"The Road to Captivity", Part 8; A Study in Jeremiah, Chapters 34-37
February 1, 2010

C. R. Oliver

You may watch this Newsletter in a video HERE.


January 1, 2009

"The Road to Captivity", Part 8
A Study in Jeremiah, Chapters 34-37

          Chapter 33 ended with a promise about Jesus and the Sons of Zadok. The covenant for both was clearly shown to be operative throughout history and especially visible in the end-times.
And the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, 'Thus says the LORD: "If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season, then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levites, the priests, My ministers. As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.'"
Jeremiah 33:19-22
In verse 22, there is indication the descendants of David, called My servant, are to be found in followers of and joint heirs with Christ Jesus (the righteous ruler). In the same verse, specific reference is made to "the Levites who minister to Me," who are the Sons of Zadok (Ezekiel 44 separated "These" Levites from the others). Jesus and the Sons of Zadok combined ministries are to be multiplied supernaturally through history under the oversight of God.

In the very next verse (23), the Lord attacked the negative comments and lack of faith displayed by the nation of Judah regarding their plight in facing captivity.
Have you not considered what these people have spoken, saying, 'The two families which the LORD has chosen, He has also cast them off'? Thus  they have despised My people, as if they should no more be a nation before them.
Jeremiah 33:23
"These people," though residents of Jerusalem, were not the chosen people of promise. "My people" were differentiated from "these people" who were commenting. It is the same with Israel today! Also, it is like the modern church, which often despises the true saints of God. They shun them, have no room for them, disregard them or persecute them. God took notice, however. If the reader will return to the beginning of Chapter 31, he or she will realize the Lord was talking about ultimate remnant concerns. With this in mind, these verses take on their proper order. God said, in 31:31, He would make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. This covenant would be a "heart" covenant, where He would write His words on their inner man. Law and genealogy would diminish in consideration. So now, one can understand why God was upset when "these people" degraded "those" people.
'Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah - not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant (number eight)* that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, "Know the LORD," for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.'
Jeremiah 31:31-34
*Covenant number eight is the covenant of Jesus through His Blood, which Hebrews discusses. (Eight different God-Covenants appear in history: Adam received two covenants [the initial one setting out his dominion and the other setting forth the coming Messiah, who would take away their sin]. These two were followed by Noah, Abraham, Moses, the Palestinian Covenant [Deut.30:1-3], the Davidic covenant [II Sam. 7:16] and finally the new covenant through Jesus [Heb. 8:8-10]. This eighth covenant is symbolic of restoration and regeneration. [See the significance of the number eight {8} in the discussion below.] )
*A fine discussion of covenants is available by Alfred Brown in the magazine, The Covenant Nations, Volume 1, Number 6, 2009, pages 6-7.

Chapter 34
  1. God made a covenant with Zedekiah that he would not be killed with the sword, but die of natural causes and be mourned as a legitimate ruler.

  2. God made a covenant with "the princes of Judah, the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf," that they would perish.
God reminded the people of Judah they had made a covenant with Him and it was taken seriously by Him. They regarded it lightly. Because of breaking that covenant, God would eventually make a more specific covenant with them, which would not be broken.

In the first case, Zedekiah was told basically to surrender and not resist the affront of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. (The territorial armies of Babylon consisted of several kingdoms and were a strong force.) Needless bloodshed would incur if defensive moves were made. Notice who initiated these offensive actions-it was God.
Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire. And you shall not escape from his hand, but shall surely be taken and delivered into his hand; your eyes shall see the eyes of the king of Babylon, he shall speak with you face to face, and you shall go to Babylon.' Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of Judah! Thus says the LORD concerning you: 'You shall not die by the sword. You shall die in peace; as in the ceremonies of your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so they shall burn incense for you and lament for you, saying, "Alas, lord!" For I have pronounced the word, says the LORD.'
Jeremiah 34:2-5
At this point, a covenant was made with Zedekiah. The Lord declared that He was responsible for the actions of Nebuchadnezzar and His Divine Providence was in action. Zedekiah was promised he would see the king of Babylon in person, speak to him face to face, live in Babylon, die in peace and be mourned properly. What God did not say was that after the first part, he would visibly witness the slaying of his two sons and then have his eyes put out. (Thank the Lord for Zedekiah's two daughters who escaped this horror.)

