Updated: Jan 1, 2021
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INTRODUCTION. Jeremiah, the son of a priest, was from the village of Anathoth which was about three miles northeast of Jerusalem. When he was a young man, the Lord called him to be a prophet. He received his call from the Lord in the thirteenth year of Josiah's reign (about 627 B. C.). Although Josiah was righteous and the people served the Lord during Josiah's reign, the Lord told Jeremiah that Judah had not returned to the Lord with her "whole heart, but feignedly" (in pretense) (Jer 3:10).
After the death of Josiah, the people of Judah soon became idolatrous again, and the nation fell into rapid decline. Three of Josiah's sons and a grandson reigned after him, but all of them were evil. During this tumultuous time, Jeremiah served the Lord as a prophet to Judah and the nations. However, the people did not heed to Jeremiah's words, but rather ridiculed, maligned, and persecuted him.
NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S FIRST SIEGE OF JERUSALEM. When Josiah was killed by Pharaoh-Necho of Egypt at Megiddo in 609 B. C., his son Jehoahaz became king in Judah. After three months, however, Pharaoh-Necho took him captive and carried him to Egypt. Pharaoh placed Jehoiakim, another son of Josiah, on the throne and demanded heavy tribute (taxes) fro Judah (II Kings 23:31-35; II Chron. 36:1-4).
In 605 B. C., the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, defeated Pharaoh-Necho and the Egyptians at Carchemish on the Euphrates River and the invaded Judah (Jer. 46:2). He marched throughout Judah, besieging Jerusalem and carrying captives back to Babylon. Among these captives was Daniel (Dan. 1:1).
In the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign, the Lord spoke to Jeremiah, foretelling the Babylonian captivity of Judah which would last for seventy years (Jer. 25:1, 8-11). He then told Jeremiah to write all the words He had spoken on the scroll. When Jehoiakim heard the words Jeremiah had written, he destroyed the scroll. The Lord told Jeremiah to write again the former words He had spoken, and then He added a prophecy against Jehoiakim, predicting his violent death (Jer. 36:30-31). Josephus, the Jewish historian, states that Jehoiakim was killed by Nebuchadnezzar who ordered him cast before the walls of the city and left unburied.