Today's Bible Commentary

  JEREMIAH Daily Bible Readings
  Commentary, Cross Reference Bible, and Bible Dictionary  

What is a prophet?     Major Prophets Timeline
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Isaiah | Luke | JEREMIAH | John | Lamentations

DateScripturesDaily devotional commentary
Sep 29-Oct 10: Luke
Oct 11:Jeremiah 1-3 * Is There Any Cure For Faithless Backsliders?, N Sween
Oct 12:Jeremiah 4-6 * A Destroyer of Nations Has Set Out, D Sween
Oct 13:Jeremiah 7-9 * God's People: Charged and Sentenced, N Sween
Oct 14:Jeremiah 10-13 * How Idol Worship Ruined the Covenant, D Sween
Oct 15:Jeremiah 14-17* What Wrong Have We Done?, D Sween
Oct 16:Jeremiah 18-21 * Watching for National Repentance, D Sween
Oct 17:Jeremiah 22-24 * Recognizing False Prophets, N Sween
Oct 18:Jeremiah 25-27 * How To Survive Exile, D Sween
Oct 19:Jeremiah 28-30 * Prospering In Exile, N Sween
Oct 20:Jeremiah 31-32 * Property Rights, N Sween
Oct 21:Jeremiah 33-35 * The Value of Obedience, N Sween
Oct 22:Jeremiah 36-38 * I Hear You, But I'm Not Listening, D Sween
Oct 23:Jeremiah 39-42 * Jerusalem Falls - Egypt Calls, D Sween
Oct 24:Jeremiah 43-46 * False Worship Continues, N Sween
Oct 25:Jeremiah 47-49* The Lord Warns Israel's Neighbors, N Sween
Oct 26:Jeremiah 50-51:26 * The Future and Babylon, D Sween
Oct 27:Jeremiah 51:27-52:34 * Final Thoughts: Babylon, Jerusalem, Jehoiachin, N Sween
Oct 28-Nov 5: John

Is There Any Cure For Faithless Backsliders?
Oct 11 reading
Jeremiah 1-3
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
* Introduction to Jeremiah,
PROMISE: "'Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me,' declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty." (2:19)
The prophet Jeremiah prophesied to the southern kingdom, Judah, from 626-586 B.C. - the last 40 years of the country's existence before Babylonia defeated and deported the survivors. When Jeremiah first realized that the Lord was calling him to prophesy, the Lord said He had known Jeremiah before he was even conceived. The Lord was still forming Jeremiah in his mother's womb when He set him apart to be a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah was afraid the Lord would be disappointed in choosing one so young and without public speaking skills. But the Lord insisted. Jeremiah was to go to whoever the Lord sent him, and to say whatever the Lord commanded him. The Lord would interpret messages from visions He would show Jeremiah. In this way, Jeremiah was appointed power to bind and loose things he would not have access to under normal circumstances. Jeremiah was warned that the message recipients would fight against him, but the Lord would rescue him, being with him. The Lord was ready to judge his people because of their wickedness of forsaking Him to follow man-made gods.

Israel (Judah) started out as a bride of the Lord, but eventually lost interest and wandered off. The Lord had done what He promised, giving Israel water in the deserts and choice, fertile land as an inheritance. But when Israel broke the covenant agreement and defiled the land, even the priests didn't sense the Lord's displeasure and growing distance from His chosen people. So the Lord brought his case against Judah - they had forsaken the Lord Almighty and chosen idols as substitute gods. They didn't want to serve the Lord. But when in trouble, they come back to ask the Lord to save them. Apparently their foreign idol gods are just for good times, for daily life, for pursuing love, for avoiding morals and justice. "We're innocent!" Judah says. "We haven't sinned!" And yet, Judah continued to change their ways, their lifestyles, their habits - away from the Lord's laws and conditions. They want to make alliances with other countries, not with the Lord Almighty.

Judah wanted a divorce from the Lord and freedom to pursue other love interests, but she also wanted help from Him if trouble came. Judah says she doesn't want the Lord to be mad at her, but she keeps on doing things that anger Him. When Israel, the northern country, did this same thing to the Lord, He thought she would eventually return to Him. Not only didn't Israel return, but Judah saw Israel escape from the Lord's demands, and thought that kind of freedom looked good.

Eventually, Judah will please the Lord and return to Him. How?

First, some will return and experience His merciful nature.

Then they will acknowledge their guilt.

The Lord will choose them, bring them to Zion, give them shepherds to lead them.

