The Nevi’im (נביאים) covers the time period from the death of Moshe through the Babylonian exile (ca.1200BCE-587BCE) and contains 19 books. The Nevi’im covers the time from the Hebrews entering Eretz Yisrael, conquest of Jericho, conquest of Eretz Yisrael and division among the tribes, judicial system, Era of Saul and David, Solomon’s wisdom and the construction of the First Temple, kings of Eretz Yisrael, prophecy, messianic prophecies, and the Babylonian exile.
Books of the Nevi’im
- Nevi’im Aharonim (Latter Prophets)
- Yeshayahu (Isaiah) – written by Yeshayahu
- Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) – written by Yirmiyahu
- Yechezkiel (Ezekiel) – written by Yechezkiel
Sefer Yeshayahu – or the Book of Isaiah – is the fifth book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Nevi’im Rishonim – Former Prophets. This sefer was written by Isaiah who lived in the late eighth century BCE.
Sefer Yeshayahu contains the prophecies of various nations including Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, and Israel. The prophecies concern the fact that God is the god over the whole earth and the nations are not secure in their own powers. These nations will be conquered by other nations at God’s command.
A second theme of the prophecies includes the connections between worship and ethical behavior.
A last theme of Sefer Yeshayahu is the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth.
One of the unique aspects of Sefer Yeshayahu is the four servant songs which refer to Israel.
This sefer can be divided into the following sections.
1. Judgment against Yehuda and Yerushalayim – Chapters 1-5;
2. Call to Prophecy – Chapter 6;
3. Yeshayahu and Ahaz – Chapters 7-9:7;
4. Prophecy about the Northern Kingdom – Chapters 9:8-10:4;
5. Reliance on Assyria – Chapters 1:0-12;
6. Destruction of Babylonia, Assyria, and Philistia (Chapters 13-14);
7. Downfall of Moab (Chapters 15-16);
8. Breakup of the Ephramite-Aramean Alliance (Chapter 17:1-6);
9. Abandoning Idolatry (Chapter 17:7-11);
10. Rebuke of the Nations (Chapter 17:12-14);
11. Trans-Cushite Emissaries (Chapter 18);
12. Prophecy about Egypt (Chapter 19);
13. Exile of Egypt and Cush (Chapter 20);
14. Downfall of Babylonia, Edom, and Arabia (Chapter 21);
15. Downfall of Jerusalem (Chapter 22);
16. Downfall of Tyre (Chapter 23);
17. God’s Judgment of Israel (Chapter 24);
18. Prophecy of Salvation (Chapter 25);
19. The Day of the Future Deliverance (Chapters 26-27);
20. Condemnation of the Northern Kingdom (Chapter 28);
21. Chastisement and Deliverance of Israel (Chapters 29-31);
22. Righteousness and Corruption (Chapter 32-35);
23. Assyria and Hezekiah (Chapters 36-39);
24. The End of Exile (Chapter 40);
25. Trial of the Nations (Chapter 41);
26. Messianic Age (Chapters 42-44);
27. King Cyrus (Chapter 45);
28. Foolishness of Idolaters and the Exile of the Babylonians (Chapters 46-47);
29. Redemption of Israel (Chapters 48-56);
30. The Righteous and the Wicked (Chapters 57-59);
31. Comforting Jerusalem (Chapters 60-62);
32. Conqueror of Edom (Chapter 63);
33. The Righteous (Chapters 64-66)
Judgment against Yehuda and Yerushalayim
Chapter 1: The sefer opens with the statement that the following are prophecies regarding Yehudah and Yerushalayim specifically. Isaiah calls forth heaven and earth to be witnesses against the Children of Israel who have sinned. The Children of Israel are called out for ignoring God’s commands and wantonly sinning. Their iniquities led to them removing themselves from the presence of God. The Children of Israel are asked why they continue to rebel even after their punishments. They are told that the Land will reject them and they will become exiles. The Children of Israel are also told that if it were not for a righteous remnant, the whole of the people would have become like Sodom. God in His mercy has made numerous attempts to bring His children back to Him. God tells His children that since they are wicked they have trampled His courts and the offerings of the wicked are an abomination to Him. God calls the Children of Israel to cleanse themselves and cease doing evil. They are also called to do good, seek justice, strengthen the robbed, perform justice for the orphan, and plead the case of the widow. If they obey they will be given the best of the Land. However, if they continue to disobey they will be devoured by the sword. God promises that Yerushalayim will be redeemed through justice and her penitent through righteousness. Her foes will be destroyed.
Chapter 2: After the defeat of the enemies of God, His mountain and His house shall be established with strength and many miracles. Many peoples will come to Yerushalayim where they will learn of God and His commands for life. God will judge between nations and there will be peace. The wicked will be judged and given their just punishments. The idolaters will throw away their idols and will attempt to hide from God out of fear.
Chapter 3: Again, Isaiah states that Yehuda and Yerushalayim have stumbled and become wicked. Due to this, they will be oppressed and ultimately destroyed. The righteous shall bear righteous fruit but the wicked shall bear wicked fruit. The wicked shall rule over Yehuda and Yerushalayim.
Chapter 4: God will ultimately judge Yehuda and Yerushalayim at the end and the righteous will be ingathered to Yerushalayim. The righteous will be given comfort and shelter from their foes in God’s house.
Chapter 5: God compares His people as well as Yehuda and Yerushalayim to a vineyard that is well-protected and loved by the owner. God asks what more He could have done to try and bring the people back to Him. Due to their wickedness, evil will befall the Children of Israel and they will be expelled from the Land to wander in exile.
Call to Prophecy
Chapter 6: Yeshayahu saw a vision of God’s throne and Seraphim surrounding the throne. God asked who would be willing to be sent to the Children of Israel in the Name of God. Yeshayahu readily answered that he would volunteer. Yeshayahu was told to tell the Children of Israel that if they repented of their evil ways, they would be saved. However, if they refused to repent and change their ways, they would be expelled from the Land.
Yeshayahu and Ahaz
Chapter 7: When Ahaz was king, Rezin [Retzeen], king of Aram, and Pekah [Paycoch], king of Israel, marched on Jerusalem to wage war against it.
7. Yeshayahu was told to go to Ahaz and tell him not to fear the coming armies from Aram and Ephraim. Ahaz was informed that in the coming years, Aram and Ephraim would cease to exist. Ahaz was told that God would give him a sign of this truth. A child will be born and before he knows good from bad the two kings will be defeated and the kingdoms will cease. God said that Sennacherib of Assyria will bring war but the righteous shall be spared.
Chapter 8: Yeshayahu is commanded to write down the prophecy in simple script concerning Sennacherib. Uriah the priest and Zechariah will be the two witnesses regarding this prophecy. Yeshayahu’s son, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, was born and before he knew good from bad the wealth of Damascus and Shomeron were destroyed. Assyria will destroy Damascus and Shomeron and it will also overtake Yehuda.
Chapter 9: Sennacherib will be defeated and Yerushalayim will be given hope. A son of Ahaz, named Hezekiah, will rule after him. He will be a righteous ruler.
Prophecy about the Northern Kingdom
Chapter 9: The haughtiness and arrogance of Ephraim and Shomeron will be exposed. God will cause the people of Aram and the Philistines to devour Yisrael. Manasseh will join with Ephraim to come against Yehuda.
Chapter 10: When the Land rejects the Children of Israel they shall leave with no wealth and no permanent place to rest.
Reliance on Assyria
Chapter 10: God declares that Assyria is being used as a tool of His wrath and fury against Israel who continues in its wicked ways. Sennacherib has plunder in his heart. He is haughty and thinks that it is his own might that will lead him to victory over Israel. However, after God gets done with His retribution against Israel, they will turn back to God. Sennacherib and his armies will be destroyed and his haughtiness will be in vain. God offers comfort to the righteous of Israel that Sennacherib may conquer and plunder their land but he will ultimately be destroyed by God.
Chapter 11: God offers comfort to those exiled to Assyria. God proclaims that there will rise a Moshiach from the House of David who will deliver the Children of Israel from their enemies. The Moshiach will judge righteously and punish the wicked. There shall be peace throughout the world and the Nations will come and learn from him. God will cause great miracles and all the Children of Israel will be gathered back into Eretz Yisrael.
Chapter 12: The Children of Israel will come to realize that their exiles have purified them and they will thank God. There will be much celebration and worshipping of God in the time of the Moshiach.
Destruction of Babylonia
Chapter 13: God will use Cyrus and Darius to destroy the Babylonian Empire. The Babylonians will be surprised and fearful at who God has chosen to use to bring about their downfall. The pride and arrogant of the tyrants will be destroyed in Babylonia. The prince of Babylon will be destroyed and the inhabitants will die by the sword. Babylon will be utterly destroyed. The land will lay barren for many generations.
Chapter 14: God promises that the Children of Israel shall be redeemed from Babylonia. God also promises that there will be complete redemption of all the Children of Israel in the future. God promised there would be a time that the Children of Israel would marvel at how the mighty Babylonians have fallen.
Destruction of Assyria
Chapter 14: The destruction of Assyria will happen in its time just like the destruction of Babylon will occur in its time.
