Jeremiah: Enduring Relationship with God

627BCE-580 (Egypt)

Jeremiah’s Background

bulletCall: Jeremiah uses excuses: I do not know how to speak; I am only a youth (1.6).
bulletConsecrated: before birth; appointed a prophet to the nations (1.5).
bulletMission: prophecy during reigns of Josiah, Jehoikim, Zedekiah (II Kings 22-25)

Historical Background (II Kings)

Recall that Isaiah's work came during the days Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Uzziah defeats Edomites but maintains sacrifice at high places; Jotham continues sacrifices; Ahaz burns his own son as an offering to the gods. Ahaz calls for Tiglethpilser to rescuse Judah from Syria and Egypt, and he dismantles the temple to pay tribute. Hezekiah breaks the serpent Nehushtan and rebels against Syria. Between these kings reigning in Isaiah's time and Josiah, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah during Jeremiah's reign, we have Manesseh and Amon. Jeremiah proclaims oracles against foreign nations and criticizes Judah for its worship of gods other than Yahweh. He insists judgment must come but the future will hold a new and more enduring relationship with God.

bulletJosiah--Hilkiah, high priest, finds book of the law in the house of the Lord (22.8); Josiah rents his clothes for disobedience of his people; reads law to his people (22.3); cleans temple and high places of foreign gods (23); keeps Passover (23.21-13); slain by Pharaoh Neco of Egypt.

Sons and Grandsons: Kings

bulletJehoahaz: son of Josiah; did evil; Neco put him in bonds and made his brother Jehoiakim king.
bulletJehoiakim: gives silver and gold to Pharaoh and taxes the land; becomes servant to Nebuchadnezzar (II Kings 24).
bulletJehoiachin (son of Jehoiakim)made king and also does evil; carried as prisoner to Babylon.

Jehoiachin’s Uncle: New King

bulletZedekiah: does evil; Nebuchadnezzar kills the sons of Zedekiah (25.7), burns the house of the Lord (9), and carries away the gold and silver.
bulletNebuchadnezzar appoints a governor over Judah: Gedaliah.
bulletExiled Jehoichin regains favor and dines at king’s table (25.29); dynasty of David not snuffed out.

Jeremiah Commissioned (2-20 before fall of Judah)

bulletWord of the Lord put into his mouth (1.9).
bulletReminded: God is watching over His kingdom (12).
bulletTrouble will come from the north as a result of Israel’s apostasy (1 and 2).
bulletPriests, prophets, and kings have all transgressed (8);
bulletIsrael has brought evil upon itself (17).

Sisters: Israel and Judah Play Harlot

bulletIsrael was faithless (3.6);
bulletJudah follows sister’s pattern (3.8).

The metaphor continues to be marriage and faithfulness (unity) with harlotry, the metaphor for unfaithfulness and broken relationships.

Compare Ezekiel 16 and 23: Sisters Oholah and Oholibah

bulletCalled to repentance and circumcision (4.4)
bulletIn a future time, Jerusalem to become the throne of the Lord (3.17).

Jeremiah Laments Disaster

bullet"My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh, the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent… Disaster follows on disaster… (5.19,20).

A Full End Not to Be Made

bullet4.27 The land shall be a desolation, but I will not make a full end (also, 5.18).
bulletJerusalem is without excuse (5. 16-21); given covenant and instructions and told, "Stand by the roads and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it, and find rest for your souls" (6.16).