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An Argument of the Book of Jeremiah

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Jeremiah’s prophesied judgment upon the nation of Judah for her repeated covenant disobedience against him was just but not forever since Yahweh will also provide a future deliverance for his people and inflict the nations for their evil

I. Prologue--Title and Call of Jeremiah:2 Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, is introduced as a prophet called from the womb by the Lord to prophesy the Lord’s words of judgment and restoration from the reign of Josiah until the captivity of Judah even through the people will resist him 1:1-19

A. Preface to the Book of Jeremiah:3 This book contains the words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, which were communicated by the Lord to him from the thirteenth year of Josiah’s reign (627/6 B.C.), through the eleventh year of Zedekiah until the exile of Judah in the fifth month4 1:1-3

B. Call and Commission of Jeremiah: Jeremiah was called to be a prophet to the nations before his birth and encouraged to speak His words of judgment and restoration even through the people will resist him 1:4-19

1. Call of Jeremiah:5 Jeremiah was chosen by the Lord before his birth to be a prophet of his words to the nations and is encouraged to speak his words of judgment and restoration 1:4-10

2. The Clarification of Jeremiah’s Call: Through two visions Jeremiah is told of coming judgment for Judah which the people will resist, but which the Lord will bring to pass 1:11-19

a. Two Visions: 1:11-16

1) The Rod of the Almond Tree--The Lord is Watching to Do His Word:6 1:11-12

2) A Boiling Pot--Coming Judgment by the Nations from the North: 1:13-16

b. Charge to Jeremiah: Jeremiah is urged to gird himself up and to begin prophesying with the knowledge that even though he will be resisted, God’s promises will prevail 1:17-19

II. Prophecies to the Nation--Judah: Through a series of messages and historical illustrations Jeremiah demonstrated the rebellious character of Judah and which explained his prophesies of her coming judgment under the hand of Babylon also noting that she will be delivered one day by the Lord 2:1--45:5

A. Ten Messages of Judgment upon Judah’s Kings and False Prophets so that They Might Repent:7 Through a series of ten messages, Jeremiah exposes the disobedience of the people of Judah and pronounces necessary judgment as a consequence for them and the nations of the world as they refuse to head the word of Yahweh 2:1--25:38

1. Message One: Israel is accused of breaking the covenant by forsaking God and trusting in idols 2:1--3:5

a. The Nations Israel’s Past Love: 2:1-13

1) Introduction: 2:1

2) Yahweh’s separation of Israel to Him at the Exodus: 2:2-3

3) Israel’s Forgetfulness of Her Love for Yahweh when She Entered the Land: 2:4-8

4) Yahweh’s Charge against Israel--Doubly Guilty: 2:9-13

b. Israel, the Unfaithful Wife Will Be Judged:8 2:14--3:5

1) Object Lesson of the Northern Kingdom whose Sin Brought Her into Captivity: 2:14-19

2) Judah’s Spiritual Idolatry Is a Stain that Will Not Go Away: 2:20-25

3) Judah Will Be Ashamed when Judgment Comes: 2:26-28

4) Judgment Will Come: 2:29-37

c. A Plea For Judah to Repent from the Heart: 3:1-5

2. Message Two: Judah will be judged due to its rejection of Yahweh and its refusal to repent: 3:6--6:30

a. God Calls His People to Repent: 3:6--4:4

b. God’s Wrath Will Come upon Judah and Jerusalem: 4:5-31

c. The Destruction of Jerusalem Will Come because It Has Turned Away from God: 5:1-31

