|Born||c. 650 BC
|Died||c. 570 BC
Jeremiah[a] (probably after 650 – c. 570 BC), also called the "weeping prophet", was one of the major prophets of the Hebrew Bible (source of the Old Testament of Christian Bibles). According to Jewish tradition, Jeremiah authored the Book of Jeremiah, the Books of Kings and the Book of Lamentations, with the assistance and under the editorship of Baruch ben Neriah, his scribe and disciple.
In addition to proclaiming many prophecies of the God of Israel, the Book of Jeremiah goes into detail regarding the prophet's private life (e.g., the purchase of a field belonging to his uncle as a part of the right of redemption[Jeremiah 32:6–25]) and his experiences (e.g., imprisonment[Jeremiah 37:15–18][38:6]), which are thus better known than those of any other prophet.
Judaism considers the Book of Jeremiah part of its canon, and regards Jeremiah as the second of the major prophets. Christianity and Islam also regard Jeremiah as a prophet. His words are quoted in the New Testament[Matthew 2:18][Hebrews 8:8–12][10:16–17] and his narrative is recounted in Islamic tradition.
Chronology [ edit ]
Jeremiah was active as a prophet from the thirteenth year of Josiah, king of Judah (626 BC), until after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of Solomon's Temple in 587 BC. This period spanned the reigns of five kings of Judah: Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah.
Biblical narrative [ edit ]
Lineage and early life [ edit ]
Jeremiah was the son of Hilkiah, a kohen (Jewish priest) from the Benjamite village of Anathoth.[Jeremiah 1:1] The difficulties he encountered, as described in the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations, have prompted scholars to refer to him as "the weeping prophet".
Jeremiah was called to prophecy c. 626 BC by YHWH to proclaim Jerusalem's coming destruction[Jeremiah 1:14–16] by invaders from the north.[Jeremiah 4] This was because Israel had forsaken God by worshiping the idols of Baal[Jeremiah 2] and burning their children as offerings to Moloch.[Jeremiah 19:4–5] The nation had deviated so far from God's laws that they had broken the covenant, causing God to withdraw his blessings. Jeremiah was guided by God to proclaim that the nation of Judah would suffer famine, foreign conquest, plunder, and captivity in a land of strangers.[Jeremiah 10]
Calling [ edit ]
According to Jeremiah 1:2–3, Yahweh called Jeremiah to prophecy in about 626 BC, about five years before Josiah king of Judah turned the nation toward repentance from idolatrous practices.[2 Kings 22:3-13] According to the Books of Kings and Jeremiah, Josiah's reforms were insufficient to save Judah and Jerusalem from destruction, because of the sins of Manasseh, Josiah's grandfather,[2 Kings 23:26–27] and Judah's lustful return to the idolatry of foreign gods after Josiah's death.[Jeremiah 11:10][2 Kings 23:32] Jeremiah was said to have been appointed to reveal the sins of the people and the punishment to come.[Jeremiah 1:1–2:37]
Jeremiah resisted the call by complaining that he was only a child and did not know how to speak, but the Lord placed the word in Jeremiah's mouth,[Jeremiah 1:6–9] commanding "Get yourself ready!"[Jeremiah 1:17] The qualities of a prophet listed in Jeremiah 1 include not being afraid, standing up to speak, speaking as told, and going where sent.[Jeremiah 1:4–10][Jeremiah 1:17–19] Since Jeremiah is described as emerging well trained and fully literate from his earliest preaching, his relationship with the Shaphan family has been used to suggest that he may have trained at the scribal school in Jerusalem over which Shaphan presided.[2 Kings 22:8–10]
In his early years of being a prophet, Jeremiah was primarily a preaching prophet,[Jeremiah 1:7] preaching throughout Israel. He condemned idolatry,[Jeremiah 3:12–23][Jeremiah 4:1–4] the greed of priests, and false prophets.[Jeremiah 6:13–14] Many years later, God instructed Jeremiah to write down these early oracles and his other messages.[Jeremiah 36:1–10]
Persecution [ edit ]
Jeremiah's prophecies prompted plots against him.[Jeremiah 11:21–23] Unhappy with Jeremiah's message, possibly from concern that it would shut down the Anathoth sanctuary, his priestly kin and the men of Anathoth conspired to kill him. However, the Lord revealed the conspiracy to Jeremiah, protected his life, and declared disaster for the men of Anathoth.[Jeremiah 11:18–2:6] When Jeremiah complains to the Lord about this persecution, he is told that the attacks on him will become worse.
