I. THE AUTHOR
The name Jeremiah in Hebrew means "Jehovah exalts." This name also means "Jehovah tears down." The real contents of the book of Jeremiah are that God exalts some and tears down others.
B. A Priest
1. Born of Hilkiah
Jeremiah was a priest, born of Hilkiah, a priest, in the small city of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin (Jer. 1:1). By birth Jeremiah had the position of a priest.
2. Called to Be a Prophet over the Nations
Whereas Jeremiah was born a priest, he was called to be a prophet over the nations (vv. 2-3). Hence, he was a priest- prophet not only over Israel but also over the nations. For this reason, he speaks very much concerning the nations. No other prophetic book speaks as much about the nations as the book of Jeremiah.
a. Beginning from the Thirteenth Year
of Josiah’s Reign
Jeremiah’s ministry began from the thirteenth year (629 B.C.) of Josiah’s reign and continued until the eleventh year (588 B.C.) of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, until the captivity. Jeremiah ministered for forty-one years, and every one of them was a terrible year. Within these forty-one years, there were at least three exiles. Eventually, nearly all of the children of Israel were exiled, ending, in the sight of God, their history as God’s elect. Jerusalem was destroyed, the temple was burned, and the people were carried away. This means that, in a sense, God gave up Israel.
b. Ministering in Judah
and for a Short Time in Egypt
Jeremiah ministered in Judah and, at the end, for a short time in Egypt. He did not want to go to Egypt, but certain rebellious ones captured him and took him with them to Egypt. History tells us that he was murdered in Egypt.
(Life-Study of Jeremiah and Lamentations, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)