By Barnard C. Taylor
1. AUTHOR. — Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah, of the priests who lived at Anathoth, a few miles north of Jerusalem.
2. DATE. — From the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah until after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, 625–586 B. C. How much longer the prophet lived is not known.
3. PLACE. — The prophet belonged to the kingdom of Judah. Most of his prophecies were delivered at Jerusalem.
4. HISTORICAL OCCASION. — At the time Judah was receiving the punishment that had been threatened, captivity by the Babylonians. His work began when Josiah was engaged in his reforms, whom no doubt he helped; it continued in the reigns of Jehoiakim and Zedekiah, who were vassals of the Babylonian power, until Jerusalem was overthrown, and the chosen people were removed from the land. This threatening calamity deter mines the character of his prophecies.
5. LEADING TOPIC. — Condemnation and threat of imminent punishment for sins, with exhortation to repent, and promise of restoration to God's favor after chastisement.
6. CHIEF PURPOSE. — To show how the threats made all along by the prophets were about to be fulfilled by the captivity; how Judah's sins had wrought its downfall; and yet to assure God's true people that their oppressors would at last be overcome, and Zion would be glorified.
7. GENERAL ANALYSIS.
8. POINTS OF ESPECIAL INTEREST. — The covenant made at Sinai broken; importance of the Sabbath; the temple to be destroyed; controversy with false prophets; seventy years ' exile foretold; the persecution of the prophet; the fall of Jerusalem.
9. SPECIAL SINS CONDEMNED. — Of Judah: Idolatry; trust in men; violation of the covenant; oppression of their fellows. Of the Gentiles: Hostility toward God's people.
10. NATIONAL HOPES PRESENTED. — Return from exile; a new covenant to be established in the heart; the righteous Branch of David to rule; the people to be blessed by Jehovah who would dwell among them as their God.
11. MESSIANIC IDEAS. — The Branch to be established on the throne of David; righteousness to be secured in the hearts of God's people; their enemies to be over come.
12. RELATION TO OTHER O. T. BOOKS. — Jeremiah quotes the threats of former prophets and shows how they are about to be fulfilled in the captivity; he shows how present suffering is the result of sins condemned by former prophets. He also shows how promises of deliverance will be realized in a speedy return from exile. Jeremiah relies much upon the writings of earlier prophets, but he is original in his use of their material.
13. TOPICS FOR SPECIAL STUDY. — The history of the Babylonians; the result of Josiah’s reforms; the extent of idolatry in Judah.
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