One of the chief prophets of the Old Testament, prophesied under Josiah, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah, and also after the captivity of the latter. He was born at Anathoth, of the race of the priests, and was destined of God to be a prophet, and consecrated for that object before his birth, Jer 1:1,5. At an early age he was called to act as a prophet, B. C. 628, in the thirteenth year of King Josiah. This good king no doubt cooperated with him to promote the reformation of the people; but the subsequent life of the prophet was full of afflictions and persecutions. Jehoiakim threw his prophetic roll into the fire, and sought his life. Zedekiah was kindly instructed by him, and warned of the woes impending over his guilty people, and of their seventy years' captivity, but to no purpose. The fidelity of the prophet often endangered his life, and he was in prison when Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar. That monarch released him, and offered him a home in Babylon; but he chose to remain with the remnant of the Jews, and was carried by them before long into Egypt, B. C. 586, still faithfully advising and reproving them till he died. For forty-two years he steadfastly maintained the cause of truth and of God against his rebellious people. Though naturally mild, sensitive, and retiring, he shrank from no danger when duty called; threats could not silence him, nor ill usage alienate him. Tenderly compassionate to his infatuated countrymen, he shared with them the woes, which he could not induce them to avert from their own heads.
raised up or appointed by Jehovah. (1.) A Gadite who joined David in the wilderness (1Ch 12:10).
(2.) A Gadite warrior (1Ch 12:13).
(3.) A Benjamite slinger who joined David at Ziklag (1Ch 12:4).
(4.) One of the chiefs of the tribe of Manasseh on the east of Jordan (1Ch 5:24).
(5.) The father of Hamutal (2Ki 23:31), the wife of Josiah.
(6.) One of the "greater prophets" of the Old Testament, son of Hilkiah (q.v.), a priest of Anathoth (Jer 1:1; 32:6). He was called to the prophetical office when still young (Jer 1:6), in the thirteenth year of Josiah (B.C. 628). He left his native place, and went to reside in Jerusalem, where he greatly assisted Josiah in his work of reformation (2Ki 23:1-25). The death of this pious king was bewailed by the prophet as a national calamity (2Ch 35:25).
During the three years of the reign of Jehoahaz we find no reference to Jeremiah, but in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the enmity of the people against him broke out in bitter persecution, and he was placed apparently under restraint (Jer 36:5). In the fourth year of Jehoiakim he was commanded to write the predictions given to him, and to read them to the people on the fast-day. This was done by Baruch his servant in his stead, and produced much public excitement. The roll was read to the king. In his recklessness he seized the roll, and cut it to pieces, and cast it into the fire, and ordered both Baruch and Jeremiah to be apprehended. Jeremiah procured another roll, and wrote in it the words of the roll the king had destroyed, and "many like words" besides (Jer 36:32).
He remained in Jerusalem, uttering from time to time his words of warning, but without effect. He was there when Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city (Jer 37:4-5), B.C. 589. The rumour of the approach of the Egyptians to aid the Jews in this crisis induced the Chaldeans to withdraw and return to their own land. This, however, was only for a time. The prophet, in answer to his prayer, received a message from God announcing that the Chaldeans would come again and take the city, and burn it with fire (Jer 37:7-8). The princes, in their anger at such a message by Jeremiah, cast him into prison (Jer 37:15-38:13). He was still in confinement when the city was taken (B.C. 588). The Chaldeans released him, and showed him great kindness, allowing him to choose the place of his residence. He accordingly went to Mizpah with Gedaliah, who had been made governor of Judea. Johanan succeeded Gedaliah, and refusing to listen to Jeremiah's counsels, went down into Egypt, taking Jeremiah and Baruch with him (Jer 43:6). There probably the prophet spent the remainder of his life, in vain seeking still to turn the people to the Lord, from whom they had so long revolted (44). He lived till the reign of Evil-Merodach, son of Nebuchadnezzar, and must have been about ninety years of age at his death. We have no authentic record of his death. He may have died at Tahpanhes, or, according to a tradition, may have gone to Babylon with the army of Nebuchadnezzar; but of this there is nothing certain.