Warning to Philistia
Chapter 14: Philistia is warned not to rejoice in their defeat of the Children of Israel. The only reason they were permitted to win was due to Ahaz’s wickedness. God will allow the righteous of the Children of Israel to arise again and defeat Philistia.
Downfall of Moab
Chapter 15: Isaiah prophesied that Sennacherib would come upon Moab and exile them. The people of Moab – including the armies – will cry out due to their destruction. Isaiah proclaims that his heart will be heavy and he will cry for the destruction of Moab. Jewish prophets, unlike gentile prophets, despair over the calamities that befall the Nations. Due to the wicked things that happened in Moab, their destruction shall be complete and the land shall become fallow.
Chapter 16: The people of Moab are told to make sure that if the Children of Israel come into their land while running from Nebuchadnezzar, the Moabites are told to conceal them and not turn them away. The Moabite pride and haughtiness will be their downfall. They will be destroyed and their land made fallow at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.
Breakup of the Ephramite-Aramean Alliance
Chapter 17: The city of Damascus will be utterly destroyed. The cities of Aroer shall be abandoned. The fortress of Ephraim will cease just as the glory of the Northern Tribes were lost.
Chapter 17:. In the future time, Israel will abandon its idolatrous ways and turn back to God.
Rebuke of the Nations
Chapter 17: The Nations have assisted in the oppression and punishment of Israel. In the coming days, the Nations will come to realize that they were used as a tool by God and they themselves will meet their own punishments.
Chapter 18: Emissaries from Cush shall arrive in Eretz Yisrael. They shall be there as a witness to the ingathering and reconciliation of the Children of Israel to both the Land of Israel and God.
Prophecy about Egypt
Chapter 19: God will cause Egyptian to be against Egyptian and in their fears they will turn to the idolatrous ways. The Nile will dry up and the rivers will be drained. All the crops will be dried up along the river and the fishermen will only have empty nets. The Egyptian advisers will be as fools and the Egyptians will tremble and become frightened. Five towns of Egypt will turn toward the worship of God. When they cry out to God, a supporter and savior will be sent to them and all of Egypt will come to know God. Egypt will be punished by God but He will then heal them. Egypt, Assyria, and Israel will become partners in peace.
Exile of Egypt and Cush
Chapter 20: In that day those who relied on Egypt and Cush will be led away by the Assyrians.
Downfall of Babylonia
Chapter 21: The downfall of Babylonia is reiterated. Babylonia will be besieged and plundered. Isaiah is grieved by that which is prophesied to happen to Babylonia. Isaiah is told to place Habakkuk as a witness to the destruction of Babylonia so that he may tell the people of the destruction of Babylonia by Persia and Media.
Downfall of Edom
Chapter 21: God has promised to destroy Edom unless Edom willingly repents and seeks a quick end to the exile.
Downfall of Arabia
Chapter 21: God reminds the Arabs that while the Children of Israel were wandering in Tema, the Arabs refused to be hospitable toward their cousins and offer them bread and water. God decrees that they will lose their glory and their numbers will dwindle due to their lack of hospitality and their hostility toward the Children of Israel.
Downfall of Jerusalem
Chapter 22: The people of Jerusalem will go to their rooftops to see the army that is besieging the city. Instead of dying by the sword they will die of starvation during the siege. Zedekiah and his officers would attempt to flee the city and all those left behind will be bound in chains. God grieves over the destruction of Jerusalem and the enslavement of His people. He commands the angels to leave Him alone and not try to comfort Him. Shebna, a member of the Temple’s Courtiers, wished to surrender Hezekiah to the king of Assyria. Shebna also planned his own grave amongst the graves of the House of David. God charged that Shebna would be displaced from his service in the Temple and he would not be buried in the graves of the House of David. Eliakim is promised to be placed into the position of power in the Temple. Eliakim will be a great leader and the people will come to him for advice and leadership.
Downfall and Restoration of Tyre
Chapter 23: It is prophesied that the people from the land of Kittim (the Romans) will plunder Tyre. Zidon will also fall at the same time as Tyre. When people hear of the plunder of Tyre they will quake just as they did when they heard about the plagues of Egypt. God has caused the prideful people of Tyre and Zidon to go into exile. After 70 years God will bring Tyre back to its wealthy status. The commerce of Tyre shall not become a storehouse of wealth for the people or leaders but a storehouse of plunder for the righteous in the Messianic age.
God’s Judgment of Israel
Chapter 24: The Land of Israel shall be made waste and the people shall be exiled. The Land shall be pillaged. The Land and the people who remained would be dry and thirsty due to the disobedience of the Children of Israel to God’s Torah. The joy in the Land will cease. The righteous left behind shall see the redemption from Babylonia and Edom. When the Messianic age begins, the nations’ leaders will be the first to be punished. All the idolaters shall be ashamed and humbled.
Prophecy of Salvation
Chapter 25: Mount Seir is made a city of ruin due to the wickedness of the people. This city will never be rebuilt. The Nations – specifically Gog and Magog – will come to war against Jerusalem. God will protect the righteous and be a shelter and comforter for them. The righteous will rejoice after the victory and Moab will be defeated.
The Day of the Future Deliverance
Chapter 26: Much rejoicing will come from Jerusalem on the day of her enemies’ defeat. Her gates will be open to all those who have returned from exile. God is Israel’s Rock and Strength and they are to rejoice in Him for he has caused Tyre, Rome, and other enemies of Israel to be brought low. The righteous shall have access to the straight way in order to receive their reward. The entire world will come to see God’s judgment and understand His ways when they see the righteous rewarded and the sinful punished. Masters have dominated the Children of Israel and the righteous pray to God that these wicked masters will not receive awards in the World to Come. Just as a pregnant woman shutters and experiences pain before giving birth, so to shall the righteous experience troubled times before the Redemption.
Chapter 27: Egypt, Assyria, and Edom will be dealt with harshly by God at the time of the Redemption. God has served up retribution upon the Children of Israel for their wickedness slowly over time so as not to destroy His people. God declares that He cannot rightfully and justly bring wrath against the sinful Nations for Israel has sinned as well. God remembers His promise to the forefathers that Israel shall forever be His Nation and He will not destroy it no matter how wicked the people become. If the Children of Israel would return to Torah, God would be calmed. God questions their sinfulness after seeing that Jacob and his family took root in Egypt and flourished and after seeing God smite the Egyptians who eventually oppressed the Children of Israel. Those lost in the exile will return to Jerusalem in the end of days.
Condemnation of the Northern Kingdom
Chapter 28: The ten tribes of Israel had become prideful and placed themselves in positions of power. God will cause the sinful and boastful of these tribes to be defeated and the righteous shall survive. The sinful sat in seats of judgment without offering justice. They also mocked the prophets and their teachings. God held out hope that the young innocent children would reject the idols and wicked ways of their fathers. God had sworn to met out punishment – measure for measure – against the Northern Tribes. God will judge between the righteous and the wicked. The righteous will be the rule and guide – a measurement of righteousness.
Chastisement and Deliverance of Israel
Chapter 29: The army of Sennacherib will surround the Children of Israel but they will be made as dust by God. The corruption of the people will be rampant. God implores with His people to consider their actions and cease from being corrupt. If the people will not repent and change their ways, their wisdom – their Sages – shall be taken from their midst. They shall be as one who is told to read but cannot for the book is sealed. In a future time the seal will be removed from the book and the wisdom of the Sages will return. Those who forsook the prophets will now turn to them and learn.
Chapter 30: Hoshea sent emissaries to Egypt to seek counsel with the Pharaoh without God’s permission. The Egyptians will not help them for they are vain and they will taunt the Children of Israel. The Children of Israel will rebel and choose to follow false prophecies and ally themselves with Egypt. Due to their rejection of God and the true prophecies God will withdraw from the Children of Israel.
Chapter 31: Isaiah tells the Children of Israel that they were foolish to believe that they could remove divine punishment by allying themselves with Egypt. It was prophesied that God will however deliver Jerusalem from the Assyrian assault.
Righteousness and Corruption
Chapter 32: A king – in this case Ahaz – has no right to rule unless he rules in righteousness. His son Hezekiah will rule after him and he will be a righteous king and fearful of God. The people’s eyes, ears, and hearts will be open to Torah and God during the reign of Hezekiah. The wicked will be seen for who they are and the righteous shall be seen for who they are. The cities and provinces that dwell confidently and in tranquility will become complacent. Their sins will begin to gather and the exile will not end. Jerusalem and the Land will suffer until the people return to Torah and God.
Chapter 33: Those who are treacherous and continuously spoiled others will meet their punishment – kind for kind – in the end. God will show favor to the righteous and their enemies shall be defeated. The people of Israel are comforted and told that God will protect them and forgive the sins of the righteous.
Chapter 34: God promises an end to the ungodly, treacherous Nations. Moab and Edom will meet their punishment at the end of God’s sword. God will mete out the punishment of the wicked Nations after hearing the cries of His people to judge their enemies.
Chapter 35: Jerusalem shall rejoice over the defeat of Edom and Persia. God’s glory will return to Zion. Those who previously denied God, Torah, and the Prophets will have their eyes and ears open. They will willingly turn to God, Torah, and the Prophets.
