What the King of Babylon did to Zedekiah and to Jerusalem
An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Jeremiah
chapters 34 to 39
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A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.
Verses 1-3 Zedekiah was not loyal to Nebuchadnezzar, who had appointed him to rule Judah (2 Kings 24:17-20). So the king of Babylon had entered Judah with his armies. Other nations that Nebuchadnezzar ruled had to supply soldiers. They helped him to fight. He began to attack Jerusalem at the end of 589 *BC. At the same time, he attacked other cities in Judah.
Jeremiah's message warned Zedekiah not to oppose the *Babylonians. That would be of no use. The *LORD would allow the *Babylonians to destroy the city (Jeremiah 21:1-10). Zedekiah himself would not escape. He would have to see the king of Babylon and go into *exile.
Verses 4-5 Jeremiah gave Zedekiah some comfort about his future. Nebuchadnezzar would not kill him. Instead, Zedekiah would die peacefully. People would have a special ceremony for him. They would burn sweet substances on a fire to give him honour. Asa, king of Judah, had a fire like that to give him honour (2 Chronicles 16:14). People would be sad when Zedekiah died. Jeremiah advised him to accept defeat. Then the enemy would not destroy the city. And he and his family would remain alive (Jeremiah 38:17).
But Zedekiah did not have the courage to follow Jeremiah's advice. He was afraid of his own officials (Jeremiah 38:5). Some *Jews had left the city already. Zedekiah was afraid that the *Babylonians would hand him over to them. Later, the *Jews behaved badly towards him (Jeremiah 38:19). So he did not die in a peaceful way. The *Babylonians killed his sons. They made Zedekiah blind. Then they took him to prison in Babylon (Jeremiah 52:6-11).
Verses 6-7 The cities of Lachish and Azekah were south-west of Jerusalem. Recently, people discovered a number of ostraca in the broken old buildings at Lachish. Ostraca were broken pieces of pots on which the people wrote. Those old pots were made about 588 *BC. On one ostraca was a message from the chief officer in a place outside the city. He wrote to the military chief officer at Lachish. He said that he was waiting for signals. People made those signals with fire. But he could not see any from Azekah. Probably the *Babylonians destroyed Azekah soon after Jeremiah wrote the words in verse 7.
Verses 8-11 Zedekiah persuaded the owners of the *Hebrew slaves to free them. He may have thought that the *LORD would appreciate that action. Perhaps the *LORD would stop the *Babylonians, who were waiting to get into the city. Supplies of food were becoming low. Perhaps the owners thought that they would have fewer people to feed. The slaves could take care of themselves. Maybe they would be more willing to help to defend the city. The slaves became free after their owners made a serious promise in the *Temple. Then news came that the *Babylonians had gone away. They went to meet an *Egyptian army that was coming to help the people in Jerusalem. So the owners thought that the danger was over. They did not do what they had promised. They took back their slaves again.
Verses 12-16 Sometimes *Israelites sold themselves to other *Israelites. They may have become so poor that they could not pay their debts. Sometimes they became slaves because of the unfair behaviour of other people. Amos spoke about people who became slaves. Sometimes their debt was as small as the price of a pair of shoes (Amos 2:6). The *LORD had brought their *ancestors out of Egypt, where they were slaves. So he told their *ancestors that a *Hebrew owner had to free his slave after 6 years. In the 7th year, they had to allow the slave to go wherever he chose (Exodus 21:2).
But their *ancestors had not obeyed the *LORD’s law. The people in Jeremiah's time had realised their *ancestor’s wrong behaviour. So they had made a *covenant in the *Temple. They said that they would obey the *LORD. But they had changed their behaviour. They had freed their slaves. Then they forced the slaves to become slaves again. So the owners were not carrying out a serious promise that they had made in the *Temple. They spoke the *LORD’s name when they had made the promise. Also they were not obeying the third *commandment. People should be careful to do what they promise. They should not have asked the *LORD to be a witness to their promise (Exodus 20:7).
Verse 17 The people in Jeremiah's time had not freed their slaves. So the *LORD would give to those same people 'freedom'. They would be free to die in the war. And they would die because of disease and hunger. All the nations of the world would consider them with disgust.
