A Bible Study
His name is Jeremiah, a common name among the people. Some think the name means 'God throws down.' This would be in keeping with his task and message. Jeremiah was one of the priests that lived at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, a village about 2 ½ to 3 miles northeast of Jerusalem. It is one of the 12 cities set aside for the priests in the land of Judah, Simeon and Benjamin (Joshua 21:13-19; 1 Chronicles 6:57 60).
Jeremiah was young, usually considered
to be about 20, when the Lord called him to be a prophet (chapter 1:6). He was
called to be a prophet in 628-627 BC. (chapters 2, 3) He continued to
serve as a prophet until after the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC. After the
destruction of Jerusalem the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, left Jeremiah in
Jerusalem with Gedaliah, the governor of the remaining people. When the people
rebelled and killed Gedaliah, they fled to Egypt and took Jeremiah with them.
Tradition relates that in Egypt they stoned Jeremiah. (Another tradition states
they sawed him in two.) Jeremiah in his life suffered much hatred and
persecution, but he remained obedient.
Jeremiah is of great inspiration to us
today. Despite all the hatred and trying experiences that be had, even though
Jeremiah by nature was mild, sensitive, and retiring, he remained faithful to
his unpleasant task and is an example of an obedient prophet. He found his
comfort and strength in the promise the Lord gave him in his call "Be not
afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you." chapter 1: "They
will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you
and deliver you, says the Lord." chapter 1:19
God's Final Effort to Save Jerusalem. Jeremiah lived about a hundred years after Isaiah. Isaiah had saved Jerusalem from Assyria Jeremiah tried to save it from Babylon but alas failed
Jeremiah was called to the prophetic
office (626 BC) Jerusalem was partly destroyed in 606 BC and further devastated
in 597 BC and finally burned and desolated in 586 BC.
Jeremiah live through these terrible
forty years, "the close of the monarchy'', "the death agony of the
nation" could be titles to his prophetic book. Jeremiah was a pathetic,
lonely figure, God's last measure to the Holy city which had become hopelessly
and fanatically attached to idols. Jeremiah’s main theme through his prophecy
was a carelessly crying that if they would repent God would save them from
Babylon...in the final analysis his pleadings fell on deaf ears only to be
remembered by another generation.
2 Kings 22 - 25 and 2 Chronicles 34
- 36 bring to us the background for the times in which Jeremiah served.
Judah and Jerusalem had forfeited their day of grace by shameful sinning and
contempt of God's Word and were hastening to their doom. 0f the five kings under
whom Jeremiah prophesied, only the first one, Josiah, was a pious ruler. After
his death in 609 BC in a battle with Pharaoh Necho of Egypt at Megiddo, his
successors were all very wicked. They were: Jehoahaz (Shallum), who ruled 3
months; Jehoiakim, who ruled 11 years; Jehoiachin, who ruled 3 months; and
Zedekiah, who ruled 11 years. Under their reign the people went back into gross
paganism and immoral practices. (1:16; 7:18; 19:5; 32:35). Covetousness, murder,
adultery, stealing, false swearing were rampant. (~: 34, 5: 27-29). The
moral corruption tainted even prophet and priest. (6:13; 8:10; 23:11-15). Year
after year Jeremiah came to the people with , messages from the Lord, but they
would not hearken and obey. (4:14; 5:15-17; 18:8; 25:3; 35:15). The people
preferred to listen to the false prophets' who were predicting peace and
prosperity, (23:27, 29). The Babylonian Captivity began in 606 BC, but did not
have any influence on the people who remained in Judah.
As Assyria had been the background of
Isaiah's ministry, so Babylon was the background of Jeremiah's ministry.
The Internal Situation
The Northern Kingdom had fallen and
much of Judah. They had suffered reverse after reverse until Jerusalem alone was
left. Still they ignored the continued warnings of the prophets and grew harder
and harder in their idolatry and wickedness. The hour of doom was about to
The International Situation
A three cornered contest for world
supremacy was on... Assyria, Babylon and Egypt. For 300 years Assyria, the North
Euphrates valley, Nineveh its capital, had ruled the world; but now was growing
Babylon, in the South Euphrates valley,
was becoming powerful.
