Complete Study Of The Book Of Jeremiah


His Surroundings And Ancestry

We know from the first verse of chapter 1 that Jeremiah was the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin.

‘The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin.’

Anathoth was about 5 miles from Jerusalem, 1 Chronicles 6:60. Jeremiah had many enemies, from all classes of society: kings, idolatrous priests, and false prophets. The priests and prophets at that time were only out for gain.

His friends were few and far between, although he was friendly with a powerful group, influential in Josiah’s day, Gedaliah son of Ahikam being mentioned by name, Jeremiah 40:6 / Jeremiah 41:16 / Jeremiah 43:6.

Jeremiah is like Hosea the prophet. He had some conflicting emotions and He had an intense love for his country and deep convictions of sin. He didn’t have Hosea’s unwavering faith in God. Jeremiah often doubted and struggled. His weaknesses were only overcome by the power of God.

There were times when he Isolated himself from others, mainly because of messages of doom and hopelessness. And partly because he just wanted to be alone. He loved nature. He lacked self-confidence. This made it difficult for him to deal with people. He was prone to bursts of anger.

Of all the prophets he was the frailest and most human. His call came in his youth. He was about 20 years old. This was one of the main reasons why he thought himself insufficient for the task. His ministry lasted about 40 years. And we know how successful he was.

Date and Author

We cannot date the book accurately. It covers far too much ground in terms of years. And there is also some question as to authorship. Jeremiah had a scribe called Baruch and some credit the authorship to him, Jeremiah 36:32. Jewish tradition, however, has it that the author was Jeremiah himself. They also credit him as being responsible for writing 1 and 2 Kings.

The message of the Book

It’s a two-fold message:
1. A message of doom and destruction.

2. A message of hope.

Background Thoughts

1. Historical.

Nabopolassar is the king of Babylon. In 625 B.C. he declared Babylon independent, which led to war with Assyria. There was a revolt against Judah at that time. Nineveh fell in 612 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabopolassar. The war between Babylon and Egypt followed. Pharaoh Neco was the only rival left to Babylon at that time for world supremacy. So, Babylon was interested in demolishing them. With the fall of some of the areas of Assyria, Neco marched northwards to regain them. They should have met at Carchemish, but Josiah meets him halfway. 2 Chronicles 35 / 2 Kings 24 / Jeremiah 46.

The fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign is very significant. Nebuchadnezzar has become king. God has selected this man, not only to execute judgment on Judah but also on Assyria. Jeremiah tells of this in chapter 25. All of these prophesies were written on a scroll and read by Baruch. But they didn’t want to hear these unutterable things.

Judah came under Babylonian control in 606/605 B.C. This was when the first of the captives went into exile. The third deportation was about 586 B.C. No one would return until about 536 B.C. Some date the captivity from 586 to 536 and say that this is 50 years, Jeremiah must therefore have been wrong when he said 70 years. But the first captivity was in 6O6 B.C. which makes 70 years, give or take a day.

2. Biblical.

Read 2 Kings 20-25 and 2 Chronicles 34-36. Josiah began his reign when he was only 8 years old. And he reigns for about 31 years, from 640 B.C. In the 13th year of his reign, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, Jeremiah 1:2.

Josiah was a good king. The High Priest at the time was Hilkiah, it isn’t believed that this Hilkiah was the father of Jeremiah, although he too was a priest. Jeremiah 1:1. Hilkiah, the high priest, finds the book of the Law, the Law of Moses. The book is read to the people.

There was an immediate concern amongst the people. There was also an immediate investigation and inquiry of God. And there were also immediate warnings and immediate promises of peace. Josiah’s heart was tender. He humbled himself before the Lord. Because of what Josiah did, God said that he would go to his grave in peace and net see the evil that was to come upon the land.

Reformation in Josiah’s time

The covenant was made with God, from the Law of Moses. All of the people were to keep his commandments.

a. Commandments.

The Hebrew word simply meant all of God’s commandments, 46 times it is used. It usually refers to one or all the Ten Commandments. It, therefore, relates to both Man and God.

b. Testimonies.

This word occurs about 34 times. In a sense, it is a witness. Generally, laws between man and man, are close to our civil/criminal laws where witnesses are required. This, of course, relates more to man.

c. Statutes.

