Showing posts with label Jeremiah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jeremiah. Show all posts

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Jeremiah 52

The final chapter of Jeremiah gives an account of the defeat of King Zedekiah by the Babylonians. When the Babylonians lay siege around Jerusalem, there was a famine and they had no food to eat. Therefore, the army of Zedekiah broke through the the walls of Jerusalem and fled though the Babylonian soldiers were outside. The Babylonian army pursued King Zedekiah and captured him. His sons and officials of Judah were killed before his eyes. Zedekiah's eyes were gouged and he was bound with bronze shackles. He was later taken to prison, till his last day.

Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, along with Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, came to Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 52:13 He set fire to the temple of the LORD, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. 14 The whole Babylonian army, under the commander of the imperial guard, broke down all the walls around Jerusalem. 
They then took people captive. The poorest of poor were not taken captive, but given vineyards and fields.
The temple of the LORD, built by King Solomon was broken down, all the gold, silver and bronze, along with articles used in the temple was taken to Babylon.
Jeremiah 52:19 The commander of the imperial guard took away the basins, censers, sprinkling bowls, pots, lampstands, dishes and bowls used for drink offerings—all that were made of pure gold or silver.
In all, 4,600 people were taken into captivity.
Jeremiah 52:28 This is the number of the people Nebuchadnezzar carried into exile:
in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews;
29 in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year,
832 people from Jerusalem;
30 in his twenty-third year,
745 Jews taken into exile by Nebuzaradan the commander of the imperial guard.
There were 4,600 people in all.
Jehoiachin was released from prison in the the 37th year of his exile, ate regularly at the king's table, and was given a regular allowance till his death.

My Thoughts
The Book of Jeremiah has been a long one, packed with lots of details. 

Jeremiah 51

Jeremiah continues speaking about the destruction of Babylon, in this chapter.
Jeremiah 51:7 Babylon was a gold cup in the LORD’s hand;
    she made the whole earth drunk.
The nations drank her wine;
    therefore they have now gone mad.
8 Babylon will suddenly fall and be broken.
    Wail over her!
Get balm for her pain;
    perhaps she can be healed.
Babylon will be destroyed by the Medes and everything shall be broken into pieces. The daughter of Babylon is like threshing floor, it is time to thresh her. Babylon will be brought as a lamb to the slaughter; it will become a dwelling place for dragons.
58 This is what the LORD Almighty says:
“Babylon’s thick wall will be leveled
    and her high gates set on fire;
the peoples exhaust themselves for nothing,
    the nations’ labor is only fuel for the flames.”
Jeremiah wrote all these disasters on a scroll and instructed Seraiah, the chief priest, to read this prophecy in Babylon, then bind a stone to the prophecy and throw it in the Euphrates to demonstrate that Babylon shall sink.

Jeremiah 50

Prophet Jeremiah does not spare Babylon in his prophecy. He spoke about the fall of Babylon - at the hands of a nation from the north.
Jeremiah 50:3 A nation from the north will attack her
    and lay waste her land.
No one will live in it;
    both people and animals will flee away.
At that time, people of Judah and Israel combined, will go seek their LORD.

Once Babylon has conquered and destroyed many nations, they will then be be punished for their own sins and idolatry. The entire world will tremble at this news.
Jeremiah 50:46 At the sound of Babylon’s capture the earth will tremble;
    its cry will resound among the nations.

Jeremiah 49

Jeremiah proclaimed about LORD's judgment on Ammonites, Edom, Damascus, Kedar and Hazor, and Elam. LORD will send the Babylonians to attack all these nations and to punish them for their sins.

The time of destruction will be appointed by the LORD.

Edom's fall is compared to that of Sodom and Gomorrah).
Jeremiah 49:18 As Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown,
    along with their neighboring towns,”
says the Lord,
“so no one will live there;
    no people will dwell in it.
19 “Like a lion coming up from Jordan’s thickets
    to a rich pastureland,
I will chase Edom from its land in an instant.
    Who is the chosen one I will appoint for this?
Who is like me and who can challenge me?
    And what shepherd can stand against me?” 

