The Concern for Judah, cont’d. Jeremiah 2-45
Jeremiah 21-38 Dated Prophecies, cont’d.
Jeremiah 38:1-28-The officials went to the king and told him that Jeremiah should be punished because of what he was saying about the Babylonians conquering them. It was causing discouragement among the soldiers and threatened to lead to open rebellion. The king allowed them to arrest him and they put him into a cistern (a pit, or hole that had been dug for a well) that had no water in it (the bottom was so muddy that he sank into it)...and left him there to starve. Someone has suggested that they did this because while they didn’t like what he was saying…they were still afraid of him, that he might actually be a true prophet. So, instead of just killing him (and possibly suffering punishment for doing so), they put in the cistern. This way, when he died, they could claim that they didn’t actually kill him…he died on his own of starvation. A foreigner, Ebed-melech (a foreigner who was a eunuch, cf. 39:18) went to the king and asked that Jeremiah be released. The king then asked Jeremiah to tell him honestly what was going to happen. Jeremiah told him exactly what God had said. Zedekiah had two options…one, submit to the Babylonians and live; or two, continue to fight and he and all of his household would die. Zedekiah was afraid that if the court officials found out that he had been talking with Jeremiah that they would arrest him. So, he told Jeremiah that if they questioned him…he was not to tell them that Zedekiah had asked him what to do, but instead, he was to tell them that he had asked Zedekiah to not put him back into the cistern because he was afraid that if he did so he would die there (:26). The officials did question him and Jeremiah did as Zedekiah had instructed him. As a result, he stayed in the guardhouse until Jerusalem was captured.
Jeremiah 39 The Fall of Jerusalem
Jeremiah 39:1-10-When the Babylonians captured Jerusalem, Zedekiah and his officials tried to escape, but were caught. His family was killed in front of him and then his eyes were gouged out. In this way, the last thing that he ever saw was the death of his family. This was his punishment. Then, he was then taken to Babylon as a prisoner. Jerusalem was destroyed. Only some of the poorest people were left behind to grow the crops.
Jeremiah 39:11-18-Nebuchadnezzar commanded his men to not harm Jeremiah, but to provide for him. Jeremiah told Ebed-melech that God said he would be spared because "you have trusted in Me" (:18).
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I don’t always understand when evil men prosper, and succeed…sometimes even at the expense of good people. But You are sovereign. You know the whole picture. You see the future. Help me to know that Your decision is the right decision because it is what You have decided. Help me at those times to trust You. Help me to find comfort and hope in You.