Jeremiah Chapter 44

lower egyptFirst we must know what or where Pathros is per verse 1 in chapter 44. Without going into the Hebrew, it is the southernmost part of Egypt. Egypt was sometimes divided into two kingdoms and had two pharaohs; one in the lower kingdom next to the Mediterranean Sea and one in the upper Nile in northern Sudan. If you wish additional explanation per Pathros in Jeremiah 44:1, go to http://www.icr.org/books/defenders/4499/.

Simply put, the fleeing remnant of Israelis of the Tribe of Judah spread out in Egypt. Their motive? Possibly thinking they could hide from God’s promised wrath for having fled there instead of (see chapter 42 article) remaining in Judea. This same act of defiance was done by Jonah in the 8th century B.C.; about 200 years earlier. He fled or tried to flee God by sailing to Tarshish, Spain. We can run but we cannot hide.

Amazingly, Jeremiah 44 tells us in verse 2 that all the cities of Judah and Jerusalem itself at this time are DESOLATE. Chorbâh in the Hebrew can mean “totally absent of mankind” or “a land laid waste and in decay.” Since the YLT (Young’s Literal Translation) is a fairly accurate word-for-word translation, it says “there is none dwelling in them.”  This means at this time neither Israeli nor Arab dwelt in this land at the time Jeremiah had these words penned to scripture. However, if we consider verse three, it may mean it is desolate of Judeans… We read the same words in Jeremiah 44:6.

It is clear that God is a jealous God (Deuteronomy 4:24) and Israelis knew this from the onset. The Book of Deuteronomy was written by Moses; it is in the Jewish Pentateuch. Moses himself told them God is jealous.  “Put no other god before me;” i.e. Ten Commandments. If it was wrong yesterday, it is still wrong today. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Years between do not change right from wrong in God’s eyes. However, and this is a warning to the reader, a time has now come when some things that are right are called politically wrong, and wrong is called politically right (Isaiah 5:20). Go back to Jeremiah 3 and we see that God considered Judah’s sins more frightful than those that brought demise to her northern cousins, the Kingdom of Israel 120 plus years earlier.

Reading Jeremiah very closely, it appears that the Judeans went out of their way to provoke God by burning incense to other gods. Example: A little girl went to a basketball game with her father. He told her that she could play in the stands as long as she did not bother other people and did not step foot on the basketball court. Shortly thereafter, she went down to the bottom bleacher putting one foot onto the court while looking back at her father. Was she wrong or just sort of wrong? This is provocation even if it was one foot over the line.

Jeremiah 44:7 takes an unexpected twist. God does not say that their idol worshipping was as hurting to him as much as he asked…”Why are you continually hurting yourselves?” Jeremiah 44:8c is most earie when we look at the news today seeing people after people line up against Israel. It reads…”The people of all the other nations on the earth will say bad things about you and make fun of you.” Isn’t this precisely what is going on today? They brought it upon themselves.

Jeremiah 44:10 can be applied across the board to the Israel we see even today, 2017.

“Even to this day the people of Judah have not made themselves humble. They have not shown any respect for me, and they have not followed my teachings. They have not obeyed the laws I gave you (them) and your (their) ancestors.” [ERV]

The next few verses are explicit to those who fled to Egypt against God’s will. He assures all that they will not see, nor will their children even in Sudan ever again see their home land. The King James Version says: “…they shall all be consumed, and fall in the land of Egypt; they shall even be consumed by the sword and by the famine: they shall die, from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine: and they shall be an execration (insult), and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach.” There is no room for theological wiggle room. They are condemned by God himself.

In verse 16 the people once again spoke in unison, “we will not harken onto your voice. We will do as we please.” Now we get some interesting insight as to why or the rationale behind why the Catholics worship the mother Mary as the Queen of Heaven. Keep in mind that Jesus doesn’t appear on earth for another 600 years, none the less, this is of interest; 44:7. “But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her…” The Queen Mother of Heaven? Hmmmm?

Even here in Jeremiah it is seen as a sin unto God. What makes it correct to do today? The wayward Judeans even mention her again in verse 18, 19 and 25. They blindly blame their lack of making offerings to the Queen Mother of Heaven for their demises and famines. They say they must return to that way of worship in order for things to be corrected. They did not know of a future mother of Jesus named Mary. However, Catholics of today do.

Jeremiah 44:23 points out that it is because of this worship practice and others like it that they are in the struggle they are currently in. Jeremiah 44:23c states: “therefor this evil is happened to you.” This is pure blasphemy to God the Holy Spirit. They looked him in the face and opted for another way to worship. They all died in the land to which the fled. We wonder how people today can be so blind. Easy! They are just like Israel and Judah of old. They wanted it their way. I’ll Do It My Way. Their choice has been made. Their judgement is sealed and of their own making. In Jeremiah’s closing remarks of chapter 44, he is very clear. He includes and mentions even the women [v25], not just the men.

one way

 Only ONE Way. 

Unless one knows a bit of Egyptian history, Pharaoh Hophra mentioned in 44:30, sometimes identified as King Apries, was the one with whom King Zedekiah of Judah made an alliance and wanted to aid him in revolting against Babylon. While the Babylonians (Chaldeans) were besieging Jerusalem, HOPHRA/APRIES came out to confront Nebuchadnezzar’s army. The Babylonians left the besieging of Jerusalem to challenge him. Pharaoh Hophra changed his mind and returned to Memphis, capital of Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar later attacked and burned all the worship centers and capital buildings in Memphis, Egypt; just as Jeremiah had predicted would happen in Jeremiah 37:8.

Author’s NOTE: In 1909, in the course of excavations carried on by the British School of Archaeology in Egypt, the palace of King Apries, aka Pharaoh Hophra, was discovered on the site of Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt. They found a silver carrying cart (palanquin) burned just as Jeremiah had prophesied would happen during the time of the fleeing Judeans in Egypt. This included many buildings and the palace of Pharaoh Hophra. My, my, my. How coincidental?

miniJim

Dr. J. Stark

November, 2017

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Jeremiah Chapter 42

We begin this article by going back to the future. We published chapter 43 before this author wrote chapter 42. (His fault)

INTRO: In this chapter we have what remains of the former Kingdom of Judah, small and great, going to Jeremiah. The army forces and captains to which this passage refers are what remained of the Judean forces. Most likely, these were men stationed in out posts or remained hidden while Nebuchadnezzar’s forces conquered and burned Jerusalem along with many of the kingdoms fortified cities.

