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Jeremiah 35-37 Listen
1 The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying,
2 Go unto the house of the Rechabites, and speak unto them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.
3 Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habaziniah, and his brethren, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites;
4 And I brought them into the house of the LORD, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah, a man of God, which was by the chamber of the princes, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the door:
5 And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and I said unto them, Drink ye wine.
6 But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever:
7 Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye be strangers.
8 Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters;
9 Nor to build houses for us to dwell in: neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed:
10 But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us.
11 But it came to pass, when Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans, and for fear of the army of the Syrians: so we dwell at Jerusalem.
12 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,
13 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? saith the LORD.
14 The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father’s commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me.
15 I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me.
16 Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto me:
17 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered.
18 And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you:
19 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.
These events take place two kings before the fall of Jerusalem during Jehoiakim's reign - somewhere between 609 to 598 B.C.
The Rachabites were tent dwellers who came to Jerusalem because of the Babylonian invasion of Judah. Their gypsy lifestyle was in obedience to their ancestor, Jonadab, who commanded it about 200 or so years earlier; that's a long time to wander like gypsies - the only lifestyle they had ever known. Jeremiah uses them as an object lesson. Jeremiah actually invites Jaazaniah, along with all of the living descendants of Jonadab, to the temple and serves them wine. They decline to partake of the free beverage because of the command of Jonadab. They were still obeying his instructions from 200 years ago, but Judah will not obey their Heavenly Father.
And what were the 200-year-old instructions from Jonadab that these Rachabites were still obeying? Those specific instructions are in verses 6-7:
Now that they have been driven into Jerusalem for fear of Nebuchadnezzar's army, they make a fine example of obedience to a concept. As a matter of fact, this abnormal lifestyle being observed only because a distant forefather had decreed it really must have left an impression on Jeremiah and the other Jews of his day...whether they agreed with the lifestyle or not. So here's the object lesson: If the Rachabites can maintain strict obedience to a rather outlandish 200-year-old decree, why can't Judah obey God? But because they don't seem to be able to do so, disaster shall come upon Judah (verse 17).
We are told in I Chronicles 2:55 (see notes) that "These are the Kenites that came of Hemath, the father of the house of Rechab." The first mention of the Kenites in scripture is Genesis 15:19 (see notes). In Genesis 15:18, God promises to give Abraham the real estate where they were dwelling. In Judges 1:16 (see notes) we have this further identification regarding the Kenites, "…the children of the Kenite, Moses’ father in law…" We are told in Exodus 3:1 (see notes) and Exodus 18:1 (see notes) that Moses' father-in-law was the "priest of Midian." Therefore, it is commonly concluded that the Kenites were associated with the Midianites. So, while the Rechabites had wandered for hundreds of years, their roots seem to be with the Midianites east of Israel.
Incidentally, the "Jeremiah" of verse 3 is a Rachabite and not our prophet, "Jeremiah" - different guy. Jeremiah prophesies that at least a remnant of the Rachabites will endure (verse 19).
1 And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
2 Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.
3 It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.
4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book.
5 And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the LORD:
6 Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD’S house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities.
7 It may be they will present their supplication before the LORD, and will return every one from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the LORD hath pronounced against this people.
8 And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the LORD in the LORD’S house.
9 And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month, that they proclaimed a fast before the LORD to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem.
10 Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the LORD’S house, in the ears of all the people.
11 When Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of the LORD,
12 Then he went down into the king’s house, into the scribe’s chamber: and, lo, all the princes sat there, even Elishama the scribe, and Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, and Elnathan the son of Achbor, and Gemariah the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the princes.
13 Then Michaiah declared unto them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people.
14 Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, unto Baruch, saying, Take in thine hand the roll wherein thou hast read in the ears of the people, and come. So Baruch the son of Neriah took the roll in his hand, and came unto them.
15 And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears.
16 Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words.
17 And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth?
18 Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.
19 Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye be.
20 And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king.
21 So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe’s chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king.
22 Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.
23 And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.
24 Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words.
25 Nevertheless Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll: but he would not hear them.
26 But the king commanded Jerahmeel the son of Hammelech, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet: but the LORD hid them.
27 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying,
28 Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned.
29 And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast?
30 Therefore thus saith the LORD of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost.
31 And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened not.
32 Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words.
