Today’s readings are Jeremiah 38-41

Click here to read today’s passages on BibleGateway.

Let’s hop on along…

Rabbit Trails

Today we will read two incidences in which high officials are sitting at gates. It is important to note that these gates were often where official business took place. Kings would hear cases, pass judgement, make decrees, etc.
We see, first, that the king is sitting at the Benjamin gate. This is where Jeremiah was put into stocks. He was likely there to conduct business but considering that the city was under siege at the time, many scholars speculate that he was there to annoy the enemy as well.

Later we’ll see Babylonian officials sitting at the middle gate after the city has been taken. One commentator noted that this was akin to an enemy conquering the United States and immediately going to sit in the Oval Office.
(and that is as close to talking politics as we will get in this group)

We’re also going to see a few mentions of cisterns in this passage today. I found a great link if you want to get a better feel of what they most likely would have looked like and a good description of them. Checking this out will definitely help you to visualize our readings better.
Disclaimer: I know nothing of this site or their doctrinal bent, and I haven’t checked out any of their other content.

We begin our reading with some princes (politicians of their time) speaking further against Jeremiah. One of the Pashurs mentioned is likely the one who had Jeremiah put in the stocks. They beseech the king to have him put to death and the king either cannot or will not stand up to them, and so he delivers Jeremiah to them to do with as they will. This is where you need to have clicked that link above to see what a cistern looked like because it changes the scene in our mind considerably.

They lower him into a cistern where he remains until he is near death and then he is removed after a eunuch pleas on his behalf to the king. I love this next passage. The king sends for him and asks him secretly for a word from YHWH. (Notice that he begins by acknowledging who YHWH is.)

Jeremiah replies “If I tell you you’re just going to kill me and you won’t listen anyway.” Jeremiah 38:15 – Christy’s paraphrase

Y’all, when someone shows you what they are, it is okay to believe them the first time. Sure, people repent, lives turn around, but in our modern world more often than not, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, guess what? It’s a duck. We see here that showing mercy and forgiveness to others does not mean we have to lay down and be their doormat. It is okay to recognize evil for what it is and refuse to accommodate it.

However, we see Jeremiah relent and in Jeremiah 38:20 he pleads “Please, obey the voice of YHWH”.

But nope, old stiff-neck-knows-better-than-everyone can’t be told nothing and keeps on keeping on, ignoring the word he himself pleaded for only moments earlier.

We see an awful ending for this king in Jeremiah 39:7 as prophesy is fulfilled when he loses his eyes. YHWH had told Ezekiel regarding Zedekiah shortly before the fall of Jerusalem: “I will bring him to Babylon, to the land of the Chaldeans; yet he shall not see it, though he shall die there.” Ezekiel 12:13

Later in chapter 39, Jeremiah is shown grace and has favor in the eyes of Nebuchadnezzar.

Moving on to 41, Ishmael was bad news and Gedaliah had been warned but apparently he didn’t believe it as we read of Ismael dining at his table – generally a sign of trust. Oh well, we see how that ends in Jeremiah 41:1-3. Again, it is okay not to welcome everyone into your home.

In Jeremiah 41:4-5 you see the Word make special note that the men who came had their beards shaved, their clothes torn, and they had cut themselves. These are all signs of mourning. These were followers of YHWH and were most likely in mourning for the destruction of their city. They had come to make sacrifices to Him. However, cutting oneself as a sign of mourning is explicitly forbidden in YHWH’s laws (Deut 14:1). By today’s standards, 2 out of three ain’t bad, but should our goal be to slide by according to today’s standards?

Jeremiah 41:6-7 Ishmael goes out to meet them making a big show of weeping and pretending to be mourning himself, and then proceeds to kill most of them. This man is bad news. Later we see he is so evil even his own men abandon him at the first opportunity but from our reading today it appears he himself escapes.

What jumped out at you today? Have you ever seen a cistern such as the one we read about today? I know many of you have actually been to Israel!

Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21

We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!

May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!

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Christy Jordan
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