Jeremiah 48

Due to the their sins related to idolatry, this time Jeremiah’s prophecy is concerning the invasion and destruction of Moab, by the Babylonians.
Jeremiah 48:4 Moab will be broken;
    her little ones will cry out.
5 They go up the hill to Luhith,
    weeping bitterly as they go;
on the road down to Horonaim
    anguished cries over the destruction are heard.
Moab is being punished for it's arrogance and pride - they used to be a peaceful country, but now they trust in their deeds and riches. Chemosh is their main idol, to whom they offer their children as human sacrifice. 

LORD's advice is to live like a dove.
Jeremiah 48:28 Abandon your towns and dwell among the rocks,
    you who live in Moab.
Be like a dove that makes its nest
    at the mouth of a cave.
Babylonians will destroy Moab, but LORD will restore the fortunes of Moab at a later time. 
Jeremiah 48:46 Woe to you, Moab!
    The people of Chemosh are destroyed;
your sons are taken into exile
    and your daughters into captivity.
47 “Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab
    in days to come,”
declares the LORD.
Here ends the judgment on Moab.

Jeremiah 47

Jeremiah prophesied a message regarding the Philistines, who were the enemies of Israel.
Jeremiah 47:4 For the day has come
    to destroy all the Philistines
and to remove all survivors
    who could help Tyre and Sidon.
The LORD is about to destroy the Philistines,
    the remnant from the coasts of Caphtor.
The Babylonians are compared to an overflowing flood.

Jeremiah 46

This chapter is about a prophecy regarding Egypt and those Jews

Jeremiah saw Pharaoh Necho's preparation towards the battle of Carchemish. They were beaming with confidence of victory. The Egyptian army is like a river overflowing its banks. The prophet predicts that they will be defeated and overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar after his siege of Tyre.
Jeremiah 46:25 The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “I am about to bring punishment on Amon god of Thebes, on Pharaoh, on Egypt and her gods and her kings, and on those who rely on Pharaoh. 26 I will give them into the hands of those who want to kill them—Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and his officers. Later, however, Egypt will be inhabited as in times past,” declares the LORD.
LORD will restore Israelites at a later time, but now He will punish them for their sins so that they will repent and turn back to him.
Jeremiah 46:28 Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant,
    for I am with you,” declares the LORD.
“Though I completely destroy all the nations
    among which I scatter you,
    I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you but only in due measure;
    I will not let you go entirely unpunished.”

Jeremiah 45

In this short chapter, LORD spoke to Baruch - who read Jeremiah's prophecies in the temple, earlier in Chapter 36. This message is regarding the destruction of Judah.

LORD told Baruch not to hope for materialistic wealth because he read Jeremiah's scroll to the people and at the palace. Instead, LORD promised to preserve his life wherever he went.

Jeremiah 44

After moving into Egypt, the Jews indulged in idolatry practices in a new style - the Egyptian way. LORD's word came to Jeremiah which was meant to be spoken to those Jews in Egypt.
Jeremiah 44:4 Again and again I sent my servants the prophets, who said, ‘Do not do this detestable thing that I hate!
LORD asked them, whether they want to arouse His anger once again.
Jeremiah 44:9 Have you forgotten the wickedness committed by your ancestors and by the kings and queens of Judah and the wickedness committed by you and your wives in the land of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem? 
The people were not willing to listen to Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 44:15 Then all the men who knew that their wives were burning incense to other gods, along with all the women who were present - a large assembly - and all the people living in Lower and Upper Egypt, said to Jeremiah, 16 “We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD! 17 We will certainly do everything we said we would: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our ancestors, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm. 18 But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine.”
The Jewish women backed up their husbands and encouraged them to indulge in the Egyptian style idol worship.
Jeremiah 44:19 The women added, “When we burned incense to the Queen of Heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did not our husbands know that we were making cakes impressed with her image and pouring out drink offerings to her?”
Jeremiah tried convincing them not to go that route, but his efforts yielded no results. Majority of them were enjoying the new practice and defended their practice using their tooth and claw. He then warned them that they will be killed in Egypt and LORD will not hear their cries anymore because of their disobedience. He also prophesied that a very small number of people will eventually return to Judah, and others will perish in Egypt.

