“He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans who are besieging you shall live and shall have his life as a prize of war.” Jeremiah 21:9
Today the long march is over. For over four hundred years a king of David’s line had sat on the throne at Jerusalem. At the end of these three chapters, there will be a Babylonian-appointed governor in Mizpah.
There is so much detail to this narrative, you really need to pay attention, and my comments will be brief. Read this slowly. Follow Jeremiah, who moves from foreground to background but is never entirely out of frame.
I’m going to point your attention to dialogue. Zedekiah’s clandestine conversation with Jeremiah and his commission to keep it secret. The prophet’s persistent message and the equally persistent accusations of the Jerusalem officials. The Ethiopian’s advocacy, and Nebuchadnezzar’s orders, for Jeremiah’s safety.
Attend also to the LORD’s words: His warning “Do not deceive yourselves…” when Egypt attempts to intervene; His promises to King Zedekiah; His instructions to flee Jerusalem and desert to the Chaldeans; and His promise to give the king’s servant his life “as a prize of war.”
Remember that yesterday’s reading ended with a memory from eighteen years earlier, when Jeremiah tried to warn Judah and her king that Babylon would destroy them, imploring them to beg the LORD for mercy…“But they would not hear.”
Our verse for this week is Hebrews 8:10: For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Jeremiah 37 through 39. Now let’s read it!
“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?