“Lesson 137: Jeremiah 42–52,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)
“Lesson 137,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
The remnant of the people of Judah, who were not taken captive by the Babylonian army, sought the Lord’s counsel concerning whether they should go to Egypt. At their request, Jeremiah prayed to know the Lord’s will for them, and the Lord promised that the remnant would be safe if they stayed in the land of Judah. Jeremiah further prophesied that if the people disobeyed the Lord and went to Egypt, they would be destroyed. Jeremiah foretold the destruction of many nations, including Babylon. He also testified of the Redeemer’s strength to deliver them.
To prepare students to study Jeremiah 42–44, write the following question on the board: What are some specific things prophets have directed the youth of the Church to do to protect themselves from the evil influences of the world?
Invite students to respond to the question. You might invite a student to list responses on the board, or you may write them.
Ask students to ponder ways in which they might be tempted to disobey the Lord’s counsel given to them through prophets. Invite students to look as they study Jeremiah 42–44 for principles that will help them understand the consequences of choosing either to obey or to disobey the prophets’ counsel.
Explain that after the Babylonian army came a second time against Jerusalem, they carried most of the Jews away with them to Babylon. The small group of Jews who remained in Jerusalem were called a “remnant,” meaning those left behind. Several of the remnant believed that if they went to Egypt they would be spared from further abuse from the Babylonian army.
Invite a student to read Jeremiah 42:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Jews who were left in Jerusalem did.
What did the Jews who were left in Jerusalem do?
According to verse 3, why did they ask Jeremiah to pray to the Lord?
Invite a student to read Jeremiah 42:4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for Jeremiah’s response.
What do you think Jeremiah meant when he said that he would keep nothing back as he declared God’s word to the Jews? (He would boldly tell the people God’s will.)
Invite students to read Jeremiah 42:5–6 silently, looking for how the people responded to Jeremiah. Point out the phrase “whether it be evil” in verse 6, and explain that in this case, “evil” refers to something the people didn’t want to do, rather than something bad.
What did the people promise to do when Jeremiah revealed God’s will?
What did the people say would happen to them if they obeyed the Lord’s counsel given through His prophets?
What do you think the phrase “it may be well with us” means?
To help students understand some ways it will be well with us when we obey the Lord’s counsel given through His prophets, invite a student to read aloud the following statement from the First Presidency, found in For the Strength of Youth:
“We promise that as you keep the covenants you have made and these standards, you will be blessed with the companionship of the Holy Ghost, your faith and testimony will grow stronger, and you will enjoy increasing happiness” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], ii).
Summarize Jeremiah 42:7–8 by explaining that after 10 days Jeremiah called the people together to reveal God’s will about whether or not they should go to Egypt.
Divide students into pairs. Invite the pairs to read Jeremiah 42:9–12 together, looking for how it would be well with the people if they listened to the counsel Jeremiah gave them. Ask them to discuss answers to the following questions (you may want to write the questions on the board):
What counsel did Jeremiah give? (The people should stay in the land of Judah.)
How would it be well with the people if they obeyed the prophet’s counsel and stayed in the land of Judah?
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Jeremiah 42:13–17. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the warning Jeremiah gave the Jews of what would happen if they did not obey the Lord’s counsel.
What warning did Jeremiah give the Jews?
What principle can we learn from these verses about what happens to us when we disregard the Lord’s counsel given through His prophets? (Students may give a variety of answers, but make sure it is clear that when we disregard the Lord’s counsel given through His prophets, we bring negative consequences upon ourselves. Write this principle on the board.)
Draw students’ attention to the list on the board of ways that prophets have directed the youth of the Church to remain spiritually clean and protect themselves from evil.
What consequences might people bring upon themselves if they disregard the Lord’s counsel given through prophets?
In contrast, what blessings have you seen as you or others have obeyed the Lord’s counsel given through prophets?
Invite a student to read Jeremiah 42:19–22 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Jeremiah told the people after he told them to stay in the land of Judah. (You may need to explain that the phrase “ye dissembled in your hearts” in verse 20 means the people lied when they told Jeremiah they would obey the Lord’s words.)
According to verse 22, what did Jeremiah say the consequences would be for disregarding the counsel of the Lord?
Why do you think people sometimes choose to disregard the counsel of the Lord given through His prophets even though they have been warned of the consequences?
Invite a student to read Jeremiah 43:1–4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the people responded to Jeremiah.
According to verses 2–3, what excuse did the proud men give for disobeying Jeremiah’s words? (They claimed that Jeremiah was not speaking for God.)
What excuses do the proud give for disobeying the prophets’ words in our day?
Invite students to ponder the following questions: Am I disobeying any counsel from the Lord given through His prophets? If so, what counsel am I disobeying?
Encourage students to make a goal concerning what they will do to better follow the counsel of the Lord given through His prophets.
Summarize Jeremiah 43:5–13 by explaining that the remnant of the Jews not only disobeyed the Lord and went to Egypt, but they also took Jeremiah with them. After they arrived in Egypt, Jeremiah prophesied that when the Babylonian army destroyed Egypt, the king of Babylon would make his throne there.
Invite a student to read the chapter summary for Jeremiah 44 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Jeremiah prophesied about the Jews who were living in Egypt. Ask students to report what they find.
Summarize verses 15–19 by explaining that the Jews in Egypt refused to listen to Jeremiah and told him they felt more blessed when they worshipped the false gods of Egypt than when they stopped worshipping them.
Invite a student to read Jeremiah 44:22–23 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Jeremiah told the Jews in Egypt. You may need to explain that the phrase “ye have burned incense” refers to worshipping false gods.
Ask students to think of a time when they felt discouraged because of opposition they experienced when they tried to do the right thing.
What gave you hope during your time of discouragement?
Summarize Jeremiah 45 by explaining that Jeremiah’s scribe, Baruch, felt discouraged, and the Lord sent him a message of encouragement through Jeremiah.
Explain that in Jeremiah 46–52 we read that Jeremiah prophesied of the destruction of several nations, but he also shared messages of hope. Invite students as they study Jeremiah 46–52 to look for a truth that would help bring hope during times of discouragement.
Write the following references on the board: Jeremiah 46:27–28; Jeremiah 50:17–20; Jeremiah 50:33–34. Invite students to read these verses silently, looking for messages of hope. You may want to suggest that students mark in their scriptures words or phrases they find that reflect messages of hope.
What were the messages of hope for scattered Israel? (Write students’ responses on the board.)
What truths can we learn about the Redeemer from these messages? (Students may give a variety of answers, but make sure it is clear that through the strength of our Redeemer, we can be delivered from physical and spiritual bondage.)
What are some things the Lord can deliver us from?
Invite students to answer the following question in their scripture study journals or class notebooks: When has the Lord delivered you? After sufficient time, ask students to share what they wrote. Remind them not to share anything too personal.
Explain that Jeremiah 52 records Babylon’s capture of Jerusalem. Summarize this chapter by explaining that the Babylonians took King Zedekiah captive and killed all of his sons except Mulek, who escaped to the Americas (see Omni 1:15; Helaman 6:10; 8:21). Many of the Jews in Jerusalem were either killed or taken captive and carried to Babylon.