I have just begun teaching a nine month Bible study on one of my favorite books, Jeremiah. The prophet lived at a time of great political, social and religious upheaval, most notably the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 586 B.C. I find Jeremiah has much to say about our time, as we experience great cultural and social shifts in Western society. He answers the question--albeit in a nuanced and challenging way--of how does one live faithfully to God in a time of faithlessness and chaos? As anyone who has read Jeremiah can tell, it is far from chronological in its order, which can make it a challenge to comprehend. I've put together the following short poem, which includes all the critical names and dates to understand the immediate context of Jeremiah and hopefully make it meaning and message more apparent to our current challenges. I hope this silly poem might since ignite the curiosity of some readers to revisit this treasure of a book.
Jeremiah prophesied in 626,
When Josiah was trying the religion to fix.
Pharaoh Neco came out and put him down;
To Jehoiakim the son he gave the crown.
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon
Made the two kings his own pawn.
Then Jehoiakim thought he had a plan,
Free the nation and rebel against the man.
Dying suddenly his son Joiachin
Was sent into exile with the rest of his kin.
This all happened in 597,
False hope ran high, as high as heaven.
Zedekiah the uncle became governor.
Jeremiah was then a frank messenger.
To an end it all came in 586,
When Nebuchadnezzar made Jerusalem sticks.
The land turned to chaos and murder and strife;
Jeremiah went to Egypt for the rest of his life.