Survey of Jeremiah

Book Type: The second book of the Major Prophets; the twenty-fourth book of the Old Testament; the twenty-fourth book of the Bible.

Author: Jeremiah, specifically named in Jeremiah 1:1. Jeremiah may have written with the assistance of his servant, Baruch.

Audience: The book of Jeremiah is written to the people of the nation of Judah. Some of the writing applies to the people during the reign of King Josiah. Other of the writing is directed to Judah during the rise of Nebuchadnezzar and the deportation of the Jewish people. Jeremiah's many warnings about judgment were intended for God's chosen people, who had turned away from God, and would suffer the consequences. After mercifully saving Judah, despite her idolatry, God would finally allow the people to suffer the natural results of their own choices.

Date: Jeremiah 1:1–5 defines the timeframe of Jeremiah's writings. They began in 630 and ended in approximately 580 BC. This also means the various segments of this book are not necessarily in chronological order.

Overview: Jeremiah includes 52 chapters and can be organized into four major areas. The first section is the calling of Jeremiah, in chapter 1. Though young, God calls him to speak his words without reservation.

The second section is the majority of the text: Jeremiah's prophecies concerning Judah (Jeremiah 2—45). A series of messages are recorded toward Judah (Jeremiah 2—29). In chapters 30—33, Jeremiah predicts a positive future for the people of Judah through a new covenant. Yet, despite this future covenant, much calamity would first fall upon Judah (Jeremiah 34—45).

The third section addresses Jeremiah's prophecies regarding other nations (chapters 46-51). He speaks against nine different kingdoms, concluding with words of future judgment upon Babylon (chapters 50-51).

The final section (Jeremiah 52) provides the account of the fall of Jerusalem. The city is destroyed (Jeremiah 52:1–23) and its citizens are deported (Jeremiah 52:24–30). The closing verses end with a new hope through the release of Jehoiachin (Jeremiah 52:31–34).

Key Verses (ESV):

Jeremiah 1:5: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, \ and before you were born I consecrated you; \ I appointed you a prophet to the nations."

Jeremiah 17:9: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?"

Jeremiah 29:10–11: "For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

Jeremiah 52:12–13: "In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month—that was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon—Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, who served the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. And he burned the house of the LORD, and the king's house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down."