The ark of the covenant will be forgotten and never remade. Jerusalem will be the Throne of the Lord, and all nations will honor the Name of the Lord there. Judah and Israel will join together, no longer stubborn with evil hearts.

But for now, Judah has perverted the Way and forgotten the Lord their God, who had thought they would call him Father and always follow Him and His way. Faithless people can be cured of backsliding by returning to the Lord and confessing their repentance, as in Jeremiah 3:22b-25.

A Destroyer of Nations Has Set Out
Oct 12 reading
Jeremiah 4-6
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
* Jeremiah - judgment and hope,
PROMISE: "A lion has come out of his lair; a destroyer of nations has set out. He has left his place to lay waste your land. Your towns will lie in ruins without inhabitant. So put on sackcloth, lament, and wail, for the firece anger of the Lord has not turned away from us." (4:7-8)
Chapters 4 - 6 deals with the sinful condition of Judah. Jeremiah tells of the judgments of God against the people. It has gotten to the point that the Lord is bringing disaster to the country. "For I am bringing disaster from the north, even terrible destruction. A besieging army is coming from a distant land, raising a war cry against the cities of Judah. Your own conduct and actions have brought this upon you."

Not one is upright. The corruption of the people was wide spread. There was no fear or respect for the Lord. "They have lied about the Lord; they said, He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine." God is bringing an ancient and enduring nation against them. Since they do not fear the Lord or wish to receive his blessings, "Your wrongdoings have kept these away; your sins have deprived you of good."

Jerusalem under siege. "Flee for safety, people of Benjamin! Flee from Jerusalem! Look an army is coming from the land of the north; a great nation is being stirred up from the ends of the earth. Do not go out to the fields or walk on the roads, for the enemy has a sword, and there is terror on every side."

God's People: Charged and Sentenced
Oct 13 reading
Jeremiah 7-9
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
* Jeremiah,
Chuck Smith
PROMISE: "'But am I the one they are provoking?' declares the Lord. 'Are they not rather harming themselves to their own shame'? (7:19) "I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. No one repents of his wickedness, saying 'What have I done?' Each pursues his own course like a horse charging into battle." (8:6)
Jeremiah stood at the gate of the Lord's house in Jerusalem to speak the Lord's message, demanding reform. The people acted as though their coming to the house of the Lord on the Sabbath was an act of some sort of social or cultural protection. What they heard there from the priests made them think that after they paid their weekly obligation to the Lord, on weekdays they could do as they liked. Wrong, said Jeremiah! Your ways, actions, and dealings must be just. Instead, God's people went on their way being unrepentant oppressive bullies, murderers, thieves, sexually promiscuous, liars, and idol worshippers. The Lord's question if His house had become a "den of robbers" wasn't so much a financial question as an exposure of the immorality that His people thought was well hidden, even from the Lord. They were wrong. Centuries later, in a newer temple, the Lord would point out to the Pharisees that what pleases man doesn't please God. (More in Matthew 23) But for now, the Lord was ready to tell - and force - the people to get out of His temple. Any prayer for them would be ineffectual. If they intended to provoke the Lord, the result had been to harm themselves. They had broken their part of the covenant with the Lord, and stubbornly refused His (and His prophet's) correction to train themselves for Godly self-discipline. What was the appeal of idol worship and unjust behavior? Was it addictive? Was it exciting? Was it the "in" thing to do? Whatever, the end result would be total destruction.

They burned their sons and daughters in the fire. They loved and served astrology. Their bones will be exposed and scattered, and those of this generation who don't die will wish they did. The people thought they were wise because they had the law of the Lord, but the scribes were mishandling interpretations of the law, and the people were rejecting the word of the Lord. "It's not serious," they thought. Jeremiah felt alone in realizing what a serious condition Israel would be in without the Lord.

The people of Judah were so addicted to evil, they didn't see what was coming. The disaster that would avenge the Lord on his people would also effect the geography, the animals, and the birds of the land. Why? Becuase the Lord's people had given up on His law to follow their own ways, cordially clawing at each other for their own deceitful advantage. If they were really wise, they would call for the wailing women while there was still time to mourn the coming losses. Let anyone wanting to boast not to boast in himself, but for his understanding of the Lord - that the Lord delights in exercising His kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth. But the Lord will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh: Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and in the desert. "Even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart." (from 9:25-26)

