640-609 JOSIAH

        633 – beginning of decline of Assyrian power

        Josiah able to reassert Judah’s independence

        626 – birth of JEREMIAH

        621 – beginning of Deuteronomic reforms

        612 – Babylonians capture Nineveh

            Are now the dominant power in region

            Nabopolassar (626-605)

        609 – Josiah killed in battle against Egypt



        Son of Josiah, deposed after 3 months by Egyptians



        Son of Josiah, put on throne by Egyptian army

        Undid many of the reforms of Josiah

        Was bitterly opposed by JEREMIAH

        609 – JEREMIAH delivers "Temple Sermon"

        605 – Battle of Carchemish makes Babylonian power


        605 – Jehoiakim switches allegiance to Babylonia

        605 – JEREMIAH dictates scroll to Baruch

                Scroll read to public

                Jehoiakim has scroll burned

                JEREMIAH forced into hiding

        605 – Nebuchadrezzar II becomes King of Babylonia

                Son of Nabopolassar

                Reigns until 562

       602 – Jehoiakim defies Babylonia

            Because of pro-Egypt advisors

            Judah invaded by marauding bands

       600 – JEREMIAH arrested by Pashur

            For prophesy of destruction of Jerusalem

            Beaten and placed in stocks overnight

    598 – full fledged invasion by Babylonian army

        Jerusalem besieged (except for one brief


JEREMIAH preaches non-resistance

    598 – Jehoiakim dies



        Son of Jehoiakim

        Surrendered Jerusalem to Babylonians

        Jehoiachin and many elite exiled to Babylon


598-587 ZEDEKIAH

        Another son of Josiah, placed on throne by


        Was very friendly to JEREMIAH

            Often sought his counsel

        But eventually gave in to pro-Egypt faction

    588 – Babylonian army invades again

    588 – Siege of Jerusalem

        JEREMIAH counsels surrender, is arrested

    587 – Jerusalem is conquered

        Zedekiah is taken prisoner

            His sons killed

            General exile enforced

        Judah made a province of Babylonia


587 – 582 GEDALIAH (Governor of Province)

        Member of a prominent Jewish family (but not royal)

        Seems to have been some local recovery

        JEREMIAH counseled cooperation

    582 – Gedaliah assassinated by Ishmael

        Led a group of "super patriots"

        Many Jews feared reprisals from Babylonia

            Wanted to escape to Egypt

            JEREMIAH argued against it

        They went anyway and took him and

            Baruch with them




Probably know more about Jeremiah than almost any other figures in the Old Testament

        It is a long book with lots of personal information

Birthplace: Anathoth

        A small village about 2-3 miles northeast of Jerusalem

        He may have been from a priestly family but he never

                was one himself

        Probably raised in "rural" setting but very familiar

                with Jerusalem – whole prophetic career was

                in the city

Called to prophesy as a youth   (1:4-10)

        Tried to turn it down (ala Moses) 

        Was heavily influenced by Hosea

Some disagreement about dates of his activity

        (Traditional theory was that he began preaching

        in 626, most modern scholars believe he was

        born in 626 and started preaching around 609)

Was probably disappointed in Reforms of Josiah

        Seems to have been opposed to centralization of

            worship in Jerusalem

        Was skeptical of value of sacrifice

        Was opposed to "ritual" replacing morality

609 – "The Temple Sermon" (7:1-15)

        Jeremiah’s first significant public prophecy

                Was arrested (probably in middle of speech)

                        At urging of priests and temple prophets

                        Was publicly tried and acquitted

                Seems to have had public sympathy

                        Precedent of Micah was used to defend him

                        Also had support of some powerful leaders

                                Esp. Ahikam

        Sermon made Jeremiah a public figure

Prophecies condemned false religion & idolatry

Also spoke out for social justice

Basic message: Judah must repent and reform or God

        will send Babylonians to punish them

605 – Jeremiah dictated prophecy to Baruch

            Was read aloud in the Temple, then to the Princes,

            and finally to King Jehoiakim (the first record

                    of any such written public prophecy!)

