A Bible Study

The Prophet

His name is Jeremiah, a common name among the people. Some think the name means 'God throws down.' This would be in keeping with his task and message. Jeremiah was one of the priests that lived at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, a village about 2 ½  to 3 miles northeast of Jerusalem. It is one of the 12 cities set aside for the priests in the land of Judah, Simeon and Benjamin (Joshua 21:13-19; 1 Chronicles 6:57 60).

Jeremiah was young, usually considered to be about 20, when the Lord called him to be a prophet (chapter 1:6). He was called to be a prophet in 628-627 BC. (chapters 2, 3) He continued to serve as a prophet until after the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC. After the destruction of Jerusalem the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, left Jeremiah in Jerusalem with Gedaliah, the governor of the remaining people. When the people rebelled and killed Gedaliah, they fled to Egypt and took Jeremiah with them. Tradition relates that in Egypt they stoned Jeremiah. (Another tradition states they sawed him in two.) Jeremiah in his life suffered much hatred and persecution, but he remained obedient.

Jeremiah is of great inspiration to us today. Despite all the hatred and trying experiences that be had, even though Jeremiah by nature was mild, sensitive, and retiring, he remained faithful to his unpleasant task and is an example of an obedient prophet. He found his comfort and strength in the promise the Lord gave him in his call "Be not afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you." chapter 1: "They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you and deliver you, says the Lord." chapter 1:19

God's Final Effort to Save Jerusalem.  Jeremiah lived about a hundred years after Isaiah.  Isaiah had saved Jerusalem from Assyria Jeremiah tried to save it from Babylon but alas failed

Jeremiah was called to the prophetic office (626 BC) Jerusalem was partly destroyed in 606 BC and further devastated in 597 BC and finally burned and desolated in 586 BC.

Jeremiah live through these terrible forty years, "the close of the monarchy'', "the death agony of the nation" could be titles to his prophetic book. Jeremiah was a pathetic, lonely figure, God's last measure to the Holy city which had become hopelessly and fanatically attached to idols. Jeremiah’s main theme through his prophecy was a carelessly crying that if they would repent God would save them from the final analysis his pleadings fell on deaf ears only to be remembered by another generation.

The Times

2 Kings 22 - 25 and 2 Chronicles 34 - 36 bring to us the background for the times in which Jeremiah served. Judah and Jerusalem had forfeited their day of grace by shameful sinning and contempt of God's Word and were hastening to their doom. 0f the five kings under whom Jeremiah prophesied, only the first one, Josiah, was a pious ruler. After his death in 609 BC in a battle with Pharaoh Necho of Egypt at Megiddo, his successors were all very wicked. They were: Jehoahaz (Shallum), who ruled 3 months; Jehoiakim, who ruled 11 years; Jehoiachin, who ruled 3 months; and Zedekiah, who ruled 11 years. Under their reign the people went back into gross paganism and immoral practices. (1:16; 7:18; 19:5; 32:35). Covetousness, murder, adultery, stealing, false swearing were rampant. (~: 34, 5: 27-29). The moral corruption tainted even prophet and priest. (6:13; 8:10; 23:11-15). Year after year Jeremiah came to the people with , messages from the Lord, but they would not hearken and obey. (4:14; 5:15-17; 18:8; 25:3; 35:15). The people preferred to listen to the false prophets' who were predicting peace and prosperity, (23:27, 29). The Babylonian Captivity began in 606 BC, but did not have any influence on the people who remained in Judah.

The Message

The Background

As Assyria had been the background of Isaiah's ministry, so Babylon was the background of Jeremiah's ministry.

The Internal Situation

The Northern Kingdom had fallen and much of Judah. They had suffered reverse after reverse until Jerusalem alone was left. Still they ignored the continued warnings of the prophets and grew harder and harder in their idolatry and wicked­ness. The hour of doom was about to strike.

