Book of Jeremiah

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Torah | Nevi'im | Ketuvim
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The Book of Jeremiah, or Jeremiah (יִרְמְיָהוּ Yirmiyahu in Hebrew), is a book that is part of the Hebrew Bible, Judaism's Tanakh, and later became a part of Christianity's Old Testament. It was originally written in a complex and poetic Hebrew (apart from verse 10:11, curiously written in Aramaic), recording the words and events surrounding the life of the Jewish prophet Jeremiah who lived at the time of the destruction of Solomon's Temple (587/6 BC) in Jerusalem during the fall of the Kingdom of Judah at the hands of Babylonia.


[edit] The Prophet Jeremiah

Main article: Jeremiah

The Prophet Jeremiah that the book describes was a priest from Anitot in the land of Benjamin, who lived in the last years of the Kingdom of Judah just prior to, during, and immediately after the siege of Jerusalem, culminating in the destruction of Solomon's Temple and the razing of the city by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. According to the book, for a quarter century prior to the destruction, Jeremiah issued prophecies repeatedly predicting its occurrence if the Jews did not repent and viewed the failure of his efforts, the destruction of everything he knew, the exile of the Jewish elite to Babylonia, and the fleeing of the remainder to Egypt.

The book of Jeremiah depicts a remarkably introspective prophet, a prophet struggling with and often overwhelmed by the role into which he has been thrust. Jeremiah alternates efforts to warn the people with pleas for mercy until he is ordered to "pray no more for this people" -- and then sneaks in a few extra pleas between the lines. He engages in extensive performance art, walking about in the streets with a yoke about his neck and engaging in other efforts to attract attention. He is taunted, put in jail, at one point thrown in a pit to die. He is often bitter about his experience, and expresses the anger and frustration he feels. He is not depicted as a man of iron. And yet he continues.

[edit] Contents

Some commentators have divided the book into twenty-three subsections, and perceived its contents as organized into in five sub-sections or "books". [citation needed]

  1. The introduction, ch. 1.
  2. Scorn for the sins of the Jews, consisting of seven sections, (1.) ch. 2; (2.) ch. 3-6; (3.) ch. 7-10; (4.) ch. 11-13; (5.) ch. 14-17:18; (6.) ch. 17:19-ch. 20; (7.) ch. 21-24.
  3. A general review of all nations, forseeing their destruction, in two sections, (1.) ch. 46-49; (2.) ch. 25; with an historical appendix of three sections, (1.) ch. 26; (2.) ch. 27; (3.) ch. 28, 29.
  4. Two sections picturing the hopes of better times, (1.) ch. 30, 31; (2.) ch. 32,33; to which is added an historical appendix in three sections, (1.) ch. 34:1-7; (2.) ch. 34:8-22; (3.) ch. 35.
  5. The conclusion, in two sections, (1.) ch. 36; (2.) ch. 45.

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

The principal Messianic prophecies are found in 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, phrases, and imagery. They cover the period of about 30 years. They are not in chronological order. Modern scholars do not believe they have reliable theories as to when, where, and how the text was edited into its present form.

[edit] Prophecies of Jeremiah

  • A proclamation of the certain fall of Jerusalem made, according to the superscription to Zedekiah and the people, during the siege of Jerusalem, i.e., about 588 B.C. (xxi. 1-10);
  • Prophecies against the kings of Judah in the time of Jehoiakim (608;xxi. 11-xxii. 19), completed by the passage xxii. 20-30, descriptive of the leading away of Jehoiachin into captivity (597);
  • Threats against the "unfaithful shepherds" (i.e., the prophets), the promise of peace and of the real shepherd (after 597), and warnings against false prophets and godless priests (perhaps in the time of Jehoiakim; xxiii. 1-8, 9-40);
  • Vision of the two baskets of figs, illustrating the fate of the captives and of those who were left behind, from the period after the first deportation by Nebuchadnezzar, in 597 (xxiv.);
  • Threats of punishments to be inflicted on Judah and the surrounding nations, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, i.e., the year of the Battle of Carchemish (605; xxv.);
  • The first of the historical passages recounting Jeremiah's prophecy in the Temple (comp. vii.), his arrest, his threatened death, and his rescue, in which connection the martyrdom of the prophet Uriah is briefly mentioned (xxvi.).
  • Protection for Israel following the period of destruction and exile
  • Utterances from the time of Zedekiah (see § II.), with an appendix, the last connected prophecy of any length, in ch. xxxv., treating of the fidelity of the Rechabites and of the unfaithfulness of Judah. This dates from a somewhat earlier period, that of Jehoiakim (because certainly before 597), and thus forms a transition to the first passages of the narrative sections.

