Introduction to Jeremiah

By James M. Rochford

While we know more about Jeremiah than any other OT prophet, Charles Feinberg also notes, “Some expositors have judged Jeremiah’s prophecy to be the most difficult in the OT.”[1] Therefore, it is important to get as much of a historical backdrop about him as possible.

Who was Jeremiah?

Dates of Jeremiah’s ministry (626 BC). Jeremiah holds the record for having the longest prophetic ministry. He was called to his ministry in 626 BC and continued to preach through the Babylonian exile in 586 BC down to about 582 BC, a ministry of some 45 years. Gleason Archer writes, “Jeremiah began his ministry at about twenty years of age in the thirteenth year of Josiah, that is, 626 BC For the greater part of his life he lived in his hometown of Anathoth (for he was of a priestly family) and appeared at Jerusalem at the annual feast days of the Jewish religious year.”[2] Charles Feinberg also notes, “He was called to the prophetic office in 626 (1:2; 25:3) and served in it for more than forty years.”[3] He preached in Jerusalem until the Fall of Judah in 586 BC (Jer. 7:2; 22:1; 27:1-2; 32:1). He stuck around Jerusalem among the survivors for a little bit after Jerusalem’s destruction (Jer. 40-44). He eventually fled to Egypt, where he most likely died (Jer. 42-43).

Jeremiah’s background. Jeremiah was probably relatively young, when God called him to serve as a prophet. Charles Feinberg also notes, “He was probably about twenty though naʿar (‘child,’ 1:6–7) is difficult to define chronologically because this Hebrew noun only conveys the concept of relative age.”[4] Jeremiah was probably a man of moderate wealth, because he was able to purchase a field with his own money (Jer. 32:6ff). The Lord did not allow him to marry (16:2), probably because of the turmoil that he knew he’d go through. Jeremiah lived as a contemporary with other prophets. These would include Zephaniah, Obadiah, Huldah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. It is also highly likely that Habakkuk and Nahum were his contemporaries. He was closest with Ezekiel, however. Charles Feinberg also notes, “Especially close is the relationship between Jeremiah and Ezekiel; some eighteen clear points of contact between them have been demonstrated.”[5]

Jeremiah’s personality. Jeremiah seems like a sensitive temperament. He is called the “weeping prophet” for a reason (Jer. 9:1)! Yet God allowed him to go through considerable verbal and physical attack. Archer comments, “Although he was sensitive to the extreme, he was forced to undergo a constant barrage of slander and persecution that would normally have crushed the most callous spirit. Introspective and retiring by nature, he was ever thrust into the limelight. Occasionally, he attempted to throw off his prophetic responsibility as a burden too heavy for him to bear, but again and again he returned to the call of duty, and by the power of the Lord stood indeed as a ‘tower of bronze’ (1:18).”[6] Charles Feinberg also notes, “He had encountered more opposition from more enemies than any other OT prophet.”[7] And yet, despite his sensitive nature, he persevered boldly through God’s empowerment.

Jeremiah’s battle. This prophet fought against horrendous conditions in the nation of Israel. The people were worshipping the false gods Baal (2:8, 23; 7:9; 9:14; 11:13, 17; 12:16; 19:4; 23:13, 27; 32:29, 35) and Ishtar (7:18; 44:17-19, 25). This resulted in child sacrifice (19:5; 32:35). Even those who were “following” Yahweh were oppressing the poor (2:34; 5:26-28; 7:5-6) and engaging in empty ritualism (6:20; 14:12).

 

Similarities between Jeremiah and Jesus

Jeremiah

Similarity

Jesus

Jeremiah served under the first Temple—destroyed by the Babylonians

Served just before the fall of Jerusalem and the Temple Jesus served under the second Temple—destroyed by the Romans
Jeremiah 1:10; 36:2 Spoke to the world

Matthew 28:18-20

Came from the line of priests

Both came from a Jewish birth line Came from the line of kings
Jeremiah 7:11 Both condemned the hypocritical Temple practice

Matthew 21:13

Jeremiah 26:11

Both were unjustly accused and called to be executed for their sedition and treachery against Israel Matthew 26; 1 Peter 3:18
Jeremiah 26:14 Both submitted to the false accusations of the Jewish leadership

Matthew 26:57-68

Jeremiah 26:15

Both predicted that the treachery of the leadership in putting them to death would fall on the nation of Israel Luke 19:44; Matthew 27:25
Jeremiah 7:14 Both foretold the destruction of the Temple

Matthew 24:1-2

Jeremiah 9:1

Both wept over Jerusalem Luke 19:41
Jeremiah 12:6 Both were rejected by their families

Matthew 13:57

 

Doesn’t the Septuagint and Masoretic Text disagree on Jeremiah’s book?

