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BOOK OF JEREMIAH – OVERVIEW

August 29, 2012

  
J C Ryle (1880): THE book of the prophet Jeremiah receives from most Christians far less attention than it deserves. It is a noteworthy fact that hardly any portion of Holy Scripture is the subject of so few exhaustive commentaries and expositions.

JEREMIAH: “PROPHET TO THE NATIONS”
“I Will Punish” (Jer 9:25)
“I Will Restore” (Jer 30:17)
Judah & Jerusalem

Prophet
Is
Called
1:1-1:19

Prophecies
to
Judah

2:1-45:5
Prophecies
to the Gentiles

46:1-51:64

Appendix
to Prophecy
52:1-34

Prophet’s
Commission

1:1-19
Judah
Condemned

2:1-25:38
Jeremiah’s
Conflicts

26:1-29:32
Jerusalem’s
Future

30:1-33:26
Jerusalem’s
Fall

34:1-45:5
Nations
Condemned

46:1-51:64
Historic
Conclusion

52:1-34
Before The
Fall Of Jerusalem
Jer 1:1-38:28
The
Fall

 Jer 39
After
The Fall
Jer 40-52
The Call The Ministry Retrospect
To The Nation
of Judah
Surrounding
Nations
Review of the Fall
Jeremiah’s 40+ Year Ministry
627-582BC

A Chronology of Jeremiah’s 40+ Year Ministry

BC
640
Josiah becomes king of Judah – the last godly king
627
Jeremiah called by God. Jeremiah 1-6 occurred under Josiah’s reign
612 Nineveh capital of Assyria sacked.
609
King Josiah killed at Megiddo by Necho of Egypt, fighting to bolster Assyria (2Ki 23:29-30).
609
Jehoahaz ruled 3 months, deposed by Neco to Egypt in chains (2Ki 23:32-33).
609-598 Jehoiakim
 reigned over Judah as an Egyptian vassal (Jer 22:13-17).
605 Battle of Carchemish
. Nebuchadnezzar defeated Egyptian forces (Jer 46:2).
605 First deportation of Jews to BabylonDaniel in this group (2Ki 24:1). 
601 Jehoiakim
sided with Egypt against Jeremiah’s warnings
597 2nd Babylonian invasion takes Jerusalem, deports Ezekiel & 10,000; Zedekiah replaces Jehoiachin (2Ki 24:17)
592 Ezekiel begins his prophetic ministry (some 35 years after Jeremiah had begun his)
586
Fall of Jerusalem (Jer 39:1-18). Gedaliah appointed governor of Judah (2Ki 25:22-26). Jeremiah taken to Egypt.
538 Babylon falls to the Medes and
Persians

“THE WEEPING PROPHET”

The book of Jeremiah is unique among the OT prophets, because God reveals the prophet’s heart more than with any of the other prophets. “Jeremiah was the prophet of Judah’s midnight hour.” (Baxter) Jeremiah was the “weeping prophet” (Jer 9:1; 13:17), the “reluctant prophet” (Jer 1:6), “prophet of loneliness” (he was commanded not to marry, Jer 16:2), the persecuted prophet = rejected, ridiculed, beaten, falsely accused — Jer  11:18-23; Jer 12:6; Jer 15:10; Jer 18:18; Jer 20:1-3 (in stocks); Jer 20:7 (laughingstock) Jer 26:1-24; Jer 37:11-38:28, accused of treachery (of going over to the Chaldeans Jer 38:4), lowered into a cistern of mud (Jer 38:6); carried, against his will, by his countrymen into Egypt (Jer 43:1–7)