            Jehoiakim had the scroll burned

            Jeremiah and Baruch went into hiding

            Jeremiah redictated it with revisions

                Probably became the nucleus for the Book


Jeremiah continued to prophesy destruction of Jerusalem

                (though he really didn't want to: 20:7-9)

        As punishment for sins of Judah

        Ca. 600 – arrested for it

            Beaten and placed in stocks overnight

        He believed that surrender of Jerusalem in 598 was good

            God was using Babylonians to correct Judah

            Argued for submission and cooperation

Letters to the exiles (ch. 29)

        Strongly opposed Zedekiah’s decision to defy the

                Babylonian authorities

Jeremiah especially prominent during Siege of 588-587

        Strongly counseled non-resistance

            Babylonians were simply "instruments of God"

            Events are described in chapters 32-40

                But they are out of order and a bit confusing

After Fall, Jeremiah was supporter of Gedaliah

        He chose to stay in Jerusalem and help restore it

        Some of his more optimistic prophecies come from

                this period

Gedaliah’s assassination was seen as disaster

        But, Jeremiah believed he should stay in Jerusalem

                and continue to rebuild Judah

        Argued against faction wishing to flee to Egypt

        But his arguments were ignored

            Jeremiah & Baruch "taken" to Egypt





Like most prophets was not particularly concerned with Doctrine – but did have several "insights"

    Yahweh is God of Love and of Justice and Power

    Yahweh’s love is "steadfast" (31:3)

    God not interested in sacrifice and ritual

    Wanted repentance and obedience to moral laws

    Two especially powerful images of God

        1) the "fountain of living waters" (2:13)

        2) the "potter" (18:1-12)

Israel is chosen nation of God

    Seldom uses word "covenant" but idea is there

    Once pure nation fell from obedience in Canaan

    God sent plenty of warnings

        But nation had ignored them

        Now God must destroy them as chastisement

    BUT, he would establish a new covenant (31:31)

Also stresses idea of "personal religion"

    Ultimately, individuals are responsible

    Obedience is an individual choice

    God judges each man’s "heart"

    Ideas paved way for a religion that could survive the

            destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple

Looked for "source" of sin

    Most prophets just condemned it

    Found the source in the human heart

            (4:14, 5:23, 17:9)

    Sin was "willful disobedience" by man

        Solution, then, was 1) repentance & 2) obedience

                (3:12-14, 4:1-4, 18:11, 31:18-19)

    Jeremiah became increasingly pessimistic about it (13:23)

    3 passages give models for repentance:

                (3:22-25), (14:7-10), (14:19-22)

            But seems optimistic about eventual return to God

                    (32:15), (29:10-14), (31:2-6, 15-22)

                    (apocalyptic passages are probably additions)

Idea of the new covenant is critical (31:31-34)

        It is not a new law but a new way to obey it!




Is an accumulation from several sources:

Baruch’s Scroll

a. Composed, burned, & rewritten ca. 605

b. Probably core of book, much of chs. 1-8

2nd Collection (chs. 9-23)

c. Collection of oracles delivered after 605

d. Likely collected by Baruch and added to Scroll

Baruch’s Memoirs

e. Scattered through last half of book

f. Prose accounts of Jeremiah’s activities

Deuteronomic Edition

g. Probably done around 550, maybe in Egypt

h. Lots of revisions and added commentary

Later Editors

i. Done after the return from exile

j. Mostly chs. 30-31, 33

k. Separate collection of "woes" in chs. 46-51

l. A final concluding summary in ch. 52



Ch. 1 Introduction & Calling of Jeremiah

Ch. 2 Oracles of Early Ministry

        2:7-8 Sums of charges against Judah

            Attacks priests, rulers, & prophets

        2:13 Use of image of God as "fountain of

            living waters"

3-4:4 Plea for Repentance of Israel

        3:1-5 Israel as a harlot (influence of Hosea)

        4:2 Conditions of repentance:

            "truth, justice, and uprightness"

4:5-5:31 Foe from the North to Punish Israel

5:26-29 Attacks rich

5:30-31 Attacks prophets and priests

6 Threats and Warnings

        Continuation of previous warnings

        Includes prediction of a siege of Jerusalem

7 The Vanity of the Cultus

8-10 Series of Random Oracles

11-12:6 Events in Jeremiah’s Life

11:18-23 a plot against his life

12:1-4 The question of why wicked prosper

12:5-6 God’s answer – have greater faith

12:7-17 Separate Section of Israel and Her Neighbors

13 Parables and Warnings

14-15:4 Oracles on Drought & Other Catastrophes

15:5-21 "Lamentations of Jeremiah"