Assyria and Hezekiah
Chapter 36: In the fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib seized the cities of Judah. Sennacherib sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem to King Hezekiah with an army to deliver an ultimatum to King Hezekiah. Rabshakeh asked Hezekiah’s courtiers who he depends upon for his salvation from Assyria. He declared that Israel made a mistake on relying on Egypt to help them against Assyria. Rabshakeh mocks Hezekiah for reliance upon God for the salvation of the people. He wagers that Jerusalem will not be able to withstand the Assyrian army. Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was appointed over the Temple and Shevna the scribe and Yoah the son of Asaph, the recorder asked him to speak in Aramaic so the people would not understand him and fear. Instead, Rabshakeh shouted out to the inhabitants to not rely on Hezekiah or God. He called for them to surrender and save themselves. He laid claim that the gods of the other cities could not save them from Assyria and God will not save Jerusalem. Eliakim, Shevna, and Yoah tore their clothes and went to Hezekiah to tell him what Rabshakeh said.
Chapter 37: Upon hearing the news, Hezekiah rent his garments and covered himself with sackcloth. He went to the Temple and sent Eliakim, Shevna, and the elders of the priests in sackcloth to Isaiah. Isaiah told the servants to tell Hezekiah not to fear the words of Rabshakeh. God will make Sennacherib hear a rumor and leave Jerusalem. It came to pass that Rabshakeh returned to Sennacherib to find him fighting at Libnah. Sennacherib heard a rumor that the king of Cush was coming to do battle against him. Sennacherib sent a message to Hezekiah telling him that God will not save Jerusalem just as the gods of the other lands did not save them. Hezekiah took the letters from the servants and went to the Temple to pray to God for deliverance. Isaiah tells Hezekiah that God has heard his prayers. Isaiah prophecies that Jerusalem will be spared and Sennacherib will be defeated. God sent an angel to Jerusalem to slay 185,000 of the Assyrian army at Jerusalem. The survivors awoke in the morning and fled from Jerusalem. Sennacherib went back to Nineveh. As he was prostrating himself in the temple of Nisroch his god, his sons assassinated him. His son Esarhaddon ruled in his place.
Chapter 38: Hezekiah became seriously ill and Isaiah told him to make preparations for he would not live. Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed. God told Isaiah to return to Hezekiah and tell him that He heard Hezekiah’s prayer and he will live. Isaiah is told that that he is to tell Hezekiah that the sign that he will live is that the sun will be moved back ten steps. Ten hours were added to the day of Hezekiah’s recovery. Hezekiah recovers and offers up a song of thanksgiving to God.
Chapter 39: The king of Babylonia sent letters and gifts to Hezekiah upon hearing of his recovery. Hezekiah was very pleased and showed all the gifts to his household. Isaiah asked who these servants that brought the gifts were. Hezekiah answered that they came from Babylonia. Isaiah told Hezekiah that since he showed all his treasures to the men from Babylonia there will be a time in the future when the treasures and the people will be taken to Babylonia.
The End of Exile
Chapter 40: Isaiah returns to his future prophecies and consoles the people. The people have been treated as if they have been doubly punished for their sins but a straight path will be made for the return of the people from exile. The glory of God will be revealed and His word lasts forever. The prophets of Zion will shout and God will mete out retribution on the idolaters and enemies of Israel. Like a shepherd, God will lovingly bring his flock – his people – back to the Land and back to Him. Those who find hope in God will be brought back to the Land and will be comforted.
Trial of the Nations
Chapter 41: God calls upon the Nations to be silent and hear His words for He is the first and the last. The Nations will see the mighty works of God and will become fearful. They will call each other to arms for they believe their gods will save them. God declares that He is obliged to help His servant Israel for they are the chosen of the Nations. God will cause the Nations who attack Israel to be defeated for their false gods will not prevail.
Chapter 42: God’s servant Israel is His chosen. The servant has been privy to God’s secrets via prophecy and the servant will mete out justice at the end of time to all Nations. The servant will not need to raise his voice or admonish the Nations for they will come of their own volition to learn from Israel. The full knowledge of God will become evident to the Nations and they will willingly follow His Laws. God tells Isaiah that he was formed in order to return Israel to the covenant with God and to make Israel a light unto the Nations. God declares that His glory shall not be given to another so the Nations will not rule over Israel forever and say that their idols are powerful. When the Nations see God’s mighty deeds for Israel they will come to know that He is the true God. All peoples – including those resurrected – will give glory to God. Israel – God’s servant – who acted as if they were blind and deaf will shame-facedly turn back to God and His Torah.
Chapter 43: God tells Israel not to fear for He has redeemed them and calls them His own. God tells Israel to recall how He was with them when they crossed the Reed Sea and how the Egyptian firstborns were Israel’s ransom. God calls to the strong north wind to return the exiles. The people were exiled because they became as those who are blind and those who are deaf. God calls upon Israel because they are His witnesses to the future prophecies coming true. God foretold of these exiles to Avraham and these prophecies came true unlike the false prophecies of the foreign gods. God restates that He alone is Lord and Redeemer. There is no other. God declares that because of their sins, Israel was exiled to Babylon God declares that Israel is no longer to ruminate on the miracles of the Exodus for God will be creating a new thing that will lead back to God and Torah.
Chapter 44: God tells Israel that He will cause them to grow through righteous converts for He is the first and the last and there is none beside Him. God calls upon Israel as witnesses to His creation and His place as the only true God unlike all the idols. God declares the foolishness of idolaters. For they create something of wood and metal and then prostrate themselves to their own creations. God tells Israel to remember Him for He is the one who created them and redeemed them. He is the one who has mastery over all.
Chapter 45: God’s messiah Cyrus is blessed by God. King Cyrus was given the task – from birth – to become a great king who would release Israel from Babylon and return them to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple.
Foolishness of Idolaters and the Exile of the Babylonians
Chapter 46: Bel and Nebo – two Babylonian idols – are mocked and ridiculed to show the ridiculousness of idolatry. God calls upon Israel to listen to Him for they were saved by God. Israel is told to compare how God carries His people and cares for them as opposed to the idolaters who carries and cares for their false gods. God declares that He will always be just and merciful toward Israel. God declares that He is unique and He cannot be compared to anyone by Israel. God declares that He will bring about the salvation of Israel without delay.
Chapter 47: The Babylonians and Chaldeans shall prostrate themselves and be servants for their kingdoms shall be ruled over by Persia and Media. God chastises the Chaldeans for being harsh toward the Children of Israel when He put them in the hands of the Chaldeans as punishment for their sins. God declares that He will bring punishment to the Chaldeans for their harsh behavior toward the Children of Israel.
Redemption of Israel
Chapter 48: God tells Israel to recall how Benjamin and Judah were spared the first expulsion but were later expelled to Babylon. They are also to recall how they saw their redemption through Cyrus. The redemption from Egypt and Hezekiah’s salvation from the hand of Sennacherib were the first of the prophecies that came true. God made sure that these miracles were prophesied so the Children of Israel would not say that their idols performed the miracles. Now, God has brought new prophets to prophesy to Israel. These prophecies are new to Israel but God has known them forever. God knew that Israel would rebel against the prophets and Torah but God cooled His wrath toward Israel. God punished them through poverty. God calls upon Israel to listen and return to Him for He is the first and the last and there is no other. If Israel had listened to God they would be have peace, prosperity, and many children. Israel is told to leave the Babylonians and the Chaldeans – singing praises of thanksgiving to God for rescuing them.
Chapter 49: Isaiah tells of how he was chosen by God to be a prophet while he was still in the womb. Isaiah willingly became a prophet and attempted to bring Israel back to God. God, through Isaiah, promises redemption to the exiled of Israel and to bring them back to the Land.
Chapter 50: Isaiah continues to tell Israel that even though it seems that God has left them, He still calls them His chosen and will eventually redeem them. Isaiah recalls how he willingly prophesied and was taunted and abused by Israel. However, Isaiah confirms his belief that God will ultimately redeem him. Isaiah calls upon the righteous to place their faith in God for even in times of trouble God will save them. Isaiah tells the wicked that if they refuse to repent and return to God, they will be punished.
Chapter 51: Isaiah calls upon the righteous to return to God and Torah. God, through Isaiah, calls upon Israel to return to Him and He will redeem them.
Chapter 52: God tells Israel that they shall be redeemed. The Land will once again be prosperous and Israel will multiply.
Chapter 53: The Nations will speak in wonder to one another when they see the redemption of Israel and the miracles that God will perform on their behalf. The Nations will come to realize that Israel was punished for the atonement of the Nations.
Chapter 54: Israel is told by God that He will ultimately redeem them and any Nation who rises up against them will be defeated.
Chapter 55: The righteous shall return to God and follow His Torah. The wicked shall learn from the righteous and ultimately return to God and Torah.
Chapter 56: God promises that the righteous of Israel – including the converts – will be redeemed and rewarded during the Messianic Age. The Temple shall be rebuilt and worship will once again commence.
