Preparation Prior to the study session, participants should read Jeremiah 1: God calls Jeremiah, Jeremiah 6: 1-16: Jeremiah prophesies the fall of Jerusalem; and Jeremiah 36: Baruch reads the scroll as the king burns it from under him. Orientation Jeremiah is book #24 of 39 in the Old Testament, and the second book of the Major Prophets. For more information see the Bible Overview page.
Synopsis Reluctant Jeremiah finds being a prophet quite hazardous. He winds up in an "Indiana Jones" lifestyle, imminent disaster constantly following him as he barely escapes time after time. The book consists of his prophecies (the poetic sections) and writings by Baruch the scribe (the prose sections). It is not in chronological order due to the incident below.
Jeremiah made various prophecies for 20 years (1-31). God wanted the prophecies written (36:2) so the scribe Baruch wrote them on a scroll. King Jehoiakim shows his contempt by cutting off pieces and burning them as they are read aloud (36:23) until the entire scroll is gone. God commands it all be written again (36:28) to become the present book of Jeremiah. Under the next king, (Zedekiah) Jeremiah sinks in a muddy cistern (38:6). Babylon invades Jerusalem (39:1-3). Jeremiah is freed (40:4). Jerusalem is pillaged (52: 12-23). Jeremiah is "worn out" (45:3) but God says "wherever you go, you will escape with your life" (45:5).
Major Characters Jeremiah, the prophet who witnesses the fall of Jerusalem (1:1)
Baruch, the scribe who writes down the propechies as Jeremiah dictates (32:12)
Jehoiakim, the king who cuts up the scroll of prophecies (1:3)
Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, who abandons Jerusalem (1:3)
Major Events God calls (1: 4-7), Jeremiah defers until the potter's shop (18: 1-23)
Jeremiah predicts a coming messiah (23: 5-8)
God sentences the Jews to 70 years of exile (25: 1-14)
Jeremiah buys a field (32: 1-15) in a symbolic act
The king burns the scroll - as it is being read! (36: 1-32)
Jeremiah sinks in a muddy cistern (38: 1-13)
Jerusalem falls, Jeremiah survives to see it (39:1 - 40:16 and 52: 1-34)
Discussion points When God calls, will it be an easy career? Compare Jeremiah's reluctance (1: 6-10) with Moses (Exodus 4: 10-12) and Jonah (Jonah 1).
Compare King Zedekiah's indifference (38: 4-6) to Pilate's (Matthew 27: 15-26).
Connections Jeremiah 26:18 quotes the prophet Micah (Micah 3:12) about the destruction of Jerusalem.
For source citations see the home page. Revised April 9 2014
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