Jeremiah 39:6-18, (15-18)
Jeremiah had been God’s spokesman to Judah for 40 years, during the last five kings. He continually urged the people to repent and to act, but nobody would listen to him or do anything. He was not a successful man by the world’s standards, like those who have fortune and fame. He did not gain material success, yet he continued his mission. He had been assaulted, thrown in jail, and compelled to leave his home. The only people that showed him any type of respect were the Babylonians.
In chapter thirty-seven, during Zedekiah’s reign as king, Jeremiah was thrown in prison. In chapter thirty-eight, Jeremiah was then thrown into a well but was finally rescued from the well by Ebed-melech, (38:7-13) who was a eunuch serving in the king’s house, under the command of Zedekiah. At the same time, the Babylonians are coming for Jerusalem. Zedekiah approaches Jeremiah to inquire about a word from the Lord. Jeremiah tries to tell Zedekiah what to do to save his life and the life of the people. Unfortunately, Zedekiah would not listen.
In verses 6-8:
Nebuchadnezzar has now besieged Jerusalem. He has the sons of Zedekiah killed and has Zedekiah’s eyes put out (Jeremiah 24:8-10; Jeremiah 34:18-21; Jeremiah 52:10-11; 2 Kings 25:7; Ezekiel 12:13).
In verses 9-10:
The king’s house is burned as well as the houses of the people, then the walls of Jerusalem are broken down. Babylon had an astute international strategy toward vanquished lands. They extradited the rich and strong, leaving just the exceptionally poor in control, in this way making them appreciative to their conquerors. This strategy guaranteed that the vanquished populaces would be excessively faithful and too powerless to even consider revolting, making them loyal subjects (2 Kings 25:9-12; Nehemiah 1:3; Jeremiah 52:12-16).
In verses 11-14:
God has vowed to see Jeremiah through his difficulty (1:8). The king of the Babylonians, Nebuchadnezzar, gives a command concerning Jeremiah. The Babylonians were superstitious, who profoundly regarded magicians and fortune-tellers, regarded Jeremiah as a soothsayer. So, they had somewhat of a respect for Jeremiah the prophet. Being as he was in prison, they assumed he was a traitor to his own people. They probably had heard how he prophesied about the Babylonian victory, so they freed him and gave him protection (Job 5:15-16; Proverbs 16:7; Jeremiah 1:8).
What a contrast between Jeremiah's destiny and that of Zedekiah's. The guard captain took him out of the prison and sent him home so he could be free with his own people. Jeremiah had been liberated, and Zedekiah was sent to prison. Jeremiah was saved by his faith in God, and Zedekiah was annihilated by his dread. Jeremiah was treated with respect, and Zedekiah was treated with hatred. Jeremiah had concern and compassion for the people, but Zedekiah was just worried for himself (2 Kings 22:12-14; Jeremiah 26:24; Jeremiah 40:1-6).
In verses 15-18:
God tells Jeremiah to go speak with Ebed-melech. Jeremiah is to tell him that the Lord will deliver him because he put his trust in the Lord (Jeremiah 21:10; Daniel 9:12; Zechariah 1:6). Ebed-melech had put his life in danger to save God's prophet Jeremiah (38:7-13). When Babylon vanquished Jerusalem, God had shielded Ebed-melech from the Babylonians.
The leaders of Judah chiefs abused and persecuted Jeremiah more than once for steadfastly broadcasting God's messages. For 40 years of devoted service, he got no praise, no affection, and no famous following. He was beaten, imprisoned, compromised, and surprisingly, even driven away from his country. Just the pagan Babylonians showed him any kind of regard. God does not promise that his workers will get away from any type of oppression, even when they are committed and dependable. Yet, God guarantees that he will be with them and will give them the solidarity to persevere (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). As we serve and minister to other people, we should realize that our service is to God and not only for any human endorsement. God does reward our devotion; however, it may not actually occur during our time spent here on earth.
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