Old Testament Summaries: Book of Jeremiah

In the Hebrew Bible, Jeremiah is a major prophet who is known as the ‘weeping prophet’ credited with penning not only the Book of Jeremiah, but also Kings 1, Kings 2, and the Book of Lamentations. In the religious text sharing his name, the book offers his prophecies and sends a message of judgment and doom to a people that he identifies as having forgotten God. In this article, you will learn more about the sermons and warnings preached in the Book of Jeremiah.

Written between 630 and 580 BC, the Book of Jeremiah centers on the advice given to the people of Judah who are in need of returning to their God or face dire consequences. The Book gives a record of the final prophecies to Judah, which alerts the people that destruction will come in the future if they do not repent as a nation. However, the text shows that Jeremiah recognizes that the destruction of Judah will eventually happen because they refuse to atone for their wayward behavior.

The book seems separated into about six different sections that use poetry, narration and biographical information to present key values. Chapters 1 to 25 deliver the earliest and central theme of Jeremiah’s message. From chapters 26 to 29, you receive biographic details, as well as an interaction with other prophets. God’s promise of restoration is presented in chapters 30 to 33. The fall of Jerusalem is discussed from chapters 34 to 45. Chapters 46 to 51 highlight the punishment that will come from God to the nations surrounding Israel. An appendix that retells 2 Kings 24.18-25.30 is included in chapter 52.

The Book of Jeremiah foreshadows the destruction of Judah because of their lack of proper worship to God. Following the death of King Josiah (who was the last righteous king), the nation of Judah seemed to have completely turned their backs on God and His commandments. In Jeremiah 2:20; 3:1-3, Judah is actually compared to a prostitute. As mentioned in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, God has promised that idolatry would receive the worst of punishments. On numerous occasions, God had saved Judah from destruction, but He came to a point where he could no longer show mercy.

King Nebuchadnezzar had already once conquered Judah and in time, God brought the King and the Babylonian armies back to destroy Judah and Jerusalem ”“ turning their communities into a bleak wasteland. Even though Judah is judged harshly, God still promises to restore the nation back to the land that He had given.

Significant verses includes in the Book of Jeremiah are:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

“On the tenth day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, who served the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He set fire to the temple of the LORD, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down.” (Jeremiah 52:12-13)