Prophet Jeremiah is considered as the Old Testament prophet who spiritualized and individualized religion. He emphasized on the need to have a personal relationship with God as opposed to the communal relationship with God. Jeremiah means the weeping prophet according to the ancient Hebrew language. Contemporary Christian topologists have affirmed as the weeping prophet as well. Jeremiah is credited for authoring four books of the Bible; the Book of Jeremiah, the Book of Lamentations, 1st and 2nd Kings. His disciple and scribe assisted him; Baruch Ben Nariah to write the four books of the bible that have also been recognized by mainstream religions such as Judaism and Islam. Prophet Jeremiah demonstrated great devotion to God despite the struggles that he went through. His devotion to God only earned him the scorn of his contemporaries.
Prophet Jeremiah lived after the King Josiah of Judah had turned the nation from sin and idolatry that was practiced by father and grandfather and steered the nation towards repentance. The prime purpose of Jeremiah was to reveal to the people their sins for the impending massive destruction by the Babylonian army and the subsequent captivity. Prophet Jeremiah reiterated the words of Yahweh by stating that when Israelites complain and ask what has the lord done to them he will reply that the people of Israel had abandoned their supreme maker and choose to serve foreign gods. For this reason, the Israelites would serve foreigners in a land that is not their homeland. God had communicated to Prophet Jeremiah and informed him of that he would be attacked but contrary to the expectations of his attackers he would not yield. The political elite of his contemporary time was infuriated by his message of destruction. His bothers were first to attack him after that he was attacked and put into the stocks by a priest and a false prophet. The king imprisoned him and threatened him with death as well. He was finally thrown into a cistern by Judah officials. King Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem freed Prophet Jeremiah as ordered by God. Jeremiah was treated well by the Babylonians as instructed by King Nebuchadnezzar.
Jeremiah, the man
Jeremiah was born in 650 BC when the dominant world power was Assyria. The politics and the way of worship of his homeland were controlled and dominated by King Mennesah, who had whose diplomatic prowess had allowed the kingdom to survive without offending his Assyrian superiors. Idolatry flourished in the kingdom like bush fire and the temple of God in Jerusalem descended into moral decay. When Josiah took the reins of power, he introduced reforms in the religion. It was at this time that the book of Deuteronomy was discovered in the temple. King Josiah led the people in reaffirming their commitment to God and repenting their sins. Josiah was determined to shake off the reigns of control from the kingdom of Assyria and establish to stable kingdom in the south. The dream of a law abiding-kingdom perished when King Josiah was killed in battle in 609 B.C. The Egyptians who had conquered Judah installed Jehoakim as a puppet ruler over Jerusalem. The collapse of Assyria left a power vacuum which the Egyptians and the Babylonians were struggling to fill. It was at this time that Jeremiah started his ministry.
The personal struggles that Jeremiah went through and his corresponding devotion to God Is what makes the message of Jeremiah one of the most appealing in the Old Testament. Although the theology regards him a prophet of doom his oracles are full of compassion, kindness and mercy. Jeremiah was one of the sons of Hilkah; one of the priests of Anathoth. He hailed from the tribe of Benjamin. He began his ministry in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon. His mission in Judah ended in the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah the King of Judah, who was the son of Josiah. The Lord Informed Jeremiah that he knew him before he was formed in his mother’s womb and long before he was born God had appointed him as a prophet among nations. Prophet Jeremiah presented a quick rebuttal that he was only a child and that he was not fluent in his speech. God beseeched him to the stop arguing that he was only a child, as a prophet appointed before he was born he was go the places that the lord sent him and inform the people of the God’s messages and proclamations. God further argues that he would do whatever he commanded him to do since God would be with Jeremiah, and he would rescue him in the times of danger and disaster. God stretched his hand and touched his mouth and immediately informed Jeremiah that he had put his words in his mouth. His corresponding duty arising from that privilege was to uproot and tear down kingdoms, which was also saddled by the responsibility to destroy and overthrow kingdoms.
God made Jeremiah see two visions, the vision of an almond branch and the boiling pot tilting away from the north. The Lord Informed Jeremiah that disaster will pour down from the north to all those who live in the land. God further asserted that he is about to gather the people of the northern kingdoms and their kings would come to establish their thrones outside the gates of Jerusalem. The Kings of the North will attack the walls of Judah and Jerusalem. God provided a justification for allowing these atrocities to happen to his chosen people. He argued that his people had abandoned him for foreign gods. The impending disaster could be attributed to the worship of false gods made out of human skill and labor coupled with the moral perversion. God informed him that he should not be terrified by the people he was going to preach to the people, or the Lord himself would terrify him. Yahweh asserted that he had made Jeremiah an iron pillar a fortified city and a bronze wall to stand against kings, queens, the kingdom of Judah and its officials and the people of the land. Go informed him that the earthling would fight him but he would overcome because God would come in handy to rescue him and he would accompany him wherever he commanded him to go.
