If God is for us（１）Jeremiah 37:1-21Ⅰ What did they expect?
Originally, King Zedekiah is a person who has been king unexpectedly by Nebuchadnezzar, but he is lacking in qualities potentially in many cases, and is indecision, and absolutely he is inclining to the main battle group pulling the public opinion loudly. In the reign of the King Zedekiah, he reached Pinch of Judah maximum, Jerusalem siege of the Babylonian army, but Zedekiah did not have the power to avoid it. It causes a situation called the Jerusalem fall at last. Until 37-43 Chapter, such a series of the stories of kingdom destruction is progressing. It is from Chapter 37 this morning.
This is probably due to the hand of Baruch; and it will be the article of continuation of "Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch" (36:32). First, there is a prior explanation. "But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the Lord which He spoke through Jeremiah the prophet." (2) "Now Jeremiah was still coming in and going out among the people, for they had not yet put him in the prison. Meanwhile, Pharaoh's army had set out from Egypt; and when the Chaldeans who had been besieging Jerusalem heard the report about them, they lifted the siege from Jerusalem." (4-5) At the Babylonian army siege, the reinforcements of Egypt army were dispatched. The situation of light before the wind of Judah has reduced slightly; under the such circumstances, king sent a messenger to Jeremiah. "Please pray to the Lord our God on our behalf." (3) Would king have expected to hear the preferable news from Jeremiah? However, Egypt army did not arrive.
There are messages of Jeremiah. "Thus says the Lord God of Israel, 'Thus you are to say to the king of Judah, who sent you to Me to inquire of Me; "Behold, Pharaoh's army which has come for your assistance is going to return to its own land of Egypt. The Chaldeans will also return and fight against this city, and they will capture it and burn it with fire"'" (7-8) "Do not deceive yourselves, saying, 'The chaldeans will surely go away from us,' for they will not go. For even if you had defeated the entire army of Chaldeans who were fighting against you, and there were only wounded men left among them, each man in his tent, they would rise and burn this city with fire." (9-10) These were fundamentally different from that the king had hoped. The counterattack of Judah and the defeat by Babylon military are impossible, but even if such an impossibility was enabled, what God talked about never overturns. It crushed thoroughly "theology of deceptive political hope, theology of hope" which prophets have blown into the ear of king.
Ⅱ To hardship of attacking
A hand of the harm goes to Jeremiah. "When the army of the Chaldeans had lifted the siege from Jerusalem because of Pharaoh's army, that Jeremiah went out from Jerusalem to go to the land of Benjamin in order to take possession of some property there among the people." (11-12) Jeremiah is going to the land of Benjamin; its situation is written only "in order to take possession of some property there among the people", but, in Chapter 32, for some reason, Hanamueru of cousin came and said "Please buy my field at Anathoth, which is in the land of Benjamin". At that time, about creating of the contract, Baruch also attended. Jeremiah would have been going out for that matter. However, because to buy that field by paying is in Chapter 32 after a little; at this time, it does not be done. Because, at the gate of Benjamin of north of the walls, Jeremiah had been arrested (13). Because Jeremiah has been cross-examination that "You are going over to the Chaldeans!", at that time, the person who surrendered to Babylon army were many, gatekeeper Irijah also would have regarded Jeremiah as sympathizer of Babylon. It was a situation of course taking a tough inspection to those who pass through the gates. Even if Babylon army had been retreated, it is no different in that it is wartime. Gatekeeper Irijah took Jeremiah to the boss officials, without so much as hearing an explanation of Jeremiah. The officials seem knew Jeremiah. Because, Zedekiah king had declared the abolition of slavery in Chapter 34, but after to free the slaves, they had destroyed that covenant; they were those who were condemned from Jeremiah. Already, there were not found the officials who feel kindly to Jeremiah, at there. Regardless of the will of king, the Judah kingdom has been already suppressed by the hand of the main battle group..
Probably, when they saw Jeremiah whom Irijah hauled, they would have thought a great opportunity to dispel the humiliation came around. "Then the officials were angry at Jeremiah and beat him, and they put him in jail in the house of Jonathan the scribe, which they had made into prison. For Jeremiah had come into the dungeon, that is, the vaulted cell; and Jeremiah stayed there many days." (15-16); the pen of Baruch accused the wrongfulness and did not stop it. They did not do that they ran for a trial without so much as reporting an arrest of Jeremiah to King either. They were doing what they wanted to do. It would be good to say Judah had fallen into anarchy anymore at this stage. Perhaps, normal prison has been filled with those accused innocent, for such unfair arrest, special prison had been prepared. Because Baruch wrote only "For Jeremiah had come into the dungeon, that is, the vaulted cell; and Jeremiah stayed there many days", I do not know how long its period was or what kind of restriction it was; but because there is a description of the bread in Verse 21, probably, it is indicated that Jeremiah has been left unattended without food being given. It is thought that it was execution to let Jeremiah starve to death.
Ⅲ If God is for us
It was made known to the king that Jeremiah was imprisoned in a dungeon. Zedekiah ordered to bring Jeremiah to the Royal Palace, and he asked "secretly". "Is there a word from the Lord?" (17) "Secretly", it was to not stimulate a main battle group. In Zedekiah, he is spite of the king, but such power to control the tyrannical action of a main battle group does not remain any more. Babylon troops retreat is coming back, Jerusalem siege seems to have been resumed. In any place, in any times, in wartime, the officers of main battle group are strong and often had overwhelmed even the king; the history is telling about it. However, why did they release smoothly Jeremiah by hearing the instruction of the king at here?, it was because they were in imminent danger; and it would have been more than Jeremiah. That Babylon army came back, it means that they can not rely on Egypt anymore. The king asked quietly, but Jeremiah did not consideration to such a thing.
Jeremiah repeated tough message that "You will be given into the hand of the king of Babylon!" (17), and indecisive king was forced to listen to that words. Zedekiah heard his desire saying, "In what way have i sinned against you, or against your servants, or against this people, that you have put me in prison? Where then are your prophets who prophesied you, saying 'The king of Babylon will not come against you or against this land'? But now, please listen, O my lord the king; please let my petition come before you, and do not make return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, that I may not die there." (18-20); and he detained Jeremiah in the garden (prison) of the monitoring of the royal palace. It is expected that in the siege of Babylon army, food also was running low; however, king is giving to Jeremiah one daily bread from the "Baker Street" (21). I am surprised that the bakery town, such town was functioning in Jerusalem, and I am also surprised that Zedekiah had such a sense of common people. If he had not become a king, Zedekiah may have had a peaceful life, I think. The favor of the king was the promise of God; He had said to Jeremiah, "I will protect you!".
It seems that in order to escape the crisis, prophets had moved around in the confusion in the palace, at this time. While looking at such those people sideways, "there is no iniquity to me", this is a defense of Jeremiah. The ones who should be punished were prophets; they rebelled against the word of God and drove people to ruin by blowing the "theology of false hope". They were silent without doing repulsion and an excuse. Now, we want to think about Paul. He was accused by the Jews, and received persecution of death again and again, but at each time, God helped him by becoming a shield. Please listen to the testimony of Paul. "If God for us, who is against us? ... But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us." (Romans 8:31-39) If God is for us, we also want to stand there.