Jeremiah 38
As a witness of the Lord (1)

Jeremiah 39:1-18
Hebrews 12:1-3
Ⅰ The fall of Jerusalem

The fate of the Judah kingdom ended. "Now it came about when Jerusalem was captured in the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it; in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the city wall was breached." (1-2) The encircling net lasted until one year six months; as the eunuch Ebede-melech of Ethiopian has lamented that "there is no more bread in the city" (38:9), the people in the Jerusalem castle had become a dire situation. This original article (39:1-10) is in Chapter 52; it says, "the famine was so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land." (6). A prophecy of Jeremiah that he continued warning, "A sword and famine and a pestilence", proved right. Josephus said "the fall of the capital was around midnight" (Jewish Antiquities); the soldiers who fought brave and bold also would have run out of energy at last.

"Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came in and sat down at the Middle Gate; ... when Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them, that they fled and went out of the city at night by way of the king's garden through the gate between the two walls; and he went out toward the Arabath. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jerecho; and they seized him and brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he passed sentence on him." (3-5) Because, there is an article of Jehoiachin released in Chapter 52, it is thought that details of Jerusalem fall was organized during the captivity, and these were recorded by the hands of editors. Zedekiah king and the king's officials and garrisons went out of Jerusalem. "Friends of the king and leaders get rid of him and went away with haze in a cloud; they only wanted to be saved oneself."; this is a testimony of Josephus. Because it was Josephus who fought with the Roman army as a commander of Jewish-Roman war, his words have heaviness. At the last-minute last moment, the prophets who have told the theology of hope, and also the main battle group who has burned to nationalism, were only worried about themselves. However, they were not able to escape.

"He (the king of Babylon) passed sentence on him. And the king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and he also slaughtered all the princes of Judah in Riblah. Then he blinded the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him with bronze fetters and brought him to Babylon, and put him in prison until the day of his death." This is an article of Chapter 52:9-11, but because it is almost the same as Verse 5-7, we can see this became in the hands of editors also. "He blinded the eyes of Zedekiah", it seemed to be the penalty for the betrayer in those days. For Zedekiah who defied Babylon though has been considered to be the king by Babylon, it was comeuppance. If he follow the words that Jeremiah has repeated and recommended, he said "If you advance by oneself and surrender, you are saved.", he would have not have met with such a tragic eye! Of course, friends and commanders of the king who ran away were arrested and were executed.


Ⅱ Postwar processing

"The Chaldeans also burned with fire the king's palace and the houses of the people, and they broke down the walls of Jerusalem. And as for the rest of the people who were left in the city, the deserters who had gone over to him and the rest of the people who remained, Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard carried them into exile in Babylon. But some of the poorest people who had nothing, Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard left behind in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at that time." (8-10) It would be good to say that it is the collapse of Jerusalem; it was one month after the fall. Nebuzaruadan the captain of the bodyguard is called "The head of bodyguards" in 新共同訳, or "Chief in the kitchen" in Iwanami Version; but anyway, he seems to have been aides of Nebuchadnezzar the king trusts. Probably, he was the chief of the another force, given full authority by King Nebuchadnezzar, for the post-war treatment. Jerusalem was destroyed by this another force for war, but probably Babylon did not want to destroy more. Farmland in the suburbs of Jerusalem of people who became captivity in the Babylon was shared to the people who was left, and a modest life came back to the Jewish land. Though it was said in the prophecy of Jeremiah that "their houses shall be turned over to others, their fields and their wives together" (6:12), the words of God were fulfilled in this way. However, the poor farmer left has neither the policy of the Jewish rebuilding nor the will. The number of the people who became captivity in Babylon seemed to be not so many; however, in the hard work of the day-to-day, in the land of that they have been moved, their faith in God was recalled, and, deep longing to the words of God went growing up. It would be good to see that Jewish original way of life was saved in them, and it became something new, and it connected to the Gospel / to the messianism.

From Verse 11, a trend of Jeremiah by the pen of Baruch is written down. King Nebuchadnezzar ordered to Nebuzaruadan. "Take him and look after him, and do nothing harmful to him; but rather deal with him just as he tells you." (12) Babylon king is thought to have heard that this prophet called for a surrender to the people of Judah early. There was a period of nearly one month before Nebuchadnezzar has given Nebuzaruadan this order; it would have been a sufficient period of time to make sure the truth. It is difficult to think that all the Jews who were arrested had warm examination; however, it is thought that considerably severe examination was performed. Those who were worthless or were judged as a harm were excluded or were executed. However, for Jeremiah, the release was determined. "His personal safety was also ensured." "(Nebuzaruadan) even sent took Jeremiah out of the court of guardhouse and entrusted him to Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to take him home. So he stayed among the people." (14, see Chapter 40) The prophet Jeremiah witnessed that the state of the judgement of the Judah kingdom which God has talked was all realized. The pen of Baruch seems to assume Jeremiah the witness.


Ⅲ As a witness of the Lord

I repeat it again, but Verse 1-10 are correction at the time of the Jeremiah editing that adjusted a pace to an article of Baruch. He draws some articles of Chapter 52 and copies expressly its articles to this Chapter 39. It was that Jeremiah and Baruch would be witnesses of the word of the Lord which was fulfilled about Zedekiah king and the kingdom of Judah. The editors who has become captivity in Babylon, it was confirmed that the message of Jeremiah was transmitted from God exactly. It would be good to say that it was the results of the people who engaged in editing and bringing together the Bible; their faith in God has been restored. I said before, "The number of those who became captivity in Babylon, it seems was not so many; but in the day-to-day work hard of the land where has been moved, their faith in God was recalled, and, deep longing to the words of God went growing up". Such new thoughts would have been sprouted among the editors? Of course, it does not mean that Jeremiah and Baruch were a witness to there. However, beyond the intention of the editor, this article of Chapter 39 that says "they were taken to Babylon" was saved by God, and it became Messiah / a witness of the Gospel of Jesus, of the people who has returned, of few people; it also has been implied. We can hear that Jeremiah and Baruch were left to this land and it was in the plan of salvation of God.

And, the words of God to the eunuch Ebede-Melech of the Ethiopian (16-18) has been added. "For I will certainly rescue you, and you will not fall by the sword; but you will have your own life as booty, because you have trusted in Me," Ebede-melech who saved Jeremiah from the hole which had been thrown was remembered. It is said that it was his trust in the Lord. Because it is said "before you on that day" (16), he survived and witnessed the day of that disaster, probably, he would have become its witness. Ebede-melech of foreigner was considered to be a witness with Jeremiah. Why foreigners became the witness of the word of God? Jews who has returned from Babylon was not dependable as ever, so the plan of salvation of God would be committed to the Gentiles; it would have been the mind of God. There is it in Hebrews, "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that us set before us," (Hebrews 12:1-3); we also want to desire to be a witness of words of God / the Gospel.



The genealogy of prophets