The Righteous and the Wicked
Chapter 57: God declares that due to the evil of some, the righteous have been taken away. It is the wish for the righteous to go to their forefathers in peace rather than endure the evil. God tells those left behind after the righteous depart that God will withdraw from them for their evil deeds. They have turned their back on the messages from the prophets. They have turned their backs on God and Torah. God however does say that if the evil person will repent and honestly approach God, the person will be forgiven and God will return to him.
Chapter 58: The wicked people continue to ask questions about Torah and the laws of the wise men as if the wicked people were intending to keep Torah. The wicked people are told that God has made the commands as a way of reaching Him and becoming close to Him. They are told that if they return to Torah, God will forgive them of their transgressions.
Chapter 59: The wicked are told that it is due to their own decisions and their refusal to follow Torah that they are separated from God. It is not that God has permanently kept Himself away from them. The wicked have made their way crooked. They do not know justice because they do not seek justice and truth. Even though the wicked who do not repent shall be punished, God has promised that Torah will never be removed from the Children of Israel.
Chapter 60: God calls upon the Children of Israel to be a light for the Nations. If they would only follow Torah, the Nations would come to them with riches and for guidance. The Nations will hear of God and will come to worship Him. They will stand behind the Children of Israel and will support them. Those Nations who will not support the Children of Israel however will be destroyed. In the end of times there will be universal recognition of God and the guidance of the Children of Israel will be sought. Sinfulness will disappear and eternal peace will be established.
Chapter 61: God will bring tidings of redemption upon the Children of Israel. They will return to Eretz Yisrael and they will begin to rebuild the Land. The Nations will willingly assist the Children of Israel in restoring the Land. The righteous will be rewarded and the Covenant with the Children of Israel will be reestablished.
Chapter 62: There will be no peace until Zion’s righteousness comes out like brilliance. The Nations will see the brilliance and Zion will be cherished above all other places. The Nations will call the Children of Israel a holy people. The righteousness of the Children of Israel will never be forgotten.
Conqueror of Edom
Chapter 63: God will wreak vengeance upon Edom and the Children of Israel will return to God. Isaiah offers a prayer to God espousing the greatness of God and his inquiring about why the Children of Israel were led astray and trampled upon.
Chapter 64: Isaiah continues his prayer with the acknowledgment that no Nation has seen the miracles of God as has the Children of Israel. Isaiah concludes his prayer asking again why God has taken away the righteous and why God has removed Himself from His people.
Chapter 65: God replies to Isaiah that it is impossible for God not to avenge Himself on the Children of Israel. God has allowed Himself to be sought by them by reproving them through His prophets, but they did not ask. God however tells Isaiah that He will keep a righteous remnant amongst the Children of Israel for they shall be the inheritors of Zion. In the end times, there will be an everlasting peace and Israel will be rebuilt.
Chapter 66: There will be a time when God will cause the Children of Israel to be exalted among the Nations. Israel will be redeemed and the Temple will be rebuilt.
The Nations will marvel at the redemption of Israel.
Sefer Yirmiyahu – the Book of Jeremiah – is the sixth book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Nevi’im Aharonim – Latter Prophets.
Chapter 1 took place during the reign of King Josiah. This chapter describes the calling of Jeremiah to lead the Children of Israel back to God.
Chapters 2 through 35 are warnings to the Children of Israel.
Chapters 2 through 6 are the earliest discourses.
Beginning with chapter 7, the prophecies of Jeremiah took place during the reign of King Jehoiakim. Chapters 7 through 10 are messages regarding the Temple.
Chapters 11 through 13 are messages regarding the covenant and conspiracy.
Chapters 14 and 15 concern the drought.
Chapters 16 and 17 concern disaster and comfort messages as well as the command to keep Shabbat holy.
Chapters 18 through 20 are lessons from the potter.
Chapters 21-24 are condemnations of the kings, prophets, and the Children of Israel.
Chapters 25 through 29 are a foretelling of the Babylonian exile.
Chapters 30 through 33 are promises of restoration from the exile.
Chapters 34-35 are an historical appendix.
Chapters 36 through 38 concern the sufferings and persecutions of Jeremiah.
Chapters 39 through 45 regard the fall of Jerusalem and its aftermath.
Chapters 46 through 51 speak of judgments against the Nations.
Chapter 52 is an historical appendix.
Call of the Prophet
Chapter 1: Jeremiah was called to prophesy during the reigns of King Josiah and King Jehoiakim. God told Jeremiah that he was destined to be a prophet while still in his mother’s womb. Jeremiah is warned that the Children of Israel will fight against him.
Chapter 2: Jeremiah is told to confront the Children of Israel and to ask why they have forsaken God and His Torah. They have committed two grievous sins – turning their backs on God and making gods for themselves. God says that Egypt will betray Israel. He asks why Israel left Him only to put their trust in Egypt. The Children of Israel are warned that their evils deeds will bring suffering upon them.
Chapter 3: God declares that the Children of Israel are not fit for Him and He has withheld the rains. He tells the Children of Israel that if only they would confess, He would not hold their sins against them. The idolatry of the Kingdom of Israel is recalled and the ultimate deceit of the Kingdom of Judah and its own idolatry is discussed. Jeremiah is told to call the people to return from their backsliding and return to God. If they would only repent and return to God, He would forgive them and nourish them with knowledge and understanding.
Chapter 4: Israel is told that if it repents and returns to God, they will be returned to their previous glory and splendor rather than be spread over the earth. If the Children of Israel will not repent then God will bring an enemy from the north – Nebuchadnezzar – to punish them.
Chapter 5: Jeremiah asks God why the people do not seek faith. He also laments the fact that the people have become impoverished of wisdom. Even the great ones among the people have broken from God. The kingdoms of Babylon, Media, Greece, and Edom will be set upon the Children of Israel as punishment for their sins. When the people ask why they are being punished, Jeremiah is instructed to them that because they served foreign gods they will now be strangers serving in a foreign land.
Chapter 6: Kings and their armies shall surround Jerusalem and lay siege to the city. God declares that if the people will return to Him Jerusalem will be spared but if they do not repent, they will be severely punished.
Chapter 7: God commands Jeremiah to go to the Children of Israel and call upon them to repent. They are not to listen to false prophets and they are to do justice to their fellow man, the widow, and the orphan. The people are reproached for continuing to sin and then come to the Temple for forgiveness without truly repenting and changing their ways. God declares that due to the continuation of serving foreign gods, the Temple will have the same fate as the Tabernacle at Shiloh during Eli’s time. The people are reminded that they are only God’s special people if they obey His commands and statutes. However, since the time they were taken out of Egypt they were continuously sent prophets but they continued to sin. Therefore, God has rejected them and will cause them to be punished.
Chapter 8: The Children of Israel are warned that the Chaldeans will defile the graves of the dead. Death will become preferable to life. Jeremiah asks if God will rescind this decree if the people will truly repent. God has declared that the people only pay lip service and do not truly repent of their wickedness. God declares that the decree shall stand. Jerusalem will be pillaged, the land laid to waste, theft of the peoples’ properties will happen, and exile will ensue.
Chapter 9: God laments the treachery of His people. They are warned not to trust one another for they are all deceitful, treacherous, and slanderous. Therefore, through torments will God refine and cleanse them. God declares that the land will be made waste and the Children of Israel will be forced into exile and become scattered over the entire earth.
Chapter 10: Jeremiah calls upon the people to not follow the ways of the Nations. The Nations are deceitful and full of lies therefore the Children of Israel are to not follow their ways. The Nations are full of vanity and pride. They follow foreign gods of wood and metal. It is only good for the Children of Israel to serve God and follow His commands and statutes for He is the only true God and Creator of all.
Covenant and Conspiracy
Chapter 11: Jeremiah is told by God to warn the Children of Israel about their sins. Jeremiah is to call them back to the covenant that was given to their forefathers. A curse is placed upon those who will continue to forsake the covenant and God.
Chapter 12: Jeremiah asks God why He has allowed the wicked to prosper. Jeremiah calls upon God to weed out the wicked so they may be brought to justice. Jeremiah asks why the Land and the entire people must be punished for the sins of the wicked. God responds that many have forsaken the covenant and the people must be punished. God does tell Jeremiah that those who conquer Israel will themselves be conquered and the Children of Israel will once again come back to the Land.
Chapter 13: Jeremiah is to tell the Children of Israel that due to their idolatry and refusal to follow the covenant, they will be punished. However, Jeremiah is also to continue to call for the return of the people to the covenant.
Messages Concerning the Drought
Chapter 14: God tells Jeremiah that due to the wickedness of the people the drought will be long in the Land and the people will be exiled.
Chapter 15: God tells Jeremiah that the wickedness will be punished by exile. However, when the people do return to the Land, God will return with them.
Disaster and Comfort
Chapter 16: Jeremiah is commanded by God to tell the Children of Israel that they are cursed for the young and the old will die and not be lamented over. Women will not give birth and joy will be replaced with sorrow. When the people ask why this evil will befall them, Jeremiah is to tell them that they are being punished for the idolatry and the refusal to follow God and Torah.
Chapter 17: Those who continue in their wickedness will be cursed and those who return to God will be blessed.
Command of Shabbat
Chapter 17: God tells Jeremiah to go to the gate of the city and call upon the people to repent, turn back to God, and follow the laws of Shabbat. Jeremiah is to tell the people that if they repent and follow the laws of Shabbat, they will be redeemed and remain in the Land. Otherwise, the people will be exiled.