The ERV writes: “All the people, from the least important to the most important, went to Jeremiah.” Correctly written for better understanding it might read, “All of the remaining people…” It is human nature, but not of God, to seek help from a foe when the situation is totally helpless. How many turn to the world for solutions when s/he decidedly rejects God.

helpWhy did they go to Jeremiah, the one they have despised for over 20 years? It appears that he has been the true prophet and those who called him false or a liar, were the false prophets. Jeremiah obviously had an “in” with God that no one else had. They needed help as all else was doomed.,

This is a parallel to End Time and Israel. They will finally be in a situation that all is doomed. The difference is the End Time will be just that…the end time. That time they will not only listen but see their Messiah. They came pleading for Jeremiah to do what each one of them could have done without him; worship God and plead HIS forgiveness. However, motive is underlying. They wanted Jeremiah to take the responsibility of their pending demise. He accepted, but with conditions. It is odd and revealing that they say to Jeremiah (v2,3; ESV), “pray to YOUR GOD.” They no longer saw the God of Israel as their God. In a manner of saying they are pleading to have this outsider god intervene on their behalf because the one true believer will petition for them.praying hands.jpg

Many times in my pastoring others have asked me to pray for them. This I willing do but it means nothing unless the one requesting prayer does something similar. There is but ONE INTERCESSOR between God and individuals…1 Timothy 2:5. Jeremiah is not mentioned in this scripture and neither am I. However, at this time mankind had direct access to God. Jesus did not arrive in history for another 600 plus years.

The surviving people of Judah wanted a way out of their predicament; not a way back to God. This is evidenced in the next chapter already posted on this website (Chapter 43). “…(may) the LORD your God show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.” Jeremiah agrees to petition God.

The following verse is something that those who use the Lord’s Prayer as a universal, all included, prayer in church services, MUST understand. They, as do we when we use the Lord’s Prayer as a group, are taking an oath even though Jeremiah is doing the praying. It is in the (Father’s) name of God. They say in v5… (ESV) “May the LORD be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the LORD your God sends you to us.”way out

JIV NOTE: It reads, “may the Lord be a witness against us if we do not act according to all the words…” What does this comparatively mean when we ask God to forgive us our sins JUST AS WE FORGIVE ALL OTHERS?

OUCH!

The surviving people and militia of Judah add their own condition per their petition through Jeremiah to God. “Whether it be good or bad, we will obey.”time3

Jeremiah retreats to his prayer closet (symbolic words) and petitions God. God does not send a message to Jeremiah for ten days (v7). What this does to the emergency is put time between it and when the solution is offered. In short, time gives people an excuse to reject any solution. It is a measure of the true heart. In their own language (Hebrew) it is the kavanah; the true intent of the heart.

This article cannot put it any better than how it is written in the bible 42:10-22 (end of chapter 42). Here are the conditions of God’s protect to the remnant.

  1. If you remain in the land I (God) will build you up and not tear you down;
  2. I regret the injury I have brought upon you (If you do as I command);
  3. Do not fear Babylon for I will protect you;
  4. Nebuchadnezzar will have mercy and let you remain in the land;
  5. If the remnant refuses to remain there fleeing to Egypt…
    1. The sword will overtake you;
    2. Famine will be upon all of those who flee and do not follow my conditions;
    3. Pestilence will be upon those who go to Egypt;
    4. There will be no survivors to return to the Promised Land;
    5. You will suffer God’s wrath (worse than that of Nebuchadnezzar;
    6. None of those who flee to Egypt will see their home land again.

Jeremiah holds no punches as he promised back in verse 4 where he states, “I will hold nothing from you that God tells me.”What Jeremiah told them is not the condition or answers the Judeans wanted. They wanted God Jehovah to work for them but not the other way around. It is summarized in the final verse of Jeremiah 42… “Now therefore know certainly that ye shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place whither ye desire to go to sojourn there.”

In the next chapter we see the peoples’ immediate response. They accuse Jeremiah once again of false messages from Jehovah God. This is just like praying the Lord’s Prayer corporately.  When we approach the Great White Throne Judgement and he says that he is forgiving us just as we forgave those who sinned against us we will never see the Promised Land. Yes, Jeremiah’s prayer was a group prayer and all had agreed to obey God’s conditions, but didn’t. The Judeans prayed corporately through Jeremiah to obey ALL that God commands. Some readers of this article who use the Lord’s Prayer in ignorance will immediately slip into denial. They will claim that it isn’t fair. Well, don’t tell me, tell God. That is precisely what the Israelites did. They blamed the messenger and refuses to obey the message.

miniJimDr. JStark

Jeremiah Chapter 43

 

The story goes something like this. A man and a woman were going someplace “to get away from things.” They had just been through some life trauma and wanted to get away from it all but had little funds to support it. She sought some advice. Her husband asked her, “where would you like to go?” She replied, “why don’t you just ask our travel agent.” So he does. He later reports back what the travel agent recommends. He was assured by the highly recommended agent that if they stayed local, he could guarantee their safety, price, enjoyment, and still get away from the trauma. There has been violence in the surrounding areas. However, if they go outside of their home territory, they will pay a great price for so doing and their trauma will simply follow them.

Once her husband reports back to her per the travel agent’s advice, she immediately accuses him of being self-serving, he was lying, it wasn’t what she wanted, (Florida was on her mind) and the agent didn’t understand their circumstances. What does he know anyway? Then she gathers up the family, packs up luggage along with a charge card, tells him to get in the car, and off they go to a Florida. (See article on Chapter 44; trauma does follow them)

This is similar to Jeremiah’s situation in chapter 43. The Judean survivors and remaining militia of Judah, following the traumatic invasion of the Babylonians, sought out Jeremiah and begged him to ask God what they should do. Most of the Judeans… king, rulers, and leaders were taken captive to Chaldea-Babylon.

This takes us into chapter 43. Looking back at chapter 42 we discovered that Jeremiah was assured by God that if they stayed within their homeland, he would protect them from any further Babylonian trauma and any other enemy, but they must believe and have faith in him [42:10, 11]. In short, God had changed his mind and would protect, provide safety, offered a life from additional trauma, and at a cost of simply worshiping him as their God.

Jeremiah is accused in verse 2 of chapter 43 [ESV]…”You are telling a lie. The LORD our God did not send you to say, “Do not go to Egypt to live there…”  Essentially they accuse Jeremiah of being a turncoat and since the Babylonians had looked favorably upon Jeremiah, he was seen as a traitor. Remember that up until now, these very same “captains of the army (militia)” and the Judean citizens had resisted all of Jeremiah’s counsel and prophecy even though it now all came true.

The army had good reason to continue fearing the Babylonians. In all likelihood, it was these military men who had initially recommended to King Zedekiah to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. Why would they now want to hang around? They even go so far as to accuse Baruch, Jeremiah’s secretary, of setting them up for destruction; Baruch’s “get even” plot.

JIV NOTE: One of the great mysteries in the bible is why do the Israelites (including Judeans) constantly want to flee to Egypt for protection; the very same place they served as slaves to the Pharaohs for 400 years??? We recall in Exodus 5:2 that the Pharaoh said to Moses…”who is the Lord that I should obey him?” This is a continued explanation as to why God was judging Judah. They wanted help, but they wanted it their way… “Do your job God and protect us but let us serve other gods.”

