Bible Book Number 24—Jeremiah
Places Written: Judah and Egypt
Writing Completed: 580 B.C.E.
Time Covered: 647–580 B.C.E.
1. When and by whom was Jeremiah commissioned?
THE prophet Jeremiah lived during dangerous and turbulent times. He was commissioned by Jehovah in the year 647 B.C.E., the 13th year of the reign of God-fearing King Josiah of Judah. During repairs on the house of Jehovah, the book of the Law of Jehovah was found and was read to the king. He worked hard at enforcing this, but he could at most only temporarily turn back the falling away to idolatry. Josiah’s grandfather Manasseh, who had reigned for 55 years, and his father Amon, who had been assassinated after a reign of just 2 years, had both done wickedly. They had encouraged the people in impure orgies and gruesome rites, so that they had become accustomed to offering incense to the “queen of the heavens” and human sacrifices to demon gods. Manasseh had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood.—Jer. 1:2; 44:19; 2 Ki. 21:6, 16, 19-23; 23:26, 27.
2. What was Jeremiah’s task, and what eventful years did his prophesying cover?
2 Jeremiah’s task was no easy one. He had to serve as Jehovah’s prophet in foretelling the desolation of Judah and Jerusalem, the burning of the magnificent temple of Jehovah, and the captivity of his people—catastrophes almost unbelievable! His prophesying in Jerusalem had to continue 40 years, through the reigns of bad Kings Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin (Coniah), and Zedekiah. (Jer. 1:2, 3) Later, in Egypt, he had to prophesy concerning the idolatries of the Jewish refugees there. His book was completed in 580 B.C.E. The time covered by Jeremiah is thus an eventful period of 67 years.—52:31.
3. (a) How were the canonicity and authenticity of the book of Jeremiah established in Hebrew times? (b) What further testimony on this is to be found in the Christian Greek Scriptures?
3 In Hebrew the name of the prophet and of his book is Yir·meyahʹ or Yir·meyaʹhu, meaning, possibly, “Jehovah Exalts; or, Jehovah Loosens [likely from the womb].” The book occurs in all the catalogs of the Hebrew Scriptures, and its canonicity is generally accepted. The dramatic fulfillment of a number of the prophecies during Jeremiah’s own lifetime attests fully to its authenticity. Moreover, Jeremiah is referred to several times by name in the Christian Greek Scriptures. (Matt. 2:17, 18; 16:14; 27:9) That Jesus had studied the book of Jeremiah is evident from his combining the language of Jeremiah 7:11 with that of Isaiah 56:7 when he cleansed the temple. (Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46) Because of Jesus’ boldness and courage, some people even thought him to be Jeremiah. (Matt. 16:13, 14) Jeremiah’s prophecy of a new covenant (Jer. 31:31-34) is referred to by Paul at Hebrews 8:8-12 and Heb 10:16, 17. Paul quotes Jeremiah 9:24 in saying: “He that boasts, let him boast in Jehovah.” (1 Cor. 1:31) At Revelation 18:21 there is an even more forceful application of Jeremiah’s illustration (Jer. 51:63, 64) of Babylon’s downfall.
4. How does archaeology support the record?
4 Archaeological findings also give support to the record in Jeremiah. For example, a Babylonian chronicle tells of Nebuchadnezzar’s (Nebuchadrezzar) capture of Jerusalem in 617 B.C.E., when he seized the king (Jehoiachin) and appointed one of his own choice (Zedekiah).—24:1; 29:1, 2; 37:1.*
5. (a) What is known concerning Jeremiah himself? (b) What may be said as to his style of writing?
5 We possess a more complete biography of Jeremiah than of any of the other ancient prophets with the exception of Moses. Jeremiah reveals much about himself, his feelings, and his emotions, indicating an intrepid boldness and courage, mingled with humility and tenderness of heart. He was not only a prophet but also a priest, a compiler of Scripture, and an accurate historian. By birth he was the son of priest Hilkiah of Anathoth, a priest’s city in the country to the north of Jerusalem, “in the land of Benjamin.” (1:1) Jeremiah’s style of writing is clear, direct, and easily understood. Illustrations and pictorial imagery abound, and the book consists of both prose and poetry.
