Literature / Book of Jeremiah

"Before you were formed I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart"

This page focuses on the second two books after Isaiah in the five books of the Major Prophets - Jeremiah and Lamentations:

Jeremiah - God appoints Jeremiah to warn the people of the fall of Jerusalem if they don't turn away from sin. Unfortunately, things went downhill after their disbelief.

Lamentations - Jeremiah writes a song of mourning and sorrow over the destruction of Jerusalem.

Baruch - A Deutercanonical Spin-Off attributed to Jeremiah's secretary.

Epistle of Jeremiah - A Deuterocanonical letter that addresses the issue of idolatry, sometimes included as the sixth chapter of Baruch.


  • Anachronic Order: While the story begins with Jeremiah being called a prophet in the days of King Josiah and ends with the Babylonian exile and the surviving Judeans fleeing to Egypt, the middle chapters alternate between the reigns of King Jehoiakim (Jeconiah's father) and King Zedekiah and also between various states of Jeremiah's freedom during the reign of Zedekiah.
  • The Cassandra: Jeremiah. Unfortunately, things went downhill as God destroys Jerusalem.
  • Cassandra Truth: Gedaliah, the appointed governor of Judah after the final Babylonian invasion, is warned that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah was going to kill him, but he keeps ignoring it, calling it a baseless claim. Unfortunately, he found out the truth much too late to do anything.
  • Celibate Hero: God asked Jeremiah not to marry nor have children.
  • The Chosen One: Jeremiah was chosen by God who already knew him before the day he was born.
  • Curse:
    • King Jeconiah (called Coniah to disassociate him from being blessed of God) was written off by God as "childless" in Jeremiah 22:30, that "no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah." In the Christian interpretation, this curse would eventually carry itself into the time of Jesus' birth, when Joseph, a descendant of Jeconiah, would only become the foster father of Jesus while Mary, descended from another family line of David, would be from whom the Messiah would be born.
    • Hananiah, a false prophet from Jeremiah chapter 28, was cursed to die within the year that he prophesied that the Lord would return the vessels that were taken from the Temple by the Babylonians along with the king.
  • Den of Iniquity: What God sees His Temple being turned into by His own people, as voiced by Jeremiah:
    Shall you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, “We are delivered,” so that you may do all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Certainly, even I have seen it, says the Lord. (Jeremiah 7:9-11)
  • Despair Speech: Jeremiah in one of his complaints to God vocalizes his wish that he was never born, as recorded in Jeremiah 20:14-18.
    Cursed be the day in which I was born.
    Let not the day be blessed in which my mother bore me.
    Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father,
    saying, “A baby boy has been born to you!”
    and made him very glad.
    Let that man be as the cities
    which the Lord overthrew and did not relent,
    and let him hear the cry in the morning
    and the shout of alarm at noon,
    because he did not kill me from the womb,
    so that my mother might have been my grave,
    and her womb be always pregnant.
    Why did I come forth from the womb
    to see trouble and sorrow,
    so that my days are spent in shame?
  • Dishonored Dead: Jeremiah 22:18-19 speaks about the fate of King Jehoiakim:
    They will not lament for him, saying,
    “Ah, my brother!” or, “Ah, sister!”
    They will not lament for him, saying,
    “Ah, lord!” or, “Ah, his glory!”
    He will be buried with the burial of a donkey,
    drawn and cast out
    beyond the gates of Jerusalem.
  • God of Evil: Many passages involve God promising to bring "evil" upon the nation as a form of judgment for their sins.
  • God of Good: As Jeremiah 31 puts it, God may be angry with His people's sins, but He doesn't take any pleasure in punishing them since He still loves them.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: God's likely reaction to His people Israel, as voiced in the last few verses in Lamentations:
    You, O Lord, remain forever;
    Your throne endures from generation to generation.
    Why do You forget us forever,
    and forsake us for so long a time?
    Restore us to Yourself, O Lord, that we may return!
    Renew our days as of old,
    unless You have utterly rejected us,
    and are very angry with us. (Lamentations 5:19-22)
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Jeremiah in "Lamentations".
  • The High Queen: A pagan deity known as "the Queen of Heaven" (no relation to the Catholic designation of the Virgin Mary being that, although opinions vary) is worshiped by the Jews at this point, which God Himself hates.
  • I Am A Humanitarian: Lamentations has accounts of women eating their children after the fall of Jerusalem.
  • Human Sacrifice: God through Jeremiah speaks to Judah against their practice of sacrificing their children to the fire to Molech in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, with God saying in Chapter 7 that He will no longer call it the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter, that there will be so many dead bodies that there will not be enough room to bury them.
  • Just a Kid: Jeremiah, at the time he was called to be a prophet, though it can alternately be interpreted as just Jeremiah thinking himself to be too young to be used by God. God thought otherwise, however.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Advised submission to the Babylonians. For this, he was considered The Quisling.
  • Mad Oracle: What Jeremiah was considered as being by the people of Judah during the days of his prophesying.
  • Meaningful Rename: In chapter 20, Pashhur the son of Immer the priest struck Jeremiah and put him in the stocks for what he was saying. Jeremiah responds by saying, "The Lord has not called your name Pashhur, but Magor-missabib." (Terror On Every Side) "For thus says the Lord: I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends. And they will fall by the sword of their enemies while your eyes will see it.
  • Mucking in the Mud: Jeremiah was put into the cistern of Malkijah son of Hammelech by request of the people, where there was nothing but mud, which Jeremiah sank into and would have drowned in if Ebed-Melek the Ethiopian had not spoken to the king about what was done to Jeremiah.
  • Nasty Party: Ishmael son of Nethaniah invited Gedaliah the governor to dinner and then had him slain by his servants.
  • Out, Damned Spot!: Versed as God's condemnation of Israel's behavior, in Jeremiah 2:22:
    "For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, Yet your iniquity is marked before Me."
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: God implies this in Jeremiah 49:12 (New Living Translation):
    "And this is what the LORD says: 'If the innocent must suffer, how much more must you! You will not go unpunished! You must drink this cup of judgment!'"
  • Punished for Sympathy: As found in Jeremiah 48:10, God will not take kindly if the Chaldeans don't carry out His vengeance on the land of Moab. ("...cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.")
  • Riches to Rags: In Lamentations 4:5:
    Those who once ate delicacies are desolate in the streets; those who were brought up in scarlet embrace ash heaps.
  • The Siege: As also mentioned in the books of Kings, Jerusalem was held in siege by the Babylonians during the reign of King Zedekiah until there was a famine, resulting in its citizens resorting to cannibalism in order to stay alive, and then eventually the city was sacked, its king was captured, and its citizens were taken into exile. Jeremiah was released by the Babylonians from his imprisonment at the time the city was sacked so he could go wherever he wanted.
  • Sinister Minister: God condemns the priests and false prophets in Jeremiah 5:30-31.
    An appalling and horrible thing has been committed in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own authority; and My people love to have it so. Yet what will you do in the end?
  • Unaccustomed as I Am to Public Speaking...: Jeremiah, at first.
  • Was Too Hard on Him: Some scriptures such as Jeremiah 8:21 shows us that God does not take any pleasure in punishing sinners:
    "For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me."
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Jeremiah fled to Egypt and probably died there. He also tells the Judeans that fled to Egypt to escape the Babylonians that a good deal of them will never return to the land of Israel, in part because of their Queen of Heaven idolatry which they continued doing in Egypt.