16 Threats and promises

17 Miscellaneous

18:1-12 Parable of the Potter

18:13-23 Sin of Israel & Plot Against Jeremiah

19-20:18 Symbolic Actions & Imprisonment

        Probably combination of 2 different events

            1) symbolic act of breaking pottery

                    (19:1, 2a, 10-11a, 14-15, 20:1-6)

            2) a sermon on Topheth & Hinnom

                    (19:2b-9, 11b-13)

21-23:8 Oracles on Kings of Judah

23:9-40 Oracles on the Prophets

24 Vision of Good and Bad Figs

25:1-14 Warning to Judah

25:15-38 Cup of Yahweh’s Wrath

26-28 Conflicts with Religious Leaders

26 Preaching of "Temple Sermon" and arrest

27-28 Advice to Zedekiah not to rebel against

        Babylonia (prob. ca. 594) (this particular

        Revolt was evidently canceled)

29 Letter to the Exiles

30-31 The Book of Comfort

        Inserted by a later editor

        But may contain some genuine oracles

32 Purchase of a Field in Anathoth

        Is out of chronological order

        Indicates Jeremiah’s belief in the future of


33 Promises of Restoration

34:1-7 A Warning to King Zedekiah

        Calling for surrender

34:8-22 Broken Pledge to Released Slaves

        Condemnation of wealthy landowners

35 Example of the Rechabites

36 More Jeremiah Prophecies

        Written and delivered in public

        Probably from 605

37-40:6 Siege and Fall of Jerusalem

        Chronology somewhat confused

40:7-41:18 Governorship & Assassination of Gedaliah

        No mention of Jeremiah in section

        Is partly repeated in IIKings 25:23-26

42:1-43:7 Flight to Egypt

43:8-44:30 Jeremiah in Egypt

45:1-5 Oracle to Baruch

46:1-51:64 Oracles Against the Foreign Nations

52 Historical Appendix


Chapter 7


7:1-8:3 A collection from the Deuteronomic Editor

            Is in prose (with poetry before & after)

    7:1-15 The "Temple Sermon"

        Probably delivered about 609

        Was probably arrested after verse 15

        Parallel account in 26:4-6

        Question addressed: What gives protection and

            safety to men?

                An important issue in 609

    Answer of priests and prophets:

            Temple and proper sacrifice

    Answer of Jeremiah:

            Moral living

    Jeremiah’s answer flies in the face of the Josiah

            Reforms which made the Temple the

                absolute center of religion


7:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:

7:2 Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and

        proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of

        the Lord, all you people of Judah, you that enter these

        gates to worship the Lord.

7:3 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:

        Amend your ways and your doings, and let me dwell

        with you in this place.

7:4 Do not trust in these deceptive words: "This is

        the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the

        temple of the Lord."

7:5 For if you truly amend your ways and your

        doings, if you truly act justly one with another,

7:6 if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the

        widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if

        you do not go after other gods to your own hurt,

7:7 then I will dwell with you in this place, in the land

        That I gave of old to your ancestors forever and ever.

8 Here you are, trusting in deceptive words to no


9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely

        make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that

        you have not known,


(Jeremiah lists several of the 10 commandments)


10 and then come and stand before me in this house,

        which is called by my name, and say, "We are safe!"

        -only to go on doing all these abominations?

11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become

        a den of robbers in your sight? You know I am

        watching, says the Lord.


(Den of robbers quoted by Jesus at Temple Cleansing)


12 Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made

        my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it for the

        wickedness of my people Israel.


(Shiloh had been an important center of worship. It was

evidently destroyed by Philistines around 1050. Was

probably still a famous pile of ruins in 609)


13 And now, because you have done all these things, says

        the Lord, and when I spoke to you persistently, you

        did not listen, and when I called you, you did not


14 therefore I will do to the house that is called by my

        name, in which you trust, and to the place that I gave

        to you and to your ancestors, just what I did to Shiloh.

15 And I will cast you out of my sight, just as I cast out

        all your kinsfolk, all the offspring of Ephraim.


