Jeremiah 34-38 Fearing Man is Fatal

Jeremiah 34-38 Fearing Man is Fatal


Psalm 89:1-52 Searching for the Davidic Covenant
Ps 89:1 “«A contemplation by Ethan, the Ezrahite.» I will sing of the hesed/loyal covenental love of Yahweh forever. With my mouth, I will make known your faithfulness to all generations. 2 I indeed declare, " hesed/loyal covenental love stands firm forever. You established the heavens. Your faithfulness is in them." 3 "I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David, my servant, 4 ‘I will establish your seed forever, and build up your throne to all generations.’" Selah.
5 The heavens will praise your wonders, Yahweh; your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones. 6 For who in the skies can be compared to Yahweh? Who among the sons of the heavenly beings is like Yahweh, 7 a very awesome God in the council of the holy ones, to be feared above all those who are around him? 8 Yahweh, God of Armies, who is a mighty one, like you? Yah, your faithfulness is around you. 9 You rule the pride of the sea. When its waves rise up, you calm them. 10 You have broken Rahab/Egypt in pieces, like one of the slain. You have scattered your enemies with your mighty arm. 11 The heavens are yours. The earth also is yours; the world and its fulness. You have founded them. 12 The north and the south, you have created them. Tabor and Hermon rejoice in your name. 13 You have a mighty arm. Your hand is strong, and your right hand is exalted. 14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. hesed/loyal covenental love and faithfulness go before your face.
15 Blessed are the people who learn to acclaim you. They walk in the light of your presence, Yahweh. 16 In your name they rejoice all day. In your righteousness, they are exalted. 17 For you are the glory of their strength. In your favor, our horn will be exalted. 18 For our shield belongs to Yahweh; our king to the Holy one of Israel.
19 Then you spoke in vision to your saints, and said, "I have bestowed strength on the warrior. I have exalted a young man from the people. 20 I have found David, my servant. I have anointed him with my holy oil, 21 with whom my hand shall be established. My arm will also strengthen him. 22 No enemy will tax him. No wicked man will oppress him. 23 I will beat down his adversaries before him, and strike those who hate him. 24 But my faithfulness and my hesed/loyal covenental love will be with him. In my name, his horn will be exalted. 25 I will set his hand also on the sea, and his right hand on the rivers. 26 He will call to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation!’ 27 I will also appoint him my firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. 28 I will keep my hesed/loyal covenental love for him forevermore. My covenant will stand firm with him. 29 I will also make his seed endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven. 30 If his children forsake my law, and don’t walk in my ordinances; 31 if they break my statutes, and don’t keep my commandments; 32 then I will punish their sin with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. 33 But I will not completely take my hesed/loyal covenental love from him, nor allow my faithfulness to fail. 34 I will not break my covenant, nor alter what my lips have uttered. 35 Once have I sworn by my holiness, I will not lie to David. 36 His seed will endure forever, his throne like the sun before me. 37 It will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky." Selah.
38 But you have rejected and spurned. You have been angry with your anointed. 39 You have renounced the covenant of your servant. You have defiled his crown in the dust. 40 You have broken down all his hedges. You have brought his strongholds to ruin. 41 All who pass by the way rob him. He has become a reproach to his neighbors. 42 You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries. You have made all of his enemies rejoice. 43 Yes, you turn back the edge of his sword, and haven’t supported him in battle. 44 You have ended his splendor, and thrown his throne down to the ground. 45 You have shortened the days of his youth. You have covered him with shame. Selah. 46 How long, Yahweh? Will you hide yourself forever? Will your wrath burn like fire? 47 Remember how short time is! For what vanity have you created all the children of men! 48 What man is he who shall live and not see death, who shall deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah.
49 Lord, where is your former hesed/loyal covenental love, which you swore to David in your faithfulness? 50 Remember, Lord, the reproach of your servants, how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the mighty peoples, 51 With which your enemies have mocked, Yahweh, with which they have mocked the footsteps of your anointed one. 52 Blessed be Yahweh forevermore. Amen, and Amen.“

