Explaining the Book

Bible Study Guide


What Does It Mean That Jeremiah Was a Prophet to the Nations?

In Jeremiah 1:5 God says that he appointed (נתן – gave) Jeremiah to be a prophet to the nations.

But how can God say that Jeremiah is a prophet to the nations? After all, most of his book consists of prophecies — not to the nations — but rather to the nation of Judah.

Evidence That Jeremiah Prophesied to the Nations

Well, there’s the fact that chapters forty-six through fifty-one is one long section of prophecies — not to Judah — but to the surrounding nations.

In addition there are prophecies concerning the nations interspersed throughout his prophecies about Judah.

What It Doesn’t Mean to be a Prophet to the Nations

But to say that Jeremiah is a prophet to the nations doesn’t mean two things.

First, it doesn’t mean that other prophets were not made to be prophets to the nations. Isaiah has much to say about the nations. Some of the minor prophets have quite a bit to say about the nations, too.

And second, it doesn’t mean that Jeremiah was sent only to the nations. Obviously, most of what he says is directed toward Judah.

Jeremiah: A Prophet to the Nations

Nevertheless, with all those things considered, Jeremiah is a prophet to the nations. That’s the job that God called Jeremiah to before he was even born.


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