The Septuagint (LXX) and the Masoretic Text (MT) are very different from one another. According to Archer, the LXX is about one-eighth shorter than the MT, and chapters 46-51 are placed after chapter 25 in the LXX. Feinberg estimates roughly 2,700 words.[8] Moreover, Jeremiah 33:14-26 is missing in the LXX.[9] It is most likely that Jeremiah’s original was passed out in his lifetime, but posthumously, Baruch passed out the complete book (see Jer. 36:32). However, and this is important, the Hebrew text has been very accurately delivered to us. Charles Feinberg notes, “All known Hebrew MSS of Jeremiah contain substantially the same text. It is possible to trace the MT back to the end of the first century a.d. Contemporary scholars are sure that the Hebrew text of Jeremiah is well preserved (so Bright).”[10]

Having violated the covenant, the nation could expect the covenantal curses to be visited on them (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28; cf. Jer 11: 8).

Merrill, Eugene H.; Rooker, Mark; Grisanti, Michael A. (2011-07-05). The World and the Word: An Introduction to the Old Testament (Kindle Locations 13525-13526). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Key themes in Jeremiah

Jeremiah preached that the Temple was not a sign of security. Since the nation had fallen into idolatry and moral evils, God was revoking his protection of Israel. While the people were depending on the Temple for security, Jeremiah was warning them that this was not the case.

Jeremiah preached surrender to the Babylonians. He viewed the Babylonian attacks as divine judgment, and therefore, they need to be accepted. This was one of the main reasons that his nation, friends, and family hated him so much. Jeremiah wrote down his own messages himself (Jer. 30:2; 36:2; 51:60). But King Jehoiakim was so angry with them, that he had them burned. As a result, God had him rewrite his entire message (Jer. 36:32).

Jeremiah preached that the nation should trust God—not human ability. He writes, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord” (Jer. 17:5).

Chapter Summaries

REMEMBER: WE SHOULD NOT READ EVERY VERSE, OR EVEN EVERY CHAPTER, IN YOUR SECTION. THIS ROTATION IS JUST TO DELINEATE YOUR SECTION. TEACH THE VERSES AND CHAPTERS THAT ARE MOST WORTHY OF OUR TIME!

Jeremiah 1-3 (Jeremiah’s Calling)

Jeremiah 4-8 (Israel’s Sin and Judgment)

Jeremiah 11-15

Jeremiah 17-21

Jeremiah 22-25

Jeremiah 26-31 (Focus on chapter 30-31 about the new covenant)

Jeremiah 32-40 (Focus on the narrative of chapters 37-39)

Jeremiah 41-52

Consider listening to Chuck Smith’s teaching series on the book of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 1:1-3:5 (Jeremiah’s Calling)

Listen to D.A. Carson’s lecture on 1:1-3:5 here

(1:1) Jeremiah was a priest.

(1:5) Jeremiah’s calling for ministry was foreordained.

(1:6) Jeremiah (like Moses) objects to his calling, because he is too young. Moses was preaching a message of judgment to Pharaoh, but Jeremiah is preaching a message of judgment to Israel!

(1:7) Here is the commission of a true prophet: Speak only what God tells you to. This is a good picture of God’s guidance and empowering in ministry.

(1:8) Jeremiah would later be turned on by his own people and accused of treason for speaking against Israel and predicting its doom. God tells him from the beginning that this wouldn’t be easy. The cure for fear is to remember that God is with you.

(1:9-10) God put his words in Jeremiah’s mouth.

(1:11-12) Jeremiah got some of his prophecies via visions (like John in Revelation). Craigie writes, “In response to the initial question, Jeremiah says he sees a shaqed (almond); God responds that he is shoqed (watching). In other words, the word play indicates that the tree and the divine watching are intimately interrelated.”[11] Jeremiah’s first vision is that God is watching over him.

(1:14) Someone from the North is going to destroy Israel.

(1:16) This is because of their idolatry.

(1:17) Jeremiah could either fear the people or fear God. This could be God’s passive judgment where he lets them go.

The people followed God in the Exodus, but they were distracted by idolatry.

