HooRay!! We made it through Jeremiah before the end of the year. Next stop Philippians. Mark summarized a bunch of the last chapters as it appeared that there was nothing new in those chapters. God warned the people not to go to Egypt, but they went anyway. Then we read 44:4-10 which described the remnant of the people who went to Egypt and remained faithful to God. They were told not to worship Ishtar, the Queen of Heaven who was a fertility god. But many of the people did worship her anyway. People thought things were better when they worshipped her. The came all of the judgments. We skipped most of them. We read 51:59 through chapter 52. It was interesting what happened to the various kings of Judah, namely Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. They ruled in the time of the Babylonian conquest. jehoiakim was an unprincipled opportunist vassal to Pharoh Necoh to whom he owed his throne, until Necoh was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar. He was then an enforced vassal to Nebuchadnezzar for 3 years along with the petty kings of Western Asia, then he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar when he thought he could, but was ultimately killed by Nebuchadnezzar and thrown outside the walls unburied. A nice reference to all of this is http://bibleencyclopedia.com/jehoiakim.htm .
One wonders what Babylonians thought about the God of the Israelites or if they were even aware of Him. Some of their reactions make you think that King Nebuchadnezzar was aware of God and respected Him. These passages describe the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC. Baruch is writing the story here and possibly he is putting words into the mouths of the Chaldeans in 40:2. How can we say that it is our God. How confusing does it get when culture changes as it is doing here at the time of Jeremiah. Or for that matter what is happening in our world today. This is the meaning of reading about these times in Jeremiah so we can better understand how God understands us and works with us in difficult as well as easy times.
Mark summarized what was happening in chapters 37-38 and then we read chapters 39-41. This detailed what Jeremiah reported about the Babylonian conquest of the kingdom of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. A somewhat detailed history of this time is at the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylonian_captivity Here is a similar link from the Jewish encyclopedia: http://www.bible-history.com/map_babylonian_captivity/map_of_the_deportation_of_judah_jewish_encyclopedia.html
We had a discussion about the difference between the Chaldeans and the Babylonians. Here
Here is a summary of important dates and events from this time.
The following table is based on Rainer Albertz’s work on Israel in exile. (Alternative dates are possible.)
|609 BCE||Death of Josiah|
|609–598 BCE||Reign of Jehoiakim (succeeded Jehoahaz, who replaced Josiah but reigned only 3 months)|
|598/7 BCE||Reign of Jehoiachin (reigned 3 months). Siege and fall of Jerusalem.
First deportation, 16 March 597
|597 BCE||Zedekiah made king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon|
|594 BCE||Anti-Babylonian conspiracy|
|588 BCE||Siege and fall of Jerusalem.
Second deportation July/August 587
|583 BCE||Gedaliah the Babylonian-appointed governor of Yehud Province assassinated.
Many Jews flee to Egypt and a possible third deportation to Babylon
|562 BCE||Release of Jehoiachin after 37 years in a Babylonian prison. He remains in Babylon|
|538 BCE||Persians conquer Babylon (October)|
|538 BCE||Decree of Cyrus allows Jews to return to Jerusalem|
|520–515 BCE||Return by many Jews to Yehud under Zerubbabel and Joshua the High Priest.
Foundations of Second Temple laid
Jeremiah talked about the Rechabites and their adherence to the commands of their ancestors who said they should not drink wine, nor grow any of the crops that are used to make wine, and they should live as nomads, that is in tents rather than have dwellings in cities. Here is some information about the Rechabites: This information comes from the Jewish Encyclopedia at the following link: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12616-rechabites The Rechabites are said to be the descendants of Hobab(Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses (Judges iv. 11) In Jeremiah 35, they are said to have been taken to the temple and offered some wine to drink, and they declined on the grounds that Jehonadab, son of Rechab, their ancestor, had commanded them not to drink wine or other strong dring, or to live in houses, or to sow seed, or to plant vineyards, and had enjoined them to dwell in tents all their days. Jeremiah used them as an example of people who kept to their principles and didn’t disavow them as the people had done to the word of God. So people this morning said why is it such a big deal to hold to the principles laid down by their grandfather? Well, it appears that their ancestry goes back to Jethro, the father of Moses. and in the Jewish Encyclopedia, it is stated that Jehonadab appears in II Kings 15:23 as the companion of King Jehu when he slaughtered the prophets of Baal. Jehonadab was apparently a champion of the worship of Yehwh as against that of Baal. God made a promise to the Rechabites that they “shall not want a man to stand before me forever” Jeremiah 35:19 is interpreted by some as meaning that they would become scribes and sit with the Sanhedrin. One rabbinical scholar said that God’s covenant with the Rechabites was superior to the covenant with David because David’s covenant was conditional while that of Rechabites was without reservation. They are sometimes thought to be the Nazarites of later times. In any event, they appear to be a group of Jews that aren’t thought about with the 12 tribes.
