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

Jeremiah – Family

Jeremiah and his family are a major topic in the Book/prophecies of Jeremiah.  Chapters 6 + 8 are directed at the “priest and prophets” which are Jeremiah’s uncles, cousins, and father/grandfather.  Hilkiah is the High Priest for Israel.  Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe, introduces Jeremiah as the “son of Hilkiah” Jeremiah 1:1.  This phrase puts Jeremiah as a family member, possibly a real son/child but at least a grandson.  More importantly, it means that Jeremiah could have been the High Priest or at the very least been a part of the daily duties and sacrifices of the Temple.  Ezra, who wrote the book, is also identified as a “son of Hilkiah” and so he was a relative of Hilkiah/Jeremiah.  We can extend this relationship to Zachariah the father of John the Baptist, Luke 1: 5 because he was a priest.  

Hilkiah and his family are mentioned in 2 Kings 18, 22, 23, 1 Chronicles 6:13, 2 Chronicles 34, and Isaiah 36.  He was the priest that “found” the Book of the Law for King Josiah and helped in restoring the Temple.  I called Jeremiah possibly a true child of Hilkiah because “the word of the Lord” came to him during the lifetime of Josiah.  This could put Jeremiah’s birth early in the reign of Josiah. Many other brothers, cousins, and uncles are mentioned in the references I gave.  All of these family members add to the drama/narrative in Jeremiah and make Jeremiah the misfit/standout of the family.

Some background – Jeremiah’s hometown was Anathoth of Benjamin, which is one of the towns given to the Levitical families by Moses/Joshua.  The field that Jeremiah bought in chapter 32:7 was in Anathoth.

Hilkiah (#2518 in Strong’s) means “Portion of Jah”.  

Jeremiah (#3414) means Jah will rise.

In case you are noticing that many names, especially in this family, have “iah” or “el” as a portion of the name.  It is because “iah” and el refer to the Eternal or Jah/God.  Israelites took the name of God very seriously and considered it holy and it was not used in common speech.  Jah was one version that could be said out loud or pronounced. 

Names within families were frequently “recycled” as part of the tradition and a way of honoring relatives.  (That is why the name John was questioned in Luke.)  See 1 Chronicles 6, especially 3 – 13, for details on the family tree of Levi and Aaron.  Also 1 Chronicles 9:10 -13.  Remember that there was a shift in the priesthood in the days of Samuel, David, and Solomon, which had to do with Eli and several other factors during those days. See Samuel and the Priest.  From other studies about priests, I know that a High Priest may not serve long, just a few years.

It is not mentioned that Jeremiah ever married. (Jeremiah 16:2 the Lord told him not to marry.) If he had the bride would have been a member of the Levitical/priestly clan as it was required to keep the bloodline pure.    

Mother – Jeremiah 15:10 is the end of a section that starts in verse eight.  The section starts with widows, and goes to “mothers of young men”, and a mother of seven, and then to Jeremiah’s mother.  Now, you could make an argument that the term “mother” is referring to Israel and that is possibly another level.  But verse ten is referring to Jeremiah’s mother.  It is a recurring idea that Jeremiah was not a “happy camper”, he has several complaints against God and this verse seems to edge on blaming his mother for his birth.

In Jeremiah 20:14 his mother is mentioned again.  This is part of one of Jeremiah’s complaints, this one begins in verse 7 and goes to number 18.  Once again Jeremiah is not directly blaming his mother for his problems, but if she was still alive this would have been a hard saying for her to hear.  I choose to take Jeremiah’s statements as a lament for the pain that he is feeling and what it must have been doing to her.  Remember, she was of Aaron’s linage.  She should have been “important” in the sense that she was married to the High Priest.  I could also believe that she was being blamed for Jeremiah and his not conforming to “family standards.”

Brother – Jeremiah 29 is best known for verse eleven and the prophecy that Daniel is praying about in Daniel 9, the one about seventy years.  This chapter also introduces us to Gemariah.  He was special and important enough to Jeremiah that Gemariah was entrusted with the letter to the Exiles in Babylon.  Gemariah would have been a brother/half-brother to Jeremiah because he is also a “son of Hilkiah.” (That is taking for granted that Hilkiah may have been alive or just died.) So, it is possible that not “all of the world” was against Jeremiah. 

Cousin/Uncle – This is a good time to remind us that names were frequently reused, refer to 1 Chronicles 6 + 9 for example.  Jeremiah 32: 6 has Hanamel son of Shallum coming to sell a field to Jeremiah.  Jeremiah does buy the field in Benjamin and seals up the deeds for future reference.  (I THINK that Jeremiah was being taken advantage of by his uncle/cousin because of the imprisonment and the siege.  But Jeremiah did this as a prophetic gesture so my opinion counts very little.)  There are many Shallums in the Levitical family and the officials of the court and other officers of the Temple.  It is very possible that the court officials were Levities.

Jeremiah – 6 + 8

In Jeremiah 6:12 – 15 and 8:10 – 12 are two identical thoughts/statements.  Actually, the body of those verses is the same with just the first verse in both carrying the same thought with different wording.  Psalm 14 and 53 are also similar sets of verses, so things being repeated in the Bible are not unusual.  When you find “repeats” it is a good idea to give them some extra attention.

