Jeremiah 27 The Bonds And Yokes Of Exile.

Jeremiah 27 The Bonds And Yokes Of Exile.

These events occurred in the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign (v. 1a 593 B.C. Cf. vv. 3, 12). The majority of the texts are consistent with the reference to Jehoiakim here being a copyist’s error in the MT (Masoretic text). It would appear that the copyist was influenced by 26:1, when the real comparison is with 28:1, which is what places it in the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign. He was another son of Josiah (1 Chr. 3:15). Again, this is a word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, telling him and others, to make for themselves “bonds and yokes” to put them on Jeremiah’s neck, and send them to the kings of Edom, Moab, Tyre, and Sidon by the hand of the messengers who came to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah (vv. 1b-4 Cf. 25:21-22). These messengers probably “had come to discuss rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar, in league with Egypt.” (NGSB. 1196)

Accompanying the bonds and yokes was the message for their masters that they were to take from the LORD through Jeremiah – a command actually, the LORD of hosts saying, “I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the ground, by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed proper to Me” (v. 5). For the LORD at this time, it seemed proper to him to give it all to Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, his “servant; and the beasts of the field I have also given to serve him. So all the nations shall serve him and his son’s son, until the time of his land comes; and then many nations and great kings shall make him serve them.” (vv. 6-7). The LORD God controls history, and everything he has made in the whole of heaven and earth. Whether national leaders choose to recognize it or not, they all exist to serve him.

Nebuchadnezzar was chosen to carry forward the cultural creation mandate first given to Adam, with the added consequence of the fall (Gen. 1:26; 2:8; 3). As he served the LORD, the animals and other nations would serve him. Sin is what brings the bonds and yokes of foreign rule. All who rejected or rebelled against the LORD’s servant, he would punish “with the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand” (v. 8). There were but two options, serve the one raised up by the LORD, or be destroyed. We then come to the crux of the matter, when we meet the ‘therefore’ of verse nine, and ask ourselves what is the ‘therefore’ there for? Therefore, since the LORD is sovereign over all, it is futile for a person or a people to revert to their pagan sources of revelation to divine the present and the future. Present actions are the prologue of the future.

Their rebellion is what determined their future. This is not a mystery. But they did not like the message they heard through Jeremiah, so they turned to their false prophets, who are grouped together with the pagan diviners, dreamers, soothsayers, and sorcerers who, to keep their own employment, delivered a message of peace, when there would be no peace. In collectively saying that the nation would not serve the king of Babylon, they were preaching a lie. In fact, these persons were working for their adversary, for they prophesied this lie to remove them from the land, all according to the sovereign activity of the LORD of hosts (vv. 9-10). Those speaking the lie to them would, by the sovereign will and purpose of the LORD, “remain in their own land, and they shall till it and dwell in it” (v. 11). In other words, these nations would fulfill the cultural mandate, however imperfectly.

Zedekiah was commanded to lead the nation by submitting to “the yoke of the king of Babylon and his people if they wanted to live (v. 12). As already noted, any who rebelled would die “by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence” (v. 13 Cf. v. 8). Jeremiah then returns to focus on that one biblical office which did speak, at times, concerning the future, namely the prophets, in this case the false prophets (v. 14a Cf. 23:9ff.; 26). Not only were they preaching a lie (v. 14b), but they had not been sent from the LORD’s council presence (v. 15 Cf. 23:21-22). Nevertheless, it was that very preaching of the lie from these false prophets that the LORD of hosts used to help drive the people out of the land, and to their own shared destruction (v. 15). The prophets were to be the vehicle for the giving of the word of the LORD. The false prophets claimed this but instead preached a lie.

The priests, on the other hand, refers to those who were the minsters of word and sacrament, called to teach and expound the word that was given. To them, and the people, the LORD, through the true prophet Jeremiah, were commanded to not listen to the false prophets. They are not the LORD’s prophets, but are referred to as “your prophets,” those they had accepted without divine approbation (v. 16a). The vessels leaving the temple were symbolic of the departure of the LORD from them, along with their own exile. The false prophets preached that these vessels would return from Babylon, when in fact it is they who would follow the vessels (v. 16b). They were commanded not to listen to the false prophets, but instead to serve the king of Babylon, if they wanted to live (v. 17). Sometimes the church is called to live as a remnant under a yoke.

