Introduction to the Book of Jeremiah – Jeremiah’s name can mean “Yahweh establishes.” He began his ministry at about age twenty in the thirteenth year of Josiah (626 B.C.). He also had an assistant named Baruch who probably did much recording of his words. Jeremiah is also known as the “weeping prophet” because he lived through 3 destructions of Jerusalem and in a time when the Jews refused to repent and follow God. Three world powers at this time were seeking domination – Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon. Jeremiah prophesied that Babylon would eventually win, so he tried to persuade Jews to submit to Nebuchadnezzar in order to spare their lives. They, of course, thought he was a traitor for this. King Nebuchadnezzar offered him a good deal to live in Babylon, but he refused. He also prophesied that Babylon would be totally destroyed and never rise again because they treated God’s people badly. It all came to pass. Regarded mostly as an outcast in Israel, he sometimes had to send in his aide Baruch to deliver his pronouncements. Jeremiah also had several other OT prophets that lived during his time – Ezekiel, Daniel, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Nahum, and Obadiah. The historical chronology of this Book is not perfect, but I will not emphasize the history so it shouldn’t be a problem for my purpose in this coverage and commentary.

Jeremiah 1 – God calls Jeremiah into ministry by announcing that He knew him before he was formed in the womb and consecrated him before he was even born. Like Moses’ response to God’s call, Jeremiah balked and claimed he was too young to speak well. But God told him not to be afraid even though people will come against him because God will be in him and will protect him. Through this prophet, God would destroy, overthrow, plant, and build.

Application for Today: All believers in Christ are God’s elect and therefore have been called by Him for a purpose. While we may all not be Jeremiahs, God does have tasks to perform through us. May we all have the attitude that anything can be accomplished through us as long as it is God doing it (Philippians 4:13). There are pieces that need to be in place for God to do great things through us:

1) saved,
2) desire His will not ours,
3) keep eyes on Him not on us or situations,
4) trust Him and His Word,
5) maintain humble spirit.

Remember, Jesus did not select men that had power and prestige from this world to be His apostles. God loves to do big things through small things because it goes against the thinking of the fallen world. So, because you and I are small, He will do big things through us if those five statements above are in place.

Jeremiah 2 – “If God would just prove His existence then people would obey!” Or so many people think. But here God rebukes the Jews for forgetting Him so quickly after their deliverance from Egyptian captivity where God did everything but show His face (that would have killed them). Having no fear of God (v19), their attitude was to enjoy “freedom,” meaning wander (v31) wherever they want and do what they want. Pop/rock stars often sing of this same type of freedom which in fact is bondage to sin. They say, “Be free!” But they do not say from what. “Do what you want” in reality means that God’s moral laws are bad and confining. The truth is that they become enslaved to sin by doing what they want. Man has a long history of thinking that he knows how to improve life on earth without giving thought to his Creator. This is the basic tenet of humanism which dominates our government-run “public” schools and universities. In many cases, the higher the education becomes, the less God is needed or even acknowledged. A lying spirit keeps saying that we have evolved beyond the old and ignorant “superstitions” of the past. This is simply intellectual pride that blinds humans from the Truth.

God further charges Israel of changing from the True God to false gods. He makes the good point that even the heathen nations never change gods (v11), in spite of their gods not helping them. The true God helped Israel and they still change gods! They became so bad that they asserted they have no sin! Sadly, Israel is sticking out like a sore thumb here.

Application for Today: Quickly after great miracles of deliverance from Egypt, the Jewish people became like the rest of this evil world. So much for the popular theory of “if God would just prove His existence then people would follow Him.” Not! God wants a people that will trust and obey Him whether or not miracles are performed. For many people today, the first few months of salvation (being born-again in Christ) can be exciting. That “honeymoon,” however, will soon be over and their faith will be tested in various ways because there will be no signs and wonders surrounding the believer each day. Temptation to sin and/or an allurement to a cult usually present themselves to the new disciple of Christ. Jesus covers this experience in Matthew Chapter 13:3-8,18-23 with His seed-soil parable. New Christians need to be warned ahead of time about this so it does not catch them off guard.

Jeremiah 3 – Both Israel and Judah are not following God, yet God still invites them to repent and come back to Him.

Jeremiah 4 – God tries again to get the attention of Israel and Judah by telling them to “break up the fallow ground and circumcise their heart to the Lord.” What NT people need to do is the same as what OT people needed to do. A right relationship with God always starts with true repentance and an attitude of heart that wants to obey Him. To be “circumcised in heart” means to be “cut away from the world’s way of thinking and priorities while being devoted to God.” It didn’t appear like anyone listened to Jeremiah here and God forewarns that an enemy will rise up against them from the north and do much destruction.

Application for Today: This pattern with the rebellious Jews is exactly the same pattern for people today. God has warned them through the Bible about what they must do to become right with Him. If they don’t, they will be destroyed in the Second Death via the Lake of Fire mentioned in the Book of Revelation. What God did in the natural in OT times, He does in the supernatural in NT times (1 Corinthians 15:46).

