Who wrote the books of the Bible and when?

      Book of Jeremiah, comprising the prophecies of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, was written around the sixth century (627-586) B.C. by Jeremiah the prophet, possibly with assistance from the scribe Baruch son of Neriah. (In Jeremiah chapters 36 and 45, Baruch writes on a scroll some of the prophecies which Jeremiah dictates to him.) It accounts for the words that came to Jeremiah from the Lord during the last forty years of Judah's existence, specifically those of repentance. At first Jeremiah rejected God's call because he thought he was too young (1:6-8). Jeremiah warned of the destruction of Jeresalum by Babylon (the Chaldeans), but no one in Judah at the time wanted to hear it. He was imprisoned by his own people during the Babylonian seige on Jerusalem because of his prophecies against the city and his recommendation to submit to Babylon. A contemporary of Ezekiel, Daniel, and Habakkuk, Jeremiah prophesied during the reign of Judah's last five kings and remained in Judah during Israel's captivity. He prophesied of a new covenant between God and Israel where the law would be written on their hearts (31:31-34), the mediator of which, according to Hebrews 8:6-13, was Jesus Christ.

      The Book of Jeremiah includes:

  • The calling of Jeremiah (chapter 1)
  • Israel forsakes God and no one in Jerusalem fears the Lord (chapters 2, 3, 4, 5)
  • Foretelling of Jerusalem under siege (chapters 4, 6)
  • False religions of Judah and the worship of Baal, Molech, and the Queen of Heaven (chapter 7)
  • Sin and punishment (chapters 8, 9)
  • Idol worship (chapter 10)
  • Prophecies against Israel and Judah (chapters 11, 12)
  • Men of Anathoth threaten Jeremiah because of his prophecies (chapter 11)
  • Jeremiah's linen belt (chapter 13)
  • No mercy for Jerusalem, but drought, famine, the sword, captivity, disease, and disaster (chapters 14, 15, 16)
  • Reminder to keep the Sabbath Day holy (chapter 17)
  • The Lord can reshape the house of Israel like a potter (chapter 18)
  • The broken pot in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, or Valley of Slaughter (chapter 19)
  • Babylon attacks and God turns down the pleas of King Zedekiah (chapter 21)
  • Prophecy against the king of Judah (chapter 22)
  • Warnings against listening to the lies of false prophets (chapter 23)
  • Vision of the two baskets of figs (chapter 24)
  • Seventy years of captivity in Babylon (chapter 25)
  • Cup of God's wrath drunk by the nations (chapter 25)
  • Death of the prophet Uriah and sparing of Jeremiah's life (chapter 26)
  • Prophecy of Jeremiah's yoke (chapters 27, 28)
  • Hananiah's false prophecies about the early restoration of Judah (chapter 28)
  • Letter to the exiles in Babylon to settle down and seek peace (chapter 29)
  • Shemaiah's false prophecies and charge against other prophets (chapter 29)
  • Coming of the restoration of Israel (chapters 30, 31, 33)
  • Jeremiah imprisoned in the royal palace of Judah by King Zedekiah during Babylon's siege (chapter 32)
  • Jeremiah buys a field as a sign that people will once again be buying houses, fields, and vineyards in Israel (chapter 32)
  • Freedom to all Hebrew slaves in Jerusalem (chapter 34)
  • Good example of the Recabites (chapter 35)
  • King Jehoiakim burns Jeremiah's scroll warning of the disaster of Israel (chapter 36)
  • Jeremiah accused of deserting to the Babylonians and imprisoned (chapter 37)
  • Jeremiah put into a cistern for saying that those carried off to Babylon would live while those who stayed in Jerasulem would die (chapter 38)
  • Fall of Jerusalem and release of Jeremiah by Nebuzaradan, commander of the Babylonian imperial guard (chapters 39, 40)
  • Ishmael and his men kill Gedaliah, the governor of Judah appointed by the king of Babylon (chapters 40, 41)
  • The remaining inhabitants of Judah fear Babaylonian retaliation for the death of Gedaliah and flea to Egypt against the command of the Lord to stay (chapters 41, 42, 43, 44)
  • Prophecies against Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Damascus, and Babylon (chapters 46, 47, 48, 49, 50)
  • Further prophecies of the destruction of Babylon (chapter 51)
  • Nebuchadnezzar's siege on Jerusalem and King Zedekiah's imprisonment (chapter 52)
  • The release of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, by Evil-Merodach, king of Babylon (chapter 52).

        "Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I am about to hand this city over to the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who will capture it. The Babylonians who are attacking this city will come in and set it on fire; they will burn it down, along with the houses where the people provoked me to anger by burning incense on the the roofs to Baal and by pouring out drink offerings to other gods.
        The people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth; indeed, the people of Israel have done nothing but provoke me with what their hands have made, declares the Lord. From the day it was built until now, the city has so aroused my anger and wrath that I must remove it from my sight. The people of Israel and Judah have provoked me by all the evil they have done -- they, their kings and officials, their priests and prophets, the men of Judah and the people of Jerusalem. They turned their backs to me and not their faces; though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline. They set up their abominable idols in the house that bears my Name and defiled it. They built high places for Baal in the valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin."
(Jeremiah 32:28-35)

      Book of Lamentations, the funeral song of the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon in 586 B.C., was written around the sixth century B.C. by Jeremiah the prophet. It provides images of the horrors of the Babylonian destruction and exile of its inhabitants by an eye-witness who was left behind in Jerusalem. The Book of Lamentations (Hebrew Kinoth) includes: description of the destruction of Jerusalem and the suffering of those who remained; the Lord has turned against Judah in anger, however, his compassion endures forever; people wander in hunger and the surrounding nations scoff; the Lord reigns forever. Lamentations was written in poetic prose with the first four chapters as alphabetical acrostics (first letters of the verses are the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order, the third chapter, which is 66 verses, being a triple acrostic). It is read in synagogues on the ninth day of the Jewish month Ab in memory of the destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C. and again in 70 A.D. Critical scholars, as usual, argue that there was more than one author.

        Without pity the Lord has swallowed up all the dwellings of Jacob; in his wrath he has torn down the strongholds of the Daughter of Judah. He has brought her kingdom and its princes down to the ground in dishonor. In fierce anger he has cut off every horn of Israel. He has withdrawn his right hand at the approach of the enemy. He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire that consumes everything around it. (Lamentations 2:2-3)
        My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within, my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city. (Lamentations 2:11)

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