4 Lesson Series

The Book of Jeremiah records the frequently dark prophecies of a man from the priestly city of Anathoth, whom God called to a difficult ministry while the prophet was still in his youth.

Yirmeyahu or Yirmeyah literally means “Yahweh throws,” perhaps in the sense of laying a foundation. It may effectively mean, “Yahweh establishes, appoints, or sends.” The Latin form of the name is Jeremias.

Jeremiah, who has been called “the weeping prophet,” labors for more than forty years proclaiming a message of doom to the stiff-necked and unrepentant people of Judah. In his long ministry he wrote a long book; Jeremiah contains more words than any other book in the Bible. And as the people of Judah and their king rejected his message, it became even longer (Jer. 36:32). For all these reasons, Jeremiah is a heartbroken prophet with a heartbreaking message. Despised and persecuted by his countrymen, Jeremiah bathes his harsh prophecies in tears of compassion.

Jeremiah often rebukes his people that they have “forgotten God” and have refused to listen for His voice. The persistent prophet accuses both religious and civil leaders of abandoning God’s agenda and substituting a morally bankrupt system that they have artificially contrived. Through his uncompromising sermons and memorable object lessons, he faithfully declares that surrender to God’s will is the only way to escape calamity—and the only route to certain blessing.

Themes: Jeremiah decries the apostasy of God’s chosen people, predicts their bondage at the hands of the Babylonians, and looks forward to their eventual restoration through the mercy and grace of God.

Author: Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah.

Time: The Book of Jeremiah covers a dark period in the history of Judah, beginning with the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah (c. 627 B.C.), Judah’s last good and godly king (for whom Jeremiah issued a deeply emotional lament in 2 Chr. 35:25), until several years after the Babylonian captivity (c. 586 B.C.).

Structure: Jeremiah’s broken heart causes him to write a broken book, which is difficult to arrange either chronologically or topically. In its current form, the book begins with a description of the prophet’s divine call (chapter 1); then records several warnings and exhortations to the rebellious nation (chapters 2–35); describes the hardships of the persecuted prophet (chapters 36–38); chronicles the destruction of Jerusalem and the nation’s subsequent ruin (chapters 39–45); declares judgment against many surrounding nations (chapters 46–51); and ends with a historical postscript (chapters 52).

Charles F. Stanley, The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles, 2005), Je.


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