The Book of Jeremiah-Je.21- “The Way of Life”


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,

Enquire, 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.

This chapter is not continuation strictly speaking, if historicity of the nation of Israel were the main focus. The Spirit in organizing the narrative from standpoint of God sets down certain parameters within which the nations were required to follow. In case of the nation of Israel we read what it was. “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:(De. 30:19)” And what do we read in this chapter but direct consequence of it. From this it becomes clear that the disasters that befell them were pendent on their actions. Consider the verse,”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(v.8). History in the sense that nations give heed to is more in vanity than from learning the truth and it is of scant interest to God. So the Spirit places events places and persons on the same yardstick. Such juxtaposition is intended as instruction in righteousness (2 Ti.3:16) and we are not to piece together chronologically scriptural narrative. Instead seek what the Spirit instructs us for our spiritual edification.

In the book of Jeremiah unlike that of his predecessor we hall find disasters of the nation are set against his own inner turmoil as anyone who has been given a charge that set him for this reason against every other. We can sense his anguish in this passage:”Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the Lord? let it come now./ As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee./ Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil./ Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction: (Je.17:15-18)”. But does God downsize his charge? Because the prophet had chosen way of life he would have to rely on God and speak despite of the consequences his unpleasant prophecies would cause about him.   “Thus said the Lord unto me; Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, whereby the kings of Judah come in, and by the which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem;(v.19).”

Between the previous and present chapter according to the Bible scholars there were some 20 years gap. In the present chapter we read of a new king on throne. The verse quoted here below we can understand that Nebuchadnezzar (or spelt differently as Nebuchadrezzar) has already overran the city so much so to set a new king on him we find mention in in the books of the Kings.  Let us consider Jeremiah 37: “And king Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah./ But neither he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land, did hearken unto the words of the Lord, which he spake by the prophet Jeremiah (Je.37:1-2).” This new King Zedekiah was awed by Jeremiah’s moral strength and feared God  but not wholly committed to abide by His commands.

 Then said Jeremiah unto them, Thus shall ye say to Zedekiah:

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.

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.

And I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast: they shall die of a great pestilence.

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.

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.

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.



About bennythomas

I am a Dutch citizen. An architect by profession I am married and have six grandchildren. I am still keen on expressing myself and each day is new and an occasion where I might bring out from within something worthwhile.
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