The Lord then turned to address the court of Zedekiah and those in charge of the administration, economy, religious affairs and other areas of leadership. With them, God covenanted death. Why? They broke their covenant with God.

Previously, King Zedekiah had entered into a covenant with his leadership, to free all of the people. I believe the purpose of this action was to make each individual accountable for himself. In the wake of impending battle, Zedekiah declared something similar to "Jubilee." (See Leviticus 25 to review how this was a command of the Lord. This chapter hold God's economic plan for all time.)

Every person of Israel WHO was in servitude was to be released from their obligations and/or debt and given their freedom. The leadership agreed and freed their servants. When the crisis seemed to have passed, they reneged on their promise and took back every man and woman they had freed, even though they had sworn through a religious ritual invoking God. (They walked through the halves and thereby brought Abraham into their equation by doing the covenant outlined in Gen. 15). The Lord was angry!
I will give the men who have transgressed My covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before Me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between the parts of it - the princes of Judah, the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf
Jeremiah 34:18-19
(It is a serious business to make a vow to God. Thousands have been in a crisis and promised God all kinds of things. Some of those vows were carried out to the letter, but later negated by further actions which showed one's true heart. Vow breaking gets the attention of the Lord every time. It is a serious matter to fall into the hands of an angry God. Christians have made pledges by the hundreds with no intention of keeping them and no thought as to their content.) Perhaps this is a good time to do what one has vowed and beg God to forgive.

YHWH told them bluntly, "I am creating a covenant which will not be broken. It will involve every person who has made a vow and broken it." Notice attention was given to the priests (Clergy were not exempt!). What did the Lord promise them?
  1. Jeremiah 34:17-18, 'Behold, I proclaim liberty to you,' says the LORD - 'to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine! And I will deliver you to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth.

  2. Jeremiah 34:20-22, 'I will give them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their life. Their dead bodies shall be for meat for the birds of the heaven and the beasts of the earth. And I will give Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes into the hand of their enemies, into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon's army which has gone back from you. Behold, I will command,' says the LORD, 'and cause them to return to this city. They will fight against it and take it and burn it with fire; and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.'
Several elements are in these promises. In the first line up of trouble are the three horsemen of judgment (Famine, Pestilence and Sword). Coupled with them is another significant promise, "I will deliver you to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth." Wow!

Though second in venue, being delivered into the hands of one's enemy and being assured the most prized possession, "the city of Jerusalem," would be desecrated and burned with fire, was no small order. All this was at the direct COMMAND of God.

Why on earth do nations, and more specifically "religious" citizenry, today believe they are exempt from such treatment? Why do devout Christian people believe God will rapture them away from great tribulation? Why do moderns somehow take an "airhead" approach to broken covenants, which lie scattered around the door steps of houses and churches, while they "just feel" that God wouldn't do this to them? Those same individuals abandon the word and proclaim, "God would never do such a thing, after all this is the work of the devil." Think again! Deep inside they know better. They know having tasted of the good Word and turning away carries a special covenant of its own. (Hebrews 6:6)

Historically, the Lord showed how His great covenant with their forefathers included these lesser ones. Both the contemporary generation and their forefathers turned their backs and refused to listen to Him.
'Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: "I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying, 'At the end of seven years let every man set free his Hebrew brother, who has been sold to him; and when he has served you six years, you shall let him go free from you." But your fathers did not obey Me nor incline their ear.'
Jeremiah 34:13
Those forefathers openly confessed that whatever the Lord wanted them to do-they would do it. God pointed out the pattern-open confession-subsequent denial. Now He was ready for them to see the facetiousness of such action.

