Jeremiah – His Kings

Jeremiah served under several kings of Judah and saw Neco and Nebuchadnezzar flex their muscles in Judah.  In Jeremiah’s book Manasseh and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, are mentioned. Jeremiah, in its present form, is not linear in construction but is grouped loosely by several different themes.  One grouping could be that in the first part of the book is that people, priests, and prophets (false) are dealt with, and the second part focuses on kings and nations.  So, in this post, I will try listing Jeremiah’s kings as they appear while doing something important. (Let me explain using Josiah.  He is frequently listed with his son’s names as an identifier but not directly involved in that story.  (In another context that is also a reminder that they could have been doing better because of his good example. Those listings I will not put in.)  Some commentary will appear and some noteworthy events, but please go to the post on Josiah for a different look at his children and grandchild.

Josiah

  1. 1:1 Jeremiah started in his thirteen-year of reign. (Jeremiah had been ministering for five years when Josiah celebrated Passover. 2 Chronicles 35:19)
  2. 3:6 A word about unfaithful Israel (northern kingdom) and unfaithful Judah.  The leader was trying to do right, the people were not.
  3. 25:3 The length of time Jeremiah had been prophesying – twenty-three years.
  4. 36:2 Jeremiah’s commission to write down his words from the Lord. (Josiah is a time marker; the event was in the 4th year of Jehoiakim.)

Jehoahaz/Shallum

22:11 The word that he would never return to Judah and Jerusalem. (He ruled three months.)

Jehoiakim/Eliakim – Possible Chronology Order

  1. 1:3 Time of his reign. (Eleven years)
  2. 22:18 No one would mourn for him.
  3. 24:1 Identified Jehoiachin as his son.  (See Josiah’s Children)
  4. 25:1 His fourth year and the first of Nebuchadnezzar reign.  Captives were taken.  Verse 11 is the first mention, by Jeremiah, about seventy years of captivity.
  5. 36:1 Jehoiakim’s fourth year and when God told Jeremiah to write down all of the words he had been given.
  6. 36: 9 – 32 He burns the scroll Baruch wrote for Jeremiah.
  7. 45:1 Refers to the writing of the scroll in 36:1.
  8. 46:2 Refers to his fourth year, but this word is against Pharaoh Neco and his defeat at Carchemish.
  9. 26:1-20 Jeremiah prophesies and is threatened with death.
  10. 26:21,22,23 He had the prophet Uriah retrieved from Egypt and killed.
  11. 35:1 When Jeremiah learned a lesson from the Recabites.
  12. 52:2 Compares Jehoiakim to Zedekiah and the evil they did.

Other references: 2 Kings 23: 34 – 36; 24: 1- 19; 1 Chronicles 3:15+16; 2 Chronicles 36: 4-8; Daniel 1: 1+2

Jehoiachin

  1. 22:24 + 28 Words that he will be cast out with his children.
  2. 24:1 The word about two baskets of figs when he, his officials, and the craftsmen and artisans were taken to Babylon. (He ruled three months and ten days or 100 days.)
  3. 27:20 The pillars, the Sea, the movable stands, and other furnishings would be taken to Babylon.
  4. 28:4 A word from a false prophet about Jehoiachin’s return to Jerusalem.
  5. 29:2 Jeremiah had sent a letter after the time marker of Jehoiachin leaving Judah. 
  6. 52:31, 33, 34 Jehoiachin was released and taken care of in Babylon.

