Skip to content Skip to navigation

Jeremiah

Jeremiah Bible Walk

Theme: Judah Ignores Her Spiritual Crisis

November, 2005

Theme 

  • Judah Ignores Her Spiritual Crisis

Key Verse

  • Jeremiah 25:11-12. And this whole land shall be a desolation and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. ‘Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,‘ declares the Lord, ‘for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation.

Overview Outline

  • LORD appoints Jeremiah, 1
  • Prophecies about Judah, 2-45
  • Prophecies about the nations, 46-51
  • Historical summary. 52

History

  • This was the time of the Israel’s greatest apostasy and rejection of her major prophet’s messages, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the exile of the people to Babylon. Jeremiah came on the scene during the reign of Josiah, one of the
  • Knowing the changing political scene helps us to understand Jeremiah’s book.
    • 722 B.C. Assyrians under Shalmaneser V (726-722) and Sargon II (Isaiah 20:1; 721-705) conquered Israel and wasted Samaria, the capital (2 Kings 17).
    • 640 B.C. Josiah becomes king in Judah (640-609). Assyria remained the dominant power. Josiah attempted religious reforms (2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 34).
    • 627 B.C. God appoints Jeremiah prophet to Judah (Jeremiah 1:4-10).
    • 622 B.C. Hilkiah finds the Law in the temple (2 Kings 22:8).
    • 612 B.C. Nabopolassar (626-605 B.C.), ruler of Babylon, captures Nineveh, Assyria. Power shifts to Babylon (Nahum 2:1-3:19; Zephaniah 2:13-15).
    • 609 B.C. Pharoah Neco of Egypt killed Josiah at Megiddo (2 Kings 23:29-30; 2 Chronicles 35:20-25).
    • 609 B.C. Jehoahaz’s now king and rules 3 months. Necho then takes Jehoahaz to Egypt (2 Kings 23:31-35).
    • 608 B.C. Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23: 34-24:7), Josiah’s son, begins rule in Judah (608-597). He began as a vassal of the king of Egypt. He too Judah back to idolatry. He destroyed Jeremiah’s scroll (Jeremiah 36).
    • 605 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar defeats Egypt at Carchemish. Also becomes king of Babylon (605-562 B.C.). He conquers Jerusalem and Judah.
    • 605 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar takes Daniel and his three friends to Babylon (Daniel 1:1-7).
    • 597 B.C. Jehoiachin, son of Jehoiakim, ruled in Judah for 3 months (2 Kings 24:8-16).
    • 597 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar makes Zedekiah vassal king of Judah (2 Kings 24:17-20).
    • 596 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar takes Jehoiachin, Ezekiel, and 10,000 captives to Babylon (2 Kings 24:10-16; 2 Chronicles 36:9-10; Ezekiel 1:2-3: 3:15).
    • 588-586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar lays siege to Jerusalem (2 Kings 25:1-10).
    • 586 B.C. Jerusalem falls to the Babylonians. Nebuchadnezzar burns the city and temple in August, 586 B.C. (2 Kings 25)
    • 586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar makes Gedeliah governor of Judah. Ishmael assassinated Gedeliah in October, 586 after a 2 month rule (2 Kings 25:22-25).
    • 586 B.C. Jews feared reprisals from Babylon and fled to Egypt, taking Jeremiah to Egypt with them (2 Kings 25:26; Jeremiah 43).

Author was Jeremiah

  • He served as prophet from 627 B.C. until at least 586 BC (Jeremiah 1:1-3); and according to Jeremiah 40-44, possibly until 562 BC or beyond. His scribe, Baruch (Jeremiah 36:1-4), apparently compiled and edited the book.
  • Jeremiah’s prophecy is somewhat autobiographical. He was God’s prophet for Judah before, during, and after the traumatic Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem. He was intense, courageous, at times despondent, and yet he persevered. Jeremiah preached the Lord’s unwanted and unheeded message. He used “word of the LORD” 58 times and “thus says the LORD” 151 times. He angered priests, prophets, soldiers, and kings. Unbelieving and rebellious Judah rejected God’s message and God’s man of the hour. She ignored her national crisis of which Jeremiah persistently warned. This also seems to be the continuing story of all mankind.
  • He was rejected, beaten, imprisoned, ridiculed, and finally kidnapped and taken to Egypt; all happened because he was faithful to God’s appointment to preach to Judah during the greatest crisis of her 250 year history. Furthermore, God told Jeremiah that he could not marry, go to funerals, or go to parties in order to illustrate the destruction that was coming (16:1-9).
  • Jeremiah was born around 640 BC in Anathoth, which was about 3 miles northeast of Jerusalem, into a priestly family, and God put him into the prophetic ministry in 627 BC (Jeremiah 1:1-2). He was a contemporary of Ezekiel (served about 592-570 B.C. in Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar’s reign), Zephaniah (served around 630 B.C., Josiah’s reign), Habakkuk (served about 605 B.C., Jehoiakim’s reign), and Daniel (served about 605-536 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar’s to Cyrus’ reigns).
  • Jeremiah seemed to write in bursts during very tumultuous periods of Judah’s history.
    • The time of Josiah’s reforms (chapters 1-6 and 11-12).
    • Nebuchadnezzar’s rise to power (chapters 7-10, 14-20, 22, and 26).
    • The remaining chapters relate to the two deportations to Babylon, the Zedekiah revolt, and the final destruction of Jerusalem.
    • Chapter 52 is similar to 2 Kings 24:18-25:30. It likely was written and added after King Jehoiachin was freed from Babylonian imprisonment.