We must make note of the following few verses. Many times one who reads this passage is left with the impression that all of Judah was not taken into captivity by the Babylonians. A remnant is left behind. This is true however no one is to be left in the former Kingdom of Judah, now a province of Babylon.

Jeremiah 43: 4-7; [ESV] So Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces and all the people did not obey the voice of the LORD, to remain in the land of Judah.

But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces took all the remnant of Judah who had returned to live in the land of Judah from all the nations to which they had been driven–the men, the women, the children, the princesses, and every person whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan; also Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch the son of Neriah. And they came into the land of Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the LORD.

JIV: Once again contrary to some theologians, this is not the return and again the removal of the Tribes to Israel. It is those of Judah who had fled Nebuchadnezzar. Those who returned to Judah were JUDEANS; i.e. Tribe of Judah.

The (Promised) land is now vacated. This is the argument of the Palestinian Arabs today; 2017. They argue that the Israeli’s of the ten tribe Northern Kingdom were totally dispersed by the Assyrians well over 100 years before this time, and never returned. They were forced into and throughout the world. Now the remaining remnant of Judeans left (fled) the land of the former Kingdom of Judah and escaped to Egypt. Per modern Arab thought, it was desertion of their Promised Land so it now defaults to the other son of Eber (through Joktan), and other Arab descendants of Esau (son of Isaac) and Ishmael (son of Abraham).

If a church or denomination wants to believe that the New Testament REPLACES the Israeli covenants of the Old Testament, then even so-called Christian Churches today will take this same stand albeit in their shallow Arab understanding or ignorance of the Word (promises) of God. “People have deserted the church so it is no longer valid” so they think.

Jeremiah now unloads on his remaining countrymen in vocal dynamics probably unmatched in his previous prophesies and warnings. He tells the fleeing remnant to ‘Stand ready and be prepared, for the sword shall devour around you.’ God warned them though Jeremiah in chapter 42: if they desert their Promised homeland they would not be protected by their God, or avoid the sword, pestilence, and death.

Here is a very interesting archeological insight. God tells Jeremiah to bury some large stones under the pavement of the entrance to the city of Tahpanhes, Egypt. He is to do this in the full view of these of the fleeing Judean militia and Jews within this remnant. He does what God commanded of him while prophesying… the Babylonians will not only attack Egypt, but will also kill those who think they have avoided God’s judgement. The evidence is where Jeremiah buries these large stones. Nebuchadnezzar will set his tent on that very spot when invading Egypt. No one can avoid God’s judgement! The encyclopedia describes this very event…

A platform of brickwork, which has been tentatively described as the pavement at the entry of Pharaoh‘s palace, has been discovered at this place. “Here,” says the discoverer, William Flinders Petrie, “the ceremony described by Jeremiah 43:8-10; ‘brick-kiln’ (i.e. pavement of brick) took place before the chiefs of the fugitives assembled on the platform, and here Nebuchadnezzar II spread his royal pavilion”. The site was discovered by Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie in 1886. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahpanhes)

However, the fleeing Judeans are not the only ones to suffer upon settling in Tahpanhes, Egypt. When the Babylonians finally attack Egypt they utterly destroy much of the land itself including burning their temples of evil and other god worship and other artifacts now discovered by William Flinders Petrie.

The Babylonians still had a score to settle with the Egyptians. When Nebuchadnezzar was laying siege to Jerusalem, just as Jeremiah had prophesied, the Egyptians marched out to engage him in war. King Zedekiah of Judah and Egypt had signed an alliance. Their armies, however, never engaged. The Egyptians retreated after the Babylonians army pulled out of Judah to fight them. This is probably why so many of the Judean army was still around. They had probably gone out to join the Egyptians and were not in Judea when Nebuchadnezzar attacked. Some undoubtedly were in hiding.

Next article – Chapter 44: How far had the people of Judah turned their hearts from God? Next article is another WOW moment.

miniJimDr. J. Stark

November 2017

Jeremiah Chapter 41

In our previous article on chapter 40, we pointed out that Gedaliah was appointed governor over the Judean area by Nebuchadnezzar after the failed revolt of King Zechariah.king Zechariah himself had been appointed king over Judah by Nebuchadnezzar but power went to his head and God was not in his heart. He had rebelled in hopes of help from Egypt. It never came.

Gedaliah became governor (not king) of the surrounding area of Judah. His capital city was Mizpah since Jerusalem itself had been mostly destroyed by Neb and his Chaldean/Babylonian army. He had a small contingency of Babylonian militia as body guards. Gedaliah was the son of Ahikam (who saved the life of the prophet Jeremiah back in Jeremiah 26) and the grandson of Shaphan. Shaphan is mentioned in relation to the discovery of the Scroll of Teaching that some scholars identify as the core of the Book of Deuteronomy. This is debated.

Ishmael (of all names to use in this pending assassination plan found in Jeremiah 41) was sent by the King of the Ammonites to assassinate Gedaliah. He wanted discord to once again fall upon what remained of the Judean people. The Ammonites, descendants of Lot, were an eternal enemy of all Israel. Using the guise of a friendly supper and drinking party, Ishmael, sent by the Ammonites and ten men with him, invited Governor Gedaliah to a small celebration. After dining and drinking they got up and slew Gedaliah and those (probably unarmed) within his company.

Once again Nebuchadnezzar was going to need a replacement as a ruler in the province of Judah. Since this area was a constant thorn in the side of the Babylonian king, the remaining Judeans feared with good reason the response by Nebuchadnezzar. They packed up and with all haste fled to Egypt. Most Judeans fled but not Ishmael and his murdering men. This was about 582 B.C.E.

Unexpectedly (Jeremiah 41:4) some 80 men from Shechem and Samaria came to Mizpah, in a sense, to welcome Gedaliah as an ally and friend and to pay tribute in the House of Jehovah. They did not know of the assassination of Gedaliah. The last thing Ishmael needed was witnesses from outside who were also under the thumb of Nebuchadnezzar.

Ishmael, was a great actor and met these men outside of the Judean province. He was weeping and look distraught; a deception not all that uncommon in the Middle East even to this day. Jeremiah 41:6 says…he (Ishmael) said unto them, Come to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam.  They were emotionally disarmed by the appearance of a great servitude of Ishmael and his men. When they entered the city (Mizpah), Ishmael and his men began another day of assassinations and murders. These visitors were slaughter; all but ten of them. These survivors (all probably without weapons) used the old bargaining chip of hidden values (Jeremiah 41:8) that would remain hidden if they were slain. Gedaliah bought their plea bargain. What happens per these “valuables” we are not told.