Chapter 35 The Rechabites

"Show and tell" was about to take place. God instructed Jeremiah to invite the Rechabite family to a wine social at the Temple.
'Go to the house of the Rechabites, speak to them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.'
Jeremiah 35:2
This caused a dilemma among the family members. The prophet had been sent by God, so it was not just an idea of the prophet. It was God! The wine supper took place in the Temple, a holy place. To strengthen the witness of the event, Jeremiah made sure the banquet area was in the quarters of a "man of God." Great expense had been made to provide the place, the settings and the retinue of servants to carry it out. Here was the problem: the Rechabites' ancestors had made a covenant with one another that none of them would drink wine FOREVER! The pressure was now being applied to their faithfulness.
… into the chamber of the sons of Hanan the son of Igdaliah, a man of God
Jeremiah 35:4
On top of all this preparation, Jeremiah was the master of ceremonies and it was he who commanded them to "drink wine." He had the authority of God; he was the true prophet of God. Both these elements were compelling factors in this equation. Surely some of them thought, "This must be the end of our covenant, for God has ordained it." Some may have thought, "Just this one special occasion we will break the rule, after all look at the circumstances." Some may have said, "We are about to be captured by a foreign power, what difference could this 'family tradition' make?" That is not what they said or did, however. They stood their ground, declared their covenant still in effect. They would have no part of it, whether God or angels or the prophet ordered it. They would not break their covenant with their father.
But they said, "We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, 'You shall drink no wine, you nor your sons, forever. 7 You shall not build a house, sow seed, plant a vineyard, nor have any of these; but all your days you shall dwell in tents, that you may live many days in the land where you are sojourners.' 8 Thus we have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, 9 nor to build ourselves houses to dwell in; nor do we have vineyard, field, or seed. 10 But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us. 11 But it came to pass, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, 'Come, let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans and for fear of the army of the Syrians.' So we dwell at Jerusalem."
Jeremiah 35:6-11
The Rechabites wouldn't budge; however, they acknowledged they were out of place dwelling in the city.

God rewarded their faithfulness to an earthly covenant with their father. He used them as an example of how the Israelites, especially Judah, should have reacted regarding the pledge of their fathers. An earth-man was more highly regarded than the Living God!
'Surely the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them, but this people has not obeyed Me.'
Jeremiah 35:16
Rechabite faithfulness was greatly rewarded by the Lord. If there is an identifiable blood line from this family, one should try and claim it… there are eternal aspects of God's covenant with them.
And Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Because you have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts and done according to all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me forever."'
Jeremiah 35:18-19
(Note: God's use of symbolic examples at other times. Hosea had a symbolic family to show the mercy of God. The Rechabites had a symbolic family to show how a covenant family operated. Hosea's wife did not regard the sacredness of her marriage covenant… neither did Israel. The Rechabites honored their sacred trust and remained faithful in the face of social and personal pressure… Israel did not regard the sacredness of their covenant and failed.)
'Therefore thus says the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel: "Behold, I will bring on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the doom that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken to them but they have not heard, and I have called to them but they have not answered."'
Jeremiah 35:17
Here is a passage that will never be heard in pulpits especially among the suavely politically correct gibberishites. Jeremiah 35:17 was spoken to the social elite, the religious hierarchy, the priests and church leadership, as well as to the common man (all of them deeply devout and religiously conscientious). These words should be once again spoken to the man in the pulpit and the man in the pew! They spelled out why God was justified in His actions. This text spelled out why again God is equally justified in bringing about fiery judgment upon His people through a national crisis from which there is no escape!

This text also exposes today the great heresy of faith and word churches that refuse to preach such texts for fear of reprisal. It is the shame of clergy today that keeps them from this as text, because to preach it would require their own repentance. Better to be a Jeremiah than a Zedekiah. Better to be a Rechabite than a Judahite. Better to be labeled by men than lapelled by God!