Verses 18-20 The people 'cut a *covenant'. In Genesis 15:9-18 you can read how Abraham did that. First they killed an animal and cut it into two pieces. They placed those pieces opposite to each other. Then the people who were making the *covenant would walk between the two pieces. That was a way to sign the *covenant. It also warned a person. He would have the same fate as that of the animal if he did not obey the *covenant. All the leaders and people had performed that ceremony. Because they had not carried out their promise, they would die like the animal. Their enemies would kill them and leave their bodies. Nobody would bury them. They would become food for birds and wild animals that fed on dead bodies.
Verses 21-22 The *Babylonian army had gone for a while. But the *LORD would bring them back to fight against Jerusalem. The *Babylonian army would defeat the *Egyptian army. Then the *Babylonians would return to Jerusalem. They would take control of the city. Then they would burn it down. They would destroy the towns in Judah so that nobody could live in them. Some people dig up ancient places. They have shown that many towns in Judah became empty. That happened after 588 *BC.
Verses 1-11 That incident happened towards the end of Jehoiakim's rule as king. Nebuchadnezzar had sent into Judah armies of people whom he ruled. He wanted them to be a nuisance to Judah (2 Kings 24:1-2). The Rechabite family were part of the Kenite *tribe (1 Chronicles 2:55). Jonadab had helped Jehu to destroy Ahab's family. He had joined in when they killed the *Baal *worshippers (2 Kings 10:15-17; 23-25). Probably the Rechabite family moved into Judah from the northern *kingdom. That happened after Assyria defeated Israel in 722 *BC. Jonadab believed that the *Israelites had changed their behaviour. They had lived in tents. And they had wandered with their sheep in the *desert. When they entered the country called Canaan, they lived in houses. Then they copied the behaviour of the people in Canaan.
The people in Canaan believed that *Baal made their crops grow. They drank much wine when they *worshipped *Baal. So Jonadab ordered his family and his *descendants to live in tents. They had to wander as they looked after their sheep. They never drank wine. The Nazarites made a similar promise not to drink wine (Numbers 6:1-4).
Jeremiah arranged everything in a way that made the occasion important. That would tempt the Rechabite people not to obey their promise to their *ancestor Jonadab. Jeremiah brought the whole family into the *Temple. Jaanaziah was their leader. (His father, Jeremiah, was not the same as Jeremiah the *prophet.) Jeremiah took the Rechabite people into a room where people stored goods. The room belonged to the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah. 'Man of God' is what they used to call the *prophets, like Elijah (1 Kings 17:24) and Elisha (2 Kings 4:9, 16-27).
Jeremiah provided a large quantity of wine. There were bowls and cups in which to pour the wine. Then he invited the Rechabite people to drink some wine. Probably they respected Jeremiah. But they remained loyal to their *ancestor’s command. Their *ancestor had made that command more than 200 years earlier. The Rechabite people refused to drink the wine. They explained that they had come into Jerusalem because of only one reason. They came because of the danger from Nebuchadnezzar's armies. Probably they could not live in tents inside the city of Jerusalem.
Verses 12-17 Jeremiah tried to give wine to the Rechabites. That was a lesson to Judah. Jonadab's *descendants had obeyed his order not to drink wine. They had obeyed for more than 200 years. But the people in Judah had not obeyed the *LORD. He had spoken to them many times. His *prophets had warned them not to *worship false gods. The *prophets had told the people in Judah to change their behaviour. Then they would remain in the country that the *LORD had given to them. But the people in Judah refused to listen to the *prophets. They would not obey the *LORD. So they had to expect great trouble to come to Judah. They would die because the enemy would kill them. And they would die because of hunger and disease. The *Babylonians would destroy their city.
Verses 18-19 The Rechabite family had been loyal to their *ancestor's order. So the *LORD promised a future for them. The *Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 587 *BC. But we do not know what happened to the Rechabites. However, Nehemiah records that Malchijah, son of Rechab, repaired the Dung Gate in Jerusalem. He is called a ruler of the district of Beth-Lakkerem, which means 'the house of the *vineyard’. So he may have had to change the way that he behaved (Nehemiah 3:14).
In the 19th century in England, some people were very worried that people drank too much wine. It caused many social problems. So the people began a Society. It encouraged people not to drink wine. The people in the Society called themselves ‘Rechabites’.
