A major prophet who lived in Judah c. 640–587 BCE and who spent his last years in old age as an enforced refugee in Egypt. Jeremiah came from a priestly family and began his prophetic ministry reluctantly (Jer. 15: 10—‘Why was I ever born?’) in his village of Anathoth (a short distance from Jerusalem) much to the indignation of neighbours and family (Jer. 11: 21; 12: 6). There is a remarkable account of his prophetic inspiration in Jer. 23: 9. Jeremiah had easy access to the king and he used his knowledge of international affairs to offer advice fearlessly. In his early years he opposed the official policy of an alliance with Egypt against Assyria (2: 14–19, 36–7), but when Egypt marched to help Assyria against the rising power of Babylonia, King Josiah attempted to block the path of Pharaoh Neco at Megiddo and was killed (609 BCE). Soon afterwards Judah became a Babylonian province. Jeremiah was convinced that it was essential for Judah to maintain a good relationship with the Babylonians. But King Jehoiakim foolishly rebelled; almost immediately after his death, the city was besieged, but the young king Jehoiachin submitted (597 BCE) and the puppet king Zedekiah, Jehoiachin's uncle, was installed. In the reign of Zedekiah (597–587 BCE) Jeremiah frequently urged obedience as the safest course; the existence of the Temple was no guarantee of security. For this ‘blasphemy’ he was arrested (Jer. 26: 8). But in 589 Zedekiah withheld tribute; the Babylonians marched (Jer. 37–9). When the Babylonians were outside the gates of Jerusalem, some of the leading politicians denounced Jeremiah as a traitor and he was imprisoned. King Zedekiah transferred Jeremiah to a more humane prison, where he remained until the Babylonians released him when the city was captured in 586 BCE. The victorious Babylonians appointed Gedaliah to be governor of Judah, and Jeremiah attempted to muster support for him (Jer. 39: 14). But a group of conspirators opposed to the Babylonians murdered Gedaliah, and after seizing Jeremiah fled in a group to Egypt. There is no account of his death.