Son of Hilkiah one of the priests of the town of Anathoth. It was a city set aside for priestly families and was very close to Jerusalem. The Lord spoke to Jeremiah several times during the reign of Josiah in the 13thyr, Jehorakim and Zekediah.
THE CALL OF JEREMIAH (1:4-19)
The Lord selected Jeremiah before he gave him life; he selected him to be a prophet to the nation. This meant that God ignored natural or acquired qualifications. It also indicated that Jeremiah`s mission was for all people irrespective of their origins, sex and status.
Jeremiah tried to resist God`s message by saying that he was too young, he didn’t know how to speak and lacked experience. This portrayed human inadequacy. The Lord promised to protect him.
The Lord stretched out his hand and touched Jeremiah`s lips. In this way, Jeremiah was given power to speak on the Lord`s behalf.
Jeremiah was given authority over nations and Kingdoms to uproot, pull down, destroy, to over throw, to build and to plant. This portrayed that Jeremiah`s message would be important for all nations not Just Judah and Babylon.
Jeremiah witnessed to visions, the visions proved that he was called by God and they also gave him courage to speak for the Lord.
He saw a branch of “An Almone tree” it was believed that the Almone tree was always the 1st to regain in the spring season. In verse 12, the Lord said that God was watching over Jeremiah`s action, to see his word taking root among the disobedient people.
He also saw a pot boiling in the North and it was about to trip over. This portrayed that destruction was to come from the North because of their syncretic nature. They were to be attacked by other nations, their Kings were to set up their thrones at the gates of Jerusalem and around its walls.
Jeremiah was also warned that he was to find difficulties in his ministry. The Kings of Judah, the officials, the priests and the people were to be against him but the Lord was to give him strength to resist any opposition, he was to be like a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall.
TEMPLE SUMMON 7
A sermon is a talk on moral or religious subject usually given by a religious leader during a religious service.
This was the most important event in Jeremiah`s life. He was sent by God to the temple of Judah where people used to go to worship.
Jeremiah preached to the people, priests and other officials. The temple was being misused by the people at the time of Jeremiah. There were many evils like sacred prostitution, idolatry, empty sacrifices. The worshipers lacked genuine intentions etc. the following show what the prophet talked about in the temple.
Jeremiah condemned those who justified their weakness by believing in deceitful words like “We are safe, we are safe “This is the Lord`s temple, this is the Lord`s Temple. Jeremiah challenged their Ideology because they were going to be destroyed by the Lord.
Jeremiah`s concern was to encourage religious purity. He encouraged the people to change their ways so as to assume safety from the lord.
The prophet challenged the so-called Israelites and announced that they would be punished irrespective of the temple`s presence.
According to Jeremiah, the temple rights had been degraded, the people failed to listen and respect the Lord`s messengers.
The prophet denounced their sins, he condemned the oppression of foreigners and orphans accusing the worshippers of injustice, murder, adultery, theft, pagan worship, sacrifice to bath. The prophet stressed that there was to be room for repentance.
The people had made the temple a den of robbers which was a blasphemous act to Yahweh. In view of their sinful acts therefore the temple was no longer a shelter of their expected security.
The religious leaders were misleading the people, they were also involved in immoral acts during worship i.e. they used to worship and offered to idols.
Jeremiah also emphasized that there was to be national lament all over Jerusalem because the Lord was going to reject all the sinful people. They built an altar called Topheth as the valley of Hinnom so that they would sacrifice their sons and daughters.
Child sacrifice was forbidden in Israel where the ancient offering of first born was replaced with that of animals, the valley of Hinnom was to turn into valley of slaughter. They were to bury people there because there would be nowhere else to bury them. Some corpses were to be food for the birds and wild animals and there was to be no one to scare them off. This was against the Israelite`s tradition because to them burial rights were very important.
He condemned Israel`s external religious ceremonies and practices which were different from what was expected of them. According to Jeremiah external religious expression was meant to reflect the inner attitude of the worshipers to their God and fellow men.
THE PEOPLE`S REACTION 26:4 FF
From his prophecies concerning the inevitable destruction, the people thought he was acting against the law. They looked at him as a threat to their life because he challenged what they treasured most.
The people looked at him as a person who minimized their traditions and even encroached on their freedom.