A priest, Pashur the son of ben Immer, a temple official in Jerusalem, had Jeremiah beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin for a day. After this, Jeremiah laments the travails and mockery that speaking God's word have caused him.[Jeremiah 20:7] He recounts how, if he tries to shut God's word inside, it burns in his heart and he is unable to hold it in.[Jeremiah 20:9]
Conflicts with false prophets [ edit ]
According to the book of Jeremiah, during the reign of King Zedekiah, The Lord instructed Jeremiah to make a yoke with the message that the nation would be subject to the king of Babylon. The prophet Hananiah took the yoke off Jeremiah's neck and broke it, prophesying that within two years the Lord would break the yoke of the king of Babylon, but Jeremiah prophesied in return: "You have broken the yoke of wood, but you have made instead a yoke of iron."[Jeremiah 28:13]
Relationship with the Northern Kingdom (Samaria) [ edit ]
Jeremiah was sympathetic to, as well as descended from, the Northern Kingdom. Many of his first reported oracles are about, and addressed to, the Israelites at Samaria. He resembles the northern prophet Hosea in his use of language and examples of God's relationship to Israel. Hosea seems to have been the first prophet to describe the desired relationship as an example of ancient Israelite marriage, where a man might be polygynous, while a woman was only permitted one husband. Jeremiah often repeats Hosea's marital imagery.[Jeremiah 2:2][2:3][3:1–5][3:19–25][4:1–2]
Babylon [ edit ]
The Biblical narrative portrays Jeremiah as being subject to additional persecutions. After Jeremiah prophesied that Jerusalem would be handed over to the Babylonian army, the king's officials, including Pashur the priest, tried to convince King Zedekiah that Jeremiah should be put to death for disheartening the soldiers and the people. Zedekiah allowed them, and they cast Jeremiah into a cistern, where he sank down into the mud. The intent seemed to be to kill Jeremiah by starvation, while allowing the officials to claim to be innocent of his blood. A Cushite rescued Jeremiah by pulling him out of the cistern, but Jeremiah remained imprisoned until Jerusalem fell to the Babylonian army in 587 BC.[Jeremiah 38]
The Babylonians released Jeremiah, and showed him great kindness, allowing him to choose the place of his residence, according to a Babylonian edict. Jeremiah accordingly went to Mizpah in Benjamin with Gedaliah, who had been made governor of Judea.[Jeremiah 40:5–6]
Egypt [ edit ]
Johanan succeeded Gedaliah, who had been assassinated by an Israelite prince in the pay of Ammon "for working with the Babylonians." Refusing to listen to Jeremiah's counsel, Johanan fled to Egypt, taking with him Jeremiah and Baruch, Jeremiah's faithful scribe and servant, and the king's daughters.[Jeremiah 43:1–13] There, the prophet probably spent the remainder of his life, still seeking in vain to turn the people back to God.[Jeremiah 43:1–13] There is no authentic record of his death.