This chapter describes how Jeremiah wrote down his *prophecies. The rulers listened to his record. But when King Jehoiakim heard it, he destroyed the record. Later Jeremiah made a new record of his *prophecies. And he included extra messages from the *LORD.
Verses 1-4 About the year 605 *BC, Jeremiah dictated his messages. That was the year when the *Babylonians defeated the *Egyptians at the battle called Carchemish. The *Babylonians were the 'enemy from the north' about whom Jeremiah had spoken. So Jeremiah thought that it was urgent to record the *LORD’s messages. Soon it might become too dangerous to announce them. Jeremiah spoke about what would happen to the people. He hoped that they would take notice. Then they would change their ways, and the *LORD would forgive them.
A *scroll was a long piece of paper that the writer could roll up. Then a person would read the words as he unrolled the *scroll slowly. The *prophecies were those that Jeremiah made between 626 *BC and 605 *BC. They were about Israel and Judah. Jeremiah was a *prophet 'to the nations' (Jeremiah 1:5). So the *scroll may have included the messages that we read in Jeremiah chapters 46-51.
Verses 5-7 We do not know why Jeremiah could not go to the *Temple himself. Pashhur had put him in prison for a night. That happened after his message when he broke the jar (Jeremiah 19:1-15; 20:1-2). Perhaps the priests would not allow him to go in the *Temple because of all his *prophecies. They wanted to kill Jeremiah but he had escaped death. He had used the *LORD’s name when he spoke his *prophecies. The officials and the people had accepted that they were the *LORD’s words (Jeremiah 26:7-16). In times of national crisis, people ate no food for a day. When Baruch read the *scroll, there would be many people in the *Temple. They would listen to the *prophecies. Jeremiah still hoped that the people would pray to the *LORD. He wanted them to turn from their wicked behaviour. Then perhaps the *LORD’s punishment might not happen
Verses 8-10 The 9th month of Jehoiakim's 5th year as king was December 604 *BC. The people ate no food probably because of the *Babylonians. Recently they had attacked and destroyed the city called Ashkelon. Baruch read the *scroll in the room that belonged to Gemariah. His father, Shaphan, had been secretary when Josiah was the king. That was when the priest found the *scroll of the Law in the *Temple (2 Kings 22:3, 8-10). There is no record about the public reaction to the message that Baruch read out to them.
Verses 11-13 Micaiah reported to the officials what he had heard. They were meeting in the secretary's room in the palace. Elishama, the secretary, came from a royal family (Jeremiah 41:1). The names of the officials suggest that Baruch recorded them himself.
Verse 14 We know nothing more about Jehudi, whom they sent to fetch Baruch. But the list mentions three of his *ancestors. That means that he was an important person.
Verse 15-19 When Baruch arrived with the *scroll, the officials were friendly and polite. They invited him to sit down and to read the *scroll to them. They listened to what Jeremiah said. And they were afraid. They realised that they had to report the contents of the *scroll to the king. First they made sure that the *scroll was genuine. Baruch agreed that Jeremiah had dictated to him all the words on the *scroll. They were Jeremiah's words. They were not Baruch’s words. The officials remembered how the king had killed Uriah. Elnathan, son of Achbor, had brought Uriah back from Egypt when the king ordered him to do so (Jeremiah 26:20-23). So they told Jeremiah and Baruch to go and to hide.
Verses 20-22 The officials kept the *scroll in the secretary's room while they reported the matter to the king. Jehoiakim sent Jehudi to bring the *scroll to him. It was December. So the king was in a room that was warm. A fire was burning in a pot and that heated the room.
Verses 23-26 As Jehudi read a section from the *scroll, Jehoiakim cut it off. Then he threw it on the fire. Jehoiakim repeated that action one piece at a time until he had burnt the whole *scroll. He used the secretary's knife. Usually, the secretary used that knife to make the ends of pens sharp. And he used the knife to cut the edges of his parchment. Parchment was material on which people wrote. It was like very strong paper. Elnathan, Delaiah and Gemariah protested. But Jehoiakim took no notice of them. He and his servants did not regret their actions at all. If they had, they would have torn their clothes. (People tore their clothes to show that they were very unhappy.) Jehoiakim was angry. But his action was probably because he was afraid as well. His order to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah was not successful. The *LORD protected them, wherever they were hiding.