Zedekiah – Possible Chronology Order

  1. 1:3 History of Jeremiah and Zedekiah’s eleven years. 
  2. 24:8 Word about a basket of figs and how God will deal with Zedekiah and the survivors. 
  3. 29:3 When Jeremiah sent the letter to the exiles about the seventy years of serving Babylon.  (This is hard to place but I would put it before Zedekiah’s trip to Babylon. Jehoiachin was only in power 100 days.)
  4. 49:34 A word about Elam early in the rule of Zedekiah.  Elam was an area north and east of the Persian Gulf. This is an interesting word about an ancient, long-surviving culture (see the link below).  This is an example of the non-linear editing order.  Elam/Susa is the setting for the Book of Esther. Verse 39 was fulfilled. Chapter 50:1 is a word against Babylon which subjugated Elam. 
  5. 51:59 An event in his fourth year when he went to Babylon. Jeremiah sent a letter with Seraiah about Babylon. 29:3 and this verse/event is possibly the same story.
  6. 27:1,3,12 The word that Zedekiah and other kings were to bow their neck to Nebuchadnezzar.  It was early in his reign. (28:1 has this in the same year.)
  7. 28:1 The fourth year and fifth month of Zedekiah’s rule (see 27:1-12) and a false prophet breaks the yoke.
  8. 21:1,3,7 He sent people to have Jeremiah inquire of God because of Nebuchadnezzar attacking Jerusalem.
  9. 34:2,4,6 A word about how Zedekiah would not die by the sword.
  10. 34:8 After Zedekiah gives slaves their freedom, only to enslave them again.
  11. 34:21 God retracts His offer and Zedekiah will die by the sword. (1. Pharaoh Neco had marched out of Egypt to battle Nebuchadnezzar. 2.There are several words about this topic. It seems that God was willing to give him a chance.)
  12. 37:1 – 21 The time must be after the ninth year of Zedekiah.  They are not listening to Jeremiah but the king sends a private envoy to ask him a question. (The Babylonian army withdraws because of Neco.  Jeremiah is thrown into prison because he tries to leave the city.  Zedekiah calls for him again, he is afraid of the people. He also assigns Jeremiah to a different prison with food.)
  13.  32:1,3,4,5 Jeremiah bought his cousin’s field and Zedekiah is warned again about fighting Nebuchadnezzar. This is the tenth year and Jeremiah was held prisoner in the courtyard.
  14. 38:5 Jeremiah is put in a muddy cistern because Zedekiah won’t stop his officials.
  15. 38:14 – 24 Zedekiah again sends for Jeremiah to ask him questions.  Zedekiah is afraid to follow the advice because of Jews who switched sides.  Jeremiah cannot talk about the conservation because of the haters.
  16. 39:1-7 The story of the fall of the city and Zedekiah’s attempt to escape, his capture, and his punishment.  Jeremiah was freed in this telling of the story.
  17. 52:1-11 A retelling of the fall of the city and the capturing of Zedekiah. This version goes into the destruction of the city and when more captives were removed.
  18. 44:30 This is a warning to the fleeing Jews to not go to Egypt. The association of Pharaoh and Zedekiah to the Jews was an example of what would happen to them.  (A change in Pharaohs.) 

Other references: 2 Kings 24:17 – 20, 25:1-7

https://www.ancient.eu/elam/

Jeremiah and Baruch

I am telling on myself in the writing of Jeremiah and Baruch.  I wanted to paint the picture that Baruch son of Mahseiah was “family” to Jeremiah but not through parents or DNA. Baruch worked with Jeremiah for over eighteen of Jeremiah’s forty years of ministry. They went through some hard times together.  My problem is simple, they did share DNA through Abraham and possibly Levi.  The majority of the people in Jerusalem at that time belonged to the tribe of Judah, Benjamin, or Levi/Aaron.  

The Wiki article listed below has some interesting legends and facts about Baruch.  I do find it creditable that Baruch and Ezra were responsible for Kings and Chronicles.  I will try and point out information that is in the Book of Jeremiah.

Baruch and Jeremiah worked together for at least eighteen years.  Jeremiah 36: 4 – 32, 45: 1+2 are the first “time” they are mentioned together.  This is part of Jeremiah’s story where he has been told by God to write down the words he has been given.  The timestamp for these verses is the fourth year of Jehoiakim.  45: 1+2 is really out of sequence because it is the promise from God that Baruch will be kept safe.  It is put with the time when he and Jeremiah are being taken to Egypt against their will.  Baruch also has the Lord “read his mail” about wanting “great things for himself”.  The hard part of this story is Baruch faithfully reads the scroll of Jeremiah to the people, Temple officials, and then to a hostile Jehoiakim. And watch it burn at the hands of Jehoiakim.

Jeremiah 51:59 does not mention Baruch but his brother (or cousin) Seraiah son of Mahseiah.  Seraiah was given a scroll to take to the exiles in Babylon. This took place in the fourth year of Zedekiah.  Seraiah is a name used at least eighteen times for various people in several books of the Bible.  It is the name of priests, learned men, and court officials.  Reusing a name in a family was not uncommon at this time, and this is why I tried to make Baruch a close relative of Jeremiah.  Mahseiah is used only in the Book of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 32:12 tells of Jeremiah buying a field and Baruch being given the deeds to the property and instruction on how to treat them.

Jeremiah 43: 3+6 are the last two times (chronology) Baruch is mentioned.  He is accused of swaying Jeremiah about going to Egypt.  According to legend he left Egypt alive and did other works for God. 

Notes – the fast in Jeremiah 36 must have been called because of Nebuchadnezzar.  The usual fasting times are in Zechariah 8:16, there is no mention of a ninth month fast.  Zechariah 7 may reference this time period as the fourth day and the ninth month is an unusual time to be asking about fasting.  

Homework – 1. Find Jeremiah’s other friends and allies (yes, he had some in his later years).  

2. Find all of the other priest and what they did in the Book of Jeremiah.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baruch_ben_Neriah

Tree of Knowledge – A Tree of Good and Evil – The Cross

I am asking you to put yourself into the mind frame of anyone in the Roman world before the resurrection of Jesus and the writings of the first apostles.  If we transported such a person into our timeframe and they saw crucifixes and crosses around our necks, on our books, and being used as decorations on and in buildings; what would be their first thoughts?

  • Are these people marked to die?
  • Is that a jail building where you are sent to wait?
  • Can there be that many people working for Rome to kill people?
  • There are countless variations of these questions.

One thing I am fairly certain of is they would only follow you if they wanted to see someone die a slow painful death.

Since Jesus’ death we had smoothed the cross out, lost the blood (for the most part), made it huge or much smaller, and made then shiny.  Most of these actions can and will be defended.

Alright, back to my post.  The Romans did not invent the idea of killing someone on a pole, they just perfected the practice.  Ezra 6:11 and Esther 9:13 refer to people being “impaled on a pole” (NIV).  The Romans added a cross piece and that extended the length of time it took for someone to die.  If you said “cross” in Israel it was an evil thing and they took it as a curse.

Before you start thinking that I don’t like the cross in artwork or on a building, you are INCORRECT.  It has served people as a point of meditation and comfort for a long time.  I do have an issue if you make it a “good luck charm”. 

Now, imagine people who are under Roman rule with Herod in charge of your nation being told “if you want to be my worthy disciple deny yourself and carry your cross as you follow Me”. (Matthew 10:38, 16:24) The Sermon on the Mount, yes.  Healing sickness and disease, yes.  Food for 5000 plus people, yes and yes.  Carry my cross, not so much.  To be made a public “spectacle” would be “foolish”, so why “endure its pain and shame”.

Yes, there is evil associated with those two pieces of wood.  The leaders of the religious classes in Jerusalem made that clear in Matthew 27:42 with their challenge for Jesus to come off of the cross.  Simon of Cyrene, probably, was not too happy with having to pick up Jesus’ cross – Matthew 16:24. (That statement is very subjective depending on who is preaching in the morning.  His sons are mention later in the Book so good did come from it.)  But, just like the Tree in the Garden, we know its evil side and its good side.  

Hebrews 12:2 clearly speaks of Jesus knowing the cross carried shame.  He went past that for the joy it would give when He could sit next to the Father again.  In enduring the evil, He perfected our faith and disarmed the demonic powers by His triumph on the cross. (Colossians 2:15, Yes, I am mixing verses.  I will reference them and I used the NIV.)  As Peter witnesses to Cornelius in Acts 10 about what Jesus did and how the Jews hung Him on the cross; I can hear Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 1:18 – When I was perishing the message that the cross was good was foolishness, but now it is the power of God in my life.