Religious views [ edit ]
Judaism [ edit ]
In Jewish rabbinic literature, especially the aggadah, Jeremiah and Moses are often mentioned together, their life and works being presented in parallel lines. The following ancient midrash is especially interesting, in connection with Deuteronomy 18:18, in which "a prophet like Moses" is promised: "As Moses was a prophet for forty years, so was Jeremiah; as Moses prophesied concerning Judah and Benjamin, so did Jeremiah; as Moses' own tribe [the Levites under Korah] rose up against him, so did Jeremiah's tribe revolt against him; Moses was cast into the water, Jeremiah into a pit; as Moses was saved by a slave (the slave of Pharaoh's daughter); so, Jeremiah was rescued by a slave (Ebed-melech); Moses reprimanded the people in discourses; so did Jeremiah." The prophet Ezekiel was a son of Jeremiah according to rabbinic literature. In 2 Maccabees 2:4ff the subject is credited with hiding the Ark, incense altar, and tabernacle on the mountain of Moses.
Christianity [ edit ]
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The Book of Jeremiah plays a foundational role in Christian thought as it presages the inauguration of a new covenant,[Jeremiah 31:31] to which the New Testament testifies. There are about forty direct quotations of the book in the New Testament, most appearing in Revelation in connection with the destruction of Babylon.
- Jeremiah 50:8 in Revelation 18:4
- Jeremiah 50:32 in Revelation 18:8;
- Jeremiah 51:49-50 in Revelation 18:24
Of the Gospel writers, Matthew is especially mindful of how the events in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus fulfill Jeremianic prophecies.[Matthew 2:17][27:9–10] The letter to the Hebrews also picks up the fulfilment of the prophetic expectation of the new covenant.[Hebrews 8:8-12][10:16–17])
Islam [ edit ]
As with many other prophets of the Hebrew Bible, Jeremiah is also regarded as a prophet in Islam. Although Jeremiah is not mentioned in the Quran, Muslim exegesis and literature narrates many instances from the life of Jeremiah and fleshes out his narrative, which closely corresponds with the account given in the Hebrew Bible. In Arabic, Jeremiah's name is usually vocalised Irmiyā, Armiyā or Ūrmiyā. Classical historians such as Wahb ibn Munabbih gave accounts of Jeremiah which turned "upon the main points of the Old Testament story of Jeremiah: his call to be a prophet, his mission to the king of Judah, his mission to the people and his reluctance, the announcement of a foreign tyrant who is to rule over Judah." Moreover, some hadiths and tafsirs narrate that the Parable of the Hamlet in Ruins is about Jeremiah. Also, in Sura 17(Al-Isra), Ayah 4–7, that is about the two corruptions of children of Israel on the earth, some hadith and tafsir cite that one of these corruptions is the imprisonment and persecution of Jeremiah.
Historicity [ edit ]
The consensus is that there was a historical prophet named Jeremiah and that portions of the book probably were written by Jeremiah and/or his scribe Baruch.
Views range from the belief that the narratives and poetic sections in Jeremiah are contemporary with his life (W. L. Holladay), to the view that the work of the original prophet is beyond identification or recovery (R. P. Carroll).
See the extensive analysis in Albertz 2003, pp. 302–344. First there were early collections of oracles, including material in ch. 2-6, 8-10, 13, 21-23, etc. Then there was an early Deuteronomistic redaction which Albertz dates to around 550 BC, with the original ending to the book at 25:13. There was a second redaction around 545-540 BC which added much more material, up to about ch. 45. Then there was a third redaction around 525–520 BC, expanding the book up to the ending at 51:64. Then there were further post-exilic redactions adding ch. 52 and editing content throughout the book.
Although Jeremiah was often thought of traditionally as the author of the Book of Lamentations, this is probably a collection of individual and communal laments composed at various times throughout the Babylonian captivity. Albertz considers ch. 2 as the oldest, dating shortly after the Siege of Jerusalem (587 BC) and ch. 5 after the assassination of Gedaliah, with the other chapters added later (p. 160).
Archaeology [ edit ]
Nebo-Sarsekim tablet [ edit ]
In July 2007, Assyrologist Michael Jursa translated a cuneiform tablet dated to 595 BC, as describing a Nabusharrussu-ukin as "the chief eunuch" of Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon. Jursa hypothesized that this reference might be to the same individual as the Nebo-Sarsekim mentioned in Jeremiah 39:3.