The International Situation

A three cornered contest for world supremacy was on... Assyria, Babylon and Egypt. For 300 years Assyria, the North Euphrates valley, Nineveh its capital, had ruled the world; but now was growing weak.

Babylon, in the South Euphrates valley, was becoming powerful.

Egypt, in the Nile valley, which 1,000 years before had been a world power, and had declined, was again becoming ambitious.

Babylon won, about the middle of Jeremiah's ministry. It broke the power of Assyria (607 BC) and two years later crushed Egypt, in the battle of Alchemist (605 BC) and for 70 years ruled the world. This 70 year period was the same 70 years as the Jew's captivity.

Jeremiah's Message

As Jeremiah speaks the Lord's condemnation on the people for their sins against the Lord, and declares that Babylon will conquer and destroy Jerusalem and take the people into captivity, the prophet carries out the direction of the Lord (chapter 1:10): "See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow." Yet as the prophet speaks to the remnant' the few who remained true to the Lord God, he speaks words of divine grace and deliverance, in keeping with his task, chapter 1: 10, "to build and to plant."

From the outset, twenty years before the issue was settled, Jeremiah unceasingly insisted that Babylon would be the victor. All through his incessant and bitter complaints over Judah’s wickedness these ideas are ever recurring:

  1. Judah is going to be destroyed by victorious Babylon.
  2. If Judah will turn from her wickedness, somehow God will save her from destruction at the hands of Babylon.
  3. Later, when there seemed no longer any hope of Judah’s repentance: if, only as a matter of political expedience, Judah will submit to Babylon, she shall be spared.
  4. Judah, destroyed, shall recover and yet dominate the world.
  5. Babylon, destroyer of Judah, shall herself be destroyed, never to rise again.

Jeremiah's Boldness

Jeremiah unceasingly advised Jerusalem to surrender to the king of Babylon, so much that his enemies accused him of being a traitor. Nebuchadnezzar rewarded him for thus advising his people, not only by sparing his life, but by offering him any honor that he would accept, even a worthy place in the Babylonian court (39:12). Yet Jeremiah cried aloud, over and over, that the kinky of Babylon was committing a heinous crime in destroying the Lord's people and for that, Babylon, in time, would be desolated, and lie forever so. (See chapters 50, 51)


Though the prophecies are not necessarily in time order, the book may be divided thus:

              I.      Call of Jeremiah. Chapter 1

           II.      Denunciation of Judah and calling Judah to repentance. Chapter 2–35

         III.      Personal history of the Prophet during and after siege of Jerusalem. He is taken to Egypt. Chapter 36–45

        IV.      Prophecies regarding Babylon and other eight surrounding nations.  Chapter 46–51

           V.      Historical Conclusion. An account of the capture of Jerusalem and the exile. Chapter 52

Contemporary Kings of Judah

Manasseh (697-642 BC)

55 years

Very wicked (see 2 Chronicles 33) Jeremiah was born under his reign.

Amon (641-640 BC)

2 years

The long and wicked reign of his father Manasseh had sealed the doom of Judah.

Josaih (639-608 BC)

31 years

A good king. A great reformer.   Jeremiah began his ministry in Josiah's 13th year. The reformation was only outward. At heart the people still were idolaters.

Jehoahaz (608 BC)

3 months

Was carried to Egypt.

Jehoiakim (608-597 BC)

11 years

Openly for idols, ­ boldly defiant of God, a bitter enemy of Jeremiah.

Jehoiakin (597 BC)

3 months

Was carried to Babylon.

Zedekiah (589-586 BC)

11 years

Rather friendly to Jeremiah, but a weak king, a tool in the hands of the wicked princes.