The whole incident contrasted with his father, Josiah. When Josiah was king, Hilkiah, the priest, found a *scroll in the *Temple. When Josiah heard the message on the *scroll, he tore his clothes. He was very unhappy that he and his nation had not obeyed the *LORD (2 Kings 22:11-13).
Verses 27-32. Jehoiakim destroyed the *scroll but Baruch would write it again. Jeremiah *prophesied that nobody would bury Jehoiakim in the proper way (see also Jeremiah 22:18-19). People may try very hard to destroy the *LORD’s words even today, but they will never succeed.
The *Babylonians took control of Jerusalem in 587 *BC. These chapters record the events that led up to that event. They describe Jeremiah’s difficulties when he was in prison. And they describe how Zedekiah met with Jeremiah.
Verse 1 Jehoiachin, the son of Jehoiakim, ruled for only three months. Then Nebuchadnezzar made him a prisoner and took him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar appointed Zedekiah, a son of Josiah, to rule under his authority.
Verse 2 Zedekiah had promised to be Nebuchadnezzar's servant. But Zedekiah did not do what he had promised. Neither he nor his servants nor his people listened to Jeremiah's message.
Verses 3-5 In the early summer of 588 *BC, *Pharaoh Hophra marched from Egypt into Judah. He supported Zedekiah against Babylon (Ezekiel 17:11-21). The *Babylonians heard that the *Egyptian army was approaching. So the *Babylonians left Jerusalem. The people in Jerusalem hoped that the *Babylonians would never return. Then they would not attack the city. It was during that time that the owners of slaves failed to carry out their promise. They forced their former slaves to become slaves again (Jeremiah 34:15-16). Zedekiah had sent a message to Jeremiah earlier, when the *Babylonians were waiting to attack Jerusalem. He had asked whether the *LORD would rescue Jerusalem from Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah *prophesied that the *Babylonians would destroy the city. He advised people to give themselves up to the *Babylonians (Jeremiah 21:1-10). Now that the *Babylonians had gone away, Zedekiah sent two messengers to Jeremiah. He asked Jeremiah to pray to the *LORD. Zedekiah wanted the *Babylonians to stay away permanently.
Verses 6-10 Jeremiah answered that the *Egyptian army would return to Egypt. Then the *Babylonians would return to Jerusalem. They would defeat the city and they would burn it. Zedekiah and his people thought that the *Babylonian army would go away. But that was a foolish thought. In verse 10 Jeremiah described a situation that could not happen. But he spoke in that way to make Zedekiah aware of the terrible truth. It was certain that the *Babylonians would get into the city. Nothing could stop them. The *Egyptian army went back home and they did not fight the *Babylonians. The *Babylonians returned to Jerusalem. They defeated the city, and destroyed it in 587 *BC.
Verses 11-12 The Benjamin Gate was on the north side of Jerusalem. It led to the region called Benjamin where Anathoth, Jeremiah's home town, was. Jeremiah was able to leave Jerusalem because the *Babylonians had gone away for a time. Perhaps he was going to discuss what was going to happen to the family property. Later, when he was in prison, his cousin, Hanamel, came to see him. That was when Jeremiah bought the field. It was the evidence of his hope for the future (Jeremiah 32:1-15).
Verses 13-14 It was natural for Irijah to suspect Jeremiah. Jeremiah had told the people to go out of the city. And he had told them to join the *Babylonians. So Irijah arrested Jeremiah and took him to the officials. Those officials were very different from the officials who had supported Jeremiah. Previously, when the priests wanted to kill him, the officials believed Jeremiah. They said that he had spoken the *LORD’s message (Jeremiah 26:16). Some officials told Jeremiah to hide from King Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36:14-10). Now the officials opposed Jeremiah. They behaved badly towards him.
Verses 15-16 To beat somebody was a punishment. Jonathan's house had become a prison. Perhaps the other prisons were full. Or perhaps the secretary's house was a place from which Jeremiah could not escape. Jeremiah's room was below the level of the ground. It would have been dark. He probably had little room to move. He was there alone. If they left him there, he could have died there.