CONTENTS OF JEREMIAH
6. How is the subject matter of the prophecy arranged?
6 The material is arranged not chronologically but according to subject matter. Thus, the account makes many changes as to time and surrounding circumstances. Finally, the desolation of Jerusalem and Judah is described in stark detail in chapter 52. This not only shows the fulfillment of much of the prophecy but also provides the setting for the book of Lamentations, which follows.
7. How did Jeremiah become a prophet, and how does Jehovah reassure him?
7 Jehovah commissions Jeremiah (1:1-19). Is it because Jeremiah wanted to be a prophet or because he came from a priestly family that he is commissioned? Jehovah himself explains: “Before I was forming you in the belly I knew you, and before you proceeded to come forth from the womb I sanctified you. Prophet to the nations I made you.” It is an assignment from Jehovah. Is Jeremiah willing to go? In humility he offers the excuse, “I am but a boy.” Jehovah reassures him: “Here I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have commissioned you this day to be over the nations and over the kingdoms, in order to uproot and to pull down and to destroy and to tear down, to build and to plant.” Jeremiah must not be afraid. “They will be certain to fight against you, but they will not prevail against you, for ‘I am with you,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘to deliver you.’”—1:5, 6, 9, 10, 19.
8. (a) In what has Jerusalem been unfaithful? (b) How will Jehovah bring calamity?
8 Jerusalem, an unfaithful wife (2:1–6:30). What message does the word of Jehovah bring to Jeremiah? Jerusalem has forgotten her first love. She has left Jehovah, the Source of living waters, and prostituted herself with strange gods. From a choice red vine, she has been changed into “the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine.” (2:21) Her skirts have been bloodied with the souls of the poor innocent ones. Even prostitute Israel has proved more righteous than Judah. God calls on these renegade sons to return because he is their husbandly owner. But they have been as a treacherous wife. They may return if they will take away their disgusting things and circumcise their hearts. “Raise a signal toward Zion,” for Jehovah will bring a calamity from the north. (4:6) Crash upon crash! As a lion out of his thicket, as a searing wind through the wilderness, with chariots like a storm wind, so will Jehovah’s executioner come.
9. (a) What word does Jeremiah have for stubborn Jerusalem? (b) Of what use are their cries of peace?
9 Go roving through Jerusalem. What do you see? Only transgressions and unfaithfulness! The people have denied Jehovah, and His word in Jeremiah’s mouth must become a fire to devour them like pieces of wood. Just as they have left Jehovah to serve a foreign god, so He will make them serve strangers in a foreign land. Stubborn ones! They have eyes but cannot see, and ears but cannot hear. How horrible! Prophets and priests actually prophesy in falsehood, “and my own people have loved it that way,” says Jehovah. (5:31) Calamity approaches from the north, yet “from the least one of them even to the greatest one of them, every one is making for himself unjust gain.” They are saying, “‘There is peace! There is peace!’ when there is no peace.” (6:13, 14) But suddenly the despoiler will come. Jehovah has made Jeremiah a metal tester among them, but there is nothing but dross and rejected silver. They are entirely bad.
10. Why must Jerusalem meet up with the same fate as Shiloh and Ephraim?
10 Warning that temple is no protection (7:1–10:25). The word of Jehovah comes to Jeremiah, and he is to make proclamation at the temple gate. Hear him as he cries out to those entering in: ‘You are bragging about the temple of Jehovah, but what are you doing? Oppressing the fatherless and widow, shedding innocent blood, walking after other gods, stealing, murdering, committing adultery, swearing falsely, and making sacrifices to Baal! Hypocrites! You have made Jehovah’s house “a mere cave of robbers.” Recall what Jehovah did to Shiloh. He will do the same to your house, O Judah, and he will throw you out, just as he threw out Ephraim (Israel) to the north.’—Jer. 7:4-11; 1 Sam. 2:12-14; 3:11-14; 4:12-22.
11. Why is Judah past praying for?
11 Judah is past praying for. Why, the people are even making cakes to sacrifice to the “queen of the heavens”! Truly, “this is the nation whose people have not obeyed the voice of Jehovah its God, and have not taken discipline. Faithfulness has perished.” (Jer. 7:18, 28) Judah has set disgusting things in Jehovah’s house and has burned her sons and daughters on the high places of Topheth in the valley of Hinnom. Look! It will be called “the valley of the killing,” and their dead bodies will become food for fowl and beast. (7:32) Rejoicing and exultation must cease out of Judah and Jerusalem.