Observations: 89:1-4 This Psalm elaborates the Davidic Covenant (2Sam 7), God's promise to David that his seed and throne would continue forever. Solomon's wisdom was compared to Ethan's in1Kings 4:31.
89:5-18 The incomparable God is praised, by the heavens and earth, as creator, owner and ruler of all, whose throne is rooted in righteousness and justice, and whose actions are done in loyal covenantal love. God's people must learn to acclaim or exalt Him, by trusting in His revealed character and promises, and experiencing God's favor as he honors their trust. As a result of their trust, for which they exalt God, they are exalted by His blessing and presence.
89:16-37 Moving from the exaltation of the God of creation, to His exaltation of His people who trust Him, Ethan zooms in on God's exaltation of David. God will keep His hesed/covenantal promises to cause David's seed/lineage and throne to endure forever. However, God will discipline disobedience, as the next section describes.
89:38-48 The present situation looks like God's promises have failed, because the throne is in disarray. It's most likely occurring during the split of the kingdom after Solomon's failure (89:44); or possibly during Absalom's rebellion (but multiple defeats are mentioned in the psalm that don't match 2Samuel accounts) ; or less likely during the exile (but due to the Ethan inscription and lack of a call to return the people to the land, and the emphasis on the splendor of the rule, a post-Solomon time frame is more suitable). However, the promise to bless is suspended, because the promise to discipline is in effect, because of sin.
89:49-52 Ethan wisely appeals to God to remember His promised hesed, and restore both His honor and that of the Davidic kingship.
Application: In times of distress, call to mind what God has promised, and call out to Him on the basis of those promises.
Prayer: Awesome, exalted God, thanks for the rich promises of exaltation You've given Your people. May we experience Your blessing so You may exalt us, and we may praise You. Amen.
Proverbs 21:14-16 Preventative and Corrective Action
Pr 21:14 “A gift in secret pacifies anger; and a bribe in the cloak, strong wrath. 15 When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.16 The man who wanders out of the way of understanding shall rest in the assembly of the dead.“

Observations: 21:14-15 Pacifying wrath is usually a good idea; a gift indicates a desire to make amends. The righteous are anxious for justice to be done and receive vindication, but the evildoers fear it, because it will expose their sin and they will suffer. Better to be righteous and be able to rejoice, because justice is surely coming.
21:16 Rarely do people decide to wind up among the disciplined dead, but somehow they get there. By not giving attention to the right path, one wanders from it, just like failure to consult a map or listen to your GPS gets you lost.
Application: Taking preventative and corrective action results in rejoicing rather than ruin.
Prayer: Lord, guide me in the ways that lead to peace and prosperity, so I will have no fears for the future. Thanks. Amen.


Jeremiah 34-38 In these chapters Jeremiah encounters heightened opposition and persecution as the king and princes reject God's warnings and promises. Jeremiah is falsely accused, imprisoned, beaten, and thrown into a cistern to die. Yet God rescues him, and has him repeat His offer of grace to the king.


Jeremiah 34 Burning Incense or Jerusalem
34:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth that were under his dominion, and all the peoples, were fighting against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of it, saying: 2 Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, Go, and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus says Yahweh, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire: 3 and you shall not escape out of his hand, but shall surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and your eyes shall see the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with you mouth to mouth, and you shall go to Babylon. 4 Yet hear the word of Yahweh, O Zedekiah king of Judah: thus says Yahweh concerning you, you shall not die by the sword; 5 you shall die in peace; and with the burnings of your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so shall they burn incense for you; and they shall lament you, saying, Ah Lord! for I have spoken the word, says Yahweh.
8 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty to them; 9 that every man should let his male servant, and every man his female servant, who is a Hebrew or a Hebrewess, go free; that none should make bondservants of them, of a Jew his brother. 10 All the princes and all the people obeyed, who had entered into the covenant, that everyone should let his male servant, and everyone his female servant, go free, that none should make bondservants of them any more; they obeyed, and let them go: 11 but afterwards they turned, and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids. 12 Therefore the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying, 13 Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying, 14 At the end of seven years you shall let go every man his brother who is a Hebrew, who has been sold to you, and has served you six years, you shall let him go free from you: but your fathers didn’t listen to me, neither inclined their ear. 15 You had now turned, and had done that which is right in my eyes, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbor; and you had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name: 16 but you turned and profaned my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom you had let go free at their pleasure, to return; and you brought them into subjection, to be to you for servants and for handmaids. 17 Therefore thus says Yahweh: you have not listened to me, to proclaim liberty, every man to his brother, and every man to his neighbor: behold, I proclaim to you a liberty, says Yahweh, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be tossed back and forth among all the kingdoms of the earth. 18 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 its parts; 20 I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life; and their dead bodies shall be for food to the birds of the sky, and to the animals of the earth. 21 Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, who have gone away from you. 22 Behold, I will command, says Yahweh, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant.