Egypt, in the Nile valley, which 1,000
years before had been a world power, and had declined, was again becoming
Babylon won, about the middle of
Jeremiah's ministry. It broke the power of Assyria (607 BC) and two years later
crushed Egypt, in the battle of Alchemist (605 BC) and for 70 years ruled the
world. This 70 year period was the same 70 years as the Jew's captivity.
As Jeremiah speaks the Lord's
condemnation on the people for their sins against the Lord, and declares that
Babylon will conquer and destroy Jerusalem and take the people into captivity,
the prophet carries out the direction of the Lord (chapter 1:10): "See, I
have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break
down, to destroy and to overthrow." Yet as the prophet speaks to the
remnant' the few who remained true to the Lord God, he speaks words of divine
grace and deliverance, in keeping with his task, chapter 1: 10, "to build
and to plant."
From the outset, twenty years before
the issue was settled, Jeremiah unceasingly insisted that Babylon would be the
victor. All through his incessant and bitter complaints over Judah’s
wickedness these ideas are ever recurring:
Jeremiah unceasingly advised Jerusalem
to surrender to the king of Babylon, so much that his enemies accused him of
being a traitor. Nebuchadnezzar rewarded him for thus advising his people, not
only by sparing his life, but by offering him any honor that he would accept,
even a worthy place in the Babylonian court (39:12). Yet Jeremiah cried aloud,
over and over, that the kinky of Babylon was committing a heinous crime in
destroying the Lord's people and for that, Babylon, in time, would be desolated,
and lie forever so. (See chapters 50, 51)
the prophecies are not necessarily in time order, the book may be divided thus:
Call of Jeremiah. Chapter 1
Denunciation of Judah and calling Judah
to repentance. Chapter 2–35
Personal history of the Prophet during
and after siege of Jerusalem. He is taken to Egypt. Chapter 36–45
Prophecies regarding Babylon and other
eight surrounding nations. Chapter
Historical Conclusion. An account of
the capture of Jerusalem and the exile. Chapter 52
Contemporary Kings of Judah
Manasseh (697-642 BC)
Very wicked (see 2 Chronicles 33)
Jeremiah was born under his reign.
Amon (641-640 BC)
The long and wicked reign of his
father Manasseh had sealed the doom of Judah.
Josaih (639-608 BC)
A good king. A great reformer.
Jeremiah began his ministry in Josiah's 13th year. The
reformation was only outward. At heart the people still were idolaters.
Jehoahaz (608 BC)
Was carried to Egypt.
Jehoiakim (608-597 BC)
Openly for idols, boldly defiant
of God, a bitter enemy of Jeremiah.
Jehoiakin (597 BC)
Was carried to Babylon.
Zedekiah (589-586 BC)
Rather friendly to Jeremiah, but a
weak king, a tool in the hands of the wicked princes.
Chronology of Jeremiah's Times
Josiah began his reforms (2
Scythian Invasion (Jeremiah 4)
Book found. Josiah's Great
Reformation (2 Kings 22, 23)
Josiah slain at Megiddo, by Pharaoh
Nineveh destroyed by Babylon
Judah subdued by Babylon. 1st
Battle of Carchemish: Babylon crushed
Zedekiah's Visit to Babylon
Jerusalem Burned. Temporary End of
Jeremiah was leader in the brilliant
constellation of prophets clustered around the destruction of Jerusalem.
Ezekiel, a fellow priest, somewhat
younger than Jeremiah, preaching in Babylon, among the captives, the same things
that Jeremiah was preaching in Jerusalem.
Daniel, a man of royal blood, holding
the line in the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar.
Habakkuk and Zephaniah helping Jeremiah
Nahum, at same time, predicting the
Fall of Nineveh.
Obadiah, at same time, predicting the
Ruin of Edom.
Chronology of Jeremiah's Book
Some of Jeremiah's messages are dated.
Some are not. Time notices which are indicated are as follows:
In Josiah's reign:
In Jehoiakim's reign:
22:18; 25:1; 26:1; 35:1; 36:1; 45:1
In Zedekiah's reign:
21:1; 24:1,8; 27:3, 12: 28:1; 29:3;
32:1; 34:2; 37:1; 38:5; 39:1; 49:34; 51:59
43:7, 8; 44:1
The book is not arranged in
chronological order. Some late messages come early in the book, and some early
messages come late in the book. These messages were delivered orally, and
perhaps repeatedly, for years, possibly, before Jeremiah began to write them.
