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Jeremiah or Yirmiyáhu (יִרְמְיָהוּ "Raised-up/Appointed of the LORD", Standard Hebrew Yirməyáhu, Tiberian Hebrew Yirməyāhû) was one of the "greater prophets" of the Old Testament, and the son of Hilkiah, a priest of Anathoth. His writings are collected in the Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Lamentations. Jeremiah is considered by modern scholars to have written or redacted much of the Old Testament as we have it today. His language in Jeremiah and Lamentations is quite similar to that in Deuteronomy and the "Deuteronomic history" of Joshua, Judges, the Books of Chronicles and the Books of Kings.
He was called to the prophetical office when still young, in the thirteenth year of Josiah (628 BC). He left his native place, and went to reside in Jerusalem, where he assisted Josiah in his work of reformation. He wrote a lamentation on the death of this pious king which has not survived.
During the three years of the reign of Jehoahaz we find no reference to Jeremiah, but in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the enmity of the people against the prophet was expressed with persecution, and he was apparently imprisoned.
He remained in Jerusalem, uttering from time to time his words of warning, but without effect. He was there when Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city (Jer. 37:4, 5), 589 BC. The rumour of the approach of the Egyptians to aid the Jews in this crisis induced the Babylonians to withdraw and return to their own land. However, this siege was raised only for a time. The prophet, in answer to his prayer, received a message from God stating that the Babylonians would come again and take the city, and burn it with fire (37:7, 8). The princes, in their anger at such a message by Jeremiah, cast him into prison (37:15-38:13). He was still in confinement when the city was taken (588 BC). The Babylonians released him, and showed him great kindness, allowing him to choose the place of his residence. He accordingly went to Mizpah with Gedaliah, who had been made governor of Judea.
Johanan succeeded Gedaliah, who was assassinated for working with the Babylonians. Refusing to listen to Jeremiah's counsels, Johanan fled to Egypt, taking Jeremiah and Baruch with him (Jer. 43:6). There, probably, the prophet spent the remainder of his life, in vain seeking still to turn the people to the Lord, from whom they had so long revolted (44). He lived into the reign of Evil-merodach, son of Nebuchadnezzar, and may have been about ninety years of age at his death. We have no authentic record of his death; he may have died at Tahapanes, or, according to a tradition, may have gone to Babylon with the army of Nebuchadnezzar.
- Friedman, Richard E. Who Wrote The Bible?, Harper and Row, NY, USA, 1987.
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