- Here's how the people caused their deterioration:
- Idolatry (Jer 2:13,19,27-28,10:3-11; 13:10, 16:18, 20, 22:8-9)
- They made sacrifices to other gods
- They set up idols inside the temple(7:30, 32:34)
- They sacrificed their own children ! (7:31; 19:4-5; 32:35)
- They served an abundance of gods, breaking the covenant with the one true
- They and their forefathers had evil hearts (16:11-12)
- In the final stages, God is seen as an adversary and the idols are
considered their friends and saviors (44:16-19)
- The people loved the false prophets which God found "appalling",
"horrible" and "shocking" (5:30-31; 6:14; 8:8-12; 14:14-16;
- Judah is compared to a wild donkey in heat that lustfully pursues any lover
available (2:20, 24-25)
- Judah is compared to an unfaithful wife (3:20)
- Judah is compared to well fed lusty horses (5:7-9)
- Judah is compared to a shameless prostitute (3:1, 6-8, 13:27)
- Jeremiah witnessed all this and pleaded and wept for the people. He was
known as the weeping prophet; when he cried it was always to God in prayer, for
no one else would listen and yet God never turned a deaf ear.
- God, therefore, divorces Judah as he divorced Israel (3:1,8) and abandons
her to her lovers (12:7-8)
- God breaks this covenant requiring a new covenant fulfilled thru Jesus
- Jeremiah prophesied the destruction of Judah for almost 50 yrs. and when it
finally happens, he breaks down and weeps.
THE RESPONSE (some
information provided by Rich Vincent, Singles minister, College Park Baptist
Church, Indianapolis, IN):
- Jeremiah was sustained by the Lord's frequent reaffirmations of his
commission as a prophet (Jer 7:2, 27-28, 11:2, 6; 13:12-13, 17:19-20)
- Jeremiah had undying confidence in God and His promises (15:20, 20:12,
- Jeremiah had tremendous knowledge of God (9:23-24, 22:15-16)
- Jeremiah's situation forced him to personally find solace and strength in
the Lord alone !
- Jeremiah's viewed the Lord as:
- Creator of all things (10:12-16; 51:15-19)
- Omnipotent (32:27; 48:15; 51:57)
- Omnipresent (23:24)
- Sovereign Deliverer (20:11, 32:17-25)
- Lord of the Nations (5:15; 18:7-10; 25:17-28; 46-51)
- Jeremiah has been rightly called the most Christlike of ALL the
- Some Hebrew scholars feel that Isaiah 53 is about Jeremiah and not Christ !
- When Jesus asked the disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man
is"? They replied, some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still
others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. (Mt 16:13-14)
Return to Main Page