The writing of such a book was a long and laborious task. Writing parchment,
made of sheep or goat skins, was scarce and expensive. It was made into a long
roll, and wound around a stick. This may, in part, account for the lack of order
in Jeremiah’s book. After writing an incident or discourse, some other
utterance delivered previously would be suggested, and he would write it down in
some cases without dating it, thus filling up the parchment as he unrolled it.
The Call of Jeremiah
It was to a hard and thankless task. Like Moses, he was reluctant to accept the responsibility. It came when he was only a "child'' probably about 20. "Anathoth" (verse 1) his home, was about 2 ½ miles northeast of Jerusalem. It is now called "Anata." The "boiling caldron'' (verse 13) meant the Babylonian army. Opening utterance: Jerusalem will be destroyed by Babylon (verse 14)
In a pathetic and impassioned rebuke
for their shameless idolatry, Israel is likened to an espoused wife who has
forsaken her husband for promiscuous association with men, making of herself a
Judah Worse than Israel
In chapter 2 "Israel" means the whole nation. In this chapter it means the Northern Kingdom, which 300 years before had split off from Judah, and 100 years before had been carried away captive by the Assyrians. Judah, blind to the significance of Israel's fall, not only did not repent, but under the wicked reign of Mannasseh sunk to lower and lower depths of depravity. The reunion of Judah, and Israel in predicted (verses 17-19; also 50:4-5; Hosea 1:11) In verse 20 we find a metaphor of an adulterous wife.
Approaching Desolation of Judah
This chapter describes the advance of
the devastating Babylonian armies which destroyed Jerusalem in 606-605 BC.
It may also, in part, refer to the Scythian invasion, which shortly preceded
that of the Babylonians.
Universal Depravity of Judah
Not one righteous man (verse 1)
promiscuous sexual indulgence, even among the married, like animals (verses
7-8) scoffing at the prophet's warning (verse 12) wholly given to deceit,
oppression and robbery (verses 26-28) satisfied with rottenness in the
government (verses 30-31) For more on false prophets (verse 30) see
Destruction from the North
A vivid prophetic description of the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonian invaders (verses 22-26) which later came to pass in Jeremiah’s own lifetime. Over and over (verses 16-19) he warns, which pathetic insistence, that repentance would be their last possible chance to escape ruin.
Repentance their Only Hope
This is one of Jeremiah's
heart-rending appeals for repentance. Based on God's amazing promise that
if only the people would hearken to their God Jerusalem would never fall (verses
5-7) With all their abominable practices (9, 31) and even though they had
erected idols in the Temple (verse 30) yet they had a superstitious regard for
the Temple and its services, and seemed to think, that, come what may God would
not let Jerusalem be destroyed because His Temple was there (verses 4, 10)
"Queen of heaven" (verse 18) Ashtoreth, principal female Canaanite
deity, whose worship was accompanied with the most degrading forms of
immorality. "Hinnom'' (verses 31-32) the valley on the south side of
Jerusalem, where children were burnt in sacrifice to Molech, afterward came to
be used as the name of hell, "Gehenna"
"The Harvest is Past"
Fully conscious of the futility of his appeals and rebukes, Jeremiah speaks of the impending desolation of Judah as if it were already accomplished (verse 20) False prophets (verses 10-11) their insistence that Jerusalem was in no danger constituted one of Jeremiah's most difficult problems (see notes on chapter 23)
The Broken-Hearted Prophet
Jeremiah, a man of sorrows in the midst
of a people abandoned to everything vile (8:6; 9:2-9) weeping day and
night at the though of frightful impending retribution, moved about among them,
begging, pleading, persuading, threatening, entreating, imploring that they turn
from their wickedness. But all in vain.