Other Info
Worshiping St Mary as the 'Queen of Heaven' is equated to this chapter in Old Testament - a debate topic, based on Jeremiah 44.

Jeremiah 43

When Jeremiah shared his prophecy with the leaders, they said, “You are lying! The LORD our God has not sent you to say, ‘You must not go to Egypt to settle there.’" They accused Jeremiah to be acting on behalf of Baruch, who wrote down his prophecies earlier.

In disobedience to the LORD, they took everyone to Egypt and forced Jeremiah and Baruch along with them.

In another prophecy, LORD commanded Jeremiah to place stones at the entry of the Pharoah’s house, and said that Nebuchadnezzar shall set his throne on them.
Jeremiah 43:10 Then say to them, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will set his throne over these stones I have buried here; he will spread his royal canopy above them. 11 He will come and attack Egypt, bringing death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for captivity, and the sword to those destined for the sword. 12 He will set fire to the temples of the gods of Egypt; he will burn their temples and take their gods captive. As a shepherd picks his garment clean of lice, so he will pick Egypt clean and depart. 13 There in the temple of the sun in Egypt he will demolish the sacred pillars and will burn down the temples of the gods of Egypt.’”

Jeremiah 42

Johanan and other army officers asked Jeremiah for a message from and LORD as they were perplexed about what to do next, and where to go. After praying of 10 days, LORD gave a message to Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 42:9 He said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition, says: 10 ‘If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you, for I have relented concerning the disaster I have inflicted on you. 11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear. Do not be afraid of him, declares the LORD, for I am with you and will save you and deliver you from his hands. 12 I will show you compassion so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your land.’
LORD warned them against going to Egypt - His anger will be upon those who go to Egypt, and they will never ever see the place again.

Jeremiah knew the hypocrisy of these people - deep inside their hearts, they were stubborn and persisted in going towards Egypt.

Jeremiah 41

Ishmael along with his 10 men came to meet Gedaliah, the governor. While eating together, Ishmael and his men assassinated Gedaliah and all others who were with him.

The next day, while nobody knew about this assassination, 80 men came on a pilgrimage to the house of the LORD. Ishmael welcomed them in the name of Gedaliah, and killed 70 of them and put their bodies into a cistern. He spared the other 10 who had knowledge about some hidden food, barley, olive oil and honey. Ishmael then took captives the rest of the people in Mizpah.

When Johanan heard the news about this murder, he chased them and recovered those captives. Ishmael and his men escaped to the Ammonites. Johanan and the army officials led the people to Egypt as they were afraid of the Babylonians since Ishmael had killed Gedalah.

Jeremiah 40

The commander of imperial guard found Jeremiah chained among other captives to be taken to Babylon and set him free.
Jeremiah 40:2 When the commander of the guard found Jeremiah, he said to him, “The LORD your God decreed this disaster for this place. 3 And now the LORD has brought it about; He has done just as He said he would. All this happened because you people sinned against the LORD and did not obey Him. 4 But today I am freeing you from the chains on your wrists. Come with me to Babylon, if you like, and I will look after you; but if you do not want to, then don’t come. Look, the whole country lies before you; go wherever you please.” 5 However, before Jeremiah turned to go,[a] Nebuzaradan added, “Go back to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed over the towns of Judah, and live with him among the people, or go anywhere else you please.”
Nebuzaradan gave provisions and a present to Jeremiah. After Jeremiah was freed, he went to stay with Gedaliah.

When people found out that Gedaliah son of Ahikam, was appointed governor over towns of Judah, Jews from other countries came back to Jerusalem. Those who stayed had a rich harvest of wine and summer fruits from the fields.

Johanan came to governor Gedaliah and said that King Baalis of Ammon had sent Ishmael to kill him. Johanan was planing to go kill Ishmael due to this reason. However, Gedalish rebuked him.

Jeremiah 39

The year is 587 BC. Finally, the day arrived as Jeremiah prophesied - Babylon took Jerusalem.