d. The Complete Rejection of the Lord by the People Requires Judgment: 6:1-20

3. Message Three: Ritual will not save Judah, only Yahweh can save her; man’s foolishness leads to judgment9 7:1--10:25

a. The Temple Address--Salvation Will Not Come through Ritual: 7:1--8:3

1) The False Trust of the Nation: 7:1-28

2) Jeremiah’s Lament for Judah: 7:29--8:3

b. Salvation Will Not Come through Man’s Foolishness: 8:4--9:22

1) Apostasy only Leads to National Destruction 8:4--9:1

2) Man’s Foolishness Leads to Destruction: 9:2-22

c. Idol Worship vs. the Wisdom of the True God: 9:23--10:25

1) The Wisdom of Knowing the Lord: 9:23-26

2) Foolishness (idols) vs. Wisdom (true God): 10:1-25

4. Message Four: Rebellion against Yahweh leads to judgment, but God will restore His people and the nations will praise Yahweh 11:1--12:17

a. The Conspiracy against the Covenant: 11:1-17

b. The Conspiracy against Jeremiah: 11:18--12:17

1) The Plot: 11:18-23

2) Jeremiah’s Complaint: 12:1-4

3) God’s Response: 12:5-17

5. Message Five: Jeremiah gives five warnings to Judah of judgment due to pride which reveal Israel’s idolatrous character: 13:1-27

a. The Loincloth--Idolatry Brings Certain Ruin: 13:1-11

b. The Wine Jugs--God’s Wrath Will Fill the People: 13:12-14

c. The Warning against Pride: 13:15-17

d. The Warning to Rulers: 13:18-19

e. The Warning that Sin Brings Punishment: 13:20-27

6. Message Six: Judgment will come because of self-trust instead of faith in Yahweh, and God is asked to remember the covenant 14:1--17:27

a. The Lord Does Not Allow Jeremiah to Intercede for Judah 14:1--15:9

1) Jeremiah’s Petition for Deliverance 14:1-9

2) In a Discussion between the Lord and Jeremiah, the prophet asks the Lord to remember the covenant relationship 14:10-22

3) The Lord Tells Jeremiah of Certain Coming Judgment 15:1-9

b. The Lord Deals with Jeremiah by Proclaiming His Purpose for Him, Proclaiming Him is a Living Symbol of Judah’s Coming Judgment, and Proclaiming His Ultimate Plan of Restoration for the Nation: 16:1-21

c. The Lord Proclaims that the Consequences for Judah’s Sin of Idolatry Is to Serve the gods, Causing Jeremiah to Pray for Salvation and Justice 17:1-27

7. Message Seven: Since God is sovereign, the nation is to submit to His way--judgment is coming 18:1--20:18

a. God is Sovereign like a Potter with Clay: 18:1-23

b. The Destruction of the Nation Will Be Like the Breaking of an Earthen Vessel: 19:1--20:18

8. Message Eight: Jeremiah emphasizes that the city is going to be judged by God and their is no way out, so to be in God’s will, they must leave the land 21:1-14

a. Zedekiah Requests Mercy in His Time of Trouble: 21:1-2

b. Jeremiah Affirms that the Lord is at War with Jerusalem: 21:3-5

c. Jeremiah Urges the Nation to Surrender to Babylon or to Fight and Die: 21:8-10

d. Jeremiah Urges the House of David to Obey God’s Law 21:11-14

9. Message Nine: Jeremiah affirms that the wicked leaders (kings, lying prophets) are leading the people astray, but that the good shepherd gathers the people resulting in the principle that obedience leads to blessing, but disobedience leads to cursing 22:1--24:10

a. A Warning to the Wicked Kings: 22:1-30

1) An Exhortation to Zedekiah: 22:1-9

2) The Destiny of Shallum (Jehoahaz): 22:10-12

3) The Curse from Jehoiakim’s Evil: 22:13-23

4) The Destiny/Curse of Coniah (Jehoiachin): 22:24-30

b. The Work of the Good Shepherd--The Righteous Branch:10 23:1-8

c. Prophesy against the Wicked Prophets: 23:9-40

d. The Symbol of the Two Baskets of Figs Speaks of the Good Who Will Be Regathered and the Bad who Will Not: 24:1-10

