The Prophet Jeremiah: a biography. The Book of the Lamentations
The Holy Prophet Jeremiah is considered the Old Testament forerunner of Christ, who has the gift from above to foresee and proclaim future events. And the Lord told him many things from the future, especially the holy one described the division of the Bible into two books: the Old and New Testament.
Included in the four major prophets who are revered by Orthodox and Catholic canons, the prophet Jeremiah. What does the name of the holy mean? Translated from the ancient Jewish name Jeremiah means "the Lord will magnify." His name is symbolic among the believers, as the greatest saint who showed all the courage and zeal to avert his people from destruction and exile from their native land.
Omens for Jerusalem
In the harsh times lived the prophet Jeremiah. His biography will be told to the reader in the article.
Omens said that all the tribes of the northern kingdoms would go to Jerusalem, put their thrones at the entrance to the city, and also around its walls. Majestic hail has collapsed due to the disbelief of the inhabitants who have turned away from the worship of God. Jeremiah tried to keep the looming tragedy.He constantly spent time in prayers to God, appealed to him for the forgiveness of his beloved people, irrigated the land that the bloody fate awaited with bitter tears.
The prophet wandered through the streets of his native city, stopped the rich and the poor, in order to prevent at least one person from sinful actions. Jeremiah could equally fearlessly enter the royal mansions or the pottery workshop to proclaim the will of Yahweh. His love for his city and people did not find a response in the hearts of his fellow citizens, he was considered an outcast and a traitor, a traitor and a spy. He decided to share the fate of his exiled people, and not to remain in the care of the pagans. And at the very end, he fell prostrate under the blows of his people, whom he served all his life. He was a great man and a prophet of God - the holy righteous Jeremiah.
When did the prophet Jeremiah live? His life is attributed to 650 BC. The Prophet Jeremiah was born in the family of the priest of Hilkiah in the city of Anathoth, near Jerusalem, in the 13th year of the rule of the Judah's king Josiah. The symbol of the message of Jeremiah was the image of his own life: hopelessness, longing, and the inevitability of God's punishment for sins committed.The prophet endured the seven kings of Judea, although the ministry most fell on the years of the kings of Joash, Joachim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah.
The prophetic gift revealed to him completely unexpectedly at a young age. And Jeremiah was only 15 years old when the Lord appeared to him and touched his lips, promised his protection and help. The young man was frightened and refused a difficult mission, but he had to accept his fate with humility, which was predetermined to him from birth. The first revelation from the Lord sounded that the kingdoms would appear one after the other and also die soon.
It was from this prophecy that the difficult fate of Jeremiah began, which would later be called the "weeping prophet." To depict the bitter laments and complaints came up with the term "iremiade".He could not succeed in the field of preaching, so he bitterly appealed to Yahweh that the task was too heavy for him, and everyone laughs at him and mocks his speeches.
At the very beginning, Jeremiah took the side of King Josiah, who wanted to restore the cult of worship of Yahweh. He for a while refused to omens, because he considered his mission useless.Although over time I realized that only he could save the people of Israel from the tragic fate that threatened exile and dishonor.
How does the saint represent the icon?
The prophet Jeremiah is depicted in icons not as a white-bearded old man, but as a middle-aged man. He has a powerful physique, dark hair, a round, short beard, which emphasizes the correct proportions of the face. The right palm is folded in a percussion, and on the left is a scroll. In the scrolls you can read the words of the prophet Baruch, who was a scribe and friend of the prophet. It was Baruch who was recording the omens of the prophet when he was in prison. When compared with other prophets (Isaiah, Ezekiel and Malachi), he gives the impression of a mighty warrior with a purposeful look, who had to undergo a series of tests and not break under the blows of fate.
Mission: proclaiming disasters
Jeremiah had a difficult mission all his life, because he should have inherited his father’s work, served at the church, got married, and raised children. But the Lord predestined to him a different ministry, denoting the renunciation of himself, of his desires, of living in comfortable conditions.The hardest victim for Jeremiah was to predict disasters to the native people. Instead of words of joy and bliss, he was forced to prophesy about destruction, slavery and doom. The Lord called him to preach in Jerusalem, so that people would look to the true god.