A KEY PHRASE in Jeremiah is “the WORD of the LORD” which is used over 50x (20% of all uses in Scripture). Jeremiah experienced reproach (Jer 15:15) for his proclamation of the WORD of the LORD, so it is not surprising that he was downcast. However, even in the midst of such difficult testing (Jeremiah ministered for over 40 years with no “converts”! cp Jer 25:3), he was still able to experience SUPERNATURAL JOY, declaring “Thy WORDS were found and I ate them, and Thy WORDS became for me a JOY and the DELIGHT of my heart” (Jer 15:16a-note). Indeed, the psalmist affirms “If Thy law had not been my DELIGHT, then I would have perished in my affliction” (Ps 119:92-note), adding that “Trouble & anguish have come upon me, yet Thy commandments are my DELIGHT.” (Ps 119:143-note). The DELIGHT of these godly men in the WORD of the LORD was a striking contrast to most of Judah to whom “the WORD of the LORD (had) become a reproach (and) they (had) no DELIGHT in it”(Jer 6:10). And yet God in His great mercy encouraged them to “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is (In His WORD) and walk in it and you shall find REST FOR YOUR SOULS, but they said, ‘We will not walk in it!’” (Jer 6:16). About 500 yrs later, Jesus quoted Jeremiah’s words when He offered a similar invitation to a rebellious generation declaring “Take My yoke upon you & learn from Me, for I am gentle & humble in heart and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” (Mt 11:29) So this begs the question – Is the WORD of the LORD my DELIGHT? The Hebrew word “DELIGHT” speaks of great favor, a strong attraction or deep pleasure in something, in this case the WORD of the LORD. If His Word is our DELIGHT, we will “greatly rejoice with JOY inexpressible” (1Pe 1:18-note) and will “enter into (God’s) REST” (Ps 95:11-note) for our soul.

In a later passage Jeremiah addressed to Judah but which is applicable in principle to all of God’s children we read “Their soul shall be as a watered garden” (Jer 31:12KJV) Spurgeon comments:

Oh, to have one’s soul under heavenly cultivation; no longer a wilderness but a garden of the LORD! Enclosed from the waste, walled around by grace, planted by instruction, visited by love, weeded by heavenly discipline, and guarded by divine power, one’s favored soul is prepared to yield fruit unto the LORD. But a garden may become parched for want of water, and then all its herbs decline and are ready to die. O my soul, how soon would this be the case were the LORD to leave thee! In the East, a garden without water soon ceases to be a garden at all: nothing can come to perfection, grow, or even live. When irrigation is kept up, the result is charming. Oh, to have one’s soul watered by the Holy Spirit uniformly — every part of the garden having its own stream; plentifully — a sufficient refreshment coming to every tree and herb, however thirsty by nature it may be; continually — each hour bringing not only its heat, but its refreshment; wisely — each plant receiving just what it needs. In a garden you can see by the verdure (green) where the water flows, and you can soon perceive when the Spirit of God comes. O LORD, water me this day & cause me to yield Thee a full reward for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Key words (NAS95): There are many key words in Jeremiah which are grouped together below by subject/topic. Do these groups give you a sense of Jeremiah’s message or theme?

Word of the LORD (52x/51v), My Word(s) (19x/18v)

Heart/hearts (55x/48v), Faithless, faithlessness (8x/7v), Forsake (20x/18v), Forget (3x), Adultery, adulteries, adulterer (9x), Rebel, rebellious, rebellion (6x) Wicked, Wickedness (34x/30v), Evil/evils (53x/47v), Sin, sins, sinned (26x/25v), Iniquity, iniquities (24x/23v), Idol, images, gods, Baal (64x/56v)

Backslide (Related) (Only once in NAS95 but 13x/12v in KJV – only 4x elsewhere!)

Woe (13x), Wrath (19x/18v), Famine (33x/30v), Calamity (27x), Destroy (56x/52v), Pluck (4x), Uproot (8x/6v)

Covenant (24x/21v), Everlasting (10x/9v), Love (14x/13v), Hope (6x); Compassion (7x/6v), Lovingkindness (5x)

Faithful/faithfulness (3x), Trust, trusted, trusting (18x/17v), Listen, hear, heed (96x), Remember (14x/13v), Return (35x/29v), Repent (6x), Turn/Turned Back (20x)

Restore (18x), Heal/healed/healing/health (21x/15v); Plant (17x/15v), Build (12x)  

Babylon (169x/149v – more than all other uses in Scripture combined!), Nations (Gentiles) (60x/55v)

RELATED RESOURCES:
CLICK FOR MAJOR UPDATE ON JEREMIAH RESOURCES
CLICK FOR ADDITIONAL COMMENTS ON JEREMIAH AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
RELATED FACEBOOK POST

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