Jehovah the True God
It seems that the threat of Babylonian
invasion spurred the people of Judah to great activity in the manufacture of
idols, as if idols could save them. This gave Jeremiah occasion to remind them
that what they were doing was further aggravation of their already appalling sin
The Broken Covenant
This chapter seems to belong to the
period of reaction, after Josiah's great reformation, as told in 2 Kings 23 when
the people had restored their idols. For Jeremiah's rebuke they had plotted his
Contrasting his own suffering with the
apparent prosperity of those against whom he was preaching, and who were
ridiculing his threats (verse 4) Jeremiah complains of the ways of God. Then the
promise of future restoration (verses 15-17)
The Marred Girdle
Jeremiah made considerable use of
symbols in his preaching (see for example 19:1) The girdle was probably richly
decorated, a conspicuous part of Jeremiah's dress, as he walked about the
streets of Jerusalem. Later, rotted, ragged and dirty, it served to attract
attention. As curious crowds gathered around the prophet it gave his occasion to
explain that even so Judah, with whom Jehovah had clothed Himself to walk among
men, once beautiful and glorious, would be marred and cast off.
Chapters 14, 15
A prolonged drought had stripped the
land of food. Jeremiah though hated, ridiculed and mocked, it made his heart
ache to see them suffer. His intercession to God is as near an approach to the
spirit of Christ as is to be found anywhere in the Old Testament. What is called
"Jeremiah's Grotto" one of the retreats to which he was said to have
retired to weep, was at tile foot of the knoll, on which 600 years later, the
cross of Jesus is believed to have stood.
Jeremiah Forbidden to Marry
The domestic life of the prophets, in some cases, was used to reinforce the burden of their preaching. Isaiah and Hosea were married, and named their children for their principal ideas. Jeremiah was commanded to remain single, as a sort of symbolic background to his persistent predictions of impending bloody slaughter: "What's the use of raising a family just to be butchered in the frightful carnage about to be loosed upon the inhabitants of Judah?” Again the promise of restoration is found in verses 14-15.
Judah’s Sin Indelible
Their downfall inevitable. Yet the promise-is flung out again and again that if only they would turn to God, Jerusalem would remain forever (verses 24-25).
Chapter 18 The
A very apt illustration of God’s
power to alter the destiny of a nation. Jeremiah used it as the basis for
another appeal to the wicked nation to amend its ways. But in vain.
The Earthen Bottle
It may have been a vase of exquisite
workmanship. Being broken in the presence of Jerusalem’s leaders was an
impressive way to re-announcing impending ruin for the city.
Some other symbols which Jeremiah used to gain attention to his preaching were: the Marred Girdle (chapter 13), Abstinence from Marriage (chapter 16), the Potter s Clay (chapter 18), Bonds and bars (chapter 27), Buying a Field (chapter 32).
Jeremiah went from his vase-breaking rendezvous with the leaders in the valley of Hinnom to the Temple and began to proclaim there the same message to the people. For this Pashhur, one of the chief officers of the Temple, put him in prison. "Stocks" (verse 2) consisted of a wooden frame in which feet, neck and hands were fastened so as to hold the body in a distorted and painful position. It drew from Jeremiah an outburst of remonstrance with God. (verses 7-18)
The Siege Begins
This chapter belongs to the last days
of Jeremiah’s life. King Zedekiah, frightened at the approach of the
Babylonian army, appeals to Jeremiah to intercede with God. Jeremiah advises
Zedekiah to yield the city to the Babylonians, in order to save the people from
Warning to King Jehoiakim
This chapter belongs to the reign of
Jehoiakim, a wicked and cruel king. "Shallum" (verse 11) was Jehoahaz,
who was carried to Egypt and died there (2 Kings 23:31-34) Jehoiakim's
miserable death (verses 18-19) is hinted in 2 Kings 24:6; 2 Chronicles
36:6; In verse 30 we see that Jehoiachin is childless. He had children, out of
whom came Christ, but he and his uncle Zedekiah were the last earthly kings to
sit on David's throne. It was the end of the temporal kingdom of Judah.
A bitter indictment of the leaders of
God's people. Jeremiah's stinging arraignment of Davidic kings supplies a
background for a pre-vision of the coming Davidic Messiah (23:5-8)
As for the false prophets: they were the greatest hindrance to the acceptance of
Jeremiah's preaching: in the name of God, delivering their own messages crying
out ''Jeremiah is lying. We are the prophets of God, and God has told us that
Jerusalem is safe!"
