Jeremiah: ca 650-570BC
Jeremiah was the son of a Jewish priest. He was born in Anathoth about three miles from Jerusalem and lived during the reign of five kings of Judah. His prophetic ministry started around 626 BC. He is often referred to as the “Weeping Prophet” because of his repentance, doom and punishment writings, the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations.
Throughout Jeremiah’s ministry, he watched the demise of God’s law, the return of the people to idolatry and the destruction of Jerusalem. He vehemently warned of the consequences of turning away from God but to no avail.
When King Zedekiah sent a message to Jeremiah asking for his prayers, Jeremiah replied, “The Lord God of Israel says, ‘Give a message to the king of Judah who sent you to ask me to help him. Tell him, the army of Pharaoh that was on its way to help you will go back home to Egypt. Then the Babylonian forces will return. They will attack the city and will capture it and burn it down’. (Jeremiah 37:7-8)
Soon after, when Jeremiah tried to leave the city to tend to family business, he was arrested by an officer, accused of desertion, flogged and imprisoned at the house of Jonathan, a scribe. When King Zedekiah sought further guidance from Jeremiah, he agreed to his transfer to the courtyard guardhouse because of fears that he would be killed and ordered that he be given a loaf of bread each day until all the bread in the city was gone.
Four officials then confronted king Zedekiah demanding Jeremiah’s death for allegedly demoralising the troops by claiming, “The Lord says, ‘This city will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon. They will capture it’”. (Jeremiah 38:3) King Zedekiah relented and they threw him into a mud-filled well where he was left to die.
When an Ethiopian court official, Ebed Melech, heard of Jeremiah’s treatment, he complained to king Zedekiah who arranged for his return to imprisonment in the courtyard guardhouse.
Jeremiah’s Prophesies were fulfilled:
King Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem in December 589 BC. It lasted for around 30 months. The people suffered disease, starvation and death; the wrath of God befell them for their refusal to follow His ways and end their worship of false gods.
‘The infant’s tongue sticks to the roof of its mouth due to thirst; little children beg for bread, but no one gives them even a morsel.
Those who once feasted on delicacies are now starving to death in the streets. Those who grew up wearing expensive clothes are now dying amid garbage.
Those who died by the sword are better off than those who die of hunger, those who waste away, struck down from lack of food’. (Lamentations 4:4, 5, 9)
The conquering army burned the temple, destroyed the palaces, demolished the walls and transported whatever treasures they could salvage back to Babylon. In addition, they marched 7-10,000 survivors to exile as slaves where they were held for the next 27yrs. King Zedekiah was forced to watch as his three sons were executed by the sword and then, he had his eyes gouged out. (Jeremiah 37:1-38:12; 52:1-28)
‘The Lord fully vented his wrath; he poured out his fierce anger’. (Lamentations 4:11)
What does God see as He looks down on us today? What is He planning?
Lord Jesus, cast from this world the darkness that surrounds it. Hear my prayers and guide my actions to the joy of living by your laws and celebrating with the Angels and Saints in heaven. Amen.
Prayer: Holy Are Your Ways
Help me to understand, Lord,
that what counts is not the road travelled,
but simply putting my hand in yours
and journeying side by side with you, Lord Jesus.
O you who are the joy of my journey
and the repose in our Father’s home!
Holy, holy is the Lord,
for eternal is your love.