We read how Jeremiah had directed Baruch to write down his words and read them to the people. As one would guess, King Johiakim was not happy with these words and so he had Baruch’s scroll burned. So Jeremiah told Baruch to write the scroll again. Poor Baruch!! We talked a lot about translations and how different words can evoke different understandings. For example, the KJ version says that Jeremiah was hidden and therefore Baruch had to go, the Message says he was black balled by the king, so he couldn’t go. It carries a different connotation. What is the difference between a translation like the many that exist for example the Lutheran Bible, King James, The Message and an interpretation like Good News for Modern Man? Here is an article espousing the validity of translations http://www.greeklatinaudio.com/transinterp.htm It doesn’t do so much with translations. Here is a link to an article by the St. George Orthodox Church that discusses the Bible: its translation and its interpretation. Whereas the earlier article talked about translations being pretty good, this one talks about the differences between the various Bibles of Christians, Cahtolics, and Eastern Orthodox churches. It is interesting. http://stgeorgepa.net/about/what-is-the-orthodox-faith/faqs/the-bible-its-translation-and-its-interpretation/
Finally, we had a discussion about obedience and God is always asking for obedience. Bill asked which is more important, that we obey or what we obey. Is it more important that the Rechabites supposedly obeyed a somewhat moral principle not to drink alcoholic beverages or to follow the tenets of God as outlined in the Ten Commandments? [Bill, if I got that wrong please correct it in a comment.]
We spent sometime talking about false prophets and how one discovered who was a false prophet and who was believable. We also spent some time talking about the kings and what happened when they returned from captivity. Jeremiah really ranges all over the map. It appears his message keeps going from the terrible things that will happen to people in captivity and the promise that awaits them when they return. Of course, none of the people who were taken to Babylon will return. It will be there descendents and the story needs to be told to them so that they will be strong in their captivity and continue to believe in Jehovah.
King Reference in Jeremiah Duration Bible History Comment
Ch. 1; 3; 22; 25-
27; 35-37; 45-46
2 Kings 22:1-23:30
2 Chronicles 34-35 Best King of Judah; started at 8 yrs old; cleansed Judah of idols and pagan centers; renewed Laws of Moses .
Ignored Jeremiah and waged war with Egypt.
3 months 2 Kings 23:30-34
2 Chronicles 36:1-4
Carried off by Egypt
Jehoaiakim Ch. 1; 22; 24-28;
35-37; 45-46; 52
11 years 2 Kings 23:36-24:6
2 Chronicles 36:5-8 Opposed Jeremiah; aligned Judah with Babylon to resist Egypt
Jehoiachin Ch. 52 3 months 2 Kings 24:6-17; 25:27-30
2 Chronicles 36:8-10 Surrendered to Babylon and was taken to Babylon with Ezekiel
Ch. 1; 21; 24; 27-29; 32;34-39; 44; 49; 51; 52
2 Kings 24:17-25:7
2 Chronicles 26:11-20 A weak king; ignored Jeremiah’s advice to remain loyal to Babylon and joined
an alliance against the empire; Babylon
overran Jerusalem and burned Solomon’s temple, the palace, other
buildings and destroyed the wall around Jerusalem .
We read what appears to be the summary of Jeremiah’s prophecy to Judah which included them being conquered and the best and brightest being carried off into Babylon (604-506 BCE) by King Nebuchadnezzar and then the prophecy of God to make a covenant with the remnant who would return both from Israel (who had been conquered and carried off to Assyria in 732 BCE) and Judah. Some might say that the Samaritans might have been the Northern Kingdom people. The Assyrians were defeated by the Babylonians with the decisive battle coming in 605 BCE at Carchemish. The Assyrians had their capitol in Ninevah until it was overrun by the Babylonians in 612 BCE, and then they moved it to Harran in present day Turkey. When the Babylonians defeated them there in 608 BCE, the Assyrians moved their capitol to Carchemish. Egypt was allied with Assyria and marched to their aid against the Babylonians. In 609 BCE, the Egyptian army of Pharoh Necho II was delayed at Megiddo (in Israel) by the forces of King Josiah of Judah. Josiah was killed and his army defeated. The Egyptians were further delayed at Riblah, and Necho arrived at Carchemish too late. Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar had surprised the Assyrians and and captured Carchemish. He then turned on the Egyptians and thoroughly defeated them in a bloody battle and the combined Egyptian and Assyrian forces were devastated. This took place in 605 BCE. (this account is from the link: http://www.padfield.com/2008/carchemish.html ) Jeremiah 46:2 and 2 Chronicles 35:20-24 describes this as well. Here are some maps describing the conquests of Judah and Israel..
Today we read Jeremiah 32. It was almost a reprise of the whole book. It talked about the prophecy of being conquered by King Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans and Babylonians but also held out the promise of God to remember a remnant of the people from both the 10 tribes of Israel and also the 2 tribes of Judah. The 10 tribes had been conquered years earlier and had been carried off by the Assyrians. There are other maps of this time in history at the link
By the time of the Babylonians, the Assyrians had been defeated by the Egyptians who were obviously part of the Assyrian empire.