Jeremiah 5 – Jerusalem, Israel, and Judah are still in big trouble. Not one man does justice or seeks truth even though they maintain religious talk. If God could have found just one, He would pardon the people. No one knows the “way of the Lord.” In their arrogance they claim that neither famine or sword will plague them and their prophets are all “big windbags” who do not speak God’s Word. Worst still is that the people like it this way. Therefore God is going to bring a strong nation against them from the north. It will be a nation that speaks a language they do not know. This nation will almost destroy all, but God will spare a small number, as is His custom over the history of the Jewish people. This prophecy was fulfilled in Jeremiah’s lifetime as the Babylonians came from the North and really gave it to the Jews.

Jeremiah 6 – Prophecies of impending doom intensify against the Jews and not one is listening to God’s Word through Jeremiah. The people are so deceived that they are not even ashamed of their evil deeds and motives, and claim that all is at peace.

Application for Today: Ever since the days of Noah, human history shows that people do not believe that disaster is about to strike due to judgment against them. Jesus said it will be like that just before He returns as well. Unfortunately, too many people throughout the decades have “cried wolf” too often about God’s judgment, therefore today’s people are numbed to any alarm…meaning they are ripe for destruction just like in Jeremiah’s day.

Jeremiah 7 – The Jews were still coming to the Temple to worship God, but all the other times they were out doing whatever they wanted (involving false gods). Just like some religious people today.* I like in verse 6 the things which God is always concerned about – not oppressing a foreigner, orphan or widow, and not shedding innocent blood. When the Bible speaks of God choosing the Jews to be His people, many folks misunderstand what this means. The Jews are not better people, their history bears this out continually. Furthermore, God always demanded them to be kind to non-Jews (aliens) in their midst and there was a place for them in the Temple. True, sometimes non-Jews were killed because of their horrible lifestyles that were “catching” on to God’s people, but many Jews have been killed for their immorality as well. The point is that God loves all people, and He works to protect and nurture “His Bride” (the saved ones from OT and NT times) as well as to maximize righteousness on earth. Very evil people (beyond repentance) are like cancerous cells. They must be cut out in order to save the body. I speculate, based on Biblical principles, that if God did not kill millions of people over the centuries, that we would not even exist today. Furthermore, the Messiah may have never made it to earth. A sobering thought.

*Application for Today: Verses 8-11 seems to accurately describe what goes on with religious people today. They attend church on Sundays but spend the rest of the week just doing what ever they want rather than loving and serving God every day. They think that by coming to church they will be okay with God. God is never fooled by such hypocrisy. Isaiah 29:13, later quoted by Jesus, had it right when he proclaimed, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” Many believe in Jesus, but do not want to follow Him. Beware of man-made religion, it’s a killer.

Jeremiah 8 – Further judgments against the Jews. They are so far gone that they do not even realize how much sinning had been going on (v6). This is what happens to humans when they reject God’s Word (v9). They become greedy and practice deceit, even the religious folks (v10).

Jeremiah 9 – Again, God tells the people the reason for impending destruction is because they have rejected Him and have turned to evil as a lifestyle. They are no better than the surrounding heathen, pagan nations. Hence, they will be scattered among nations they do not know and many will be killed. This has been clearly seen throughout Jewish history.

Jeremiah 10 – It seems that the impending destruction coming from the north had the Jews frantically making more wooden idols to protect them which further angered God. So He, again, states the obvious – that idols are made by mere man, they can’t walk or talk, there is nothing supernatural about them. They can do no harm, but also can do no good.

Application for Today: God clearly does not want people to own objects that are supposed to bless, or bring good luck, or protect us. These things are idols and they are a direct insult to God. Statues and St. Christopher’s medals are all included here. They all foster superstition and lead people away from the True God. Some may rationalize these things saying they remind us of God, but this is not what the Scripture says. God wants us to have “straight faith” not “help” to remind us to have faith. Mature Christians need no reminders.

Several years ago, I had lunch with a new Christian man who happened to be a good musician. He asked me about “necklace idols” worn for protection. As I was telling him the truth, he suddenly looked down toward his lap, and his eyes got real big! Unknown to me, he was wearing a St. Christopher’s medal around his neck and it just had broken off and fallen into his lap. His name is George Collichio and he has since solidified is faith in Christ and has a guitar teaching business and has played guitar in many places, including other countries over many years…and has a daughter that can sing very well.

Interesting note on verse 12: This is the third time in Scripture that the phrase “He stretched out the heavens” appears. Today, scientists say that our universe is expanding. I’m not sure if there is a connection of truth here or not, but it is interesting. Science catches up to the Bible – Verse 13 is saying that clouds are formed by ascending up from the earth (King James Version is more clear on this). This is scientifically accurate based on our knowledge of evaporation. The idea of evaporation is quite an engineering feat when we think about it. Millions of tons of water, which is very heavy in a liquid state, can be brought up out of oceans in a vaporous state (minus the salt which would harm soil) and brought back down to irrigate land. I cannot imagine mankind making a machine that could do this (especially at no cost to us).