They also looked at him as a person who was against the Jewish Nationals. They accused him of being a traitor. He had no spirit of nationalism for his country and he was seen as a sympathizer to Israel`s enemies.
The religious leaders falsely believed that everything was okay; he was seized by the priests and threatened with death for apparent blasphemy. A case was filed against him in the presence of all speaking and acting against the Lord`s name for evil purposes yet he was telling the truth about the Lord`s nature and his relationship with his people on the grounds.
However, Jeremiah was saved by the elders and Shaphan`s son who advised the leaders not to kill Jeremiah. They used the example of Micah who prophesied in Jerusalem during the time of Hezekiah he prophesied about the Lord`s judgment on the city. Hezekiah respected Micah`s message and he also tried to please the Lord. God changed his mind about the disaster. The elders advised the King to use the same experience, they influenced the Kings sense of judgment and Jeremiah was released. He became an influential figure who frequently aroused fierce opposition.
Chapter 16:1-14 Jeremiah was commanded by God not to marry or even have children being unmarried is unusual thing in ancient Israel. This was sign from the Lord to show that all normal life in Judah with seize. It also emphasized the destruction which was on the way.
He was also not to enter a house where people were mourning he was forbidden from participating in normal funeral participation as a sign that death would be so wide spread in Judah such that mourning will become impossible.
Chapter 19 Jeremiah was commanded by the Lord to buy a clay Jar from the porter`s place. He gathered all the elders and priests to go to the valley of Hinnom. He was to perform a sign. The Lord commanded him to break the Jar in front of those people. This is focused on destruction. The people had abandoned God, defiled his holy place by offering to idols of the valley of Himmon will turn into valley of slaughter. The Lord was to frustrate all their plans, let all their enemies triumph over them and kill them in battle. The Lord will give their corpses to the birds and wild animals as food. The people were to face God`s wrath in form of exile as illustrated by the broken pieces of the Jar.
THE CONFLICT BETWEEN JEREMIAH AND PASHHUR.
Passhur was a son of Immer and was a priest during Jeremiah`s time. He was just a liability to the people. (20:1)
A comment about the conflict between Pashhur and Jeremiah, It stemmed from Jeremiah`s prophecy in Chapter 7:1 ff which aroused fierce opposition from the priest. Having heard what Jeremiah had prophesized Pashhur criticized him for having preached in the court of the Lord`s house without his consent.
Jeremiah prophesied destruction of Israel which would come from God as a punishment to the rebellious people. The people had defied the holy place with idols.
Jeremiah openly exposed the weakness of the religious leaders in Judah. He condemned them for associating with idols.
The prophet confessed that Pashhur`s name to terror “everywhere” God was to make him a terror to himself and to the friends.
Jeremiah also confirmed that God was to put the people of Judah under Babylonian King, will take some as prisoners and put others to death. The enemies will plunder all their wealth.
JEREMIAH`S REACTION 20:7
Jeremiah tried to complain to the Lord because he was mocked by everybody.
Jeremiah was presented as a bad man and very dangerous to the government 20:10-11.
In 20:14-18 Jeremiah was in dire pain just like Job.
Jeremiah cursed the day he was born and also the happiness that surrounded those who witnessed it.
Jeremiah was distinguished as a true prophet of God, he was greatly motivated to continue with his work in the end he rejoiced and praised God in confidence that God will deliver him from such a state.
His complaints were all silenced and turned into thanks giving.
King Zedekiah regularly consulted Jeremiah in the last days of his reign as the Babylonian threat grew stronger. Jeremiah was very consistent and stressed that it was not time for deliverance but for the punishment.
Zedekiah`s army was to be defeated, God was to fight against them with all his might, anger, kill everyone living in the city of people and all the animals will die of terrible diseases. The survivors would be captured by Neb.
Neb was just used as an instrument of judgment and rejecting the covenant law. He gave them a chance to make a choice between the way that leads to life and the way that leads to death. Those who would surrender to the Babylonians were to escape death.
Jeremiah condemned the Kings who neglected their responsibilities. The Lord was to anoint a new King from David`s line who will rule wisely and do what is right and just throughout the land.
In Verse 9-14, he expressed disappointment with the cult prophets whose lives were so wicked and yet they continued to confess that they were serving the Lord. Jeremiah accused the prophets of the following;
- They used to follow their own imaginations and gave people false messages.