Chronology of Jeremiah's Times

627 BC

Josiah began his reforms (2 Chronicles 34)

626 BC

Jeremiah's Call

626 BC

Scythian Invasion (Jeremiah 4)

621 BC

Book found. Josiah's Great Reformation (2 Kings 22, 23)

608 BC

Josiah slain at Megiddo, by Pharaoh

607 BC

Nineveh destroyed by Babylon

606 BC

Judah subdued by Babylon. 1st Captivity

605 BC

Battle of Carchemish: Babylon crushed Egypt

597 BC

Jehoiachin's Captivity

593 BC

Zedekiah's Visit to Babylon

586 BC

Jerusalem Burned. Temporary End of David's Kingdom.

Contemporary Prophets

Jeremiah was leader in the brilliant constellation of prophets clustered around the destruction of Jerusalem.

Ø      Ezekiel, a fellow priest, somewhat younger than Jeremiah, preaching in Babylon, among the captives, the same things that Jeremiah was preaching in Jerusalem.

Ø      Daniel, a man of royal blood, holding the line in the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar.

Ø      Habakkuk and Zephaniah helping Jeremiah in Jerusalem.

Ø      Nahum, at same time, predicting the Fall of Nineveh.

Ø      Obadiah, at same time, predicting the Ruin of Edom.

Chronology of Jeremiah's Book

Some of Jeremiah's messages are dated. Some are not. Time notices which are indicated are as follows:

In Josiah's reign:

1:2; 3:6

In Jehoiakim's reign:

22:18; 25:1; 26:1; 35:1; 36:1; 45:1

In Zedekiah's reign:

21:1; 24:1,8; 27:3, 12: 28:1; 29:3; 32:1; 34:2; 37:1; 38:5; 39:1; 49:34; 51:59

In Egypt:

43:7, 8; 44:1

The book is not arranged in chronological order. Some late messages come early in the book, and some early messages come late in the book. These messages were delivered orally, and perhaps repeatedly, for years, possibly, before Jeremiah began to write them. The writing of such a book was a long and laborious task. Writing parchment, made of sheep or goat skins, was scarce and expensive. It was made into a long roll, and wound around a stick. This may, in part, account for the lack of order in Jeremiah’s book. After writing an incident or discourse, some other utterance delivered previously would be suggested, and he would write it down in some cases without dating it, thus filling up the parchment as he unrolled it.

Chapter 1  The Call of Jeremiah

It was to a hard and thankless task. Like Moses, he was reluctant to accept the responsibility. It came when he was only a "child'' probably about 20. "Anathoth" (verse 1) his home, was about 2 ½ miles northeast of Jerusalem. It is now called "Anata." The "boiling caldron'' (verse 13) meant the Babylonian army. Opening utterance: Jerusalem will be destroyed by Babylon (verse 14)

Chapter 2  Israel's Apostasy

In a pathetic and impassioned rebuke for their shameless idolatry, Israel is likened to an espoused wife who has forsaken her husband for promiscuous association with men, making of herself a common prostitute.

Chapter 3  Judah Worse than Israel

In chapter 2 "Israel" means the whole nation. In this chapter it means the Northern Kingdom, which 300 years before had split off from Judah, and 100 years before had been carried away captive by the Assyrians. Judah, blind to the significance of Israel's fall, not only did not repent, but under the wicked reign of Mannasseh sunk to lower and lower depths of depravity. The reunion of Judah, and Israel in predicted (verses 17-19; also 50:4-5; Hosea 1:11) In verse 20 we find a metaphor of an adulterous wife.

Chapter 4  Approaching Desolation of Judah

This chapter describes the advance of the devastating Babylonian armies which destroyed Jerusalem in 606-605 BC. It may also, in part, refer to the Scythian invasion, which shortly preceded that of the Babylonians.

Chapter 5  Universal Depravity of Judah

Not one righteous man (verse 1) promiscuous sexual indulgence, even among the married, like animals (verses 7-8) scoffing at the prophet's warning (verse 12) wholly given to deceit, oppression and robbery (verses 26-28) satisfied with rottenness in the government (verses 30-31) For more on false prophets (verse 30) see chapter 23.