How Idol Worship Ruined the Covenant
Oct 14 reading
Jeremiah 10-13
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
* Jeremiah,
Clarke's Commentary
PROMISE: "Tell them this: 'These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.' But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding." (10:11-12) "Why do the faithless live at ease? You are always on their lips but far from their hearts." (12:1b,2b)
The Lord warns his people about fear and idols. Don't fear things that other people fear, like terrifying signs in the sky. Their ways are worthless. Their idols are also worthless. "Do not fear them; they can do no harm - nor can they do any good." There is none like the Lord, the living God. These idols are made and chosen by mortals. They didn't create the heavens and earth, and they will be destroyed before the heavens and earth are. Get to know the Lord God. Listen - the corruption of breaking God's law with idol worship has dire consequences. The people will be vomited out of the land. Surrounded by destruction, the priests won't ask the Lord for guidance, and the people will scatter. "Listen! The report is coming - a great commotion from the land of the north. It will make the towns of Judah desolate, a haunt of jackals." (10:22) Jeremiah realizes that no man's life is his own. No one has total control over future paths.

The covenant is broken. God said, "Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God." (11:4b) But still his people would not listen or pay attention to the Lord's warnings, going their own ways, and conspiring against the Lord, who tells Jeremiah to stop praying for the people of Israel. God lets Jeremiah know of a plot against him, and says instead of these men killing Jeremiah, the Lord will punish them by ending their family line.

Jeremiah spends some time with the Lord, asking why the wicked prosper, and why the Lord is always on people's lips but far from their hearts. (12:2) Meanwhile the Lord tests those who are faithful to him. The Lord answers in Jeremiah 12:5-13, and promises that people will be uprooted from the land given to Israel. (12:14) After testing, He will bring Israel and her wicked neighboring countries back from exile. Any of these Jews and gentiles who have learned the Lord's ways and only to swear to truth by the Lord's name, both will be established among His people. (12:14-17)

The story of the linen belt comes next. Jeremiah is told to buy a linen belt and to bury it is a crevice in the rocks. After time passes, Jeremiah is told to go and dig up the belt. By then it was ruined and useless. Then the Lord said, "in the same way, I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words ... will be link this belt - completely useless!" (13:9-10) The Lord had bound his people to himself like a belt, but they wouldn't listen.

The threat of captivity. Don't be arrogant. Instead, "Give glory to the Lord your God before He brings the darkness, before your feet stumble on the darkening hills." (13:16) Countries you cultivated as special allies, the Lord will call to rule over you. "Why has this happened to ME?" (13:22) No one accustomed to doing evil can do good on their own. (13:23) Trusting in something other than the Lord becomes a habit one can't break by singing, boasting, or deciding "I'll Do It MY Way".

What Wrong Have We Done?
Oct 15 reading
Jeremiah 14-17
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
* Expository Messages:
, Stedman
PROMISE: "My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes." (16:17)
The Lord continues to talk about the sins of Judah. Jeremiah continues to intercede and plead for the people. But God is firm and says, "Do not pray for the well-being of this people. Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry, though they offer brunt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy them with the sword, famine, and plague." (14:11-12)

The finality of this statement seems to be borne out by what follows. The Lord says, "even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before Me, My heart would not go out to this people." (15:1) "I will make their widows more numerous than the sand of the sea." (15:8)

The Lord tells Jeremiah not to marry or to have sons or daughters in this place. "For they will die of deadly diseases.... because I have withdrawn my blessing, my love, and my pity from this people." (from 16:1-4)

"Judah's sin is engraved with an iron tool, inscribed with a flint point on the tablets of their hearts and the horns of their altars." (17:1)

This is what the Lord says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord."

Watching for National Repentance
Oct 16 reading
Jeremiah 18-21
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
* Getting Oriented in the Hinnom
, map & pictures
PROMISE: "So beware, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. In this place I will ruin the plans of Judah and Jerusalem. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies..." (19:6-7a)
Jeremiah was sent down to the potters house to watch him prepare pottery. When a pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands, the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. God can do the same thing. "Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, I am planning a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears it tingle."

When the priest Pashur, the chief officer in the temple of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put in stocks. The Lord tells Pashur that he will be carried off to Babylon where he will die and be buried, along with all his friends to whom he has prophesied lies.

Zedekiah sends word to Jeremiah asking him to inquire of God for them because Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is attacking. The Lord said, "I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm in anger and fury and great wrath. I will punish you as your deeds deserve, declares the Lord; I will kindle fire in your forests that will consume everything around you."