The Old Testament prophet tried to deliver the message to people everywhere, so he preached wherever he had the slightest opportunity. And they saw the weeping prophet at the city gate, and in the temple, and in the valley of the sons of Hinnom, and in prison. He had a secretary, Baruch, who recorded sermons and revelations, and then sent them in writing to the elders of Judea.
The sermons of Jeremiah did not find a response in the hearts of the people, although they came true with frightening speed. The people did not want to listen to the tragic news, the saint was even called a traitor to the faith. The priest Paschor decided to deal with the prophet: hit him and put him in a deck to stop talking about the plight of the people of Israel.
What are the predictions of Jeremiah
The main idea of the predictions of Jeremiah was the subordination of the new state of Babylonia, which grew rapidly and gained military power.The saint proposed to the rulers and noble citizens to abandon Egypt, so as not to incur terrible punishment on Judea. No one wanted to hear him say. They whispered that he was in fact a Babylonian spy, so he was trying to bring trouble. At that time, Egypt was the strongest state, and Babylonia was just beginning to develop, so no one saw any danger from it. Jeremiah’s speeches provoked irritation among his fellow tribesmen, turned them against him.
Many biblical prophets appealed to the people for submission to God, so as not to incur the punishment of heaven. Jeremiah was not the first saint in this field. On the throne of Judah, Joachim appears after Johan, who has sworn eternal co-operation to Egypt. During the reign of this king, black times came for the prophet. The saint visits Jerusalem, where he announces that if people do not immediately return to God's commandments and do not reconcile, turning their eyes to Babylonia, then strangers will appear in the city, and the entire population will be in slavery for 70 years.
The Old Testament prophet speaks of the inevitable grief - the destruction of the Jerusalem temple, the main Jewish shrine.Among the priests, such words produced a grumble of discontent. He was captured and presented at the court of the nobility and the people, who demanded immediate execution. Jeremiah managed to escape. Soon he would be taken to execution, but in a difficult moment he was saved by a friend Achikam and other princes.
The prophecies come true
Despite constant hardship and humiliation, the prophet felt that his words were needed by the people. The power in Assyria gradually weakened, but it was too early to feel calm before the threat of invasion of other states. Politicians considered Babylon an unserious opponent, looking for support in Egypt, and later in Assyria.
The Egyptian rulers decided to pit the two states: they offered Judea to oppose Nebuchadnezzar, to stop paying tribute to him. This was the beginning of the punitive operation of the Babylonian king, who had assembled a huge army to wipe out the recalcitrant Jews from the face of the earth. All these events were predicted by Jeremiah: a bloody war and the destruction of his native country. At that time it was not entirely correct to consider this a prophecy; all previous events did not predict a good outcome under the rule of short-sighted kings.For any citizen it was obvious - refusal to pay tribute to Babylon would entail a bloody retribution.
The Prophet Jeremiah criticized the conclusion of political unions, condemning the decision to refuse to pay tribute. He spoke of the inevitable punishment, the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temples. For this, he was accused of apostasy and betrayal. After all, Yahweh promised to protect his people, and the prophet doubted the words of God. Jeremiah did not calm down, he decided to write a message to King Joachim. The ruler was read a terrible message, but he tore it and burned it. Jeremiah writes another epistle with Assistant Baruch, filling the scroll with new prophecies and threats.
Deprivation of Jeremiah: Punishment for Prophecies
Even the closest people refused to be related to him, and the neighbors planned to kill him. The people demanded that the authorities execute him twice. Among the ancient Jews, he uttered prophecies for 23 years, during which time he exposed their sins, apostasy from the true God, predicted misfortunes and grief. Everyone avoided him, ridiculed and harassed him. Jeremiah decided to demonstrate the words literally, he wanted to tell about the irreversibility of the conquest of the Babylonian kingdom.His actions were full of symbolism, but they emphasized the wrong direction of the policy of the kings, the onset of a terrible catastrophe.
