Jeremiah 1:1-3 An Introduction.
Jeremiah prophesied during the last reigns of Judah (Josiah 640-609, Jehoahaz 609, Jehoiakim 609-598, Jehoiachin 598-597, and Zedekiah 597-586), ending in the exile to Babylon (586), with two partial deportations in 605 and 597. Assyria, who had captured the northern kingdom in 722, had also been conquered by Babylon in 612. Jeremiah was a priest when he was called to be a prophet (v. 1). He received the word from the LORD, as all the LORD’s prophets (v. 2). “A lonely figure because of his unpopular message (15:17), he was divinely forbidden to marry as a sign of the imminent cessation of normal life (16:2). He also found himself opposed to the authorities in the land and to all classes of people (26:8). As a result, his life was in serious danger more than once (11:18-23; 18:18; 26:8; 36:19; 38:6). His message placed him in the thick of political events. Jeremiah’s call came in 626 B.C.” (NGSB p. 1144).
The reforms under Josiah started in 628 so that his ministry paralleled this time (Cf. II Kgs. 22-23). “Jeremiah testifies, however, to the reform’s failure to make significant impact on the people’s lives, as the religious abuses of Manasseh re-emerged under Josiah’s successors. Judgment is the dominant note in the book, and is understood as the invocation of the final curse of the covenant, namely, loss of the Promised Land (Lev. 26:31-33; Dt. 28:49-68)” (Ibid p. 1144). However, the LORD would save a remnant from among them (24:1-7), and Babylon, in its turn would also fall (25:9, 11-12), which was fulfilled in 539, “defeated by an alliance of Persians and Medes under Cyrus, paving the way for the exiles of Judah to return (50:3; 51:1; 27, 28; 2 Chr. 36:20-23). This promise of eventual deliverance was Jeremiah’s answer to the false prophets who had constantly challenged his message of judgment (28:1-4).