- They lacked personal knowledge with God
- They used to tell lies
- They displayed moral behavior that was contrary to the moral claims of God.
Jeremiah witnessed a basket of figs placed in front of the temple. The first basket contained good figs and the other bad figs (too bad to be eaten). The good figs represented the people who ever taken away to Babylonia. The Lord was to treat them with kindness, watch over them and was to take them back to their land. The bad figs represented the people who refused the punishment i.e. those who looked forward to allying Egypt to fight the Babylonians. This was a rebellion against God.
Chapter 28:1 FF
Jeremiah used to wear a yoke in his neck and it signified the siege. Prophet Hananiah deliberated humiliated him when he broke the yoke in the presence of the people. This symbolized that the Lord had broken the power of the King of Babylon. Hanania promised that Babylonian pressure would soon be lifted. This reminds us of the false prophets who normally prophecy what people are interested in hearing.
Jeremiah stressed that God was going to use the Babylonians as agents of destruction to punish the wicked people on account that he told the people not to resist but to surrender to the army so that they could be free. In this way Jeremiah was looked at as a traitor.
Jeremiah`s message of hope, just like any other prophet, Jeremiah also had an idea of restoration (a remnant shall return). He convinced the people that God was aware that they were suffering by comparing their level of pain to a woman in labor who suffers extremely but she rejoices after giving birth. This portrayed that their pain was temporary. The Lord was going to rescue them and their wounds were to be healed.
Jeremiah prophetic life explained in a video below.
THE NEW COVENANT CHAPTER 31:31-34
This was the most important passage in the whole book, it’s the fulfillment of the prophecy which God made with his people on Mountain Sinai. It indirectly refers to the return of the Exiles from Babylon
A COMMENT ABOUT THE COVENANT
- The Lord will put the law within them i.e. he was to write them on their hearts.
- The Lord alone will be their God and they will be his people i.e. the whole community will remember and acknowledge complete monotheism.
- No one will teach his fellow countrymen the law i.e. there will be no need for teachers to explain to the people issues concerning God. People will learn about God by themselves through faith, obedience and commitment.
- All people will know God from the Least to the greatest. In the new covenant God would forgive their sins and will no longer remember their wrongs. A new kind of forgiveness was possible because it was made once for all.
- In this new covenant people will no longer fill separated from God by evil and guilt.
- The new covenant will be based on the great law of love. This law will be written on people`s hearts and so they will be able to share love in their community.
- In the new covenant God will deal directly with his people.
- The new covenant will bring universal peace i.e. it will be for all people irrespective of race, rank, sex, social status, external appearance etc.
- The new covenant will operate on an internal principle i.e. personal reflection on God but external things like offerings and sacrifice.
- The new covenant will be of a superior kind i.e. it will super side all old covenants, will be everlasting and respected unlike the old ones which the people failed to keep.
FULFILLMENT OF JEREMIAH`S PROPHECY IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST
Jesus came as a righteous ruler from the line of King David. He was sent by God to execute Justice, through him God made a covenant with all believers.
Jesus established his Kingdom and sealed it will his own blood. He also inaugurated the holy Eucharist (MK 14:22-24)
Jesus brought Universal redemption as a central aspect in Christian teaching. This was promoted by Jeremiah in 31:31-34
Christ covenant was intended to bring a close personal relationship between Christ and the people. This was also promoted by Jeremiah.
Jesus taught people the value of the Holy Spirit. Jeremiah also stressed that the law of God would be put in people`s hearts.
Jesus also summarized the law into 2 basic laws which resolve around the principle of love.
Chapter 32: Jeremiah was locked up in the courtyard of the Royal Palace and was accused of saying that the King of Babylonia was going to capture his city.
Jeremiah was commanded by the Lord to buy a piece of land but it was during the time when Judah was in the hands of the Babylonians and so the transaction seemed to be meaningless. This portrayed hope for the future, normal life will in due course be returned in Judah and possibly members of his family would return from exile and claim their land.
