Have you ever been betrayed by close friends? Has anyone ever spread lies about you and hurt your reputation? If you answer yes, then you have a friend in the prophet Jeremiah.
“The days of Jeremiah were among the most difficult and momentous in all Jewish history. How stirring the times were in which the prophet lived–and how sad–is shown by the fact that the Lord commanded him not to marry (16:2). Jeremiah’s life was, accordingly, to be filled with grief and sorrow. His suffering was to be even more poignant because his own brethren and kinsmen in Anathoth opposed him (12:6). All of this, in addition to the rejection of his message by his countrymen, was to fill the cup of bitterness full to overflowing. Few men except the Savior himself have experienced such abject sorrow or have felt the weight of their nation’s sin as he did.” (Sidney B. Sperry, The Voice of Israel’s Prophets, 152.)
Jeremiah is not necessarily written chronologically
“The modern reader of the Book of Jeremiah is faced at the outset with a difficult task. What has survived is not a book, in the normal sense of that word.; it does not move from beginning to end, following a clear logic an inner development. Indeed, the major portion of the substance of this ‘book’ was never designed for the literary context in which it has survived; the stuff of which Jeremiah’s book is constructed started life in various contexts, ranging from public proclamation to private diary. What we are dealing with, then, in reading the Book of Jeremiah, is a work that is essentially an anthology, or more precisely an anthology of anthologies.” (Peter C. Craigie, et. al., Jeremiah 1-25. World Biblical Commentary. pg. xxxi-xxxii)
How we used his writings in class
We spent some time identifying who the contemporaries of Jeremiah were. It is likely that Jeremiah knew Lehi. Others in and around Jerusalem at this time were: Habakkuk, Ezekiel, Urijah, Zephaniah, Daniel, and Nephi. Nephi himself mentions “many prophets” prophesying to those in Jerusalem that they “must repent” or the city would be destroyed (1 Nephi 1:4). I used the book of Jeremiah to answer the “why” of Jerusalem’s destruction. The text does an excellent job of demonstrating the low state of the people in Jerusalem at this time.
600 BC Scriptures
- Jeremiah 5:1-9 Every man neighs after his neighbors wife
- Isaiah 1:2-3 Dumber than an ox or a donkey
- Isaiah 3:9-26 Like Sodom & Gomorrah
- Babylon controls Jerusalem in 600 BC
- 1 Nephi 1:4 Many prophets in Jerusalem
- Daniel 1 Some from Jerusalem taken to Babylon
- Jeremiah 35:15 Many prophets- none listened to!
- Jeremiah 2:8, 13 Leaders and commoners are corrupt
- Jeremiah 9:2-6 All adulterers, liars and strive to sin
- Jeremiah 7:31 Human sacrifice at Topheth – this one truly shows how low they fell
- Jeremiah 7:9-10 Murder and then go to the temple!
- Jeremiah 7:17-18 FHE dedicated to the fertility god!
- Jeremiah 5:1 Like Sodom, one faithful can save the city
- 1 Nephi 2:13 Laman & Lemuel like everyone else in the city
- 1 Nephi 17:44-45 Laman & Lemuel are past feeling
- 1 Nephi 7:6-7 Laman & Lemuel want to go back to Jerusalem
- 1 Nephi 3:7-8 The surprise is not that Laman & Lemuel are so wicked, but that Nephi & Lehi were so righteous in such a corrupt society!
He witnessed the leaders of Judah corrupting the land (Jer. 12:10-12).
Attacked by his own brethren (Jer. 12:6).
Beaten and put into stocks by a priest and a false prophet (Jer. 20:1-4).
Imprisoned by a king (Jer. 37:18; 38:28).
Threatened with death (Jer. 38:6).
Thrown into a miry dungeon by Judah’s officials (Jer. 38:6).
Opposed by a false prophet (Jer. 28).
When Nebuchadnezzar seized Jerusalem in 686 BC, he ordered that Jeremiah be freed from prison and treated well (Jer. 39:11-40:5).