Chapter 36 Jeremiah's Transcriptions

Remember when God told Jeremiah to collect the prophecies He had given him through the years (Jeremiah 30)? This task was formidable. Once again, the charge to record all the prophecies came once more in the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign (he reigned eleven years). Whether this was a recompiling, a recounting of the same command, a bringing up to date of the former book or a new project, the reader is not told. The scroll was finished in due time, but met with severity from the ranks of men. It was unleashed on the common folks first, and then it found its way to the Scribes and finally those in charge of government. Great concern ensued from the people, as alarm spread through their ranks. Concern was garnered among the Scribes, but rage foamed from the King (Jehoiakim).

Yes, it is somewhat easy to remain passive when one hears piecemeal prophetic words over a number of years. It is even possible not to be present when some of the words came forth. It is plausible to excuse oneself for not being in a particular locale, or among certain groups, when a word was given. But to hear them repeated from day one to day now, in sequence, and in ever building crescendo, is quite another thing.

This scroll was the composite, uncompromising, consummate word of God. It was also the written word, much like Moses' tablets and the flying scroll of Zechariah. Its words once spoken became a consuming fire to the hearer and an ultimate opponent of all which was deceitful, unrighteous and untruthful. It was a corrective force, slaying every aspect of aberrant behavior in its path. It was light that penetrated dark minds and dark deeds and the darkness of man's witless indiscretions. It called, with its own voice, for repentance and became the voice of God rather than the voice of the reader. It was "unsilence-able" once it was read. Forever, it rang in the ears of man's spirit and churned man's soul until some action had to be taken. It challenged the hearer to make a decision either to obey it or reject it-surrounding it was no middle stance, no avoidance path, and no excusable explanation. It was like the "flying scroll."
Then I turned and raised my eyes, and saw there a flying scroll.

2 And he said to me, 'What do you see?'

So I answered, 'I see a flying scroll. Its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits.'

3 Then he said to me, 'This is the curse that goes out over the face of the whole earth: "Every thief shall be expelled, according to this side of the scroll; and, Every perjurer shall be expelled," according to that side of it.'

4 'I will send out the curse,' says the LORD of hosts;

'It shall enter the house of the thief
And the house of the one who swears falsely by My name.
It shall remain in the midst of his house
And consume it, with its timber and stones.'
Zechariah 5:1-4
Why is there no preachment that requires such decision today? Has the word eclipsed its power or is there simply no one speaking it? Why is there no great, powerful, presentation so richly phrased that it takes wings and flies over every scheme and agenda and pulls it out into the open and bores into every secret hidden treasure house and destroys its ill gotten goods? Why? Why are the prophets afraid to call forth the scroll? Why do they not read it in the streets, the places of religious inquiry and the state house as did Baruch?

Baruch stood on the day of fasting (what a wonderful day to deliver the truth) when God gathered a crowd from all the surrounding cities. This was a day to seek the Lord, and behold, they were the ones sought by God to give His mercy a chance to rule over the impending invasion of foreign troops. One last chance to say, "Yes, to God and No, to the ravishes of egotism."

Alas, the crowds heard it and were stirred, but there was no sound of weeping. One man in the crowd reported its content to the Scribes' quarters. Somewhere in their company must have been a prince named Zedekiah, the son of Josiah. Many men of high import were present that day and they, like Pilate, wanted to make their own judgments.

The Scribes summoned Baruch, for Jeremiah was confined. They were terrified at what they heard.
Now it happened, when they had heard all the words, that they looked in fear from one to another, and said to Baruch, 'We will surely tell the king of all these words.' And they asked Baruch, saying, 'Tell us now, how did you write all these words - at his instruction?' So Baruch answered them, 'He proclaimed with his mouth all these words to me, and I wrote them with ink in the book.' Then the princes said to Baruch, 'Go and hide, you and Jeremiah; and let no one know where you are.'
Jeremiah 36:16-19
These leaders, who had the ear of the King, were fearful in the wake of what they heard, but still did not repent. They wished the King to be brought into the loop before a commitment would be made. How like the populous of this day!
Realizing the attitude of the King, they advised Baruch and Jeremiah to find a safe haven … "Go and Hide."
Not to worry, the Scripture says, "God hid them."
"Destroy the message, silence the messenger," such has been standard procedure for centuries. The king was enraged after just a few columns were read. He cut the scroll up and threw it into his December fire. Three men objected, but the others stood by in silence.
And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe's knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.