Recognizing False Prophets
Oct 17 reading
Jeremiah 22-24
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
* The Messiah Revealed
in Jeremiah
PROMISE: "'Therefore,' declares the Lord, 'I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me." (23:30)
Jeremiah continued to relay the Lord's message to the leadership and people of Jerusalem and Judah. "Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence..." Jerusalem was so proud of its cedar palace, and the king took a lot more interest and care in it than in his own spiritual condition or that of his people. But they had heard all of Jeremiah's speeches before and frankly, they had tuned him out and stopped listening. OK - look at the palace, now look at the prophet. The palace made them feel secure, but Jeremiah was talking about disaster coming to Jerusalem. Why? "Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and have worshiped and served other gods." Jeremiah was insulting the king. "Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar?" he says. And "your eyes and your heart are set only on dishonest gain, on shedding innocent blood and on oppression and extortion." By choosing not to listen, they missed hearing that to know the Lord is to do what's right and just, and to defend the cause of the poor and needy. The time for national repentance was past, and the Lord was ready to vomit King Jehoiachin and his mother far away into Babylon, where both would die.

Why was all this happening? Didn't the Lord usually save Israel from catastrophe - if not for themselves, for the Lord's own Name? But look at the priests and other prophets who were driving the people away from the Lord's way. When the exile cleansing was over, the Lord Himself would gather a remnant of His people back together, and would replace priests like these with shepherds who would actually and actively take care of the people. And the Lord would raise up the Branch from the lineage of King David who would reign in righteousness. The Lord repeats another message - when He brings the Jews back from Babylon to Israel, the people will take more notice of the Lord's greatness for THAT than for when He led their descendants out of Egypt. (23:7-8 and 16:14)

In the meantime, Judah had a majority of godless prophets and priests (23:11) who were sexually promiscuous and who encouraged evildoers to continue in wicked ungodliness. They gave the people false hopes, even though they all despised the Lord God. (23:16-17) They overlooked the fact that the Lord is and sees everywhere, filling heaven and earth. The people still asked what the Lord was saying (23:33), but they got wrong answers. They needed an accuracy test for the messages of false priests and prophets. Do they warn people to turn back to God's way? What do they say about justice, oppression, thievery, murder? Talking a lot about God doesn't make one a true prophet. Talking about a dream or praising God a lot verbally doesn't prove one's life or message is in agreement with God's word. Quoting another man's words as words from the Lord doesn't benefit people if those words are lies. The Lord told Jeremiah that "every man's own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the Lord Almighty, our God." (23:36b)

After the 2nd group of Judeans including King Jehoiachin (and Ezekiel) went to Babylon (in 597 B.C.), the Lord showed Jeremiah that He would watch over the exiles from Judah who had already left and give them a heart to know the Lord. But the Lord would make the straggler group going to Babylon later (around 586 B.C.), including King Zedekiah, abhorrent and totally destroyed.

How To Survive Exile
Oct 18 reading
Jeremiah 25-27
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
* The Importance of the Babylonian
, Judaism Notes, E. Segal
INSTRUCTIONS: "Now I will hand all your countries over to my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; I will make even the wild animals subject to him. All nations will serve him and his son and his grandson until the time for his land comes; then many nations and great kings will subjugate him. If, however, any nation or kingdom will not serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon or bow its neck under his yoke, I will punish that nation with the sword, famine, and plague, declares the Lord, until I destroy it by his hand. So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your interpreters of dreams, your mediums, or your sorcerers who tell you, 'You will not serve the king of Babylon.' They prophesy lies to you...." (27:6-10a)
"For twenty-three years ... the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened," says Jeremiah. (25:3) And now the Lord says "This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years." (25:11)

Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people. "The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the things you have heard. Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the Lord your God. Then the Lord will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you." (26:12-13)

Uriah also prophesied in the Lord's name. When King Jehoiakim and his court heard that Uriah was prophesying against Judah, the king ordered his death. Terrified, Uriah fled to Egypt. The king had him extradited, killed, and buried without honor. Jeremiah, on the other hand, had the support of some of the elders, comparing him to Micah during Hezekiah's time. For another comparison of Uriah with Jeremiah, see 36:26 and Hebrews 11:37.

"This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says: 'Tell this to your masters: "With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please. Now I will hand all your countries over to my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; I will make even the wild animals subject to him."'" (27:4b-6)

Prospering In Exile
Oct 19 reading
Jeremiah 28-30
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
* The Importance of Being
, F. Tweedie
FACT: "The prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true." (28:9)
Zedekiah had been king of Judah just over 3 years when, in the house of the Lord and in front of the priests and people, the prophet Hananiah broke the wooden yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah and said the Lord would break the King of Babylon and within two years all the articles of worship would be returned to the Lord's house in Jerusalem. Jeremiah said that would be great, but according to Deuteronomy 18:22 only if peace comes in those two years would Hananiah's word be proven to be from the Lord and true. Afterwards, the Lord told Jeremiah to prophesy death to Hananiah, and the false prophet died 2 months later.