10. Message Ten:11 Judgment is certain from Judah to the whole world because there is a refusal to head the word of God 25:1-38

a. The Refusal to the People to Listen: 25:1-7

b. Judgment from Nebuchadnezzar (“my servant”) because the People Refuse to Head the Word: 25:8-11

c. Hope--A Seventy Year Captivity Only: 25:12-14

d. Judgment upon the Whole World: 25:15-38

B. The Opposition which Jeremiah Faced Due to His Messages:12 The ten messages of judgment are vindicated through the hostile opposition which Jeremiah received from the religious leaders to his true messages 26:1--29:32

1. Consequences of the Temple Address: When Jeremiah spoke a message at the temple of repentance or necessary judgment, the priests and false prophets wanted his death, but he was spared 26:1-24

a. The Death Penalty Is Demanded for Jeremiah: 26:7-11

b. Jeremiah’s Defense--He is from the Lord: 26:12-15

c. The Verdict--Confirmation: 26:16-19

d. Unlike Uriah, Jeremiah was Spared from Death: 26:20-24

2. The Yoke of Babylon: Jeremiah exhorted the foreign countries, Zedekiah, and the people to submit to Babylon for life, otherwise they would die 27:1-22

3. Hananiah vs. Jeremiah: Jeremiah rebuked Hananiah’s prophecy by affirming that Hananiah’s act of breaking the yoke will cause a harsher bondage, and by prophesying and authenticating Hananiah’s death 28:1-17

4. Jeremiah’s Letters to the Exiles: When Shemaiah opposes Jeremiah’s open letter to the exiles concerning conduct et cetera, Jeremiah predicts Shemaiah’s death as a sign to the people 29:1-32

a. Setting--When the Upper Middle Class Had Been Taken into Captivity in Babylon (597 B.C.) 29:1-3

b. Jeremiah’s Open Letter to the Exiles: 29:4-23

1) Concerning Their Conduct: 29:4-23

2) Concerning the Lord’s Promise:13 29:10-14

3) Concerning Those Left in Jerusalem: 29:15-20

4) Concerning False Prophets among Them: 29:21-23

c. The Reaction to the Letter: 29:24-32

1) Negative--Shemaiah: 29:24-28

2) Another Letter From Jeremiah: 29:29-32

C. Messages of Consolation to Judah:14 Jeremiah confirms for Judah that although she will go into captivity that the Lord will yet fulfill His promises to her through direct affirmation, prophesying of a new exodus, a new covenant, buying property in the land, and predicting the restoration of the Davidic line 30:1--33:26

1. Punishment and Restoration: Although Judah was punished for her sin, the Lord promised to restore her, punish her enemies and restore Jerusalem 30:1-24

2. A New Exodus: The Lord promises to restore Israel to the land in a new exodus experience at the right time 31:1-22

a. Israel Will Be Restored: 31:1-6

b. Israel Will Return to Her Land in a New Exodus Experience: 31:7-14

c. Comfort for Israel as She Weeps over Those Who Have Been Deported: 31:15-20

d. Exhortation to Return to the Land at the Proper Time: 31:21-22

3. A New Covenant: The Lord will restore a unified nation which will flourish under a new covenant and be holy to the Lord 31:23-40

a. A Restoration Under the Lord’s Blessing: 31:23-26

b. Flourishing Physically and Morally: 31:27-30

c. Under a New Covenant: 31:31-34

d. Certainty of Restoration: 31:35-37

e. The Restoration Period: 31:38-40

4. Buying a Field: Jeremiah demonstrated his faith in Yahweh to restore the people to the land by buying a field affirming that the sovereign God will judge and restore 32:1-44

a. Setting: Jeremiah is in Prison for Proclaiming that Zedekiah and the Nation would go into exile 32:1-5

b. An Illustration: Jeremiah buys a field proclaiming that there will be a restoration 32:6-15

c. When Jeremiah praises the Lord and yet asks “why” about the nation’s situation, he is told that the Lord will sovereignly give the nation over to Babylon and then will sovereignly restore the nation from captivity 32:16-44

