Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jeremiah part 1

I will be writing some of my thoughts on the book of Jeremiah especially as it relates to the people, the church, and the nation today. It is not meant to be an exposition of the book nor is it meant for doctrine but mainly I am writing here for personal and practical reasons. Please feel free to read through this important prophets book with me. As always a little historical background will be good to understand the context especially in relation to today (there are many similarities).

This is taken from

Ashurbanipal, died in 627 B.C. as the last of the Assyrian rulers. Nabopolassar, King of the Babylonian empire began his rule in 626 B.C. This was the year in which Jeremiah received his call from the Lord. (Jeremiah 1:1) Nabopolassar took control of the Assyrian empire capturing the capital of Ninevah in 612 B.C. Egypt tried to help their Assyrian allies by marching north to lend military support but to no avail.

Josiah, King of Judah tried to stop the Egyptians advancing north but at a battle at Megiddo in 609 B.C., Josiah was killed by Pharaoh Neco II. (2 Chronicles 35:20-24).

At this time Jeremiah is not well known as a prophet in Jerusalem as Josiah's servants go to the prophetess Huldah for insight from God. (2 Kings 22:14ff) But over time Jeremiah grows close to Josiah as is evident from his grief at his death at the hands of Pharaoh-Necho, in 609 B.C. at Megiddo.

Josiah (640-609 B.C.) came to the throne, after the murder of his father Amon, in the eighth year. 2 Kings 22:1 He was a Godly king who sought the Lord and in the twelfth year of his reign began to clear the land of heathen idols. (2 Chronicles 34:3-7) While the temple was being cleaned up the book of the law or Torah was found and read by Josiah who proceeded to carry out a strict reformation of worship in keeping with the Word of God which was found. (2 Kings 22, 23)

Jeremiah prophesied mainly in Jerusalem at the feasts of the Temple although he did visit other cities. (Jeremiah 11:6) As is often the case he received fierce opposition in his home town of Anathoth, which resulted in a dangerous plot against his life. But God warned him of the dangers and he was preserved. (Jeremiah 11:18)

Jehoahaz, who reigned three months is only mentioned in Jeremiah 22:11 under the name of Shallum. (2 Kings 23:31) Jehoahaz will not return to Jerusalem from his journey to the Egyptian camp at Riblah, where he was taken prisoner and carried off to Egypt by Pharaoh Neco II. (Reigned 610-595 B.C.) It was during this time that the royal court turned on Jeremiah and he suffers severe persecution and several imprisonment's. (Jeremiah 20:1-2; 32:2-3; 37:12-21; 38:6-13)
Jehoahaz's older brother, Jehoiakim, is appointed as the king of Judah under Neco and reigned eleven years. (609-598 B.C.) He was originally passed over by the people but raised to the throne by Pharaoh-Necho who changed his name from Eliakim to Jehoiakim. Unlike Josiah his father, Jehoiakim turned away from God and favoured the heathen gods and practices. (2 Kings 23:37)

Jehoiakim did not like Jeremiah or his messages and on one occasion when one of Jeremiah's prophecies were brought to him to be read, he cut it into small pieces and threw it into the fire. Jeremiah 36:21-32 God told Jeremiah to simply dictate the message over again through Baruch his scribe.

In 605 B.C. the course of history changed when the Egyptians were crushed by the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar at Carchemish. Jeremiah 42:2 Pharaoh-Necho returns to Egypt defeated and the Babylonians ruled western Asia without resistance for the next 70 years. Jehoiakim had submitted to the Egyptians but three years under Nebuchadnezzar's rule he conspired against him. In this way Jehoiakim brought about the devastation of the land by Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites. They gladly acted as the tools of the Chaldeans until Nebuchadnezzar under his successor came to Jerusalem and revenged himself by plundering and carrying away the people. (605 B.C.) Jeremiah severely rebuked the kings conduct and even prophesied personal punishment which was brought upon him by God. (Jeremiah 21:11-14) Jehoiakim is humiliated by God. Daniel 1:1-2 At the same time Daniel and his three friends are taken into captivity in Babylon. (Daniel 1:3-6)

Jerusalem is attacked again in 598-597 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar and Jehoiakim is killed. His son Jehoiachin is prophesied by Jeremiah to be taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar Jeremiah 22:24-30 which is fulfilled in Jeremiah 29:1-2. In 597 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar puts Josiah's son Mattaniah on the throne of Judah and renames him Zedekiah. He was a puppet king who sometimes asked for Jeremiah's help while at other times allowed Jeremiah's enemies to persecute him. However Jeremiah did arrange for his own personal safety in exchange for revealing the will of God to Zedekiah. Jeremiah 38:15-27 The safety often took the form of house arrest which he was under until the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. (Jeremiah 38:28)

Zedekiah was overrun by the Babylonians as he fled the city of Jerusalem . His sons were executed before his eyes and then his eyes were removed by Nebuchadnezzar. (Jeremiah 39:1-7) Nebazaradan, who was the commander of the imperial guard advised Jeremiah to go and live with Gedaliah the governor of Judah. (Jeremiah 40:1-6) Gedaliah was assassinated and because he was a friend of Nebuchadnezzar some of the Jews fled to Egypt for safety. Jeremiah and Baruch went with them. Jeremiah 43:4-7 His last words are recorded in Jeremiah 44:24-30. The only place Pharaoh Hophra is mentioned in the Bible is found in this passage. He ruled Egypt from 589-570 B.C.

The theme of Jeremiah's message is one of judgment against Judah. God would punish his people for their sins of idolatry, spiritual adultery and trusting in Egypt rather than Jehovah. The punishment would come by means of the Babylonians from the north. But God also brings grace as well as wrath and so there is found intersperse throughout Jeremiah glorious Messianic prophecies. They form a part of the prophets pleading with the people to repent. (Jeremiah 3:14-17; 23:5; 31:31; 33:16)

So please get your bible and start with me for a journey through this wonderful book. We will start with Jeremiah calling which is found in chapter 1. After that we will pick up on chapter 2 and 3. I will be using a Holman Christian Standard Bible to quote from which is free with my software from and is a very good translation.

No comments: