Topic Five: Prophet Jeremiah


Israel had not taken heed to Amos’ prophecies. This was especially on idolatry. So, God sent another prophet to continue with the same work. Jeremiah was therefore appointed as a prophet.

Jeremiah is one of the Old Testament Major Prophets. He was called to a prophet at around 627 B.C. He was called as a young man, probably 20 years old. He prophesied in the southern kingdom- Judah, for a period of 40 years. His prophetic ministry took place before and during the exile of Judah.


1. The Kingdom of Judah

Social background

The people of Judah were divided into three social classes. At the top were the (i) Aristocrats. These were the ruling class, which consisted of the king, his family, royal officials, princesses, priests, and professional prophets. This class of the rich oppressed the poor.

Below them was the class (ii) of technical professional such as stonecutters, carpenters, builders, masons, blacksmiths, masons, and others craftsmen (2 Kings 12:12). Below them was class (iii) made up of poor people such as slaves, widows, orphans, and foreigners. All these poor people were mistreated.

In terms of ethics, there was moral degradation. They committed adultery, prostitution, murder, false witness, and corruption.

Religions background.

The Kings and people of Judah worshipped idols. They practiced human sacrifice, divination and magic, and listened to false prophecies. They abandoned their covenant with God and their way of life and practiced syncretism, which is worshipping God and other false gods like Baal.

King Josiah tried to restore true worship by carrying out several reforms. Prophetess Huldah prophesied that Judah would be punished after Josiah’s death since he humbled before Yahweh.

Political Background.

Prophet Jeremiah lived in the 7th century BC and prophesied when Judah was ruled by King Josiah, and later his sons Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah; and king Jehoiachin. Judah was conquered and ruled by Assyrians who were conquered by Egyptians who ruled Judah up to 605 BC. Egyptians; were conquered by Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar. This was according to the prophecies of Jeremiah.

2. The Call of Jeremiah. Read Jer 1: 19.

Jeremiah’s father was a priest called Hilkiah. He was born in the territory of Benjamin; at a place called Anathoth, He was well educated.

Jeremiah was called to be a prophet in 627 B.C during the reign of King Josiah. He received his call in form of a dialogue with Yahweh. God told him that he had appointed him to be his messenger; even before he was formed in his mother’s womb; God had selected him to be a prophet. Jeremiah said he was too young and did not know how to speak. Jeremiah was forewarned of the hostility he would encounter in his prophetic career. God told him that He would protect him and not to fear.

God touched Jeremiah’s mouth. This symbolized that God is the one who shall put words in his mouth.

Jeremiah responded to God’s call in faith and obedience. He was given a message that God was going to bring judgment upon the Kingdom of Judah. God promised to make him a fortified city, an iron pillar and bronze wall for protection. He was commanded by God not to marry, neither have children and not to attend social gatherings, weddings, and funerals. His mission made him isolated and lonely.

As a result, his own family and relatives rejected him and plotted to kill him. But he had few friends like Ebed- melech, Ahikam who helped him to get out of a pit.

Jeremiah was persecuted by; the kings of Judah. Priests including priest Pashhur opposed him, and false prophets like Hannaniah. He prophesied that God shall punish wicked Kings, priests, and ordinary people. He suffered spiritually and emotionally.

At the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C, the army officers of Nebuchadnezzar released him from prison. He went to Egypt where he died at an old age and as a faithful servant of God. His life was symbolic to the people of Judah. During his call, Jeremiah saw two visions.

Vision one was the vision of a “branch of an almond tree”.

The tree seemed dead, bare, yet life was in it. This vision was telling Judah that although God seemed to be ‘sleeping’, He was watching over them if they obey Him.

Vision two was “a pot boiling in the north, and it is about to tip over this way” (1:13). The boiling pot tilted away from the north signified that the destroyers of Judah would come from the north. The pot was ready to boil over and spill its contents. This meant that Judah was soon going to have trouble.

Babylon would pour horrifying disasters on Judah.

3. Lessons from the call of Jeremiah

God has a purpose for each person and He can call anybody to do His work. He calls the unborn, the young, old, rich, and poor. God prepares people for His work, through specific experiences at family level, in school, and church.

A person who is called to serve God should be ready to meet opposition. God protects His servants and promises to be with them. Jeremiah felt inadequate to speak. Christians should not let their human weakness hinder them from performing their tasks. Christians should respond to God’s call in obedience.


