The book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament took place from approximately 626-586 a.C. and is the longest book in the Bible. Jeremiah was a Levite from Anathoth, a town a few miles northeast of Jerusalem in the tribal territory of Benjamin. He was one of several prophets whose ministry was during King Josiah's reign, and which continued on through King Zedekiah for the next forty years.1
During Jeremiah's ministry, the Babylonians dominated the Assyrians and became the great world power. The leaders and people of Judah worried that Babylon would also conquer their small nation, so for protection they attempted to form an alliance with Egypt. At this particular time, Jeremiah warned the nation to repent and seek deliverance from the Lord instead of from Egypt or any other country.
In a series of attacks over many years, the Babylonians captured many Jews from their promised land and took them into Babylon. Among those taken away were the prophets Daniel and Ezekiel. We can also read in the Book of Mormon of Lehi and his family being warned to flee Jerusalem to escape the destruction that would soon happen at the hands of the Babylonian army. It can be noted as well, that Lehi's family brought with them records that contained prophecies of the prophet Jeremiah.2
Jeremiah was called to minister among a people from whom there was little hope because of their refusal to repent. He found idolatry, heathen religious practices, and children being sacrificed to Baal-Moloch, immorality and unrighteousness. Jeremiah was surrounded on all sides by almost total apostasy; he continued to testify and admonish the people to repentance, but to no avail.
The key to the book of Jeremiah is the importance of listening to the prophet and repenting. This counsel is just as important today as it was in Biblical times.
- "Holy Bible", 2 Kings 22-23
- "Book of Mormon", 1 Nephi 5:13