With the arrival of Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III upon the scene of history, a new stage in human defiance of God set in. It was a resurgence of the spirit of Babel. Men sought for a universal kingdom whose glory would be man. To explain the situation, the prophet Isaiah was raised up. He was to see his king, Ahaz, turn against the Lord and place his trust in a human ruler, an act which brought on, step by step, the final downfall of Judah. Israel would first be taken, and then Judah (after existing about one hundred and fifty years) was finally to fall to Babylon. With Ahaz’ act, the heart of the theocracy, we might say, had been taken away. In the book of Isaiah we find the explanation of those events which were taking place and how through them God would bring about his own exaltation.

The downfall of Judah finally occurred, and there was need for another prophet (Isaiah had long been dead) to warn the nation as to the proper course for it to follow. Such a man was Jeremiah. In the account of his prophetic call (Jer. 1:10), God states that he has appointed Jeremiah over the nations and over the kingdoms to root up, break down, destroy, exterminate, build, and plant. In a sense it may be regarded as an all-embracing commission. But it does not mean that the prophet was to engage in such activity in a physical sense; rather his proclamation would have these particular effects. Like Isaiah, he too was to interpret the dealings of God with the nations of his time.


The following may serve as a brief outline of Jeremiah’s message.

Chapter 1. The Prophet’s Call.
Chapters 2–20. Oracles concerning Judah, its sinfulness and the coming of judgment.
Chapters 21–23. Jeremiah’s boldness with respect to Zedekiah. ...
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