12. Instead of peace, what is to overtake Judah and her adopted gods?
12 They were hoping for peace and healing, but look, terror! Scattering, extermination, and lamentation will result from their stubbornness. ‘Jehovah is the living God and the King to time indefinite.’ As for the gods that did not make the heavens and the earth, there is no spirit in them. They are a vanity and a work of mockery, and they will perish. (10:10-15) Jehovah will sling out the inhabitants of the earth. Listen! A great pounding from the land of the north that is to desolate the cities of Judah. The prophet acknowledges: ‘It is not in earthling man to direct his course,’ and he prays for correction that he may not be reduced to nothing.—10:23.
13. Why is Jeremiah forbidden to pray for Judah, and how does Jehovah strengthen Jeremiah in an hour of danger?
13 The covenant breakers cursed (11:1–12:17). Judah has disobeyed the words of its covenant with Jehovah. It is useless for the people to call for aid. Jeremiah must not pray for Judah, for Jehovah “has set a fire blazing” against this once luxuriant olive tree. (11:16) As Jeremiah’s fellow citizens of Anathoth conspire to destroy him, the prophet turns to Jehovah for strength and help. Jehovah promises vengeance on Anathoth. Jeremiah asks, ‘Why is it that the way of the wicked has succeeded?’ Jehovah assures him: ‘I will uproot and destroy the disobedient nation.’—12:1, 17.
14. (a) By what illustrations does Jehovah make known that Jerusalem is irreformable and that the judgment against her is irreversible? (b) What results to Jeremiah from eating Jehovah’s words?
14 Jerusalem irreformable and doomed (13:1–15:21). Jeremiah recounts how Jehovah commanded him to put a linen belt on his hips and then to hide it in a crag by the Euphrates. When Jeremiah came to dig it up, it had been ruined. “It was not fit for anything.” Thus Jehovah illustrated his determination to bring to ruin “the pride of Judah and the abundant pride of Jerusalem.” (13:7, 9) He will dash them together in their drunkenness, like large jars filled with wine. “Can a Cushite change his skin? or a leopard its spots?” (13:23) Just so, Jerusalem is irreformable. Jeremiah must not pray for these people. Even if Moses and Samuel came before Jehovah to intercede for them, he would not listen, for he has determined to devote Jerusalem to destruction. Jehovah strengthens Jeremiah against his reproachers. Jeremiah finds and eats Jehovah’s words, resulting in ‘exultation and rejoicing of heart.’ (15:16) It is a time, not for idle joking, but for trusting in Jehovah, who has promised to make Jeremiah a fortified copper wall against the people.
15. (a) How serious are the times, and by what command does Jehovah give this emphasis? (b) How will the people come to know Jehovah’s name, and why does their sin not deceive him?
15 Jehovah will send fishers and hunters (16:1–17:27). In view of the impending desolation, Jehovah commands Jeremiah: “You must not take for yourself a wife, and you must not come to have sons and daughters in this place.” (16:2) It is time neither to mourn nor to banquet with the people, for Jehovah is about to hurl them out of the land. Then Jehovah also promises to send ‘fishers to fish them and hunters to hunt them,’ and by his accomplishing all of this, “they will have to know that [his] name is Jehovah.” (16:16, 21) The sin of Judah is engraved on the hearts of the people with an iron stylus, yes, with a diamond point. “The heart is more treacherous than anything else and is desperate,” but Jehovah can search the heart. None can deceive him. Those apostatizing “have left the source of living water, Jehovah.” (17:9, 13) If Judah will not sanctify the Sabbath day, Jehovah will devour her gates and towers with fire.
16. What does Jehovah illustrate by the potter and his clay vessels?
16 The potter and the clay (18:1–19:15). Jehovah commands Jeremiah to go down to the potter’s house. There he observes how the potter turns back a spoiled vessel of clay, making it into another vessel as he pleases. Jehovah then declares himself to be the Potter to the house of Israel, with power to pull down or to build up. Next, he tells Jeremiah to take a potter’s flask to the Valley of Hinnom and there pronounce calamity from Jehovah because the people have filled the place with innocent blood, burning their sons in the fire as whole burnt offerings to the Baal. Jeremiah must then break the flask in symbol of Jehovah’s breaking Jerusalem and the people of Judah.