The exile happened in stages, so it would appear that the false prophets were given the opportunity to predict that the vessels that remained would not be taken, as a test as to whether they were true prophets (v. 18). This test goes back to the law, and was also a prerequisite for inclusion in the canon of scripture. “And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’ – when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” (Dt. 18:21-22). Of course, if a sign or wonder did come to pass, but they were being led into idolatry, then that would also prove a prophet’s falsehood, and a barring of entry into the canon (Dt. 13:2).

In the next chapter we come to a case in point, in the dispute between Jeremiah and Hananiah (v. 9). However, the remaining vessels being referred to here, would either not be taken and those already taken returned, or else the reality of both would prove to be a double witness against the prophets that they were false. It may be the case that the LORD only needs to speak or act once, but the biblical pattern is that, since his word ultimately concerns matters of life and death, that he chose to follow the pattern he himself established, of two or three witnesses (v. 19 Cf. Dt. 17:6; 19:15). The vessels and the people  would remain in exile until the LORD would later “visit” them. Then he would “bring them up and restore them to this place” (vv. 20-22). In other words, they were given a test in their immediate present, that would be indicative of their future.

Jeremiah 26 A Case Against Jeremiah For The Word Delivered.

Jeremiah 26 A Case Against Jeremiah For The Word Delivered.

“‘In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah’” possibly his first year (609-608 B.C.).” (NGSB. 1195) Again, Jeremiah didn’t conjure something up in a dream of his own imagination rather, “this word came from the LORD” (v. 1). Jeremiah was called to preach this word standing “in the court of the LORD’s house” (v. 2a). This was a message directed to the covenanted community which “came to worship in the LORD’s house” (v. 2b). It is an echo of chapter seven, where the LORD’s house would become their house, because of their sinful rebellion. In this preamble we also learn something about the word which Jeremiah was called to both preach and put into writing. He had the solemn duty to preach all that the LORD had commanded him to speak to them, to not diminish a single word. Therefore we see here that the biblical understanding of the inspiration of the inerrant, infallible word of the LORD God includes every word, and that the message of truth cannot be separated from the words that were given (v. 2c). Paul echoed this truth in his exhortation to the Ephesians saying that he had “not shunned to declare” to them “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

Jeremiah was presented with a hope that the people might in fact repent of their evil doings, so that the LORD would relent in his judgment upon them (v. 3). One of the things that showed Jeremiah to be a true prophet was that he called the people to follow the words of the law and the prophets already given (v. 4). Like Jeremiah, Moses and the prophets were the servants of the LORD who were sent out of his heavenly council chamber to preach the word, “rising up early and sending them,” that is, before their day began, and the events that would transpire that day, but they had not heeded this word (v. 5). Because of this rebellion on their part we see the transition of ownership of the house, the LORD’s house now becoming “this house” becoming like Shiloh, and “this city a curse.” This is a covenantal curse upon his covenanted nation, and because they were cursed, they would be “a curse to all the nations” (v. 6). The leadership and the people heard these words, and instead of repenting, they seize Jeremiah with the intent of putting him to death because of the word preached (vv. 7-9). The princes came from their house to the LORD’s house, and sat down at “the New Gate of the LORD’s house” (v. 10 Cf. Ru. 4:1; Pr. 31:23).

In sitting down at the gate, these politicians signaled that a court session was called, because the religious leadership of the apostate priests and false prophets, had determined that Jeremiah should be executed (vv. 10-11). Jeremiah, in his own defense, reiterates that he was only being faithful to the LORD in preaching the message which the LORD sent him to preach (v. 12). Furthermore, being less concerned about his own possible end, he continued to preach a message of repentance, that if they were to amend their ways, doings, “and obey the voice of the LORD” their God, then the LORD would “relent concerning the doom that He” had pronounced against them (vv. 13-14). Finally, Jeremiah tells them if they do decide to kill him, they would also be guilty of shedding innocent blood (v. 15). Then we come upon the startling words to conclude this case, namely that the politicians, with the people, declared to the apostate religious leadership that Jeremiah did not deserve to die, stating that he had every right to speak, as Jeremiah claimed, as one who spoke to  them in the name of the LORD God (v. 16).