Observations: 34:1-6 These next two chapters are not chronological, but describe earlier prophecies and warnings. Here, with Babylon knocking on his gate, Zedekiah receives a gracious offer from God: go peaceably into captivity, and you will die in peace, and people will burn incense/honor you. God reiterates this a number of times, and even offers to spare the city from burning, but, as the story unfolds, Zedekiah, won't trust God.
34:8-22 An amazing thing happened: in accordance with the law, Zedekiah proclaimed the freedom of all Hebrews who had been sold into slavery. Astonishingly, the people agreed! They were actually obeying the law (Ex 21:2; 23: Dt 15:12). But it was too good to last; they repented of their obedience and re-enslaved their brethren. Because they broke their covenantal oath before God, (and were breaking the law) God promises to “free” them to the sword and destruction.
Application: God requires sustained obedience to experience His protection and prosperity.
Prayer: Lord, guide me in being purposeful in my actions, knowing that I will reap what I sow, and may I have a bumper crop of faithfulness, righteousness and justice. Thanks. Amen.

Jeremiah 35 Obeying without Wining
35:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying, 2 Go to the house of the Rechabites, and speak to them, and bring them into the house of Yahweh, into one of the rooms, and give them wine to drink. 5 I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites bowls full of wine, and cups; and I said to them, Drink wine! 6 But they said, we will drink no wine; for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, you shall drink no wine, neither you, nor your sons, forever: 7 neither shall you build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any; but all your days you shall dwell in tents; that you may live many days in the land in which you live. 8 We have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, or our daughters; 9 nor to build houses for us to dwell in; neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed: 10 but we have lived in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us. 11 But it happened, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, Come, and 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.
12 Then came the word of Yahweh to Jeremiah, saying, 13 Thus says Yahweh of, the God of Israel: Go, and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will you not receive instruction to listen to my words? says Yahweh. 14 The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons, not to drink wine, are performed; and to this day they drink none, for they obey their father’s commandment: but I have spoken to you, rising up early and speaking; and you have not listened to me. 15 I have sent also to you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and don’t go after other gods to serve them, and you shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but you have not inclined your ear, nor listened to me. 16 Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father which he commanded them, but this people has not listened to me; 17 therefore thus says Yahweh, the God of Hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil 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. 18 Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, Thus says Yahweh 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; 19 therefore thus says Yahweh of Hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before me forever.

Observations: 35:1-11 God tells Jeremiah to serve the Rechabites some wine, as an object lesson to Israel. The Rechabites refused to drink because their “father” had commanded his descendents to not drink wine, nor build houses, nor farm, so that they would live long in the land (cf. Ex 20:12 obey parents, live long). They were obeying their earthly father, but Israel wouldn't obey their heavenly father, thus Israel wouldn't live long in the land. It's surprising they were able to marry and multiply. (Hey, want to spend the rest of your life with me camping in the wilderness and herding animals?)
35:12-19 Because of Israel's refusal to listen and obey, God promises lots of judgment. Because of the Rechabites' obedience to the word of their “father,” God promises they will continue to exist before Him. There are still people today who claim descent from Jonadab and abstain from wine.
Application: Obedience requires self-denial, but has its rewards.
Prayer: Lord, may I have the strength of character to obey You more than any earthly authority, and reap Your protection and blessings. Amen.