Trace the Theme summary

  • In chapter 1 the LORD called Jeremiah to be prophet to Judah. The LORD immediately says what the will happen to Judah (1:13-16) and why (1:16 and 2:13). He also promises to protect Jeremiah from the unbelieving and rebellious kings, princes, priest, and people (1:17-19).
  • Jeremiah’s message was that Judah has forsaken the Lord and turned to idols (2:11-13), and she is worse than Israel was 125 years ago (3:6-11). God, through Babylon, will severely discipline her (19; 20:1-6). If Judah will submit to Babylon, God will allow her to remain in the land; but If Judah resists, he will bring catastrophic destruction upon her (27:1-11). Judah did not repent, nor did she submit to Babylon. Therefore, God kept his word. He catastrophically judged Judah, destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, and sent his people into slavery (32:17-36; 39; 52). The book of Lamentations is Jeremiah’s sorrowful poem describing the results of Judah’s choice for idolatry instead of God.
  • Along with the prophecy of judgment God also promised to restore Israel to her land sometime in the future. That promise is the New Covenant (31:31-34). At that time the Hebrew people will know and love God’s word; they will have eternal salvation relationship with the Lord; and the Lord will have forgiven all their sins.
  • Because Jeremiah courageously delivered God’s messages his townspeople threatened him (Jeremiah 11:21), his family opposed him (Jeremiah 12:6), the priests beat him and put him in stocks (20:1-3), and even the prophets demanded his life (Jeremiah 26:11). King Jehoiakim destroyed one of his prophetic manuscripts (Jeremiah 36). Jeremiah wore a yoke on his neck to symbolize Nebuchadnezzar’s control of Judah and the surrounding nations (Jeremiah 27:1-7). He was beaten and put in a dungeon (Jeremiah 37:11-16) and then Zedekiah released him from the dungeon and imprisoned him in the court of the guardhouse (Jeremiah 37:17-21).
  • After the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar ordered Jeremiah freed and gave him the option to either go to Babylon or remain in Judah with Gedeliah, the governor of Judah. He chose Judah with his people (Jeremiah 39:11-40:6). Johanan, and leader in Judah and supporter of Gedeliah, warned Gedeliah that Ishmael planned to assassinate the governor, but the warning fell on deaf ears (Jeremiah 40:13-16). Ishmael and 10 others succeeded in assassinating Governor Gedeliah (Jeremiah 41:1-3). Johanan then rescued Jews whom Ishmael had taken as captive. After more killing, Ishmael escaped (Jeremiah 41:4-14). Soon Johanan asked Jeremiah for God’s message about what they should do. God said they should stay in Judah. Again, God’s prophet was rebuffed. Johanan gathered the remnant, including Jeremiah and Baruch, and fled to Egypt (Jeremiah 42-43). Jeremiah likely died in Egypt.

Overview Outline

  • LORD appoints Jeremiah, 1
  • Prophecies about Judah, 2-45
  • Prophecies about the nations, 46-51
  • Historical summary. 52

Chapter Titles. Coming soon

Key People

  • See the chronological political scene above point 4, history.

Jeremiah

  • 132X. God’s prophet to Judah during her final days (Jeremiah 1 and following). Faithfully proclaimed God’s word to apathetic, disobedient, and idolatrous Jews.

Baruch

  • 23X. Jeremiah’s scribe (Jeremiah 36:32).

Nebuchadnezzar

  • 37X. King of Babylon during most of Jeremiah’s prophecy. Daniel’s head of gold. He destroyed Jerusalem, the temple, and removed many Jews to Babylon—including Daniel and his three friends, and Ezekiel (Jeremiah 39:1; 2 Kings 24-25; Daniel 1-4).

