Book of the Week 24: Jeremiah

Hebrew Name: Yermi’Yah

Human Author: Jeremiah

OT or NT: Old Testament

Number of Chapters: 52

Basic Facts

  1. Jeremiah is the twenty-fourth book of the Bible.
  2. In terms of literary genre, Jeremiah is classified as a book of prophecy.
  3. The Hebrew name for Jeremiah is Yermi’Yah, which means “Yah (God) lifts up.”
  4. Jeremiah contains some of the clearest prophesies concerning the coming of the new covenant that would later be established through the blood of Christ.
  5. Jeremiah was sent by God as a prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah.

Story of the Book

Jeremiah was a prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah during the reigns of kings Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiachim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. God sent Jeremiah to warn the people of Judah about God’s coming wrath against the nation which was kindled on account of their sins. God was about to judge the kingdom of Judah by sending the Babylonians to conquer Judah and carry its people into exile, which happened during Jeremiah’s ministry. The story of Jeremiah contains the following:

  • Jeremiah’s call to ministry
  • God’s condemnation of Judah for its sins
  • Jeremiah’s God-given prophesies about the coming destruction of Jerusalem
  • Jeremiah’s accusations of corruption against the nation’s leaders
  • A future promise of restoration for Judah
  • The outpouring of God’s judgment
  • Jeremiah’s prophesies about foreign nations
  • The fall of the city of Jerusalem

The book of Jeremiah ends with the fall of Jerusalem in which the Babylonians carry off the people of Judah into exile in Mesopotamia. The final paragraph closes by describing the way the king of Babylon eventually releases Jehoiachin the king of Judah from prison, but he is kept in Babylon, in exile, for the rest of his life. The ending of Jeremiah marks a low point for the nation of Judah as the people are carried off into slavery and exile.

Jesus Foreshadowed in Jeremiah

There are several prophesies in Jeremiah which point forward to the messiah and his ministry. Jeremiah is in many ways a story of sadness as the people of Judah fail to listen to Jeremiah. When the people of Judah fail to listen to Jeremiah and refuse to repent of their sins, God ultimately brings judgment on the nation and sends the people of Judah into exile. However, there are glimpses of hope in the future messiah. The following is a small sample of the ways in which Jesus Christ is foreshadowed and/or foretold in Jeremiah:

  • There would be weeping and lamentation in Ramah when the descendants of Rachel would face mass execution. This prophecy was fulfilled in the early years of Jesus’ life as Herod looked for the baby Jesus to destroy him (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:13-23).
  • God would make a new covenant with Israel and Judah which was later established through the blood of Christ (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Luke 22: 14-23).
  • Jeremiah condemns the people for rejecting God, symbolized as the spring of living water, and replacing Him with worthless idols—symbolized as a broken cistern that holds no water. Jesus later identifies Himself as the messiah who would give living water to those who believe in them—leading to eternal life (Jeremiah 2:13; John 4:7-26).

Though Jeremiah tells a sad story of destruction and exile, he also foretells of a future time of hope for the nation in which their fortunes will be restored through a new covenant in the messiah, who is Jesus the Christ.