Jeremiah's False prophecies
O LORD, thou hast deceived
me, and I was deceived; thou art stronger than I,
and thou hast prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day;
every one mocks me. (Jer. 20:7)
As with the other prophetic books, we examine the accuracy of Jeremiah's prophecies to see if he has a pipeline to some undetectable source. With the benefit of hindsight, the answer is categorically no. This is not to imply that all his prophecies were all wrong; sometimes he got it right. The most significant correct prophecy was in foreseeing the invasion by Babylonians.
It wasn't as though the Babylonians came out of the nowhere. They had already completed the takeover of Assyria by defeating Assyria's Egyptian allies in 605 BCE. Shortly thereafter they took Syria. In 601, Nebuchadrezzar marched against Egypt, but was beaten back. Judah was much easier prey.
Then again, Jeremiah had motive for expecting Nebuchadrezzar to take Jerusalem: divine punishment. Or was it wishful thinking? Would it have made any difference if the Hebrews gave up worshipping other gods and turned to Yahweh? I'm willing to bet any amount it wouldn't.
89 (Jer. 25:8-9)
An occasional correct prophecy doesn't prove divine providence any more than if it was a good prediction by a stock market prognosticator. Even if we don't expect a perfect record, they would at least have to be almost never wrong for Jeremiah to be credible. I haven't kept a tally, but in my estimation, his record is nowhere close.
There is an explanation. Our minds are capable of an infinite variety of thoughts, ideas and beliefs. We can grammatically string words together to communicate anything on our minds. But when it comes to truth, there can only be one standard: reality. Not only is its understanding indispensable to our survival and prosperity, it can't be changed by human thought.
In a religious sense it is everywhere; it is pure; it cannot be corrupted; it treats every living thing equally according to its nature; it is the embodiment of perfection because nothing can supersede it. All the words in the world cannot prove there is something superior to reality or anything outside reality.
Reality is synonymous with existence. A thing either exists or it does not. A thing that exists on our minds does not have to exist in reality. Truth can only be determined by comparing what is in our minds to reality. This is what Jeremiah's predictions ask us to do.
Expressions like the ones below are all over the book. That Jeremiah believed his prophecies came from Yahweh doesn't make it so. If he believes that this is the means by which he can see future events in the real world, then it is reasonable to compare them with what we know about the real world. When we do, we find that his system can't be true because the output from them is largely false.
What we are left with is that Jeremiah was expressing his opinions, framed as if he was a medium. He is confusing what is inside him as coming from outside him. Some on this list can't be proven right or wrong. I included them to show that though he wasn't a violent man in his actions, he was a violent man in his thoughts. We also see remnants of Jeremiah believing Yahweh controls the weather, natural disasters, disease, animals and even destroyer angels.
1. All nations shall embrace Judaism.
2. Yahweh will turn earth into desolation.
27 (Jer. 4:23-27)
3. Yahweh will send snakes to bite the Israelites.
4. Yahweh will feed the Israelites the poisonous plant wormwood, and poisonous water to drink.
5. Yahweh will kill children and young men. Their dead bodies shall fall like dung in the open field.
22 (Jer. 9:21-22)
6. Other nations fear Yahweh? He makes earthquakes?
7. Yahweh can make rain or cause drought.
8. Yahweh appoints supernatural creatures in the form of swords, dogs, birds and beasts.
9. Yahweh cannot predict whether or not the Israelites will return to him.
10. Yahweh causes disease.
11. If he predicts doom for a kingdom and it doesn't come to pass, it is because they repented. If he predicts good for a kingdom and it is destroyed, it is because they turned to evil. With logic like that, he can never be wrong.
78 9 10 (Jer. 18:7-10)
12. Yahweh will make idolaters eat the flesh of their sons and daughters.
13. Yahweh will send supernatural creatures called destroyers to cut down cedars and burn them.
14. Jehoiakim would be buried with the burial of an ass, dragged and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.
19 (Jer. 22:18-19)
Jehoiakim died a peaceful death and his son reigned in his place.