Jeremiah 41:9…

“And the pit into which Ishmael had cast all the dead bodies of the men whom he had slain by the side of Gedaliah was the one which Asa the king had made for fear of Baasha king of Israel: Ishmael the son of Nethaniah filled it with his slain.”

In a very real sense this also served as a visual warning to the remaining ten survivors from Samaria and Shechem that a bad move could also make this pit their final resting ground. Then Ishmael makes a retreat back to the King of Ammon. However he does not go alone. He takes the remaining Jews in Mizpah captive and herds them to Ammon.

One might call it a remaining Judean guerrilla force (v11), rose up from their hiding places outside of Judah proper. They heard of the evil deeds of Ishmael and came to their rescue before Ishmael could carrel his captives in Ammon. One might think he was going to sell them as slaves to the King of Ammon. We don’t really know but that was the culture and practice of that day. We get this idea from verse 10 where they are identified as “CAPTIVES.”

Jeremiah 41:13 tells us…

“And it came to pass when all the people that were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the (remaining Judean) forces that were with him, then they were glad.”

We can determine by close examination of Jeremiah 41:13-15 that Ishmael made a very hasty flight to Ammon leaving his captives standing in view of Johanan and his captains of what once again, we may identify as a guerrilla force of Judah. If one read the non-canonized books of the Maccabees, we see they too were a Judean guerrilla force but very successful in fighting off the Roman rule yet to come after Jeremiah’s time; albeit 300 years later.

This entourage of Judeans, probably under the leadership of Johanan, gathered near Bethlehem. They knew that Nebuchadnezzar was going to seek revenge. Since this was a common problem under the rule of Neb, this time his revenge would be brutal.

helpSo, what are their options? Like most in today’s society, deny God until one gets into a fix s/he cannot get out of unscathed. Their initial design was to flee to Egypt. However they first go to Jeremiah and beg, yes, BEG that he pray to Jehovah-God seeking guidance. The significance of the new problem they all shared, it was not a seeking of God’s forgiveness, but a seeking of safety. We see this in chapter 42; our next article. Chapter 42 is fascinating in that God regrets having sent his people into captivity in Babylon and agrees to protect them but only if they remain in Judah and worship him as their one and only God.

miniJimDr. Jstark – October 2017

Jeremiah Chapter 40

TBook of Jeremiahhe Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge puts it this way:

The word: This, and the four following chapters, record the events which occurred in Judea from the taking of Jerusalem [by the Babylonians/Chaldeans) to the retreat of the remnant of the people to Egypt; and contain several prophecies of Jeremiah concerning them there; which were “the word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord.”

The next two chapters in Jeremiah are not prophetic but historical events in and around Judah. They are the immediate events as they unfold after Jerusalem falls for the last time to Babylon and what consequently happens to Jeremiah.

Immediately following the fall of Jerusalem/Judah, Jeremiah is treated just as were the rest of the Judean prisoners; harshly and in chain bonds. Nebuchadnezzar’s order to treat him kindly had not yet reached his forces who were busy capturing fleeing and native Judeans Jews. So much happens during the first few days that follow the Chaldeans (Babylonians) invading Jerusalem. Things like robbing the Temple of its gold and silver artifacts and valuables, burning the city, chain-ganging the captives, taking spoils of cattle, and beginning rough treatment of the Jews. God took note of their cruel treatment. We will discuss this later in this Jeremiah series. It has deadly consequences for the Babylonians.

Why would there eventually be bad consequences on the Babylonians. This is actually addressed in verse 2…(ESV) “The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, “The LORD your God pronounced this disaster against this place.” They somehow KNEW that they conquered the kingdom of Judah because JUDAH’S GOD ALLOWED IT TO HAPPEN. This is the only place in scripture where this is suggested but we need to follow the Babylonians through to their end when the Persians and Medes destroy them when Daniel is very old. But consider the rough treatment of these people originally appointed by God to represent him. We should go back to Genesis 12:3a…[NIV]I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.”

Jeremiah 40:4, 5 are heartwarming verses showing the respect the Babylonians had for Jeremiah. This did not, however, ingratiate him with some of his kin and fellow Jews. Later on they forcibly take him to Egypt as they themselves flee Judah. We will study this in a later chapter of Jeremiah. This is also where legend begins to mix with scripture in per Jeremiah’s life.

Verse 7c gives us a pretty good clue as to who remained in Judah after the fact…”those of the poorest of the land.” When someone is busy trying to keep shelter over his or her head and food to eat, their involvement of current events are shallow. They must take care of their personal needs first. Many of these people knew or cared little about Jeremiah.

At verse 11 of Jeremiah 40, we shift gears. Those who had fled ahead of the Chaldean invasion or had previously left the Kingdom of Judah for whatever reason, heard that Nebuchadnezzar had appointed a new governor and only left a remnant of Judeans in their former country. Some who had fled began returning to occupy their homes or farms and buildings left standing from those who had been taken captive.

When the Babylonians conquered the people of Judah, there were some remaining Judean military captains and their men who escaped into the mountains and outer country side at the time of the invasion. Some were stationed at outposts and only later found out about the fall of their kingdom. They had to choose whether they would continue the fight as an underground resistance or submit to Babylonian rule. Gedaliah tried to persuade them that it would be wise and to their advantage to simply come back into the cities and live in peace serving the Babylonians.

JIV NOTE: There is historical significance of Mizpah where the appointed governor of Judah Gedaliah set up his capital. [To read about this go to Joshua 11:8, Judges 20:1-3, even back in Genesis 31:45-49].

Why would the governor who was appointed by Nebuchadnezzar set up his governorship ij Jerusalem? Simple. The Chaldeans had destroyed it, the temple and the walls. It was burned and little more than rubble at this time.

Sabotage! Insurrection! Plotting! At verse 14 we discover that all is still not well. Once more the Ammonites wish to continue their grudge blood feud with any of the Tribes of Jacob; i.e. this time only against the remnant in Judah and their newly appointed governor Gedaliah. `Dost thou really know that Baalis king of the sons of Ammon hath sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to smite thy soul?‘ There are many theories but nothing concrete as to why Baalis specifically wanted to target Gedaliah. However, there is something of historical and current value to consider. Whatever it was on the heart of Baalis, it would have kept things stirred up in Judah by assassinating a Babylonian appointed governor. Just as is still true today, the world seems to keep things stirred up either in or about Israel. This is a spiritual war; Satan versus God.

miniJimRev Dr. Jstark
October, 2017

Jeremiah Chapter 39

This chapter is the beginning and fulfillment of what Jeremiah had been prophesying for over 20 years to Israel, its people, rulers, and religious sects. There are several components to this chapter:

  1. The capture of Jerusalem (Last of the cities of Israel to fall)
  2. Jeremiah protected by the Babylonians
  3. Removal of Judean people from Israel to Babylon (the first of three transfers)
  4. The fate of King Zedekiah
  5. Assurance of and to Ebed-melech
    1. He was the Ethiopian who rescued Jeremiah from the cistern back in chapter 38
    2. This may not be his real name as it reads more as a title; Ebed: a servant; Melech: [of the] king.