("exalted of Jehovah") (Jerome); ("appointed of Jehovah") (Gesenius); ("Jehovah throws") (Hengstenberg); compare Jer 1:10.
1. Son of Hilkiah, a priest in Anathoth of Benjamin; not the high priest Hilkiah who discovered the book of the law in Josiah's reign (2Ki 22:8), for Jeremiah's father is not designated as "the priest" or "the high priest." Moreover, the Anathoth priests were of the line of Abiathar, who was deposed by Solomon (1Ki 2:26-35). Thenceforward the high priesthood was in Eleazar's and Zadok's line. The independent history (2Ch 35:25; 36:12,21) mentions his "lamentation for Josiah," Zedekiah's "not humbling himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of Jehovah," and the Babylonian captivity "to fulfill Jehovah's word by the mouth of Jeremiah until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths, for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath to fulfill threescore and ten years" (Jer 27:7; 25:9-12; 26:6-7; 29:10).
In 629 B.C., the 13th of Josiah's reign, while a mere youth at Anathoth, three miles from Jerusalem (Jer 1:2), "the word of Jehovah came to him" just as manhood was opening out to him, calling him to lay aside his natural sensitiveness and timid self distrust, and as Jehovah's minister, by the might of Jehovah's efficacious word, to "root out ... throw down, build and plant." "Before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." To his pleas of childlike inability to speak (as Moses, Ex 3:11-12; 4:10-12; and Isaiah, Isa 6:5-8), Jehovah opposes His mission and His command: "thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak." To his fear of men's faces Jehovah declares "I am with thee to deliver thee." Touching Jeremiah's mouth (as Isaiah's; compare Jesus' touch, Mt 9:21-29), Jehovah put His words in the prophet's mouth, so that the prophetic word became divinely efficient to produce its own fulfillment; even as the Word was the efficient cause of creation.
Jeremiah must have at first exercised his office in contemplation rather than action, for he is not mentioned in connection with Josiah's reforms, or the great Passover held in the 18th year of his reign, five years subsequent to Jeremiah's call. It is from the prophetess Huldah, not from him, that the godly king sought counsel. Yet he must have warmly sympathized with this great revival. Indications of affinity or friendship with some of the actors in it occur in the sameness of names: Jeremiah's father bearing the name of Hilkiah, Josiah's high priest; his uncle that of Shallum, Huldah's husband (Jer 32:7; compare 2Ki 22:14); Ahikam, Jeremiah's protector (Jer 26:24), was also the fellow worker with Huldah in the revival; moreover Maaseiah, governor of Jerusalem, sent by Josiah as ally of Hilkiah in repairing the temple (2Ch 34:8), was father of Neriah, the father of both Baruch and Seraiah, Jeremiah's disciples (Jer 36:4; 51:59).
The finding of the book of the law, the original temple copy (See HILKIAH) exercised a palpable effect on his later writings. (Compare Jer 11:3-5 with De 7:12; 4:20; 27:26; Jer 34:14 with De 15:12; 32:18 with Ex 20:6; 32:21 with Ex 6:6). He saw that the reformation was but a surface one, and would not ensure the permanent peace which many anticipated from it (Jer 7:4), for while "the temple" was restored the spirit of apostasy still prevailed, so that even Israel seemed just in comparison with what Judah had become (Jer 3:11), a seeker of the truth was scarcely to be found, and self seeking was the real aim, while "the prophets prophesy falsely, the priests hear rule by their means, and God's people (!) love to have it so" (Jer 5:1,31).