Jeremiah 36 A Burning Scroll
36:1 It happened in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, that this word came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying, 2 Take a scroll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah, even to this day. 3 It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do to them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin. 4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah; and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of Yahweh, which he had spoken to him, on a scroll of a book. 5 Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up/imprisoned; I can’t go into the house of Yahweh: 6 therefore you go, and read the scroll, which you have written from my mouth, the words of Yahweh in the ears of the people in Yahweh’s house on the fast day; and also you shall read them in the ears of all Judah who come out of their cities. 7 It may be they will present their supplication before Yahweh, and will return everyone from his evil way; for great is the anger and the wrath that Yahweh has pronounced against this people. 8 Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of Yahweh in Yahweh’s house.
9 In the fifth year of Jehoiakim in the ninth month, proclaimed a fast before Yahweh. 10 Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of Yahweh, in the room of Gemariah the son of Shaphan, the scribe, in the upper court, at the entry of the new gate of Yahweh’s house, in the ears of all the people. 11 When Micaiah all the words of Yahweh, 12 he went down into the king’s house, into the scribe’s room: and all the princes were sitting there...13 Then Micaiah declared to them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people. 15 They said to Baruch, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears. 16 When they had heard all the words, they turned in fear one toward another, and said to Baruch, we will surely tell the king of all these words. 19 Then the princes said to Baruch, Go, hide, you and Jeremiah; and let no man know where you are.
20 They went in to the king into the court; but they had laid up the scroll in the room of Elishama the scribe; and they told all the words in the ears of the king. 21 So the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll; Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes who stood beside the king. 22 Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month: and there was a fire in the brazier burning before him. 23 When Jehudi had read three or four leaves, that the king cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was in the brazier, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire. 24 They were not afraid, nor tore their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants who heard all these words. 25 Moreover Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the scroll; but he would not hear them. 26 The king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son...to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet; but Yahweh hid them. 27 Then the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, after the king had burned the scroll...28 Take again another scroll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first scroll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah has burned. 29 Concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah you shall say, Thus says Yahweh: you have burned this scroll, saying, Why have you written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from there man and animal? 30 Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah: he shall have none to sit on the throne of David; and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost. 31 I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring on them, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and on the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them, but they didn’t listen. 32 Then took Jeremiah another scroll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah, who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire; and there were added besides to them many like words.

Observations: 36:1-3 God graciously tells Jeremiah to write down all the prophecies he's delivered in the hopes that the magnitude of the judgments God has purposed to inflict on them might motivate them to repent, so He can forgive them. Note that God's gracious forgiveness here, is conditioned upon repentance.
36:4-32 Because Jeremiah is restricted/imprisoned, he has Baruch write and read the judgments. The princes and scribes feared the Lord's words, but the king and his servants didn't listen and sought to abolish the word of Yahweh and His spokesmen. But God preserved His words and servants and promised a dishonorable death to the king and his servants.
Application: Those who seek to silence God's words or servants will suffer an ignoble fate.
Prayer: Lord, I know that Your word endures forever; may I respect it, and respond to it accordingly. Amen.

Jeremiah 37 Injustice Turned to Gain
37:1 Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned as king, 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, listened to the words of Yahweh, which he spoke by the prophet Jeremiah. 3 Zedekiah the king sent...to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Pray now to Yahweh our God for us. 4 Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the people; for they had not put him into prison. 5 Pharaoh’s army had come forth out of Egypt; and when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news of them, they left off from Jerusalem. 6 Then came the word of Yahweh to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, 7 Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, you shall tell the king of Judah, who sent you to me to inquire of me: Behold, Pharaoh’s army, which has come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt into their own land. 8 The Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city; and they shall take it, and burn it with fire. 9 Thus says Yahweh, Don’t deceive yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us; for they shall not depart. 10 For even if you had struck the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yes would they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire.
11 It happened that, when the army of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh’s army, 12 then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to receive his portion there, in the midst of the people. 13 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 laid hold on Jeremiah the prophet, saying, you are falling away to the Chaldeans. 14 Then Jeremiah said, It is false; I am not falling away to the Chaldeans. But he didn’t listen to him; so Irijah laid hold on Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes. 15 The princes were angry with Jeremiah, and struck him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe; for they had made that the prison. 16 When Jeremiah had come into the dungeon house, and into the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days; 17 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and fetched him: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from Yahweh? Jeremiah said, There is. He said also, you shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon. 18 Moreover Jeremiah said to king Zedekiah, Wherein have I sinned against you, or against your servants, or against this people, that you have put me in prison? 19 Where now are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land? 20 Now please hear, my lord the king: please let my supplication be presented before you, that you not cause me to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there. 21 Then Zedekiah the king commanded, and they committed Jeremiah into the court of the guard; and they gave him daily a loaf of bread out of the bakers’ street, until all the bread in the city was spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.