Seals [ edit ]
A 7th-century BCE seal of Jehucal, son of Shelemiah and another of Gedaliah, son of Pashhur (mentioned together in Jeremiah 38:1; Jehucal also mentioned in Jeremiah 37:3) were found during excavation by Eilat Mazar in the city of David, Jerusalem, in 2005 and 2008, respectively.
Tel Arad ostraca [ edit ]
Cultural influence [ edit ]
Jeremiah has periodically been a popular first name in the United States, beginning with the early Puritan settlers, who often took the names of biblical prophets and apostles. Jeremiah was substituted for the Irish Diarmuid/Diarmaid (also anglicised as Dermot), with which it has no etymological connection, when Gaelic names were frowned upon in official records. The name Jeremy also derives from Jeremiah.
References [ edit ]
Notes [ edit ]
Citations [ edit ]
- Wells 1990, p. 383.
- "Jeremiah". Encyclopedia Britannica.
- Hillers 1993, p. 419.
- Hillers 1972, pp. xix–xxiv.
- Wensinck 1913–1936.
- Douglas 1987, p. 559–560.
- Sweeney 2004, p. 917.
- Henderson 2002, pp. 191–206.
- Longman 2008, p. 6.
- Singer 1926, p. 100.
- Ryken 2001, p. 19-36.
- Freedman 1992, p. 686. sfn error: no target: CITEREFFreedman1992 (help)
- Freedman 1992, p. 687. sfn error: no target: CITEREFFreedman1992 (help)
- Sweeney 2004, p. 950.
- Anon. 1971, p. 126.
- Barker, Youngblood & Stek 1995, p. 1544.
- This article incorporates text from the 1901–1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, a publication now in the public domain.
- Pesiqta, ed. Buber, xiii. 112a.
- "EZEKIEL – JewishEncyclopedia.com". jewishencyclopedia.com.
- Collins 1972, pp. 101–.
- Dillard & Longman 1994, p. 339.
- Renda 1978.
- see Tād̲j̲ al-ʿArūs, x. 157.
- Tafsir al-Qurtubi, vol. 3, p. 188; Tafsir al-Qummi, vol. 1, p. 117.
- Tabari, i, 646ff.
- Anon. 1971, p. 125.
- Marsh 2018.
- Reynolds 2007.
- Hobbins 2007.
- Kantrowitz 2012.
- "Arad-Canaanite city and Israelite citadel in the Negev – Site No. 6". Israeli Foreign Ministry. 20 Nov 2000. Retrieved 2019-07-08.
- Anon. 1989, p. 766.
- "jeremiad". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, Inc. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
Works cited [ edit ]
- Albertz, Rainer (2003). Israel in Exile: The History and Literature of the Sixth Century B.C.E. Society of Biblical Lit. ISBN 978-1-58983-055-4.
- Anon. (1971). "Levirate Marriage and Halizah". Encyclopedia Judaica. Volume 11 (2nd ed.). MacMillan.
- Anon. (1989). Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language. New York: Portland House. ISBN 978-0-517-68781-9.
- Barker, Kenneth L.; Youngblood, Ronald F.; Stek, John H., eds. (1995). "Commentary of Jeremiah". The NIV Study Bible. Zondervan.
- Collins, Marilyn F. (1972). "The Hidden Vessels in Samaritan Traditons". Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Period. 3 (2): 97–116. doi:10.1163/157006372X00018. JSTOR 24656260.
- Coogan, Michael David (2012). A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament: The Hebrew Bible in Its Context. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-983011-4.
- Dillard, Raymond B.; Longman, Tremper (1994). An Introduction to the Old Testament (2nd ed.). Zondervan. ISBN 978-0-310-43250-0.
- Douglas, James D. (1987). The New Bible Dictionary (2nd ed.). Tyndale Press. ISBN 978-0-85110-820-9.