Five years after his call to prophesy the book of the law was found in the temple by Hilkiah (2Ki 22:8; 23:25); then Jeremiah in Jehovah's name proclaimed, "Hear ye this covenant, and speak (it in your turn to others, namely,) unto the men of Judah and Jerusalem." Next Jehovah commanded Jeremiah to take a prophetic tour, proclaiming the covenant through the cities of Judah, as well as in Jerusalem (Jer 11:1-2,6). Apparently, he lived at first in Anathoth, repairing thence from time to time to prophesy in Jerusalem (Jer 2:2), until the enmity of his townsmen and even his brethren, because of his godly faithfulness (Jer 11:18-21; 12:6), drove him to Jerusalem. He knew not of their plotting against his life until Jehovah revealed it. His personal experiences were providentially ordered to qualify him to be the type in his own person, as well as the prophet, of Messiah (compare Isa 53:7).
So His brethren, and the Nazarenes His townsmen, treated Christ (Lu 4:24-29; Joh 1:11; 7:5; Ps 69:8). By Jehovah's direction Jeremiah was to have neither wife or children (Jer 16:2), in order to symbolize the coming of calamities on Judea so severe that the single state (contrary to the natural order) would be preferable to the married (1Co 7:8,26,29; Mt 24:19; Lu 23:29). Eighteen years after his first call king Josiah died. During this period, when others thought evil distant, the vision of the almond tree, the emblem of wakefulness, showed Jeremiah that evil was hastening, and the seething pot that it should come from the N., namely, the Babylonians entering into the Holy Land from the N. by way of Hamath (Jer 1:11-15). (See ALMOND.)
Jeremiah, like Isaiah (Isa 30:1-7), foresaw that the tendency of many to desire an alliance with Egypt, upon the dissolution of the Assyrian empire whose vassal Manasseh was, would end in sorrow (Jer 2:18): "what hast thou to do in the way of (with going down to) Egypt? to drink the waters of Sihor (to seek hosts as allies from the Nile land)?" Josiah so far molded his policy according to Jeremiah's counsel; but he forgot that it was equally against God's will for His people to lean upon Assyrian or Babylonian "confidences" as upon Egyptian (Jeremiah 36 - 37); so taking the field as ally of Assyria and Babylon against the Egyptian Pharaoh Necho he fell (2Ki 23:29). Josiah's death was one of his bitterest sorrows (Jer 22:10,15-16), the remembrance of his righteous reign intensified the pain of witnessing the present injustice of his successors.
Jeremiah composed the funeral dirge which "the singing men and women in their lamentations" used at the anniversary kept subsequently as an ordinance in Israel (2Ch 35:20-25). Jeremiah had also inward conflicts. Like Asaph (Psalm 73) he felt perplexed at the prosperity of the wicked (Jer 12:1-4) plotters at Anathoth against his life (Jer 11:19-21), to which Jehovah replies that even worse is before him at Jerusalem: "if thou hast run with the footmen (the Anathoth men), and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses (the men of Jerusalem)? And if (it is only) in a land of peace thou trustest (so the Hebrew is), then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?" Or else, if in the plain country alone thou art secure, how wilt thou do "in the pride (the wooded banks, the lair of beasts: Zec 11:3; 2Ki 6:2 compare Pr 24:10) of Jordan?"
Jeremiah sensitively shrank from strifes, yet the Holy Spirit enabled him to deliver his message at the certain cost of rousing enmity and having his sensitiveness wounded (Jer 15:10). His nature said, "I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name; but (the Spirit made him feel) His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing" (Jer 20:9). In Jer 22:11-12 Jeremiah foretold that Josiah's son, Shallum or Jehoahaz who reigned but three months and was carried to Egypt by Pharaoh Necho, should never return. (See JEHOAHAZ.) On Jehoiakim's accession idolatry returned, combined with the worship of Jehovah; and priests, prophets, and people soon brought Jeremiah before the authorities, urging that he should be put to death for denouncing evil against the temple and the city (Jer 26:7-11).
