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Jeremiah

Jeremiah

Jeremiah (active late 7th-early 6th century B.C.) was one of the four major Jewish prophets. A priest from Anathoth, Israel, he is the reputed author of the Book of Jeremiah.

The dates of Jeremiah's birth and death are not known. It is known that he began his preaching either in the thirteenth year of King Josiah of Judah (626 B.C.) or at the accession of King Jehoiakim of Judah (608). He preached and taught for over 40 years, so his death must have taken place sometime in the first half of the 6th century B.C., probably between 580 and 560 B.C.

The entire background of Jeremiah's life and the words ascribed to him are permeated with the sense of disaster and disintegration which Judaism and Jews underwent in the 6th century B.C. The northern portion of Palestine, the kingdom of Israel, fell to the Assyrians in 622 B.C. A similar fate threatened the south, the kingdom of Judah, with its capital city of Jerusalem. The Assyrians were conquered by the Babylonians. The latter invaded Judea and captured Jerusalem in 587 B.C. A year later the Babylonians destroyed the First Temple, ended the kingdom of Judah, and deported the Jews (the Babylonian Captivity). Many Jews, among them Jeremiah, fled to Egypt for safety. As far as is known, however, Jeremiah died violently, perhaps by crucifixion, perhaps by the sword.

Not all of the writings ascribed to Jeremiah are considered by modern scholars to be really his. In fact, it is not certain that he ever actually wrote a line. It seems more likely that he dictated much of his material to an assistant or secretary called Baruch. Baruch made two collections of Jeremiah's words, one toward the end of the 7th century B.C. (605-600) and one toward the end of the prophet's life. Baruch added some materials of his own, and there were some later additions. Jewish tradition also ascribes the Book of Lamentations and the Book of Kings to Jeremiah.

Jeremiah's words and pronouncements are directly concerned with the febrile political maneuvering between 605 and 586 B.C. and with the Babylonian Captivity. His early message was simple: unless both king and people reformed their morals and returned to the true worship of God as taught by Moses, Jerusalem would be destroyed and its people killed or exiled. Jeremiah's general message was that temple and priesthood and kingship were of no avail if the heart of man was not clean from idolatry, from lies, and from deception of all kinds. His novel contribution as a prophet was his claim that God would replace the Old Covenant with the Israelites by a new covenant. Peculiarly, this new covenant was not to be restricted to Jews but was to include all the world. Jeremiah taught a universalist creed which would embrace all people.

Further Reading

Useful works on Jeremiah include Terrot R. Glover, The Pilgrim: Essays on Religion (1921); John Skinner, Prophecy and Religion: Studies in the Life of Jeremiah (1922); Adam C. Welch, Jeremiah, His Time and His Work (1928); James P. Hyatt and S. R. Hopper, eds., "The Book of Jeremiah," in George A. Battrick, gen. ed., The Interpreter's Bible (1956); and James P. Hyatt, Jeremiah: Prophet of Courage and Hope (1958). □

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Jeremiah (book of the Bible)

Jeremiah a book of the Bible, comprising a collection of prophetic oracles attributed to Jeremiah, a prophet who preached (c.628–586 BC) in Jerusalem under King Josiah and his successors. His message indicts his contemporaries for social injustice and religious apostasy. Jeremiah realistically opposed resistance to Babylon, and his insistence on speaking unpalatable truths brought him to prison and the stocks. When Jerusalem fell to Babylon (586 BC), Jeremiah was allowed to stay with the Jews who remained, who subsequently took him to Egypt. The oracles of the book were preserved by the prophet's secretary, Baruch. They are not in strict chronological order, and there are important differences in the Hebrew and Greek texts. In the Septuagint, chapter 25 is followed by chapters 46–51 of the Hebrew order with some rearrangement and omission of individual oracles. The New Revised Standard Version text follows the ordering of the material found in the Hebrew text. The Dead Sea Scrolls contain Hebrew fragments of Jeremiah that bear witness to both traditions. One analysis of the book would be as follows: introduction; oracles against Judah and Jerusalem denouncing social injustice, immorality, and breaking covenant with God with warnings of imminent destruction of the city—Jehoiakim's reign (609–598) is probably the setting for most of these oracles; oracles dating from the reign of Zedekiah; Babylon as God's agent in the coming destruction; Baruch's memoirs, including Jeremiah's letter to the first group of exiles; the prophecy of a new covenant replacing the one now irreparably broken; oracles against the nations; historical appendix. A series of laments, sometimes known as the confessions of Jeremiah, are interspersed throughout the book. These reveal something of the personal cost to the prophet of his ministry of confrontation. See also Lamentations.

See studies by R. P. Carroll (1986) and R. E. Clements (1988); see also bibliography under Old Testament.

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Jeremiah

Jeremiah (c.650–c.585 bc), a Hebrew major prophet who foresaw the fall of Assyria, the conquest of his country by Egypt and Babylon, and the destruction of Jerusalem. The biblical Lamentations are traditionally ascribed to him.

In extended usage, a Jeremiah is a person who complains continually or foretells disaster. A jeremiad is a long, mournful complaint or lamentation, a list of woes, as uttered by the prophet.

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"Jeremiah." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Jeremiah

Jeremiah (active c.626–c.586 bc) Old Testament prophet who gave his name to the Old Testament Book of Jeremiah. He preached that the sinful behaviour of his countrymen would be punished by God. When Babylon invaded Judah (587 bc), Jeremiah saw this as divine retribution.

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Jeremiah (persons in the Bible)

Jeremiah (jĕrĬmī´ə), in the Bible. 1 Prophet of the book of Jeremiah. 2 Father-in-law of Josiah. 3 Rechabite contemporary with Jeremiah the prophet. 4,5,6 Three who joined David at Ziklag.

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Jeremiah

Jeremiah. Sym. No.1 by Leonard Bernstein for orch. with mez. soloist in last movement to words from Book of Jeremiah. F.p. Pittsburgh, Jan. 1944, cond. Bernstein, with Jennie Tourel.

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Jeremiah

Jeremiah. Second of the major Hebrew prophets, after whom is named the prophetic book. Traditionally the Book of Lamentations is also ascribed to Jeremiah.

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Jeremiah

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