Observations: 37:1-8 Jeremiah delivers God's response to Zedekiah that the temporary respite from the Babylonians would end, and they would destroy Jerusalem even if their army was virtually destroyed by Israel.
37:9-21 During the temporary relief, Jeremiah attempted to go to his hometown to stake his claim on the land God had ordered him to buy from his kinsman. He gets falsely accused of desertion, (by the grandson of the false prophet from 28:17), flogged and imprisoned (for doing what God told him to do). Zedekiah eventually sends for him secretly to see if there is any word from God. Jeremiah repeats the message that Zedekiah will be taken to Babylon, and then pleads for his life, for he has done nothing wrong, but the other prophets have spoken falsely. Surprisingly, Zedekiah agrees, and Jeremiah is freed and given a daily food ration.
Application: While God lets his servants experience pain, He can turn the pain into blessing if the servants speak and act wisely and faithfully.
Prayer: God, thanks for the example of Your servants like Joseph, Job, Jeremiah, and Daniel, who suffered to do Your will, and how in Your hesed You protected them and in Your justice You blessed them; by Your grace, may I never shrink from danger or pain to do Your will. Amen.

Jeremiah 38 Fearing Man is Fatal
38:1 Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchijah, heard the words that Jeremiah spoke to all the people, saying, 2 Thus says Yahweh, he who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he who goes forth to the Chaldeans shall live, and his life shall be to him for a prey, and he shall live. 3 Thus says Yahweh, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it. 4 Then the princes said to the king, "Please let this man be put to death; because he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words to them: for this man doesn’t seek the welfare of this people, but the hurt." 5 Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand; for the king is not he who can do anything against you. 6 Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchijah the king’s son, that was in the court of the guard: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. In the dungeon there was no water, but mire; and Jeremiah sank in the mire. 7 Now when Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon (the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin), 8 Ebedmelech went forth out of the king’s house, and spoke to the king, saying, 9 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 in the place where he is, because of the famine; for there is no more bread in the city. 10 Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from here thirty men with you, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he dies. 11 So Ebedmelech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took there rags and worn-out garments, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. 12 Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, Put now these rags and worn-out garments under your armpits under the cords. Jeremiah did so. 13 So they drew up Jeremiah with the cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.
14 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took Jeremiah the prophet to him into the third entry that is in the house of Yahweh: and the king said to Jeremiah, I will ask you something. Hide nothing from me. 15 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, If I declare it to you, will you not surely put me to death? and if I give you counsel, you will not listen to me. 16 So Zedekiah the king swore secretly to Jeremiah, saying, As Yahweh lives, who made us this soul, I will not put you to death, neither will I give you into the hand of these men who seek your life. 17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, Thus says Yahweh, the God of Hosts, the God of Israel: If you will go forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, then your soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and you shall live, and your house. 18 But if you will not go forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape out of their hand. 19 Zedekiah the king said to Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews who are fallen away to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me. 20 But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver you. Obey, I beg you, the voice of Yahweh, in that which I speak to you: so it shall be well with you, and your soul shall live. 21 But if you refuse to go forth, this is the word that Yahweh has shown me: 22 behold, all the women who are left in the king of Judah’s house shall be brought forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, and those women shall say, your familiar friends have set you on, and have prevailed over you. Your feet are sunk in the mire, they have turned away back. 23 They shall bring out all your wives and your children to the Chaldeans; and you shall not escape out of their hand, but shall be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon: and you shall cause this city to be burned with fire. 24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, Let no man know of these words, and you shall not die. 25 But if the princes hear that I have talked with you, and they come to you, and tell you, Declare to us now what you have said to the king; don’t hide it from us, and we will not put you to death; also what the king said to you: 26 then you shall tell them, I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan’s house, to die there. 27 Then came all the princes to Jeremiah, and asked him; and he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they left off speaking with him; for the matter was not perceived. 28 So Jeremiah stayed in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken.