Zedekiah had originally been put on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar several years earlier when he removed King Jehoiachin after initially conquering Judah/Jerusalem. Zedekiah was a vassal king to Babylon. In short…he owed his allegiance and crown to Nebuchadnezzar. Christians too often seek a truly close relationship with God only in a time of trouble.  When the trouble goes away, the tendency is to think one is not needing God until the next trouble pops up. Zedekiah had decided he could rebel as long as Egypt came alongside with its forces against Neb. Pharaoh Necho brought out his forces as agreed between him and Zedekiah, but then changed his mind and returned to Egypt (Jeremiah 37:5-7).

hands help

We need GOD’s help ALL the time!

This left Zedekiah all alone without help. A very weak kingdom was Judah. When Zedekiah saw Neb’s men sitting at the city gate (39:4) they panicked and fled Jerusalem. If it was only Zedekiah and a few of his court who fled, they may have escaped. But the minimal armed forces of Jerusalem fled with him. A group this size was not easy to stay stealth and the Chaldean army caught them. We read how he (they) escaped by going back to Ezekiel 12:12…they broke a hole in the outer and inner walls of Jerusalem and fled. The double wall design had two purposes; 1) To specifically provide an egress or escape route if the city was invaded and 2) a type of thermo-pane-wall (double) to keep the enemy at bay once they broke through the outer wall.

JIV NOTE: Personally, this incident fascinates. Israel under the auspices of Joshua entered the Promised lands via Jericho. Now over 800 years later, the last of the vestiges of the former Israel as a nation ends “on the plains of Jericho” [verse 5]. Is there poetic justice, irony, or thought knowing this nation of people came full circle beginning at Jericho then ending at the same location?

Just as under Joshua and centuries earlier the Israelites slaughtered the sinful inhabitants of Jericho, (v6) “The king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah at Riblah before his eyes, and the king of Babylon slaughtered all the nobles of Judah.” History repeated itself!

There is another even more fascinating insight to this event at Jericho.  We have often wondered about the Magi and the Star of Bethlehem. Who were they? We know they were astronomers, studied the stars and were of the Zoroastrian religion. Here is what secular history along with the bible tells us:magi-

Rab-mag: chief (Rab) of the magi (mag); was brought along with the Babylonian expedition to Jerusalem in order that its issue might be foreknown through his astrological skill. Mag is a Persian word, meaning “great,” “powerful.” The magi were a sacerdotal caste among the Medes, and supported the Zoroastrian religion. The name Rab-mag is of interest…this chief of the magi was brought along to assure victory. When Israel marched on Jericho centuries earlier, Rahab (very similar name and meaning) was saved and through her came Jesus many years after… in order that its issue might be foreknown. Magi visited Jesus when he was yet a baby. Rahab was the mother of Boaz, the great grandfather of King David. Jesus descended from the line of King David.

Jeremiah 39:9-14 tells us that Jeremiah was released from the prisons of Zedekiah and protected by the Babylonian guards; probably because his many years of prophecy had now come to past, there were a significant number of his fellow Judeans that dispised him. Now that what he had prophesied came true, they had even more reason to hate him as their royal courts, leaders, and religious rulers had been openly slaughtered by Nebuchadnezzar. Verse 39 takes us back to the above indented paragraph concerning the discussion of the RAB-MAGI (saris). They came to the rescue of Jeremiah and honored him just like 600 years later the magi from the east came to the babe Jesus and honored him.

The Babylonian armies initially removed 10,000 of the best people of Judah taking them captive to Babylon. This would include Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego (Book of Daniel). This was only the first of three forced removals of people from Judah/Jerusalem; most likely dates are 605, 597, & 586.

NOTE:

Jeremiah 39:15 takes us a step backward in this historical event recorded in Babylonian records and archaeological discoveries of these records. Jeremiah 39:15-17a… The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah while he was shut up in the court of the guard:  “Go, and say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will fulfill my words against this city for harm and not for good, and they shall be accomplished before you on that day, but I (God) will deliver you from danger.

…jumping to verse 18: “I (God) will surely save you (Ebed-Melech), and you shall not fall by the sword, but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have put your trust in me, declares the LORD.”

 

miniJimRev Dr. Jstark
October, 2017

Jeremiah – Chapter 38

Here is an overall look at chapter 38 of Jeremiah. More detailed discussion will follow these four briefs.

38:1-13   Jeremiah was cast into a miry dungeon because he advised the people to leave the city and turn themselves over to the Babylonians. Zedekiah openly expressed his weakness: he could not thwart the will of the princes by protecting the prophet. An Ethiopian eunuch succeeded in having him pulled out if the cistern prison with ropes, old clothes and rags thenhe was returned to the court of the prison.

38:14-20  When King Zedekiah sought advice from Jeremiah, promising him immunity, he was told to surrender to the invaders and was assured that the Jews who had defected would not abuse him.

38:21-23   If Zedekiah refused to go over to the invaders, the palace women would taunt him in the presence of their Babylonian captors, reminding him how his close friends had misled him, then had forsaken him. Also the king’s wives, children, and the king himself would be taken captive by the invaders, Jerusalem would be burned, and they personally would never return.

38:24-28   Zedekiah asked Jeremiah not to tell what had been discussed asking him to simply say that he had requested not to go back to the dungeon of Jonathan. The princes did come and ask, and Jeremiah answered as Zedekiah had directed. Obviously there is a question here concerning the ethics of Jeremiah’s reply. Was it the truth, a half-truth or a complete falsehood? What he said was probably true, but he did not feel obligated to tell all that he knew. Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison until the fall of Jerusalem. He was then released by the Babylonians somewhat as an ally.insights

Now for some insights:

Some supposed theologians and commentaries want to us believe that this chapter is discussing the same imprisonment of Jeremiah as in chapter 37. Why s/he would wish to deceive is beyond me when these two trips to prison are individually identified. Jeremiah himself in chapter 37 asked King Zedekiah to not send him back to the dungeons at the House of Jonathan in 37:20. Miry dungeon does not fit the descriptions of the palace prisons. The fact that it was not a prison but an unused and deep well tells us so.choose

Jeremiah actually had three imprisonments. Jeremiah 20 records him being held in stocks after being beaten; Jeremiah 21 tells us of prison in Pashur; Jeremiah 32 finds him in two different prisons but only to go from one to the other with no release time between them.

