Jeremiah writes later than Isaiah, becoming a prophet in the time of Josiah, the king in Jerusalem who rediscovered the book of the law in the temple. Jeremiah’s own story and the place of Jerusalem serve to effectively hold the book together. Jeremiah is called to speak of God’s justice and God’s grace - of uprooting and tearing down and of planting and building up.

Jeremiah was called as a young man and served as a prophet for over 40 years, but he did not have an easy life, and appears to have been taken to Egypt at the time of the fall of Jerusalem. He is an example of perseverance in ongoing adversity and suffering. Like many of the prophetic books Jeremiah does not have a clear, chronological or linear structure. It is composed of many different types of writing including poetry, narrative, autobiography, sermons and messages against the nations. It was partly written by Jeremiah’s scribe Baruch.

Jeremiah was a bit of a theologian and in his writing he breathes new life into, and interweaves, the truths about God found in earlier scriptures. He writes of Israel’s unfaithfulness using the metaphor of adultery and prostitution. He writes of God’s judgement and promised restoration. He also writes of the promised Messiah and the new covenant for the people of God in whom the word of God will be so ingrained in their hearts that they will follow God all their life long.