Observations: 38:1-13 The evil princes of Jerusalem conspired to kill Jeremiah because they said he was disheartening the people and didn't seek their welfare. In reality it was their refusal to listen to God that was going to destroy the people. The king let their wickedness happen. Jeremiah, the choice servant of Yahweh, was unjustly put in a cistern/dungeon and sunk in the mire. But God raised up help from an Ethiopian eunuch who got permission from the king to rescue Jeremiah so he wouldn't starve to death in the pit. God rewarded Ebedmelech in 39:15-18.
38:14-28 Zedekiah secretly asks Jeremiah for a message from God. Maybe this time he'll hear what he likes; but Jeremiah delivers the same message: “Go into captivity, and all will be well” and adds God's gracious promises that his life and the city will be spared. But, like before Zedekiah rejects it, fearing the Jews who had gone over to Babylon rather than God.
Jeremiah's response to the evil princes after talking with the king, feeding them the king's lines, is a good apologetic for not telling the Nazi's you're hiding Jews in a secret room, if they ask.
Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.
Application: Fearing man rather than God is always fatal spiritually, and frequently physically.
Prayer: God, may I only fear displeasing or disobeying You, and never man, especially in proclaiming Your truth. Amen.


Digging Deeper:

God in a nutshell: God displays incredible grace in offering to protect and spare those whom He disciplines. God allows His choice servant to suffer unjustly, but eventually delivers Him, and promises to punish the wicked. He can turn evil into good to benefit His servants. He will reward those who fear Him more than man, and punish those who fear man more than they fear Him. God uses appeals to human authorities to protect and bless His servants.

Us in a nutshell: We can stubbornly refuse to hear and obey God, and reap His judgment rather than blessing. This should sound sadly familiar by now. If we fear God more than man, God will protect us. If not, we'll wind up getting punished by God and man.

Where to Go for More:
Truthbase.net



Jeremiah complete text

Jeremiah 34
34:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth that were under his dominion, and all the peoples, were fighting against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of it, saying: 2 Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, Go, and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus says Yahweh, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire: 3 and you shall not escape out of his hand, but shall surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and your eyes shall see the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with you mouth to mouth, and you shall go to Babylon. 4 Yet hear the word of Yahweh, O Zedekiah king of Judah: thus says Yahweh concerning you, you shall not die by the sword; 5 you shall die in peace; and with the burnings of your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so shall they make a burning for you; and they shall lament you, saying, Ah Lord! for I have spoken the word, says Yahweh. 6 Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem, 7 when the king of Babylon’s army was fighting against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish and against Azekah; for these alone remained of the cities of Judah as fortified cities.
8 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty to them; 9 that every man should let his male servant, and every man his female servant, who is a Hebrew or a Hebrewess, go free; that none should make bondservants of them, of a Jew his brother. 10 All the princes and all the people obeyed, who had entered into the covenant, that everyone should let his male servant, and everyone his female servant, go free, that none should make bondservants of them any more; they obeyed, and let them go: 11 but afterwards they turned, and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids. 12 Therefore the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying, 13 Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying, 14 At the end of seven years you shall let go every man his brother who is a Hebrew, who has been sold to you, and has served you six years, you shall let him go free from you: but your fathers didn’t listen to me, neither inclined their ear. 15 You had now turned, and had done that which is right in my eyes, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour; and you had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name: 16 but you turned and profaned my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom you had let go free at their pleasure, to return; and you brought them into subjection, to be to you for servants and for handmaids. 17 Therefore thus says Yahweh: you have not listened to me, to proclaim liberty, every man to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim to you a liberty, says Yahweh, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be tossed back and forth among all the kingdoms of the earth. 18 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 its parts; 19 the princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, who passed between the parts of the calf; 20 I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life; and their dead bodies shall be for food to the birds of the sky, and to the animals of the earth. 21 Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, who have gone away from you. 22 Behold, I will command, says Yahweh, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant.