Read Jeremiah 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 23, and 28.

There were many evils in Judah and Israel. We have mentioned some of them. These were: necromancy, dishonesty, deception, false prophecy, human sacrifice, and idolatry

1) Necromancy.

Words related to necromancy are divinations, magic, sorcery, and playing tricks on people’s minds. Necromancy is the art of seeking hidden knowledge from the mysterious world of spirits: using magic, and divination, which is invoking the dead. Divination was condemned in the Hebrew language. Diviners, magicians, sooth Sayers and fortunetellers used necromancy. Prophet Jeremiah condemned necromancy.

Reasons why Jeremiah condemned necromancy

Necromancy was a deception and therefore an evil practice. The diviners gave false information from their own imagination. This practice polluted the true worship of Yahweh and indicated Israelites lack of faith in the one true God. Two, by trusting in divination, and magic, the Israelites showed their lack of knowledge of the one true God. Three, by consulting the mediums, the Israelites disobeyed God (Jer 27:8-10).

2) Deception and Dishonesty

Dishonesty is lack of moral integrity or moral uprightness. Deception is cheating, and telling lies intentionally. It is also giving false and misleading information.

The Israelites were dishonest because they worshiped God and at the same time committed social injustices against their brothers and sisters. Their repentance was insincere. There was treachery, and greed. They laid traps for each other. People pretended to be friendly and at the same time conspired to kill. Jeremiah challenged the Israelites people to ‘circumcise their hearts which were deceitful. Their tongues were ‘deadly arrows’ and they listened to false prophesies like that of Hannaniah.

Jeremiah condemned deception. This was because it led to syncretism, and hypocrisy in worship; and breaking down of the covenant way of life. Jeremiah warned the Israelites and asked them to repent

3) False prophesy by Hannaniah. Jer 28

During the reign of King Zedekiah, Hannaniah broke the yoke that Jeremiah was wearing. Hannaniah spoke in the name of Yahweh. He lied to the people as he spoke from his imagination and dreams.

Jeremiah denounced Hannaniah. He predicted and prophesied the death of Hannaniah in the same year.

And it came to pass. Jeremiah had also prophesied that the captivity of Judah should be long contrary to Hannaniah who said Judah will be exiled for 2 years.

Reasons for condemning false prophets

Prophets of Baal were still in existence. False prophets like Hannaniah had filled the people of Israel with unrealistic hopes of peace yet Judah was to be destroyed. Recall the characteristics of true and false prophets. False prophets did not condemn sin. They prophesied for money and in the process misled people away from Yahweh. False prophets prophesied from their dreams, imaginations and not from God. They gave people false hopes. They intended to make themselves popular, with the King and the people.

4) Human sacrifice.

The people offered human sacrifice to idols and oppressed each other. Human sacrifice is the act of killing human beings for a religious or spiritual purpose. The Israelites copied this activity from the Canaanites. Children were believed to be the best sacrifice since people believed they would get great favors from the deities. Some kings such as Ahaz and Manasseh sacrificed their sons to idols. Jeremiah condemned human sacrifice.

Reasons for condemning human sacrifice

Human sacrifice was an act of idolatry. It indicated infidelity of the Israelites to the one true God. It demonstrated Israel’s disrespect for the sacred gift of life. It showed their lack of knowledge of the true nature of Yahweh. Human sacrifice defiled the land for life is in the blood. Blood speaks hence the land was crying at this vengeance. God did not ask for human sacrifices. Human sacrifice was a sign of lack of love of God and love for one another. It is a demonstration of disregard for human life. Only God has the right to take away life. In our country people kill each other every day especially on the road. Why do we do this?

5) Idolatry

Idolatry is the worship of many gods. Idols are images made by people for worship. The Israelites practiced syncretism, which we said was the worship of Yahweh and idols. The people of Israel were worshipping Baal the Queen of heaven, sun, moon, stars, and also Yahweh (Jer 8:2).

Idols were placed even in Yahweh’s sacred places. The temple was defiled by idols. This temple is unclean. Jeremiah condemned it. He told the people of Israel that “{they have forsaken the fountain of living waters (GOD) and hewn out for themselves broken cisterns (IDOLs) that can hold no water” (Jer 2: 11-13).

Why did Jeremiah condemn idolatry? Read Jer 2: 20, 2:1- 3, 5: 7- 8.

Idolatry is like adultery and prostitution. It defiled people and was a sign of lack of faith in Yahweh. It defiled the land. Idolatry led to divine judgment and punishment.

People of Judah abandoned Yahweh the ‘Husband’ and chased “lovers” the idols and deities The Israelites (Northern kingdom) had been punished before and yet Judah did not learn from them. By worshipping idols Judah broke the covenant and their relationship with God. And unless the people of Judah repented, they would be punished; as there is only one true living God to be worshipped and obeyed. Is there idolatry among Christians today’s

5) Other evils condemned by Jeremiah

People of Judah trusted that the temple was secure, holy and cannot be destroyed. Jeremiah denounced this false belief about the temple. He warned them that God would destroy the temple because of the many evils committed in it. The temple of God had become a ‘den of robbers’ and human sacrifices.

People of Judah committed other evils such as hypocrisy (Jer 7; 9-10); social injustice (adultery, murder), stubbornness, and rebellion.

The temple

Temple is a place of worship. The temple of Israelites was in Jerusalem. It signified the presence of God among his people. The Israelites believed God could never destroy or allow destruction of the temple.

Jeremiah stood at the gates of the temple court during Jehuiakim’s reign, and Judah that God would destroy the temple and send them to exile. He urged them to repent and turn back to God. King Josiah heard the message of Jeremiah and he reformed religious practices in Judah.

Religions reforms carried out by King Josiah

This topic is not clearly spelt out in the syllabus. It is based on the book of Deuteronomy. The scroll was discovered in the temple during repairs.

Josiah ordered the repair of the temple of God. He led a national ceremony to review the covenant. He destroyed idols and altars associated with the worship of foreign deities throughout Judah. He eliminated all the priests associated with the worship of false deities. He celebrated Passover in

Jerusalem. The successors of King Josiah did not follow his example. They became corrupt. They persecuted the prophets of God. They listened to false prophets. They promoted idolatry and child sacrifice.

The Relevance of Jeremiah’s teachings to Christians today.

Christians should denounce hypocrisy in the society today. They should not result to witchcraft, divination and sorcery. They should be upright, and worship God in sincerity. They are to proclaim divine judgment upon those who refuse to obey God’s will, just like Jeremiah declared God’s judgment upon Judah due to the sins of the people.

Like Jeremiah, Christians should speak out against modern idols like love of money, power, and obsession with sports, sex, and drugs among other evils. Christians should condemn destruction of human life, violence; murder, abortion, parents killing their own children, genocide and exploitation of the poor.

Christians should be aware of the existence of false teachings and prophecies. They should pray for God’s guidance and wisdom to be able to distinguish truth from false teaching. Christians have a responsibility to correct one another and call on sinners to repent.

Christians are to be trustworthy, upright, and merciful to the poor and condemn dishonesty. They should practice justice in their relationship with others; preach against disobedience, stubbornness and pray to God to help them overcome these vices.

Q: Read these review questions and answer before reading answers>

  1. Why was Jeremiah reluctant to accept the call?
  2. Which evils / sins did Jeremiah Condemn?
  3. Give examples of idol worship in Kenya.
  4. Describe Jeremiahs temple sermon


  1. Jeremiah felt inadequate because he was too young to work for God. He argued that he did not know how to speak. He was afraid. He knew he would face stiff opposition from the people of Judah. The message of God’s judgments is difficult to deliver.
  2. Read text again and look for evils and sins that Jeremiah condemned.
  3. Examples of idol worship in Kenya are many. Some people including Christians practice witchcraft, sorcery, personality cults and hero worship of religions and political leaders. Other people, worship money, materialism, media, and sports obsession with power / status Sexual immorality – devil worship
  4. Jeremiahs temple sermon. Read text again.


Read Jeremiah 5:12-18, 6;1-30, 7:30, 8:1-17, 10: 17-25, 15;1-9, 17:1-13, 25: 1-38

1) Jeremiah teachings

Sin was internalized in the hearts of the people of Judah. God punished them. God punishes people because of their unfaithfulness. Punishment is a penalty, for an offence or a crime committed.

But in punishing people, God is a just judge. He does not punish people without a reason irrespective of their status.

God judges people by looking into their hearts. Divine judgment is for a group. For example, the people of Judah were punished as a group. However God searches each person’s heart and judges accordingly.

