The Old Testament | The Books of Major Prophets

Jeremiah

Things to know
Where does the book begin?

The book begins in Judah when Josiah was the king.

Where does the book end?

The book ends as the enemies of Judah destroyed Jerusalem.

People to know

Jeremiah
Nebuchadnezzar
The Rechabites

Places to go

God called Jeremiah to be a Prophet*
Jeremiah 1:1-10

The writer told about false gods and the true God
Jeremiah 10:1-11

The pot-maker worked with the clay
Jeremiah 18:1-11

God would make a new promise
Jeremiah 31:31-37

Jeremiah was put in a well
Jeremiah 38:1-13

The Story of Jeremiah

This book tells the story of one of God’s great prophets*. His name was Jeremiah. You will read many of his words in this book. You will also learn many things about him. Like other prophets*, God told him what to say. And he spoke those words to the people. He was loyal to God and did everything that God asked him to do.

He started his work when Josiah was King.[1] Judah had three more kings after Josiah. But Josiah was the last good king.

Babylon was the enemy of Judah in those days. They had a strong army. They were very cruel people. Jeremiah told the people that they should be afraid of Babylon. Babylon’s army was coming because God was angry. God was angry with Judah because they did not obey God’s law. They did not listen to God’s words. They did not keep their promises to God. They were acting in sinful* ways. They did not care for the poor. They were not acting like God’s people. Some of them even followed false gods. They bowed down to other gods. So God was going to send Babylon to punish Judah.

Many times, Jeremiah told the people to turn back to God. He reminded them of what God said. God promised to bless* them if they obeyed him. He promised to punish them if they did not obey him.[2] But they did not obey God’s commands. They followed other gods. So Jeremiah told them that Babylon would come. They would take many people from the land. And in a short time, Babylon came. They fought against Judah. They took many people out of the land.

Jeremiah was a true prophet* of God. But he was not the only prophet* in Judah. There were other prophets* there too. They were false prophets*.[3] They lied to the people. They said that Jeremiah was wrong. God was not going to judge them. God would not allow the temple* to be broken down. God would never let the throne be empty. God would chase away the army of Babylon. God would bless* Israel* again.

But Babylon did attack Judah. They did break down the temple*. They did kill many people. They did take the kings away from the land.

Jeremiah had some very hard things to say to the people. Some of the people were very angry with him. Some people were so angry that they tried to kill Jeremiah. He had a hard job. He also had a sad job. He had to watch as God punished the people. People called Jeremiah the weeping prophet*. He saw many sad things. And he had many sad words to give to the people.

But Jeremiah also gave them a word of hope*. A time was coming when God would bless* his people again. That time would be after the people’s return from Babylon. They would be in exile* for 70 years.[4] But God would not desert them. Some day, he would make a new covenant* with them.[5] When he did, they would want to obey and follow him. And when they did, God would bless* them. He would bless* all the other nations too.

Jeremiah did not tell his story in order. He collected his stories, but not in the order they happened. Some parts of the book are letters that he wrote. Some parts are prayers. Some parts are songs. Some parts are like pages from his diary.

When you read the book, you will learn that Jeremiah was a good man. He was loyal to God. He obeyed God even when it was complicated. He did not run away when he was afraid. He did not stop speaking for God when people did not listen.

Jeremiah talked about his own times. But some of his words were about another time in the future. That was the time when God would make everything right.[6] Some of his words even spoke of Jesus.[7] The men who wrote the New Testament* understood this.[8] That is why they used some of his words in the books they wrote.

  • [1] Jeremiah 1:2
  • [2] Deuteronomy 28
  • [3] Jeremiah 28:1-4
  • [4] See Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10; Daniel 9:1-2
  • [5] Jeremiah 31:31-37
  • [6] Jeremiah 33
  • [7] Jeremiah 23:5-6
  • [8] Hebrews 10:16-17

The Old Testament | The Books of Major Prophets