Josiah

  • 18X. Judah’s last reforming king. During his reign he OT Law of Moses was found. He repaired the temple, restored the worship of the Lord and celebrated the Passover. He foolishly went to battle with Pharo Necho and was killed (Jeremiah 3:6; 2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 35:20-27).

Jehoahaz, (Joahaz)

  • Son of Josiah. He ruled 3 months. The Egyptian Pharoah removed him, took him to Egypt, and placed his brother Jehoiakim on the throne of Judah (2 Kings 23:31-33; 2 Chronicles 36:1-4;

Jehoiakim

  • 22X, (Eliakim). Son of Josiah. Ruled 11 years after his father, Josiah. He destroyed Jeremiah’s scroll (Jeremiah 36). Rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24). God cursed him with no sons to ever sit for any long period of time on David’s throne, and he died a violent death (Jeremiah 36:30-31; 2 Kings 23:34-24:7).

Jehoiachin

  • 3X, (Jeconiah, 4X; Coniah 3X). Son of Jehoiakim. Ruled for 3 months and 10 days in 597 BC. Apparently Nebuchadnezzar changed his mind about Jehoiachin. He went back to Jerusalem and took Jehoiachin to Babylon with 10,000 others where he was imprisoned for 36 years. Evil-Merodach released him (Jeremiah 24:1; Jeremiah 52:31; 2 Kings 24.14-17).

Zedekiah

  • 49X. (Mattaniah). Son of Josiah. He defended Jeremiah twice (Jeremiah 37:15-21 and 38:7-13). He was vassal king at the time Nebuchadnezzar and foolishly rebelled against him which brought the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.  Nebuchadnezzar had Zedekiah’s sons killed and then blinded Zedekiah. He died in Babylon (2 Kings 24:17-25:1-7).

Gedeliah

  • 23X. Appointed Governor of Judea by Nebuchadnezzar after Zedekiah was taken. He respected Jeremiah (Jeremiah 39:11-14 and 40:5). Attempted to calm the Jews and urged submission to Babylon. Ishmael assassinated him. Some Jews feared Babylon’s reprisals and took Jeremiah and fled to Egypt (2 Kings 25:22-26; Jeremiah 52).

Key Words and Phrases in NASB translation

  • Babylon, 169 X (20:4).
  • Fear, 16X (5:22-24; 46:27).
  •  Idols, 11 X (8:19).
  • Judgment, 7X (1:16).
  • Listen, 63X (6:10).
  • Sin, 26X. (2:35; 40:3).

Key Doctrines

  • God does not guarantee that his faithful servants will not suffer because they serve him (Jeremiah 11:21; 20:1-3; 26:11; 37:11-21).
  • God’s faithful messengers can still serve during a spiritual and political crisis (Jeremiah 26:11-15; 27; 36; 51:59-64).
  • Grace before judgment: God graciously warned his people about their sin before he disciplined the nation because of her sin (Jeremiah 7; 22:1-9; 27; 42).
    • National divine discipline comes because of sin, and after warning (above Scripture).
    • Sin not confessed brings judgment.
  • The seventy years exile prophecy (Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10).
  • God’s will restore Israel and Judah and fulfill his New Covenant with them (Jeremiah 29:11-15; 30:3; 31:27-40; 43-44).
  • God used Gentile kings and nations to discipline Israel and Judah (Jeremiah 22:25; 27:6; 37:28; 46:26).
  • God is more powerful than the strongest nation and can raise them up and bring them down (Jeremiah 50:17-18; 51:24).
  • The opinion of political and religious leaders and the general public may be the majority opinion, yet it can be wrong (people, Jeremiah 11:21; 52:3), his family, Jeremiah 12:6), 20:1-3), the prophets demanded his life, Jeremiah 26:11), King Jehoiakim, Jeremiah 36), and King Zedekiah, Jeremiah 52:3).
  • Central Scripture for doctrines.
    • God gave his promise of blessing, similar to Psalm 1, to those who trust him (Jeremiah 17:5-8).
    • The nature of man (Jeremiah 17:9-10).
    • Volition Jeremiah (21:8).
    • God’s will restore Israel and Judah and fulfill his New Covenant with them (Jeremiah 29:11-15; 30:3; 31:27-40; 43-44).

Lessons for us Today

  • God’s has a plan and purpose for Israel despite her unbelief.
  • God uses willing and faithful people, but does not guarantee an easy or safe life.
  • God always warns us before he judges us.
  • Believe and follow the word of God; it stands above public opinion.
  • God uses humble, faithful to him, strong, and gracious leaders.
  • Kings, dictators, presidents, and prime ministers may be powerful, ruthless, and even temporarily popular, but they come and go. God still controls history.
  • God wants to bless his people.