We might be wise to return to Jeremiah 21:8  “And to this people you shall say: ‘Thus says the LORD: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.” Jeremiah’s warning is in a similar fashion found in the New Testament; path of life and one of a second death. Jeremiah is telling the people that there is but two choices in life. To stay put is certain judgement and death. In End Time the people of Israel/Judah will be told to run and to run quickly for the enemy is at the gate. Flee to the mountains of refuge (Matthew 24:16). Verse 2 of Jeremiah 38 also parallels End Time Prophecies for Jerusalem:

Mat 24:16  then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

Mat 24:17  Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house,

Mat 24:18  and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.

Mat 24:19  And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!

Just as a warning is heeded by some in our times, the officials of the King’s Court worried about the prophecies of Jeremiah. Jeremiah’s prophecies were not simple warnings. However, what he was saying had an effect on the soldiers and population of Judah. Their ranks were thinning. We find this in verse 4…”Let this man be put to death for he is weakening the will of the soldiers who still remain in the city and the populace” (Paraphrased: some must have already left). In this case, the royal court and princes were correct. Some were beginning to believe Jeremiah after 20 plus (626 B.C. to 606 B.C.; the first Babylonian attack on Jerusalem) years of prophesying the same things. This is especially so when they saw Babylonian forces at their gates.

Coffman’s Commentary puts it this way. “Let this man be put to death …” (Jeremiah 38:4). From the ordinary viewpoint, this delegation appears to have been justified in their demand for the execution of Jeremiah; because, certainly, they were accurately reporting exactly what Jeremiah had prophesied; and there cannot be any doubt that such prophecies had destroyed the morale of the whole population, including that of the soldiers.

We find here that King Zedekiah is limited in both his powers and respect from and for the princes. Jeremiah 38:5 is similar to the trial of Jesus when Pilot “washed his hands of the deal.” He had the power to thwart the demands of the princes but opted to simply back out. It is no wonder Zedekiah was consider a weak king of Judah. Jeremiah was cast into an old cistern with a bottom of mud. No longer was it a place of water reserves. Verse 6 tells us that he sank deep into the mud.

Now, as it periodically so states in the Bible, we have an Ethiopian to the rescue. His name is Ebed-melech. Jumping ahead to Jeremiah 39:18, we find what God rewards this one man who desired to rescue Jeremiah. He is never mentioned again in scripture.

For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have put your trust in me, declares the LORD.”

It appears that the only one other than Jeremiah who has a living faith and trust in God is NOT even a Judean (Israeli). JIV: Ethiopians are mentioned here and there in the bible. We could do a study on this and ask ourselves why is this so? However, what 400 years earlier King Solomon began with Ethiopia and the Queen of Sheba gave rise to a God fearing and loving people outside of the descendants of Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham. Amazing study, but not here. We will revisit this topic once we begin our study of “Noah’s DNA; Which Way Did They Go.”

Ebed-melech is told by this constantly shifting of positions King of Judah to “take 30 men with him and go lift Jeremiah out of the cistern.” Why take 30 men? Simply accepted, one would expect a eunuch of the king to not be able to stand against the princes of the royal court.

We have an interesting detail in Jeremiah’s rescue. Ebed-melech collected some old clothing to take with him to the cistern rescue. WHY? He knew that the tugging and pulling to get Jeremiah out of the suction and grips of the cistern mud would require significant force. Ebed-melech told Jeremiah to use the old cloth and clothing as arm-pit cushions.

Once again in the next few verses we find this wishy-washing king seeking Jeremiah’s counsel. Again we find it is in secret. Zedekiah wants to again know his options. 38:17, 18 gives us Jeremiah’s reply.

Jeremiah 38:17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: If you will surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live.

Jeremiah 38:18  But if you do not surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city shall be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape from their hand.”

Same song; just another verse. Jeremiah has told Zedekiah and the previous three kings the same thing over a twenty, perhaps 40 year period of time. Now comes some true confession. Zedekiah tells Jeremiah that he fears his own people, especially those who have already deserted to the Babylonians. Recall that Jeremiah was accused of desertion too, but now we find out that he was not the only one siding with the Babylonians. Correction! Jeremiah never sided with the Babylonians but he did do as God said to prophecy.

Jeremiah tells Zedekiah to surrender to the enemy and be spared his life and that of his family. Zedekiah believes in a shallow sort of way what Jeremiah tells him. Then he swears Jeremiah to a secret. He tells Jeremiah to not confess to the reason for the meeting between him and Jeremiah. He says to tell inquiring minds that he pleaded with the king to not send him back to the house of Jonathan. In a sense this is true, but this was what Jeremiah requested of the king back in one chapter in 37:20. This was found in the previous chapter; Jeremiah 37:20.

The final verse in chapter 38 tells us that Jeremiah remained in the custody of the king until the Babylonians overthrew the city. The next chapter tells us of what happens after three years of a Jerusalem siege. It becomes a game of flee, flee, flee, but it is too late.

miniJimDr. Jstark

October, 2017

Jeremiah Chapter 37

The last king of the Kingdom of Judah (including any part of the former nation of Israel, is identified in the first verse; Zedekiah, the uncle to the disposed King Coniah ; aka Jehoiachin. In this chapter he appears to be more sympathetic to Jeremiah’s pleas and prophecies, but for all the wrong reasons. Sometime we need to consider and be introspective of our own prayers as to the real motives for our requests, petitions, and pleas to God.

Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon. He appointed Zedekiah son of Josiah to be the king of Judah in the place of Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim. (ERV)

We can read that Zedekiah’s motives were not to serve God but to serve his own interests. We find this in verse 2 of Jeremiah 37. He requested that Jeremiah “Pray to the Lord our God for us.”

foxhole.jpgA bit of knowledge goes a long way in helping us determine Zedekiah’s motives per his request of and for Jeremiah to pray for “us.” First, it was not a request of forgiveness. He wanted reprieve, but offered no request for a prayer of confession. This is what we call in modern times, a fox hole prayer request.” Get me out of this mess!

Second: the words of his request seem to be okay; i.e. “the Lord our God” but the word God in this sense is ‘ĕlôhı̂ym. This can mean one of many gods. As Strong’s translation puts it…”the plural of gods in the ordinary sense.” King Zedekiah was leaving open the possibilities of other gods but wanted Jeremiah to claim “our God” as the protector, not the one of sole worship.

Third: Jeremiah 37:5 reads (ESV)… The army of Pharaoh had come out of Egypt. And when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news about them, they withdrew from Jerusalem.