17. What hard experience does Jeremiah have, but does this silence him?
17 No quitting under persecution (20:1-18). Irritated by Jeremiah’s bold preaching, the temple commissioner Pashhur puts Jeremiah in stocks for a night. On his release, Jeremiah foretells Pashhur’s captivity and death in Babylon. Grieved by the derision and reproach leveled against him, Jeremiah contemplates quitting. However, he cannot keep silent. The word of Jehovah comes to be ‘in his heart like a burning fire shut up in his bones,’ so that he is compelled to speak. Though cursing the day of his birth, he cries out: “Sing to Jehovah, you people! Praise Jehovah! For he has delivered the soul of the poor one out of the hand of evildoers.”—20:9, 13.
18. Of what does Jeremiah notify Zedekiah?
18 Jehovah’s indignation against the rulers (21:1–22:30). In answer to an inquiry from Zedekiah, Jeremiah notifies him of Jehovah’s rage against the city: The king of Babylon will lay siege against it, and it will be destroyed by pestilence, sword, famine, and fire. Shallum (Jehoahaz) will die in exile, Jehoiakim will have the burial of a he-ass, and his son Coniah (Jehoiachin) will be hurled out of Judah to die in Babylon.
19. What does Jeremiah prophesy concerning “a righteous sprout,” and what is illustrated by the two baskets of figs?
19 Hope in “a righteous sprout” (23:1–24:10). Jehovah promises real shepherds to replace the false shepherds and “a righteous sprout” out of the stock of David, a king who “will certainly reign and act with discretion and execute justice and righteousness in the land.” His name? “He will be called, Jehovah Is Our Righteousness.” He will gather the dispersed remnant. (23:5, 6) If the prophets had stood in Jehovah’s intimate group, they would have caused the people to hear and turn back from their bad way. Instead, says Jehovah, they “cause my people to wander about because of their falsehoods.” (23:22, 32) “Look! Two baskets of figs.” Jeremiah uses the good and the bad figs to illustrate a faithful remnant returning to their land in God’s favor and another class coming to a calamitous finish.—24:1, 5, 8-10.
20. How does Jehovah use Babylon as his servant, but what, in turn, will be her fate?
20 Jehovah’s controversy with the nations (25:1-38). This chapter is a summary of judgments that appear in greater detail in chapters 45-49. By three parallel prophecies, Jehovah now pronounces calamity for all the nations on earth. First, Nebuchadrezzar is identified as Jehovah’s servant to devastate Judah and the surrounding nations, “and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” Then it will be Babylon’s turn, and she will become “desolate wastes to time indefinite.”—25:1-14.
21. Who must drink of the cup of Jehovah’s rage? With what result?
21 The second prophecy is the vision of the cup of wine of Jehovah’s rage. Jeremiah must take this cup to the nations, and “they must drink and shake back and forth and act like crazed men” because of Jehovah’s destruction coming against them. First, to Jerusalem and Judah! Then, on to Egypt, back to Philistia, across to Edom, up to Tyre, to lands near and far, and to “all the other kingdoms of the earth that are on the surface of the ground; and the king of Sheshach himself will drink after them.” They shall ‘drink and puke and fall.’ None will be spared.—25:15-29.
22. In what great calamity will Jehovah’s burning anger be expressed?
22 In the third prophecy, Jeremiah rises to magnificent poetic heights. “From on high Jehovah himself will roar . . . against all the inhabitants of the earth.” A noise, a calamity, a great tempest! “And those slain by Jehovah will certainly come to be in that day from one end of the earth clear to the other end of the earth.” No lamenting, no funerals. They will be as manure on the ground. The false shepherds will be slaughtered, along with the majestic ones of their flock. There is no escape for them. Listen to their howling! Jehovah himself “is despoiling their pasturage . . . because of his burning anger.”—25:30-38.
23. (a) What conspiracy is formed against Jeremiah, what is his defense, and what precedents are referred to in acquitting him? (b) How does Jeremiah enact the coming Babylonian bondage, and what prophecy concerning Hananiah comes true?