Things that aren’t wrong in themselves. Things one has to do because God has said so. They deal more with the functions of priests. They would relate more to God.

All of these things they were to keep in their hearts, with devotion.

The correction of the Covenant:
a. Religious reforms.
b. Moral reforms.
c. Home reforms. (Their house gods).
d. Civil reforms.

Some of the things they got involved with:

       Religion                         God that was made
Sidonians                                Ashterith
Moabites                                  Chemish
Ammonites                                 Milcum
Bethel/Samaria             Golden calves of Jeroboam

The Passover was to be kept. Some 33,000 bulls and 2,600 small cattle were sacrificed during the Passover. It’s said that a total of 41,400 beasts were killed during Passover. Josiah turned to the Lord with all of his heart, soul and mind. He diligently sought after God. But it didn’t last long. Therefore, there was going to be retribution upon the rebellious. Josiah lost his life because he didn’t listen to God. This is one of the things Jeremiah laments about in chapter 35.

Pharaoh Neco didn’t want to fight Josiah. He was journeying from Egypt to Carchemish to join the Assyrians in their battle against the Babylonians. Neco told Josiah, 2 Chronicles 35:21.

Josiah didn’t heed the warning. They met on the plain of Megiddo and Josiah loses the battle. He later dies of the wounds he received in battle.

Other Kings

a. Jehoahaz, also called Shallum.

He was Josiah’s younger son. And he was only 23 years old when he began to reign. Jehoahaz was only king for three months. His was a short but evil reign. He was taken into Egypt and, we believe, died there. This was the work of Neco who, on his way back from Carchemish, hammered Judah, took Jehoahaz, and replaced him with Jehoiakim, as king. Jehoiakim was 25 years old, 2 Kings 23:31-35.

b. Jehoiakim.
He reigned for 11 years, 2 Kings 23:36-34:7. He was also evil. Nebuchadnezzar invaded the land and Jehoiakim came subject to him. But after 3 years he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, who took him into exile. Jeremiah 22:18ff tells us that he never arrived in Babylon. He was killed.

c. Jehoiachin, also called Jeconiah.
He reigned for three months. He was also evil He was taken into captivity, Babylon.

d. Zedekiah.
He was 21 years old and reigned for 11 years. He was also evi1. 2 Kings 24:18ff. He rebelled against Babylon. He was seen working against Nebuchadnezzar and also against Jeremiah and God, 2 Chronicles 36:12ff. Egypt incited him to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar. He didn’t have a chance. His rebellion introduces us to the end of Judah.

Suffering and hunger set in, Jeremiah 25, His sons were killed before his very eyes. Then he was blinded and taken into captivity Gedaliah is appointed governor and set up to rule after Jerusalem had been destroyed. But he was seen as a traitor and was an executioner, Jeremiah 40:1-6.

The Five-Point Outline

1. His call and prophecies under Josiah to Jehoiakim. Jeremiah 1-20

2. Prophecies under Jehoiakim to Zedekiah. Jeremiah 21-39

3. Prophecies after the Fall of Jerusalem. Jeremiah 40-45

4. Prophecies concerning other nations. Jeremiah 46-51

5. Historical information. Jeremiah 52

Kings whom Jeremiah served from 627-586 B.C.

         Kings of Judah                   Years of Reign                  Span of Time
Josiah                             640-609 B.C.                        31 years
Jehoahaz (Shallum, Joahaz)       609 B.C.                           3 months
Jehoiakim                       609-598(?) B.C.                     11 years
Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, Coniah)     598(?) B.C.                       3 months
Zedekiah                           597-586 B.C.                        11 years

Over a span of 40 years, Jeremiah served under five kings:

Josiah. 1 Chronicles 3:14-17 / 2 Kings 21:23-22:2
Jehoahaz, Shallum. 2 Kings 23:30-37 / Jeremiah 22:11
Jehoiakim. 2 Chronicles 36:5-9
Jehoiachin, Jeconiah or Coniah. 2 Kings 24:5-12 / Jeremiah 22:24-30
Zedekiah. 2 Kings 24:17-20 / 2 Chronicles 36:10-13

Of the five kings, only Josiah properly served God and the people. 2 Kings 22:1-23:8 / 2 Chronicles 34:35.

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Complete Study Of The Book Of Jeremiah