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The Prophets: Jeremiah

Jeremiah, from the Hebrew name pronounced yir-meh-yaw, or yir-meh-yaw-hoo, meaning the LORD will rise, is one of the best-known of the LORD's prophets. Jeremiah was given to deliver the LORD's final warning to The Southern Kingdom of "Judah" to repent - or be destroyed. When they not only ignored Jeremiah, but actually abused and imprisoned him, the LORD (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM') delivered His long-delayed wrath upon Judah, by means of the Babylonians (ironically, it was the Babylonians who freed Jeremiah from his own nation's prison where the patriotic prophet had been locked up for speaking the Word of God).

Jeremiah's entire ministry to and within Judah lasted approximately forty years, beginning when Jeremiah was a "child." Jeremiah was chosen to the LORD's service even before he was born i.e. "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations":

"1:2 To whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah [see Kings of Israel and Judah], in the thirteenth year of his reign. 1:3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.

1:4 Then the word of the LORD [see also YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD] came unto me, saying, 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

1:6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. 1:7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak." (Jeremiah 1:2-7 KJV)

"Now the LORD hath brought it, and done according as he hath said: because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed his voice"

Jeremiah is often classified as one of the "major" prophets, a designation based upon the length of his book (there is in fact no such thing as a "minor" prophet because they all spoke the Word of God). Jeremiah's writings provide a wealth of prophetic and historical detail (see the Fact Finder question below for individual chapter studies). The focus of Jeremiah's ministry was however the fall of Judah to Babylon, after their failure to heed their decades-long warning to repent.

The Holy Scriptures

"39:1 In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon [see Ancient Empires - Babylon] and all his army against Jerusalem, and they besieged it. 39:2 And in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up [see also Raiders Of The Lost Ark]. 39:3 And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, even Nergalsharezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergalsharezer, Rabmag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon.

39:4 And it came to pass, that when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the men of war, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king's garden, by the gate betwixt the two walls: and he went out the way of the plain. 39:5 But the Chaldeans' army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him. 39:6 Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah. 39:7 Moreover he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon.

39:8 And the Chaldeans burned the king's house, and the houses of the people, with fire, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem. 39:9 Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to him, with the rest of the people that remained. 39:10 But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left of the poor of the people, which had nothing, in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time." (Jeremiah 39:1-10 KJV)

Amazingly, even the pagan Babylonians realized that their destruction of Judah was a matter the LORD's wrath ("Now the LORD hath brought it, and done according as he hath said: because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed his voice, therefore this thing is come upon you," see below) and that Jeremiah was a prophet of the LORD. The Babylonians therefore freed Jeremiah from the chains that had been unjustly placed upon him by his own people of Judah: "I loose thee this day from the chains which were upon thine hand."

"40:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him being bound in chains among all that were carried away captive of Jerusalem and Judah, which were carried away captive unto Babylon. 40:2 And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, The LORD thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place. 40:3 Now the LORD hath brought it, and done according as he hath said: because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed his voice, therefore this thing is come upon you. 40:4 And now, behold, I loose thee this day from the chains which were upon thine hand. If it seem good unto thee to come with me into Babylon, come; and I will look well unto thee: but if it seem ill unto thee to come with me into Babylon, forbear: behold, all the land is before thee: whither it seemeth good and convenient for thee to go, thither go." (Jeremiah 40:1-4 KJV)

Fact Finder: For detailed examination of each chapter of the book of Jeremiah and Jeremiah's Lamentations, see the studies below from our Bible Reading Plan:

Jeremiah 1-2
Jeremiah 3-7
Jeremiah 8-10
Jeremiah 11-13
Jeremiah 14-16
Jeremiah 17-19
Jeremiah 20-22
Jeremiah 23-25
Jeremiah 26-30
Jeremiah 31-33
Jeremiah 34-36
Jeremiah 37-39
Jeremiah 40-42
Jeremiah 43-45
Jeremiah 46-48
Jeremiah 49-52 and Lamentations 1
Lamentations 2-4
Lamentations 5


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