23 Jeremiah vindicated (26:1–28:17). The rulers and people conspire to put Jeremiah to death. Jeremiah makes his defense. It is the word of Jehovah that he has spoken. If they kill him, they will kill an innocent man. The verdict: not guilty. The older men introduce the precedents of the prophets Micah and Urijah in discussing Jeremiah’s case. Jehovah next commands Jeremiah to make bands and yokes, put them upon his neck, and then send them to the nations round about as symbols that they must serve the king of Babylon for three generations of rulers. Hananiah, one of the false prophets, opposes Jeremiah. He declares that the yoke of Babylon will be broken within two years and pictures this by breaking the wooden yoke. Jehovah underlines his prophecy by having Jeremiah make iron yokes and foretell that Hananiah must die that year. Hananiah dies.
24. (a) What message does Jeremiah send to the exiles in Babylon? (b) With whom will Jehovah conclude a new covenant, and how will this prove to be grander than the former covenant?
24 Comfort for the exiles in Babylon (29:1–31:40). Jeremiah writes to the exiles taken to Babylon with Jeconiah (Jehoiachin): Settle down there, for before Jehovah brings you back, there is coming a period of 70 years of exile. Jehovah commands Jeremiah to write of their return in a book: Jehovah will break their yoke, and “they will certainly serve Jehovah their God and David their king, whom I [Jehovah] shall raise up for them.” (30:9) Rachel must hold her voice back from weeping, for her sons “will certainly return from the land of the enemy.” (31:16) And now, a reassuring declaration by Jehovah! He will conclude with the houses of Judah and Israel a new covenant. Far grander this than the covenant they have broken! Jehovah will write his law deep down inside, on their hearts. “And I will become their God, and they themselves will become my people.” From the least to the greatest, all will know Jehovah, and he will forgive their error. (31:31-34) Their city will be rebuilt as something holy to Jehovah.
25. How is the certainty of Israel’s restoration emphasized, and what news does the word of Jehovah bring?
25 Jehovah’s covenant with David sure (32:1–34:22). During Nebuchadrezzar’s final siege of Jerusalem, Jeremiah is under restraint. However, as a sign that Jehovah will certainly restore Israel, Jeremiah buys a field in Anathoth and puts the deeds aside in an earthenware vessel. The word of Jehovah now brings good news: Judah and Jerusalem will rejoice again, and Jehovah will fulfill his covenant with David. But you, O Zedekiah, be warned that the king of Babylon will burn this city with fire and you yourself will go in captivity to Babylon. Woe to the slave owners who agreed to free their slaves but who have violated their covenant!
26. What promise does Jehovah make to the Rechabites, and why?
26 Jehovah’s promise to Rechab (35:1-19). In the days of King Jehoiakim, Jehovah sends Jeremiah to the Rechabites. These took refuge in Jerusalem at the first approach of the Babylonians. Jeremiah offers them wine to drink. They refuse it because of the command of their forefather Jonadab, given over 250 years earlier. A striking contrast, indeed, to the unfaithful course of Judah! Jehovah promises them: “There will not be cut off from Jonadab the son of Rechab a man to stand before me always.”—35:19.
27. What makes necessary the rewriting of the prophecies of Jeremiah?
27 Jeremiah rewrites the book (36:1-32). Jehovah orders Jeremiah to write down all the words of his prophecies to date. Jeremiah dictates these to Baruch, who then reads them aloud in the house of Jehovah on a fast day. King Jehoiakim sends for the roll and, on hearing a part, angrily tears it up and pitches it into the fire. He commands the arrest of Jeremiah and Baruch, but Jehovah conceals them and tells Jeremiah to write a duplicate roll.
28. (a) What persistent prophecies does Jeremiah make? (b) How does Ebed-melech’s course contrast with that of the princes?
28 Jerusalem’s last days (37:1–39:18). The record returns to the reign of Zedekiah. The king asks Jeremiah to pray to Jehovah on Judah’s behalf. The prophet refuses, saying Jerusalem’s doom is certain. Jeremiah attempts to go to Anathoth but is seized as a deserter, beaten, and imprisoned many days. Zedekiah then sends for him. Is there word from Jehovah? To be sure there is! “Into the hand of the king of Babylon you will be given!” (37:17) Angered by Jeremiah’s persistent prophecies of doom, the princes throw him into a miry cistern. Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch in the king’s house, kindly intercedes for him, so that Jeremiah is rescued from a lingering death, but he remains in detention in the Courtyard of the Guard. Again Zedekiah calls Jeremiah before him, only to be told: ‘Surrender to the king of Babylon or face captivity and the destruction of Jerusalem!’—38:17, 18.