Chapter 6  Destruction from the North

A vivid prophetic description of the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonian invaders (verses 22-26) which later came to pass in Jeremiah’s own lifetime. Over and over (verses 16-19) he warns, which pathetic insistence, that repentance would be their last possible chance to escape ruin.

Chapter 7   Repentance their Only Hope

This is one of Jeremiah's heart-rending appeals for repentance. Based on God's amazing promise that if only the people would hearken to their God Jerusalem would never fall (verses 5-7) With all their abominable practices (9, 31) and even though they had erected idols in the Temple (verse 30) yet they had a superstitious regard for the Temple and its services, and seemed to think, that, come what may God would not let Jerusalem be destroyed because His Temple was there (verses 4, 10) "Queen of heaven" (verse 18) Ashtoreth, principal female Canaanite deity, whose worship was accompanied with the most degrading forms of immorality. "Hinnom'' (verses 31-32) the valley on the south side of Jerusalem, where children were burnt in sacrifice to Molech, afterward came to be used as the name of hell, "Gehenna"

Chapter 8  "The Harvest is Past"

Fully conscious of the futility of his appeals and rebukes, Jeremiah speaks of the impending desolation of Judah as if it were already accomplished (verse 20) False prophets (verses 10-11) their insistence that Jerusalem was in no danger constituted one of Jeremiah's most difficult problems (see notes on chapter 23)

Chapter 9  The Broken-Hearted Prophet

Jeremiah, a man of sorrows in the midst of a people abandoned to everything vile (8:6; 9:2-9) weeping day and night at the though of frightful impending retribution, moved about among them, begging, pleading, persuading, threatening, entreating, imploring that they turn from their wickedness. But all in vain.

Chapter 10   Jehovah the True God

It seems that the threat of Babylonian invasion spurred the people of Judah to great activity in the manufacture of idols, as if idols could save them. This gave Jeremiah occasion to remind them that what they were doing was further aggravation of their already appalling sin against God.

Chapter 11  The Broken Covenant

This chapter seems to belong to the period of reaction, after Josiah's great reformation, as told in 2 Kings 23 when the people had restored their idols. For Jeremiah's rebuke they had plotted his death (9:21) ­

Chapter 12  Jeremiah's Complaint

Contrasting his own suffering with the apparent prosperity of those against whom he was preaching, and who were ridiculing his threats (verse 4) Jeremiah complains of the ways of God. Then the promise of future restoration (verses 15-17)

Chapter 13   The Marred Girdle

Jeremiah made considerable use of symbols in his preaching (see for example 19:1) The girdle was probably richly decorated, a conspicuous part of Jeremiah's dress, as he walked about the streets of Jerusalem. Later, rotted, ragged and dirty, it served to attract attention. As curious crowds gathered around the prophet it gave his occasion to explain that even so Judah, with whom Jehovah had clothed Himself to walk among men, once beautiful and glorious, would be marred and cast off.

Chapters 14, 15  Jeremiah's Intercession

A prolonged drought had stripped the land of food. Jeremiah though hated, ridiculed and mocked, it made his heart ache to see them suffer. His intercession to God is as near an approach to the spirit of Christ as is to be found anywhere in the Old Testament. What is called "Jeremiah's Grotto" one of the retreats to which he was said to have retired to weep, was at tile foot of the knoll, on which 600 years later, the cross of Jesus is believed to have stood.

Chapter 16  Jeremiah Forbidden to Marry

The domestic life of the prophets, in some cases, was used to reinforce the burden of their preaching. Isaiah and Hosea were married, and named their children for their principal ideas. Jeremiah was commanded to remain single, as a sort of symbolic background to his persistent predictions of impending bloody slaughter: "What's the use of raising a family just to be butchered in the frightful carnage about to be loosed upon the inhabitants of Judah?” Again the promise of restoration is found in verses 14-15.