Exercise, sugar, and many other things in life have an evil side but also a good side.  We know things like this because Eve wanted the fruit and Adam took a bite, thus getting knowledge. 

Tree of Knowledge – Trees and Garden in Ezekiel

In this post, I will focus on the trees in chapter 31 of Ezekiel.  In studying the topic of trees in the Book of Ezekiel I saw four groupings of trees throughout its chapters:

  1. Chapters 6 – 20 – are a mixture of unfaithfulness and judgment. 
  2. Chapter 31 – Pharaoh and his hordes being compared to Assyria.
  3. Chapters 34 and 36 – a promise of provision and “more than enough”.
  4. Chapters 40 and 41 – palm trees (art) in the new temple.

Fact – Bible Gateway (NIV) has Ezekiel with thirty verses that have the word trees in it.  That is more verses with the word “tree” than any other book in the Bible.

Chapter 31 starts with a timestamp of the “eleventh year, the first day of the third month” and verse 29:20 has the “eleventh year, the seventh day of the first month” so some background is in order.  I will digress and talk about world events outside of this chapter to help explain what we are reading.  The two timestamps are Ezekiel’s time in exile with King Jehoiachin (see 1:2) and possibly referring to the Hebrew calendar.  So first, it is after Passover and in the time of the “Counting of the Omer” that leads to what Christians call Pentecost (see Leviticus 23).  This is from the month and day portion of the timestamps.  The eleventh year is placing this just before the fall of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 39:2).

The Other Prophets – A part of this study that has been eye-opening is that Zephaniah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel where all alive at this time.  Jeremiah was nearing his death and the fall of Jerusalem.  Daniel was in the time period of his first four chapters – the fiery furnace, golden statues, and dreams interpreted.  (Like Jeremiah, I do not believe that Ezekiel and Daniel are in chronological order within their chapters.)  I wonder just how much of their doings and prophecies were known to the others?  We know from Daniel’s fast that he was aware of the seventy-year exile that was spoken by Jeremiah. Zephaniah may be the oldest of the group but little of his background is known except that he was active during the reign of Josiah (1:1). 

World Events – This will be a brief placement of Tyre, Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt in context with Ezekiel 28 through 31.  You will need to do your own searches on these topics as I am not giving references.  There are too many and they seem to overlap or not go far enough on any one topic. 

  1. Tyre – In chapter 28 the king of Tyre is given the characteristics of Satan and his fall into pride is discussed (See the Bad Guy post).  Tyre was destroyed by Babylon, even though it was on an island.  It was part of the Assyrian Empire and is associated with Lebanon. 
  2. Assyria – This is the nation that defeated and exported Northern Israel and brought the “Samaritans” to take their place.  By Ezekiel’s time, Assyria had been defeated by Babylon, so they were a good object lesson. 
  3. Babylon – They are a good/evil tree in the history of mankind.  In their day they were a chosen instrument to do the bidding of God, unfortunately, they took things to unneeded levels and reaped that reward.  But the empire did do much for humanity.  The use of Babylon as an example goes all the way into the book of Revelations.
  4. Egypt – The focus of Ezekiel 29 through 32 is Egypt.  By this time, they had been defeated by Nebuchadnezzar at Carchemish.  Josiah had been killed in the fighting with Neco, as he was going to Carchemish.  Neco also changed who was king in Israel setting the stage for Jerusalem’s fall.  They are given to Babylon as plunder in 29:17. This verse’s timestamp seems out of place!  The twenty-seventh year may refer to his age but that still is out of place (1:1), or this was his very first word from the Lord. Very little of Egypt’s and Israel’s interactions could be considered good.  Starting with Abraham Egypt has been a snare for Israel and all of the words from the Lord are about to be fulfilled.  Egypt would still be a “player” but never the world power that it had been.

 Trees and the Garden – The analogy of Pharaoh and Assyria uses the metaphor of trees to explain the fallen angels and Satan with the men/nations who supported them.  I am going on the premise that the “garden of God” and “garden of Eden” are being used to separate the ideas of angels and men.  To me the trees in the “garden of God” in verse eight are angels and a transition occurs in verse nine to bring both realms together, and then in verses 16 – 18 it shifts to the men who are the allies.  The end results of these comparisons were that Babylon did humble Assyria and that Egypt would fair no better.  