29. What calamity now befalls Jerusalem, but how do Jeremiah and Ebed-melech fare?
29 The siege of Jerusalem lasts 18 months, and then the city is broken through in the 11th year of Zedekiah. The king flees with his army but is overtaken. His sons and the nobles are slain before his eyes, and he is blinded and carried to Babylon in fetters. The city is burned and laid in ruins, and all except a few poor people are taken into exile to Babylon. By Nebuchadrezzar’s order, Jeremiah is released from the courtyard. Before his release he tells Ebed-melech of Jehovah’s promise to deliver him, ‘because he trusted in Jehovah.’—39:18.
30. How do the remaining people fail to heed Jeremiah’s advice, and what judgment of doom does Jeremiah make known in Egypt?
30 Final events at Mizpah and in Egypt (40:1–44:30). Jeremiah remains at Mizpah with Gedaliah, whom the Babylonians make governor over the remaining people. After two months Gedaliah is murdered. The people seek Jeremiah’s advice, and he relays God’s word to them: ‘Jehovah will not uproot you from this land. Do not be afraid because of the king of Babylon. If, however, you go down to Egypt, you will die!’ Down to Egypt they go, taking Jeremiah and Baruch with them. At Tahpanhes in Egypt, Jeremiah makes known Jehovah’s judgment of doom: The king of Babylon will set his throne in Egypt. It is useless for Israel to worship the gods of Egypt and to resume sacrifice to the “queen of the heavens.” Have they forgotten how Jehovah desolated Jerusalem for its idolatry? Jehovah will bring calamity on them in the land of Egypt, and they will not return to Judah. As a sign, Jehovah is giving Pharaoh Hophra himself into the hand of his enemies.
31. What assurance is given Baruch?
31 Baruch’s lot (45:1-5). Baruch is distressed at hearing Jeremiah’s repeated prophecies of doom. He is told to think first of Jehovah’s work of building up and tearing down instead of “seeking great things” for himself. (45:5) He will be saved through all the calamity.
32. Against whom will “the sword of Jehovah” come?
32 Jehovah’s sword against the nations (46:1–49:39). Jeremiah tells of Babylon’s victories over Egypt at Carchemish and elsewhere. Though the nations be exterminated, Jacob will remain but will not go unpunished. “The sword of Jehovah” will come against the Philistines, against proud Moab and bragging Ammon, against Edom and Damascus, Kedar and Hazor. (47:6) The bow of Elam will be broken.
33. (a) What will happen to the golden cup, Babylon? (b) How, therefore, must God’s people act?
33 Jehovah’s sword against Babylon (50:1–51:64). Jehovah speaks concerning Babylon: Tell it among the nations. Hide nothing. Babylon has been captured and her gods shamed. Flee out of her. This forge hammer that has smashed the nations of all the earth has herself been broken. “O Presumptuousness,” the oppressor of captive Israel and Judah, know that Jehovah of armies is their Repurchaser. Babylon will become a haunt of howling animals. “Just as with God’s overthrow of Sodom and of Gomorrah . . . , no man will dwell there.” (50:31, 40) Babylon has been a golden cup in Jehovah’s hand to make the nations drunk, but suddenly she has fallen, so that she herself is broken. Howl over her, you people. Jehovah has aroused the spirit of the kings of the Medes to bring her to ruin. The mighty men of Babylon have ceased to fight. They have become like women. The daughter of Babylon will be trodden down solid like a threshing floor. “They must sleep an indefinitely lasting sleep, from which they will not wake up.” The sea has come up and covered Babylon with a multitude of waves. “Get out of the midst of her, O my people, and provide each one his soul with escape from the burning anger of Jehovah.” (51:39, 45) Listen to the outcry, to the great crash from Babylon! Babylon’s weapons of war must be shattered, for Jehovah is a God of recompense. Without fail he will repay.
