Jeremiah Chapter 39
Lessons from the text
The Fulfillment of Prophecy
In this chapter, five distinct prophecies are fulfilled. Babylon defeats Jerusalem (Jer. 4:7-20), Jerusalem is burned (Isa. 1:7, Isa. 4:3-4), Zedekiah’s household is destroyed but Zedekiah is kept alive (Jer. 34:4-5), the Jews are deported (Isa. 39:6-7), and Jeremiah is kept safe through it all (Jer. 1:18-19). Some of these prophecies were proclaimed by Jeremiah, but some were also spoken by Isaiah. Despite all the rebellion of the people, kings, and princes of Judah, God’s words came to pass exactly as He said that it would.
No matter how you try to disregard or disprove Scripture, God’s words have an unprecedented record of turning out to be true. No other source of information has proven so factual and predictive as the Bible. Those who do not like what the Bible says have often criticized its origins or validity, yet without fail God has been true to His promises to both Israel and the nations.
When you read the Bible, you are not merely reading a story. You are reading a history of how God has moved throughout human history. You are also reading how His prophecies have come to pass. Yet even more astounding, you are reading God’s plan for the future. After all, there are still some of God’s prophecies waiting to be fulfilled.
If everything that God has said would happen has happened so far, can we not trust that what He says about tomorrow is also accurate? Reading the Scriptures teaches us about God’s expectations towards people of the past and people of today. It convicts us of our sins and warns that if we do not repent then there will be severe consequences. The ruin of Jerusalem in accordance with God’s prophecies stands as a bold example of what happens to mankind when he refuses to heed God’s words. As we continue in our lives, we need to be listening for God’s warning to us and, if He gives us one, make sure that we obey it!
Verse by Verse Commentary
1-3 Jeremiah recounts what has happened in Jerusalem before giving the final day of the city. It was under siege for eighteen months and then defeated.
4-8 The fall of Jerusalem transpires exactly as Jeremiah prophesied that it would (Jer. 38:21-23). God's words, whether one obeys them or not, will come to pass. See II Kings 25:1-21 for the historical account of these events.
9-10 According to Jeremiah's prophecy, the Jews are deported to Babylon (Jer. 27:8-11). The only ones who remain in the land are the poor and unlearned. Since the Jews have already rebelled twice against Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar is ensuring that only docile and subservient people remain (II Ki. 24:1, 20).
11-14 True to God's promise to protect Jeremiah, Nebuchadnezzar commands his captain to ensure Jeremiah's safety (Jer. 1:18-19). The prophet is liberated from the prison court and sent to live in peace with the Jew who is named governor of Israel, Gedaliah. Gedaliah is the cousin of Michaiah who defended Jeremiah to the princes before Jeremiah was bound in prison (Jer. 36:11).
Noteworthy is that the princes of Babylon go themselves to retrieve Jeremiah. They certainly heard of his preaching and prophesying from spies and defected Jews. Since Jeremiah has proclaimed that Nebuchadnezzar is appointed by God to rule over the Jews, he is an asset to the Babylonian leaders (Jer. 27:5-7).
15-18 In minute flashback, Jeremiah records a prophecy to Ebedmelech. Because Ebedmelech had the courage to approach Zedekiah to have Jeremiah released, God promises to honor him and spare his life. God is saying that even though He will bring destruction to Jerusalem, Ebedmelech will be protected from harm. No matter what circumstances arise, even judgment against a nation for its sins, God will deliver those who are faithful to Him from the judgment. Life may become difficult, such as adjusting to a new life under Babylonian rule, but nonetheless God will be with one through that difficult time. If one places one’s trust in God, He will never leave nor forsake one (Deut. 31:6).
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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