Jeremiah 2 (Marriage and adultery)

God gives an almost legal prosecution of the nation of Israel. He married them, but they volitionally rejected him for spiritual prostitution and adultery.

(2:1-3) God reminds Israel of the “honeymoon phase” in the Exodus. God provided miraculously in the desert.

(2:4-14) We move from the marriage language to adultery language. God’s anger with the people is that they have forsaken him and turned to idols that cannot satisfy them.

(2:14-19) Israel has turned from God to national superpowers that surround them. They were trying to answer a spiritual problem with political solutions.

(2:20-29) They turned from God to the Baals. All of the leaders are responsible, too (v.26), and all the people were responsible (v.29).

(2:30-37) They turned from God’s justification to self-justification. He compares them to a loose woman. One of the major problems was that they couldn’t admit their guilt (v.35).

(3:1-5) Israel is compared to a prostitute. They tried to turn back to them in their words, but they still wanted to do evil (v.5).

From God’s point of view, all of this feels like adultery.

This is why we need a savior. This is why Jeremiah predicts a new covenant.

Application

Jeremiah is just a kid, but God turns him into a tower of bronze. Look at the contrast between his timidity in chapter 1, and his strength in chapter 2.

Jeremiah is a strong man of God because God made him this way—not because of his temperament or personality.

Are we invested enough in our ministry that we weep over people from time to time? A complete lack of emotion can show that we’re playing it safe and being detached.

Jeremiah 3:5-4:4 (A tale of two sisters: Israel and Judah)

Listen to D.A. Carson’s lecture on 3:5-4:4

We often read through the history of Israel and think, “How stupid could they be?!” Haven’t they learned anything? Read through the Judges and you will discover how the Jewish people constantly fall into sin and cry for repentance. Yet modern history really reads the same way! People keep thinking that we just need education, conversation, and dialogue, and all will be well. These are all valuable tools for change, but they don’t solve our spiritual sickness of sin.

(3:6-10) Jeremiah tries to use the northern kingdom (Israel) as an example of how sin and idolatry can ruin you nation. Israel was conquered in 722 BC by the Assyrians. Remember, Jeremiah began preaching in 627 BC—about 100 years later. Yet the southern kingdom (Judah) fails to learn this valuable vicarious lesson.

(3:12) God asks Israel to return.

(3:16) When God moves forward in his plan, we won’t miss the old covenant.

(3:17-18) God will not punish Israel forever, but will regather them.

(3:19) God offers a “father-son” relationship with Judah. In the ancient world, people would imitate their fathers. The name “Joe Baker” arose because his great, great, great grandfather was probably a baker.

(3:22) The people will repent in the future.

(4:1-2) If they repent, God will forgive them. The expression “as the LORD lives” comes from Deuteronomy 6:13. We swear, “Cross my heart and hope to die…” or “On my mother’s grave…” These people were supposed to swear by the greatest conceivable good—not by the Baals or idols.

The word “return” is used sixteen times in this small section. God doesn’t want us to return to him just because of our poor circumstances (though he will gladly take us!). He wants us to value and love him.

Application

We should learn from the failures of history. The author of Hebrews shows that the Exodus generation failed to inherit the promise because they didn’t have faith (Heb. 3-4). Paul remembers the Exodus and connects it with the present lesson of idolatry (1 Cor. 10). Elsewhere he writes, “Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).

(4:20) Jeremiah predicts the ruin of Israel, and it breaks his heart to see it coming.

Jeremiah 5

(5:1) None of the people were righteous.

(5:5) The leadership were just as bad.

(5:7) God provided for them, but they rejected this.

(5:12-13) They denied the warnings of the prophets.

(5:18) God will not completely destroy Israel.

(5:31) The prophets and priests became apostate.

Jeremiah 6

(6:13-14) The prophets and priests were claiming that peace was going to happen.

(6:20) God detests false worship.

(6:28) They are impure metals that God will purify.

Jeremiah 7

(7:4) They were trusting in the Temple worship, rather than truly repenting.

(7:13) God gave them adequate time to repent.

Jeremiah 8

(8:3) The punishment will be so severe that the people will wish for death.

(8:6) They refuse to repent.

(8:9) They lose wisdom when they reject God’s word.

(8:10) They are all sinful.

(8:12) They don’t even have shame for their practices.

Jeremiah 9

(9:1) Jeremiah weeps over the people.

(9:8) They are two-faced people.

(9:24) God wants the people to focus on him.

Jeremiah 10

Jeremiah compares the false gods with the True God and Creator.

(10:21) There are no good leaders to take care of the people.

(10:25) God will also judge the nations for their cruelty.

Jeremiah 11

This section of Jeremiah switches from poetry to prose. It begins to describe the life of Jeremiah himself.

Listen to D.A. Carson’s lecture on 11-15 here

(11:3-4) God was calling in the Mosaic Covenant (Deut. 28).

(11:8) This refers back to the blessings and cursings of the covenant (Deut. 28; Lev. 26).

(11:15) They are still doing the outward forms of the covenant, but their hearts aren’t into it.

(11:21-22) They were threatening Jeremiah for prophesying the truth, but God promises to protect him and judge the people (v.22).

Application

Jeremiah was the only preacher telling the truth at the time.

Jeremiah 12 (Jeremiah’s complaint and God’s response)

(12:1-4) Jeremiah is confused on how long God allowed evil. How come you don’t come in and judge these evil people?

(12:5-17) God response to Jeremiah.

If you think it’s been bad so far, you haven’t seen anything yet (v.5). If Jeremiah has problems with what he’s seen so far, it’s going to get a lot worse.

Jeremiah has been abandoned by his own family (v.6), and God has been abandoned as well (v.7).

God tells Jeremiah to wait and see to see what God will do (vv.14-17). He will bring the people back if they repent (v.16). He gives this offer to all nations (v.17).

Jeremiah 13 (Hope and despair)

(13:1-11) Jeremiah was to buy one of these linen girdles and take it 700 miles away and bury it. Then he was supposed to go back and find it. God asks him to wear a belt and hide it in Perath. It was useless, and this was a symbol for God’s work in Judah (v.9-11).

(13:12-27) The people want to be drunk, and God gives them his wrath to drink.

Jeremiah 14-15 (When God stops listening to prayer)

In this section, there is a cycle of drought, crying out to God, and God saying, “No!”

(14:7-9) This sounds like a good prayer.

(14:10-16) But God rejects their prayer. Instead he’s bringing judgment. The cities were filled with false prophets (v.14).

(14:16) They will die and be unburied.

(15:1) God won’t allow intercession for judgment.

(15:10-21) Jeremiah asks to be spared. God promises to use Jeremiah as a “wall” to the people—a solid and stable edifice that they can cling to (v.20).

Jeremiah 16

(16:7) There isn’t even an opportunity for mourning.

(16:13) They were worse than the people of the Exodus.

(16:15) God will eventually regather them from Babylon.

Jeremiah 17

(17:9-10) The people’s hearts were wicked.

(17:24-25) The rescue was conditional to their obedience.

Jeremiah 18

God compares himself to a potter molding clay. God tells the people to repent (v.12), but they refuse (v.13). God will turn their back on them (v.17). The people want to kill Jeremiah (v.18).

Jeremiah 20

The priest had Jeremiah beaten (v.1-2). Jeremiah tells him that he is going to be destroyed (v.4). He trusts that God will know his heart and judge (v.12).

Jeremiah 21

King Zedekiah hoped that God would protect Israel from Babylon (v.1), but God predicted through Jeremiah that Babylon would win.

Jeremiah 22 (Bad Kings of Judah)

This chapter is addressed to the king of Judah.

(22:11-17) Shallum was the fourth son of Josiah (1 Chron. 3:15). He took over the throne after Necho (of Egypt) killed Josiah. Necho later deported Shallum to Egypt, where he died (2 Kings 23:30-34).

(22:18-30) Jehoiakim was also a son of Josiah. Neco placed him in power, and had Jehoiakim tax the people to death (2 Kings 23:33-35). When Jehoiakim reads these scrolls of judgment from Jeremiah, he promptly burns them in revulsion (Jer. 36:29). He was judged because he was a murderer (2 Kings 24:4).

Jehoiakim’s sons will be removed from the throne as well.

Jeremiah 23 (The Righteous Shepherd and Branch)

God is angry with the false leaders (i.e. shepherds). So he promises to raise up a true leader (v.5). This chapter really explains the failure and judgment of the false prophets.

(23:5-6) God promises to install a good leader on the throne of David, who will be a righteous ruler. He will also be called “Yahweh.”

(23:7-8) This event will be so powerful that it will take precedence over the Exodus.

(23:9-40) Jeremiah rebukes the false prophets and priests. What can we learn about the false prophets and God from this section?

