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Dr. J. Vernon McGee :: Notes for Jeremiah

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WRITER: Jeremiah, “the prophet of the broken heart”

HIS LIFE: His book is partly autobiographical since he gave us so much of his personal history.

1. Born a priest in Anathoth, north of Jerusalem (Jer 1:1).

2. Chosen to be a prophet before he was born (Jer 1:5).

3. Called to the prophetic office while very young (Jer 1:6).

4. Commissioned (Jer 1:9, 10).

5. Began his ministry during the reign of King Josiah and was a mourner at his funeral (2 Chronicles 35:25).

6. Forbidden to marry because of the terrible times (Jer 16:1-4).

7. Never made a convert, and was rejected by his people (Jer 11:18-21; 12:6; 18:18), hated, beaten, put in stocks (Jer 20:1-3), imprisoned (Jer 37:11-16), and charged with being a traitor.

8. His message broke his own heart (Jer 9:1).

9. Wanted to resign but could not (Jer 20:9).

10. He saw the destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity, and was permitted to remain in the land by the captain of the Babylonian forces. When the remnant wanted to flee to Egypt, Jeremiah prophesied against it (Jer 42:1543:3), was forced to go with the remnant to Egypt (Jer 43:6, 7), and died there. Tradition says that he was stoned by the remnant.

HIS PERSONALITY: God chose this man, who had a mother’s heart, a trembling voice, and tear-filled eyes, to deliver a harsh message of judgment. The message that he gave broke his own heart.
One author has written, “He was not a man mighty as Elijah, eloquent as Isaiah, or seraphic as Ezekiel, but one who was timid and shrinking, conscious of his helplessness, yearning for a sympathy and love he was never to know — such was the chosen organ through which the Word of the Lord came to that corrupt and degenerate age.”
The Lord Jesus Christ, weeping over Jerusalem, was a perfect fulfillment of Jeremiah.

HIS MESSAGE: The message of Jeremiah was the most unwelcome ever delivered to a people. He was called a traitor because he said that they were to yield to Babylon (Jer 34; 38:17-23). Isaiah, almost a century before him, had said to resist. Why this change? In Jeremiah’s day there was only one thing left to do — surrender. In the economy of God the nation was through (Jer 15:1), and the “times of the Gentiles” had already begun with Babylon, the head of gold (cf. Daniel 2).
Jeremiah predicted the 70-year captivity in Babylon (Jer 25:9-12). However, he saw beyond the darkness to the light, and no prophet spoke so glowingly of the future as did he (Jer 23:3-8; 30; 31; 33:15-22).
The message of Jeremiah was not only unwelcomed, but it was rejected by the nation (Jer 26:8-16).


Backsliding — occurs 13 times (used only 4 other times in the Old Testament [Proverbs once, Hosea three times])

Babylon — occurs 164 times (more than in the rest of Scripture combined)


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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