5. Covenant Promises: Jeremiah affirms that God will keep his promises by restoring for unified Israel the people, the land, and the Davidic line 33:1-26

a. A Restoration of the People: 33:1-8

b. A Restoration of the Land: 33:9-13

c. A Restoration of the Davidic Line: 33:14-26

D. A Display of Judah’s Disobedience which Qualified them for Judgment:15 In spite of the words of consolation which preceded this unit, Jeremiah demonstrated the necessity of judgment upon Judah because her kings, unlike the Recabites, disobey God 34:1--36:32

1. Disobedience--Zedekiah and the Mistreated Slaves: When Zedekiah and the people took back the slaves which they had let go, they broke the covenant with Yahweh and were given over to Babylon 34:1-22

a. Setting: Babylon was getting ready to attack the city when the Lord told Zedekiah through Jeremiah that Jerusalem would fall and he would not die but be deported and then die of natural causes 34:1-7

b. The Broken Oath of Release:16 Zedekiah convinced the people to enter into covenant and release their Hebrew slaves, but then they took them back into slavery 34:8-11

c. The Lord’s Response: After restating His commands after the Exodus about releasing slaves every seven years, and seeing the duplicity of Judah, he decided to “release” the nation into the hand of Babylon 34:17-22

2. Obedience--The Rechabites Not Drinking:17 The Rechabites became an example to Judah through their obedience in not drinking wine and were established 35:1-19

a. A Test by the Lord: The Lord had Jeremiah test the Recabites by trying to get them drunk, but they refused and continued in their obedience to the Lord

b. An Example to Judah: Judah should obey the Lord just as the Rechabites did their founding fathers, but judgment is coming for disobedience 35:14-16

c. The Rechabites are promised a line that continues 35:18-19

3. Disobedience--Jehoiakim’s Destruction of God’s Word: When Jeremiah and Baruch wrote a scroll so that Judah would turn to Yahweh, Jehoiakim destroyed it, so it was rewritten and Jehoiakim was cut off 36:1-32

a. The Writing of the First Scroll: 36:1-7

b. The Reading of the Scroll: 36:8-9

c. Jehoiakim’s Burning of the Scroll: 36:20-26

d. The Writing of the Second Scroll: 36:27-32

E. The Final Days of Jerusalem Up To and Including Its Fall to Babylon:18 When Zedekiah opposed Jeremiah’s exhortations to surrender to Babylon, Jerusalem fell causing the people to be deported and the city to be destroyed, but Jeremiah was protected and Ebed-melech, the Ethiopian, was spared for trusting in the Lord 37:1--39:18

1. Zedekiah’s Opposition to Jeremiah: When Zedekiah opposed Jeremiah, threw him into prison, and refused to surrender to Babylon during the siege of Jerusalem, Jerusalem was taken by Babylon 37:1--38:15

a. Setting: Egypt has pushed Babylon back for a time from Palestine, so Zedekiah asks Jeremiah to pray for the nation 37:1-5

b. Jeremiah Prophecies a Babylonian Victory: 37:6-10

c. Jeremiah Is Imprisoned for Being Anti-nationalistic: 37:11-16

d. When Zedekiah asks for a word from the Lord from Jeremiah, he is told that Babylon will be victorious and Jeremiah asks not to be placed back in prison, whereupon he is placed in the court of the guardhouse 37:17-21

e. Jeremiah is Placed in Prison Again for Speaking of Destruction by Babylon: 38:1-6

f. Ebed-Melech receives permission from Zedekiah to rescue Jeremiah from the cistern and place him again in the court of the guardhouse 38:7-13

g. Zedekiah Speaks Again with Jeremiah and Babylonian Judgment is confirmed: 34:14-26

h. Jeremiah Does Not Tell of His Conversation with the King and Remains in the Guardhouse until the Fall of Jerusalem 38:27-28

