About this book
The world of Jeremiah's time was full of wars as new empires conquered the old ones. The tiny kingdom of Judah was caught in the middle, and during Jeremiah's lifetime, Babylonia conquered Judah and ended its freedom as a nation.
Jeremiah began bringing the Lord's message to the people of Judah when he was young, possibly less than 20 years old. He continued until 586 bc, when the Babylonians captured Jerusalem. Some of the people of Judah soon forced him to go with them to Egypt, where he continued to speak to them for the Lord.
Many of Jeremiah's messages include the date when they were originally spoken. But when his friend Baruch helped him put the messages into writing, they did not arrange the messages by these dates. Usually the messages are grouped together because they are about similar subjects.
Jeremiah acted out many of his messages, so that the people would know exactly what the Lord was saying (see 13.1–11; 19.1–11; 27.1—28.17; 32.1–44; 43.7–13).
Time after time, Jeremiah said God was going to punish Judah. But because he also said the people of Judah should surrender to the Babylonians, his enemies accused him of being a traitor. They had him thrown in prison and even tried to have him killed. Jeremiah complained to God about his problems, and these complaints are now known as his “Confessions” (see 11.18–23; 12.1–6; 15.10,11,15–21; 17.14–18; 18.19–23; 20.7–18).
Jeremiah often reminded the people of Judah that they had broken their agreement to worship only the Lord. And so the Lord was going to punish them by letting the Babylonians take them away to Babylonia. But the Lord had also promised to bring his people back to their land some day, and at that time the Lord would make a new agreement with them:
“I will write my laws
on their hearts and minds.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”
“No longer will they have to teach one another to obey me. I, the Lord, promise that all of them will obey me, ordinary people and rulers alike. I will forgive their sins and forget the evil things they have done.”
A quick look at this book
1. God chooses Jeremiah to speak for him (1)
2. God will punish the people of Judah and Jerusalem (2—26)
3. Jeremiah against the lying prophets (27—29)
4. God will some day bring his people back to their land (30—33)
5. Scenes from Jeremiah's ministry (34—38)
6. The fall of Jerusalem and later events in Judah (39—42)
7. Jeremiah in Egypt (43—44)
8. A message for Baruch (45)
9. The Lord speaks about the nations (46—51)
10. Another account of the fall of Jerusalem (52)