Nebuchadnezzar's army broke through the walls of Jerusalem after the siege. King Zedekiah and his soldiers tried to flee, but the Babylonians captured him and brought  him to King Nebuchadnezzar. King Nebuchadnezzar had Zedekiah’s sons killed in front of him, and his eyes were gouged out before they took him captive to Babylon.
The Babylonians then burnt down Zedekiah’s palace along with houses of people. The army broke down the walls of Jerusalem. Survivors were taken into exile to Babylon. Those poor people, who had nothing, were left behind. Nebuzaradan, the commander of imperial guard, provided vineyards and fields to those poor people.

King Nebuchadnezzar had commanded Nebuzaradan to provide Jeremiah with all his needs.
Jeremiah 39:11 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had given these orders about Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard: 12 “Take him and look after him; don’t harm him but do for him whatever he asks.”
Jeremiah was taken back to his home, and he remained among his people. He later met Ebed-Melek the Cushite, who was told by the LORD, not to fear.
Jeremiah 39:17 But I will rescue you on that day, declares the LORD; you will not be given into the hands of those you fear. 18 I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in Me, declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 38

Jeremiah, due to his prophecies, was seen as siding with the Babylonians. When he said, "Go with the Babylonians if you want to live", military officials saw him to be discouraging the army who fought back and did their best to protect the city.
Jeremiah 38:4 Then the officials said to the king, “This man should be put to death. He is discouraging the soldiers who are left in this city, as well as all the people, by the things he is saying to them. This man is not seeking the good of these people but their ruin.”
5 “He is in your hands,” King Zedekiah answered. “The king can do nothing to oppose you.”
He was taken and lowered into a cistern that had no water, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.

Ebed-Melek, a Cushite, saw this and reported to the king who in turn commanded him to take 30 men to rescue Jeremiah from the cistern.
Jeremiah 38:13 and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard.
Once Jeremiah was pulled out of the cistern, King Zedekiah asked him if the LORD had a message for him. Jeremiah, once again, gave him the same reply - he and his family will survive if he surrendered to the Babylonians. Also, he told Zedekiah that Jerusalem will be delivered into the hands of the Babylonians.

Zedekiah told Jeremiah to keep their conversation a secret otherwise he may die. Jeremiah kept the conversation secret from the officials.
Jeremiah 38:28 And Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard until the day Jerusalem was captured.

Additional Info:
The officials lowered Jeremiah into a muddy cistern hoping he would die and slow and agonizing death. Ebed-Melek was an Ethiopian eunuch in service to the king. In those days, eunuchs were often used to guard or serve the king’s women. Ebed-Melek, when he heard about Jeremiah's fate, went to his king and asked to save Jeremiah. He realized the evil of letting Jeremiah starve to death. The king let Ebed-Melek save Jeremiah out of the cistern. Ebed-Melek took 30 men with him, lowered some old tattered rags and rope down to Jeremiah in the cistern, and told him "put the old tattered rags between your armpits and the ropes." Jeremiah was then pulled out of the cistern. Later, Jeremiah informed Ebed-Melek that his life would be spared when the Babylonians took over Jerusalem, because of his trust in the Lord (Jeremiah 39:15-18).

My Thoughts
Ebed-Melek, the Cushite, is a good man. If we encounter anyone who is in need of help, we should not ignore them; by ignoring them, we are committing a sin. We should ask ourselves, "How would I like to be in that very situation", and help them come out of it. This is based on the Bible commandment, 'love one another as much as you love yourself.'

While engaging in such helpful situations, never do it with the intention of letting others know, or to fetch ourselves a good name. To reap full benefits of such help provided, it should be done in total secrecy, where LORD is the only witnesses to our good deeds.

Jeremiah 37

Babylonians retreated from their siege when they learned about the approaching Egyptian army. Jeremiah indicated this was temporary, and the Babylonian army will burn down the city eventually.

He then went to claim his property in the land of Benjamin, where he was arrested by the captain of the guard. They were angry with Jeremiah, had him beaten and put him in dungeon, where he remained for a long time.

