A Summary of Jeremiah 7 – 20

Jeremiah 7-20

Jeremiah 7–10 | Disobedience Outweighs External Devotion

Jeremiah 7-10 have God proclaiming that Judah’s Disobedience Far Outweighs Their External Religious Devotion.

God makes it clear to Judah through Jeremiah that he’s not interested in religious exercises without true obedience. He will destroy the Temple and exile Judah if they continue their unrepentant idolatry and falsehood.

And even though the Lord holds out the possibility of Judah repenting, he goes so far as to command Jeremiah to not pray for his disobedient, unrepentant, and idolatrous people.

In times past God sent prophets to his people and they haven’t listened. Neither will they listen to Jeremiah.

Judah is then portrayed as wanting to flee from the coming exile and Jeremiah echoes that sentiment.

This section ends with a plea for God to judge the nations who threaten Judah’s existence – even though those nations are being used by the Lord to judge his people.

(Also pay attention to mentions of “wisdom” or “wise men” in this section.)

Jeremiah 11–12 | Covenant & Conspiracy

On to Jeremiah 11:1-12:17. I give the label of Covenant & Conspiracy to this section.

The people of Judah conspire:

  1. Against the Lord’s covenant to disobey both him and it and
  2. Against Jeremiah to kill him.

God tells Jeremiah to not pray for Judah — just like in the last section — and that things will get worse. In fact, Judah will be exiled along with her neighbors. But her neighbors will be allowed to return if they repent in captivity.

Jeremiah 13 | Waistband

In Jeremiah 13 we see the story about the Waistband/Belt.

Perhaps in the days of Jeconiah God has Jeremiah give Judah an object lesson involving a ruined waistband. Just like the waistband, Judah will be ruined. God will make them drunk and will destroy them. He will exile the king and the king’s mother – which is why I think this is in Jeconiah’s day. God will do all this because of Judah’s spiritual and even literal prostitution.

Jeremiah 14–15 | Drought

Jeremiah 14 and 15 stem from a Drought that God sent to Judah at some point, which Jeremiah pictures with words.

Also pictured is Judah’s crying out to the Lord about it, whether they actually did or not. They should have, obviously.

But God cannot remove the punishment of drought because of the people’s disobedience.

God tells Jeremiah again to not pray for the people because of their wickedness.

Jeremiah points out to God that the prophets are deceiving the people. God acknowledges that and pronounces curses on both prophets and people.

Jeremiah laments his birth and God assures him that if he does right then God will deliver him from the coming punishment.

Jeremiah 16–17 | Sympathy & Sabbath

I label Jeremiah 16 and 17 as Sympathy & Sabbath.

Jeremiah is told to not have a family nor to mourn with the people nor rejoice with them — in other words, have no sympathy.

God promises a restoration of the people in the future but not in a very positive manner – hunters and fishers will bring them back, indicating harm done in the process. Jeremiah responds with praise to the Lord.

The Lord issues blessings and cursings and ultimately has Jeremiah remind the people to keep the Sabbath.

Jeremiah 18–20 | Potter, Pot, Passhur

Jeremiah 18-20 speak of the following three things – and they all begin with the same English letter – P:

  • The Potter
  • The Pot
  • Passhur

The Lord gives Jeremiah a picture of how he deals with nations by showing him a potter destroying his work and rebuilding it. Jeremiah communicates this to Judah and they refuse to listen and instead they plot schemes to kill him.

Jeremiah complains to the Lord about this and the Lord tells him to take a clay pot, smash it in front of the leaders of Judah, and proclaim judgement against them.

Passhur the priest hears this message and beats and imprisons Jeremiah. Jeremiah utters the Lord’s word of judgement to Passhur.

The section ends with Jeremiah struggling with the Lord and actually wishing he had been aborted before birth.