Chanter 17  Judah’s Sin Indelible

Their downfall inevitable. Yet the promise-is flung out again and again that if only they would turn to God, Jerusalem would remain forever (verses 24-25).

Chapter 18 The Potter's Clay

A very apt illustration of God’s power to alter the destiny of a nation. Jeremiah used it as the basis for another appeal to the wicked nation to amend its ways. But in vain.

Chapter 19  The Earthen Bottle

It may have been a vase of exquisite workmanship. Being broken in the presence of Jerusalem’s leaders was an impressive way to re-announcing impending ruin for the city.

Some other symbols which Jeremiah used to gain attention to his preaching were: the Marred Girdle (chapter 13), Abstinence from Marriage (chapter 16), the Potter s Clay (chapter 18), Bonds and bars (chapter 27), Buying a Field (chapter 32).

Chapter 20  Jeremiah Imprisoned

Jeremiah went from his vase-breaking rendezvous with the leaders in the valley of Hinnom to the Temple and began to proclaim there the same message to the people. For this Pashhur, one of the chief officers of the Temple, put him in prison. "Stocks" (verse 2) consisted of a wooden frame in which feet, neck and hands were fastened so as to hold the body in a distorted and painful position. It drew from Jeremiah an outburst of remonstrance with God. (verses 7-18)

Chapter 21  The Siege Begins

This chapter belongs to the last days of Jeremiah’s life. King Zedekiah, frightened at the approach of the Babylonian army, appeals to Jeremiah to intercede with God. Jeremiah advises Zedekiah to yield the city to the Babylonians, in order to save the people from death.

Chapter 22  Warning to King Jehoiakim

This chapter belongs to the reign of Jehoiakim, a wicked and cruel king. "Shallum" (verse 11) was Jehoahaz, who was carried to Egypt and died there (2 Kings 23:31-34) Jehoiakim's miserable death (verses 18-19) is hinted in 2 Kings 24:6; 2 Chronicles 36:6; In verse 30 we see that Jehoiachin is childless. He had children, out of whom came Christ, but he and his uncle Zedekiah were the last earthly kings to sit on David's throne. It was the end of the temporal kingdom of Judah.

Chapter 23  False Prophets

A bitter indictment of the leaders of God's people. Jeremiah's stinging arraignment of Davidic kings supplies a background for a pre-vision of the coming Davidic Messiah (23:5-8) As for the false prophets: they were the greatest hindrance to the acceptance of Jeremiah's preaching: in the name of God, delivering their own messages crying out ''Jeremiah is lying. We are the prophets of God, and God has told us that Jerusalem is safe!"

Chapter 24  The Two Baskets of Figs

The good figs representing the best of the people, who had been carried to Babylon in Jehoiachin's captivity (597 BC) and earlier including Ezekiel and Daniel; the bad figs, those who had remained in Jerusalem, minded, with Egypt's aid, to resist Babylon (2 Kings 24:10-20)

Chapter 25  Seventy Year's Captivity Predicted

This was in the early part of Jehoiakim's reign (verse l) about 604 BC. The remarkable thing is that the exact duration of Babylon's sway is foretold (verses 11-14; 29:10 2 Chronicles 36:21; Ezra 1:1; Daniel 9:2; Zechariah 7:5) An amazing prophecy. No possible way for Jeremiah to know that, except by direct revelation from God.

Chapter 26  Jeremiah's Trial before the Princes

His accusers were the priests and false prophets. But Jeremiah had friends among the princes, especially one Ahikam, who saved him from death. However, one of Jeremiah's fellow prophets, named Uriah, did not fare so well (verses 20-24)

Chapter 27, 28  Bonds and Bars

Jeremiah put a yoke, like that worn by oxen, on his neck, and went about the city, saying, Thus shall Babylon put a yoke on the necks of this people. On of the false prophets, Hananiah with brazen impudence, broke the yoke (28:10) and, as a punishment died within two months (28:1, 17)

Chapter 29  Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles

Written after Jehoiachin, and the best of the people, had been taken to Babylon, advising them to be peaceful and obedient captives, and promising return, after 70 years (verse 10) to their homeland. But even in Babylon the false prophets kept up their fight against Jeremiah (verses 21-32)

In Chapters 30 - 33 we have many beautiful and glorious Gospel promises given to the believing people of God who listened to the Word of the Lord in repentance and faith.