6(2 Kings 24:6)
15. He will bring them back and not uproot them. -They were uprooted by the Romans
67 (Jer. 24:6-7)
16. Those slain on that day will extend from one end of the earth to the other.
17. The Hebrews will be in Babylon for seventy years. -It was 48 years.
18. Yahweh can restore health and heal wounds.
19. Yahweh gives the sun by day and the order of the moon and stars by night.
36 (Jer. 31:35-36)
20. The heavens can be measured and earth has foundations.
21. Zedekiah would die a peaceful death.
45 (Jer. 34:4-5)
Zedekiah died a rather unmerciful death. His sons were slain in front of him before he had his eyes taken out, and then he was kept in prison to the day he died.
1011 (Jer. 52:10-11)
22. Jeremiah dictated his prophecies of death and destruction to his scribe Baruch.
23 (Jer. 36:2-3)
When they were read to the king, he threw them in the fire. Neither the king nor his servants were afraid of Isaiah. -This tells us that neither the king nor his servants believed Jeremiah spoke for God.
2324 (Jer. 36:23)
Whereupon, Jeremiah predicted King Jehoiakim would not have any descendents.
But according to 2 Kings, Jehoiakim was succeeded by his son Jehoiachin.
6(2 Kings 24:6)
23. All Jews who go to Egypt will die by sword, famine and by pestilence, and leave no survivors. Alexandria Egypt was founded 330 BCE and became a center of Jewish learning.
24. Wild beasts shall dwell with hyenas and ostriches in Babylon. It will no longer be inhabited for all generations. Babylon has always been inhabited. It might have a zoo.
Prophet verses prophet
Jeremiah's stridency earned him enemies who were plotting to kill him. These two passages represent a case of special pleading where Jeremiah wanted Yahweh to intercede.
Let those be put to shame who persecute me; bring upon them the day of evil; destroy them with double destruction.
Deliver their children to famine; kill them with the sword; make their wives widows.
23 (Jer. 20:21-23)
Jeremiah argued more extensively against other prophets than any other in the Bible. He consistently believed he was right and they were wrong. It didn't matter whether they were prophets of Baal or prophets of Yahweh.
1. The prophets of Baal went after things that do not profit.
2. Their prophets, priests etc. will be shamed.
3. The prophets will become wind.
4. The prophets prophesy falsely.
5. Prophet and priest are greedy for unjust gain.
6. How can you say we are wise and Yahweh is with us? The false pen of scribes has made it into a lie.
7. Jechoniah shall have no offspring.
30 (Jer. 22:28, 30)
Either Jeremiah or Matthew is wrong.
12And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of She-alti-el, and She-alti-el the father of Zerubbabel, (Matt. 1:12)
8. Both prophet and priest are ungodly and thus deserve to have evil brought upon them.
12 (Jer. 23:9-12)
9. The prophets of Jerusalem commit adultery and walk in lies. God will poison them. Do not listen to them.
16 (Jer. 23:13-16)
Yahweh did not speak to the prophets, yet they prophesied.
22 (Jer. 23:21-22)
10. He has heard other prophets who lie in his name saying "I have dreamed, I have dreamed."
Though Numbers tells us visions and dreams were a prescribed manner of prophesizing.
11. How long shall there be prophets who lie.
12. He was against other prophets who steal his words from one another.
13. He is against the prophets who speak in the name of the Lord.
14. He is against those who prophesy lying dreams.
15. Punish anyone who says "The burden of the Lord."
16. Do not listen to the other prophets; they are lying.
910 (Jer. 27:9-10)
17. The ancient prophets prophesied bad things. When a prophet correctly prophesizes peace, it will be known he was sent by God.
89 (Jer. 28:8-9)
Jeremiah made mistakes too
After all that criticizing of other prophets, it should be no surprise that Jeremiah made his share of mistakes. Of course he always had an excuse.
It was good for Yahweh to deceive his people; to deprive them of any sense of danger and make them feel good, then suddenly destroy them.
910 (Jer. 4:9-10)
Yet he believed that Yahweh deceived him too, making him a laughingstock.
Jeremiah never missed an opportunity to condemn the worship of foreign gods. Since we know that Jewish monotheism came into vogue at this time, it leaves to question whether Jeremiah thought that there was only one god, ever. The answer is no. Of significance, Jeremiah does not blame Satan, nor does he mention him. That's because he wasn't invented yet.
We'll see verses like these where he maintains that there are no gods.
Then we'll see verses like these which mention other gods, though which may or may not exist.
This is the one that does it: "the gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish." We are not told how they would perish. But if he did not believe them to exist, they could not perish.