Still in Jerusalem and serving at the Lord's pleasure, Jeremiah wrote and sent a letter to the exiles from Judah living in Babylonia. "Build houses and settle down," he wrote. Plant gardens, marry, have children, and seek peace and prosperity for the Babylonian city where you now live. In fact, pray to the Lord for your new hometown where you are exiled. As it prospers, so will you. Don't be decieved by prophets and dreamers giving false hope of a quick return to Judah. Your return is in the Lord, and His plan is to prosper you - not to harm you - to give you hope and a future, but not back in Judah for a long time. "'You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the Lord, 'and will bring you back from captivity.'" Yes, some of the people stayed on Jerusalem, not believing a move to Babylonia was really necessary. They didn't believe the Lord's word about punishment for the national sin of Judah. As proof, King Nebuchadnezzar was going to put the false prophets and evil leaders, Zedekiah and Ahab, to death by fire. For not listening to the Lord, the apparent remnant left in Jerusalem would not prosper, and finally would be pursued away by the Lord in one way or another.

Shemaiah wrote from Babylonia to all the priests back in Jerusalem. Zephaniah the priest told Jeremiah about the letter, including the part saying that anyone acting like a prophet should be put into neck-irons, and why was Jeremiah still free. The Lord answered Shemaiah through Jeremiah with a curse on him and his descendants.

Jeremiah's next assignment was to write a book with all of the Lord's words to him. There were words of disaster and words of promise. "'I am with you and will save 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 with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished." (30:11) "But all who devour you will be devoured." (30:16a) "The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand this." (30:24)

Property Rights
Oct 20 reading
Jeremiah 31-32
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
* Thoughts on The New Covenant,
The New Kingdom
, Kevin Pope
PROMISE: "I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul." (32:40-41)
When the storm of the Lord explodes in wrath, He will fully accomplish the purposes of His heart. He will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they will be his people. No matter how the relationship looks during times of punishment, the Lord loves his people with an everlasting love, and does what is necessary for them to be rebuilt and have joy in the Lord. Not doing just what comes naturally, His people are to be trained with "tough love" for the Lord's special service. And based upon the promise of things hoped for, the Lord was instructing anyone listening to Him through Jeremiah to respond with joy and praise now for His promise to rebuild Israel later. The Lord had a purpose for scattering Israel, and promises to ransom, redeem, and return the people to Zion and the land of their ancestors. Some day Israel will have no more sorrow. The mourning and weeping in Ramah referred to a holding area north of Jerusalem where captives awaited transportation to Babylonia. (Matthew later saw the similarity with the mourning in Ramah when Herod killed the children of Bethlehem after Jesus' birth.)

The Lord described more of the new thing He was beginning to create on earth. "A woman will surround a man." (31:22b) Israel had not been able to keep their part of the old covenant, so the Lord described the new covenant that He would offer first to Israel and Judah. His law would be in their minds and hearts. He would be their Lord. He would forgive their wickedness and forget their sins. The words that created the natural laws of the universe would have to vanish before the Lord ever rejects all the descendants of Israel for all they have done. (from 31:35-37) By promising that Jerusalem would be rebuilt, the Lord confirms that Babylon would destroy the city.

Zedekiah had been king of Judah just over 9 years (and Nebuchadnezzar had been king of Babylon for 17 years) when Zedekiah put Jeremiah under guard in the royal palace. Zedekiah could quote exactly what Jeremiah had said would happen to Judah and to himself, but was far from convinced. During this time, Jeremiah's cousin sent word that he wanted to sell one of his fields in Benjamin, property already under Babylon control. Under law, it was Jeremiah's duty to buy it, no matter if it did look like an unopportune time. But the Lord used the safe storage of the purchase documents as a sign that Israel would return to their lands. The Lord's everlasting covenant with them would include their return to Him and to their property.

The Value of Obedience
Oct 21 reading
Jeremiah 33-35
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
* Family Standards,
PROMISE: "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." (33:3)
The Lord invited Jeremiah to continue to ask what His plans are for the future, and to learn the end results of options that leaders have from the Lord. For example, the Lord wanted the exiles to realize all they had lost that once was theirs in the promised land. The Lord wanted them to know about the Branch from David's line who would be called "The Lord Our Righteousness". To the people, it looked like the Lord had rejected both Israel and Judah - lines He had chosen for His purposes. To Jeremiah, the Lord said He would reject the descendants of Jacob and the promised son of David to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ONLY when the fixed laws of physics fail.

