As we continue to prepare for our journey through the book of Jeremiah, it’s important to know when the book’s recorded events took place. The following timeline helps recognize the significant historical events happening around Jeremiah’s time:
640 Josiah becomes king of Judah [at age eight] – the last godly king.
628 Josiah began to purge Judah in his 12th year
627 Lord first spoke to Jeremiah in 13th year of Josiah. Jeremiah 1-6 under Josiah’s reign
622 In 18th year of Josiah Book of the Law found in House of God! (2Ki 22:8)
612 Nineveh the capital of Assyria was sacked.
609 King Josiah killed at Megiddo by Necho of Egypt, who was fighting to bolster Assyria (2Ki 23:29-30).
609 Jehoahaz ruled Judah 3 months, deposed by Neco, taken to Egypt in chains (2Ki 23:32-33; cf Jer. 22:10).
609-598 Jehoiakim reigned over Judah as an Egyptian vassal (Jer 22:13-17).
605 Battle of Carchemish. Nebuchadnezzar defeated Egyptian forces (Jer 46:2). “Turning point in world history”
605 First deportation of Jews to Babylon – Daniel in this group (2Ki 24:1).
601 Jehoiakim sided with Egypt against Jeremiah’s warnings (Jer. 22:13-19).
597 2nd Babylonian invasion takes Jerusalem, deports Ezekiel & 10,000; Zedekiah replaces Jehoiachin (2Ki 24:17)
592 Ezekiel begins his prophetic ministry (some 35 years after Jeremiah had begun his)
586 Fall of Jerusalem (Jer 39:1-18). Gedaliah appointed governor of Judah (2Ki 25:22-26). Jeremiah taken to Egypt.
538 Babylon falls to the Medes and Persians
As you can quickly tell by the timeline above, this was a dark time in Israel’s history. Jeremiah ministered for over 40 years, during the rule of many different kings and captors.
The glory days of God being honored during the reigns of King David and Solomon were over. The wickedness of the subsequent kings was directly in violation of God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants.
We will look at each of the rulers and captors mentioned in the timeline above as we walk through the book of Jeremiah. As you consider the above chronology, imagine being in Jeremiah’s place and seeing your political rulers and spiritual leaders turn their back on God and lead the country away from the blessings of the Almighty.
Wherever in the world we might live, may we remember to pray for our religious and spiritual leaders to turn their hearts toward God, to seek His face and humble themselves.
Closer to home, may we start a grass-roots revival by turning from any pursuits that lead us away from the Cross of Christ. May we seek Him with all our hearts, minds, and souls.