The Two Baskets of Figs
The good figs representing the best of
the people, who had been carried to Babylon in Jehoiachin's captivity (597 BC)
and earlier including Ezekiel and Daniel; the bad figs, those who had remained
in Jerusalem, minded, with Egypt's aid, to resist Babylon (2 Kings
Seventy Year's Captivity Predicted
This was in the early part of Jehoiakim's reign (verse l) about 604 BC. The remarkable thing is that the exact duration of Babylon's sway is foretold (verses 11-14; 29:10 2 Chronicles 36:21; Ezra 1:1; Daniel 9:2; Zechariah 7:5) An amazing prophecy. No possible way for Jeremiah to know that, except by direct revelation from God.
Jeremiah's Trial before the Princes
His accusers were the priests and false
prophets. But Jeremiah had friends among the princes, especially one Ahikam, who
saved him from death. However, one of Jeremiah's fellow prophets, named Uriah,
did not fare so well (verses 20-24)
Chapter 27, 28 Bonds and Bars
Jeremiah put a yoke, like that worn by
oxen, on his neck, and went about the city, saying, Thus shall Babylon put a
yoke on the necks of this people. On of the false prophets, Hananiah with brazen
impudence, broke the yoke (28:10) and, as a punishment died within two months
Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles
Written after Jehoiachin, and the best of the people, had been taken to Babylon, advising them to be peaceful and obedient captives, and promising return, after 70 years (verse 10) to their homeland. But even in Babylon the false prophets kept up their fight against Jeremiah (verses 21-32)
In Chapters 30 - 33 we have many
beautiful and glorious Gospel promises given to the believing people of God who
listened to the Word of the Lord in repentance and faith.
In reading and studying these four
chapters we are to remember the concepts of:
extended and wondrous use of vivid imagery,
fact that Zion, Jerusalem, Judah, Israel, Ephraim, Joseph, etc., refer again and
again to the true Israel, to the believing people of God, the Church, the
Communion of Saints,
concept of 'the day of the Lord' and 'days are coming', etc., refers to the days
of the Messiah and/or of His work before the birth of Christ.
The place of these four chapters in the
center of the Book of Jeremiah reminds us that we must always keep the message
of the Gospel at the center of our faith, of our preaching and teaching, and of
The frequency of the statement 'says
the Lord' and 'words that the Lord spake' assures us that the promises will come
Chapters 30, 31
A Song of Restoration
both Israel and Judah, with Messianic fore gleams, commanded of God to be
written (verse 2) so that it could be kept to compare with the events of after
New Covenant (31:31-34) The Old Testament is the story of God's dealings
with the Hebrew nation on the basis of the Covenant given at Mt. Sinai. Here is
a definite prediction that the Mosaic Covenant would be superceded by Another
Covenant. Displacement of the Mosaic Covenant by the Christian Covenant is the
main thesis of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Jeremiah Buys a Field
This was the year before Jerusalem fell. The burning of the city and desolation of Judah was almost at hand. Amid the gloom and despair of the hour Jeremiah was commanded of God to buy a field, in public ceremony, and put away the deed for safe keeping, to emphasize his prediction that the captives would return, and the land again would be cultivated.
Of the 20 Davidic kings who reigned over Judah during~ the 400 years between David and the Captivity, most of them were very bad. Only a few were worthy the name of David. In chapter 22 and 23 Jeremiah bitterly indicated this family line of kings to whom God had given the promise of an ETERNAL THRONE. Here, in chapter 33, he repeats with fuller explanation, the prophecy of ONE GREAT KING called "The Branch'' in whom the promise would be fulfilled.
Zedekiah's Proclamation of Liberty
During the siege, Zedekiah proclaimed freedom to all slaves, evidently to gain God’s favor; but failed to enforce it.
The Example of the Rechabites
were a tribe, descended from the time of Moses (1 Chronicles 2:55; Numbers
10:29-32; Judges 1:16; 2 Kings 10:15, 23) who through the centuries, had
adhered to their ascetic life.
