If God is for us（2）Jeremiah 38:1-28Ⅰ Execution and rescue
Chapter 37 of last week was over in the place "Jeremiah remained in the court of the guardhouse" (21). Chapter 38 is its continuation. It is the guardhouse here, but because prison was at the corner of Royal Palace site, its name was attached. Jeremiah had been detained in that prison house. By this, Zedekiah king exchanged the criticism of the main battle group saying he saved Jeremiah from oubliette. Of course, it was with monitoring, but it did not seem to be very severe monitoring, and it might be free to do comings and goings. Jeremiah is speaking to "All the people" (1), as usual. "He who stays in this city will die by the sword and by famine and by pestilence, but he who goes out to the Chaldeans will live..." (2-3) People of the main battle group heard this message. They got angry furiously because a prisoner still says such a thing, and protested to the king. "Now let this man be put to death, inasmuch as he is discouraging the men of war who are left in this city and all the people, by speaking such words to them; for this man is not seeking the well-being of this people, but rather their harm." (4) Would they have been main members of the main battle group? Timid king can not go against them. King said "Behold, he is in your hands; for the king can do nothing against you." (5); and he protected himself. Then, they threw down Jeremiah into "the cistern of Malchijah the king". The reason why they did not use the sword here; it was for the worry of the trouble, they have worried the public eye. They would have feared the eyes of the people who has seen Jeremiah, as a true prophet. Was it the trace of the well? Mud have accumulated in the bottom of the hole; it is written "Jeremiah sank into the mud." (6). It may be said that it is the execution plotted secretly. Guards had admitted some freedom to Jeremiah by the king's command, but anymore now, were the executioners.
However, a eunuch-Ebed-melech of Ethiopian who was watching its situation has told it to the king. "My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet whom they have cast into the cistern; and he will die right where he is because of the famine, for there is no more bread in the city." (9) Even if there is no problem of bread, the life of Jeremiah who sank in a hole was like fire at the lee. At this time, the king was at the gate of Benjamin (7). Because there were a battleground state at there, he might had gone for inspection there by the request of the main battle group.
Ⅱ Which way do you choose?
Eunuch of Ethiopia who has been ordered to rescue Jeremiah the prophet from the hole by the king, rescued Jeremiah with the 30 people whom king gave (10-13).It is said here "the king commanded"; a miserable state of the king who is trying to hold its position seems to be seen there, even though his authority as king has already vanished. Though the king has been inspired by the courage of the eunuch, still feared the eyes of main battle group, and left in the courtyard of the guard, without freeing Jeremiah. Few days later, Zedekiah called Jeremiah and asked secretly again. This is the third time (the first is 37:3-, the second is 37:17-). "I am going to ask you something; do not hide anything from me." (14) King is desperate to preserve the honor. This phraseology bossy will also hear as the pathetic appeal. However, Jeremiah is cautious. "If I tell you, will you not certainly put me to death? Beside, if I give you advice, you will not listen to me." (15) When king was said so from Jeremiah, he swore hard to Jeremiah. "I will not put hand you to death nor will I give you over to the hand of these men who are seeking your life." (16) It was a room in the third entrance of the temple, but the nuance that was the encounter of secret seems to be put there. Probably, royal palace would not have been a safe place for the king. This oath of king was just only for his face; irony of Baruch seems to come through, it says that if third party joined there, the king would have uttered such a vow never. However, Zedekiah driven into a corner would have thought to be faithful in front of a prophet? Jeremiah also answered in good faith.
"Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, 'If you will indeed go out to the officers of the king of Babylon, then you will live, this city will not burned with fire, and you and your household will survive. But if you will not go out to the officers of the king of Babylon, then this city will be given over to the hand of the Chaldeans; and they will burn it with fire, and you yourself will not escape from their hand.'" (17-18) It is called the full name of "the Lord of God of the hosts, the God of Israel"; it would be because the thought of that this is the declaration of the Lord was put here. Which do you choose, the way of the life or the way of the death? This question was sincere of Jeremiah, but we must hear that it is asked also to us today.
Ⅲ If God is for us
However, the king was still indecision, and he had continued to say, "I dread the Jews who have gone over to the Chaldeans, lest they give me over into their hand and they abuse me." (19). He could not only behave as a king, but also, as a one man and as a human being, had exposed such appearance at the last minute; even if it was the thing of another world, and even if it was the Jewish past thing, I do not want to see it. But now, it is in the midst of battle; even if anything happens, it is not wonder. I am known that it was a real intention of the utmost of king. Jeremiah again really caught the anxiety of the king and replied, "They will not give you over. Please obey the Lord in what I am saying to you, that it may go well with you and you may live" (20). However, here, another message will be told. "But if you keep refusing to go out, this is the word which the Lord has shown me; 'Then behold, palace of the king of Judah are going to be brought out to the officers of the king of Babylon; and those women will say, "Your close friends have misled and overpowered you; while your feet were sunk in the mire, they turned back." They will also bring out all your wives and your sons to the Chaldeans, and you yourself will not escape from the hand of the king of Babylon, and this city will be burned with fire.'" (21-23) This is like a phantom that shown in Jeremiah. Their feet were sunk in the mire; it will say a harsh fate of the king and the close friends of king (officials and women), it was based on the experience of Jeremiah. Those women are singing that they will be sent under Nebuchadnezzar who is in the headquarters of Libnah. It is in the form of poetry, but that song must have been the sight they saw in the palace. Kings are going to run away from here. They have caused the fight, but they are not going to take the responsibility,,, and they hope that only themselves would be saved. This would have been a testimony of the insight of such their humanity (the king, officials). The only testimony of weak women, it sounds also to the voice of resentment of women who are going to be sacrificed in the fight, too. And, perhaps, such voice is filled to the modern. However, it is not going to arrive to the ear of selfish kings. But how does it sound to our ears?
Below the Verse 24, probably it is the additional article of Baruch to explain the situation that Jeremiah is detained in the court of guardhouse until the end of the war. However, it will be a stepping stone to the article that the word of God realize in Chapter 39, and Jeremiah become a witness for it. Main battle group found Jeremiah in the court of the guardhouse again, but they did not inflict harm to him. "They ceased speaking with him" (27), it seems to be its suggestion. The one who told the message of God becomes the witness of the message fulfillment, for that, God has become the walls of bronze of Jeremiah; it is becoming clear than ever. Hardship of Jeremiah and Baruch does not end here. They were taken to Egypt soon; but, even there, they served the word of God as a prophet. Following the last week, and I want you to listen to the words of Paul again. "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 for us, who is against us? Today it is moving towards in such a situation; don't you want to imitate the way of life of Jeremiah and Baruch?