2. The Fall of Jerusalem:19 With the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon the king and people were deported, Jerusalem was destroyed, Jeremiah was protected, and Ebed-melech was spared for trusting the Lord 39:1-18

a. A Summary of the Fall of Jerusalem 39:1-3

b. The Deportation Zedekiah after His Attempted Escape: 39:4-10

c. The Destruction of Jerusalem: 39:8

d. The Taking of Most People to Babylon: 39:9

e. The Poor Are Left in the Land: 39:10

f. Jeremiah is Protected by Nebuchadnezzar: 39:11-14

g. Ebed-melech is Protected for His Faithful Saving of Jeremiah: 39:15-18

F. The Rebellious Activity of Those Left in Jerusalem after the Fall of the City to Babylon:20 40:1--44:30

1. Death of Gedaliah: Palestine was politically unstable with Ishmael’s assassination of Gedaliah and the captivity of the people, but Johanan, the son of Kareah, freed the people while Ishmael escaped to Ammon and the remnant under Johanan fled to Egypt 40:1--41:18

a. Jeremiah Remained in the Land:21 40:1-6

b. The People in the Land Gathered around Gedaliah:22 40:7-12

c. The Assassination of Gedaliah and Its Consequences: 40:13--41:18

1) The Plot: 40:13-16

2) The Assassination: 41:1-3

3) Ishmael Takes the People Captive:23 41:4-10

4) Release of the Captives by Johanan: 41:11-18

2. The Flight to Egypt:24 Out of fear of Babylon’s reprisal, Johanan and the people desired to go to Egypt, but the Lord told Jeremiah that they should not flee; nevertheless, they disobeyed and went to Egypt where Babylon would soon come to conquer 42:1--43:13

a. Jeremiah was Asked about Fleeing to Egypt, and Gave God’s Warning against It: 42:1-22

b. The People Went to Egypt which Babylon Would Soon Control: 43:1-13

1) People Fled to Egypt: 43:1-7

2) An Object Lesson from the Lord about Babylon’s Soon Control of Egypt: 43:10-13

3. Jeremiah prophesied against the People in Egypt: Jeremiah confronted the refugees in Egypt and rebuked them for their evil deeds, but the people worshiped idols and Jeremiah prophesied destruction 44:1-30

a. Jeremiah’s Message: Jeremiah reminds the people of their past experiences due to disobedience, their present sinful activities and God’s future judgment of the wicked 44:1-14

b. The People’s Response Was to Honor Their Other gods for Prosperity: 44:15-19

c. Jeremiah’s Response: Jeremiah Responded by exposing their wrong thinking, foretelling future judgment, and proclaiming that a sign will be in the death of the current Pharaoh at the hand of the Babylon 44:29-30

G. The Lord’s Message to Baruch:25 The Lord gave a message of encouragement to Baruch that although Judah would fall, he would be kept safe 45:1-5

1. Setting (605/4 B.C.): 45:1

2. Introduction--A Word from God to Baruch: 45:2

3. Baruch Was Depressed: 45:3

4. The Lord’s Response: 45:4-5

a. The Nation Will Fall Soon: 45:4

b. Do Not Seek Self Recognition: 45:5a

c. You Will Be Kept Safe: 45:5b

III. Prophecies of Judgment to the Nations: Jeremiah prophesied nine messages of judgment against the nations who were located in an Arch from South-West to North West, and down to South-East to Encourage Judah:26 46:1--51:64

A. Topical Heading: This unit provides that which came to Jeremiah through the word of the Lord about the nations 46:1

B. Message One--against Egypt:27 The defeat of Egypt by Babylon is prophesied as judgment by God, and comfort is given to Judah in Egypt (regathered) 46:2-28