This he had done in Jer 7:12-14,8-9. and more summarily in 6/1/type/mace'>Jer 26:1-2,6, at the feast of tabernacles, when the law was commanded to be read, or at either of the other two great feasts, before the people of "all the cities of Judah," assembled for worship "in the court of Jehovah's house";
1. A warrior of the tribe of Gad, fifth in reputation (1Ch 12:10). 2. The tenth in reputation (1Ch 12:13) of the same Gadite band. 3. A bowman and slinger of the tribe of Benjamin (1Ch 12:4). 4. The head of a family in E.Manasseh (1Ch 5:24). 5. A Jew of Libnah, whose daughter, Hamutal or Hamital, was one of the wives of Josiah, and mother of Jehoahaz (2Ki 23:31) and Zedekiah (2Ki 24:18; Jer 52:1). 6. The son of Habazziniah and father of Jaazaniah, the head of the Rechabites (Jer 35:3) in the time of the prophet Jer 7. A priest who returned with Zerubbabel (Ne 12:1). His name was given to one of the twenty-two courses of priests (Ezr 2:38-39; Ne 7:39-42; 12:13). 8. A priest who sealed the covenant (Ne 10:2) and took part in the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem (Ne 12:34). 9. The prophet. See next article.
1. The times.
2. Head of a family in the tribe of Manasseh. 1Ch 5:24.
3. One who resorted to David at Ziklag. 1Ch 12:4.
6. Son of Hilkiah, priest of Anathoth: the writer of the Book of Jeremiah. His history is contained in his prophecy. He was carried to Egypt by the rebellious Jews and his end is not recorded. 2Ch 35:25; 36:12,21-22; Ezr 1:1; Jer. 1
(whom Jehovah has appointed) was "the son of Hilkiah of the priests that were in Anathoth."
1. History. --He was called very young (B.C. 626) to the prophetic office, and prophesied forty-two years; but we have hardly any mention of him during the eighteen years between his call and Josiah's death, or during the short reign of Jehoahaz. During the reigns of Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin, B.C. 607-598, he opposed the Egyptian party, then dominant in Jerusalem, and maintained that they only way of safety lay in accepting the supremacy of the Chaldeans. He was accordingly accused of treachery, and men claiming to be prophets had the "word of Jehovah" to set against his.
As the danger from the Chaldeans became more threatening, the persecution against Jeremiah grew hotter. ch. 18. The people sought his life; then follows the scene in
he was set, however, "as a fenced brazen wall," ch.
and went on with his work, reproving king and nobles and people. The danger which Jeremiah had so long foretold at last came near. First Jehoiakim, and afterwards his successor Jehoiachin, were carried into exile, 2Kin 24; but Zedekiah, B.C. 597-586, who was appointed by Nebuchadnezzar, was more friendly to the prophet, though powerless to help him. The approach of an Egyptian army, and the consequent departure of the Chaldeans, made the position of Jeremiah full of danger, and he sought to effect his escape from the city; but he was seized and finally thrown into a prison-pit to die, but was rescued. On the return of the Chaldean army he showed his faith in God's promises, and sought to encourage the people by purchasing the field at Anathoth which his kinsman Hanameel wished to get rid of.
At last the blow came. The city was taken, the temple burnt. The king and his princes shared the fate of Jehoiachin. The prophet gave utterance to his sorrow in the Lamentations. After the capture of Jerusalem, B.C. 586, by the Chaldeans, we find Jeremiah receiving better treatment; but after the death of Gedaliah, the people, disregarding his warnings, took refuge in Egypt, carrying the prophet with them. In captivity his words were sharper and stronger than ever. He did not shrink, even there, from speaking of the Chaldean king once more as "the servant of Jehovah."
After this all is uncertain, but he probably died in Egypt.