When the only fortified cities left in Judah were Lachish, Azekah, and Jerusalem, the Lord sent Jeremiah a message for king Zedekiah, to let him know that he would see and speak with Nebuchadnezzar after being captured, and that he would die peacefully. By covenant in the Lord's house, Zedekiah proclaimed freedom for all Hebrew slaves. The people agreed to sign the covenant before breaking it and re-enslaving these Hebrews. The people had just earned "freedom" from the Lord to die by the sword, plague, and famine.

The Lord had Jeremiah contact the Recabite family and invite them to the house of the Lord. Turns out that they still obeyed the command of their ancestor, Jonadab (2 Kings 10:15), never to drink wine. Additionally, they were always to live the old way, in tents, as nomads who would never farm. The only reason they were now in Jerusalem was to escape the Babylonian and Aramean armies. The Lord told Jeremiah to tell the people of Judah the story of the Recabites, who had obeyed their ancestor for centuries. Let them compare this obedience with the disobedience of Judah and Israel. For their obedience, Jeremiah relayed the message that there would always be a descendant of Jonadab, son of Recab, serving the Lord.

I Hear You, But I'm Not Listening
Oct 22 reading
Jeremiah 36-38
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
* The Seal of Baruch, Jeremiah's Scribe,
Kyle Pope
PROMISE: "Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, each of them will turn from his wicked way; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin." (36:3) REALITY CHECK: "Where are your prophets who prophesied to you, 'The king of Babylon will not attack you or this land'?" (37:19) "Even if you were to defeat the entire Babylonian army that is attacking you and only wounded men were left in their tents, they would come out and burn this city down." (37:10)
During Jehoiakim's reign, the Lord had told Jeremiah to take a scroll and write on it "all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel and Judah and all the other nations from the time I began speaking to you….until now." Perhaps the people will turn from their wicked ways. Jeremiah selected Baruch to transcribe what Jeremiah told him. Baruch read the words to the people and to some of the officials.

Frightened, the officials took the scroll to Jehoiakim, the king. They read the scroll to the king who slowly but surely burnt up the entire scroll. God told Jeremiah to make another scroll. Jeremiah told the words of the Lord to the king about his future. Eventually, the next king Zedekiah imprisoned Jeremiah in the courtyard of the guard.

The officials went to the king asking that Jeremiah be killed for discouraging the soldiers and the people. They took Jeremiah, a prophet of God, and threw him to the depths of a muddy cistern, intending him to die. The king decided to bring him back up from the cistern and question him. Asking Jeremiah what the future held for the king, Jeremiah told him to surrender and he would live but if he refused God’s will he would die. Afraid of what the Jews would do to him, he sent Jeremiah back to the courtyard of the guard. And Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard until the day Jerusalem was captured.

Jerusalem Falls - Egypt Calls
Oct 23 reading
Jeremiah 39-42
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
* Timeline Events of Jerusalem,
SOUNDED GOOD: "Then they said to Jeremiah, 'May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the Lord your God sends you to tell us. Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God.'" (42:5-6)
Jerusalem was taken by the king of Babylon after breaking through the walls of the city. The king of Judah ran for his life. The Babylonian army chased and captured him. His family was killed and his eyes were put out and he was bound over to go to Babylon. Jeremiah was freed and allowed to remain with the people.

In the confused aftermath of the invasion Gedaliah was appointed governor and some of the people began planting and harvesting. Gedaliah was killed. There then was a small civil war. The survivors came to Jeremiah and asked him to inquire of the Lord as to what they should do - apparently should they stay, or try to escape by going to Egypt. The Lord says to stay. "If they disobey my commandments, then the sword they fear will follow them anywhere and everywhere."

Jeremiah concludes by saying, "I have told you today, but you still have not obeyed the Lord God in all he sent me to tell you. So now, be sure of this: You will die by the sword, famine and plague in the place where you want to go to settle."