In reading and studying these four chapters we are to remember the con­cepts of:

1)      direct prophecy,

2)      prophetic perspective,

3)      type and anti-type,

4)      the extended and wondrous use of vivid imagery,

5)      the fact that Zion, Jerusalem, Judah, Israel, Ephraim, Joseph, etc., refer again and again to the true Israel, to the believing people of God, the Church, the Communion of Saints,

6)      the concept of 'the day of the Lord' and 'days are coming', etc., refers to the days of the Messiah and/or of His work before the birth of Christ.

The place of these four chapters in the center of the Book of Jeremiah reminds us that we must always keep the message of the Gospel at the center of our faith, of our preaching and teaching, and of our lives.

The frequency of the statement 'says the Lord' and 'words that the Lord spake' assures us that the promises will come to fulfillment.

Chapters 30, 31  A Song of Restoration

For both Israel and Judah, with Messianic fore gleams, commanded of God to be written (verse 2) so that it could be kept to compare with the events of after ages.

The New Covenant (31:31-34) The Old Testament is the story of God's dealings with the Hebrew nation on the basis of the Covenant given at Mt. Sinai. Here is a definite prediction that the Mosaic Covenant would be superceded by Another Covenant. Displacement of the Mosaic Covenant by the Christian Covenant is the main thesis of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Chapter 32  Jeremiah Buys a Field

This was the year before Jerusalem fell. The burning of the city and desolation of Judah was almost at hand. Amid the gloom and despair of the hour Jeremiah was commanded of God to buy a field, in public ceremony, and put away the deed for safe keeping, to emphasize his prediction that the captives would return, and the land again would be cultivated.

Chapter 33  The "Branch"

Of the 20 Davidic kings who reigned over Judah during~ the 400 years between David and the Captivity, most of them were very bad. Only a few were worthy the name of David. In chapter 22 and 23 Jeremiah bitterly indicated this family line of kings to whom God had given the promise of an ETERNAL THRONE. Here, in chapter 33, he repeats with fuller explanation, the prophecy of ONE GREAT KING called "The Branch'' in whom the promise would be fulfilled.

Chapter 34  Zedekiah's Proclamation of Liberty

During the siege, Zedekiah proclaimed freedom to all slaves, evidently to gain God’s favor; but failed to enforce it.

Chapter 35  The Example of the Rechabites

Rechabites were a tribe, descended from the time of Moses (1 Chronicles 2:55; Numbers 10:29-32; Judges 1:16; 2 Kings 10:15, 23) who through the centuries, had adhered to their ascetic life.

Chapter 36  The King Burns Jeremiah's Book

Jeremiah, at this time, had been prophesying for 23 years, from the 13th year of Josiah to the 4th year of Jehoiakim. He is now commanded to gather these prophecies into a book, so that they could be read to the people, for at the time, Jeremiah himself was not free to speak to the people (verse 5). It took a year or so to write the book (verses l, 9). The reading of the book make a profound impression on some of the princes, but the king brazenly and defiantly burned the book. Then Jeremiah wrote it all over again.

Chapter 37, 38  Jeremiah's Imprisonment

During the siege, when the Babylonians had temporarily with­drawn, Jeremiah, probably because of the scarcity of food in Jerusalem, attempted to leave the city to go to his home in Anthorth. This, because of his persistent advice to yield to the king of Babylon, looked, to his enemies, as if it might be an effort to join the Babylonians. Thus, on suspicion that Jeremiah was a traitor, working in the interest of the Babylonians, he was imprisoned. Zedekiah was friendly to Jeremiah, but he was a weak king.