Yet they were not afraid, nor did they tear their garments, the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words.
Jeremiah 36:23-24
Jehudi did not have the anointing that Baruch had. Jehudi did not object to the sacrilege. Jehudi should have formed a revolt against the King's actions, but like most clergy, he chose to appease, placate and seek favor with riches.

The message was out. The King didn't want to hear more when he heard that Babylon was going to destroy his kingdom. He cried the equivalent of "Treason" and ordered Baruch and Jeremiah's arrest. Breathing out threats is a standard procedure for sinful leadership!

God saw and heard the King's rage. He instructed Jeremiah to assemble a second scroll in order to have a record for posterity, for them to know the prophecies of God and mark them when they came to pass.

Jeremiah even gave an added prophecy just for the King.
Therefore, thus says the LORD concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah: 'He shall have no one to sit on the throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat of the day and the frost of the night. I will punish him, his family, and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring on them, on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and on the men of Judah all the doom that I have pronounced against them; but they did not heed.,
Jeremiah 36:30-31
Notice the breadth of this judgment. First the King would be personally desecrated, and his family destroyed, along with those who served him. Listen, it is a fearful thing to serve those who are against the purposes of God-who thwart the teaching of the Lord's word. God looks upon leadership and those who serve leadership as one unit.

Next, observe the scope of judgment on the kingdom. All the citizens of Jerusalem and all the men of the nation (Judah) were to share the identical future-doom! It is a fearful thing to be the electorate supporting a sinful regime.
When the word of God was read to the citizens and then to the Scribes (along with the Princes) and finally to the King and nothing happened but scurrilous behavior… look out! (Note: God would have to apologize to the House of Judah if He let slide the affront of today!)

Jehudi and Baruch:

Before leaving this passage, something must be observed concerning Jehudi and Baruch.

Both of these men were involved intricately in the use of the "scroll of prophetic utterances." Baruch was identified with Jeremiah. They were like one person. What happened to Jeremiah also involved his scribe. One knows the intimate association which can take place by working with those who are used of God, not only in writing, but in association through ministry. There is a "knit through the anointing" that is almost unexplainable in worldly terms. For instance, an interpreter can become identified with his speaker. To share the passions, the personal expressions, the nuances, the life-force and anointing of the presenter requires a special affectation that only the Spirit of God can give. Baruch shared all this with Jeremiah, and when he read the scroll to the crowds and to his fellow Scribes, Jeremiah's prophetic anointing rested on him, along with the presence of God in his words. Counter pose the presentation of those same words, in the presence of the King, by Jehudi. Jehudi was a court affiliate. He certainly would not be the first "preacher," however, to present a message for which he had not been consumed and through which repentance had not been accomplished.

Jehudi may well represent the myriad of clergy who have not entered into the anointing and Spirit of the message of the Word they are presenting. Jehudi could take it or leave it. He stood by and was not listed among the protesters to the burning of the scroll. His passive presentation presented the facts without the power of the redemptive offer. Little could he realize how important a message this was, for this was God's last offer on the table of judgment. (That is the issue today! While pulpits remain passive and "religio-politico," the masses are herded into a tribulational hell.) When Baruch spoke, fear and trepidation filled the room and an interesting response came forth---yes, a real decision. "We must carry this to the King," however, was an action of little value in the wake of much needed "falling on one's face, while begging God for mercy and repenting openly for being what he or she had become."

Jehudi surrendered his ministry to another. Jehudi could not call for a decision by the King to which he had not succumbed. He must have sighed relief in having to go no further as the scroll was hefted from him, cut and burned. As the flame licked each piece, they flamed forth a burning message which could not be quieted by the usual disdain of truth; though cut and burned, they were still alive and would again come forth to rule the day by the hand of the servant Baruch and the prophet Jeremiah.