Jeremiah, the book, is a collection of prophecies, history, and “family” problems that are recorded by Baruch son of Neriah (36:4 and chapter 45).  Jeremiah’s ministry covers about forty years (1:2+3), Josiah had eighteen more years, and the other two kings had eleven-year reigns.  (There will be other studies on topics of Jeremiah’s life and ministry.)

We will start with a summary of those two sets of verses and then look at some of the topics before, in-between, and behind 8:12.  In this block of prophecies are many “says the Lord” with a few variations off of this idea.  Since we like to read things in a linear timeline within “books of the Bible” it is really hard for us to deal with the concept that not all of these may have been said one right after the other.  We know Baruch wrote more than one copy of this text.  The “history” with in the book does seem to go fairly linear but chapters 46 through 51 could have been “pieced together” by Jeremiah/Baruch for better reading.  It seems that Chapters 6 – 9 may have come over a longer period of time than what we would except.  Plus 6:27 – 30 seems disconnected within the chapter. (That is a section on metals, the people, and Jeremiah.  See What Type of Metal Are You.)  I would have put it there because of Jeremiah’s statement that starts this group of prophecies – Jeremiah does not know who he will speak this message too (6:10+11).  However, in keeping with the restating of the same thought, 9:7 does refer to refining and testing.  NOTE. I do think that the similar verse in chapters 6 and 8 was spoken at different times and these utterances may have been years apart.

I will work from 6:12 – 15 as this is really the section that caught my attention.  Verse twelve (actually the thought starts in 11b) promises that land, houses, and wives will be taken away and given to someone else. This promise is focused on prophets and priests (v 13).  I need to remind myself that Jeremiah is of the priestly family and he is a prophet.  He is speaking to family, which is why the priest and prophets come against him so hard.  A reference for prophets is 28:1 and for the priest, it is 5:30 + 31.  

Some of the standout thoughts are that these “men of God” dress the “wound” of the people and proclaim “peace, peace” while they are lying and looking out for themselves.  The fact that the wound is singular in both sections brings me to think at unfaithfulness is the problem, with the priest excusing bad conduct, in all of its forms, as not a real problem.  The people can see that judgment is coming but they are being told that it will not affect them because they such “good people” and are “okay”.  

Other areas that will be worked with are below.

  • Verse 6:16 is one statement that caught my attention in reading this section.  It is part of the message that John the Baptist spoke as he prepared the way for Jesus. 
  • Chapter 7: 1- 29 calls out the regular people for their unfaithfulness and unwillingness to follow God.  Verse 23 is the Lord restating His commands and expectations.  This will be a separate post, but these commands were given to the family of Israel starting in Genesis and restated in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. 
  • 7:30 to 8:3 talks about Topheth.  This valley had a long ugly history that possibly started with Solomon and his unfaithfulness to God as he honored his many wives over the Lord.

THOUGHTS: I will extend this series and cover other topics in Jeremiah.  Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel are contemporaries but are writing from three different viewpoints.

Jeremiah 10 and 51

While reading on lightning in the Bible I noticed that Jeremiah 10: 12 – 16 and 51: 15– 19 are almost exactly the same.  Having the same theme run through a book or even several books is not unusual, after all, God can repeat Himself if He wants.  But if God repeats Himself it is usually to stress a point or confirm what was said, or in the case of the History Books – Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles two different people wrote for two different audiences. (See Kings and Samuel)  The repetition here seems to be for making the point of God’s power and authority to do the acts that were to follow.

In Jeremiah 10:12 -16, the passage is introduced by a statement that false gods did not make the heavens and earth, the NIV has a footnote that it is written in Aramaic.  (Probably for the people of/in Babylon.)  God is angry because of the idols His people are making and worshiping.  So after the passage, the destruction of Israel and Judah is foretold.  This apparently made people mad because Baruch son of Neriah, his scribe, notes that the people of Anathoth, his hometown, wanted to kill him.  Jeremiah is a member of the priestly class and Anathoth is a city that was set apart for the priest by Joshua and Moses; nothing like making your family mad, especially if they are church leaders.

In Jeremiah 51: 15 -19 the introduction to the verse is the prophesying that Babylon will be filled with men eager to destroy the place, and it is followed by the acts that will happen when the city is destroyed.  The end of this story is chapter 51:59 – 64 where Jeremiah asks Seraiah, Baruch’s brother, to pronounce complete and lasting ruin on Babylon. (Saddam Hussein tried/started rebuilding ancient Babylon before the Gulf War, it came to a stop.)  It is interesting that the last sentence is, “The words of Jeremiah end here.”

The final part of this study is found in Psalm 135: 7.  The passage about the lightning, rain, and wind is also here as it is found in Jeremiah.

He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.” (NIV)  In a previous post I compared Psalm 135 and 136 for similar content (see that post).  But the same themes in Jeremiah are here also:

  1. The Lord does what pleases Him. (vs. 6)
  2. The destruction of an enemy is told. (vs.8 – 11)
  3. Idols are worthless pieces of silver and gold. (vs. 15 – 18)
  4. Jacob and Israel are treasured possessions. (vs. 3 – 4)

I can still see David writing Psalm 135 but the prophetic nature of this Psalm now becomes even clearer.  Ok, maybe Jeremiah/Baruch did write it and threw in verses 19 – 21 just to aggravate his kinsmen.

Bible studies are fun, you start with lightning and end up comparing prophesy in Jeremiah.