Jeremiah the Prophet
Jeremiah's first message from God was on the people of Jerusalem. He was commanded by the Almighty to inform the people of Jerusalem that the Lord remembers their devotion and commitment when Jerusalem was young. The Lord compared Jerusalem with a bride and argued that Jerusalem loved and adored him along the wilderness and the desert. Israel was a holy nation and offered her first fruits of the harvest to the Lord. Those who were against her disaster overtook them. The lord asks the people of Jerusalem what fault their forefathers found in Him that they turned to foreign gods. The Lord argued that he rescued the Israelites from the cruel hand of the Egyptians, led them through the desert and finally brought them to the land that fertile. The children of Israel had betrayed the lord and, as a result, the heaven would shudder at the calamity that would befall Jerusalem. The Israelites had betrayed the lord who was the source of the living water and chose to dig their cisterns, cisterns that were broken and could not hold water. The Lord reminded Israel that the she was once a slave and the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes had shaved her head. He informed them that his wickedness would mete out heavy punishment upon them and the backsliding would be keen to rebuke her. The lord informed both Israel and Judah that both of them could avoid calamity by casting away their idols and returning back to the lord. A change of heart among the men of Jerusalem would avert the disaster that was about to befall them as a result of their moral perversion. Prophet Jeremiah informed the people to flee the land because disaster was about to befall the people of Israel. They will wonder why the Sovereign Lord had deceived them by informing them that they would experience lasting peace in the Canaan. Jeremiah also informed the people of Israel that a ferocious army was on its way sounding a war cry against the cities of Judah and Jerusalem.
The Temple Sermon
Jeremiah was sent to the house of God in Judah and inform the people to change their wicked ways since when disaster strikes the people should not trust in their deceptive word and argue that disaster cannot befall those in the house of the lord. According to Prophet Jeremiah, the Lord was willing to save the people of Judah and let them live in the land if they would choose to repent their wayward ways. The Lord gave the people conditions which if the people followed the Almighty would allow them to live in the land that was granted to them by their ancestors. The Lord argued that if the people stopped oppressing the aliens, the widows and the fatherless the people remain in the land. In addition, they would not shed innocent blood in the holy land and stop worshipping foreign gods, harm will not befall the holy nation of Israel. It was disgusting to the lord for people to steal, murder, burn incense to Baal and bow before false gods, and yet come to the holy temple that bears the name of the Almighty God and claim that the people the people are safe. God argued that the same way he had destroyed Shiloh he would destroy his Holy temple that bore his name. God was furious because the people of Judah and the people of Jerusalem had failed to follow his commandments and his teachings. Their safety in Israel was guaranteed only if they obeyed God and followed his commandments. In the Temple Sermon, he further argued that the people had strayed away from the truth and responded to corrections. He further argued that the people of Judah had strayed way from the expected path and trodden in the path of wickedness.
The people of Judah had veered away from righteousness. They had set up idols in the gods sacred houses that bear the name of the Almighty Lord. The valley of Topeth will be called the valley of slaughter. The carcasses of people will fill the land and overflow to other areas. People who were once God’s people will lie dead on the ground and become flesh for the birds or the air and the beasts of the earth. The bones of kings of Judah and Israel will be exposed to the sun and the stars. They will not be buried but will remain asunder before the stars and the sun that the consulted. People will refuse to bury the dead kings and Judah officials. The survivors of this evil empire will prefer death to life wherever they the Lord decides to banish them. The wise would be ashamed for they denied the existence of the lord the priest that falsely handled the law of god will be punished using the same law that they transgressed. In the end, the people of Israel will wonder why they provoked the Lord God to anger. They will realize the lord is no longer in Zion and has let the nation dominate by the kings of the north.Conclusion
Before the invasion of Judah prophet, Jeremiah delivered the Lords message to the King of Judah. He warned those who sat on the throne of Judah that they should follow the commandment that God had given them. They should oppress the alien, the fatherless and the widows or shed innocent blood. The Lord argued that if the Kings of Judah failed to abide by the rules and regulations outlined by the almighty Lord, the whole land would be turned into ruin. Because the people have betrayed the covenant of God and worshipped other gods the lord would sent his destroyer King Nebuchadnezzar and raze the cities of Judah and Jerusalem to the ground. After Prophet Jeremiah stated that Jerusalem would be razed to the ground the King’s officials and Pashur the priest urged the king to put Jeremiah to death. King Zedekiah responded to the priests and the officials that he would not oppose them. He was put into a cistern of mud by the kings of officials with the hope that he would starve. He was rescued by a Cushite but remained imprisoned for the rest of the reign of King Zedekiah. Jerusalem fell to the Babylonian army on 587 B.C and the city was razed to the ground including the temple. The survivors were chained and taken as slaves by King Nebuchadnezzar but the Lord fulfilled his promise to prophet Jeremiah was rescued from prison and shown mercy and kindness. Prophet Jeremiah was allowed to choose his place of resident in the Babylonian empire. He went to Mephizah in the land of Benjamin. Finally, Jeremiah fled to Egypt with his scribe and the faithful kings’ daughters.
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