1. The Defeat of Egypt at Carchemish (605 B.C.): 46:1-12

2. The Defeat of the Land of Egypt: 46:13-26

3. Comfort for the People from Judah in Egypt--They Will Be Regathered and Restored: 46:27-28

C. Message Two--against Philistia: Jeremiah prophesied against Philistia that she will be destroyed in judgment from God causing the nations to mourn 47:1-7

1. Introduction: 47:1

2. Conquest: 47:2-4

3. Results of Conquest: 47:5-7

D. Message Three--against Moab:28 Jeremiah prophesied against Moab because of its pride and false worship, but there is a promise of restoration in the latter days 48:1-47

1. The Destruction of the Nation: 48:1-10

2. Moab’s Complacency Will End: 48:11-15

3. Judgment Will Come Suddenly: 48:16-20

4. The Cities of Moab Will Fall: 48:21-25

5. Moab’s False Worship Will Fall: 48:26-35

6. A Lament for Moab: 48:36-39

7. A Complete Destruction of Moab: 48:40-46

8. *A Promise of Restoration for Moab: 48:47

E. Message Four--against Ammon: Jeremiah prophesied against Ammon that judgment would come because they caused false worship in Israel, but restoration is promised 49:1-6

1. Caused False Worship in Israel: 49:1

2. Israel Will Control Ammon: 49:2

3. Destruction Will Come: 49:3-5

4. *A Promise of Restoration: 49:6

F. Message Five--against Edom: Jeremiah prophesied judgment against Edom affirming that in arrogance they do not realize it, but judgment and exile are coming 49:7-22

1. Judgment Will Come: 49:7-13

2. Arrogance Prohibits Their Realization of Judgment Coming: 49:14-19

3. Destruction and Exile Are Coming: 49:20-22

G. Message Six--against Damascus: Jeremiah prophesied judgment against Damascus affirming that it will become helpless and fall 49:23-27

H. Message Seven--against Kedar & Hazor:29 Jeremiah prophesied judgment against Kedar and Hazor affirming that these places will remain desolate 49:28-33

I. Message Eight--against Elam: Jeremiah prophesied judgment against Elam affirming that it would be destroyed, but there is a promise of restoration 49:34-39

1. Introduction--A Prophecy at the Beginning of the Reign of Zedekiah (597 B.C.) 49:34

2. Elam Will Be Destroyed: 49:35-38

3. *A Promise of Restoration: 49:39

J. Message Nine--against Babylon: Jeremiah prophesied judgment against Babylon because of its arrogant attitude, and Israel will return home 50:1--51:64

1. Babylon’s Fall Will Mean Deliverance for Judah: 50:1-20

2. Judgment and Condemnation upon Babylon: 50:21-46

3. A Sovereign Shift of Political Power (the Medes): 51:1-19

4. The Final Fate of Babylon--Destruction: 50:20-33

5. Babylon’s Destruction for Destroying Judah: 51:34-40

6. The Lord’s Destruction of Babylon: 51:41-58

7. Jeremiah’s Instructions to Seraiah to take the scroll with the judgments upon Babylon, to read it there and to symbolize its destruction by throwing the scroll into the Euphrates River 51:63-64

IV. An Historical Appendix--An Account of the Fall of Jerusalem:30 The capture of Jerusalem by Babylon included the city’s capture, the sack of Jerusalem, the execution of officials, and the numbers of the deportees 52:1-34

A. The Fall of Jerusalem: 52:1-16

1. Zedekiah’s Reign as an Evil King: 52:1-3

2. Nebuchadnezzar’s Siege of Jerusalem: 52:4-5

3. Zedekiah’s, and His people’s, Attempt to Escape from Jerusalem: 52:6-7

4. The Capture and Punishment of the Escapees: 52:8-11

5. Jerusalem is Sacked: 52:12-16

a. The Important Buildings Are Destroyed by Fire: 52:12-13

b. The Walls of the City are Broken Down: 52:14

c. Only the Poor People are Left Behind: 52:15-16

B. Plunder of The Temple--Valuable Utensils Taken to Babylon: 52:17-23

C. The Execution of High Officials--the Chief Priest (Seraiah), the Second Priest (Zephaniah) one official, seven advisers, the scribe of the commander of the army, and sixty men: 52:24-27