God executes His judgment by means of political and historical events. Divine punishments are in forms of natural disasters like drought, famine, and epidemics. God’s punishment is unavoidable, and inescapable. Judah took the best option by surrendering to the Babylonians.

The purpose for God’s judgment is to correct the sinner. God gave his people a chance to repent before he punished them. God’s judgment is universal. It is not limited to one nation. God punished the neighbors of Judah who at that time were Egypt, Moab, Ammon, and Babylon. God’s punishment is severe compared to that of venomous snakes that bite the people of Judah. God’s judgment is not necessarily a punishment from God for one’s sins. It is symbolic. The sufferings of Jeremiah were symbolic of the life of the people of Judah.

What can we learn about God’s punishments? Are modern disasters such as cyclones, floods, earthquakes, landslides, epidemics, bomb blasts, civil wars, forest fires, rebellions in schools a sign of God’s judgment and punishment? What do you think?

2) Symbolic acts related to judgment and punishment

People use several methods to convey messages to each other. We use songs, advertisements, dramas, and stories by the fireside, in novels, the Internet, and magazines to communicate messages about children, adults, society, political leaders, poverty and many others. The prophets used: (1). Oracles;

‘Thus says the Lord’; (2) Allegories (3) Parables (4) Songs (5) Symbolic Visions (6) Symbolic actions and (7) dramatized messages

Symbolic acts of Jeremiah

  1. The linen waist cloth (Jer.13)
  2. Jeremiah’s personal life (Jer.16)
  3. Jeremiah’s visit to a potter (Jer.18)
  4. The broken earthen flask (Jer.19)
  5. The symbolic vision of 2 baskets of figs (Jer.24)
  6. The wearing of the yoke

3) The Linen Waist Cloth. Read Jer.13

Jeremiah was instructed by God to buy a linen waistcloth and wear it around his waist without dipping it in water. He was told to hide the cloth in a hole near river Euphrates. Afterwards he was told to take the cloth. He found it spoilt for wearing.

  • Significance. The liner material was for priestly garments in Israel. It symbolized Israel’s holiness. The unwashed cloth represented Judah’s sinful pride. Israel used to cling close to God but now Israel / Judah were spoilt, rebellious, and arrogant and pursued foreign gods. God was going to destroy them if they did not repent. The spoilt linen waistcloth was a symbol for future God’s action.

4) Jeremiah’s personal Life. Read Jer 16.

His life was a symbolic act. He was told not to marry, have children, and not attend funerals, social gatherings, feasts and wedding parties.

  • Significance. The personal life of Jeremiah was one of suffering. This signified the suffering that the people of Judah would be subjected to. Judah was punished because of their wickedness and rebellion.

Jeremiah’s loneliness signified the perishing of families through the sword, famine and disease. It would be a time of terror for the families of Judah. Their normal social life of feasting, merry making would come to an end. There would be no weddings and no one to bury the dead. Hence Jeremiah was forbidden from mourning for the dead.

5) Jeremiah’s at the potter’s house (Jer.18)

Jeremiah was told to go to a potter’s house. He found the potter making a clay vessel. “Whenever a piece of pottery turned out imperfect, he would take the clay and make it into something else (18: 4).

The potter made a better pot, more perfect vessel than the spoilt one.

  • Significance. God is the potter. People of Judah are the clay. As the potter destroyed to vessel, God intended to destroy Judah because of their wickedness and mould those who repented into better people. God was going to shape them into faithful people. God’s judgment was to be a corrective punishment.

6) The broken clay Jar. Read Jer.19.

God told Jeremiah to buy a clay flask

He then took some elders and priests to the valley of Valley of Hinnon. He delivered a sermon condemning the people of Judah for their idolatry and other evils. Jeremiah then broke the clay jar in their presence and announced to them that Yahweh would destroy Jerusalem and Judah as Jeremiah had destroyed the jar.

  • Significance. The kings, priests and prophets of Judah would be shattered like the clay flask because of their sins. Sine, they brutally sacrificed their children; they are to suffer horrifying experiences at the hand of their enemies. They shall suffer starvation and turn into cannibals; eating their own children and neighbors (v.9).

Broken pieces of a clay pot cannot be molded. No one was to escape judgment. However there is hope after punishment.

7) Two Baskets of Figs (Jer.24).

Jeremiah received the visions, after the deportation and exile of leading citizens of Judah and Israel to Babylon. Two baskets of figs were placed in front of the temple. One basket had very good figs, which had ripened. The other basket had bad figs unfit for human consumption.

