The Book of Jeremiah
Jeremiah’s mission began approximately 626 B.C. He was one of several prophets whose ministry was during King Josiah’s reign (see 2Kings 22–23 ).
The Beginning and the End
During Jeremiah’s ministry, the Babylonians conquered the Assyrians and became the great world power. The leaders and people of Judah worried that Babylon would also conquer their small nation, so for protection they attempted to form an alliance with Egypt. Jeremiah warned the nation to repent and seek deliverance from the Lord instead of from Egypt or any other country.
In a series of attacks over many years, the Babylonians carried away many Jews from their promised land into Babylon. The prophets Daniel and Ezekiel were among those carried away. Lehi and his family were warned by the Lord to flee Jerusalem to escape the destruction that soon happened at the hands of the Babylonian army. As a point of interest, the brass plates Lehi’s family brought with them contained prophecies of the prophet Jeremiah (see 1Nephi 5:13 ). Jeremiah continued to preach repentance, but his preaching had little effect on the people. The last king in Jerusalem, Zedekiah, disliked Jeremiah’s messages and had him arrested and imprisoned. When the Babylonians came one last time and destroyed Jerusalem and took Zedekiah away captive, Jeremiah fled for his life and lived in Egypt.
Getting Ready to Study Jeremiah
Like Isaiah, Jeremiah was a very expressive writer, using much poetry and symbolism in his teachings. Like the prophet Mormon in the Book of Mormon, Jeremiah had the difficult mission of delivering messages of warning and promises of destruction to a people who simply would not repent and were about to be destroyed. Jeremiah was greatly persecuted because of his preaching.
Although Jeremiah’s message seems gloomy much of the time, he also speaks of hope and of God’s love for His covenant people. After the judgments that Jeremiah prophesied were fulfilled, the Lord promised He would again have mercy on the children of the covenant and gather them back to Him, which is a pattern the Lord has followed to this day.
For more information on Jeremiah and the book of Jeremiah, see the Bible Dictionary, “Jeremiah” (p.711) .