2. Character. --Canon Cook says of Jeremiah, "His character is most interesting. We find him sensitive to a most painful degree, timid, shy, hopeless, desponding, constantly complaining and dissatisfied with the course of events, but never flinching from duty...Timid in resolve, he was unflinching in execution; as fearless when he had to face the whole world as he was dispirited and prone to murmuring when alone with God. Judged by his own estimate of himself, he was feeble, and his mission a failure; really, in the hour of action and when duty called him, he was in very truth 'a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land.' ch.
he was a noble example of the triumph of the moral over the physical nature." (It is not strange that he was desponding when we consider his circumstances. He saw the nation going straight to irremediable ruin, and turning a deaf ear to all warnings. "A reign of terror had commenced (in the preceding reign), during which not only the prophets but all who were distinguished for religion and virtue were cruelly murdered." "The nation tried to extirpate the religion of Jehovah;" "Idolatry was openly established," "and such was the universal dishonesty that no man trusted another, and society was utterly disorganized." How could one who saw the nation about to reap the awful harvest they had been sowing, and yet had a vision of what they might have been and might yet be, help indulging in "Lamentations"? --ED.)
JEREMIAH. The Prophet Jeremiah was of the sacerdotal race, being, as he records himself, one of the priests that dwelt at Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin, a city appropriated out of that tribe to the use of the priests, the sons of Aaron, Jos 21:18, and situate, as we learn from St. Jerom, about three miles north of Jerusalem. Some have supposed his father to have been that Hilkah, the high priest, by whom the book of the law was found in the temple in the reign of Josiah: but for this there is no better ground than his having borne the same name, which was no uncommon one among the Jews; whereas, had he been in reality the high priest, he would doubtless have been mentioned by that distinguishing title, and not put upon a level with priests of an ordinary and inferior class. Jeremiah appears to have been very young when he was called to the exercise of the prophetical office, from which he modestly endeavoured to excuse himself by pleading his youth and incapacity; but being overruled by the divine authority, he set himself to discharge the duties of his function with unremitted diligence and fidelity during a period of at least forty-two years, reckoning from the thirteenth year of Josiah's reign. In the course of his ministry he met with great difficulties and opposition from his countrymen of all degrees, whose persecution and ill usage sometimes wrought so far upon his mind, as to draw from him expressions, in the bitterness of his soul, which many have thought hard to reconcile with his religious principles; but which, when duly considered, may be found to demand our pity for his unremitted sufferings, rather than our censure for any want of piety and reverence toward God. He was, in truth, a man of unblemished piety and conscientious integrity; a warm lover of his country, whose misery he pathetically deplores; and so affectionately attached to his countrymen, notwithstanding their injurious treatment of him, that he chose rather to abide with them, and undergo all hardships in their company, than separately to enjoy a state of ease and plenty, which the favour of the king of Babylon would have secured to him. At length, after the destruction of Jerusalem, being carried with the remnant of the Jews into Egypt, whither they had resolved to retire, though contrary to his advice, upon the murder of Gedaliah, whom the Chaldeans had left governor in Judea, he there continued warmly to remonstrate against their idolatrous practices, foretelling the consequences that would inevitably follow. But his freedom and zeal are said to have cost him his life; for the Jews at Tahpanhes, according to tradition, took such offence at him that they stoned him to death. This account of the manner of his end, though not absolutely certain, is at least very probable, considering the temper and disposition of the parties concerned. Their wickedness, however, did not long pass without its reward; for, in a few years after, they were miserably destroyed, by the Babylonian armies which invaded Egypt according to the prophet's prediction, Jer 44:27-28.
