October 30th Jeremiah 21 C. Prophesies during the reign of Zedekiah Jerusalem to be destroyed
1: The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when king Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying, 2: Inquire, I pray thee, of the LORD for us; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon maketh war against us; if so be that the LORD will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, that he may go up from us. 3: Then said Jeremiah unto them, Thus shall ye say to Zedekiah: 4: Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, wherewith ye fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans, which besiege you without the walls, and I will assemble them into the midst of this city. 5: And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath. 6: And I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast: they shall die of a great pestilence. 7: And afterward, saith the LORD, I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and such as are left in this city from the pestilence, from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those that seek their life: and he shall smite them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy. 8: And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death. 9: He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth out, and falleth to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey. 10: For I have set my face against this city for evil, and not for good, saith the LORD: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire. 11: And touching the house of the king of Judah, say, Hear ye the word of the LORD; 12: O house of David, thus saith the LORD; Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver him that is spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, lest my fury go out like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. 13: Behold, I am against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain, saith the LORD; which say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations? 14: But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings, saith the LORD: and I will kindle a fire in the forest thereof, and it shall devour all things round about it.
Jeremiah 22 The kings of Judah
1: Thus saith the LORD; Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word, 2: And say, Hear the word of the LORD, O king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne of David, thou, and thy servants, and thy people that enter in by these gates: 3: Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place. 4: For if ye do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people. 5: But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation. 6: For thus saith the LORD unto the king's house of Judah; Thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon: yet surely I will make thee a wilderness, and cities which are not inhabited. 7: And I will prepare destroyers against thee, every one with his weapons: and they shall cut down thy choice cedars, and cast them into the fire. 8: And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbour, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this great city? 9: Then they shall answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them. 10: Weep ye not for the dead, neither bemoan him: but weep sore for him that goeth away: for he shall return no more, nor see his native country. 11: For thus saith the LORD touching Shallum the son of Josiah king of Judah, which reigned instead of Josiah his father, which went forth out of this place; He shall not return thither any more: 12: But he shall die in the place whither they have led him captive, and shall see this land no more. 13: Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work; 14: That saith, I will build me a wide house and large chambers, and cutteth him out windows; and it is cieled with cedar, and painted with vermilion. 15: Shalt thou reign, because thou closest thyself in cedar? did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, and then it was well with him? 16: He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know me? saith the LORD. 17: But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it. 18: Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah; They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah my brother! or, Ah sister! they shall not lament for him, saying, Ah lord! or, Ah his glory! 19: He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem. 20: Go up to Lebanon, and cry; and lift up thy voice in Bashan, and cry from the passages: for all thy lovers are destroyed. 21: I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; but thou saidst, I will not hear. This hath been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyedst not my voice. 22: The wind shall eat up all thy pastors, and thy lovers shall go into captivity: surely then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness. 23: O inhabitant of Lebanon, that makest thy nest in the cedars, how gracious shalt thou be when pangs come upon thee, the pain as of a woman in travail! 24: As I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence; 25: And I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26: And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die. 27: But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return. 28: Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? 29: O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD. 30: Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.
Jeremiah 23 The return of the remnant
1: Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. 2: Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. 3: And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4: And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. 5: Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6: In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7: Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 8: But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.
Jeremiah opposes false prophets
9: Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness. 10: For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right. 11: For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD. 12: Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD. 13: And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. 14: I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah. 15: Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. 16: Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. 17: They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. 18: For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it? 19: Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. 20: The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. 21: I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. 22: But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. 23: Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? 24: Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD. 25: I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. 26: How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; 27: Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. 28: The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. 29: Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? 30: Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. 31: Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. 32: Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.
The Lord’s burden
33: And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What is the burden of the LORD? thou shalt then say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the LORD. 34: And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house. 35: Thus shall ye say every one to his neighbour, and every one to his brother, What hath the LORD answered? and, What hath the LORD spoken? 36: And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man's word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God. 37: Thus shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the LORD answered thee? and, What hath the LORD spoken? 38: But since ye say, The burden of the LORD; therefore thus saith the LORD; Because ye say this word, The burden of the LORD, and I have sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say, The burden of the LORD; 39: Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence: 40: And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.
Those of you who are following these daily Bible readings may find these passages obscure and difficult to comprehend. They were frightening and difficult to accept for the Jews living in Jeremiahs day. In Ch 21 the King Zedekiah sends Pashur and Zephaniah to Jeremiah with the message asking him to enquire of the Lord because Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon had declared war against Judah. Jeremiah sends a message back saying, that the Lord will defeat their own army because the Lord is on the side of the enemy. The people of the city will be destroyed. And the Lord puts before the people the way of life and death. If they remain in the city they will die but if they leave they will live. The Lord is going to execute judgment on Judah through the Babylonian army. Then Jeremiah calls on Judah and the King to live righteously before the Lord. even at this late time God pleads with the people to repent. Even the nations who pass by will wonder at the destruction that the Lord will allow on Jerusalem. And they will know the reason it will be because they forsook the Lord their God and worshipped idols. They are not to weep for those taken captive and they will never see the city again. The Lord passes judgment on slavery 22v13 and ill gotten gain. In the end Jeremiah prophesies that no man will be king over Judah. In Ch 23 Jeremiah looks very far into the future. Of course he did not know how far this would be and he describes a future restoration of Israel based on their conversion to the Lord. this is not fulfilled in the return of the people under Nehemiah or even the preaching of Christ and his apostles (They are ultimately rejected. There are many similarities between the ministry of Christ and the apostles to Jeremiahs ministry – both end in invasion and destruction) The Lord using the allegory of the shepherds and sheep says, Woe to the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! (Often Jews today will say why did the leaders of Israel reject Christ in their day? In Israel there is the ‘leadership complex’ the leaders of the nation are responsible before the lord to lead the people and if they lead Israel astray the Lord holds them responsible.) In Jeremiahs day the religious leaders ‘the Pastors’, rejected the word of the Lord from Jeremiah and led the people into destruction. The Lord says, You have scattered the flock, driven them away and have not visited them, But l will visit on you evil for your deeds. (Those who are Pastors today take heed) The Lord will gather the flock from all the countries where they have been scattered says the Lord. (This will be prior to the Messianic Kingdom) Then the Lord (in the Kingdom) will set up shepherds over them that will feed them and the sheep will never be afraid again nor will they lack anything. Then the Lord gives a remarkable prophecy, He says l will raise up unto David a righteous Branch and a King will reign and prosper. This is the resurrection of Christ himself who will sit on David’s throne. In those days Judah will be saved and Israel will dwell safely. And Christ will be called ‘Jehovah-tsidkenu’. And in the Kingdom the children of Israel will no more say do you remember when God brought us out of Egypt but they will say do you remember when the Lord gathered us from every country in the World. The Lord Jesus will do this by Angelic transportation. (See Matt 24-25) this message of the Lord filled Jeremiah with a sense of light headedness and of intense joy. Then the Lord again describes the wickedness of Israel. The Lord says, I see it all. Can anyone hid himself from me? the Lord says my word is like a consuming fire and like a hammer that breaks the rock. The Lord says, I am set against the false prophets that speak lies in my name. The Lord says to the false Prophets, l will forget you and forsake you and the city that l gave you and cast you out of my presence. You will be in everlasting shame and reproach.