They are in positions of authority—but they’re not real prophets (v.11).

They are morally compromised (v.14).

They speak visions from their own minds (v.16).

They predict peace instead of judgment (vv.17-18). They’re man-pleasers and ear-ticklers.

Application

Teachers have a stricter judgment (Jas. 3:1). Don’t mess with the Word.

False teaching still confronts us today.

Jeremiah 24 (Two baskets of figs: represents the exiles)

(24:1) He sees two baskets of figs: one good and one bad. These represent the good exiles and bad exiles. God judged the people and had Nebuchadnezzar carry them away (v.1). The exiles will eventually return in a better spiritual state (v.7).

Jeremiah 25 (70 year exile)

(25:1-4) God had been speaking through Jeremiah for 23 years, but they didn’t listen. Jehoiakim rejected the prophets.

(25:9) Nebuchadnezzar will come from the North (Babylon) to destroy Israel (Dan. 1:1).

(25:11) The Exile will last for 70 years.

(25:12) Babylon will become judged as well.

(25:15-28) The wine represents God’s wrath.

(25:29-38) This might flash-forward to a global judgment.

Jeremiah 26

(26:1-6) He gives them an opportunity to repent.

(26:7-11) Instead of repenting, they try to judge Jeremiah. They viewed him as a traitor (v.11).

(26:12-15) Jeremiah trusts in God’s sovereignty.

(26:16-24) Many of the elders side with Jeremiah. They give two historical examples (1) Micah and (2) Uriah. Both of these guys predicted judgment, but the king didn’t kill them.

Jeremiah 27

(27:1-22) He told the nations and Israel that they should surrender to Nebuchadnezzar. But he will restore them (v.22).

Jeremiah 28

(28:3) Hananiah predicted that Nebuchadzezzar’s plunder would be returned to Israel in two years (v.3). Clearly, he’s a false prophet.

(28:6-12) Jeremiah takes an interesting posture. He says, “That’s great… But let’s see if that comes to fruition.”

(28:13-17) God tells Hananiah that it’s actually worse than he thinks. Jeremiah gives a short term prophecy that Hananiah would die for being a false prophet.

Jeremiah 29

(29:1) King Zedekiah is still reigning, but some of the people have already been exiled.

(29:5-7) He tells these exiles to settle down and get married. They are supposed to be a blessing to the city.

God predicts the deaths of King Zedekiah and Ahab. He tells the people to get settled because they will be in exile for a while (v.28).

Jeremiah 30

Listen to D.A. Carson’s lecture on 30-31 here

(30:8-10) It seems that this flashes forward to the future (because Israel has been recaptured). Also, David (the Messiah) has been raised up (v.9), and they are in complete security (v.10).

(30:11) The nations will be scattered.

(30:21) Who is this leader who is entirely faithful?

(30:24) How would they not be able to understand this if this is simply about the ancient 70 year exile.

Jeremiah 31 (Regathering)

(31:8) This will be a global regathering.

(31:26) He’s had nightmares about judgment for decades, and now finally, he gets a good vision.

(31:31-34) The new covenant! Jeremiah predicts a time when the old covenant will be replaced.

(31:35-40) The only way that this promise will be revoked is if the sun, moon, and stars evaporate!

Jeremiah 32 (Buying a plot of land)

(32:1-2) We’re in 587 BC: the final year for Judah’s siege. We’re on the precipice of slaughter and military defeat (v.28).

(32:3-5) The final king (Zedekiah) was interrogating Jeremiah as to why he was prophesying against his own people.

(32:7-15) Hanamel was Jeremiah’s cousin. Jeremiah bought a portion of land off of him. Why would he do this, if the siege is so imminent? Isn’t this like buying a beach house right before the hurricane? Jeremiah does this because it shows that God will return to bless the land after the Exile.

(32:28-36) God predicts the final defeat of Judah.

(32:37-44) Yet God will bring them back.

Jeremiah 33

(33:1) Jeremiah is still confined to the courtyard when God speaks to him again.

(33:2-13) God will judge, but he will restore the land.

(33:14-18) The Messiah will come on the scene to fulfill these promises to Israel.

(33:19-26) God renews his faithfulness to his covenant.

Jeremiah 34

(34:1) In the midst of battle, Jeremiah gets another message.

(34:2-7) Zedekiah will be captured, but he won’t be killed. Yet he’ll die peacefully (v.5).