D. 4600 Jews were Deported to Babylon: 52:28-30

1. Summary Statement: The following are the number of Jews whom Nebuchadnezzar deported to Babylon 52:28a

2. First: In the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar 3,023 people were deported 52:28b

3. Second: In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar 832 people were deported from Jerusalem 52:29

4. Third: In the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar 745 people were deported 52:30a

5. Summary Total: 4,600 persons in all were deported from Jerusalem to Babylon 52:30b

E. Evil-merodach’s exaltation of Jehoiachin--Released from Prison and in the Service of the King: 52:31-34

1 Heater writes, The outline of Jeremiah is difficult because the book is not constructed chronologically. Consequently, events are out of order. See J. B. Payne [The Arrangement of Jeremiah's Prophecies, BETS (now JETS) 7:4 (1964): 129-130)] for a discussion of the arrangement of the book. The messages of Jeremiah were brought into a continuous whole some time after the last one had been delivered. The sermons and speeches delivered at different times and under different circumstances over some thirty years, have been brought together in this final form with a message: Judah deserves to be punished. Had she repented in the earlier years, the punishment could have been averted. However, with the passing of time and the hardening of hearts, the captivity became inevitable. As a completed whole, the book of Jeremiah is an apologetic for God's action against and in behalf of His people. The argument of the book progresses from the call of Jeremiah in chapter 1 to the removal to Egypt after his message had again been rejected in chapter 43 (Homer Heater, Jr., Notes on the Book of Jeremiah, unpublished class notes in seminar in the preexilic Old Testament prophets [Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1990], 109).

This outline is adapted through my own study from the analyses of John Bright, Jeremiah: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary; Robert Carroll, Jeremiah; Charles L. Feinberg, Jeremiah, In The Expositor's Bible Commentary VI:375-81; R. K. Harrison, Jeremiah and Lamentations: An Introduction & Commentary; Homer Heater, Jr., Notes on the Book of Jeremiah, unpublished class notes in seminar in the preexilic Old Testament prophets (Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1990); John A Martin, An Outline of Jeremiah, unpublished class notes in 304 preexilic and exilic prophets, (Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1983); John A. Thompson, The Book of Jeremiah.

2 The book is begun with the call of Jeremiah to speak the word of the Lord with a two-fold purpose: (1) to break down, and (2) to build up. As the book continues this task is clearly seen as Jeremiah prophecies judgment and future consolation.

3 This is like Isaiah 1:1 and Ezekiel 1:1-3.

4 Josiah 640-609; Jehoahaz (Shallum) 609; Jehoiakim 609-598; Jehoiachin 597; Zedekiah 597-586; Jerusalem falls 586.

5 See Exodus 3:11--4:17; Isaiah 6:1-13.

6 Heater writes, The first is an almond rod (shaked, dk@v* ). By a pun on the word the Lord says, 'I will hasten (shoked, dk@ov ) my word to do it (Homer Heater, Jr., Notes on the Book of Jeremiah, unpublished class notes in seminar in the preexilic Old Testament prophets [Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1990], 109).

Just as the budding of Aaron's rod confirmed Yahweh's word before, so does it again in this instance.

7 Jeremiah speaks to the nation in ten distinct messages warning them of future judgment by Yahweh because of their disobedience to His word. Probably the key messages appears in chapters 7--10 where he brings to the people's attention the foolishness of their trust in ritual rather than Yahweh for salvation. The purpose of these messages is not only prophetic but for repentance; but this repentance never occurs.

