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The Cushite eunuch Ebed-Melech supervising the rescue of Jeremiah from the pit

Jeremiah (c. 650 - 570 BCE) was a major Jewish prophet who wrote the Book of Jeremiah, the two Books of Kings, and the Book of Lamentations, and predicted the Babylonian Captivity, the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 587 BCE, and the return of the exiles to Jerusalem. The Biblical account of his life only mentions that he had the gift of prophecy, but according to Jewish folklore, he also evinced significant miraculous powers. Like Moses, Jeremiah was said to have been born circumcised, a sign of his inherent holiness; in fact, the life stories of the two men contain so many similarities that they are often mentioned together by Jewish religious scholars.

Jeremiah initially resisted the call to preach because he was only a child and was fearful of public speaking, but with the support of YHWH he matured into an eloquent holy orator. Jeremiah prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem by invaders from the North, as punishment of the Jewish people for breaking their covenant with YHWH. Due to the unpopularity of his dire prophecies, Jeremiah was beaten and ridiculed and his writings were destroyed. God then told him to walk about the streets wearing an ox-yoke to foretell that Jerusalem would be subjected to the yoke of Babylonian rule. A false prophet named Hananiah removed the yoke, for which Jeremiah accurately foretold Hananiah's death. In response to the difficult messages Jeremiah was conveying to the people, who were being carried away into captivity in Babylon, he was lowered into a cess-pit without food or water and left to die. A Cushite eunuch named Ebed-Melech heard that Jeremiah had been imprisoned in the pit and went before King Zedekiah to plea for his release. The king authorized Ebed-Melech to lead a team of thirty men to rescue Jeremiah.

Jeremiah is a prophet in the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religious traditions. His name is associated with dire, unwanted, but ultimately true predictions. According to Sefer Gematriaot, a Jewish grimoire, Jeremiah is said to have created a golem, a soulless living man made of clay, by using the knowledge contained in the Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Formation). Jeremiah is generally depicted as a sad or weeping prophet, lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem, or as the subject of humiliation and torture. The character traits that Jeremiah has come to embody are described in the Bible; they include bravery, speaking out in public, obedience to God, and our inherent moral duty to tell the truth.


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