Jeremiah 35
35:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying, 2 Go to the house of the Rechabites, and speak to them, and bring them into the house of Yahweh, into one of the rooms, and give them wine to drink. 3 Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazziniah, and his brothers, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites; 4 and I brought them into the house of Yahweh, into the room of the sons of Hanan the son of Igdaliah, the man of God, which was by the room of the princes, which was above the room of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the threshold. 5 I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites bowls full of wine, and cups; and I said to them, Drink wine! 6 But they said, we will drink no wine; for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, you shall drink no wine, neither you, nor your sons, forever: 7 neither shall you build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any; but all your days you shall dwell in tents; that you may live many days in the land in which you live. 8 We have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, or our daughters; 9 nor to build houses for us to dwell in; neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed: 10 but we have lived in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us. 11 But it happened, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, Come, and 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.
12 Then came the word of Yahweh to Jeremiah, saying, 13 Thus says Yahweh of Hosts, the God of Israel: Go, and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will you not receive instruction to listen to my words? says Yahweh. 14 The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons, not to drink wine, are performed; and to this day they drink none, for they obey their father’s commandment: but I have spoken to you, rising up early and speaking; and you have not listened to me. 15 I have sent also to you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and don’t go after other gods to serve them, and you shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but you have not inclined your ear, nor listened to me. 16 Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father which he commanded them, but this people has not listened to me; 17 therefore thus says Yahweh, the God of Hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil 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. 18 Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, Thus says Yahweh 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; 19 therefore thus says Yahweh of Hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me forever.

Jeremiah 36
36:1 It happened in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, that this word came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying, 2 Take a scroll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah, even to this day. 3 It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do to them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin. 4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah; and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of Yahweh, which he had spoken to him, on a scroll of a book. 5 Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I can’t go into the house of Yahweh: 6 therefore you go, and read in the scroll, which you have written from my mouth, the words of Yahweh in the ears of the people in Yahweh’s house on the fast day; and also you shall read them in the ears of all Judah who come out of their cities. 7 It may be they will present their supplication before Yahweh, and will return everyone from his evil way; for great is the anger and the wrath that Yahweh has pronounced against this people. 8 Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of Yahweh in Yahweh’s house.
9 Now it happened in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month, that all the people in Jerusalem, and all the people who came from the cities of Judah to Jerusalem, proclaimed a fast before Yahweh. 10 Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of Yahweh, in the room of Gemariah the son of Shaphan, the scribe, in the upper court, at the entry of the new gate of Yahweh’s house, in the ears of all the people. 11 When Micaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of Yahweh, 12 he went down into the king’s house, into the scribe’s room: and behold, all the princes were sitting there, Elishama the scribe, and Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, and Elnathan the son of Achbor, and Gemariah the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the princes. 13 Then Micaiah declared to them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people. 14 Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, to Baruch, saying, Take in your hand the scroll in which you have read in the ears of the people, and come. So Baruch the son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand, and came to them. 15 They said to him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears. 16 Now it happened, when they had heard all the words, they turned in fear one toward another, and said to Baruch, we will surely tell the king of all these words. 17 They asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How did you write all these words at his mouth? 18 Then Baruch answered them, he pronounced all these words to me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book. 19 Then the princes said to Baruch, Go, hide, you and Jeremiah; and let no man know where you are.
20 They went in to the king into the court; but they had laid up the scroll in the room of Elishama the scribe; and they told all the words in the ears of the king. 21 So the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll; and he took it out of the room of Elishama the scribe. Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes who stood beside the king. 22 Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month: and there was a fire in the brazier burning before him. 23 It happened, when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, that the king cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was in the brazier, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the brazier. 24 They were not afraid, nor tore their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants who heard all these words. 25 Moreover Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the scroll; but he would not hear them. 26 The king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet; but Yahweh hid them. 27 Then the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the scroll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying, 28 Take again another scroll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first scroll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah has burned. 29 Concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah you shall say, Thus says Yahweh: you have burned this scroll, saying, Why have you written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from there man and animal? 30 Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah: he shall have none to sit on the throne of David; and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost. 31 I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring on them, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and on the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them, but they didn’t listen. 32 Then took Jeremiah another scroll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah, who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire; and there were added besides to them many like words.