8 See Hosea.

9 This message is key to the other ten messages in this section.

10 See 2 Sam 7; Isa 4:2; 11:1.

11 This is the climax of the entire ten messages and is thus key to the rest of the book of Jeremiah.

12 As an indication of the hearts of the 'religious leaders' of Judah to the true prophet's messages Jeremiah recorded the strong opposition which he faced by temple priests, false prophets, Zedekiah, Hananiah, and Shemaiah. This demonstrated just how far away from Yahweh the religion of Judah was and substantiated the proclamation of chapters 7--10.

13 This was the core of Daniel's understanding as to when the people are to return.

14 At this point Jeremiah gave the big picture to Judah concerning God's sovereign plan for the nation. Not only would there be judgment but there would also be blessing. It is significant that Jeremiah included this section (as with other prophets like Isaiah). However, it is also significant that this section is so short. Jeremiah's primary message is one of judgment.

There is a movement in theses messages from general to specific.

15 Judah's disobedience is contrasted with the obedience and the consistency of the Recabites. The point of this section is that Jeremiah was clearly demonstrating the right for Judah to be judged based upon their outward actions toward Yahweh.

This unit is in direct contrast with the unit which just preceded it. There is also an interchange of material which occurs between disobedience, obedience, and disobedience to emphasize the need for obedience, but the disobedient nature of the people.

16 Perhaps this was to persuade God to see their goodness. Perhaps the people released the slaves while the siege was on so that they did not have to feed them; then after the siege was lifted, they took their slaves back. This demonstrated that they obeyed the law only when it profited them.

17 This was during the reign of Jehoiakim (cf. 1 Ki 10:13-31) who will be the chief antagonist in the next unit (by means of contrast with the Rechabites).

18 Jerusalem's heart was again revealed to be stone toward Yahweh when Zedekiah refused to surrender to Babylon and imprisoned Jeremiah. Therefore, the historical fall of Jerusalem was recounted to demonstrate the result of disobedience to Yahweh.

19 In many ways this chapter is the climax of the book. Even though other messages will follow this chapter, the appendix in chapter 52 affirms that the fall of Jerusalem is the overall emphasis of the book. God is going to judge his rebellious people!

This occurred in July of 587/86, and it was at this point that Jeremiah wrote Lamentations.

20 In this passage it is clear that the hearts of the people have not changed even with the onslaught of judgment. They refuse to listen to Jeremiah; therefore, judgment is again prophesied. The pattern is repeated: disobedience leads to judgment!

21 This was probably because he still had a job to do with the people in the land (e.g., don't go to Egypt).

22 His father saved Jeremiah from death.

23 He does this because he wants to be king and bring in the kingdom.

24 This passage shows the continued hardness of the people's hearts as they continue to disobey God and do what they want to do.

25 In this message assurance is given to Baruch that Yahweh will keep him safe (due to his obedience, no doubt). Here the principle is emphasized that obedience leads to blessing (cf 40:1--44:30).

This is a bridge section. What the Lord tells Baruch will come to pass in chapters 46--52. Baruch is being urged not to be so concerned with himself as with God's people. He is being urged not to seek great things for himself, but to proclaim God's word and to seek God's concern.

26 These messages probably hold a two-fold purpose: (1) they show that judgment will come upon all of the wicked due to their disobedience to Yahweh's word, (2) they are a source of encouragement to Israel because through their fulfillment God's people can grow in faith toward Yahweh's promise of restoration. Their fulfillment demonstrates God's faithfulness.

27 This is significant for the people who are trusting in Egypt to protect them.

28 Lot is the forefather of the Moabites. Moab also led Israel into idolatry (Num 25:1-5). Nevertheless, Israel was to treat Moab kindly (Deut 2:9). Moab was conquered in 2 Sam 8.

29 This is the wilderness area.

30 This account once again shifts the attention of the reader from Israel's hope to their present judgment thus fulfilling Jeremiah's prophecies of judgment and demonstrating the people's refusal to repent.

See 2 Kings 24--25 for this same historical description. Probably, Jeremiah did not write this section. It may have been appended for literary emphasis from 2 Kings.

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines

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