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Jeremiah

07.29.2010

Jeremiah and I have not always seen eye to eye.  Our main issue of disagreement is he (presumably) thinks is book is a profound, beautiful message from the God of creation to His chosen people.  I, on the other hand, tend to think it is boring and impenetrable.

Maybe it was reading Jeremiah for the first time right after I had read Isaiah ten years ago.  Perhaps Isaiah raised my hopes for what a book of prophecy could be, or perhaps it was unfair to compare any similar book to Isaiah.  Whatever the cause, I will admit to not always valuing the words of Jeremiah like the divinely inspired scripture that they are.  I will try my best, however, to put that all aside as I read through it this go around.

To that end, here are a few scene setters for Jeremiah:

– It was written throughout the course of his ministry, from the reign of King Josiah until after the fall of Jerusalem.  The writer is often thought to be his loyal sidekick (and a full 50% of his fan base, it’s thought) Baruch, who transcribed Jeremiah’s impassioned jeremiads (etymology clue right there!) for posterity.

– Jeremiah lived a hard life, being chased hither and yon by those who did not care to hear his message of repentance and warning.  He was primarily concerned with warning the people of Judah of their impending doom because of their persistent sinfulness and idolatry.  Whether purposeful or not, Jeremiah is one of the Bible’s more chronologically jumbled books, with anecdotes arranged by theme rather than order of occurrence.  This reinforces the unsettled and frantic tone of the book (which we will miss in this particular study because we are going chronologically).

– One cool story of Jeremiah that I found said that he is thought to have died in Egypt.  During the early days of Babylonian rule over Israel, some locals assassinated the Babylonian governor and then ran to Jeremiah to see if God approved of their plan of fleeing to Egypt.  When they were disappointed to hear that God most certainly did not approve and commanded them to stay in their homeland (and presumably meet their just punishment for murder), they went anyway, taking Jeremiah and Baruch captive so they would not be around to snitch.  It was in this captivity that Jeremiah reportedly died.

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