Lessons from the Potter
Chapter 18: Jeremiah is sent by God to a potter’s shop and witness his work. God told Jeremiah that He, like the potter, can rebuild a people who have been cursed if they only repent. Jeremiah is told to call the Children of Israel to repentance but if they do not repent, they will be punished with exile. The people plotted to kill Jeremiah due to his words. Jeremiah calls upon God to curse them and not turn toward them even if they repent.
Chapter 19: Jeremiah is told to take a potter’s vessel and go to the Ben-Hinnom Valley with elders of the people. There he is to call to the people and tell them of the evil that will befall them due to their wickedness and idolatry. Jeremiah is commanded to break the potter’s vessel and declare that God will break the people and the Land like Jeremiah has broken the potter’s vessel.
Chapter 20: Pashhur son of Immer the priest heard of Jeremiah’s prophecies. He assaulted Jeremiah and placed him in prison. The next day, Pashhur removed Jeremiah from prison. Jeremiah prophesied that Pashhur would be carried into exile and die in Babylon for his idolatrous ways and false prophecies. The prophecy of exile is re-told and the call to repentance is restated.
Condemnation of the Peoples
Chapter 21: King Zedekiah sent messengers to Jeremiah asking that he offer up prayers of assistance against Nebuchadnezzar who was waging war against the people. God responds through Jeremiah that the Children of Israel will not be saved but will be forced to flee into the city where they will experience a disease and starvation. Nebuchadnezzar will then siege the city and take King Zedekiah and the inhabitants as prisoners and put them to the sword. God has turned His back on the city but those who defect to Nebuchadnezzar will be spared. Jeremiah tells the messengers that because of the wicked deeds of the king’s house, the king and his house will not be spared.
Chapter 22: The messengers are told to return to King Zedekiah and tell the people that they are to return to God and Torah and be blessed or if they refuse to do so, they will be cursed. God promises to make waste of the land and many people will ask why. The answer is a punishment for the rejection of God and the worshipping of idols. Zedekiah is prophesied to be taken into exile where he will die and none will mourn for him. Jeconiah is cursed and told that none of his descendants shall ever sit on the throne of Israel.
Chapter 23: The kings of Judah were not careful in watching over the people and this led to the exile. However, the people will be restored and righteous kings will be over them. False prophets have arisen and led the people to idolatry and evilness. God is grieved by these false prophets and their followers. These false prophets also led to the exile.
Chapter 24: Jeremiah is shown two vessels of figs by God as an example of the people. God tells Jeremiah that the good figs represent Jeconiah and the people who went into exile. The exile will be used for good and the people will return to the Land. The bad figs represent Zedekiah and the people who remain in the Land. They will be a cursed people and the Land will be desolate because of them.
Foretelling of the Babylonian Exile
Chapter 25: During the reign of Jehoiakim Jeremiah spoke before the people telling them that they have been sent himself and other prophets warning them about their evil ways yet they did not hearken to the prophets words and repent. Since the people refused to repent the people of the north will be exiled by Nebuchadnezzar for seventy years. At the end of the seventy years, Babylon will be destroyed and the people will return to the Land. Jeremiah also tells of the desolation of the other Nations that have enslaved the Children of Israel.
Chapter 26: Jeremiah is told to go to the Temple and prophesy in hopes that the people will repent. Jeremiah is to tell them that if they do not repent, God will curse them and make the Land desolate. The people, upon hearing the words of Jeremiah, seized him in anger. They sent out a report of his words to the other people calling for his death. Jeremiah explains that he was sent by God to warn the people that if they do not repent, they will be cursed. Two other prophets, Micah and Uriah, also prophesied about the curse that will befall the people. Upon hearing of Jeremiah’s death sentence, Uriah fled to Egypt where he was later captured and put to death by Jehoiakim.
Chapter 27: Jeremiah was told by God to send out ambassadors to the king of Edom, the king of Moab, the king of the children of Ammon, the king of Tyre, and to the king of Zidon. They were told that Nebuchadnezzar would rise up and conquer them. However if they willingly surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar and served him, God promised that they would remain on their lands. This same message was sent by Jeremiah to King Zedekiah of Judah. The king was told not to listen to the false prophets who said not to submit to Babylon. For these prophets were sent by God to cause Zedekiah and the false prophets to be removed from the Land.
Chapter 28: In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah Hananiah the prophet came before Jeremiah and prophesied in the Temple. Hananiah prophesied that in two years the yoke of Babylon would be destroyed and the exiles would return. God came to Jeremiah and told him to confront Hananiah for Hananiah is a false prophet and will die because of his false prophecies.
Chapter 29: Jeremiah sent a message to the exiles of Babylon. They were told to live in peace with their captors and to build houses and marry and bare children. They are to not listen to the false prophets among them. God will remember the people after seventy years for they will have repented and turned back to God and His statutes. The people will be redeemed back to the Land.
Promises of Restoration
Chapter 30: Jeremiah is told that in the future, the Children of Israel will be gathered back to the Land to once again possess it. The yoke of the Nations will be taken off the Children of Israel. Those Nations will be destroyed but Israel will be cleansed and not destroyed. The Temple will be rebuilt and the people will return to God.
Chapter 31: Just as those who were faithful in the Wilderness were spared so will those who will be in exile. The people will be gathered into the Land and the Land will itself be restored.
Chapter 32: Jeremiah has been imprisoned by Zedekiah due to Jeremiah’s cursed prophecies regarding Babylon, Israel, and the king himself. Jeremiah spoke to Zedekiah telling him that due to the wickedness of the Children of Israel – for they turned their backs on God and worshipped idols – Babylon would come to exile them. However, there will come a time when God will gather the exiles back to the Land and the Land will be renewed.
Chapter 33: Jeremiah continues to explain that the Children of Israel will be redeemed from exile. They will be purified as before and shall rebuild the Land. There will be peace and joy in the Land. The Davidic kingdom will not be cut off and the Levites shall perform their service in the Temple. However, if the people reject God and His statutes, He will turn His back on the people, the Davidic line, and the Levites.
Chapter 34: Jeremiah was told by God to inform Zedekiah that Nebuchadnezzar would defeat Jerusalem and carry away captives. Zedekiah would however live and die peacefully. While Babylon was waging war against Judah, Zedekiah proclaimed that all Jewish slaves were to be freed. The people made this covenant with Zedekiah and released the slaves only to re-buy them. God through Jeremiah told the people that because they forsook the sabbatical year and did not ultimately free their Jewish slaves, they themselves would be cursed with disease and famine. Those leaders who refused to follow the statutes of the sabbatical year are cursed. They will be delivered into the hands of the Babylonians and they shall be killed and not mourned over. The cities of Judah will be destroyed and Zedekiah will be taken captive by the Babylonians.
Chapter 35: Jeremiah used the Rechabites as an example for the people of Judah. The Rechabites have followed their father’s instructions for many years yet the people of Judah have yet to hearken to God’s words. The people of Judah were given prophets yet they remained wicked. Therefore said God, the people are cursed for their wicked ways. However the Rechabites will be spared because they followed their father’s commands.
Sufferings and Persecutions of Jeremiah
Chapter 36: In the fourth year of Jehoiakim God told Jeremiah to write down all of his prophecies upon a scroll in the hopes that Israel will hear them and repent. Jeremiah called on Baruch to write the scroll because Jeremiah was imprisoned. Baruch was told to write down all the prophecies and read them in the Temple on a fast day in hopes that the people will repent. In the fifth year of Jehoiakim a fast day was proclaimed. Baruch went to the Temple and read the prophecies of Jeremiah. Micaiah heard what Baruch was speaking and went to tell the king’s scribes and officers. Jehudi was sent to tell Baruch to take his scroll and leave but Baruch came to the scribes and officers where they told him to read the prophecies to them. Baruch read the prophecies of Jeremiah to the king’s scribes and officers. They became very afraid of the prophecies and swore to tell the king all that was prophesied. The officers told Baruch to hide himself and Jeremiah. The officers went to the king and told him what had transpired. The king ordered Jehudi to bring the scroll to him and read it before him and his officers. After Jehudi read only a few lines, Jehoiakim took the scroll and burnt it upon the fire. The king ordered Baruch and Jeremiah to be arrested but God concealed them. God called upon Jeremiah to write another scroll just like the one that was burnt. Jeremiah was also to tell the king that his descendants will be punished for their sins and there will never be another of his seed to sit upon the throne of David.
Chapter 37: Zedekiah was made king instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim. The people still refused to listen to God and the words of Jeremiah. The Pharaoh’s army left Egypt and the Chaldeans upon hearing this news ceased their siege on Jerusalem. However, God told Jeremiah to warn the people not to rely upon the Egyptians for help for as soon as the Egyptians return home, the Chaldeans will burn Jerusalem. Jeremiah left Jerusalem and went to the land of Benjamin. While at the gate, Irijah accused Jeremiah of defecting to the Chaldeans. Against the innocent plea of Jeremiah, Irijah ceased him and took him to the officers. Jeremiah was imprisoned. King Zedekiah secreted Jeremiah to his home and asked Jeremiah of any word from God. Jeremiah told Zedekiah that it was prophesied that he would be taken by the Babylonians. Zedekiah became upset by this news. Jeremiah requested that he not be sent back to the prison from where he came. Zedekiah relented and permitted Jeremiah to stay in the prison yard and ensured that he was fed daily.
