Jeremiah is beaten and arrested

Jer 19:1-15   The narrative moves forward to the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah (597-587BC). Jeremiah takes the elders and the priests to the Valley of Hinnom and smashes a clay pot to illustrate what the LORD says will happen to Judah: "I will break this nation and this city just as someone breaks a clay jar that cannot be put back together again." (Jeremiah 19:11)

 

Clay Amphorae, St Peter's Castle, Bodrum

Clay Amphorae at St Peter's Castle, Bodrum

 

Jer 20:1-6   Jeremiah is arrested by the temple guards for prophesying the downfall of Jerusalem in the temple courts: “Pashhur son of Immer was a priest and the highest officer in the Temple of the LORD. When he heard Jeremiah prophesying in the Temple courtyard, he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten. And he locked Jeremiah's hands and feet between large blocks of wood at the Upper Gate of Benjamin of the LORD's Temple." (Jeremiah 20:1-2)

Jer 21: 1-14   King Zedekiah of Judah sends for Jeremiah in 589BC and asks him to pray to the LORD for a miracle as King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia is beseiging Jerusalem (see 2 Kings 25:1-2). Jeremiah refuses to do so, and prophesies that King Zedekiah will be defeated and killed by Nebuchadnezzar.

Jer 22:1-30   The LORD tells Jeremiah to go down to the royal palace and prophesy to King Zedekiah: "Hear the word of the LORD, king of Judah, who rules from David's throne... This is what the LORD says: do what is fair and right. Save the one who has been robbed from the power of his attacker. Don't mistreat or hurt the foreigners, orphans or widows... If you carefully obey these commands, kings... will come through the gates of this palace with their officers and people... But if you don't obey these commands, says the LORD... this king's palace will become a ruin." (Jeremiah 22:2-5)

The LORD then tells Jeremiah to decry the evil deeds of Zedekiah's forerunners, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin, former kings of Judah.

Jer 23:1-8   The LORD condemns those who are misleading the people:

"How terrible it will be for the leaders of Judah, who are scattering and destroying my people." (Jeremiah 23:1)

But he also foresees a time when a 'good branch' will sprout from David's family tree: "The days are coming", says the LORD, "when I will raise up a good branch in David's family. He will be a king who will rule in a wise way; he will do what is fair and right in the land." (Jeremiah 23:5)

In the New Testament, the Angel Gabriel tells a startled young Mary that her son will be called "the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of King David, his ancestor. He will rule over the people of Jacob for ever." (Luke 1:32-33)

 

A cross in the sky of Bethlehem (Lux Moundi)

A cross in the sky of Bethlehem, the City of King David  (Lux Moundi)

 

Jer 23:9-40   The LORD promises to punish immoral prophets and false ones who tell the king what he wants to hear rather than the word of God.

Jer 24:1-10   The LORD uses a basket containing some good and some rotten figs to paint a picture of the people of Judah:

"I sent the people of Judah out of their country to live in the country of Babylon. I think of those people as good, like these good figs. I will look after them and bring them back to the land of Judah... 'But the bad figs are too rotten to eat.' So this is what the LORD says: 'Zedekiah king of Judah, his officers and all the people from Jerusalem who are left alive, even those who live in Egypt, will be like those rotten figs. I will make those people hated as an evil people by all the kingdoms of the earth." (Jeremiah 24:5-9)

Jer 25:1-38   Chapter 25 gives a summary of Jeremiah's teaching over the previous 23 years. The message is consistent throughout: Either Judah will stop her evil ways, or she will be a slave of the king of Babylon for 70 years.

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