Jeremiah 11 – More judgments due to evil hearts and stubbornness. God tells Jeremiah not to pray for them because He will not answer. God also somehow revealed to Jeremiah that there was a plot to kill him. God reassures him that those men will die by the sword soon.

Application for Today: Jeremiah certainly went against the grain of his society. Today, any Christian who is seriously walking in Christ will do the same. Not intentionally, however. We should not go out of our way to bring on flak against us. But let our persecution or flak be a result of living godly – doing the right thing and standing up for truth and righteousness. The spirit that rules this present world is at war with the Spirit of God that resides in us, so the flak will happen automatically (John 17:14-16). I sometimes wonder if I am doing anything for God’s Kingdom if all is going well (no persecutions, resistances or hindrances). See 2 Timothy 3:12. A big question facing us all is: Are we really willing to catch flak for being a disciple of Jesus? See Acts 5:41.

Jeremiah 12 – The prophet becomes so frustrated with evil men prospering that he complains to God. God’s answer stays the same – there is too much evil and they will be judged and destroyed, yet a remnant will be spared in order to rebuild and restore again.

Jeremiah 13 – God puts Jeremiah through an experience with a waistband (1-9). I think it was to give him a true picture of how bad the people have become and that the pride of Judah and Jerusalem needs to be destroyed. Ever hear of the phrase, “Can leopard change his spots”? It comes from verse 23. The context was that the Hebrews had become so bad that they were incapable of doing good. Ouch!

Jeremiah 14 – Jeremiah intercedes for the Hebrew people and confesses the magnitude of their sin. There is a place just outside of Jerusalem today called Jeremiah’s Grotto. It is believed it’s the place where he went to weep and intercede. It is also believed by many to be in the area of Jesus’ crucifixion! I saw this place in 1977. There is a low spot, then an outcrop of rock with caves. These caves make the rock structure resemble a human skull’s face, so it makes sense that it was called “Golgotha” or “the place of the skull.” Jeremiah’s weeping intercession for the Jews was huge, but Jesus’ intercession on the cross on behalf of all mankind was, of course, the most a person could do.

Jeremiah 15 – Who influences who? A long drought continues. The people’s behavior and attitudes were so bad that God said that even if Moses and Elijah stood in the gap for them, He would not listen. In the meantime, Jeremiah had endured many persecutions because he had delivered God’s unwelcomed word to the people on more than one occasion. The prophet apparently started to doubt God’s protection over him, so he asked God about this. God rebuked him saying that he should influence the people not the people influence him, and if he returns fully to Him and gets some people to respond rightly, then God would protect him and allow him to continue to be His spokesman.

Application for Today: God’s specific word to Jeremiah about him influencing the people and not the people influencing him is the same message Jesus gave us about being the “salt of the earth.”

Jeremiah 16 – God tells Jeremiah not to take a wife or have children in the place where he was living because they would all die of disease and not even be lamented over or buried. Also, he was not to console anyone because God had withdrawn from those people, but the promise of eventual restoration is made again.

Jeremiah 17 – A modern-day Goliath in our midst. As God continues His focused anger against the Hebrew nation, He reveals pillars of truth for us today. For example, in verse 5-7 it states that we are not to trust in mankind nor in physical strength, but rather trust in the Lord and keep our heart fixed upon Him. Today, this can be described as Secular Humanism vs. Biblical Christianity. Humanism asserts that man is the center of the universe and is basically good. It asserts that only human ingenuity should be trusted as we should be free from external decrees about right and wrong. Man alone decides and affects his destiny. There is no room for God. This demonic spirit rules most of our educational systems, media, and politics. Over the centuries, fallen humans have rebuilt a spiritual tower of Babel. Verse 9 cuts to the quick – the problem is our deceitful, evil, wicked hearts. For mankind to believe he is basically good, in need of mere tweaking, demonstrates the truth of verse 9. We do not need tweaking. We need a total heart transplant which will create a new person in Christ. When Adam and Eve tried to cover their sin with fig leaves, God did not even comment on their effort (it was so worthless). But God did kill an innocent animal and clothed them with its skin as a temporary covering for sin. Jesus, of course, would take care of sin permanently with His flawless blood. Even the prophet Isaiah, who was a decent man, had to have his iniquity removed when faced with a vision of God (Isaiah 6:7). This is Biblical Christianity. These two world views are at war with each other, and Evolution is a large branch from humanism and is our Goliath today. The spirit in Goliath and evolution mock and stand against the living God and His Word. It constantly screams out, “Trust in man’s intelligence, not ignorant superstition (Christianity).” This has turned many souls away from trusting the Bible as Truth.

Jeremiah 18 – The people conspire to get rid of Jeremiah. They think that because they still have priests around, the Law will not be lost. The problem, of course, is that those priests were corrupt as well as the people. So this seems like a case of people hearing only what they want to hear.