No, Jehudi, the issue was far from over when you were no longer obliged to speak!

Chapter 37 Zedekiah's last step:

The following chart will help the reader comprehend the time frame for the previous prophetic words. Chapter 36 was spoken during the reign of Jehoiakim, while Chapter 37 jumps to Zedekiah. (Note: Zedekiah more than likely was present at the reading of the scroll when it was cut and burned. He also was uniquely an appointee to office by the conquering Chaldeans.)

One can readily see that the decisions of one king are often born out in another. Actions do have consequences and in this case, when Baruch and Jehudi uttered their final words, it was Judah's last chance to repent.

Even this brief study reveals what happens when God's offer is rejected. The opening lines show the rebellion and hard heartedness of Zedekiah, his retinue and the people at large. (Note: In Revelation when the bowls were poured out, the people's attitude was the same. Instead of repentance, there was blasphemy.)
Now King Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah. 2 But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land gave heed to the words of the LORD which He spoke by the prophet Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 37:1-2
Zedekiah knew Jeremiah heard from God. He hoped a good word would come forth due to the change in leadership and in honor of his reign. He must have thought perhaps the message had changed for surely God had changed His mind. He sent emissaries to Jeremiah,
Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, "Pray now to the LORD our God for us."
Jeremiah 37:3
Imagine the hypocritical audacity in the request, "Pray now … for us." How easy those words slip out of mouths. How spiritual they sound, and they often are followed by, "We need all the prayers we can get." Maybe they knew Jeremiah's prayers were more effective than those of the many other prophets… or maybe they were softening him up with a trite entreaty. Nevertheless, they found Jeremiah circulating among the people and carrying out his prophetic work. The Lord gave him another word.
Now Jeremiah was coming and going among the people, for they had not yet put him in prison. Then Pharaoh's army came up from Egypt; and when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news of them, they departed from Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 37:4-5
A turn of events came around for Zedekiah. The Egyptians came up to assist Judah. The Chaldeans were feign to take them on at that moment and retreated. This gave Zedekiah great courage and the people great hope. Then God opened a word through Jeremiah.
"Behold, Pharaoh's army which has come up to help you will return to Egypt, to their own land, and the Chaldeans shall come back and fight against this city, and take it and burn it with fire." Thus says the LORD: "Do not deceive yourselves, saying, 'The Chaldeans will surely depart from us,' for they will not depart. For though you had defeated the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained only wounded men among them, they would rise up, every man in his tent, and burn the city with fire."
Jeremiah 37:7-10
These were not different words. These were the same words spoken years before in the court of Jehoiakim. This was the word Zedekiah had rejected. He, too, was not on the list of objectors to burning the scroll. His anger rose, the more he thought about it. (He contemplated an occasion would arise where Jeremiah could be silenced.) He waited.

Jeremiah, believing his words were true, took this time of national reprieve to view the land he had bought during his prison time earlier. He innocently sought entry into this territory.
And when he was in the Gate of Benjamin, a captain of the guard was there whose name was Irijah the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "You are defecting to the Chaldeans!" Then Jeremiah said, "False! I am not defecting to the Chaldeans." But he did not listen to him.
Jeremiah 37:13-14
The guard brought him to the authorities and they made a big mistake, they struck Jeremiah. They put him in prison (and those places are always filled with evil and are appalling). Notice it was the house of a Scribe (who would have been there when the word was given to Jehoiakim) being used as a prison.
So Irijah seized Jeremiah and brought him to the princes. Therefore the princes were angry with Jeremiah, and they struck him and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe. For they had made that the prison. When Jeremiah entered the dungeon and the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days,
Jeremiah 37:14-16
The King left Jeremiah in those circumstances for many days before bringing him to questioning. The first question to Jeremiah was, "What's new from God?" Jeremiah gave him the same message as before… the king of Babylon would take him captive.

Disdained at the prospect of being sent back to his dungeon cell, Jeremiah seized the moment to question the King. He asked him to look into the charges against him and find where he had broken any law. The King knew there were no legitimate charges, but civil rights are often suspended during times of war. He made arrangements for Jeremiah's relief, not his release. Notice Jeremiah did not compromise God's word in order to gain favor with the King. Holding to Truth often leads to a dungeon!