(34:8-22) Freedom for slaves. I wonder if Jeremiah is comparing Israel to the new Pharaoh. They reneged on their promise to free the slaves (v.11). God was opposed to this, because of his law and the fact that he freed them from Egyptian slavery. God was against forced slavery (v.16). God judges them for this (v.17).

Jeremiah 35 (Flashback to Jehoiakim: not listening to prophets)

(35:1-11) Now we’ve flashed back to Jehoiakim’s reign—some seventeen years earlier (606-602 BC?). The scene is a dinner party with the Recabites. This family didn’t hold property or drink wine. They showed up during the war to take shelter in Jerusalem.

(35:12-19) God uses this family as an example. The Recabites listened to their ancestor regarding wine drinking, but the people of Israel didn’t listen to God or his prophets.

Jeremiah 36 (Further flashback to Jehoiakim)

(36:1-15) God tells Jeremiah to write down his words. Baruch was his secretary. Baruch read the words to the people and the authorities. So far, so good.

(36:16) The authorities panicked when they heard the message.

(36:23-27) The king burned up the scroll because of its message. God protected Jeremiah (v.26).

(36:28) God commands Jeremiah to simply rewrite it.

(36:29) God called down judgment on Jehoiakim had burned.

Application

I think this flashback occurs in order to show that God had given them a chance to repent, but they didn’t listen.

Jeremiah 37

Listen to D.A. Carson’s lecture on chapters 37-39 here

Chapters 37-39 are all narrative.

These chapters not only record the fall of Jerusalem, but they also show Jeremiah’s treatment during this time.

(37:1) Nebuchadnezzar put Zedekiah in charge.

(37:2) The background is that Zedekiah won’t listen.

(37:5) This entire time Jeremiah has been urging the kings to surrender to Babylon. But instead, Zedekiah sides with Egypt, and the Egyptian forces (temporarily) distract the Babylonians from sieging Jerusalem. Zedekiah must have felt that his strategy was working, and Jeremiah was wrong.

Zedekiah is 32 years old, and Jeremiah was in his 60’s.

(37:7-10) The Egyptians are out-classed and out-gunned, and they retreat.

(37:13) They accuse Jeremiah of abandoning the city.

(37:17) Zedekiah visits Jeremiah in prison, and he asks him if there has been any word from God. Jeremiah doesn’t deter from his message.

(37:18-21) Jeremiah is a cold, dark, and wet dungeon, and he asks to be put in the courtyard instead. Zedekiah agrees with this.

Jeremiah 38

(38:1-3) Jeremiah kept telling the people that judgment was coming.

(38:4) This enraged the authorities, because it would be poor for morale for the troops.

(38:5-6) The passive king Zedekiah agrees, so they throw him into Malkijah’s empty well to quarantine him and his message. Malkijah is Zedekiah’s son. Since Zedekiah is only 32, then Malkijah must only be a kid or teenager.

(38:7-13) This foreigner (Ebed-Melech “Servant of the king”) rescues him from the well.

(38:14) Zedekiah interviews Jeremiah again. Jeremiah doesn’t want to talk, because he feels like a broken record at this point.

(38:22-28) Jeremiah gives an apologetic that the false-prophets were, in fact, false! Why won’t Zedekiah listen—even now?? Zedekiah vacillates and won’t take action.

Jeremiah 39 (The last thing Zedekiah sees…)

(39:1-8) Zedekiah tries to flee after the walls are broken, but they catch up with him. They take him to Babylon, kill his sons in front of him, and then pluck his eyes out! We never hear about him again.

(39:9-14) Nebuchadnezzar treats Jeremiah better than any of the Jewish kings ever did.

(39:15-18) Jeremiah gives a parting word of hope to Ebed-Melech. He won’t be killed in this massacre—even though Jerusalem will fall.

Application

Jeremiah paid a high price for fidelity to God’s word.

Zedekiah kept asking the same question, and he kept getting the same answer. He refused to listen.

God gave them so many chances.

Jeremiah teaches a theology of failure. He was totally faithful, but totally unsuccessful.

There is a serious irony that the Gentile king (Nebuchadnezzar) and Cushite (Ebed-Melech) listened to the prophet, but the Jewish leaders didn’t.

Jeremiah 40

Nebuchadnezzar’s commander recognizes God’s hand in this whole event (v.2). He offers Jeremiah release (v.4-5).