Jehoiakim only reigned over Judah for 11 years (609-598 B.C.). See the list of kings above. Jehoiakim was placed over Judah as king by the Egyptian ruler who tried to take on the Babylonians and lost (II Kings 24:1-7; II Chronicles 36:1-8,see notes). Afterward, Jehoiakim became the vassal king of Nebuchadnezzar (the Babylonian king). He was always a loser and always wicked. God instructed Jeremiah to write down his prophecies concerning Judah and send them to the leaders of Judah/Jerusalem. Baruch, Jeremiah's secretary, transcribed the prophecy and then took the document to Jerusalem where he read it to several officials of the government; they felt King Jehoiakim needed to hear these prophecies.
Finally, the scroll was read to the king by Jehudi. However, Jehudi personally took the pages and burned them - cut them out with a penknife - after he read them to the king. After the disposal of this prophecy, it was time for the arrest of Baruch and Jeremiah, but God hid them. Subsequently, Jeremiah wrote down the words of the first prophecy (again) along with some additional (really bad) words directed specifically at Jehoiakim. In verses 27-32 we see that God meant business; Jehoiakim had made the biggest mistake of his miserable puppet-king life. Here's the biggest disappointing blow to any king in verse 30, "He [Jehoiakim] shall have none to sit upon the throne of David."
Not so fast! Wasn't Jehoiachin the son of Jehoiakim? Yes, but Jehoiachins succession was not a valid one - only a token one because he was immediately besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, surrendered in three months, and then went into exile, where he died after many years. Afterward, King Zedekiah (Jehoiakim's brother) was the uncle of Jehoiachin, not a descendant. Jeremiah's prophecy had been fulfilled.
1 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.
2 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.
3 And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Pray now unto the LORD our God for us.
4 Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the people: for they had not put him into prison.
5 Then Pharaoh’s army was come forth out of Egypt: and when the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they departed from Jerusalem.
6 Then came the word of the LORD unto the prophet Jeremiah, saying,
7 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say to the king of Judah, that sent you unto me to enquire of me; Behold, Pharaoh’s army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt into their own land.
8 And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire.
9 Thus saith the LORD; Deceive not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us: for they shall not depart.
10 For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire.
11 And it came to pass, that when the army of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh’s army,
12 Then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to separate himself thence in the midst of the people.
13 And when he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the ward was there, whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he took Jeremiah the prophet, saying, Thou fallest away to the Chaldeans.
14 Then said Jeremiah, It is false; I fall not away to the Chaldeans. But he hearkened not to him: so Irijah took Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes.
15 Wherefore the princes were wroth with Jeremiah, and smote him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe: for they had made that the prison.
16 When Jeremiah was entered into the dungeon, and into the cabins, and Jeremiah had remained there many days;
17 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took him out: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from the LORD? And Jeremiah said, There is: for, said he, thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.
18 Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison?
19 Where are now your prophets which prophesied unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land?
20 Therefore hear now, I pray thee, O my lord the king: let my supplication, I pray thee, be accepted before thee; that thou cause me not to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there.
21 Then Zedekiah the king commanded that they should commit Jeremiah into the court of the prison, and that they should give him daily a piece of bread out of the bakers’ street, until all the bread in the city were spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.
Now we've moved forward in time to the reign of the last king of Judah, Zedekiah (II Kings 24:17-25:20, see notes). See the list of kings above. Originally placed there as a vassal king by Nebuchadnezzar, he later mounted a rebellion against ol' Neb, for which he was severely punished (family slain, eyes gouged out and deported). Zedekiah sends for Jeremiah to pray for Judah. What does Jeremiah do? He gets a prophecy directly from God and delivers it, but it was another of the doom-and-gloom prophecies for which he was famous.
We see in verse 11 that the Babylonian army temporarily left Jerusalem for fear of a confrontation with the Egyptian army. During that time, Jeremiah left Jerusalem, but was arrested and framed as a traitor over in Benjamin's territory; he was charged with being in cahoots with the Babylonians. The officials worked him over before throwing him into prison where he stayed "many days."
Later, Zedekiah had Jeremiah delivered before him from prison where he privately asked him about the future, but it was still a story of doom and gloom, especially for King Zedekiah, who was told that he would be captured. Jeremiah then points out to King Zedekiah that the (false) prophets who had earlier prophesied that the Babylonians would not come knocking at Jerusalem's door were nowhere to be found now. Jeremiah requested that he not be sent back to prison; instead, he was placed under the guards in the court of the guards. There he was not free, but not isolated in prison either. All Zedekiah wanted was some encouraging news, but Jeremiah could only pass along what God had told him to say; he didn't make the upcoming news; he just reported it - tough job!