"The princes were angry." That seething pot was still boiling, for the princes plotted a strategy against the prophet. They had heard the original message of Jeremiah when he spoke to Jehoikim. They took him to the dungeon, to the worst of the lot, but even in prison, there was a man whose heart was toward God. A black man of Ethiopia was used of the Lord to rescue Jeremiah from death and that hellish grave. (God returned the favor when He sent Philip and began the subsequent development of Christianity in that nation.)
Now Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs, who was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon. When the king was sitting at the Gate of Benjamin, Ebed-Melech went out of the king's house and spoke to the king, saying: "My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon, and he is likely to die from hunger in the place where he is. For there is no more bread in the city." Then the king commanded Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, saying, "Take from here thirty men with you, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon before he dies." So Ebed-Melech took the men with him and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took from there old clothes and old rags, and let them down by ropes into the dungeon to Jeremiah. Then Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, "Please put these old clothes and rags under your armpits, under the ropes." And Jeremiah did so. So they pulled Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the dungeon. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.
Jeremiah 38:7-13
Notice the King gave Jeremiah some relief, but not release.

Once again, Jeremiah was summoned to the King, but this time he had the ear of the ruler. He challenged the king, saying, the King would have him killed if he told him the word of the Lord. Jeremiah even went so far as to declare the king would not heed his advice even when he knew it was the truth. The king swore to him his safety. Jeremiah began his prophetic work. The word "surrender" surfaced again, with graphic scenarios for either course of direction the king would take. (If he fought, he would die in battle and if he surrendered, he would live.)

Because the King did not wish to be seen consulting the prophet, Zedekiah devised a diversionary plan and asked Jeremiah to go along with it. The king did not want his princes to know he spoke with the prophet. Jeremiah, when questioned by them, gave them the Kings answer. The Scripture declared the prophet remained on the porch of the prison, until his prophetic words came to pass.

When governmental leaders are afraid to be seen with true men of God, that government is about to be destroyed. When government leaders want the man of God to sneak out the back door rather than be seen seeking his prayers, look out. When high office holders pay more attention to the political scene than they do the word of God, the nation has nothing but judgment ahead.

(Note the similarity of Jeremiah and Paul. Paul followed in Jeremiah's steps many times, even to dwelling in a house during confinement in Rome. He also suffered much from the Jewish high political sect.)
Now Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison until the day that Jerusalem was taken.
Jeremiah 38:28
God's people are not always delivered from trauma and suffering. The great prophet was treated with indignity, lied about, falsely accused and disrespected on numerous occasions. He never failed to stand in dignity and with much courage. He never once apologized for speaking the truth. He passionately went about the work God set out for him, and he did not lose heart or complain. He knew his calling was sure, his anointing real and his words sharp. Out of a life of purity, his very presence was a challenge to wrong. The Sons of Zadok must follow his example. Remember when they carried off Ezekiel, they carried off a true Son. (Thank God Jeremiah was released by the Chaldeans and was free to go where he wished, for what he did and where he went after gaining his freedom is another interesting study.)

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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The Sons of Zadok HR The Regal Pair Solomon's Secret Called to be Saints

Consumed By His Fire Double Grace En Punto A Study in Isaiah

The Road to Captivity Exact Ezekiel

Study Guide - The Sons of Zadok Study Guide - Called to be Saints Study Guide - The Road To Captivity

In Spanish:

Called to be Saints El Secreto de Salomon Los Hijos de Sadoc

In German:

Die Sohn Zadoks

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Sons of Zadok Double Grace HR The Regal Pair Consumed By His Fire

Called to be Saints Solomon's Secret En Punto A Study in Isaiah

The Road to Captivity Exact Ezekiel

In Spanish:

Called to be Saints El Secreto de Salomon Los Hijos Sadoc

In German:

Die Sohn Zadoks

Last modified: 02/07/2019