How astonishing that the politicians, along with the people, were actually reprimanding the religious leadership for bringing forth these unwarranted charges! Then, at this critical juncture in the case, certain immediate representatives of the people, that is some elders, “rose up and spoke to all the people,” raising the example of one Micah of Moresheth, who also had a message of doom and repentance, and that he was not put to death for it (vv. 17-19a Cf. Mic. 1:1; 3:12).* Furthermore, the people listened to Micah ‘and the LORD relented concerning the doom which he had pronounced,’” also echoing words from Jeremiah previously, and the law and history that preceded him (v. 19b Cf. 18:18; Ex. 32:14; II Sam. 24:16). Not only this, but in rejecting Jeremiah’s message, they were told that they were only bringing great evil upon themselves (v. 19c). These are essentially witnesses who were brought forth to support Jeremiah’s innocence. A second example is also given of another man named Urijah who also “prophesied in the name of the LORD,” a message of judgment and repentance against the city and the land.

We are told that this Urijah prophesied “according to all the words of Jeremiah” (v. 20). It may be the case that the LORD only needs to speak once, but the biblical pattern is that, since his word ultimately concerns matters of life and death, that he chose to follow the pattern he himself established, of two or three witnesses (Cf. Dt. 17:6; 19:15). In Urijah’s case, Jehoiakim had him captured and killed, and buried him in a common grave (vv. 21-23). However, in the case of Jeremiah, the LORD, by his sovereign providential hand, raised one Ahikam to be “with Jeremiah, so that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death” (v. 24). Later on, Ahikam’s son Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon had made governor over the cities of Judah, would also be used for the same purpose (39:14; 40:5-7 Cf. II Ki. 22:12-14). “The story of Urijah shows that Jeremiah was not alone in his preaching; it also stresses that Jeremiah’s escape is not the most important point of this chapter, but rather the opposition in Judah to the word of God. Urijah died; Jeremiah lived, to complete his God ordained ministry. Compare the various fates of the heroes of faith in Heb. 11:32-38.” (NGSB. 1195)

*“His precedent is cited in support of the judgment just given, because as a result of his prophecy that Jerusalem would fall (Micah 3:12), the people repented of their sin. King Hezekiah prayed for Jerusalem and avoided defeat by the Assyrians in 701 B.C. (cf. Is. 37:14-38).” (NGSB. 1195)

Jeremiah 25:15-38 The Grapes Of Wrath.

Jeremiah 25:15-38 The Grapes Of Wrath.

“Jeremiah predicts seventy years of Babylonian activity for Judah as judgment for persistent sin, and warns the neighboring nations as well of judgment at the hands of Babylon (ch. 25). His message meets opposition from false prophets, priests, and the people (chs. 26-29).” (NGSB. 1192-3) Again, Jeremiah did not dream this word out of his own imagination, he spoke that which he had received (vv. 1-2). He also repeats the point regarding the beginning of his call to the ministry, being “from the thirteenth year of Josiah” (v. 3). Jeremiah spoke into a specific historical context, controlled as all history is, by the sovereign will of God. Again, he also points to his present, twenty three years after that initial reception of the word of the LORD God, but alas the people did not listen, just as they had rejected the LORD’s previous servant prophets (v. 4). Therefore the message remained the same – they needed to repent (v. 5), and turn from their idolatry or spiritual adultery (v. 6). This is why the LORD was angry with them (v. 7). Consequently, the curses for breaking the covenantal bond would follow (vv. 8ff.).

Now we read what it is that the LORD had said to Jeremiah specifically, namely that he was being called to symbolically take the “wine cup” of the LORD’s fury, from his hand, and cause all nations, to whom the LORD was sending him, “to drink it” (v. 15). Then he says “I took the cup from the LORD’s hand, and made all the nations drink, to whom the LORD sent me” (v. 16). Again, this was not an imaginary dream, Jeremiah had stood in the council presence of the LORD God and received from him the symbolic wine cup of his fury. Furthermore, he did not pour it out, so to speak, as he saw fit, but rather he went a spoke what he had received to the nations to whom the LORD had sent him. Jeremiah may have been a lone voice among many false prophets, but he did not fly solo. He spoke as an ambassador of his King, to those whom his King had sent him (v. 17). It should also not go unnoticed that the first people he was to go to with this message was “Jerusalem and the cities of Judah,” specifically to the covenantal heads in “its kings and its princes, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, a hissing, and a curse” (v. 18 Cf. 25:9-11).