Jeremiah 19 – God tells Jeremiah to bring out elders and senior priests and speak coming judgment and destruction against them.

Jeremiah 20 – Chief priest Pashhur had Jeremiah beaten and put in stocks. Outraged at this public humiliation and treatment of God’s prophet, Jeremiah announces a new name for this priest that meant “terror on every side.” He prophesied that Pashhur, along with family and corrupt friends, will be taken captive by the king of Babylon and killed. Jeremiah then goes on to pray and complain that he has become a laughing stock all day long because of the Word of God that is in him and being proclaimed. He then regrets his birth.

Applications for Today:

1) We should not judge too harshly Jeremiah’s feelings of discouragement because we have never been through years of what he experienced. Most chapters in the Book describe his prophesying doom to a horrible group of people. So we get the idea that this was a long struggle, not just a month or two.
2) The Word of God resides in all of us who have believed and become familiar with the Bible. If we allow it to go forth in love (Ephesians 4:15) when God prompts, it will always accomplish whatever God purposes for it to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11). There will, however, be flak that will try discourage us. Be encouraged because when this happens, a tremendous eternal reward awaits us (Matthew 5:11-13)…and we realize that we are doing something right.

Jeremiah 21 – The prophet sent a message of doom to King Zedekiah of Judah. The only people that will survive the attack of the Babylonians and Chaldeans are those who flee the city into the hands of their enemies.

Jeremiah 22 – More of the same prophecies of doom.

Jeremiah 23 – Judgments were levied against shepherds (those who taught and led God’s people). Why?

1) They scattered the people and drove them away from God,
2) Did not attend to them,
3) Spoke of visions or dreams inflated by their own imaginations and perverted by the deceptions of their hearts,
4) Their reckless boastings.

As a result, God proclaims that He Himself will gather a remnant and bring them back to green pastures. He would also raise up good shepherds to take care of them, and no one will be missing among this number (intriguing cross references include: John 6:39; 10:28; 1 Peter 1:5). God then declares He will raise up for David (his genetic lineage?) a “righteous Branch.” Theologians believe this refers to Jesus. Verses 3 & 8 speak of God’s people returning to their land from all over the earth (Jews returning to Israel since 1948 or, God gathering all Christians to form the Holy City in the Book of Revelation, or both?).

Application for Today: Chapter 23 refers to Jeremiah’s time and to the future as well, especially considering the Messianic prophecy involved in verse 5. I have seen so-called Christian pastors/leaders/teachers on TV and in-person with similar characteristics as described above. In fact, I have found only a few ministries on TV that are trustworthy. That is sad and troubling. No matter what generation people live in, deception doesn’t change much. People are sinners, and are therefore vulnerable to power, pride, lust, and greed. We need to “keep our antennae up” for these. Before we join a church or give money to a ministry, we need to pray and ask God to reveal any problems with the spirit of the leader. Are individuals loved and cared for? Does money seem to be a major concern? Does the name of Jesus not have the preeminence? Is “the ministry” more important than people? Is there a flare of arrogance showing? We need to be discerning. We need to be wary as serpents but innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16).

Jeremiah 24 – More promises by God to save a remnant from the Babylonian destruction. Many are doomed because of the hardness of heart.

Jeremiah 25 – Some insight about Jesus. Warnings from God through Jeremiah have been going on for 23 years to no avail, so destruction is forecast for not only the Hebrew nation (save the remnant) but also all other heathen nations. They have all missed out on the great joy God had in store for them, like the bridegroom meeting the bride (v10). I believe verse 10 is also revealing what Jesus meant years later when He said that the Kingdom will be taken from the Jews and given to a nation that would produce fruit (Isaiah 5:1-7; Matthew. 21:43 where Jesus expounded on Isaiah’s message). When Scripture speaks of the bride and the bridegroom, it is referring to the church (those who are born-again in Jesus, both Jews and Gentiles) joining Jesus for eternity.

Jeremiah 26 – God tells Jeremiah to speak again to the people because “perhaps they might listen this time.” After Jeremiah got done speaking, they wanted to kill him, but cooler heads prevailed and he was spared.

Jeremiah 27 – Two factions are developing among God’s people. One group is very evil and rejects all that Jeremiah says, while a smaller group is listening to him. Perhaps for dramatic effect, Jeremiah wears a yoke and walks around proclaiming they must submit to the King of Babylon if they want to survive, and then God will later restore them in 70 years (Jer. 25:12). If they do not, they will be killed soon. False prophets continue to rail against Jeremiah’s message. They did not want to surrender to Babylon and they wanted to continue in their own ways, so the stage is set. This division among the Jews at this time would be intensified during the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD, a horrible judgment of God that Jesus predicted and warned the believers about (Luke 21:20-24). There were Jews that wanted to surrender to the Romans in order to survive, but the Jewish zealots began killing them. Through the years, Jeremiah did speak every word that God gave to him even though he knew it would mean trouble and persecution for him – quite a remarkable guy!

