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Jeremiah, The Book of

RELATED: Babylon, Idolatry, Jeremiah, Jerusalem, Kingdom of Judah, Prophet(s)
AUTHOR: Jeremiah (the Prophet)
READ: American Standard Version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible
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Easton's Bible Dictionary

Consists of twenty-three separate and independent sections, arranged in five books.

I. The introduction,

II. Reproofs of the sins of the Jews, consisting of seven sections,

chapter 2;
chapter 3 - 6;
chapter 7 - 10;
chapter 11 - 13;
chapter 14 - 17:18;
chapter 17:19 - 20;
chapter 21 - 24.

III. A general review of all nations, in two sections,

chapter 46 - 49;
chapter 25; with an historical appendix of three sections,
chapter 26;
chapter 27;
chapter 28 , 29.

IV. Two sections picturing the hopes of better times,

chapter 30 , 31;
chapter 32 , 33; to which is added an historical appendix in three sections,
chapter 34:1 - 7 ;
chapter 34:8 - 22 ;
chapter 35.

V. The conclusion, in two sections,

chapter 36;
chapter 45.

In Egypt, after an interval, Jeremiah is supposed to have added three sections, viz., chapter. 37 - 39 ; 40 - 43; and 44.

The principal Messianic prophecies are found in Jeremiah 23:1 - 8 ; 31:31 - 40 ; and 33:14 - 26 .

Jeremiah's prophecies are noted for the frequent repetitions found in them of the same words and phrases and imagery. They cover the period of about 30 years. They are not recorded in the order of time. When and under what circumstances this book assumed its present form we know not.

The LXX. Version of this book is, in its arrangement and in other particulars, singularly at variance with the original. The LXX. omits Jeremiah 10:6 - 8 ; 27:19 - 22 ; 29:16 - 20 ; 33:14 - 26 ; 39:4 - 13 ; 52:2 , 52:3 , 52:15 , 52:28 - 30 , etc. About 2,700 words in all of the original are omitted. These omissions, etc., are capricious and arbitrary, and render the version unreliable.


Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names

(no entry)


Smith's Bible Dictionary

"There can be little doubt that the book of Jeremiah grew out of the roll which Baruch wrote down at the prophets mouth in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. ch. ( Jeremiah 36:2 ) Apparently the prophets kept written records of their predictions, and collected into larger volumes such of them as were intended for permanent use." --.

In the present order we have two great divisions:-- Looking more closely into each of these divisions, we have the following sections:

I. Chs. Jeremiah 1 - 45. Prophecies delivered at various times, directed mainly to Judah, or connected with Jeremiahs personal history.

Chs. 1 - 21, including prophecies from the thirteenth year of Josiah to the fourth of Jehoiakim; ch. 21; belongs to the later period.

Chs. 22 - 25. Shorter prophecies, delivered at different times, against the kings of Judah and the false prophets. Ch. ( Jeremiah 25:13 , Jeremiah 25:14 ) evidently marks the conclusion of a series of prophecies; and that which follows, ch. ( Jeremiah 25:15 - 38 ) the germ of the fuller predictions in chs. 46 - 49, has been placed here as a kind of completion to the prophecy of the seventy years and the subsequent fall of Babylon.

Chs. 26 - 28. The two great prophecies of the fall of Jerusalem, and the history connected with them.

Chs. 29 - 31. The message of comfort for the exiles in Babylon.

Chs. 32 - 44. The history of the last two years before the capture of Jerusalem, and of Jeremiahs work in them and in the period that followed.

II. Chs. 46 - 51. Prophecies connected with other nations.

Chs. 46 - 51. The prophecies against foreign nations, ending with the great prediction against Babylon.

The supplementary narrative of ch. 52.


International Standard Bible Encyclopedia



5. The Book of Jeremiah:

The first composition of the book is reported in Jeremiah 36:1. In the 4th year of Jehoiakim, at the command of Yahweh, he dictated all of the prophecies he had spoken down to this time to his pupil Baruch, who wrote them on a roll. After the destruction of this book-roll by the king, he would not be stopped from reproducing the contents again and making additions to it (Jeremiah 36:32). In this we have the origin of the present Book of Jeremiah. This book, however, not only received further additions, but has also been modified. While the discourses may originally have been arranged chronologically, and these reached only down to the 4th year of King Jehoiakim, we find in the book, as it is now, as early as Jeremiah 21:1 ; 23:1 ; 26:1, discourses from the times of Zedekiah. However, the 2nd edition (Jeremiah 36:28) contained, no doubt, Jeremiah 25, with those addresses directed against the heathen nations extant at that time. The lack of order, from a chronological point of view, in the present book, is attributable also to the fact that historical accounts or appendices concerning the career of Jeremiah were added to the book in later times, e.g. Jeremiah 26 ; 35 ; 36 and others; and in these additions are also found older discourses of the prophet. Beginning with Jeremiah 37, the story of the prophet during the siege of Jerusalem and after the destruction of the city is reported, and in connection with this are his words and discourses belonging to this period.