Jeremiah 37
37:1 Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned as king, 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, listened to the words of Yahweh, which he spoke by the prophet Jeremiah. 3 Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Pray now to Yahweh our God for us. 4 Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the people; for they had not put him into prison. 5 Pharaoh’s army had come forth out of Egypt; and when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news of them, they broke up from Jerusalem. 6 Then came the word of Yahweh to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, 7 Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, you shall tell the king of Judah, who sent you to me to inquire of me: Behold, Pharaoh’s army, which has come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt into their own land. 8 The Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city; and they shall take it, and burn it with fire. 9 Thus says Yahweh, Don’t deceive yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us; for they shall not depart. 10 For though you had struck the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yes would they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire.
11 It happened that, when the army of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh’s army, 12 then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to receive his portion there, in the midst of the people. 13 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 laid hold on Jeremiah the prophet, saying, you are falling away to the Chaldeans. 14 Then Jeremiah said, It is false; I am not falling away to the Chaldeans. But he didn’t listen to him; so Irijah laid hold on Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes. 15 The princes were angry with Jeremiah, and struck him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe; for they had made that the prison. 16 When Jeremiah had come into the dungeon house, and into the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days; 17 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and fetched him: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from Yahweh? Jeremiah said, There is. He said also, you shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon. 18 Moreover Jeremiah said to king Zedekiah, Wherein have I sinned against you, or against your servants, or against this people, that you have put me in prison? 19 Where now are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land? 20 Now please hear, my lord the king: please let my supplication be presented before you, that you not cause me to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there. 21 Then Zedekiah the king commanded, and they committed Jeremiah into the court of the guard; and they gave him daily a loaf of bread out of the bakers’ street, until all the bread in the city was spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.

Jeremiah 38
38:1 Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchijah, heard the words that Jeremiah spoke to all the people, saying, 2 Thus says Yahweh, he who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he who goes forth to the Chaldeans shall live, and his life shall be to him for a prey, and he shall live. 3 Thus says Yahweh, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it. 4 Then the princes said to the king, "Please let this man be put to death; because he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words to them: for this man doesn’t seek the welfare of this people, but the hurt." 5 Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand; for the king is not he who can do anything against you. 6 Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchijah the king’s son, that was in the court of the guard: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. In the dungeon there was no water, but mire; and Jeremiah sank in the mire. 7 Now when Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon (the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin), 8 Ebedmelech went forth out of the king’s house, and spoke to the king, saying, 9 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 in the place where he is, because of the famine; for there is no more bread in the city. 10 Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from here thirty men with you, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he dies. 11 So Ebedmelech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took there rags and worn-out garments, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. 12 Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, Put now these rags and worn-out garments under your armpits under the cords. Jeremiah did so. 13 So they drew up Jeremiah with the cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.
14 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took Jeremiah the prophet to him into the third entry that is in the house of Yahweh: and the king said to Jeremiah, I will ask you something. Hide nothing from me. 15 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, If I declare it to you, will you not surely put me to death? and if I give you counsel, you will not listen to me. 16 So Zedekiah the king swore secretly to Jeremiah, saying, As Yahweh lives, who made us this soul, I will not put you to death, neither will I give you into the hand of these men who seek your life. 17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, Thus says Yahweh, the God of Hosts, the God of Israel: If you will go forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, then your soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and you shall live, and your house. 18 But if you will not go forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape out of their hand. 19 Zedekiah the king said to Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews who are fallen away to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me. 20 But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver you. Obey, I beg you, the voice of Yahweh, in that which I speak to you: so it shall be well with you, and your soul shall live. 21 But if you refuse to go forth, this is the word that Yahweh has shown me: 22 behold, all the women who are left in the king of Judah’s house shall be brought forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, and those women shall say, your familiar friends have set you on, and have prevailed over you. Your feet are sunk in the mire, they have turned away back. 23 They shall bring out all your wives and your children to the Chaldeans; and you shall not escape out of their hand, but shall be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon: and you shall cause this city to be burned with fire. 24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, Let no man know of these words, and you shall not die. 25 But if the princes hear that I have talked with you, and they come to you, and tell you, Declare to us now what you have said to the king; don’t hide it from us, and we will not put you to death; also what the king said to you: 26 then you shall tell them, I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan’s house, to die there. 27 Then came all the princes to Jeremiah, and asked him; and he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they left off speaking with him; for the matter was not perceived. 28 So Jeremiah stayed in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken.