ISSL Reflections May 16, 2021 Jeremiah 38:14-23 Post 1

This week our focus is on a conversation between King Zedekaih and the prophet Jeremiah.

As you spend time with this Scripture listen to each man and watch them. What to hear in their voices? Do you hear concern, fear, hope, despair? What might you see in their faces as they look at one another and speak to each other?

Jeremiah 38:14-23

King Zedekiah sent for the prophet Jeremiah and received him at the third entrance of the temple of the Lord. The king said to Jeremiah, “I have something to ask you; do not hide anything from me.” Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I tell you, you will put me to death, will you not? And if I give you advice, you will not listen to me.” So King Zedekiah swore an oath in secret to Jeremiah, “As the Lord lives, who gave us our lives, I will not put you to death or hand you over to these men who seek your life.”

Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, If you will only surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. But if you do not surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city shall be handed over to the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you yourself shall not escape from their hand.” King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Judeans who have deserted to the Chaldeans, for I might be handed over to them and they would abuse me.” Jeremiah said, “That will not happen. Just obey the voice of the Lord in what I say to you, and it shall go well with you, and your life shall be spared. But if you are determined not to surrender, this is what the Lord has shown me— a vision of all the women remaining in the house of the king of Judah being led out to the officials of the king of Babylon and saying,

‘Your trusted friends have seduced you
and have overcome you;
Now that your feet are stuck in the mud,
they desert you.’

All your wives and your children shall be led out to the Chaldeans, and you yourself shall not escape from their hand, but shall be seized by the king of Babylon; and this city shall be burned with fire.”

If you read the first part of Jeremiah 38, you see Jeremiah had already told the people of the coming destruction of their city, and the reaction of the King’s officials calling for Jeremiah’s death,

“This man ought to be put to death, because he is discouraging the soldiers who are left in this city, and all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.” (Jeremiah 38:4)

Then, King Zedekiah’s acquiescence to the officials, and officials not killing Jeremiah but instead,

“Here he is; he is in your hands; for the king is powerless against you.” So they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king’s son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. Now there was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud. (Jeremiah 38:5-6)

And then, Ebed-melech interceding with the King and the King agreeing to Jeremiah’s rescue from the well (Jeremiah 38:7-13).

With that background in mind reread the focus passage (Jeremiah 38:14-23).

What impressions do you have of the King? Of Jeremiah? Of the men surrounding King Zedekiah?

If you were asked to describe the character of King Zedekiah and Jeremiah what would you name as the two or three or four things that stand out to you?

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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