Chapter 38: The officers went to King Zedekiah and told him that Jeremiah should be put to death for his prophecies have weakened the resolve of the men to fight for Jerusalem. The king relented and gave Jeremiah into their hands. They took Jeremiah and cast him into the pit of Malchiah the king’s son. Ebed-melech the Cushite pleaded for Jeremiah’s life. Zedekiah permitted him to take some men and rescue Jeremiah from the pit. Ebed-melech and his men drew Jeremiah up out of the pit with a make-shift rope. Jeremiah was then permitted to stay in the prison yard. Zedekiah took Jeremiah into the Temple and asked that Jeremiah tell him everything that he knew about the coming siege. Jeremiah told Zedekiah that if he gave himself over to the Babylonians he and his house would be spared as would Jerusalem. However, if he did not do so, he and his family and well as Jerusalem would not survive. Jeremiah was then taken back to the prison yard upon swearing to Zedekiah that his words would not be revealed. Jeremiah remained in the prison yard until Jerusalem was overrun.
The Fall of Jerusalem and Its Aftermath
Chapter 39: In the ninth year of Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezzar began a siege on Jerusalem. In the eleventh year, a breach was made to the city. Zedekiah and his army fled from Jerusalem. The Chaldeans pursued after them and caught them on the plains of Jericho. Nebuchadnezzar slaughtered the nobles of Judah as well as Zedekiah’s sons in Riblah. He then had Zedekiah blinded and bound in chains to be taken to Babylon. Jerusalem was destroyed and those who remained in the city were exiled to Babylon. Nebuzaradan the chief executioner however left all the poor people in Judah and gave them land and vineyards. Nebuzaradan was ordered by Nebuchadnezzar to release Jeremiah from prison. Jeremiah was not to be harmed and whatever he told Nebuzaradan to do, he was to do. Jeremiah was told by God to go to Ebed- melech the Cushite and tell him that because of his loyalty to God he would be spared and not driven into exile with the others.
Chapter 40: Nebuzaradan brought Jeremiah to Ramah and reminded Jeremiah that the destruction had come because the people did not hearken unto God’s words. Nebuzaradan told Jeremiah that if he wanted to come to Babylon he was permitted for he would be protected. However, he could stay in Judah and live anywhere he wished. Jeremiah chose to return to Gedaliah’s house in Mizpah. Gedaliah was made the governor over Judah and he told the people to not fear the Chaldeans. The people who remained were to be protected and if they served the king of Babylon they would be safe. Johanan came to Gedaliah and told him of the plot by Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to assassinate him on orders of the king of Ammon. Johanan asked for permission to assassinate Ishmael but Gedaliah told him no.
Chapter 41: In the seventh month, Ishmael and ten men came to Mizpah and broke bread with Gedaliah. Ishmael rose up and slew Gedaliah and all the men of Judah and the Chaldeans who were with him. Eighty men came from the north to bring an offering to God. They were captured by Ishmael but spared because they offered up their food stores. Ishmael captured the remnant of the people of Mizpah and attempted to carry them back to Ammon. When Johanan heard what had happened, he and his men pursued Ishmael unto the waters of Gibeon. Ishmael and his men fled in terror and the people went and dwelt near Beth-lehem.
Chapter 42: Johanan and his officers came to Jeremiah to seek guidance from God. God told Jeremiah that if the people would dwell in that land and listen to Him, they would be safe and grow in number. However, if the people decide to turn their backs on God and go to Egypt for safety they will be cursed with famine and killed by the sword.
Chapter 43: Azariah and Johanan accuse Jeremiah of speaking falsely and being incited against them by Baruch. They fear retaliation by the Chaldeans and accuse Jeremiah of wishing to hand them over to them. Johanan and his officers did not listen to Jeremiah. They took the people – including Jeremiah and Baruch – to Egypt. Jeremiah prophesied that Nebuchadnezzar would come against Egypt. He would conquer the land and destroy the temples.
Chapter 44: Jeremiah is told by God to prophesy to the people who came to Egypt. They are reminded of what had befallen those in Judah who committed idolatry and turned from God. The people are told that God will bring the same famine and pestilence to Egypt that he brought to Jerusalem. Jeremiah tells the people that God will bring evil upon them and none of them that came to Egypt will survive. In addition, Pharaoh Hophra will be given over to Nebuchadnezzar just as Zedekiah was given over.
Chapter 45: Jeremiah tells Baruch that he will be spared. Since he has been faithful to Jeremiah and to God his life will be spared.
Judgment Against the Nations
Chapter 46: Jeremiah is told by God what will befall Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, will strike Egypt and defeat it.
Chapter 47: Jeremiah is told by God that the Philistines will be defeated at the hands of the Egyptians.
Chapter 48: Jeremiah is told that God will hand out justice to Moab whose cities will be decimated and whose children will be taken into exile.
Chapter 49: Jeremiah is told that the children of Ammon will be defeated in battle, Edom will be decimated because they turned on God, and Damascus will be defeated. Kedar and Hazor as well as Elman will also be defeated and exiled.
Chapter 50: Jeremiah is told that Persia and Media will march against Babylon. The Children of Israel will turn to God and will ultimately be redeemed and returned to Jerusalem under the graces of King Cyrus.
Chapter 51: Foreigners – Persia and Media – will invade Babylon and swallow it. The Children of Israel will be redeemed from their exile in Babylon.
Chapter 52: Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king and he did evil in the sight of God. In the ninth year of his reign Nebuchadnezzar began a siege on Jerusalem which lasted until the eleventh year of his reign. When the Babylonians captured Jerusalem, Zedekiah fled but was captured in the plains of Jericho. His sons were killed before him and he was then blinded and taken to Babylon in chains. In the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar’s reign, the Temple was burnt. The entire area of Jerusalem was leveled by fire and the walls were destroyed. The Temple treasures were taken and the people were exiled. In the thirty-seventh year of Jehoiachin king of Judah’s exile, Evil-merodach was crowned king of Babylon. In that same year, he released Jehoiachin from prison and made a high-ranking official in the kingdom. Evil-merodach ensured that Jehoiachin was fed everyday at the king’s table.
Sefer Yechezkiel – the Book of Ezekiel – is the seventh book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Nevi’im Aharonim – Latter Prophets. Sefer Ezekiel was written for the Jews who were being held captive in Babylon following the siege of Jerusalem in 597 BCE.
Up to the point of the exile, religious expressions were based upon the sacrifices performed at the Temple in Jerusalem. However, since the Temple was destroyed and the people taken captive, there arose important theological issues. Ezekiel wrote about these problems and how they were to be resolved while the Jews were in exile in Babylon.
The book falls into two principal parts which correspond to the two principle themes of Ezekiel. Chapters one through 24 speak about repentance and salvation and chapters 25 through 48 speak about judgment and restoration.
Chapters one through three are the inaugural vision where Ezekiel sees a vision of God’s chariot. Ezekiel is told that he is to be a prophet and a watchman to the Children of Israel.
Chapters four through 24 are the judgments on Jerusalem and Judah. Ezekiel makes a series of denunciations against his fellow Judeans. They are warned about the destruction of Jerusalem if they do not return to God and Torah.
Chapters 25 through 32 are prophecies against foreign nations. It is prophesied that the Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites, Philistines, Tyre, Sidon, and Egypt will see destruction.
Chapters 33 through 39 speak about the Jews’ ultimate redemption and return to Jerusalem. These are considered prophecies about the current Jews in Babylon as well as the coming Messianic Age.
Chapters 40 through 48 speak about the restoration of Jerusalem and the Temple. This is a prophecy about the coming Messianic Age.
Chapter 1: While Ezekiel was at the River Chebar, he saw visions of God. He initially saw a huge cloud and flaming fire. He witnessed four beings. All the beings were in the form of humans with four faces – man, lion, ox, and eagle. Each being also had four wings. He also witnessed wheels within wheels that had the appearance of crystal. Within the cloud he saw a sapphire stone in the likeness of a throne and upon that throne was the glory of God.
Chapter 2: God called to Ezekiel and told him that he is to be a prophet to the rebellious Children of Israel. A scroll appeared before him. When it was opened, Ezekiel saw written upon it lamentations, murmurings, and woes.
Chapter 3: Ezekiel was told to eat the scroll and allow it to become part of him. Ezekiel was commanded to go and speak to the Children of Israel. God told Ezekiel that he is not sent to other Nations for they would surely listen to him. Instead, Ezekiel is sent to Israel who will not listen to him due to their stubborn nature. Ezekiel was then lifted up and placed among the exiled. For seven days he sat confused and unable to speak to the people. After seven days, God began to speak through Ezekiel. He was told that if a wicked man does wickedness and Ezekiel warns him, yet the man still does wickedness, the sin is upon the man. If a righteous man sins and Ezekiel warns him, yet the man still sins, the sin is upon the man. God tells Ezekiel to confine himself to his house. He is only to speak when God tells him to speak and he shall speak in God’s Name. God tells Ezekiel that those who listen will listen and those who will close their ears will close their ears.
