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Sunday School

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THE LESSON BACKGROUND.


Jeremiah’s prophetic work began under the good king Josiah in about 626 B.C. It continued through Josiah’s evil successors Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah, and through the total destruction of Jerusalem under the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar (586 B.C.). Unlike most of the other prophetic books, which have a chronological arrangement, the material in Jeremiah seems to have no logical pattern. Prophecies delivered in the final years of Jeremiah’s ministry may appear at any point in the book, followed by messages that belong to other periods in his life. A case in point is that in chapters 21 and 22, Jeremiah gives messages concerning King Zedekiah, king Jehoahaz, king Jehoiakim and king Jehoiakin. But only one of these men Jehoiakim had served as king when the message in chapter 26 from which our lesson comes was given. Zedekiah was the last king of Judah before the Babylonian Captivity in 586 B.C., but a narrative is given about him in chapter 21. So it is very difficult to give the correct background or chronology of any portion of the book of Jeremiah. What we can say is that during all four decades that Jeremiah served as God’s prophet in Jerusalem, he experienced the same treatment over and over. He was constantly derided, and was a laughing stock to the citizens of Jerusalem. In fact, he narrowly escaped several plots against his life (see Jeremiah 11:21; 18:18; 20:1-5; 26:8; and chapters 38-39).

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