Words of hope and consolation

Jer 29:1-32   Jeremiah sends a letter of hope and consolation to the ten thousand Jewish captives who have been held in Babylon since King Jehoiachin's rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar in March 597BC.

"This is what the LORD All-powerful, the God of Israel, says to all those people I sent away from Jerusalem as captives to Babylon: Build houses and settle in the land. Plant gardens and eat the food they grow. Get married and have sons and daughters... Have many children in Babylon; don't become fewer in number... Pray to the LORD for the city where you are living, because if good things happen in the city, good things will happen to you also." (Jeremiah 28:4-7)

"This is what the LORD says: 'Babylon will be powerful for 70 years. After that time I will come to you, and I will keep my promise to bring you back to Jerusalem'." (Jeremiah 29:10) 

 

Pacing lion from the Ishtar Gate, Babylon (Jastrow)

Pacing lion from the Ishtar Gate, Babylon   (Jastrow)

 

Jer 30:1-24   Jeremiah speaks words of comfort and gives promises of hope to those in captivity in Babylon:

"The LORD All-powerful says, 'At that time I will break the yoke from their necks and tear off the ropes that hold them. Foreign people will never again make my people slaves. They will serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will send to them." (Jeremiah 30:8-9)

In the New Testament, at the time when Jesus was born, the Jewish people were still expecting God to send another king like David to defeat their foreign rulers (see Matthew 2:1-6).

Jer 31:1-30   Jeremiah has a vision of a renewed people of Israel:

"People of Israel, I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt. You will pick up your tambourines again and dance with those who are joyful. You will plant vineyards again on the hills around Samaria. The farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit. There will be a time when watchmen in the mountains of Ephraim shout this message:'Come, lets go up to Jerusalem to worship the LORD our God'." (Jeremiah 31:4-6)

"This is what the LORD says, 'A voice was heard in Ramah of painful crying and deep sadness: Rachel crying for her children. She refused to be comforted because her children are dead!' But this is what the LORD says: 'Stop crying; don't let your eyes fill with tears. You will be rewarded for your work!' says the LORD." (Jeremiah 31:15-16)

Jer 31:31-40   Jeremiah foresees a new covenant agreement between God and his renewed people:

"'Look the time is coming', says the LORD, 'when I will make a new agreement with the people of Israel and the people of Judah. It will not be like the agreement I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of Egypt... 'This is the agreement I will make with the people of Israel at that time', says the LORD: 'I will put my teachings in their minds and write them on their hearts'." (Jeremiah 31:31-33)

Jeremiah says the LORD will never leave Israel. And he will re-build a New Jerusalem, "everything from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate." (Jeremiah 31:38) (see Map 61

 

Jerusalem - City walls near Tower of David (EdoM)

City walls near the Tower of David, Jerusalem   (EdoM)

 

Jer 32:1-44   The narrative moves to the 10th year of Zedekiah's reign (587BC). Nebuchadnezzar is beseiging Jerusalem and Jeremiah is languishing in prison in the courtyard of the royal palace because he's prophesied the defeat of King Zedekiah of Judah and is a suspected foreign sympathizer. 

During the seige, when land outside the city walls is virtually worthless, Jeremiah is visited by his cousin Hanamel and told that he has the right, as a close relative, to buy a field near Anathoth from his Uncle Shallum. Jeremiah buys the land for 17 pieces of silver to show his faith in God's promises for Israel's future: "This is what the LORD All-powerful, the God of Israel, says, 'in the future my people will once again buy houses and fields for grain and vineyards in the land of Israel'." (Jeremiah 32:15)

Nebuchadnezzar continues his seige of Jerusalem during 587BC. Jeremiah is placed under house arrest as  “At that time the army of the king of Babylonia was attacking Jerusalem, and I was locked up .”

Jer 33:1-26   The LORD confirms to Jeremiah that Jerusalem will fall, but after some time, it will be rebuilt:

"While Jeremiah was still locked up in the courtyard of the guards, the LORD spoke his word to him a second time... 'I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and make them strong countries as in the past... They did evil and turned away from me, but I will forgive them'." (Jeremiah 33:1-8)

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