Yahweh ordered him to take an earthen jar and break it. Thousands of fragments scattered to the sides, indicating the fragmentation of the people of Israel throughout the world. The next time the prophet was instructed by God to take a linen belt and carry it to the Euphrates River to hide in a rock cleft. Over time, the belt completely rotted, this predicted a similar fate to the Jews. Jeremiah puts on a wooden yoke around his neck and appears before King Zedekiah to underline the slavish future of his compatriots. Servants remove the yoke from the neck of the prophet, but he does not calm down - he puts on the iron yoke and again comes to the king.
Hard fate of the prophet
To stop prophesying, he is thrown into a dungeon, and later trying to drown a serf ditch in the mud. Now it is impossible to judge: whether the prophecy came true or the rulers conducted the wrong negotiations, but for the Jews it was hard times. The Babylonians did indeed go to war to the home of Jeremiah. The army of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar swept the Jewish kingdom from the face of the earth, subdued the local people and drove them into slavery.Nebuchadnezzar himself showed pity for Jeremiah, released him from prison and gave personal permission to preach where only the saint would wish.
During the siege of Jerusalem, the prophet spoke sadly of the coming judgment of Yahweh. He also said that this is not the end; bright times will come when God will give blessings to the people of Israel. At that grace-filled time, all laws will be written not on tablets, but in the hearts of believers.
The Jewish administration decided to throw off the oppression of the Babylonians, followed by a riot and an attempt to escape from an ally, that is, the Pharaoh of Egypt. By that time, the prophet managed to write the famous work “Lamentations of Jeremiah” - a work in verse, which describes the fate of the Jewish people and the destruction of magnificent Jerusalem. He managed to hide the Ark of the Covenant and the Tablet in the cache so that they would not go to the mercy of enemies. The Jews fled, but took Jeremiah along with them, although he tirelessly predicted punishment on the heads of the Egyptians.
The Prophet settled in the city of Tafnis, where he lived for about 4 years. With him in the Nile, all the crocodiles died out, to which the people of Egypt were very happy. The fate of the prophet is hard - all his predictions came true in the new place of residence.This has already served as the last straw of patience for the Jews - they kill Jeremiah in order to prevent yet another misfortune. Other nations treated their prophets with reverence, and those whose warnings tended to come true were elevated to the rank of saints. After the murder, the Jews came to their senses; according to the Egyptian canons, they decided to preserve the relics of the prophet. It was 250 years after the death of Jeremiah, and Egypt was conquered by Alexander the Great, who transferred the relics of the prophet to his capital, Alexandria.
Message to descendants
Prophet Jeremiah is very honored by Christians. The Bible contains a work written by him. The holy book describes five songs. Name them "Lamentations of Jeremiah." The first, second, and fourth songs include 22 verses each, each beginning with the letter of the Hebrew alphabet in strict sequence. In the third song there are 66 verses divided into three groups, in the fifth song there are also 22 verses, but they are not arranged alphabetically.
The first song of weeping tells of the bitter fate of the Jewish people, of its captivity by the Babylonians and the destruction of Zion. In the second song, Jeremiah tries to analyze the tragedy that has happened; he considers this as the Lord’s punishment for sins.In the third song, the prophet mourns for his people, who did not heed his words, for which he was punished. The fourth song is already calmer: the prophet is aware of irreparable guilt in the face of God. In the fifth song, the words are filled with sorrow and tranquility, hope for a bright future.
The interpretation of the book of the prophet Jeremiah is a thorny path of humility after the defeat of Zion. The overriding thought is the punishment of the Lord directed at his people. In the complaints of the book, this anger is described as a just retribution, in view of the fact that the kingdom of Judah is mired in indelible sins.
The book of the prophet Jeremiah does not contain bewilderment or confusion before punishment, as in the Book of Job. Here is the confirmation of the words of other prophets, who long predicted the coming of the day of reckoning. Although in parallel with the understanding of God's wrath, there is an emotional rejection of such punishment. Is Jeremiah trying to understand whether the price of sins is too high? After going through all the sufferings and throwing, the author finds the courage to agree with God's will. The book of the prophet Jeremiah displays absolute faith in the Lord, the hope of redemption, the imminent onset of a joyous future for the persecuted people of Judea.