[edit] Septuagint version

The Septuagint (Greek or 'LXX') version of this book is, in its arrangement and in other particulars, different from the Masoretic Hebrew. The Septuagint omits 10:6-8; 25:14; 27:19-22; 29:16-20; 33:14-26; 39:4-13; 52:2, 3, 15, 28-30, etc. In all, about 2,700 words found in the standard Hebrew version are omitted. Also, the 'Oracles against the Nations', that appear as chapters 46-51 in the Masoretic and most dependent versions, in the Septuagint are placed right after 25:13, and in a different order.

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, "a comparison of the Masoretic text with the Septuagint throws some light on the last phase in the history of the origin of the Book of Jeremiah, inasmuch as the translation into Greek was already under way before the work on the Hebrew book had come to an end... The two texts differ above all in that the Septuagint is much shorter... Even if the text of the Septuagint is proved to be the older, it does not necessarily follow that all these variations first arose after the Greek translation had been made, because two different editions of the same text might have been in process of development side by side..."

The Septuagint version of Jeremiah also includes the Book of Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah<ref>An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, Henry Barclay Swete, Cambridge University Press, 1914, Part II, Chapter III, Section 6, [1], "Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah were regarded by the Church as adjuncts of Jeremiah, much in the same way as Susanna and Bel were attached to Daniel. Baruch and the Epistle occur in lists which rigorously exclude the non-canonical books; they are cited as 'Jeremiah' (Iren. v. 35. I, Tert. scorp. 8, Clem. Alex. paed. i. 10, Cypr. testim. ii. 6); with Lamentations they form a kind of trilogy supplementary to the prophecy."</ref>. Jerome's Prologue to Jeremiah says he excluded them: "And the Book of Baruch, his scribe, which is neither read nor found among the Hebrews, we have omitted, standing ready, because of these things, for all the curses from the jealous, to whom it is necessary for me to respond through a separate short work. And I suffer because you think this. Otherwise, for the benefit of the wicked, it was more proper to set a limit for their rage by my silence, rather than any new things written to provoke daily the insanity of the envious." But the Canon of Trent included them as "Ieremias cum Baruch" (Jeremiah with Baruch), Baruch 6 being the Epistle of Jeremiah in the Vulgate.

[edit] Qumran version

The Book of Jeremiah has also been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in cave 4 in Qumran. One text is the Hebrew variant of the Septuagint version. This may shed some light on why the Septaugint version differs from the Masoretic version. It was previously thought that the difference was due to poor translation, but it is now thought by many that the Masoretic version has been reworked, or that there were two versions of this Book.

[edit] References


[edit] Online text, translations, and commentaries

[edit] External links

This entry incorporates text from the public domain Easton's Bible Dictionary, originally published in 1897. This article incorporates text from the 1901–1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, a publication now in the public domain.cs:Kniha Jeremjáš de:Buch Jeremia es:Libro de Jeremías fr:Livre de Jérémie ko:예레미야 (구약성서) id:Yeremia it:Libro di Geremia he:ירמיהו jv:Yeremia nl:Jeremia ja:エレミヤ書 no:Jeremias bok nn:Jeremias bok pl:Księga Jeremiasza pt:Livro de Jeremias ru:Иеремия (пророк) sk:Jeremiáš fi:Jeremian kirja sv:Jeremia yi:ירמיהו zh:耶利米書

Book of Jeremiah

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