It is a question whether these pieces, which are more narrative in character, and which are the product of a contemporary, probably Baruch, at one time constituted a book by themselves, out of which they were later taken and incorporated in the book of the prophet, or whether they were inserted by Baruch. In favor of the first view, it may be urged that they are not always found at their proper places chronologically; e.g. Jeremiah 26 is a part of the temple discourse in Jeremiah 7 - 9. However, this "Book of Baruch," which is claimed by some critics to have existed as a separate book beside that of Jeremiah, would not furnish a connected biography, and does not seem to have been written for biographical purposes. It contains introductions to certain words and speeches of the prophet and statements of what the consequences of these had been. Thus it is more probable that Baruch, at a later time, made supplementary additions to the original book, which the prophet had dictated without any personal data. But in this work the prophet himself may have cooperated. At places, perhaps, the dictation of the prophet ends in a narrative of Baruch (Jeremiah 19:14 - 20:6), or vice versa. Baruch seems to have written a historical introduction, and then Jeremiah dictated the prophecy (Jeremiah 27:1 ; 18:1 ; 32:1 , and others). Of course, the portions of the book which came from the pen of Baruch are to be regarded as an authentic account.

6. Authenticity and Integrity of the Book:

However, critics have denied to Jeremiah and his pupil certain sections of the present book, and they claim that these belong to a later date. Among these is Jeremiah 10:1 - 16, containing a warning to those in the exile against idolatry (and related to Isaiah 40) which, it is claimed, could not possibly in this form and fullness be the work of Jeremiah. Also Jeremiah 17:19 - 27 is without reason denied to Jeremiah, upon the ground that he could not have thought of emphasizing the Sabbath law. He was, however, no modern idealist, but respected also the Divine ordinances (compare Jeremiah 11:1 - 8). Then Jeremiah 25 is rejected by some, while others attack especially Jeremiah 25:12 - 14 and 25:27 - 38; but in both cases without reason. On the other hand, we admit that Jeremiah 25:25 and also 25:13 f are later additions. The words, "all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations," are probably a superscription, which has found its way into the text. In Jeremiah 25:26 the words, "and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them," are likewise considered spurious. Sheshach is rightly regarded here, as in Jeremiah 51:41, as a cipher for "Babel," but the use of 'At-bash (a cipher in which the order of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet is reversed, taw (t) for 'aleph ('), shin (sh) for beth (b), etc., hence, SHeSHaKH = BaBHeL, see the commentaries) does not prove spuriousness. The sentence is not found in the Septuagint. The attacks made on Jeremiah 30 and 31 are of little moment. Jeremiah 33:14 - 26 is not found in the Septuagint, and its contents, too, belong to the passages in Jeremiah that are most vigorously attacked. Critics regard Jeremiah as too spiritual to have perpetuated the Levitical priesthood. In Jeremiah 39:1 , 2 , 4 - 10 are evidently additions that do not belong to this place. The remaining portion can stand. Among the discourses against the nations, Jeremiah 46 - 51, those in 46:1 - 12, spoken immediately preceding the battle of Carchemish, cannot be shown to be unauthentic; even Jeremiah 46:13 - 28 are also genuine. The fact, however, is that the text has suffered very much. Nor are there any satisfactory reasons against the prophecy in Jeremiah 47 - 49, if we assume that Jeremiah reasserted some of his utterances against the heathen nations that did not seem to have been entirely fulfilled. Jeremiah 50 and 51, the discourses against Babylon, have the distinct impress of Jeremiah. This impression is stronger than the doubts, which, however, are not without weight. The events in Jeremiah 51:59, which are not to be called into question, presuppose longer addresses of Jeremiah against Babylon. The possibility, however, remains that the editing of these utterances as found in the present book dates from the time after 586 BC. That any influence of Deutero-Isaiah or later authors can be traced in Jeremiah cannot be shown with any certainty. Jeremiah 52 was written neither by Jeremiah nor for his book, but is taken from the Books of Kings, and is found there almost verbatim (2 Kings 24 ; 25).

7. Relation to the Septuagint (Septuagint):

A special problem is furnished by the relation of the text of Jeremiah to the Alexandrian version of the Seventy (Septuagint). Not only does the Hebrew form of the book differ from the Greek materially, much more than this is the case in other books of the Old Testament, but the arrangement, too, is a different one. The oracle concerning the heathen nations (Jeremiah 46 - 51) is in the Septuagint found in the middle of Jeremiah 25, and that, too, in an altogether different order (namely, Jeremiah 49:35 , 46 ; 50 ; 51 ; 47:1 - 7 ; 49:7 - 22 ; 49:1 - 5 , 28 - 33 , 13 - 27 ; 48). In addition, the readings throughout the book in many cases are divergent, the text in the Septuagint being in general shorter and more compact. The Greek text has about 2,700 Hebrew words less than the authentic Hebrew text, and is thus about one-eighth shorter.

As far as the insertion of the addresses against the heathen nations in Jeremiah 29 is concerned, the Greek order is certainly not more original than is the Hebrew. It rather tears apart, awkwardly, what is united in Jeremiah 25, and has probably been caused by a misunderstanding. The words of Jeremiah 25:13 were regarded as a hint that here the discourses against the heathen were to follow. Then, too, the order of these discourses in the Greek text is less natural than the one in Hebrew. In regard to the readings of the text, it has been thought that the text of the Septuagint deserves the preference on account of its brevity, and that the Hebrew text had been increased by additions. However, in general, the Greek version is very free, and often is done without an understanding of the subject; and there are reasons to believe that the translator shortened the text, when he thought the style of Jeremiah too heavy. Then, too, where he met with repetitions, he probably would omit; or did so when he found trouble with the matter or the language. This does not deny that his translation in many places may be correct, and that additions may have been made to the Hebrew text.

Calvin, Praelectiones in Librum Prophetiae Jer et Thren, Geneva, 1653; Sebastian Schmidt, Commentarii in libr. prophet. Jeremiah, Argent, 1685. Modern commentary by Hitzig, Ewald, Graf, Nagelsbach, Keil; also Cheyne (Pulpit Comm.), Peake, Duhm, and von Orelli.



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