Jeremiah lived about 2600 years ago. He was the son of Hilkiah and lived in the town of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin in Judah. His ministry began during the reign of Josiah, and continued through the reigns of Jehoiakin, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah.
Jeremiah, according to the Bible book that bears his name, preached from about 628 BC to 586 BC in Jerusalem. During that time, the Babylonian Empire had taken control of Jerusalem. The Babylonians took Jews as captives to Babylon as early as 605 BC and 597 BC. Babylon destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC.
Jeremiah lived through the invasions by the Babylonian armies, the deportations of his people, the slaughter of Jews living in Jerusalem, and the destruction of the Temple.
Jeremiah warned the people of Jerusalem that they would be punished harshly for their sins. He pleaded with the people to turn away from sin and to turn back to God, but to little avail. In return, Jeremiah was targeted with scorn and persecution.
When the people of Jerusalem were being deported, Jeremiah was given a choice of either staying in Judah or going to Babylon. He chose to stay in Judah, but was compelled later to flee to Egypt after a group of fanatics killed the Babylonian who had been appointed governor of Judah. It is believed that Jeremiah died in Egypt.
Jeremiah prophesized that the Jews would be scattered from their homeland and persecuted. He also said that God would protect the Jews from total destruction and that they would one day return to their homeland and that the "second" Israel would be more impressive than the first.
Today, we can see with our own eyes that the Jews have indeed survived worldwide dispersion and that they have re-established Israel (in 1948), after 19 centuries of exile and persecutions throughout the world.
The book of Jeremiah is the second of the four Major Prophets. The four Major Prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel.
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