(Jeremiah was probably arrested at this point – see account in chapter 26. Following verses are God’s message to Jeremiah repeating the same theme)


16 As for you, do not pray for this people, do not

        raise a cry or prayer on their behalf, and do not

        intercede with me, for I will not hear you.

17 Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of

        Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem:

18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and

        the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen

        of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other

        gods, to provoke me to anger.

19 Is it I whom they provoke? says the Lord. Is it not

        themselves, to their own hurt:

20 Therefore thus says the Lord God: My anger and my

        wrath shall be poured out on this place, on human

        beings and animals, on the trees of the field and the

        fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched.

21 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:

        Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat

        the flesh.

22 For in the day that I brought your ancestors out of the

        land of Egypt, I did not speak to them or command

        them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices.

23 But this command I gave them, "Obey my voice, and

        I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and

        walk only in the way that I command you, so that it

        may be well with you."

24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but, in the

        stubbornness of their evil will, they walked in their

        own counsels, and looked backward rather than


25 From the day that your ancestors came out of the

        land of Egypt until this day, I have persistently sent

        all my servants the prophets to them, day after day;

26 yet they did not listen to me, or pay attention, but they

        stiffened their necks. They did worse than their

        ancestors did.

27 So you shall speak all these words to them, but

        they will not listen to you. You shall call to them,

        but they will not answer you.

28 You shall say to them: This is the nation that did not

        obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not

        accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off

        from their lips.

29 Cut off your hair and throw it away;

        raise a lamentation on the bare heights.

        for the Lord has rejected and forsaken

        the generation that provoked his wrath.

30 For the people of Judah have done evil in my

        sight, says the Lord; they have set their abominations

        in the house that is called by my name, defiling it.

31 And they go on building the high place of Topheth,

        which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn

        their sons and their daughters in the fire – which I

        did not command, nor did it come into my mind.

32 Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the Lord,

        when it will no more be called Topheth, or the valley

        of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of Slaughter; for

        they will bury in Topheth until there is no more room.

33 The corpses of this people will be food for the birds of

        the air, and for the animals of the earth; and no one

        will frighten them away.

34 And I will bring to an end the sound of mirth and

        gladness, the voice of the bride and bridegroom in

        the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem;

        for the land shall become a waste.

8:1 At that time, says the Lord, the bones of the

        kings of Judah, the bones of its officials, the bones of

        the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones

        of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be brought out of

        their tombs;

8:2 and they shall be spread before the sun and the moon

        and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and

        served, which they have followed, and which they

        have inquired of and worshiped; and they shall not be

        gathered or buried; they shall be like dung on the

        surface of the ground.

8:3 Death shall be preferred to life by all the remnant that

        remains of this evil family in all the places where I

        have driven them, says the Lord of hosts.


Chapter 29

29:1-32 Letters to the Exiles in Babylonia


    29:1-14 Probably written ca. 597 after the 1st exile

        Many exiles evidently considering returning to

            Jerusalem immediately

        Encouraged by 2 prophets there

            Ahab & Zedekiah


29:1 These are the words of the letter that the prophet

        Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders

        among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and

        all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into

        exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

2 This was after King Jeconiah, and the queen mother,

        the court officials, the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem,

        the artisans, and the smiths had departed from


3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah son of

        Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom King

        Zedekiah of Judah sent to Babylon to King

        Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. It said:


(Elasah is brother of Ahikam mentioned in Jer. 26:24)


4 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to

        all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from

        Jerusalem to Babylon:

5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat

        what they produce.

6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives

        for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage,

        that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there,

        and do not decrease.

7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you

        into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its

        welfare you will find your welfare.


(4-7 are heart of Jeremiah’s message: true religion does not require residence in Judah – nor does it require the Temple or sacrifices. This was a radical idea in 598)


8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do

        not let the prophets and the diviners who are among

        you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that

        they dream,

9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my

        name; I did not send them, says the Lord.

10 For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s

        seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I

        will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to

        this place.

11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the

        Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give

        you a future with hope.

12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to

        me, I will hear you.

13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you

        seek me with all your heart,

14 I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will

        restore your fortunes and gather you from all the

        nations and all the places where I have driven you,

        says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the

        place from which I sent you into exile.


(verse after first "and" is probably addition by a later editor and not part of the original letter)