This wine and cup of the LORD’s fury, wrath, or indignation will reappear in the last book of the bible, book of “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:1a; 14:10), in the context of the “the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth” (14:6), before the reaping of the harvest and the grapes of wrath (vv. 14ff.). ‘Curse’ is the key word here, hearkening to the reality of the covenantal bond (Cf. 24:9). The road then naturally leads to Egypt, the infamous oppressor of the people of God, also hearkening back to the exodus event in their salvation history (v. 19). We then are called back to remembering the victories, especially under David, over the Philistines (v. 20), “Edom, Moab, and the people of Ammon; all the kings of the land,” that is the promised land (v. 21), Tyre, Sidon, and Arabia, on through to the Medes (vv. 22-25), and “all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another; and all the kingdoms of the world which are on the face of the earth. Also the king of Sheshach shall drink after them” (v. 26). Sheshach was a code word for Babylon, the king and nation who would take the nation into captivity.*

In other words, Jeremiah brings things all the way from the bondage of Egypt through deliverances and victories won to the approaching exile to Babylon, and even as Egypt was later judged for how they had treated his people, even so judgment would also come one day upon Babylon. God has always sovereignly used men and nations to punish others, including his own covenanted people, and at the time these nations reveled in their position. However, this in no way absolves them of guilt and judgment themselves. Just like some “party” to drunkenness and then vomit, what these nations love will be their regret. “Fall and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you” (v. 27). The nations, leaders and people, may refuse to accept the word of the LORD God, but drink the cup they shall (v. 28). Again, this calamity will begin with “the city which is called by” his name, that is Jerusalem. None will go unpunished, for he will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth, “says the LORD of hosts” (v. 29). The LORD on high shouts from “His holy habitation,” roaring “mightily against His fold” (v. 30a).

The shout is to the treaders of the grapes of wrath, “against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise will come to the ends of the earth-For the LORD has a controversy with the nations; He will plead His case with all flesh. He will give those who are wicked to the sword,’ says the LORD” (vv. 30b-31). All the wicked in the earth will be as refuse on the ground (vv. 32-33). The shepherds, the so-called leaders of the flock, were the false prophets, politicians and priests, not unlike the false ministers of our so-called mainline churches, and their friends the statists politicians, who preach a message of peace when there is no peace (v. 34, 37). They may try to flee from the wrath of God but they will fail (v. 35). “The LORD has plundered their pasture” (v. 36). The LORD God is as an angry lion set upon hunting and tearing apart his prey, and so he shall. Jeremiah was not his sword of vengeance, and neither are the true ministers of the word today. God will take care of his own vengeance. As ministers of the word we fulfill our calling when we preach the holy, inerrant, infallible word of true truth.

*“This word is an allusion to Babylon based on the word ‘Babel,’ using a familiar code that substitutes for each consonant the corresponding one from the alphabet written in reverse. In English, ABC would become ZYX.” (NGSB. 1194)

Jeremiah 25:1-14 Seventy Years Of Desolation.

Jeremiah 25:1-14 Seventy Years Of Desolation.

Again, unlike the false prophets who speak from the evil imaginations of their own deceitful hearts, Jeremiah received the word of the LORD and obeyed by going forth to proclaim it to the people (vv. 1-2). Jeremiah bears witness that from the start of his ministry (Cf. 1:2), to twenty three years out, he has risen early and spoken the word of the LORD to them, but they would not listen (v. 3). This echoes what he had said earlier (Cf. 7:13; 11:7-8, 10). The vast majority had broken the covenant, even as they refused to listen to all his previous servant prophets he had sent to them (v. 4). They all made clear that repentance was required if they were to escape the curses of the covenant (v. 5). The prohibition against idolatry was foundational to the covenantal bond (v. 6). Instead they provoked the LORD to anger with their spiritual adultery (v. 7).