It appears that Zedekiah’s concerns were alleviated due to the armies of Egypt coming out of Egypt and the Babylonians (Chaldeans) changing courses to confront them. The next few verses make it clear that there is more to this than meets the normal read-through of chapter 37. With the withdrawal of Nebuchadnezzar’s armies Zedekiah figured he didn’t really need “the Lord our God” for the problem resolved itself. This again shows the motive behind King Zedekiah’s request that Jeremiah pray for them. He wanted relief from the pending doom but did not include any confession of his or the people’s sins.

gate-of-damascus-676492_1920Zedekiah had rebelled against being subservient to the Babylonians. That is why Nebuchadnezzar was at the gates of Jerusalem. Recall that previously Zedekiah was put on the throne of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. This was about 10 or 11 years later. So how do we conclude these possible thoughts of Zedekiah? The next two verses tell us. God tells Jeremiah to go to the king and tell him that Pharaoh’s armies were going to retreat and never confront the Babylonians. This is opportunity spent. God had the solution to Judah’s predicaments. It was on its way out of Egypt. BUT!!!! Rather than appreciate what God was preparing to do for Judah by confessing HIM as their real and only God, they only saw that the armies of Babylon had pulled back. No longer was Babylon an immediate threat. In fact, the princes of Judah hoped it was a done deal. They deluded themselves into thinking the Babylonians thought it unwise to attack Jerusalem/Judah.

JIV: If the people and leadership of Judah had accepted that this possible reprieve was God preparing a potential escape; a way out for them if they confess their sins, God would have not turned the armies of Egypt back to their home. It is like getting out of personal trouble only to return to one’s selfish motives.

God tells Jeremiah to inform Zedekiah that the armies of Egypt will retreat and the Babylonians will return to Judah (Jeremiah 37:7-9). “Do not deceive yourselves”  (v9).  Not only did King Zedekiah now think he didn’t need God to resolve the (albeit temporary) siege by the Babylonians, he figured he didn’t need Jeremiah either. He had him arrested on false charges of desertion. He was accused of deserting to the Chaldeans when he left Jerusalem to return to his homeland in the territory of Benjamin (Jeremiah 37:13). He had purchased land in his home town and was simply returning to it. Find this in our chapter 32 article.

Jeremiah is very blunt. He denied the false charges and told them that God would allow the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem “even if every Babylonian solder was dead or wounded.” This made the royal leaders of Judah really angry. They thought or better stated, the retreat of the Babylonians was permanent and Jeremiah was now a traitor and false prophet. Two very poor assumptions, but they once again it provides us with insight per the motives of Judeans at this time. It isn’t a factual assumption but more of a “this is what we want to believe” position.

King Zedekiah still had a few reservations about Jeremiah’s original prophecies regarding Judah. We find in verse 17 that the king takes Jeremiah aside to inquire if there is additional “…word for them from the Lord.” Jeremiah tells him the same thing; Jerusalem and Judah is doomed. This is a great example of us today. We know what is right and make allowance for it but go right ahead and do what our human nature desires; not what is good for our souls and relationship with God (or Jesus in N.T.). We want to make God in our image instead of the way it was from the creation of Adam and Eve.

Here is what we read in the ESV:

Jeremiah 37:9 ”…Thus says the LORD, Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chaldeans will surely go away from us,” for they will not go away.

Jeremiah 37:10  For even if you should defeat the whole army of Chaldeans who are fighting against you, and there remained of them only wounded men, every man in his tent, they would rise up and burn this city with fire.”

This got Jeremiah put into prison once again but this time it was the palace or court prison under relatively kinder conditions. A few verses earlier (v15) when he was judged by the “princes” of the land he had been put in a dungeon called the house of Jonathan.  He remained there several days but Zedekiah’s curiosity and deep-down awareness of the true God got the best of him. He had Jeremiah brought to him for questioning but in secret.

Isn’t this so much like humans through the ages? We know the truth but refuse it and hope for our selfish or personal preferences. Jeremiah remained in the Palace Prison until chapter 38. Soon things go from not-so-good to a tough time for Jeremiah when Zedekiah releases him into the hands of the Judean princes.

miniJimDr. J. Stark

October 2017

Jeremiah Chapter 36

Several things happen in this chapter of which we did not know in the previous 35 chapters. One thing to keep in mind, Jeremiah is going back to the reign of Jehoiakim; his 4th year out of his 11 years on the throne of the Kingdom of Judah. Jeremiah reminds the King that since the days of his father Josiah, the last God-fearing king on the throne, he has been warning Judah of their pending and irreversible doom. His prophecies didn’t only include Judah, but verse 2 informs us that he also prophesied about Israel (Kingdom of) and other nations as regards End Time; God’s judgement on those who are His chosen and those who are Gentile.

God tells Jeremiah to get a scroll and begin writing all that HE has told him. Baruch now enters the picture. Jeremiah calls upon him to take the dictations and write for him.  God tells Jeremiah to not only write it all down, but to read it to the people and the leadership of Judah. Jeremiah 36:4 is where we finally find out about Baruch being the one to actually write what Jeremiah had experienced and was told by God per his constant message and prophecy. This is simple to understand. God needed Jeremiah through the Holy Spirit to recall all that had happened up to this point; not spend a great deal of time actually writing.

At this time, Jeremiah is “shut up” as it says in the king James. There are a few translations that differ enough with this comment that it begs additional explanation. Some say “shut up;” a few say “restrained;” some translate “detained, banned, or not allowed to go there” It is simple enough to put it the way it was; Jeremiah was sequestered from preaching in the synagogue and  not allowed to venture anywhere. He had made enemies of his own kindred Tribe of Judah and its spiritual and secular leadership.

Then, by the direction of Jeremiah, Baruch took the scroll/manuscript to the Temple and read it aloud to the spiritual leadership.  This reading of the Jeremiah scroll had such an influence on the Temple leadership that they declared a fasting. Not only had the leadership heard what Baruch wrote then read, but so did many of the populace who were in the Temple at that time. Most of the “princes” and officials were not at the Temple. They were conversing in the King’s Court or Palace. They heard about Baruch reading the scroll and sent someone to fetch him. At first glance they were simply wanting to hear what had been read by Baruch even though it was something they had heard for years from the mouth of Jeremiah; the scrolls author.

Upon hearing what Jeremiah dictated to Baruch and after Baruch read to them in the King’s Palace, they suddenly felt a fear come upon them. These officials questioned Baruch as to where he had gotten the information to put on the scroll. He told them “from Jeremiah.” They felt it necessary to inform the King (Jehoiakim). We don’t know if it was a tattle-tail forwarding of information to the king or if they had a fear since the word came to them from someone other than Jeremiah. However, knowing King Jehoiakim’s hate for Jeremiah and the “surrender to Babylon message” Jeremiah kept repeating, the royal officials told Baruch to get Jeremiah and go hide in a secret place. They already knew how Jehoiakim would react. However, the royal officials kept the scroll in their possession.

scrollHere is where so many get the history of this event wrong. It was neither Jeremiah nor Baruch who read the scroll to the King. It was his servant Jehudi who read the words from the scroll.  Since it was winter time in Judah, the King was in his heated winter rooms of the palace. We know this as verse 22 tells us this is so. There was a fire in the fireplace in which Jehoiakim was sitting. AS Jehudi read from the scroll, the King would grab it, cut off the section Jehudi had read, than toss the scrap into the fire place. He had total contempt for the Word of God.

