Jeremiah in Prison?

1 Nephi 7:14. Jeremiah in Prison?

In 1 Nephi 7:14, Nephi laments the fact that Jeremiah had been cast into prison. According to the Bible, Jeremiah was imprisoned in the tenth year of King Zedekiah (Jeremiah 32:1-2), yet Nephi and his family left Jerusalem in the first year of Zedekiah (1 Nephi 1:4), so they were no longer in the region at the time of Jeremiah’s imprisonment.

Book of Mormon and BibleJeremiah was imprisoned at least twice during the reign of Zedekiah. The first time was just after Zedekiah was made king. The prophet was imprisoned “in the house of Jonathan the scribe” (Jeremiah 37:1, 15). This was in the same year that Lehi brought his family out of Jerusalem. After “many days,” the king released Jeremiah briefly, then sent him to live in “the court of the prison” instead of the dungeon of Jonathan’s house (Jeremiah 37:16-21).

According to Jeremiah 20:1-3, Pashur placed Jeremiah in the stocks, then released him. The Greek Septuagint version, prepared in the second or third century BC, says he was placed in a “dungeon” adjacent to the temple. The text does not tell us in which year this imprisonment took place.

At some point, Jeremiah was free and able to speak to the people, which displeased the leaders, who “cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison,” where he “sunk in the mire” (Jeremiah 38:1-6). He was subsequently drawn out of the dungeon and “abode in the court of the prison until the day that Jerusalem was taken” by the Babylonian army (Jeremiah 38:13, 28).

Lest anyone use the chapter sequence in Jeremiah to argue that what has been said here is incorrect, we should note that the book of Jeremiah was not written in chronological order, but compiled later, perhaps after his death. Some later chapters describe events that took place in the days of earlier kings, so one must pay attention to the chronological notations associated with each story, where possible. The chapter order of the book of Jeremiah in the Greek Septuagint Bible is different from that found in the Hebrew text from which the King James version of the Bible was translated.[1]

[1] The Septuagint version of Jeremiah is an eighth shorter than the Masssoretic Hebrew. One of the Hebrew texts of Jeremiah (4QJerb) found among the Dead Sea Scrolls follows the shorter Septuagint version, previously known only from the Greek