The prophet Jeremiah lived during the latter part of the seventh century and the first part of the sixth century b.c. During his long ministry he warned God's people of the catastrophe that was to fall upon the nation because of their idolatry and sin. He lived to see this prediction come true with the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, the destruction of the city and the Temple, and the exile to Babylonia of Judah's king and many of the people. He also foretold the eventual return of the people from exile and the restoration of the nation.
The Book of Jeremiah may be divided into the following parts: (1) The call of Jeremiah. (2) Messages from God to the nation of Judah and its rulers during the reigns of Josiah, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. (3) Material from the memoirs of Baruch, Jeremiah's secretary, including various prophecies and important events from the life of Jeremiah. (4) Messages from the Lord about various foreign nations. (5) A historical appendix, giving an account of the fall of Jerusalem, and the exile to Babylonia.
Jeremiah was a sensitive man who deeply loved his people, and who hated to have to pronounce judgment upon them. In many passages he spoke with deep emotion about the things he suffered because God had called him to be a prophet. The word of the Lord was like fire in his heart—he could not keep it back.
Some of the greatest words in the book point beyond Jeremiah's own troubled time to the day when there would be a new covenant, one that God's people would keep without a teacher to remind them, because it would be written on their hearts (31.31-34).
Outline of Contents
The call of Jeremiah (1.1-19)
Prophecies during the reigns of Josiah, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah (2.1—25.38)
Events in Jeremiah's life (26.1—45.5)
Prophecies against the nations (46.1—51.64)
The fall of Jerusalem (52.1-34)
Before the Babylonians destroyed Judah, the prophet Jeremiah warned the kings, priests, and people about the coming of God's judgment. While many of these messages were harsh and disturbing, Jeremiah also pointed to a time when God would make a new covenant (agreement) with his chosen people.