Judgment of Jerusalem and Judah
Chapter 4: Ezekiel is commanded to take a brick and act out the siege that will be brought upon Jerusalem. Ezekiel is to lie on his side for 390 days to symbolize the 390 years that Israel sinned. He is also to lay on his side for 40 days to symbolize the 40 years that the Kingdom of Judah sinned after the Northern Tribes were sent into exile. Ezekiel is commanded to make a stew for himself that he is to eat the entire time that he lays on his side. He is also to drink a measured amount of water. God tells Ezekiel that when the siege comes, bread and water will be lacking.
Chapter 5: Ezekiel is commanded to shave the hair of his head and beard. He is to burn one-third of the hair on the brick that symbolized Jerusalem. One-third of the hair is to be scattered to the wind. The remaining hair is to be burned on a fire. This is to symbolize the coming destruction of Jerusalem. God states that due to Israel’s wickedness and neglect of God’s commandments, He has turned away from Israel and will punish her through the Nations that surround her.
Chapter 6: Ezekiel is commanded to prophesy to the hills and valleys surrounding Jerusalem. He is to tell of the coming war and the destruction of the high places and altars on the hills. Ezekiel goes on to prophesy about the multitude of dead and the destroyed cities upon the hills and in the valleys. Ezekiel is told to declare that due to the wickedness of Israel, she shall fall by the sword, by famine, and by plague.
Chapter 7: Ezekiel is told to tell Israel that due to her wicked deeds she will be punished. God will show no mercy toward her and the people shall be cut off from the Land.
Chapter 8: Ezekiel is transported by God in a vision to the future to see what has become of Jerusalem. Ezekiel sees an idol that has been placed inside the Temple. Ezekiel sees idols and idolatrous practices being performed around and inside the Temple in Jerusalem. God tells Ezekiel that due to this wickedness, Israel will come under God’s wrath and He will show no mercy to Israel.
Chapter 9: In this vision of Jerusalem’s future, Ezekiel hears God call the Nation that is to come and punish Israel. He hears God command the Nation to pass through Jerusalem and not spare anyone from the sword. Ezekiel falls on his face and cries out to God asking Him if He intends on destroying the entire remnant of Israel in His wrath. God answered that Israel’s sins are very great and that He will show no compassion toward her.
Chapter 10: In this vision of Jerusalem’s future, Ezekiel witnessed a cloud filling the inner chamber of the Temple and cherubim standing on the right side of the Temple. A man clothed in linen approached the wheels and the cherubim. The cherubim stretched out their hand and gave coals to the man in linen. The cherubim had what appeared to be human hands under their wings. The wheels were wheels within wheels and appeared as crystal. The cherubim each had four faces – that of a man, a lion, an eagle, and a cherub. The wheels acted in correspondence to the moves of the cherubim. Ezekiel realized that these were the same beings he saw at the River Chebar.
Chapter 11: Ezekiel was transported to the eastern gate of the Temple where twenty-five men – including Jaazaniah the son of Azzur and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people – were gathered. God tells Ezekiel that these men are the ones who are plotting against Him. God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to them of the coming destruction. As Ezekiel is prophesying to them, Pelatiah died and Ezekiel mourns. God tells Ezekiel not to fear for even though the people will be scattered among the Nations, God will be a small sanctuary to them. God also tells Ezekiel that the people will be returned from exile back to the Land. They will be of one heart and one mind. They will follow the mitzvot of the Torah as commanded by God. Ezekiel is then transported to the Chaldeans, to the exile, where he told the people all that he had seen in his vision.
Chapter 12: God commanded Ezekiel to bring out implements for exile. He was to dig into the wall by hand. This was to show the people how rebellious they have been – in hopes that they would change their ways. Ezekiel is told that when the people ask what he is doing he is to them of the impending exile. Yet, there will still be some who will survive so as to tell of the abominations that are in the Nations to which they have been scattered. God commands Ezekiel to eat and drink with anxiety. This is to be a sign to the people that a siege of Jerusalem is coming and the inhabitants will eat and drink with great anxiety for the Land will be laid to waste. Ezekiel is told that prophecy will end. Prophecy will not be found within the house of Israel. Ezekiel is told that when the people say that his prophecies are about a far off time, Ezekiel is to tell them that when God speaks a word, that word shall be carried out but not in a far off time.
Chapter 13: Ezekiel is told that he is to confront the false prophets. The false prophets speak untruth when they declare that there shall be peace in Jerusalem. Ezekiel is to confront them about their false prophecies.
Chapter 14: Some elders of Israel who were idolaters came to speak with Ezekiel. God told Ezekiel to tell them and all Israel that they are to remove the idols from their lives or they will be cut off from among the people. Ezekiel is told that the Land will be made desolate. Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the Land, it would still become desolate but these men would save themselves through righteousness. God bemoans the fact that there are no such men in the Land. Ezekiel is comforted by God who tells him that a faithful remnant will return to the Land and they will be known by their righteous deeds.
Chapter 15: God tells Ezekiel that since the people have trespassed against Him, the Land will become desolate.
Chapter 16: Ezekiel is told to tell Israel about her abominations. Israel was cared for and loved by God. She was raised up among the Nations. However, eventually Israel turned her back upon God and His Torah. They built idols and offered before them – even sacrificing their own children. Israel refused to return to God. Instead they relied on the Nations for help. Due to all these evils, God will punish Israel. However, the covenant will be renewed between Israel and God and the people will return to Him.
Chapter 17: God gave a riddle about eagles and a vine to Ezekiel and a parable that is to be given to the people. The answer to the riddle is given to the people. Nebuchadnezzar is the great eagle, Jerusalem is the crown. Jehoiachin is represented by the young twigs and Babylonia is the land of merchants. Babylonia’s attack is the east wind of the riddle and the second eagle is the Pharaoh of Egypt. Ezekiel is told that even though Israel will be exiled, God will eventually return them to Jerusalem so the Nations may know that he is God.
Chapter 18: God tells Ezekiel that all souls are His alone. God tells Ezekiel that if a righteous man follows the Torah and serves God only he shall live. Ezekiel is told that if an unrighteous man turns his back on the Torah and serves other gods he shall die for his iniquities. If a father is wicked yet his son is righteous, the son shall live but the father shall die for his iniquities. The son shall not be held responsible and shall not be punished for his father’s wickedness. If a wicked man repents and follows the commands of God he shall be forgiven and live. His previous sins shall not be remembered for God desires not the death of the wicked but rather their return to Him. God calls for the repentance of Israel that she may live.
Chapter 19: Ezekiel is given a prophecy about Israel who is compared to a lioness and Kings Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim who are compared to two lion cubs. King Jehoahaz betrayed and robbed his fellow Jews and the policies of King Jehoiakim brought about much of the destruction of Judah. Israel is likened to the reigns of David and Solomon who were blessed with success. A prophecy about Israel was given to Ezekiel. Israel, like a vine, was sturdy and strong. However, like the vine, Israel will become broken, dried, and planted in a desolate land.
Chapter 20: Elders of the people came to inquire of Ezekiel regarding the prophecies against Israel. Ezekiel tells the elders how God brought the people out of Egypt telling them to remove all the idols from their midst. However, they did not listen to God but kept many idols. Even so, God brought them out of Egypt to the Wilderness so His name would not be desecrated. In the Wilderness, the people rebelled after being given God’s commandments. However, God showed mercy and did not completely destroy the people. The children were given a reprieve and told to walk in the ways of God. The children also rebelled and God removed Himself from them and threatened to scatter them among the Nations. The people were brought into the Land yet they rebelled and worshipped false gods. They wished to assimilate into the surrounding Nations and become like them. However, God would not permit this to happen. God states that He will force the people to serve him like he did to the people in the Wilderness. The people will remember their God and their responsibilities.
Chapter 21: Ezekiel is given a parable to be given to Israel as a prophecy. Ezekiel is told that there is a fire coming that will destroy the trees – both moist and dry. God declares that He will bring the sword against Israel – against both the righteous and the wicked. When the people come to Ezekiel asking why he sighs, he is to tell them of the coming destruction. Ezekiel is given a prophecy of swords. The prophecy is about Nebuchadnezzar and his siege of Jerusalem as well as the sword of Ammon that will come against Gedaliah. Ezekiel is given a prophecy regarding Jerusalem and her kings. The kingship of King Zedekiah will not remain much longer and he will be forced into exile after the slaughter of his family. King Jehoiachin, who is already in exile, will be shown clemency.
Chapter 22: God spoke to Ezekiel denunciating Jerusalem for all her idolatry and wickedness. Ezekiel is to tell Jerusalem that it has become unclean and like a metal smith who cleanses metal by fire so God will cleanse Jerusalem of the uncleanness. Ezekiel is to tell the people that they are being punished for their idolatry and their willingness to turn their back on God. The false prophets and the profaned priests have led the people astray. No good man was found in the Land.