The King Burns Jeremiah's Book
Jeremiah, at this time, had been prophesying for 23 years, from the 13th year of Josiah to the 4th year of Jehoiakim. He is now commanded to gather these prophecies into a book, so that they could be read to the people, for at the time, Jeremiah himself was not free to speak to the people (verse 5). It took a year or so to write the book (verses l, 9). The reading of the book make a profound impression on some of the princes, but the king brazenly and defiantly burned the book. Then Jeremiah wrote it all over again.
Chapter 37, 38
During the siege, when the Babylonians
had temporarily withdrawn, Jeremiah, probably because of the scarcity of food
in Jerusalem, attempted to leave the city to go to his home in Anthorth. This,
because of his persistent advice to yield to the king of Babylon, looked, to his
enemies, as if it might be an effort to join the Babylonians. Thus, on suspicion
that Jeremiah was a traitor, working in the interest of the Babylonians, he was
imprisoned. Zedekiah was friendly to Jeremiah, but he was a weak king.
This is told also in chapter 52, and in
2 Kings 25, where Nebuchadnezzar, knowing of Jeremiah’s life long admonition
to Jerusalem to submit to him, now offered to confer on Jeremiah any honor that
he would accept, even a worthy place in the Babylonian court (verses
11-14; 40:1-6) See also 2 Chronicles 36.
In Chapters 40-45, we have events and
prophecies after the fall of Jerusalem. The
section includes Jeremiah’s ministry among the remnant left in Judah, and his
ministry among the refugees in Egypt.
Chapter 40, 41
Gedaliah Made Governor
Gedaliah, whom Nebuchadnezzar appointed
governor over Judah, was son of Ahikam, Jeremiah's friend (40:5; 26:24). But
within three months he was assassinated (30:2; 41:1)
Chapter 42 ,43
Departure for Egypt
The remnant, fearing reprisal by
Nebuchadnezzar, for the slaying of Gedalith, fled to Egypt, though explicitly
warned of God that it would mean extinction. They took Jeremiah along.
Jeremiah's Final Appeal
This last effort to induce them to abandon their idolatry failed. They were defiant. The "queen of heaven" (verse 17) was Ashtoreth, whose worship was with acts of immorality, in this case with their husband's consent (verses 15, 19)
The place and manner of Jeremiah's
death are not known. One tradition is that he was stoned to death in Egypt.
Another is that he was taken from Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar, with Baruch, to
Babylon, and died there.
Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe, was a man
of prominence, with high ambitions (verse 5). Was recognized as having great
influence with Jeremiah (43:3)
A description of the defeat of the Egyptian arm at Carchemish (605 BC) in the middle period of Jeremiah's life (verses 1-12); and a later prophecy that Nebuchadnezzar would invade Egypt (verses 13-26), which is an expansion of 43:8-13. Over 100 years earlier Isaiah had prophesied Assyrian invasion of Egypt (Isaiah 18-20) Ezekiel also had something to say about Egypt (Ezekiel 19 to 32)
This prophecy, foretelling the
desolation of Philistia by Babylon, was fulfilled 20 years later when King
Nebuchadnezzar took Judah. Other prophets who paid their respects to the
Philistines were Isaiah (14:28-32); Amos (1:6-8); Ezekiel
(25:15-17) Zephaniah (2:4-7) and Zechariah (9:1-7)
Moab is located along the eastern shore
of the Dead Sea The Moabites are descendants of Lot, Abraham's nephew.
They were habitual enemies of Israel and Judah.
Jeremiah appears to be indebted to
Isaiah, chapters 15 and 16 for some of his message.
Two truths occur again and again in
and great destruction on Moab, and
cause of the desolation and destruction'
If we think that this is too long a
tirade against an ancient and forgotten people, we must remind ourselves that
its repeated warnings have been ignored. Pride, trust in self and not in the
Lord, and ungodliness bring about the downfall of nations to this day.