Chapter 39  Jerusalem Burned

This is told also in chapter 52, and in 2 Kings 25, where Nebuchadnezzar, knowing of Jeremiah’s life long admonition to Jerusalem to submit to him, now offered to confer on Jeremiah any honor that he would accept, even a worthy place in the Babylonian court (verses 11-14; 40:1-6) See also 2 Chronicles 36.

In Chapters 40-45, we have events and prophecies after the fall of Jerusalem.  The section includes Jeremiah’s ministry among the remnant left in Judah, and his ministry among the refugees in Egypt.

Chapter 40, 41  Gedaliah Made Governor

Gedaliah, whom Nebuchadnezzar appointed governor over Judah, was son of Ahikam, Jeremiah's friend (40:5; 26:24). But within three months he was assassinated (30:2; 41:1)

Chapter 42 ,43  Departure for Egypt

The remnant, fearing reprisal by Nebuchadnezzar, for the slaying of Gedalith, fled to Egypt, though explicitly warned of God that it would mean extinction. They took Jeremiah along.

Chapter 44  Jeremiah's Final Appeal

This last effort to induce them to abandon their idolatry failed. They were defiant. The "queen of heaven" (verse 17) was Ashtoreth, whose worship was with acts of immorality, in this case with their husband's consent (verses 15, 19)

The place and manner of Jeremiah's death are not known. One tradition is that he was stoned to death in Egypt. Another is that he was taken from Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar, with Baruch, to Babylon, and died there.

Chapter 45  Baruch

Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe, was a man of prominence, with high ambitions (verse 5). Was recognized as having great influence with Jeremiah (43:3)

Chapter 46  Egypt

A description of the defeat of the Egyptian arm at Carchemish (605 BC) in the middle period of Jeremiah's life (verses 1-12); and a later prophecy that Nebuchadnezzar would invade Egypt (verses 13-26), which is an expansion of 43:8-13. Over 100 years earlier Isaiah had prophesied Assyrian invasion of Egypt (Isaiah 18-20) Ezekiel also had something to say about Egypt (Ezekiel 19 to 32)

Chapter 47  The Philistines

This prophecy, foretelling the desolation of Philistia by Babylon, was fulfilled 20 years later when King Nebuchadnezzar took Judah. Other prophets who paid their respects to the Philistines were Isaiah (14:28-32); Amos (1:6-8); Ezekiel (25:15-17) Zephaniah (2:4-7) and Zechariah (9:1-7)

Chapter 48  Moab

Moab is located along the eastern shore of the Dead Sea The Moabites are descendants of Lot, Abraham's nephew.  They were habitual enemies of Israel and Judah.

Jeremiah appears to be indebted to Isaiah, chapters 15 and 16 for some of his message.

Two truths occur again and again in this chapter:

1)      desolation and great destruction on Moab, and

2)      the cause of the desolation and destruction'

If we think that this is too long a tirade against an ancient and for­gotten people, we must remind ourselves that its repeated warnings have been ignored. Pride, trust in self and not in the Lord, and ungodliness bring about the downfall of nations to this day.

A picture of impending desolation of Moab. Moab helped Nebuchadnezzar against Judah, but later was devastated at his hands in 582 BC. For centuries the land had lain desolate and sparsely inhabited, the ruins of its many cities testifying to its ancient populous ness. Its restoration (verse 47), and that of Ammon (49:6) may have been fulfilled in their absorption into the general Arab race, some of whom were present on the day of Pentecost, when the Gospel was first proclaimed to the world (Acts 2:11). Or, it may mean that the land will yet again be prosperous. Other prophecies about Moab are found in Isaiah 15, 16; Ezekiel 25:8-11; Amos 2:1-3; Zephaniah 2:8-11

Chapter 49  Ammon,  Edom, Syria, Hazor, Elam

A prediction that Nebuchadnezzar would conquer these nations which he did. Ammon (see under Ezekiel 25:1-11). Edom (see under the prophet Obadiah)

These prophecies regarding people and nations centuries ago reveal to us today:

1)      The sovereignty of the Lord God. He rules the nations.

