Facts

Wailing women


The wailing women mentioned in 9:17 were probably professional mourners. In many ancient cultures, such people were paid to sing or deliver eulogies at funerals.

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Temple


Judah considered their temple a guarantee of God’s favor, despite their idolatry and wickedness. They accused Jeremiah of blasphemy when he prophesied against Jerusalem. Sadly, Judah’s corrupt worship and failure to repent would eventually lead to the destruction of the temple.

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A faithful prophet


A faithful prophet. Despite persistent rejection, Jeremiah proclaimed the word of God for at least 40 years. His ministry lasted from a time when Judah still had the opportunity to change its ways and avoid punishment, to the time when judgment finally came as Jerusalem was destroyed and the people went into exile (586 b.c.).

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Yokes


Yokes are made of wooden bars tied to animals by leather thongs around their necks. This ensured that the two animals would work together to pull a plow. Jeremiah uses the yoke in 5:5 as a symbol of God’s rule in his people’s lives.

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A sad but faithful servant


A sad but faithful servant. Jeremiah was very open about the anguish he suffered as a prophet (4:19–26). In addition to being devastated by the wickedness of his beloved people, he also suffered much abuse from them. Yet despite his struggles, Jeremiah trusted in the Lord.

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Troubled times


Jeremiah lived during troubled times. He became a prophet during the reign of Josiah, who was the last faithful king in Judah’s history. Josiah’s death marked the beginning of the end for the nation of Judah. It would fall within two short decades.

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Living water


Fresh water that flows from a spring or stream was known as living water in Palestine (2:12–13). It was the best and purest water. Jesus says that he is the source of true living water (John 4:10–14; 7:38).

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