We will be fast-forwarding in time once again in this post and I believe will stay in order now! So chapter 36 had ended telling of Jehoiakim burning the scroll and then moves to Zedekiah’s reign where there is an explanation as to how he was put into power by Nebuchadnezzar in Judah instead of Jehoiakim. Just to keep us all updated! I am so happy that I read the books 1 Kings and 2 Kings or else this would be more confusing to me. I am a history major…I tend to focus on details like these for they are so important to the end of the story!
Zedekiah was no where near a righteous leader but nonetheless he asked some of his officials to go to Jeremiah to have him pray to God for a win against the Chaldeans, for the Pharaoh had scared the Chaldeans back for the moment but who knew for how long! God tells Jeremiah to tell them that the Chaldeans will return and to remember this:
“’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.’” Jeremiah 37:10
Now that is some intense stuff, and I am sure that Zedekiah and every one in Judah would not want to hear about this. Maybe it made it easier for the officials to arrest Jeremiah later on when the Chaldeans returned and people were going to the land of Benjamin to receive food portions like many others, but the officials said that Jeremiah was deserting the city, and then they beat him and imprisoned him. Zedekiah called him in after he was arrested and asked him personally for advice from God, and as a result Zedekiah agreed upon Jeremiah’s request to not to return to the prison they had for him for he would die, but rather he was now to stay in the court of the guard.
This next story about Jeremiah reminds me of Daniel’s friends being thrown into the oven by Nebuchadnezzar, but in this instance Jeremiah was thrown into the cistern. The king did not want to make the order for this to happen and left it to the officials, and they decided to throw Jeremiah in the cistern for not giving a more favorable prophecy (because I guess they thought he was in control over it). Luckily the cistern happened to be empty, so Jeremiah was only in the mud, and did not drown. A eunuch named Ebed-melech was able to have his request to save Jeremiah from the cistern by the king approved. He took 30 men and were able to pull Jeremiah out of the cistern. Zedekiah then asked Jeremiah again for a prophecy just between the two of them, but the king did not want Jeremiah to tell the guards and officials that Jeremiah was telling him a prophecy. The prophecy was that if Zedekiah handed over the city to the Chaldeans then his life would be spared. Jeremiah kept his word to Zedekiah and did not tell anyone what they had talked about.
After 2 years, Jerusalem was besieged and fell to Nebuchadnezzar. Zedekiah had not listen to Jeremiah and Zedekiah’s children were all killed in front of him, and his eyes were poked out and he was taken to Babylon. The people that survived were exiled to Babylon by the captain of the guard named Nebuzaradan, and the poor that remained in the remnants of Judah were given vineyards and properties. Jeremiah was protected by the LORD by God softening Nebuchadnezzar’s heart towards Jeremiah, and as a result Jeremiah faced no harm during the falling of the city. He was left in the hands of Gedaliah and he would live among the remaining people. God also had a message for Jeremiah to give the Ethiopian eunuch that had helped him out of the cistern, and that was that the city would still face many troubles but that he would be saved and will not fall from the sword.