Jeremiah 28 – A prophet named Hananiah prophesied that God would break the yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar in two years. This contradicted the 70 years of Babylonian captivity prophesied by Jeremiah. Jeremiah calls Hananiah on it and prophesied he would die within the year, and he did.

Jeremiah 29 – Apparently those Jews heeding Jeremiah’s words volunteered to go to Babylon to be held captive before the horrible onslaught against Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah’s advice to them was to build houses, plant gardens, marry, have kids, and seek the welfare of the city they live in. They also were not to listen to their prophets because they were not from God. God promises to deliver them in 70 years and His intent for them is hope with a good future. They will then call upon God’s name and He will answer and they will find Him if they seek with all of their heart. Restoration would be on its way. This was not for the Jews who disobeyed Jeremiah and stayed behind in Jerusalem and did not go into captivity with the Babylonians. These would be killed soon. God prophesies that Hebrew King Zedekiah will be later killed by Nebuchadnezzar before their eyes. Lastly, Jeremiah dealt with a false prophet named Shemaiah who spoke lies to the exiles. He would not live to see God’s promised fulfilled.

Application for Today: I believe God wants us to have the same positive impact on our communities as did these exiled Hebrews. Jesus did call us “salt” (preservation of righteousness). Furthermore, 29:11 speaks to us all today: “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 30 – Don’t mess with God’s kids. Again God tells Jeremiah that the Jews will be brought back from captivity and that all nations who treat them badly will be destroyed eventually. The last verse says people will understand all this “in the latter days.”

Application for Today: This is an intriguing verse if it refers to us today since the “latter days” began with Christ’s first coming (Acts 2:17 & Hebrews 1:2). Indeed, we do have more history to examine than the ancient Hebrew people, so we can perceive strong parallels that exist beyond the B.C. days of Jeremiah. Throughout history, any nation that has opposed God’s people has been eventually judged (taken out of power) whether it be the Philistines, Moabites, Babylonians, the Roman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, or Nazi Germany.

Jeremiah 31 – This is an amazing chapter, but difficult to discern, especially regarding time-lines. It starts by stating, “At that time….” This refers to the previous verse from Chapter 30:24 when it says, “In the latter days.” So I believe this Chapter 31 refers to many years in the future from Jeremiah’s days, including the time of Christ. Verse 15, which predicts the Bethlehem baby slaughter by Herod, and verse 40 mentions an area that will never be overthrown or plucked up again. According to Hebrews 1:2, the “last days” started with Christ’s life. While the Jews would eventually return to Israel and Jerusalem between Jeremiah’s day and the birth of Christ, I think the gist of this chapter refers to far beyond those days. The miraculous return of Jews to Israel in 1948 seems to fulfill prophecy. They have not been kicked out of there since. Israel did not exist on the map from 70 AD to 1948. I believe they are there to stay until the Second Coming of Christ. When God says He will bring them back from “the north country,” it could refer to Babylon or to modern-day Russia since many Jews came from Russia around 1948.

This chapter also announced the “new thing” that God will do in the earth. When God says, “new thing” I pay close attention. Verse 22 says, “A woman will encompass a man.” The context is “God doing a new thing.” Some theologians believe this means that God will use the weak to conquer the strong, something He likes to do. This, however, would not be in the category of “new thing” since God had done this via the Jewish people long before Jeremiah was alive. Others believe this refers to the virgin Mary giving birth to the Messiah. This interpretation holds true to God conquering via humble means as well as the “new thing” piece. So I like this one, especially considering verse 15 refers to the Bethlehem murders at the time of Christ’s birth. Some OT Messianic prophecies are well camouflaged and do not become obvious until the Holy Spirit speaks through the New Testament anointed writers or Jesus Himself. An example of Jesus “removing the camouflage” is when He identified John the Baptist as being the Elijah that must come before the Messiah. If He did not say this, I doubt that anyone would have linked the two together. I think people who knew of this prophecy were looking for the real Elijah to just show up in person some day. They were not looking for a symbolic representation of Elijah.

Another support for the “End Time” context of Chapter 31 is verses 31-34. Here it speaks of a future time when a new covenant would be made that will be superior to the old one that was established when the Jews were miraculously removed from Egyptian captivity in Moses’ day. God’s Law would no longer reside on tablets only, but in the hearts of the people, and no one will have to teach others to know the Lord because everyone will know Him then, and God will remember their sin no more. I believe Hebrews 8:12 and 10:17 seal up the proper interpretation and application of what God spoke to Jeremiah in this Chapter 31. Finally, since everyone does not know the Lord yet, these verses have not yet been fulfilled.

Jeremiah 32 – The situation is now frightening as Jerusalem is under siege by the army of Babylon. Jeremiah has been shut up in a court because King Zedekiah does not like his prophecies about impending defeat and destruction. God tells Jeremiah to buy a portion of land and save all the legal documentation because some Jews will return to this land and they will then be able to legally claim that land. God says other men should do the same.

Jeremiah 33 – More promises of eventual restoration after judgment and destruction. The context of this promise, however is riddled with facts of all nations fearing God’s greatness with His relationship with Israel. The “voice of the bridegroom and bride” is also mentioned here again. This most likely refers to the Church and Jesus (Rev 21:9). Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety. This has never happened yet. Verse 15 also speaks of the righteous branch from David which most likely refer to Jesus as the Messiah coming from David’s lineage. Therefore, I would conclude that this great promise of restoration seems so permanent that it must refer to the new heavens and the new earth and the new Jerusalem described in Revelation Chapter 21. I should mention that I think some of what God is saying through Jeremiah does refer to a restoration, on a smaller scale, in 70 years following the captivity. But clearly there are intones of something much grander in the works.  A good interpretation of verse 18 supports this. The Levitical priesthood was abolished with Christ as He now intercedes for us continually. This is supported in the Book of Hebrews.

Verse 22 God says that the “host of heaven cannot be counted, and the sand of the sea cannot be measured…” I’ve often wondered how many angels there are – good and bad ones. If “host” refers to angels, this verse says they are too numerous to count.

Jeremiah 34 – God tells King Zedekiah via Jeremiah that although the city will be conquered and burned, he will not die by the sword, but rather in peace.

Jeremiah 35 – Although some Hebrews (the Rechabites) honored a vow to their father Jonadab, they neglected to keep God’s laws. This bothered God that people would obey other people but not Him.

Jeremiah 36 – God tells Jeremiah to take a scroll and write down every single word He gave before in hope that the king and the people of Judah will finally listen. Jeremiah obeyed and got his chief scribe, Baruch, to record all his dictation on the scroll. Then Baruch had to read it to the people because Jeremiah was confined to quarters. The people proclaimed a fast just before hearing God’s Word on the scroll. After hearing the content, they were so moved that they got it into the hands of the officials. The officials heard it and were so moved that they told Jeremiah and Baruch to hide themselves and they got it read to King Jehoiakim who was reigning in his 4th year. The king, after hearing three or four columns of the scroll, cut it up and threw it into a fire and it burned up. Even though this king and his servants heard the word of the Lord, they were not afraid. Then the king ordered the seizing of Jeremiah and Baruch, but they could not be found. God then tells Jeremiah to write it all down again on a another scroll. In addition, he was to prophecy to King Jehoiakim that none of his descendants will ever sit on the throne and all the future calamity coming their way will happen to him and his rebellious servants.

Application for Today: It sounds like the people and the officials were on the verge of fearing God and finally listening to His warnings. The fast was a good beginning to the opening of their mind to the truth, but the king was so evil that he “vetoed” any concerns people under him had. This is the reason why our Founding Fathers developed three branches of government with separation of powers. They were influenced by the Bible. They recognized that humans are basically evil and that power can corrupt the noblest of men. This, of course, smacked into the face of King George of England who wanted the colonies to exist just for England’s wealth and power, not for the benefit of the people. The rest is history. As Christians today, we need to be on guard against so-called progressive attitudes within our government because they too can lead to a graying of the lines that separate those three powers whose job it is to protect us in the long run.

Jeremiah 37 – This chapter gives an account before Jeremiah was confined. Again, each chapter does not necessarily follow in chronological order. Despite King Zedekiah’s evil attitude toward God and Jeremiah, he asks Jeremiah to pray on his behalf. Then the prophet was beaten and imprisoned. He later told Zedekiah what God had told him before – the king would be taken captive to Babylon.

Jeremiah 38 – Jeremiah again speaks to the people the Word of the Lord – if they stay in the city they will die by the sword, famine and pestilence, but if they go out to the Chaldeans, they will live. The king’s officials demanded Jeremiah’s death because his words were discouraging the men of the city and he was not seeking their well-being but rather their harm. So the king allowed the officials to throw Jeremiah into a cistern that had no water but did have mud. Jeremiah sank into that mud. Some time later, an Ethiopian official persuaded King Zedekiah to pull up Jeremiah before he died. Later, the king took Jeremiah aside in private and promised not to execute him if he would tell him God’s Word. So he told the king that he needed to surrender to the Babylonians by going out of the city to them in order to live and prevent the whole city from being burned. Nothing more was said to anyone else about this private meeting between the king and the prophet.

Jeremiah 39 – Apparently King Zedekiah never did heed God’s warnings. Jerusalem fell. He and his men escaped at night but were later captured. Zedekiah’s sons were executed before his eyes by orders of King Nebuchadnezzar. His eyes were then blinded and he was bound and brought to Babylon alive. The city was burned and the walls torn down. Nebuchadnezzar allowed the poorest Hebrews to stay behind to tend vineyards and fields. Everyone else who had survived was taken to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar, however, ordered his men to treat Jeremiah well (probably because the prophet tried to make the people surrender rather than fight against the Babylonian and Chaldean armies). Then Jeremiah prophesied over the Ethiopian official that got him out of the muddy cistern that God would protect his life and not allow him to be taken into the hands of the men he dreaded because he had trusted in the Lord.

“Deja-Vu” – This situation regarding Jerusalem and its people parallels what Jesus warned was going to happen within the generation of people He spoke to and was rejected. He warned that when they see the abomination of desolation in the holy place surrounded by armies, flee immediately. Those that did this in 67 AD lived. Those who stayed behind were slain (about 1,100,000 Jews who did not believe and heed what Jesus said) and only a few were captured and allowed to live in captivity. Historian Josephus claims that those who fled and survived the onslaught were all Christians. Then the Gospel spread quickly from a small town called Pella.

Applications for Today:

1) Everything we do for God’s sake, little or big, is remembered and rewarded by Him (Matthew 10:42; Matthew 25:40).
2) When we are punished for doing God’s will, He will always make things right – either here now or in the eternal kingdom.
3) God does not force His will onto a hard-hearted person, although He gives that person opportunities to choose wisely. The only way one can choose wisely is to believe in what God’s Word says.

Jeremiah 40 – The battle for Jerusalem was over. The surviving Jews were taken captive, but Jeremiah was treated well and given a choice about where to live. He chose to be with the remnant of Jews that were the very poor ones and had been allowed to settle in Judah around Mizpah. The king of Babylon put Gedaliah in charge of this group. Gedaliah was told of an assassination plot against him but he did not believe the report. A fellow Hebrew even offered to kill the named assassin to save his life, but he said no.

Jeremiah 41 – An Ammonite named Ishmael (not Abraham’s son), along with 10 other men, murdered Gedaliah and all those with him at the time, even some Chaldeans. The next day 80 men came to the scene not knowing what had happened, Ishmael greeted them weeping and told them to come and see what happened. When they came to a certain place, Ishmael and his men murdered these men and threw their bodies into a cistern. He spared 10 men so they could tend the bountiful crops. Then he took captive many others and took them toward Ammon. But a Hebrew named Johanan and others went after them and got them back safely. Ishmael, however, escaped with 8 men and made it to Ammon. The surviving group decided to go on toward Egypt for more safety.

Jeremiah 42 – The remaining survivors asked Jeremiah to get a word from the Lord as to where they should go to live, and whatever the message is, they will obey it. The Lord told them not to go to Egypt but to settle where they were in Judah, and they were not to fear Nebuchadnezzar for God would protect them. If they go to Egypt they would be killed. The reason they wanted to head for Egypt is because they thought it would be far from war or starvation (v14).

Jeremiah 43 – Azariah, along with all the arrogant men with him, soundly rejected the Word of the Lord through Jeremiah, accusing him of lying. They claimed that his scribe, Baruch, incited him to give all them over to the Chaldeans to die or to become prisoners. So these men got everyone to go to Egypt, including Jeremiah and Baruch. The entire remnant of Judah was now there, in full defiance of God’s Word. Then God spoke and said that His servant Nebuchadnezzar will come and strike Egypt and kill many, capture many, and destroy false gods in temples

Jeremiah 44 – God asked the people why they have chosen so foolishly. They were just hurting themselves and provoking God to anger because they maintained their habits of burning sacrifices to other gods while in Egypt. So God promised to wipe out all the remnant of Judah except for a very few that will escape the sword. These will return to the land of Judah. At the hearing of this Word from God, all the men said they would not listen to it because when they were burning to those gods, they had enough food and had no misfortune. But when they stopped, they lacked everything. Jeremiah responded saying that the reason for calamity was because of the burning to other gods, not because they stopped. I don’t think these people bought what Jeremiah said.

Jeremiah 45 – God rebukes the people for seeking great things for themselves. Those things would soon be all destroyed along with their own lives by His wrath and judgment.

Application for Today: Human priorities deceive. All these evil people could see was that they did not have enough to eat and war was always looming or happening against them. They really never wanted to humble themselves and give God a chance. Today, many people do not give Jesus Christ’s words in Scripture a good look see (a chance). The best read anyone could do in this life is to read the Gospel of John. Here is contained all the great claims Jesus made about Himself. One must conclude after understanding these claims, that He was either a lunatic, a liar, or the Truth. There is no gray areas about who the Bible says Jesus is. If I yield my soul-life to Jesus, my life may get better or worse….but that does not matter, for it would never change the Truth about who He is. And if He is who He said He is, then I have eternal security if I abide in Him – whether I am killed in war or live to be 99 (Mark 8:34-38). There is nothing better than being in the Christ. Too many people ask what Christianity can do for them rather than what they can do for Christianity. In other words, do we follow Jesus because of what He does for us, or do we follow Him because He is Truth and we love Him? Don’t get me wrong, the perks of abiding in Jesus Christ are “out of this world” (eternal life, peace, purpose, power to do right, etc.) and they are far better than what anything else can offer, but that is not why we follow and serve Him. If we follow Him because of the perks only, our walk will waiver and be shallow.

Jeremiah 46 – Gives specific prophesies about Egypt’s destruction and the sparing of a remnant of Hebrews, although they would see some punishment too.
Jeremiah 47 – God prophesies judgment against the Philistines.
Jeremiah 48 – God prophesies judgment against Moab, some will be restored in the latter days.
Jeremiah 49 – God prophesies judgments against Ammon, Edom, and Damascus.
Jeremiah 50 – God prophesies judgment against Babylon.

Jeremiah 51 – Quite a lengthy series of descriptions of all the future judgments against Babylon. Eventually, the Medes and Persians from the north, led by Cyrus, came and destroyed Babylon in 539 BC. Babylon had much influence on an evil world (their surrounding nations). So this was a huge event. Verse 6 tells people to flee to save themselves. I guess if they believed Jeremiah’s word to be God’s Word, they obeyed (just like the Christian Jews who believed Jesus’ warning to flee to the hills just before the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem). A “portion of Jacob” will survive all these destructions. I believe this refers to the remnant of Jews that God preserved throughout history. Babylon could also represent some power in the future. Some of the content of verses 7-8 are repeated in Revelation 14 & 18. So, although it was certainly a literal power in Jeremiah’s day, it also probably had futuristic meaning. Jeremiah wrote everything down in a single scroll and had another person read it all to the Babylonian people. When finished, he was told to tie it to a stone and throw it into the Euphrates River as a symbolic gesture of how Babylon will sink down and not rise again.

Application for Today: Even though God used heathen nations to punish Israel over many years, those nations were also held accountable for their idolatry, pride, and ill treatment of God’s people. No matter when people live on earth, the eyes of the Lord are on everything. Jesus said that even when a sparrow falls to the ground, God knows about it. No one gets away with anything. Let us therefore walk soberly before our Lord and Master, especially considering that God’s judgment now starts with the church (1Peter 4:17)!

Jeremiah 52 – In 587 B.C. Jerusalem is destroyed after two years of being under siege. Walls were torn down and the Temple destroyed. Many Jews were killed and some were carried off in exile. King Zedekiah was spared, but blinded and imprisoned until his death.

Introduction to the Book of Lamentations – Greek manuscripts name Jeremiah as the author but Hebrew ones kept it anonymous. The style and content are different from the Book of Jeremiah, but if it was someone else writing these sorrowful poems, he was a contemporary of Jeremiah. The author was grieving over the loss of Jerusalem, the shame of their defeat, and the feeling of God rejecting them as a people. These poems are still read aloud by Jews in synagogues to this day in mid-July commemorating the Temple destruction in 587 BC and again in 70 AD.

Lamentations 1 – Tremendous horror, shock, and upheaval. Everything the Jews valued and trusted was gone. There was no one to turn for help. The people they trusted rather than God had become their enemies and they were rejoicing over the Jewish destruction. There was absolutely no one or no thing that could comfort the mourning and sorrow of the Jews at this time in their history. Survivors were under harsh servitude in foreign lands and many saw their children suffer without hope for a future.

Lamentations 2 – Gives specific descriptions of all that was destroyed and told of little children starving within the city walls as the siege was taking effect.

Lamentations 3 – At first, the author continued on with his lamenting. He mentioned that he has seen the affliction and God had shut out his prayers. He had become a laughingstock among his own people and he had become very bitter. But, almost miraculously, he suddenly confessed that there was still hope in God because “His compassions never fail.” He knew enough about Yahweh to realize that He is a God that renews every morning and that His faithfulness is perfect, unlike humans. He confessed that the Lord Himself is his portion and that He would not reject him forever. He needed to wait and seek to find God’s compassion again. He also realized that no sinful human should complain to God considering all the bad things they have done. It was now time to probe their ways and return to God. He would call upon God from the lowest pit and He heard his voice.

Applications for Today:

1) No matter how bad we deem our past, God can forgive us.
2) Sometimes God has to allow situations in our lives to get so bad that the only way out is to call upon His name and give Him a chance (since nothing else is working). This is how many people get saved. Just like He orchestrated history so the Jews could know Him, He does that with our history (life’s situations) so we have more of a chance to seek Him rather than staying content with what this world offers us.
3) We need to live each day with the attitude that “the Lord is our portion.” In other words, we must value Him over everything. It does not matter how much money or materialistic things we have, the only important thing is that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Just the fact that we will see Jesus face-to-face and be with Him forever, should be enough for us.

Lamentations 4 – More poetic imagery of the sudden destruction of Jerusalem and how surprising that was to foreign kings who thought that the city could never be defeated. Verse 10 has a reference to cannibalism (children were boiled) during the siege. This same horror occurred in 67-70 AD with the final destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple according to the historian Josephus.

Lamentations 5 – A prayer reaching out to God for restoration.