In the Bible – The Book of Jonah was written about the city of Nineveh, which at that time was the capital of Assyria.  

The words to Ezekiel are not done with the enemies of God before He sets up the New Jerusalem.  The “unfaithful shepherds”, Edom, and Gog are still to be dealt with before the “valley of dry bones” becomes God’s army and the new Temple comes.  Edom is the land of Esau, Jacob’s brother.  Gog has been referenced as Russia or China, but I am starting to think that it is Europe and the coalition of the Beast.

So, starting with the trees of the garden in chapter 31 I wonder if the rest of the Book is a “timeline” of events before the return of Jesus?

pic ; http://clipart.christiansunite.com/Bible_Characters_Clipart

The Number Twenty-one in the Bible

Twenty-one in the Bible is associated with four major topics and a minor one.  The minor topic is found in 1 Chronicles 24 + 25.  These references are the list of people who have a job that has been assigned to them and the numerical order of these people.

The four major topics are Zedekiah, Daniel’s fasting, the seventh month, and the Passover and unleavened bread.

  1. 2 Kings 24:18, 2 Chronicles 36:11, and Jeremiah 52:1 reference that King Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he began his reign of Jerusalem/Judah.  He would have been ten years old when his father Josiah died.  He was the last king of Israel, until Jesus, and he did not follow God or listen to the prophets.  2 Chronicles 36 mirrors Jeremiah 52 and gives a good summary of his life.  Nebuchadnezzar made him king and changed his name from Mattaniah (gift of God) to Zedekiah (Yahweh is righteousness).  He is one of several people in the Bible to have their name changed.  The change may have been to remind him to follow the rules!  The ten and twenty-one we will see again in another topic. 
  2. Daniel 10:13 is part of the story of Daniel’s fast.  The twenty-one days have become important parts of fasting and warfare narratives.  In studying this I feel it is important to remember the reason and the timing of his fast.  The reason was the ending of the seventy years of rest for the land.  Okay, that is also the time that Jerusalem would be vacant before Cyrus king of Persia would let Israel go home.  If “the first month” was the Jewish religious calendar this fast went through the time of Passover.  (Which started on the tenth of the month and went to the twenty-first of the month with the end of Feast of the Unleavened Bread.  So, Daniels’s fast could correspond to the birth/rebirth of the nation of Israel.)
  3. Exodus 12:18 is the reference for the first Passover and the ending of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  This should have been the time period for the crossing of the Red Sea and a time of freedom for Israel.
  4. The last major topic also deals with the Feast on the twenty-first day of the seventh month.  The best reference is Haggai 2:1 when a word of encouragement went to Zerubbabel.  This occurred in the seventh month or during the time of the Feast of Tabernacles.  This commemorates Israel living in tents for forty years.  This feast comes after the Day of Atonement, which is on the tenth day of the seventh month. (Study Leviticus 23.) The prophet Jeremiah was also being taken to Egypt, against his will, during this time period after the fall of Jerusalem.

The twenty-first letter of the Jewish alphabet is “shin” and it is the letter that looks like a crown.  The number value of shin in the Hebrew language is 300.  This letter is associated with the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) because of its gematria is 300. To appreciate the full scope of shin go to Chabad.org as they have a good article on this topic.

An interesting “twenty-one” I found is in Luke 3:34-38.  Start with Adam, as number one, and count to Abraham.  I just read in my devotional book that we give up the curse of Adam at the cross and take on the blessing of Abraham – who is twenty-one from Adam.

 

https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/137093/jewish/Shin-Sin.htm

https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Grammar/Unit_One/Aleph-Bet/Shin/shin.html

https://imgbin.com/png/b8eFPpq5/shin-hebrew-alphabet-letter-png

I do not believe in “good luck” numbers as Jesus does not do things by luck.  But because of this study, I would associate the number twenty-one with the Feasts of Israel and the beginning of the nation.