  • Significance. The basket of good figs signified the first exile. God would renew their hearts; use them to fulfill his promises to the Israelites. He would recreate them to a new people. The basket of the bad figs represented people living in Jerusalem and Egypt. Since they were not exiled they had a self-righteous attitude. They thought that God spared them because they were truthful but it was not so. They shall also be destroyed through famine, and diseases. This vision signifies hope and restoration of the Israelites.

8) Jeremiah Wears an Ox Yoke. Read Jer. 27.

When Zedekiah son of Josiah became the ruler of Judah,

Jeremiah was instructed by God “to make” for himself “a yoke out of leather straps and wooden crossbars” and to wear it around his neck (27: 2). Jeremiah moved around in the yoke for quite some time in public.

He was also given a message for ambassadors of kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon, who were coming to see King Zedekiah in Jerusalem. They were to give God’s message to their kings. The message was to “submit to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia; his son, and his grandson. Any nation that accepted this message shall not suffer; but if any nation.Will not submit to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia rule, God will punish that nation by war, starvation and disease” Read Jer 27:6-8. The message for king Zedekiah was to surrender to the Babylonian rule and live, if he resists he would perish.

The message for priests and people of Judah was not to be misled by the false prophets. The temple would be destroyed. Its treasures looted by the Babylonians.

  • Significance. The yoke represented the Babylonians rule. Nebuchadnezzar was used by God to bring judgment to all nations. Yahweh is a universal God and his judgment is universal. Sinners are punished regardless of their origin or nation. Those who repent are spared.

Reflection questions

Q: Why did God inspire Jeremiah to use symbolic acts to convey his message?


Israelites were stubborn. Jeremiah acts were reminders to Judah to turn to God and stop idolatry and all the sins they were committing. They had drifted too far from God. False prophets were prophesying lies to them. The people of Judah were expected to meditate on these acts and understand God’s will for them and see the seriousness of the matter. This was also to imprint a lasting impression in their minds.

  1. Which methods do pastors / priests use to communicate God’s message to Christians today?
  2. The sufferings and lamentations of Jeremiah

Read Jer 11, 12, 17:14 – 18, 18:18- 23, 20: 1 – 6, 27, 37, and 38.

Jeremiah sufferings were experiences that were painful; physically and emotionally. In suffering there is loss and grief. Lamentations are strong emotional expressions of pain and grief.

Jeremiah suffered in the following ways

  1. Rejection by his own family and relatives. They plotted to kill him. This grieved Jeremiah.
  2. Anathoth planned to kill him but God protected Jeremiah. He pronounced God’s judgment upon them
  3. Jeremiah suffered when he was accused falsely. He was accused of blasphemy after the temple sermon. He foretold the destruction of the temple, just like Jesus Christ in the New Testament did.
  4. He was accused of treachery. That he was planning to leave Jerusalem and join the Babylonians. This led to Jeremiah being arrested and put in an underground jail.
  5. Jeremiah received death threats because of speaking for God. King Jehoiakim plotted to kill prophet Uriah. The prophet escaped to Egypt but he was followed to Egypt, arrested and killed by king Jehoiakim. The king had planned to accuse Jeremiah of Uriah death. Ahikam and other elders defended Jeremiah. (Jeremiah 26)
  6. Jeremiah suffered loneliness and solitude. He felt emotional anguish and complained to God of his orders not to marry; neither attend social gathering and celebrations. This made Jeremiah lonely since he did not participate in the family life, political life, community activities and religious life.
  7. Jeremiah experienced inner personal struggle due to his love for his own people He did not want to see them suffer but the people were stubborn Read Jer. 12:1 – 6, 15:10 – 21, and 27.
  8. Jeremiah’s prophesying judgment caused him emotional pain and agony. His messages were mainly of severe judgment and punishment.
  9. He went through a spiritual struggle in his relationship with God. He felt frustrations, doubts, self-pity and despair. He wondered why God made him suffer. Why do the wicked prosper? He also wondered why God was taking too long to fulfill his prophecies. God assured him that Judah would be punished and promised to give Jeremiah victory against his enemies.
  10. Jeremiah suffered physical assault, imprisonment and an attempt on his life. Pashhur, the chief temple priest ordered beating and chaining of Jeremiah to the temple gate. Jeremiah prophesied that Pashshur’s name would change to ‘terror everywhere’.
  11. King Zedekiah released Jeremiah from the cell to his court. Jeremiah continued to prophecy and was thrown in a muddy cistern. Here he was rescued by Ebed- melech an Ethiopian Eunuch. The court officials had accused him of not being patriotic. Jeremiah remained in jail until the Babylonians overthrew Jerusalem. He did not change his prophecies. Read Jer. 10:1 – 6, 27, 37, and 38.

Is there relevance of the sufferings and lamentations of Jeremiah to Christians today? From his suffering

Christians learn to be ready to face opposition and rejection from their own family members and relatives for the sake of the gospel. Christians should be prepared to suffer persecution for the Lord.

Christians should be ready to make sacrifices for the sake of God. Be ready to lead humble lives.

Jeremiah’s open confessions to God encourage Christians to be open to God. Christians should let God avenge for them just like Jeremiah prayed to God to revenge his enemies. Christians should not lose hope in times of difficulty. Christians learn that tribulations strengthen their faith. Christians should learn to deal with negative emotions such as self – pity, grief and trust God. Jeremiah was told by God to repent of his negative utterances. Christians should do the same as they are assured of divine security and protection against their persecutors.


A covenant is an agreement. Another word for covenant is testament. Jeremiah taught that there would be a new covenant between God and Israel. This new covenant would be different from the Old (Sinai) covenant. The new covenant would renew the broken relationship between God and his people.

  1. The New Covenant. In the new covenant, the law would be written in the hearts of the people unlike the old covenant where the law was written on stone tablets. Every individual would know God personally and not through prophets as it was during times of Jeremiah and previous one. Each person would be responsible for his/her sins. God would forgive sins and remember them no more. The new covenant would be established after God’s punishment of Israel and establishing a’ new Israel’, a ‘new people’ of God.

The new covenant would establish a new beginning. People would forget the first Exodus. The second Exodus would be deliverance and restoration from Babylon. God would initiate the new covenant as he did with the first. It would be a new covenant of peace, unity, prosperity, Joy and gladness. In the new covenant a ‘righteous branch’ would be established. The new covenant would be everlasting. It would not be broken again.

Differences between the old covenant and the new covenant

Old Covenant New Covenant

  1. Based on law Based on faith
  2. Word written on stone tablets Word written in people’s hearts
  3. God known personally by a few priests prophets and prophets. Each to person to know God personally
  4. Covenant broken when people sinned Everlasting covenant
  5. Sins punished collectively Sins punished individually
  6. 1st Exodus from Egypt 2nd Exodus from Babylon
  7. Sealed by animal sacrifice Sealed by Jesus sacrifice (blood)

What are the similarities between the old and the new covenant?

Jesus fulfilled the new covenant. Jesus is the ‘righteous branch’ from the lineage of David. In the last supper, before his death, Jesus said ‘this cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. Read Luke, 22:20. The death and resurrection of Jesus marks the new covenant. Jesus spoke of forgiveness of sins of humanity Jesus forgave people’s sins, for example, the sinful woman in Simon’s house (Luke7: 36 – 50). In the new covenant the law would be written in people’s hearts. Jesus summarized the Mosaic Law into ‘love God with all your heart, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Jesus established the kingdom of God as a new community of God’s people based on faith (the Christians).

Jesus fulfilled the new covenant prophecies The teachings of Jeremiah new covenant of hope and restoration is fulfilled in Jesus Christ and the new testament church (Christians) Heb.8:7 – 12.


Symbolic acts related to hope and restoration.

The symbolic acts were one hope and restore. Hope is to expect something that is desired; while to restore is to bring back as nearly as possible the former or original state or condition. The symbolic acts were 5 in number.

The first symbolic act was a vision of 2 baskets of figs. We have discussed it. Refer to the symbolic act related to judgment.

The second symbolic act was Jeremiah buying a field. God instructed Jeremiah to buy a field from his cousin Hanamel of Anathoth. Jeremiah bought the field for 17 cents of silver. He then handed the title deed and open copy to Baruch. Baruch was told to keep the title deed and the copy in an earthen vessel for preservation for a long time. Jeremiah prophesied the restoration of the exiles to their homeland.

The significance of this symbolic act is the assurance of restoration of Judah and Israel after suffering.

People will be restored to their homeland. After 70 years people of Judah would reconstruct their homes, cultivate their land, and own property (Jer 32; 1 -15).

-The third symbolic act was Jeremiah’ letter to the Jews in Babylonia. Jeremiah wrote to the people of Judah a letter of encouragement while in exile. They were to settle down, build houses, marry and have children, live in peace with the Babylonians. They were to pray for the welfare of their masters and to ignore false prophets who lied to them about the safety of Jerusalem and a quick return. God would restore them back to their land after 70 years of exile were over. The exiles were to trust in God and not give up (Jer.29).

The four symbolic acts was a wooden ox yoke. The yoke represented captivity and suffering of Jews in exile. It was also a sign of hope if the people of Judah were willing to submit to the Babylonian rule. God would restore them back to their land. Their yoke would be broken and they would be set free.

The fifth symbolic act was the visit to the porter’s house

The fall of Jerusalem and the exile of the Israelites (Jer.39)

Jeremiah’s prophecy came to pass. Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in the ninth year of King Zedekiah in 587BC. The Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and seized it. King Zedekiah fled but; he was captured by the Babylonians army. He witnessed the execution of his sons. His eyes were gauged out. He was then taken in chains to captivity in Babylon. Solomon’s temple was looted and destroyed. Villages,

Jerusalem and the palace were destroyed and burnt down. The priests, court officials, army officials, people in the upper class, craftsmen were executed. City people were taken to Babylon as captives. The poor, aged and a few people were left behind and given vineyards to farm.

Nebuchadnezzar’s army was brutal to the Israelites. Many were killed. A few like Ebed – Melech were spared as prophesied by Jeremiah (he had rescued him from the well). Nebuchadnezzar ordered the release of Jeremiah. He was treated well

Judah became a province of Babylon. Gedaliah was appointed governor of Judah. He stayed at Mizpah, the headquarters of Judah. Ishmael killed Gedaliah. Later Jeremiah was forced to go to Egypt by the Israelites. Jeremiah died in Egypt, an old man, and still faithful to his call.


Jeremiah was rejected by his relatives, friends and the Israelites. In the New Testament, Jesus was rejected in his hometown of Nazareth: and by the religious leaders of Israel. Jeremiah compared himself to a lamb being led to the slaughter. Jesus in the New Testament is referred to as a lamb led to the slaughter. Jeremiah’s suffering symbolizes divine judgment over Judah. However Jesus sufferings were to bring salvation to all mankind. Both Jeremiah and Jesus experienced spiritual agony. Jeremiah experience agony and felt left alone by God. Jesus too felt agony when praying in the garden of Gethsemane and when on the cross.

Jeremiah taught that God is universal and a just judge. The gospel of Jesus is universal and everybody is judged according to his or her faith in God. Jeremiah and Jesus accused the Israelites of turning the temple into a “den of robbers”. Jeremiah and Jesus were both accused of blasphemy. Both challenged false beliefs about the temple. Both Jeremiah and Jesus spoke of the coming judgment of God.

The new covenant was fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ Jeremiah spoke of hope and restoration. Jesus gives hope of eternal life in the New Testament.

Relationship of Jeremiah’s teaching to Christian today.

Christians are to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are empowered by the Holy Spirit to endure suffering and to grow spiritually. Christians like Jeremiah face false prophets who speak in Jesus name.

Christians are to be watchful and obey Yahweh

Like Jeremiah Christians should call people to repentance. The new covenant is fulfilled in Christian’s individual relationship with God. Christians are the new people, the new Israel as prophesied by Jeremiah. His teachings reveal that God is universal. Christians are from all corners of the earth.

Christians should prepare for divine judgment by practicing love, righteousness, self-denial, and faith in God.

Revision exercise

  1. List the evils that Jeremiah condemned
  2. What are some of the evils that church leaders condemn today?
  3. Explain the symbolism used during the call of prophet Jeremiah
  4. What did Jeremiah teach about the new covenant?
  5. Why did prophet Jeremiah condemn the way the Israelites worshipped?
  6. Explain Jeremiah’s temple sermon as recorded in jeremiah7: 1-15
  7. What forms of punishment did Jeremiah prophesy that God would use on Judah?
  8. Outline the content of Jeremiah’s letter to exiles in Babylon
  9. Explain four symbolic acts related to judgment and punishment as demonstrated by prophet Jeremiah
  10. Identify the relevance of Jeremiah’s teaching to Christians today
  11. In what ways is the prophetic mission of Jeremiah similar to that of Jesus?
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