Jehovah’s Word Is Alive
Highlights From the Book of Jeremiah
1 HOW shocking the catastrophes that Jeremiah proclaimed to his own people must have sounded! The glorious temple that had been a center of worship for over three centuries would be burned to the ground. The city of Jerusalem and the land of Judah would lie desolate, their inhabitants taken captive. A record of these and other judgment proclamations appears in the second-largest book of the Bible, the book of Jeremiah. It also relates what Jeremiah personally experienced as he faithfully carried out his 67-year-long ministry. The information in the book is presented, not in chronological order, but by subject.
2 Why is the Bible book of Jeremiah of interest to us? Its fulfilled prophecies fortify our faith in Jehovah as the Fulfiller of his promises. (Isaiah 55:10, 11) Jeremiah’s work as a prophet and the attitude of the people toward his message find parallels in our day. (1 Corinthians 10:11) Moreover, the record of how Jehovah dealt with his people highlights his qualities and should have a profound effect on us.
“TWO BAD THINGS THAT MY PEOPLE HAVE DONE”
3 Jeremiah is commissioned as a prophet in the 13th year of the reign of Josiah, the king of Judah, 40 years prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. (Jeremiah 1:1, 2) Proclamations made mostly during the remaining 18 years of Josiah’s reign expose Judah’s badness and pronounce Jehovah’s judgments against her. “I will make Jerusalem piles of stones,” declares Jehovah, “and the cities of Judah I shall make a desolate waste, without an inhabitant.” (Jeremiah 9:11) Why? “Because there are two bad things that my people have done,” he says.
4 The message is also about the restoration of a repentant remnant. (Jeremiah 3:14-18; 12:14, 15; 16:14-21) The messenger, though, is not well-received. “The leading commissioner in the house of Jehovah” strikes Jeremiah and puts him in stocks overnight.
Scriptural Questions Answered:
5 1:11, 12
6 2:10, 11
7 3:11-22; 11:10-12, 17
8 4:3, 4
9 4:10; 15:18
Lessons for Us:
12 1:8. Jehovah may at times deliver his people from persecution
13 2:13, 18. Unfaithful Israelites did two bad things. They left Jehovah, the sure source of blessing, guidance, and protection. And they hewed out for themselves their own figurative cisterns by seeking to make military alliances with Egypt and Assyria. In our time, to abandon the true God in favor of human philosophies and theories and worldly politics is to replace “the source of living water” with “broken cisterns.”
14 6:16. Jehovah exhorts his rebellious people to pause, examine themselves, and find their way back to “the roadways” of their faithful ancestors. Should we not examine ourselves from time to time to see if we are really walking in the way Jehovah wants us to walk?
15 7:1-15. Putting their trust in the temple, viewing it as some kind of protective charm, did not save the Jews. We should walk by faith, not by sight.
16 15:16, 17. Like Jeremiah, we can fight discouragement. We can do so by rejoicing in meaningful personal Bible study, by exalting Jehovah’s name in the ministry, and by avoiding bad associations.
17 17:1, 2. The sins of the people of Judah made their sacrifices displeasing to Jehovah. Moral uncleanness makes our sacrifices of praise unacceptable.
18 17:5-8. Humans and institutions are worthy of our trust only to the extent that they act in harmony with God’s will and divine principles. When it comes to such matters as salvation and genuine peace and security, we are wise to put our trust in Jehovah alone.
19 20:8-11. We should not allow apathy, opposition, or persecution to dampen our zeal for the Kingdom-preaching work.
“BRING YOUR NECKS UNDER THE YOKE OF THE KING OF BABYLON”
20 Jeremiah pronounces judgments against the last four kings of Judah as well as against false prophets, bad shepherds, and corrupt priests. Referring to the faithful remnant as good figs, Jehovah says: “I will set my eye upon them in a good way.” (Jeremiah 24:5, 6) Three prophecies in chapter 25 summarize judgments expounded on in later chapters.
21 The priests and the prophets scheme to put Jeremiah to death. His message is that they must serve the king of Babylon. To King Zedekiah, Jeremiah says: “Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon.” (Jeremiah 27:12) However, “the One scattering Israel will himself collect him [Israel] together.” (Jeremiah 31:10) For good reason, a promise is made to the Rechabites. Jeremiah is placed “in custody in the Courtyard of the Guard.” (Jeremiah 37:21) Jerusalem is destroyed, and most of its inhabitants are taken captive. Jeremiah and his secretary, Baruch, are among those left behind. Despite Jeremiah’s warning not to do so, those frightened people go to Egypt. Chapters 46 to 51 relate the word that Jeremiah speaks concerning the nations.
Scriptural Questions Answered:
26 33:23, 24
Lessons for Us:
28 21:8, 9; 38:19. Even at the last hour, Jehovah provided a choice for the unrepentant inhabitants of Jerusalem, who deserved to die. Yes, “many are his mercies.”
29 31:34. How comforting it is to know that Jehovah does not recall the sins of those he forgives and take action against them in the future!
30 38:7-13; 39:15-18. Jehovah does not forget our faithful service, which includes ‘ministering to the holy ones.’
31 45:4, 5. As was the case during the last days of Judah, “the last days” of the present system of things is no time to seek “great things,” such as wealth, prominence, or material security.
32 The year is 607 B.C.E. Zedekiah is in the 11th year of his kingship. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has laid siege against Jerusalem for the past 18 months. On the seventh day of the fifth month of the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the chief of the bodyguard, ‘comes to,’ or arrives at, Jerusalem. (2 Kings 25:8) Perhaps from his camp outside the city walls, Nebuzaradan surveys the situation and plans a course of action. Three days later, on the tenth of the month, he ‘comes into,’ or enters, Jerusalem. And he proceeds to set the city aflame.
33 Jeremiah gives a detailed account of the fall of Jerusalem. His description thus provides a basis for laments, or dirges. These compositions appear in the Bible book of Lamentations.
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Jeremiah’s pronouncements included Jehovah’s judgment against Jerusalem
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How did Jehovah ‘use his strength’ against Jeremiah?
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“Like these good figs, so I shall regard the exiles of Judah.”