The way of life which comes true to eyes of the LordJeremiah 24:1-10Ⅰ I bless you
The text of this morning is vision of two baskets of figs which were piled; in other words, the people who were taken to Babylon as captives and those who remained in Jerusalem are the central theme. From here, last king of David dynasty, Zedekiah comes emerged as the central figure.
"One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs; and the other had very bad figs, which could not be eaten due to rottenness. Then the Lord said to me, 'What do you see, Jeremiah?' And I said 'figs, the good figs, very good; and the bad figs, very bad, which cannot be eaten due to rottenness'" (2-3) These two baskets of figs were placed in front of the temple; these were the offering to the Lord. The figs was the major agricultural products from the very old in the region, and it had become one of the staple food. The candied figs are arranged in a table as a matter of course also in today, I have eaten it in Jerusalem. Such things were offered to the Lord; for Israel, it was the sight of the ordinary. However, those poor quality had been offered to the Lord. It was unthinkable in conventional Israel. At that time, the distinction between good things and bad things would had been paralyzed?
These two baskets of figs are pointing the people who were taken to Babylon (BC 597), and the people who remained in Jerusalem. It is saying. "Thus says the Lord of Israel, 'Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the captives of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans. For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will build them up and not overthrow them, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. And I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.'" (5-7)
In the beginning, it is said about good figs; the people who were taken to Babylon, but, it does not mean that they are to qualify as "good figs". God said, "I will regard as good". It seems that it is too much to free translation, but one personal translation of the commentators is there, "as like these good figs, I will think of the captives of Judah whom I drove to the land of Babylonians from this earth with a favor.". To be the good stuff; it lets us feel the full thought of God is filling, saying "I will give a blessing", "I will think of them with a favor".
Ⅱ The One whom we should stare
And another thing, in the 新改訳 Version, it has been translated as conditions of a good figs, saying "because they will return to Me with all their heart"; but Iwanami and the 新改訳 Version etc. have been translated as "they will return to Me earnestly" (colloquial translation), and it says it is a result of the grace of God. The personal translation of the commentator which I have stated before, has another one step steps, it says, "they will return to Me with all of their entire heart". There we can be seen the state that people who has been with the captivity was repentance, and touched the grace of God in the land of distress. It seems that their life was a continuous struggle surely, and had been stricken deep sorrow. So that, they stare at the One to be stare, and would had to serious soul-searching about why they had to be brought to Babylon. Indeed, in Psalms and Proverbs which are believed the era of captivity, such the trace of life attitude they have repented can be seen, along with the struggle and sorrow of the people of captivity. In Tobit and Yudeto of the Old Testament Apocrypha, it seems to be written while remembering the times captivity, but the way of life of pious believer is drawn vividly. The basic message of Jeremiah, "Become a captivity in Babylon, and live there"; isn't it able to say that they will become "good figs" which are offered to God?
The people who were taken to Babylon as exiles have heard the message of Jeremiah. It might have been due to the concentration and editing of the Bible; these were brought to the second Babylon captivity (586 years), but it was fragmentary. It was mainly done by the prophets of captivity, such as Ezekiel.
While spending hard days and remembering the worship of the Lord in the temple of Jerusalem, but because it can not come true, they built Synagogue in order to worship the Lord. It was not a temple. It is because to perform the worship, and it is the prototype of Christ Church; and message, reading Bible, prayer and praise were in its center. If the temple was built there, Baal God, Ishtar goddess, Astarte, and pagan gods etc., surely would had revived also. However, in the synagogue, to hear the word of God, it was valued. The editing and combining of the Bible was done in the era of captivity, and it was used in the worship; people who did not want to listen to Jeremiah but started to hear it in the land of this foreign country. Unfortunately, part of the Book of Jeremiah seems to have ended up leaking from this editing rally. However, the entire Bible that had been completed at that point was reviewed in the form of a rally and studied. It was a force of them exiles.
Ⅲ The way of life which comes true to eyes of the Lord
However, those who remained in Judah was different. They are said to be "bad figs". "But like the bad figs which cannot be eaten due to rottenness---indeed, thus says the Lord---so I will abandon Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials, and the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and the ones who dwell in the land of Egypt. And I will make them a terror and an evil for all the kingdom of the earth, as a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse in all places where I shall scatter them. And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence upon them until they are destroyed from the land which I gave to them and their forefathers." (8-10) Jeremiah told to the people who remained in Jerusalem.
Probably, these persons who were left would have superimposed the person who became the exiles in Babylon, and the person of the Northern Kingdom who was moved to the land of distant foreign country, Assyria. Those exiles were evil but we were good, they would have thought so. Because they had gotten the property of those who were taken away, their mind might had been increased as have become rich than before. Of course, false prophets would had fueled such their "peace". It is said, "Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away Jeconiah, and the officials of Judah with the craftsmen and smiths from Jerusalem and had brought them to Babylon", even if they were not uprooted, the most part of stalwarts of Judah had gone; the people who have left would not be the upper part so much even in religious and social, I image it so. However, such people have grasped the wealth unexpectedly and have occupied a major position in the kingdom of Judah which has been blank. The next brother Zedekiah of Jehoiakim who has became the king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar king unexpectedly, he would be that representative. Such they became pretentious; it would not be helped.
Jerusalem would the moral decadence and the accompanying rituals to the gods had been spread more than ever. The personal translation of commentator who sent the ale to the people of captivity before as "I will think of them with a favor", adds here that "I am going to pass to calamity" (8). God's "favor" or His "disaster"; now, we of modern, do try to listen to that either? If you say such a thing was sentenced to the people of the past, or it should be sentenced to the boss and policy makers, it seems to say severe thing, but resolutely, God who is looking at you will drag you before Himself. Modern people and those who remained in Jerusalem can not believe it, but, God is not a "distant God". It is written in Hebrews thus. "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (4:12) There is the One who is looking all of us. Don't you want to aspire the way of life which comes true in the eyes of such One?