34. What sign illustrates Babylon’s fall?
34 Jeremiah commands Seraiah: ‘Go to Babylon and read aloud these words of the prophecy against Babylon. Then tie a stone to the book and pitch it into the midst of the Euphrates. “And you must say, ‘This is how Babylon will sink down and never rise up because of the calamity that I am bringing in upon her.’”’—51:61-64.
35. What record now follows?
36. (a) What example of courageous zeal do we find in Jeremiah? (b) In what respects are Baruch, the Rechabites, and Ebed-melech also fine examples for us?
36 This inspired prophecy is altogether upbuilding and beneficial. Look at the courageous example of the prophet himself. He was fearless in proclaiming an unpopular message to a godless people. He spurned fellowship with the wicked. He appreciated the urgency of Jehovah’s message, giving himself wholeheartedly to Jehovah’s work and never quitting. He found God’s word to be like a fire in his bones, and it was the exultation and rejoicing of his heart. (Jer. 15:16-20; 20:8-13) May we ever be as zealous for the word of Jehovah! May we also give loyal support to God’s servants, as Baruch did to Jeremiah. The sincere obedience of the Rechabites is also a splendid example to us, and so is Ebed-melech’s kindly consideration for the persecuted prophet.—36:8-19, 32; 35:1-19; 38:7-13; 39:15-18.
37. How does a consideration of Jeremiah strengthen faith in Jehovah’s power of prophecy?
37 The word of Jehovah that came to Jeremiah was fulfilled with astounding accuracy. This certainly strengthens faith in Jehovah’s power of prophecy. Take, for example, the prophecy fulfillments that Jeremiah himself survived to see, such as the captivity of Zedekiah and the destruction of Jerusalem (21:3-10; 39:6-9), the dethronement and the death in captivity of King Shallum (Jehoahaz) (Jer. 22:11, 12; 2 Ki. 23:30-34; 2 Chron. 36:1-4), the taking captive of King Coniah (Jehoiachin) to Babylon (Jer. 22:24-27; 2 Ki. 24:15, 16), and the death within one year of the false prophet Hananiah (Jer. 28:16, 17). All these prophecies, and more, were fulfilled just as Jehovah had foretold. Later prophets and servants of Jehovah also found Jeremiah’s prophecy authoritative and beneficial. For example, Daniel discerned from the writings of Jeremiah that Jerusalem’s desolation must be 70 years, and Ezra drew attention to the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s words at the end of the 70 years.—Dan. 9:2; 2 Chron. 36:20, 21; Ezra 1:1; Jer. 25:11, 12; 29:10.
38. (a) What covenant, referred to also by Jesus, is highlighted in Jeremiah’s prophecy? (b) What Kingdom hope is proclaimed?
38 On the occasion when he established the celebration of the Lord’s Evening Meal with his disciples, Jesus indicated the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning the new covenant. Thus, he referred to “the new covenant by virtue of my blood,” whereby their sins were forgiven and they were gathered as Jehovah’s spiritual nation. (Luke 22:20; Jer. 31:31-34) The spirit-begotten ones brought into the new covenant are the ones whom Christ takes into a covenant for the Kingdom, to rule with him in the heavens. (Luke 22:29; Rev. 5:9, 10; 20:6) Reference is made to this Kingdom a number of times in Jeremiah’s prophecy. Amid all the denunciations of faithless Jerusalem, Jeremiah pointed out this ray of hope: “‘Look! There are days coming,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘and I will raise up to David a righteous sprout. And a king will certainly reign and act with discretion and execute justice and righteousness in the land.’” Yes, a king called “Jehovah Is Our Righteousness.”—Jer. 23:5, 6.
39. The return of a remnant from Babylon, as foretold by Jeremiah, gives assurance of what?
39 Again Jeremiah speaks of a restoration: “And they will certainly serve Jehovah their God and David their king, whom I shall raise up for them.” (30:9) Finally, he tells of the good word that Jehovah has spoken concerning Israel and Judah, to the effect that “in those days and at that time [Jehovah will] make sprout for David a righteous sprout,” so as to multiply his seed and so that there will be “a son ruling as king upon his throne.” (33:15, 21) As surely as a remnant returned from Babylon, so will the Kingdom of this righteous “sprout” execute justice and righteousness in all the earth.—Luke 1:32.