Therefore the LORD would raise up a political and military servant in Nebuchadnezzar, through whom to execute his judgment on the covenant community (vv. 8-9). Moreover, he would “take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp” (v. 10). When a people rejects the voice of the LORD God, then the voices of blessing and prosperity cease. They and their land would be desolate, and along with some other nations, they would “serve the king of Babylon seventy years” (v. 11). At the end of the seventy years the LORD would then “‘punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the LORD; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation” (v. 12).

Two things are worthy of note here, God is the sovereign Lord of history, and that which is sown will one day be reaped (v. 14). We then find the remarkable promise of verse 13. “So I will bring on that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied concerning all nations.” Firstly, as another sign of a true prophetic word, what the LORD has predicted here through Jeremiah he promises will come to pass in his timing. Secondly, the words of this book are the words which Jeremiah prophesied. This period of seventy years “may be counted in round figures from 605 B.C. (v. 1; Dan. 1:1) to 538 B.C., when the exiles began to return home following Cyrus’s decree (2 Chr. 36:20-23). The seventy years allow the Lord’s (sic) word of judgment to have full effect before new salvation can be experienced.” (NGSB. 1193)

Jeremiah 24 Two Baskets Of Figs – Two Seeds.

Jeremiah 24 Two Baskets Of Figs – Two Seeds.

When Jeremiah speaks he says that he is speaking of what the LORD has showed him, not just a dream of his own imagination (v. 1). The two baskets of figs set before the temple of the LORD are the two groups of people who can be found within the visible covenant community. Both go into captivity, but the true children are the good figs, “like the figs first ripe,” but the bad are the ungodly seed within the covenantal congregation, “which could not be eaten, they were so bad” (v. 2). Jeremiah answered the LORD, confirming what he saw (v. 3). The good figs were sent into captivity for their own good, given the judgment that was to fall upon Jerusalem. They were also given the promise that one day they would return (vv. 4-5). At that time he would “build them and not pull them down…and…plant them and not pluck them up” (v. 6).

This is but a figurative way of saying that he had chosen them, and that by his grace he would build them into his true house, that they would not build themselves, or save themselves by their own works. They would be his planting, and this is why they would be good figs and not bad. Furthermore, they would persevere to the end as his elect ones, because he would never pull them down or pluck them up. This would be the case because he would “give them a heart to know” him (v. 7a). In this work of sovereign grace the crux of the covenantal bond would be fulfilled – that he would be their God and they his people (v. 7b). The beginning and sure sign of this new birth would be their return to him with their whole heart in repentance and faith (v. 7c). As for the bad figs, they would be delivered into trouble from all nations – the covenantal curses (vv. 8-10).

Jeremiah 23:1-8 THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Jeremiah 23:1-8 THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

“‘Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!’ says the LORD.” (v. 1) God is the covenant LORD of his people. Shepherds are called to be faithful stewards of those who are his. Instead of protecting them the shepherds were devouring them. Instead of leading them to green pastures they caused them to flee for their lives (v. 2a). Because they did not attend to the needs of the sheep, the LORD was going to attend to their evil deeds (v. 2b). One primary thing is presupposed here, the sheep need shepherds, but those who will be faithful. Secondly, out of this adversity the LORD promises to preserve a remnant within the covenant who will be gathered together once again, and “they shall be fruitful and increase” (v. 3). Thirdly, this renewal is not without shepherds, but rather the LORD “will set up shepherds over them who will feed them” (v. 4a).

Under shepherds set up by the LORD, three things would result. “‘They shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,’ says the LORD.” (v. 4b). Firstly, they will no longer fear the shepherds. Secondly, they will no longer be dismayed that they are victims of evil shepherds. Finally, they will no longer have to flee because of want, because these shepherds will lead them to green pastures and still waters (Cf. Ps. 23). These promises, and these shepherds will come for one reason and one reason only, because the LORD of the covenant would send a son of David who would be known as “a Branch of righteousness,”  a King who “shall reign and prosper, and execute judgement and righteousness in the earth” (v. 5). Note well, this Branch will with his coming begin his reign and prosper in the earth!