The idolatrous apostasy, and other criminal enormities of the people of Judah, and the severe judgments which God was prepared to inflict upon them, but not without a distant prospect of future restoration and deliverance, are the principal subject matters of the prophecies of Jeremiah; excepting only the forty-fifth chapter, which relates personally to Baruch, and the six succeeding chapters, which respect the fortunes of some particular Heathen nations. It is observable, however, that though many of these prophecies have their particular dates annexed to them, and other dates may be tolerably well conjectured from certain internal marks and circumstances, there appears much disorder in the arrangement, not easy to be accounted for on any principle of regular design, but probably the result of some accident or other, which has disturbed the original order. The best arrangement of the chapters appears to be according to the list which will be subjoined; the different reigns in which the prophecies were delivered were most probably as follows: The first twelve chapters seem to contain all the prophecies delivered in the reign of the good King Josiah. During the short reign of Shallum, or Jehoahaz, his second son, who succeeded him, Jeremiah does not appear to have had any revelation. Jehoiakim, the eldest son of Josiah, succeeded. The prophecies of this reign are continued on from the thirteenth to the twentieth chapter inclusively; to which we must add the twenty-second, twenty-third, twenty-fifth, twenty-sixth, thirty-fifth and thirty-sixth chapters, together with the forty-fifth, forty- sixth, forty-seventh, and most probably the forty-eighth, and as far as the thirty-fourth verse of the forty-ninth chapter. Jeconiah, the son of Jehoiakim, succeeded. We read of no prophecy that Jeremiah actually delivered in this king's reign; but the fate of Jeconiah, his being carried into captivity, and continuing an exile till the time of his death, were foretold early in his father's reign, as may be particularly seen in the twenty-second chapter. The last king of Judah was Zedekiah, the youngest son of Josiah. The prophecies delivered in his reign are contained in the twenty-first and twenty-fourth chapters, the twenty-seventh to the thirty-fourth, and the thirty-seventh to the thirty-ninth inclusively, together with the last six verses of the forty-ninth chapter, and the fiftieth and fifty-first chapters concerning the fall of Babylon. The siege of Jerusalem, in the reign of Zedekiah, and the capture of the city, are circumstantially related in the fifty-second chapter; and a particular account of the subsequent transactions is given in the fortieth to the forty-fourth inclusively. The arrangement of the chapters, alluded to above, is here subjoined: 1-20, 22, 23, 25, 26, 35, 36, 45, 24, 29-31, 27, 28, 21, 34, 37, 32, 33, 38, 39, from the fifteenth to the eighteenth verse, 39, from the first to the fourteenth verse, 40-44, 46, and so on.
The prophecies of Jeremiah, of which the circumstantial accomplishment is often specified in the Old and New Testament, are of a very distinguished and illustrious character. He foretold the fate of Zedekiah, Jer 34:2-5; 2Ch 36:11-21; 2Ki 25:5; Jer 52:11; the Babylonish captivity, the precise time of its duration, and the return of the Jews. He describes the destruction of Babylon, and the downfall of many nations, Jer 25:12; 9:26; 25:19-25; 42:10-18; 46, and the following chapters, in predictions, of which the gradual and successive completion kept up the confidence of the Jews for the accomplishment of those prophecies, which he delivered relative to the Messiah and his period, Jer 23:5-6; 30:9; 31:15; 32:14-18; 33:9-26. He foreshowed the miraculous conception of Christ, Jer 31:22, the virtue of his atonement, the spiritual character of his covenant, and the inward efficacy of his laws, Jer 31:31-36; 33:8. Jeremiah, contemplating those calamities which impended over his country, represented, in the most descriptive terms, and under the most impressive images, the destruction that the invading enemy should produce. He bewailed, in pathetic expostulation, the shameless adulteries which had provoked the Almighty, after long forbearance, to threaten Judah with inevitable punishment, at the time that false prophets deluded the nation with the promises of "assured peace," and when the people, in impious contempt of "the Lord's word," defied its accomplishment. Jeremiah intermingles with his prophecies some historical relations relative to his own conduct, and to the completion of those predictions which he had delivered. The reputation of Jeremiah had spread among foreign nations, and his prophecies were deservedly celebrated in other countries. Many Heathen writers also have undesignedly borne testimony to the truth and accuracy of his prophetic and historical descriptions.
As to the style of Jeremiah, says Bishop Lowth, this prophet is by no means wanting either in elegance or sublimity, although, generally speaking, inferior to Isaiah in both. His thoughts, indeed, are somewhat less elevated, and he is co