King Zedekiah inquired Jeremiah while he was in the dungeon if LORD had a message for him. In turn, Jeremiah replied that King Zedekiah will be handed over to the king of Babylon. He also pleaded not to sent him back to the dungeon, as he had not committed any crime.
Jeremiah 37:21 King Zedekiah then gave orders for Jeremiah to be placed in the courtyard of the guard and given a loaf of bread from the street of the bakers each day until all the bread in the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard.

Jeremiah 36

LORD instruct Jeremiah to write down all those words He had spoken to him, concerning Israel, Judah, and other nations from the time He began speaking to him. LORD was hoping:
Jeremiah 36:3 Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, they will each turn from their wicked ways; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin.
Jeremiah called Baruch and used him as his scribe, dictating all those words LORD spoke to him. Since he had restrictions going to the LORD's temple, he asked Baruch to go there on a day of fasting and read all that was dictated - hoping people will turn from their wicked ways.

When the officials came to know about the scroll, they asked Baruch to read the scroll to them. They also inquired Baruch, he wrote it - to which he said Jeremiah dictated them. They took the scroll from him and asked Baruch and Jeremiah to go in hiding. Next, they reported all these to the king Jehoiakim.

The king became furious, disregarded the Word of LORD, and had the scroll thrown into fire. He ordered Jeremiah and Baruch to be seized. but the LORD concealed them. LORD commanded Jeremiah to have a second scroll written, since the first scroll was burned.

Jeremiah 35

This is a wonderful chapter that narrates the story of obedience regarding the family of Rekabites.

LORD commanded Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 35:2 “Go to the Rekabite family and invite them to come to one of the side rooms of the house of the LORD and give them wine to drink.”
Jeremiah brought the whole family of Rekabites into the house of the LORD, seated them in a room next to the officials and said, "Drink some wine."
Jeremiah 35:6 But they replied, “We do not drink wine, because our forefather Jehonadab son of Rekab gave us this command: ‘Neither you nor your descendants must ever drink wine. 7 Also you must never build houses, sow seed or plant vineyards; you must never have any of these things, but must always live in tents. Then you will live a long time in the land where you are nomads.’ 8 We have obeyed everything our forefather Jehonadab son of Rekab commanded us. Neither we nor our wives nor our sons and daughters have ever drunk wine 9 or built houses to live in or had vineyards, fields or crops. 10 We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed everything our forefather Jehonadab commanded us.
LORD compared the obedience of the Rechabites with that of the Israelites. The Israelites have shown disobedience to LORD's commandments even after LORD sending numerous prophets to convey the message. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Jeremiah 34

While King Nebuchadnezzar is forming siege around Jerusalem, word from the LORD comes to Jeremiah. He is asked to go speak to King Zedekiah that LORD is about to give the city into the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar. King Zedekiah will be given into his hands, but will not be harmed. He will be taken into exile and will die peacefully.

Based on another prophecy, Zedekiah made a covenant with the people proclaiming freedom for their slaves. They were released in time of danger. However, people changed their minds later.
Jeremiah 34:11 But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again.
LORD was not happy at all. He threatened them for breaking their promise - it is considered as a sin. Those who broke the covenant will face sword, pestilence, and famine.
Jeremiah 34:17 “Therefore this is what the LORD says: You have not obeyed Me; you have not proclaimed freedom to your own people. So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the LORD - ‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague and famine. I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth.

The city of Judah will be burned down, and it will lay as a wasteland so that nobody can live there.

Additional Info
Back in 2011, there was a news clipping - a man died in a house fire. Among the debris was a charred Bible, open to Jeremiah 34. Tap here to read that news. 

Jeremiah 33

Jeremiah is still in the prison, LORD's word came to him a second time.
Jeremiah 33:3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ 
LORD told him that several unfortunate things are going to happen to the city. It will be burned down, and not fit to live in - dead bodies of people will fill the city.

He will restore it later.
Jeremiah 33:6 “‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. 7 I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity[b] and will rebuild them as they were before. 8 I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. 9 Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’
He will have compassion towards His people, once they repent and turn back towards Him, ensuring happiness and stability.