2)      The cause(s) of the destruction of peoples and nations. Idolatry and worship of false god(s), dispossessing people of their land' boastful pride, trust in one's own riches' wisdom' and might.

3)      The Lord's judgments are always just. The patient Lord does punish, very severely if necessary.

4)      The Lord's judgments however must always serve the Lord's plan of salvation, His grace and redemption.

Chapter 50, 51  Prediction of the Fall of Babylon

The fall and perpetual desolation of Babylon is here predicted, in language matching the grandeur of the theme (51:37-43), as Isaiah had done earlier (Isaiah 13:17-22). The Medes, leading a great company of nations, are named as the conquerors, (50:9; 51:11; 27, 38)

These two chapters pronouncing the doom of Babylon, were copied in a separate book, and sent to Babylon, in a deputation headed by kinky Zedekiah, seven years before Nebuchadnezzar burned the city of Jerusalem (51:59-64). The book was to be read publicly, and then, in solemn ceremony, sunk in the Euphrates river, with these words, "Thus shall Babylon sink, and not rise.

In Chapter 51: 59 - 64 we are given the date of these two chapters and the use to be made of them. The date is the 4th year of the reign of Zedekiah, when the power of Babylon was at its highest. Jeremiah in prophecy saw the future as actually having taken place.

In prose and poetry Jeremiah draws concentric circles around a central topic: the destruction of Babylon, the necessary preliminary to the restoration of exiled Israel, and the reasons for that destruction. Babylon has served the purpose given to it by the Lord, namely, chastening rebellious Israel so that believing Israel would continue to serve its purpose and role in the Lord's plan of salvation.

In these two chapters we have a good example of the way Hebrew poetry was arranged - not in straight progression of thought' but in concentric circles, each new circle adding a new truth to the fact previously presented and often repeated.

Chapter 52 The Captivity of Judah

Chapter 52 gives us an account of Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, of the destruction of Jerusalem, of some additional deportations, and of the release of Jehoiachin from prison. Much of the same material - with some additions and with some deletions is in 2 Kings 24: 18 to 25: 30.

Did Jeremiah, or did Baruch, or did someone else write this chapter? Jeremiah 51: 64b seems to indicate that Jeremiah did not. According to one tradition, the Jews slew Jeremiah in Egypt. According to a Jewish tradition Nebuchadnezzar, after conquering Egypt, 568-567 BC, took Jeremiah and Baruch to Babylon, where Jeremiah died peacefully. He could have lived to see the release of Jehoiachin from prison by Evil-Merodach, the son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar, 562-561 BC.

In Chapter 44: 28, we have the words, "All the remnant of Judah, who came to the land of Egypt to live, shall know whose word will stand, mine or theirs."   This chapter 52 is the final statement declaring that the word of the Lord is true and that His word stood.

For more graphic detail of this even see also 2 Kings 24, 25.

Concluding Note

The one great truth that we are to learn from the Book of Jeremiah is that we are to listen to the Word of the Lord, obey His voice, believe in Him, and worship and follow Him in faithful service. To all who do belongs the enjoyment of the Lord's blessings. However, if we, like the kings of Judah and the majority of the people, refuse to obey the voice of the Lord, we can expect a judgment similar to what befell Judah and Jerusalem

May we as individuals and as a nation learn the message of Jeremiah. May we be modern Jeremiahs, people of obedience to the Lord.


Halley’s Bible Handbook 24th Edition, Zondervan Publishing House Grand Rapids, MI. 1965 pp.307-319

Jeremiah – The Prophet of Obedience a study compiled by Pr. Henry C. Lubben who was at the time Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Rock Island, IL