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You will find an outline and introduction to Jeremiah here.

Here is a from the Book of Common Worship to use before reading.

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

An Outline of Jeremiah (based on Overholt)

I. 1:1-25:38 Confronting the People with Words and Deeds

II. 26:1-45:5 Narratives Concerning the Nation’s Fate: We now begin the second cycle (chapters 26-35) of oracles and stories. These take place from the reign of Jehoiakim (609 BCE) until the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BCE. This second cycle may come from Baruch’s memoirs.

A. 26:1-24 Jeremiah’s Temple Sermon: This chapter tells the story of what happened when Jeremiah delivered what is called the “Temple Sermon” (see 7:1-15). To prophecy against the royal sanctuary was something like treason. For the officials to sit in the entry of the New Gate meant that this was a formal judicial hearing. Jeremiah is exonerated for two reasons, one he must say what the Lord tells him to, and the precedent set by Hezekiah with respect to the prophet Micah. Uriah’s story illustrates the danger that Jeremiah was in. Ahikam the son of Shaphan had to rescue Jeremiah in spite of the judicial results. Shaphan was Josiah’s secretary.

B. 27:1-29:32 Prophecy and Politics: These chapters are about events that happened in the year 594 BCE. Chapter 27 and 29:1-23 are considered prose sermons and chapters 28 and 29:24-34 biographical prose. These chapters function as a single unit and the narrative moves chronologically and smoothly. Notice as we read, the concern for how long the Babylonian exile will last. These chapters give us a theological interpretation of political events. Jeremiah’s perspective reflects the Sinai covenant where national security and prosperity depend on obedience to God’s commands. Jeremiah’s opponents ( Hananiah is their spokesman) support the royal covenant in which the nation may be punished but will not be abandoned by God. Notice both the theological discussion and the political discussion. A choice needs to be made and each position has political implications and each is supported by a person claiming to be and acting as a prophet.

27:1-11 Jeremiah is instructed by God to make a yoke and to speak to foreign leaders. Babylon is doing God’s will.

27:12-22 Jeremiah delivers the same message to King Zedekiah of Judah and the priests and all the people. The pillars, the stand, the sea and the vessels were all items from the Temple which were taken to Babylon.

28:1-17 Jeremiah and Hananiah. Hananiah prophecies a two year exile. Jeremiah disagrees.

29:1-32 Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles. Jeconiah is Jehoiakim. Jeremiah’s letter (v 4-14 tells the exiles to build homes and pray for the welfare of Babylon. How do you think this advise was received? Also remember that there were tensions between the people in exile and those who stayed on the land.  In verse 25 Shemaiah writes a letter to the temple overseer, Zephaniah to get Jeremiah in line. Jeremiah sends another letter to the exiles about Shemaiah’s actions.

 

Here are several good sources to aid your reading.

Anderson, Bernhard W., Katheryn Pfister Darr, Understanding the Old Testament Abridged fourth Edition. (Upper Saddle River,New Jersey: Prentice Hall) 1998.

The New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol 7, Keck, Leander E. ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press) 2001.

Hutton, Rodney R. “Jeremiah” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version.Coogan, Michael D.; Brettler, Marc Z.; Perkins, Pheme; Newsom, Carol A. (2010-01-20) Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Gold, Victor R., William Holladay, “Jeremiah” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, Metzger,Bruce M.;Murphy,Roland E., eds. (New  York:Oxford University Press) 1994.

Overholt,Thomas W. “Jeremiah” in  HarperCollins Bible Commentary Mays, James L. ed.(San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco) 2000.

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