False Worship Continues
Oct 24 reading
Jeremiah 43-46
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
* Historic: Queen of Heaven,
* Modern: Queen of Heaven
LOGIC: "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." (44:18)
Hebrew army officer Johanan feared Babylon even more after failing to capture Ishmael, murderer of the Babylonian-appointed governor of Judah. Ishmael escaped into Ammon. Johanan fully intended to lead the remnant of Hebrews, including the prophet Jeremiah, to apparent safety in Egypt. When he asked Jeremiah to ask the Lord for instructions, Johanan apparently thought the Lord would logically send them to Egypt and his actions would be sanctioned. Scripture adds that Johanan's men were arrogant. So when the Lord's answer was for them to stay in Judah, Johanan even accused Jeremiah of listening to his scribe Baruch's advice, not the Lord's command. Johanan moved the Hebrew remnant, including all who had returned to Judah from being scattered into other nations, taking them into Egypt.

At the entrance to Pharaoh's palace in Tahpanhes, the Lord had Jeremiah bury some large stones in the clay, and announce that Nebuchadnezzar would come and put his throne over those stones while he captured and killed people in Egypt and burned the temples of the gods of Egypt - including the temple of the sun. Openly to all Jews living in Egypt, Jeremiah repeated the Lord's case against them. What was their point in cutting off the remnant told to stay in Judah? Why did they continue to provoke the Lord by worshiping other gods to their destruction? "To this day they have not humbled themselves or shown reverence, nor have they followed my law and the decrees I set before you and your fathers." (44:10) The remnant in Egypt would all die there, by sword, famine, and plague.

The Jewish men who knew their wives referred to God as "she" (i.e., the "Queen of Heaven") refused to listen to this latest message from the Lord. Jewish tradition was to burn incense to her, and when the wives stopped this worship - THAT's when sword and famine came, they said. Jeremiah reasoned with them about the cause and effect of their wicked actions. Knowing that they wouldn't change their minds, he said when an extremely small number of Jews in Egypt will ever return to Judah, then the whole remnant in Egypt will know whose word stands. [Note that most will know this after their physical deaths.] A sooner sign would be Pharaoh Hophra's capture by Nebuchadnezzar.

Back in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when Baruch had finish writing the Lord's words through Jeremiah on a scroll, the Lord had acknowledged Baruch's sorrow, pain, and exhaustion as well as the goals he had set to achieve during his lifetime. Baruch was told not to seek great things for himself, but with the promise that wherever he goes, the Lord would let him escape with his life.

Jeremiah reviewed the Lord's word on various nations he had received over the years. He had been told about the Egyptian pharoah Neco, defeated at Carchemish (605 B.C., during the reign of Jehoiakim of Judah). And the Lord through Jeremiah had given the world advance knowledge about Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacking Egypt. This punishment will pass, and Egypt will be inhabited as before.

The Lord Warns Israel's Neighbors
Oct 25 reading
Jeremiah 47-49
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
Histories of the * Medes of Media (area map)
* Persian Empire, Virtual Library of History - Iran
QUESTION: "This is what the Lord says: 'If those who do not deserve to drink the cup must drink it, why should you go unpunished? You will not go unpunished, but must drink it." (49:12)
Jeremiah recorded what the Lord had told him about various neighboring countries. The Philistines had been warned before Pharaoh attacked Gaza. The country of Moab would be broken, disgraced, and shattered. They once ridiculed Israel, but now it's Moab ridiculed. Moab was so proud and arrogant, but in the time of judgement her boasts accomplish nothing. Mourn and cry over Moab's losses, from wealth to all the efforts put into their high place worship. "Moab will be destroyed as a natoin because she defied the Lord." (48:42) But after Moab goes into exile and captivity, the Lord declared He would restore the fortunes of Moab in days to come.

Ammon, descended from Lot, stayed in the area and even moved into land Israel and Judah had lived in. The Ammonites were to be driven away from their homeland later by Israel, and no one would gather the fugitives. But the Lord planned to restore the fortunes of the Ammonites.

Edom, descended from Jacob's twin Esau, would become an appalling place in the mountains. Bozrah will be ruined. Their pride would make them overly confident. The eagle swooping over Moab would also soar and swoop down over Edom.

The renown city of Damascus, in Aram will lose its strength, and the Arab tribes of Kedar (descendants of Ishmael) and Hazor are warned to flee the terrorism toward them, as they confidently live at ease. After this, Hazor will be desolate forever.

