“Old Testament Prophets: Jeremiah,” Ensign, October 2014, 9
Old Testament Prophets
“Jeremiah lived in a difficult time and place, but the Lord allowed him to foresee ‘a time of hope during the latter-day gathering of Israel.’”1 —Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president
I am the son of Hilkiah, a priest in Anathoth, near Jerusalem. During my youth, “the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
I felt unprepared for this calling, and I replied, “Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.”
The Lord replied, “Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
“Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee.” The Lord then “touched my mouth” and put words into it.2
I prophesied in Jerusalem for 40 years, from 626 to 586 b.c., during the reigns of Josiah, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah.3 I was a contemporary of the Book of Mormon prophet Lehi. We both condemned the wickedness of the people in Jerusalem and foretold the destruction of that great city.4
The Lord commanded me to record my prophecies in “a roll of a book.”5 When King Jehoiakim heard the prophecies, he burned the roll. The Lord commanded me to write the prophecies again and add many more to them.6
I faced continuous opposition as I preached the Lord’s word. Pashur, the son of the chief governor, smote me and put me in the stocks. The mobs wanted to put me to death for my preaching. I was an unpopular prophet, often cast into dungeons and prisons. I lived in a time of truly great wickedness.7
But despite living in the midst of tribulation, the Lord allowed me to foresee that the Israelites would be gathered in the last day, that the Lord would write His law “in their hearts,” and that He would bring “one of a city, and two of a family” to Zion.8
As I continued to preach the Lord’s word—even when it was difficult—I learned that an inward commitment to the gospel leads to peace. As we develop individual fellowship with the Lord, we can all experience hope amid trials and tribulation.