The book of Jeremiah is the longest book in the Bible (in terms of words and verses), and it is certainly one of the most complex. The nature of its structure and flow of thought are sharply disputed among scholars, evidence that the book does not lend itself well to summary statements. Jeremiah is a prophetic book that reports the ministry of the prophet Jeremiah to the people of Israel both before (primarily) and after the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 587 B.C.E. The preaching of Jeremiah speaks sharp words of indictment and judgment to an idolatrous people. Initially Jeremiah speaks in the hope that they will turn from their wicked ways, but in the wake of a lack of repentance the prophet portrays an inevitable judgment. Jeremiah also speaks words of hope, but recognizes that such a hopeful future will be realized only on the far side of the fall of Jerusalem. The book, however, is concerned not only to report the prophet's preaching, but also to speak a word of God to a people that has already experienced horrendous hardships in the fall of Jerusalem.