Study Guide

Book of Jeremiah Suffering

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Everyone ends up suffering in Jeremiah. After the Babylonians invade, all of Judah is in convulsions. People either die horrible deaths or get sent into exile. The city of Jerusalem is rubble. The Temple's gone. The lucky people died in the attack; the others are left to starve. Later, the invaders themselves will also suffer when God turns the tables on them. Even God seems hurt and suffering thanks to his beloved children who turn their backs on him at every opportunity.

Jeremiah's suffering is laid out in detail. And he doesn't exactly suffer quietly—he cries out to God, lamenting his pain, and also cursing ever having been born. He's the "weeping prophet," a man whose message makes him hurt about as badly as his persecutors do. BTW, for the up-close-and-personal, blow-by-blow description of the suffering in Judah, check out the Book of Lamentations. NC-17 stuff.

Questions About Suffering

  1. Does suffering in The Book of Jeremiah help purify people? Does it "build character?" Does Jeremiah eventually surmount or find meaning in his own suffering?
  2. What is the purpose of suffering in this book? Does God intend it to have a desired effect of some sort?
  3. How does God himself suffer in this book?

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