Jeremiah 41 (Ishmael’s murderous rampage)

Gedaliah was governor—appointed by the Babylonians.

Ishmael had Gedaliah killed over dinner. He led a murderous rampage of all of Gedaliah’s people in Mizpah. Ishmael was going against what God had commanded: unconditional surrender.

(41:8) Ishmael spared ten men for their goods.

(41:11) Johanan rises up to fight Ishmael.

(41:14) Ishmael’s captives joined Johanan.

(41:15) Ishmael fled as a result.

Why is this chapter here? It shows that the nation is falling apart in anarchy.

Jeremiah 42 (Don’t go to Egypt)

(42:1-3) Johanan came to Jeremiah for help—that Jeremiah would pray for this remnant of faithful believers.

(42:4-6) Jeremiah tells them that he will pray for them, and the people promise to listen.

(42:10-22) God promised to build them up if they stay in the land of Babylon. But if they decide to go to Egypt, God will not protect them. God actually says that they will be worse off for praying for his will, if they aren’t willing to obey it.

They go to God to hear his will, but they made up their mind in advance.

Jeremiah 43

(43:1-3) Johanan doesn’t want to listen. The people still want to trust Egypt, distrust God, and distrust Jeremiah. They still accuse Jeremiah of treason.

(43:8) God tells Jeremiah to put stones in Egypt where Nebuchadnezzar to build his royal canopy.

Why are they going back to Egypt for help?? Egypt didn’t help them in the war.

Jeremiah 44

God warns that they will all die. The people refused to listen, and they persisted in their idolatry (v.17). God predicts that only a very few will return from the remnant (v.28).

Jeremiah 45 (Message to Baruch)

This is still when Baruch was still in Israel before the Exile (604 BC). God promised to spare Baruch. The people were saying that Baruch was trying to lead them into death, but God ratifies Baruch’s faith.

Jeremiah 46 (God’s judgment on Egypt)

God predicted that Nebuchadnezzar would conquer Egypt (v.13). He promises not to exterminate the Jews who live there (v.28).

Jeremiah 47 (God’s judgment on Philistines)

God will destroy the Philistines.

Jeremiah 48 (God’s judgment on Moab)

God will destroy Moab. They will be destroyed as a nation, but he will restore Moab later (v.47).

Jeremiah 49 (God’s judgment on Ammonites)

God will destroy the Ammonites. Israel will drive them out (v.2).

Jeremiah 50-51 (God’s judgment on Babylon)

Notice how many verses God spends on Babylon’s destruction—compared to the other nations.

(50:2) Even the gods of Babylon will be terrified.

(50:4) The Jewish people are going to come back with tears to meet with God. Their own way has failed, and they come back to him.

(50:9) A coalition of nations from the north will take down Babylon.

(50:15) God will get back at Babylon for what they did.

(50:20) Israel will be forgiven.

(51:11) The Medes historically destroyed Babylon.

(51:60-61) Jeremiah had predicted all of this.

(51:62) Jeremiah ties up this prophecy and throws it into the water. This was symbolism of what would happen to Babylon.

Jeremiah 52

(52:21) All of Solomon’s gold was looted.

The Temple and city were destroyed. Jehoiachin was spared and lived out his life.

[1] Feinberg, Charles. Jeremiah. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel (Vol. 6). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. 1986. 357.

[2] Archer, Gleason. A survey of Old Testament introduction (3rd. ed.). Chicago: Moody Press. 1994. 400.

[3] Feinberg, Charles. Jeremiah. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel (Vol. 6). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. 1986. 359.

[4] Feinberg, Charles. Jeremiah. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel (Vol. 6). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. 1986. 359.

[5] Feinberg, Charles. Jeremiah. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel (Vol. 6). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. 1986. 363.

[6] Archer, Gleason. A survey of Old Testament introduction (3rd. ed.). Chicago: Moody Press. 1994. 401.

[7] Feinberg, Charles. Jeremiah. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel (Vol. 6). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. 1986. 360.

[8] Feinberg, Charles. Jeremiah. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel (Vol. 6). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. 1986. 372.

[9] Archer, Gleason. A survey of Old Testament introduction (3rd. ed.). Chicago: Moody Press. 1994. 401.

[10] Feinberg, Charles. Jeremiah. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel (Vol. 6). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. 1986. 372.

[11] Craigie, P. C. (1998). Jeremiah 1–25 (Vol. 26, p. 16). Dallas, TX: Word, Incorporated.