This Branch would provide the LORD’s people with salvation and safety. It is through his righteousness that we are saved, for this reason he is called “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (V. 6). Furthermore, in the days coming, the epic or pivotal event of this salvation history will not be a looking back to the exodus from Egypt, but rather it will be a type of that greater redemption which would come through this Branch and the salvation wrought through his righteousness, when he gathers his remnant and gives them a dwelling and rest in their own land (vv. 7-8). This passage has always been understood as being messianic, for those who know the scriptures, and in whom these scriptures, by God’s Spirit, have the faith and hope to believe. There is no gap here between the coming of the Branch or Messiah, and the reign of his righteousness, who is Jesus.

Jeremiah 22:24-30 Out With The Old And In With The New.

Jeremiah 22:24-30 Out With The Old And In With The New.

Coniah (or Jehoiachin), Jehoiakim’s son, would have but a brief reign (598-597), and although the first of the deportations began in 609 B.C., the first invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, would occur during Coniah’s reign. The second and final wave would occur under the last of the Davidic kings – Zedekiah in (597-586) (vv. 24-27 Cf. 16:13; 34:20). The nation had made of Coniah an idol, placing their political leadership in the position of the LORD their God (v. 28). The earth itself would bear witness to their captivity (v. 29 Cf. Dt. 32:1). Jehoiakim’s death would begin the end of the Davidic dynasty (v. 30 Cf. 36:20). The pastors or shepherds were also at fault for their failure to lead the people according to the law-word of the covenant. They were guilty of causing the people to be scattered and taken captive, and for this they would be punished (23:1-2 Cf. 10:21).

However, despite this near devastation of the entire nation, the LORD indicated that he still had a remnant whom he would eventually deliver out of every place to which they were scattered, to inherit the land as the LORD had promised (v. 3 Cf. 32:36-41; Is. 11:11-12, 16). It was always through a remnant that the LORD’s covenant promises of blessing found fulfillment. Along with this return would be the appointment of faithful pastors who would feed the people with knowledge and understanding, so that they would no longer fear or be dismayed, and they would lack no good thing (v. 4 Cf. 3:15; Ezek 34:23). The days would come when the Davidic throne would be re-established, but this time it would be occupied by the LORD’s Anointed one, the Messiah – “a branch of righteousness,” the King who would “reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth” (v. 5 Cf. Jer. 33:14-16).

Isaiah also spoke of these days (Cf. 4:2; 9:7; 11:1; 32:1, 18; 40:10-11). and the Psalmist (72:1-2). This would be the time when the Branch would branch out and build his temple (Zechariah 6:12). “Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; so He shall be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (Zech. 6:13) The sacrifices of the old temple would cease because the LORD’s anointed would “make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy” (Daniel 9:24). The gospels point to the fulfillment of these words in the coming of Jesus in the line of David (Mt. 1:1, 6; Lk. 3:31; Jn. 1:45; 7:42). We know from gospel fulfillment that Jesus is this Branch, and he began this reign when he ascended to the right hand of the Father.

Jesus came as the final hope for the remnant of the people of Israel and Judah. In his days the remnant would be saved and dwell in safety (31:7-8), and his name would be – “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (v. 6 Cf. Dt. 33:28; Zech. 14:11). This salvation would not be based on any righteousness of their own (Cf. Is. 45:24-25; Rom. 3:22; I Cor. 1:30). This point in salvation history would now hearken back to their deliverance from captivity to inherit and dwell in their own land (vv. 7-8 Cf. 16:14-15), because the LORD would do a new thing (Is. 43:5-6, 18-19). For the remnant the captivity was a chastening, the disciplining of their covenant LORD (30:10-11). This same promise concludes Amos’ prophecy (9:11-15), which Paul preached as finding fulfillment with the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, to include the Gentiles, and the whole earth (Acts 15:16-18).

Jeremiah 22:11-23 Josiah’s Sons Judged For Failing To Heed The Word.

Jeremiah 22:11-23 Josiah’s Sons Judged For Failing To Heed The Word.

Josiah’s son, Shallum, would not return to reign in his father’s place, but would die in captivity (vv. 11-12). Again, the judgment to come is against those who have forsaken the law-word of the covenant – to exercise righteousness, justice, and to give workers their wages due (v. 13 Cf. Lev. 19:23; Dt. 24:14-15). Instead, these political leaders built for themselves huge mansions, exquisitely adorned (v. 14). These politicians got it all wrong. Their forefathers did not place their confidence in their possessions, coveting ever more. Rather, they trusted in the LORD, and he blessed them for their covenant fidelity (v. 15). To judge for the poor and needy, is the fruit of those who truly know the LORD (v. 16). Instead, these leaders, and the people with them, gave themselves over to covetousness, “shedding innocent blood, and practicing oppression and violence” (v. 17).

Shallum (also called Jehoahaz, I Chr. 3:15) didn’t last long, being exiled to Egypt in 609 B.C. (2 Kin. 23:30-34). What follows is now directed to another son of Josiah – Jehoiakim. There would also be no mourning for his loss (v. 18), being “buried with the burial of a donkey, dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem” (v. 19). They are challenged to cry out to their pagan allies, who were themselves destroyed (v. 20). In their prosperity they refused to listen to the LORD (v. 21). Their leaders, and their pagan allies, would together go into captivity for their wickedness, ashamed and humiliated (v. 22). The word ‘rulers’ is the same word rendered as shepherds at 23:1-2. It is a favourite word for Jeremiah, which the KJV renders as ‘pastors’ (Cf. 2:8; 3:15; 10:21; 12:10; 17:16). However, graciousness ceases when the pain of this kind of judgment comes (v. 23).

Jeremiah 22:1-10 Judgment For Rejecting The Law, Forsaking The Covenant.

Jeremiah 22:1-10 Judgment For Rejecting The Law, Forsaking The Covenant.

The LORD had another message for Jeremiah to deliver to the king of Judah who sat on David’s throne, and his servants. Political leadership, as servants of the LORD, were supposed to govern according to his law (vv. 1-2 Cf. 17:20), meaning to “execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place” (v. 3). This place was Jerusalem and the temple in particular, where judgments were to be rendered according to the law, also reiterated by Jeremiah elsewhere, the other prophets, and the Lord directly (Cf. 7:6; 21:12; Dt. 10:18; 24:17; Is. 58:6; Zech. 7:9-10; 8:16; Mic. 6:8; Mt. 23:23). If they heeded this word then the LORD promised a continuation of the Davidic monarchy (v. 4). However, if they continued to rebel, then the city and temple would become a desolation (. 5). They would go from conditions of blessing to cursing – a wilderness (v. 6). The LORD would send their enemies against them, to defeat them (v. 7). People passing by would look and wonder why the LORD had forsaken the nation (v. 8), and the reason being because they had forsaken the covenant, “and worshipped other gods and served them” (v. 9). A nation’s god is reflected in the laws they choose to be governed by.

Jeremiah 21 Judah And Jerusalem Will Be Defeated.

Jeremiah 21 Judah And Jerusalem Will Be Defeated.

Chapters 21-24 “narrate the end of the Davidic dynasty, making it clear that disaster and exile are God’s judgment on the sins of Judah’s kings and people. Jeremiah denounces false prophets who lead the people astray (ch. 23), but also sounds a note of hope as God promises to gather a remnant of His people from captivity under the leadership of a “Branch of righteousness” from David’s house (23:3-8). The twin messages of judgment and future restoration are repeated in Jeremiah’s vision of two baskets of figs (ch. 24).” (NGSB 1186) Zedekiah, the king of Judah, sent to Jeremiah two trusted men, Pashur (not necessarily the same as the one mentioned at chs. 20 or 38), and Zephaniah a priest, to know the LORD’s will concerning the threats from Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon who was determined to make war with Judah (vv. 1-2).

The message the LORD gave through Jeremiah was clear, Nebuchadnezzar would serve his purpose of punishing Judah, as with Israel, for their rebellion in their idolatry or spiritual adultery (vv. 3-4). In fact, the LORD would also fight against them directly, the inhabitants of the city given over to a pestilence (vv. 5-6). Those who survive the initial onslaught and the pestilence will also fall by the sword (v. 7). The ways of life and death were set before the people, so that those who fought against Babylon would perish, but all who defected to Nebuchadnezzar would live (vv. 8-9), for the city would be burned with fire so that nothing would remain (v. 10). Zedekiah and the house of David were commanded to do their job, according to the law, and defend the innocent from oppressors (vv. 11-12). Judah would be punished for the fruit of their doings (vv. 13-14).