- Henderson, Joseph (2002). "Who Weeps In Jeremiah VIII 23 (IX 1)? Identifying Dramatic Speakers In The Poetry Of Jeremiah". Vetus Testamentum. 52 (2): 191–206. doi:10.1163/156853302760013857. ISSN 0042-4935.
- Hillers, Delbert R. (1972). The Anchor Bible. Lamentations.
- Hillers, Delbert R. (1993). "The Lamentations of Jeremiah". In Bruce M. Metzger; Michael David Coogan (eds.). The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-974391-9.
- Hobbins, John (2007). "Jeremiah 39:3 and History: A New Find Clarifies a Mess of a Text – Ancient Hebrew Poetry". ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com.
- Kantrowitz, Jonathan (3 January 2012). "Archaeology News Report: Seals of Jeremiah's Captors Discovered!". Retrieved 8 December 2016.
- Longman, Tremper (2008). Jeremiah, Lamentations. Hendrickson. ISBN 9781853647352.
- Marsh, Allen Bythel (April 2018). HOW ובּש ׁAND םַחָנ CONTRIBUTE TO UNDERSTANDING THE MEANING OF JEREMIAH 4:28, 15:6-7, 18:7-10 AND 26:3, 13 AND 19 (PDF) (Ph.D). Retrieved 7 April 2020.
- Renda, G’nsel (1978). "The Miniatures of the Zubdat Al- Tawarikh". Turkish Treasures Culture /Art / Tourism Magazine.
- Reynolds, Nigel (11 July 2007). "Ancient Document Confirms Existence Of Biblical Figure". The New York Sun. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
- Ryken, Philip Graham (2001). Jeremiah and Lamentations: From Sorrow to Hope. Crossway Books. ISBN 978-1-58134-167-6.
- Singer, Isadore, ed. (1926). "Jeremiah". Jewish Encyclopaedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature, and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. VII. New York: Funk & Wagnall. OCLC 426865.
- Sweeney, Marvin A. (2004). "Introduction to Jeremiah". In Adele Berlin; Marc Zvi Brettler (eds.). The Jewish Study Bible. Oxford University Press. p. 917. ISBN 978-0-19-529751-5 – via Jewish Publication Society Tanakh Translation.
- Sweeney, Marvin A. (2016). "Contemporary Jewish Readings of the Prophets". In Carolyn Sharp (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of the Prophets. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-985956-6.
- Wells, John C. (1990). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. Pearson Longman. ISBN 978-1-4058-8117-3.
- Wensinck, A. J. (1913–1936). "Jeremiah". In M. Th. Houtsma; T. W. Arnold; R. Basset; R. Hartmann (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Islam (First ed.).
Further reading [ edit ]
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Easton, Matthew George (1897). Easton's Bible Dictionary (New and revised ed.). T. Nelson and Sons.Missing or empty
- Ackroyd, Peter R. (1968). Exile and Restoration: A Study of Hebrew Thought in the Sixth Century BC. Philadelphia: Westminster Press.
- Bright, John (1965). The Anchor Bible: Jeremiah (2nd ed.). New York: Doubleday.
- Friedman, Richard E. (1987). Who Wrote the Bible? New York: Harper and Row.
- Heschel, Abraham Joshua (1975). The Prophets. HarperCollins Paperback. ISBN 978-0-06-131421-6
- Howard, Reggie (2019). Indomitable Spokesperson for Deity – Prophet Jeremiah. Wewak, Papua New Guinea. ISBN 978-1-5439-5739-6.
- Meyer, F.B. (1980). Jeremiah, Priest and Prophet (Revised ed.). Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade. ISBN 0-87508-355-2.
- Perdue, Leo G.; Kovacs, Brian W., eds. (1984). A Prophet to the Nations: Essays in Jeremiah Studies. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns. ISBN 0-931464-20-X.
- Rosenberg, Joel (1987). "Jeremiah and Ezekiel". In Alter, Robert; Kermode, Frank (eds.). The Literary Guide to the Bible. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-87530-3.
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