Here is another HOWEVER… those in the room did hear the prophecy so they KNEW what was coming. Somehow they and Jehoiakim figured by destroying the message, it would not come true as they were “not afraid.” Some of the leaders from the Temple tried to get King Jehoiakim to not tear up and burn the scroll. He refused them. As it reads in Jeremiah 36:26…the king ordered both Jeremiah and Baruch arrested. But… these men sent to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah came back empty handed. They could not find the men.burning book

So still being free of the clutches of the King, God told Jeremiah to re-dictate the message to Baruch and write it once again. There is a sever consequence for having burned the scroll. God tells Jeremiah that after re-writing the book to go and tell Jehoiakim the penalty for having done so. It is a brutal commandment from God and punishment to Jehoiakim.

“So this is what the LORD says about King Jehoiakim of Judah: Jehoiakim’s descendants will not sit on David’s throne. When Jehoiakim dies, he will not get a king’s funeral, but his body will be thrown out on the ground. His body will be left out in the heat of the day and the cold frost of the night.” [Jeremiah 36:30]

This warning should have brought Jehoiakim to his knees. It didn’t. We find out later on that this is precisely what happened to King Jehoiakim. Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were less than honoring to their captors. There are exceptions but this will not be one of them. During the rewrite of the Book of Jeremiah, the final verse in chapter 36 tells us that some additional information was added at this time…”And many other words like those messages were added to the second scroll.” We do not know what was added and what was in the original scroll text before Jehoiakim burned it piece by piece. We do know that all in the original text was rewritten and “some additional words were added.”

Immediately in the next chapter (C37) we find that Nebuchadnezzar removed Jehoiakim from the throne and installed his uncle to the throne of Judah, albeit a puppet king at best. We should be reminded that during this history of Judah, they were pawns of Egypt and then Babylon. Jehoiakim’s older brother had only ruled for three months when Necho II, Pharaoh of Egypt, had him removed and Jehoiakim installed.

“Rabbinical literature describes Jehoiakim as a godless tyrant who committed atrocious sins and crimes. He is portrayed as living in incestuous relations with his mother, daughter-in-law, and stepmother, and was in the habit of murdering men, whose wives he then violated and whose property he seized. He also had tattooed his body” [Jewish Encyclopedia].

JIV: Tattooed? Is this God’s feeling about such a practice?

In short, Jehoiakim was a bottom of the barrel ruler in Judah. He paid a severe price for it. There was another prophet during this time by the name of Uriah Ben Shemaiah. He apparently told the king the same things as did Jeremiah per his evil living style. Uriah suffered death at the hands of Jehoiakim for it. We find this information back in Jeremiah 26:20-23. Uriah Ben Shemaiah fled to Egypt to avoid the wrath of King Jehoiakim but was soon sought out and arrested. Upon his being returned to Judah, Jehoiakim had him executed. This is all we hear of and know about this “other prophet.”

Recall that back in Jeremiah 1 God told Jeremiah he would suffer for being a prophet but he would protect him from being executed.

How fitting it was to be that King Jehoiakim had slaughtered then tossed this minor prophet into the slums of a pit to rot and be exposed to the heat and wild animals. This is precisely what Jeremiah told Jehoiakim would be his own death treatment. It should have scared him but it only showed his contempt for prophets of God and God himself.

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark
October, 2017

Jeremiah – Chapter 35

Jeremiah is the only prophetic book in the Bible that records the fulfillment of its main prophecy: the fall of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Jews in Babylon. Chapters 34 through 44 tell that part of the story; the siege of Jerusalem is in chapters 34—38, its fall in chapter 39, and the events after the fall are found in chapters 40—44. We are now in chapter 35.

Once again Jeremiah takes a step back in Judean history under King Jehoiakim, to bring to the forefront another example of a willing and faithful heart by contrast to that of the chosen people; i.e. Judah. He is told (35:2) “Go to the Recabite family and invite them to come to one of the side rooms of the LORD’S Temple. Offer them wine to drink.”

What is unusual about this? The Racabites were not even a Hebrew people. They were Kenites first mentioned in I Chronicles 2:55…

“...and the clans of scribes who lived at Jabez: the Tirathites, Shimeathites and Sucathites. These are the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the house of Recab.”

However, they were nomadic but followers of Yahweh/Israel’s God as far back as Israeli captivity in Egypt; long faithful to Yahweh. In a shorter way of remembering them, they were related to Jethro the Midianite who was the father-in-law of Moses. As a people they had taken the a similar Judaism vow of a Nazarite. Strong opposition to cutting of hair or drinking strong drink of any kind. They had been and remained more faithful to God than any of the twelve Tribes of Israel.

“Chapter 35 has one purpose: to contrast the remarkable obedience of the Recabites with the consistent disobedience of Judah. The Recabites had come to Jerusalem at this time seeking refuge from the Babylonian armies. Under the direction of God, Jeremiah was to go to the Recabites, offer them sanctuary in one of the rooms in the Temple and a drink of wine” (mike@witzend.info). These were a tent-dwelling desert people who had a concern per the advancing Babylonian armies.tent

NOTE: Some denominations use the Recabites as an example and reason for complete abstinence per strong drink. This is a false pretense for forcing such a practice of total abstinence on others. They took a vow by choice, like the Nazarites of that time; just as they vowed to follow Jehovah-God and to be independent desert tent-dwellers. The fact that Jeremiah is about to offer them “strong drink” points to the fact it was available to Jeremiah IN THE TEMPLE.

[ESV] But they answered, “We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, ‘You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons forever. (Jeremiah 35:6)

Keep this comment per wine within context. The Racabites were also told to not live in cities, build houses, plant vineyards (or juice or otherwise), or grow crops. How many denominations with which one might recall this too being an all-inclusive edict or statute from God?

What was or could be God’s reasoning behind this? At first swipe one might think it a test of the Racabites, but that would be a false supposition. Jeremiah 35:12-17 gives us the answer. God wanted this to be a LIVING EXAMPLE of obedience. The Racabites were not even people of the “chosen,” but outsiders who none the less listened and obeyed God.

The power within the “If you ____, then I (God) will ____” covenant between God and ifman is found throughout the bible (Old and New Testaments). It is again so apparent. God rewards the outsiders (Racabites) for their obedience. This chapter closes with God telling the Racabites:

Jer 35:18 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father and kept all his precepts and done all that he commanded you,

Jer 35:19  therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me.”

Lack a man to stand before me???? This means God promised this clan of people that there will always be Racabites’ descendants until End Time. Their clan will never die out

Dr JStark.Dr. jStark