Elam, now in Iran, will be broken and its people scattered to the four winds. "I will set my throne in Elam and destroy her king and officials," declares the Lord. "Yet I will restore the fortunes of Elam in days to come," declares the Lord. (49:38-39)

The Future and Babylon
Oct 26 reading
Jeremiah 50-51:26
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
* History of the Babylonian Empire
(Iraq) Virtual Library of History
FACT: "Before your eyes I will repay Babylon and all who live in Babylonia for all the wrong they have done in Zion," declares the Lord." (51:24)
This is the word the Lord spoke through Jeremiah the prophet concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians. The New International Version of the bible outlines Chapter 50 - 51 as A Message About Babylon, and it is. It is a journal of destruction and disaster to be caused by a very angry Lord God. "Babylon will be captured; Bel will be put to shame, Marduk filled with terror. Her images will be put to shame and her idols filled with terror. A nation from the north will attack her and lay waste her land." When that happens, both people and animals will rush away from there. And Israel and Judah together will go in tears to seek the Lord their God, looking for the way to Zion. "They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten." (50:5b)

The Lord revealed to Jeremiah that an alliance of great nations (named in tomorrow's reading - 51:27-28) would come from the north to capture and plunder Babylonia. There is danger for any country like Babylonia that pillages Israel, the Lord's inheritance. "Because of the Lord’s anger she will not be inhabited but will be completely desolate. All who pass Babylon will be horrified and scoff because of her wounds." (50:13) "I set a trap for you, O Babylon, and you were caught before you knew it; you were found and captured because you opposed the Lord." (50:24) Well in advance of the fact, while Israel's exile continues, the Lord speaks of the enemy's destruction and Israel's return. Compare the fate of the capital of Babylon when the Medes and Persian armies came with the fate of the world system (Rev 18) still to come.

Final Thoughts: Babylon, Jerusalem, Jehoiachin
Oct 27 reading
Jeremiah 51:27-52:34
More on Jeremiah
Dictionary and Books
* Neo-Babylonian Empire,
FACTS: "Babylon must fall because of Israel's slain, just as the slain in all the earth have fallen because of Babylon. You who have escaped the sword, leave and do not linger! Remember the Lord in a distant land, and think on Jerusalem." "Even if Babylon reaches the sky and fortifies her lofty stronghold, I will send destroyers against her," declares the Lord. (51:49-50, 53)
The message to Jeremiah from the Lord about the capitol of Judah's enemy, Babylonia, concludes with specific battle details. In real time, the government at Babylon had already transported a great number of the Jews into exile northeast of the promised land and destroyed the government at Jerusalem. But the Lord God of Israel continued showing Jeremiah things, several years in advance, about defeat for the vicious Babylonian empire. The Lord was preparing, speaking the word. "Lift up a banner in the land! Blow the trumpet among the nations! Prepare the nations for battle against her" (51:27a) The Lord even lists the countries He will call against Babylonia: the kings of Ararat, Minni, Ashkenaz will join an affiliation of kings under the banner of the Medes. The Lord extensively describes His stand against Babylon. The Lord knows. The Lord sees. The Lord hears. "May the violence done to our flesh be upon Babylon," say the inhabitants of Zion. The Lord will avenge the blood and violence against His people, according to His plans. The Lord uses the enemy's own desires so they'll shout with laughter, then sleep forever. The sea that will rise over Babylon in destruction won't be one of water, but of enemies. (51:42,55) There will be a time run for your lives, and a time not to lose heart or fear the many rumors. "Babylon must fall because of Israel's slain, just as the slain in all the earth have fallen because of Babylon. You who have escaped the sword, leave and do not linger. Remember the Lord in a distant land, and think on Jerusalem." (51:49-50) "Even if Babylon reaches the sky and fortifies her lofty stronghold, I will send destroyers against her," declares the Lord. (51:53) "The Lord is a God of retribution; he will repay in full." (51:56b)

Jeremiah had written on a scroll all these disasters the Lord had showed him that would come upon Babylon. Jeremiah told chief priest - staff officer Seraiah that when he finished reading the scroll to the people in Babylon, he was to tie a stone to it and throw it into Euphrates. "So will Babylon sink to rise no more." Seraiah was executed in Babylon.

Jerusalem was taken by the king of Babylon after breaking through the walls of the city. The king of Judah ran for his life. The Babylonian army chased and captured him. His family was killed and his eyes were put out and he was bound over to go to Babylon. Jeremiah was freed and allowed to remain with the people.

The book of Jeremiah concludes as Babylon looted Jerusalem and killed king Zedekiah. Eventually, during the exile, a new king of Babylon released Judah's exiled king Jehoiachin from prison and restored his position to eat at the king's table until Jehoiachin died.

Tomorrow's reading (October 28) John 1-3 with commentary

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Today's Bible commentaries, mostly by Don and Nancy Sween, were first posted daily on the Today's Bible Commentary Blog from November 2003