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JEREMIAH (ca. 640-580 B.C.E.).

Second of the major prophets. His book is a masterpiece of biblical literature. Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah, a priest of Anathoth, witnessed the tragic events in the history of Judea that ended in the destruction of Jerusalem and in the exile to Babylonia. He is deeply affected by his people’s betrayal of their God. His prophecies foretell the doom of his people as punishment for their sins. Jeremiah envisions a universal God governing all humankind, forgiving even those sins that had been “written with a pen of iron and a point of diamond.” The people will survive only if they uphold justice, and each person is responsible for his own acts. At the end of days the Lord will bring the people of Israel back from their captivity, and a righteous Israel will dwell in safety in its own land (Jer. 33:14-16). Jeremiah’s love for his people is unsurpassed in the Bible. With the birth of the state of Israel, Jeremiah’s prophecy regarding Israel’s return to its land was fulfilled a second time.

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