A picture of impending desolation of Moab. Moab helped Nebuchadnezzar against Judah, but later was devastated at his hands in 582 BC. For centuries the land had lain desolate and sparsely inhabited, the ruins of its many cities testifying to its ancient populous ness. Its restoration (verse 47), and that of Ammon (49:6) may have been fulfilled in their absorption into the general Arab race, some of whom were present on the day of Pentecost, when the Gospel was first proclaimed to the world (Acts 2:11). Or, it may mean that the land will yet again be prosperous. Other prophecies about Moab are found in Isaiah 15, 16; Ezekiel 25:8-11; Amos 2:1-3; Zephaniah 2:8-11
Ammon, Edom, Syria, Hazor,
A prediction that Nebuchadnezzar would
conquer these nations which he did. Ammon (see under Ezekiel 25:1-11).
Edom (see under the prophet Obadiah)
These prophecies regarding people and
nations centuries ago reveal to us today:
sovereignty of the Lord God. He rules the nations.
cause(s) of the destruction of peoples and nations. Idolatry and worship of
false god(s), dispossessing people of their land' boastful pride, trust in one's
own riches' wisdom' and might.
Lord's judgments are always just. The patient Lord does punish, very severely if
Lord's judgments however must always serve the Lord's plan of salvation, His
grace and redemption.
Chapter 50, 51
Prediction of the Fall of Babylon
The fall and perpetual desolation of
Babylon is here predicted, in language matching the grandeur of the theme
(51:37-43), as Isaiah had done earlier (Isaiah 13:17-22). The Medes,
leading a great company of nations, are named as the conquerors, (50:9; 51:11;
These two chapters pronouncing the doom
of Babylon, were copied in a separate book, and sent to Babylon, in a deputation
headed by kinky Zedekiah, seven years before Nebuchadnezzar burned the city of
Jerusalem (51:59-64). The book was to be read publicly, and then, in
solemn ceremony, sunk in the Euphrates river, with these words, "Thus shall
Babylon sink, and not rise.
In Chapter 51: 59 - 64 we are
given the date of these two chapters and the use to be made of them. The date is
the 4th year of the reign of Zedekiah, when the power of Babylon was at its
highest. Jeremiah in prophecy saw the future as actually having taken place.
In prose and poetry Jeremiah draws
concentric circles around a central topic: the destruction of Babylon, the
necessary preliminary to the restoration of exiled Israel, and the reasons for
that destruction. Babylon has served the purpose given to it by the Lord,
namely, chastening rebellious Israel so that believing Israel would continue to
serve its purpose and role in the Lord's plan of salvation.
In these two chapters we have a good
example of the way Hebrew poetry was arranged - not in straight
progression of thought' but in concentric circles, each new circle adding a new
truth to the fact previously presented and often repeated.
Chapter 52 The
Captivity of Judah
Chapter 52 gives us an account of
Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, of the destruction of Jerusalem, of some
additional deportations, and of the release of Jehoiachin from prison. Much of
the same material - with some additions and with some deletions is in 2
Kings 24: 18 to 25: 30.
Did Jeremiah, or did Baruch, or did
someone else write this chapter? Jeremiah 51: 64b seems to indicate that
Jeremiah did not. According to one tradition, the Jews slew Jeremiah in Egypt.
According to a Jewish tradition Nebuchadnezzar, after conquering Egypt, 568-567
BC, took Jeremiah and Baruch to Babylon, where Jeremiah died peacefully. He
could have lived to see the release of Jehoiachin from prison by
Evil-Merodach, the son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar, 562-561 BC.
In Chapter 44: 28, we have the words,
"All the remnant of Judah, who came to the land of Egypt to live, shall
know whose word will stand, mine or theirs."
This chapter 52 is the final statement declaring that the word of the
Lord is true and that His word stood.
For more graphic detail of this even
see also 2 Kings 24, 25.
The one great truth that we are to
learn from the Book of Jeremiah is that we are to listen to the Word of the
Lord, obey His voice, believe in Him, and worship and follow Him in faithful
service. To all who do belongs the enjoyment of the Lord's blessings. However,
if we, like the kings of Judah and the majority of the people, refuse to obey
the voice of the Lord, we can expect a judgment similar to what befell Judah and
May we as individuals and as a nation
learn the message of Jeremiah. May we be modern Jeremiahs, people of obedience
to the Lord.
Bible Handbook 24th Edition, Zondervan
Publishing House Grand Rapids, MI. 1965 pp.307-319