Jeremiah was a prophet who warned of the impending destruction of Judah during the reigns of the last four kings of Judah. He was rejected, despised and mistreated for carrying God’s message. But in the end, Jeremiah’s prophecies were fulfilled.
Jeremiah was the son of a man named Hilquias, from a family of priests. One day, God spoke to Jeremiah and said that he had chosen him as a prophet . Jeremiah felt too young to be a prophet but God guaranteed that he would always be with him and give him the right words ( Jeremiah 1: 6-8 ).
God warned Jeremiah that the people were rebellious and would reject his message. But God would give him the strength to face all opposition and persecution without giving up ( Jeremiah 1: 17-19 ).
Look here: what does the Bible say about prophecy?
Jeremiah did not have an easy life. God commanded him not to marry or form a family, because children born at that time would have no future ( Jeremiah 16: 2-4 ). He also did not attend parties or attend funerals, as a sign that God had abandoned his people. Jeremiah’s life was very lonely.
Because of his message of punishment and destruction, Jeremiah was considered a traitor, who was trying to demoralize the people. He was arrested several times for his preaching, was mistreated and some people even tried to kill him! ( Jeremiah 20: 1-2 ; Jeremiah 26: 8-9 ) But in the midst of all that suffering, God protected Jeremiah’s life .
Because of his many sufferings, Jeremiah became sad and depressed. On one occasion, he even wanted to die ( Jeremiah 20:18 ). But Jeremiah continued to trust God and He gave him the strength to continue .
Who wrote the Book of Jeremiah?
The authorship of the book is attributed to the prophet himself. It is believed that Jeremiah started the book by narrating to Baruch, as the prophet was imprisoned during Jehoiakim’s reign in 605 BC Some scholars disagree with this thesis and claim that the writings started between 626 or 627 BC when Jeremiah was still young.
Traditionally, the Book of I and II Kings is attributed to the prophet Jeremiah , with the exception of the last chapter of II Kings which was possibly written by someone who lived in Babylon. The prophet’s last days were in Egypt.
See: Who wrote the Bible?
Another book that is attributed to Jeremiah is the Book of Lamentations, popularly known as “Lamentations of Jeremiah”. Despite the strong connection, most historians disagree with Jeremiah’s authorship of the Book of Lamentations. In addition to literary difference – one informal and the other scholar – there are divergent views on the same subject between the two books.
Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry
When Jeremiah began his ministry, King Josiah was making reforms, trying to get the people to worship God again. But people’s hearts were turned to idolatry and there was no real transformation. Therefore, God used Jeremiah to warn that the punishment was coming . When Josiah died in combat, Jeremiah wrote a lament for him ( 2 Chronicles 35:25 ).
Jeremiah continued to warn the people of the punishment that was coming over the reigns of the next three kings. But these kings were not like Josiah. They were idolatrous and did not fear God. Instead of listening to Jeremiah, they saw him as a threat. The people continued in idolatry and sin, ignoring Jeremiah.
Jeremiah saw the fulfillment of part of his prophecies. He was in Jerusalem when Nebuchadnezzar conquered and destroyed it ( Jeremiah 52: 12-14 ). He saw the punishment of the people and suffered a lot from it, because he cared for his country. But even after seeing the prophecies fulfilled, the people continued to ignore Jeremiah’s warnings.
See also: who was Nebuchadnezzar?
Even so, Jeremiah did not give up and continued to rebuke the people for their sins. He called them to repentance, to forgive sins. Jeremiah also prophesied that, after 70 years, God would bring restoration. He also prophesied of a new covenant , which one day God would establish in people’s hearts ( Jeremiah 31: 33-34 ). This prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus.