|Old Testament and Tanakh|
|Jewish, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox
|Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox|
|Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox|
|Russian and Oriental Orthodox
|Books of Nevi'im|
|1. Book of Joshua|
|2. Book of Judges|
|3. Books of Samuel|
|4. Books of Kings|
|5. Book of Isaiah|
|6. Book of Jeremiah|
|7. Book of Ezekiel|
|8. Minor prophets|
The Book of Jeremiah, or Jeremiah (יִרְמְיָהוּ Yirməyāhū in Hebrew), 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.
The Prophet Jeremiah
According to the book, the Prophet Jeremiah was a son of a priest from Anatot 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 raiding of the city by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. According to the book, for a quarter century prior to the destruction, Jeremiah repeatedly issued prophecies predicting God's forthcoming judgment; advocating the Jews put down their idols and repent in hopes of turning away God's judgment and fulfilling their destiny as his chosen people. Jeremiah's fellow Jews refused to heed his warnings and did not repent. His efforts failed and he witnessed 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 to God 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 and put into jail. At one point he is thrown into a pit to die. He is often bitter about his experience, and expresses the anger and frustration he feels.
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.
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.
The Septuagint (Greek or 'LXX') version of this book is, in its arrangement and in other particulars, different from the Masoretic Hebrew. The Septuagint does not include 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 Masoretic text are not found in the Septuagint. Also, the 'Oracles against the Nations', that appear as chapters 46-51 in the Masoretic and most dependent versions, in the Septuagint are located 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. 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 or Letter of Jeremiah in the Vulgate.
Parts of the Book of Jeremiah have also been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in cave 4 in Qumran. These texts, in Hebrew, correspond both to the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint Text. This discovery has shed much light on the differences between the two versions; while it was previously maintained that the Greek Septuagint (the version used by the earliest Christians) was only a poor translation, professor Emanual Tov, senior editor of the Dead Sea Scrolls' publication, wrote that the Masoretic edition either represents a substantial rewriting of the original Hebrew, or there had previously been two different versions of the text.
Online text, translations, and commentaries
- Original Hebrew text:
- Translations into English
- Jewish translations:
- Christian translations:
- An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, Henry Barclay Swete, Cambridge University Press, 1914, Part II, Chapter III, Section 6, , "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, Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus i. 10, Cypr. testim. ii. 6); with Lamentations they form a kind of trilogy supplementary to the prophecy."
- Tov, Emanuel: "The Septuagint and Literary Criticism", The Folio: Bulletin of the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center, 22(2):1-6
- (Jewish Encyclopedia) Book of Jeremiah article
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Jeremiah
- Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton's 1851 English translation of Septuagint Jeremiah
This entry incorporates text from the public domain Easton's Bible Dictionary, originally published in 1897.
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Book of Jeremiah. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|