Chapter 35 Jeremiah was commanded by the Lord to make a prophetic sign of the Rechabites. These were descendants of Jonadab son of Rechab. Jonadab was strongly opposed to Baal worship and he put his descendants under a vow to live in the simplest way possible. They were not supposed to drink wine, were not to cultivate or even live in houses he performed a prophetic sign with them before some temple officials. He offered them wine which they refused to take in respect to the vows they made with their ancestors. Jeremiah compared their level of faith with the Israelites unfaithfulness. The Lord promised that Jonadab son of Rechab will always have a male descendant to serve him but he was to punish the Israelites because of their wickedness.
CHAPTER 39: THE FALL OF JERUSALEM
The Babylonian army completely surrounded the city and weakened all the people. The Babylonians took over the city; they pursued Zedekiah who was trying to escape. He was captured near Jericho and was deprived of his sight.
Zedekiah witnessed execution of his sons who were captured with him and he was taken as a prisoner to Babylon.
The Babylonians burnt the city, destroyed buildings and they also killed some officials. Other survivors were taken to Babylonia`s prisoners.
Jeremiah survived he was then very old and was taken over by the Babylonians, the kindness of the King of Babylon to Jeremiah enabled him to remain among those who were left behind in Judah and he was able to continue with his ministry among them. He remained faithful to God and to his prophetic ministry till the end of his life.
SINS CONDEMNED BY JEREMIAH
- People offered sacrifices to idols. They used to bake cakes for the goddess they called Queen of heaven and they also used to offer wine to the small gods 7:18
- People worshiped idols. They placed their disgusting idols in the temple built for the worship of the Lord and they defiled it.
- They constructed altars to Baal in the valley of Hinom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to the god Molech.
- Prophets spoke in the name of Baal i.e. prophet Anania.
- They used to steal other people`s property.
- They killed innocent people.
- They engaged in sexual immorality.
- They used to tell lies under oath.
- Rulers neglected the people, scattered them and even chased them away from the area.
ILLUSTRATION TO POTRAY DOOM
The lord was to bring destruction from the North to illustrate this Jeremiah had to put on a sack cloth and wipe because of the fierce anger from the Lord.
Judah will be surrounded by enemies. People will be killed by knives from forests for failing to do what was right.
The Lord was ready to destroy the people and their temple because of their wickedness. His anger will be like a fire that no one can put out.
The valley of Hinom will turn into valley of slaughter. They will bury people there because there will be nowhere else to bury them.
The Lord will put an end to the sounds of Joy i.e. the wedding feasts.
He will let Neb capture all the Israelites.
The lord will expose them to everlasting shame and disgrace that will never be forgotten.
MESSAGES OF CONSOLATION (HOPE)
God promised them a new King from the line of King David and under the new King people were to live in peace.
God was aware that they were suffering and was making plans to heal them and make them freemen again 30:12-17
Jeremiah stressed a new relationship between God and his people. God will put an end to co-operate guilt i.e. people suffering because of the sins of their ancestors. In this case, each individual will be responsible for his own mistakes.
Exiles were to be restored back to their land and thereafter they will be happy (good and bad figs)
He advised people to surrender to the Babylonians by respecting their orders because Babylonians were used as agents of destruction to discipline God`s people.
The prophet warned them about the dangers of false prophets because they were likely to pursue them to turn against the Babylonians. (Anania)
According to Jeremiah, Judah and Israel were to worship their God again on a holy mountain. They would be blessed with God`s gifts inform of corn, wine, olive oil, cattle etc.
They will be like a well-watered garden. They will have everything they need 31:12
He also emphasized a new relationship between God and his people through the new covenant 31:31-34
Jeremiah had to buy a field 32:1-FF. This was symbolic in nature as it focused on future restoration and prosperity.
God promised to forgive all their sins and will forget all their wrongs.
RELEVANCE OF THE BOOK TO CHRISTIANS TODAY
- Christians should worship one God
- Christians should seek for forgiveness
- Christians should respect god`s servants i.e. Anania assumed a position he didn’t want and offended God`s servant.
- Christians should offer valid sacrifices.
- Christians should have the ability to distinguish between false and true prophets.
- Religious leaders should always act as role models to Christians i.e. Jeremiah openly challenged the religious leaders in the temple sermon.
- Christians should always endure in the face of challenging situations.
- Christians should respect worshiping places i.e. Jeremiah observed that they were using the holy place as a hiding Centre for wrong doers.
- Christians should always seek for the Lord`s protection. They had foreign alliances and also trusted the shade which didn’t help them.