Chapter 23: Ezekiel is given the parable of the two sisters who played harlots in Egypt. Their names were Oholah the elder, and Oholibah. Oholah represents Samaria and Oholibah represents Jerusalem. Oholah played the harlot with Assyria and Egypt. Oholah was therefore given to her lover Assyria who took her sons and daughters and pronounced judgment against her. Oholibah played the harlot with Assyria, Egypt, and Babylon. She lusted after them and emulated them so God will give her over into their hands. Oholah and Oholibah invited many to come into the Land and played the harlot to them. God told Ezekiel that He will cleanse the Land of the harlotry and idolatry.
Chapter 24: Ezekiel is told that this day – the tenth of Tevet – is the day that Babylon will besiege Jerusalem. Ezekiel is given a parable and prophecy to give to the people. Ezekiel tells the people that due to their wickedness, they will be killed gradually through starvation, disease, pestilence, and battle. God tells Ezekiel that the Nations who are attacking Jerusalem were sent by God. Ezekiel’s wife was among those who perished. God tells him not to mourn since the practices of mourning are only affective if there is someone to comfort the mourner. This occurrence was used to illustrate how the Temple – represented by Ezekiel’s wife – is destroyed. Its destruction was universal and beyond consolation.
Prophecies Against Foreign Nations
Chapter 25: Ezekiel prophesies against the Children of Ammon. Since the Ammonites rejoiced over the exile and destruction of Israel, God will give the Ammonites into the hands of the Chaldeans and Arameans. Ezekiel prophesies against Moab and Seir. The Moabites refused to acknowledge the uniqueness of Israel and called her the same as other Nations. Therefore, said God, Moab will be given over to the Chaldeans and Arameans. Ezekiel prophesies against the Philistines because of their vengeance upon Israel. The Cherethites and the area they occupy along the Mediterranean will be cut off and destroyed.
Chapter 26: Ezekiel prophesies against Tyre. Upon the destruction of Jerusalem, Tyre declared that it shall now replace Jerusalem as the gateway of commerce. God declares that many Nations – including Babylon – will come against Tyre and destroy her.
Chapter 27: God speaks to Ezekiel and tells him to raise up a lament for Tyre due to the prophecy against them. Ezekiel speaks about Tyre’s beauty, their trading partners, and the lamentation that will come over Tyre’s downfall.
Chapter 28: Ezekiel prophesies against the king of Tyre. The king of Tyre was proud and thought of himself as a god when he was no more than a man. Due to this pride, God will bring Nations against Tyre. God tells Ezekiel to raise up a lamentation for the king of Tyre due to the prophecy against him. Ezekiel prophesies against Zidon. Due to the menacing actions of Zidon against Israel, God will send the sword against Zidon. God does promise that there will be an eventual redemption and the Children of Israel will be ingathered and brought back to the Land.
Chapter 29: Ezekiel prophesies against Egypt. Pharaoh thinks of himself as the mightiest one in Egypt yet God will cause the people to rise up against him due to his pride and arrogance toward those who allied with him. Ezekiel is told that God will give Egypt over into Nebuchadnezzar’s hand. Babylon will plunder Egypt and take away its riches due to Egypt’s betrayal of Israel.
Chapter 30: Ezekiel prophesies against Egypt and her allies. God declares that Egypt, Cush, and other Egypt’s other allies will be defeated by the sword. God declares that Egypt will be given into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. Egypt’s riches will be plundered, her idols will be destroyed, the people will be killed, and the Pharaoh shall be removed from his throne. God tells Ezekiel that He will break the arm of Pharaoh and cause Egypt to fall to Babylon. God will scatter the Egyptian people throughout the Nations.
Chapter 31: Ezekiel is to tell the Pharaoh of Egypt that he should learn from Assyria. Assyria was a mighty nation but it became haughty and proud which led to its downfall. If Pharaoh declares that Egypt is mighty like Assyria then he must learn that he will fall just like Assyria. Just as Assyria’s allies quaked when it was taken over by Babylon, so will Egypt and its allies quake when Babylon destroys Egypt.
Chapter 32: Ezekiel is told to lament for Pharaoh and Egypt due to the prophecy against them. Ezekiel offers up a lament for Egypt, Assyria, Elam, Mashech Tubal, Edom, the princes of the North, and Zidon.
Redemption and Return
Chapter 33: Ezekiel is told by God that he is made a sentinel over the people of Israel. He is to be the warning for the Children of Israel for them to repent and return to God. God declares that if a righteous person becomes corrupt he will surely die because of his sins. However, if a wicked person repents and returns to God, his sins will be forgotten and he will live. A fugitive comes to Ezekiel and tells him of the destruction of Jerusalem. God tells Ezekiel that people will come to him to hear his prophesies and his teachings yet they will not repent and do as they are commanded.
Chapter 34: Ezekiel is told to prophecy against the shepherds (Jehoiakhim and Zedekiah) of the Jewish people. These shepherds have caused the scattering of the people and led them astray. The shepherds will be destroyed says God because they did not fulfill their responsibilities. God states that He will gather the flock of Israel and will bring them back to Israel. God will make a covenant of peace with his flock.
Chapter 35: Ezekiel is told to prophesy against Mount Seir and Edom. God will destroy them due to their haughtiness and wicked ways.
Chapter 36: Ezekiel is then told to prophesy to the Land of Israel. Since the people of Israel were taunted and shamed by the Nations, God will bring about retribution to those Nations and ingather the Children of Israel. God declares that the Children of Israel have caused His Name to be potentially profaned among the Nations because of the sins of the Children of Israel. However, His Name will be sanctified with the redemption of the Children of Israel.
Chapter 37: God gives Ezekiel a vision of a valley of dry bones. Ezekiel is called to prophesy over the bones and call them back to life. Ezekiel did as he was commanded and the bodies of the deceased were re-animated. God then told Ezekiel to prophesy again and call upon the spirit to breathe life into these re-animated bodies. God reveals that these bones represent Israel. God offers consolation to the people of Israel and tells them that they too will be reborn in the Land. Ezekiel is commanded to take two sticks – one representing Judah and the other representing Joseph. Ezekiel is told to bring them together in his hand as if they were one stick. Ezekiel is told to tell the people that this represents God bringing the tribes back to their Land where they will live as one people.
Chapter 38: God tells Ezekiel to prophesy against Gog. It is prophesied that Gog will take up arms against Israel in the future. On the day that Gog comes to Israel feeling secure in its ability to defeat Israel, God will cause an evil plan to come upon Gog. Gog will utterly be defeated and all the Nations will recognize God for what He has done.
Chapter 39: The prophecy continues with Gog being informed that he will be destroyed. There will be many dead among those who fought on the side of Gog. The people of Israel will bury the bodies of Gog for seven months. The people of Israel will purify the land by burying their enemy. God declares that He will be sanctified through the defeat of Israel’s enemies and the ingathering of the Children of Israel.
Restoration of Jerusalem and the Temple
Chapters 40-41: In the twenty-fifth year of the exile, Ezekiel is transported in a vision to Har Habayit (Temple Mount). Ezekiel was shown a vision of the third Temple that would be built in Jerusalem.
Chapter 42: Ezekiel is shown the remainder of the third Temple. Ezekiel is also shown the wall surrounding Har Habayit.
Chapter 43: Ezekiel is shown in this vision that God will once again enter into the Temple and dwell there. Ezekiel is told that once the Temple is built, there will never again be a defamation of God’s Name because of idolatrous practices. Ezekiel is then shown in a vision of the altar that will be built for the third Temple.
Chapter 44: Ezekiel is told that the Eastern Gate must remain closed until the Moshiach arrives. Only he will be permitted to enter through that gate. The rebellious ones of the house of Israel will be forbidden from entering the Temple. The priests who strayed during the time of idolatry will not be placed as ministers in the Temple but will instead do the work of the laymen – such as maintenance on the Temple. The Levites who were the sons of Zadok did not stray into idolatry. As a result they will be rewarded with being the only portion of the Levites who will be permitted to serve as priests in the Temple.
Chapter 45: Ezekiel’s vision of the third Temple continues with the portions that will be set aside for the priests and the Levites within the sacred area. Ezekiel is also shown the city’s property and the Moshiach’s property along the sides of the sacred area. The laws governing the Moshiach, the consecration of the Temple, and the keeping of the feasts during the third Temple era are revealed to Ezekiel.
Chapter 46: Ezekiel is told that the inner court gate that faces east will remain shut during the six working days. Only on Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) and when the Mosiach offers freewill-offerings will this gate be opened. The re-establishment of the daily offerings and the laws of inheritance for the Moshiach are revealed to Ezekiel in this vision. Ezekiel is then shown the priests’ cooking chamber and the servant’s cooking chamber of the third Temple.
Chapter 47: Ezekiel was shown a great amount of healing waters that flowed from the third Temple on the east side. Ezekiel was then shown in his vision, the future boundaries of the Land of Israel. Ezekiel is told that the converts will also be given an inheritance within the tribal areas where they dwell.
Chapter 48: Ezekiel is finally shown the division of the land amongst the tribes. He is also shown the divisions for the sacred portion, the priests’ portion, the Levites’ portion, the city’s portion, and the Moshiach’s portion. The last part of the vision shown to Ezekiel reveals to him the gates of the city and its name.