Verse 17 Zedekiah was afraid of his own officials. So he arranged a secret interview with Jeremiah. He was hoping for a different message about the fate of himself and of the city. But Jeremiah's answer to his question was brief. There was a message. Zedekiah would become a prisoner of the *Babylonians. Jeremiah showed courage. He refused to change his message, even in his dangerous situation.
Verses 18-20 Jeremiah said that he had not been guilty of any crime. His *prophecies had happened. Many *prophets had said that Nebuchadnezzar would not attack the country. But their *prophecies had been false. Then Jeremiah appealed to the king. He did not want the king to send him back to his underground prison. Jeremiah was sure that he would die there.
Verse 21 Zedekiah granted Jeremiah’s request. Jeremiah moved to the yard of the guard, which was next to the palace. There he had greater freedom. Zedekiah also ordered daily bread for Jeremiah. That came from the baker's street. In the city, there was a street for each trade. The supply of bread lasted until the *Babylonians defeated Jerusalem (Jeremiah 52:6). Then, lack of food was so serious that many people starved (Lamentations 2:11-13; 4:9-10).
Verses 1-4 The officials knew Jeremiah's *prophecy. He said that the people should leave the city. He told them to join the *Babylonians. If they stayed in Jerusalem, they would die. But those people who left the city would remain alive (Jeremiah 21:8-10). So the officials said that Jeremiah was guilty. The soldiers who remained in the city would be less willing to fight. Jeremiah was making the people lose hope. So he deserved to die.
Verse 5 The officials were more powerful than the king. Perhaps they did not consider that Zedekiah was a true king. He was only the person whom Nebuchadnezzar had made ruler. They may have realised that he had a weak character. Zedekiah had a lack of courage. He was like Pontius Pilate in the *New Testament. Zedekiah handed over Jeremiah to his enemies. Pilate allowed other people to decide what happened to Jesus. Both Jeremiah and Jesus were innocent. Both Zedekiah and Pilate were in situations where their moral courage failed.
Verse 6 Most houses had a well. That was a place in which to store water. A well had the shape of a bell. This well had no water in it. But there was sticky mud at the bottom. The well was deep so the officials had to let down Jeremiah into the well. He sank into the mud. They did not want him to escape. They intended that he should die there. They persuaded themselves that actually they would not have killed him. He would die there from natural causes.
Verses 7-9 Ebed-Melech came from Cush. Today, the countries called Ethiopia and the Sudan are in this area. Often the place for a court was by the gate of a city (Ruth 4:1). Probably Zedekiah was acting as a judge at the Benjamin Gate. So Ebed-Melech was able to go with his problem to the king. Ebed-Melech said that Jeremiah would die in the well. He would starve when there was no food left in the city. Ebed-Melech wanted the king to rescue Jeremiah.
Verses 10-13 Zedekiah ordered Ebed-Melech to take 30 men with him. The large number may have been to protect Ebed-Melech. Probably the officials were not happy that somebody was rescuing Jeremiah. Ebed-Melech's help was practical and thoughtful. He obtained pieces of cloth and old clothes from the palace. They would act like a cushion. The thick strings would not be able to cut into Jeremiah's arms when they pulled him out from the well. Ebed-Melech trusted the *LORD when he rescued Jeremiah. So Ebed-Melech received a promise from the *LORD. He would remain alive when the *Babylonians defeated the city (Jeremiah 39:15-18).
Verse 14 The 'third entrance' may have been the royal entrance to the *Temple. That was the king's private way from the palace. It would be a suitable place for a secret interview.
Verses 15-16 Jeremiah knew how Zedekiah had listened to his officials. And he had put Jeremiah in prison. Now Jeremiah was afraid that either Zedekiah or his officials would kill him. Zedekiah promised not to do that. He used these words. 'I am sure that the *LORD is alive. And he has given breath to us.’ That means that Zedekiah’s promise was serious. The *LORD would end Zedekiah’s life if he failed to carry out that serious promise. So Jeremiah accepted his promise. However, Zedekiah had not carried out his promise to Nebuchadnezzar (Ezekiel 17:13-16).
Verses 17-18 Jeremiah gave Zedekiah a choice and he described the results of Zedekiah’s decision. If he gave in to the *Babylonians, he and his family would not die. The *Babylonians would not burn down the city. But if he refused to give in, the *Babylonians would destroy the city. Zedekiah would not escape either.
Verses 19-20 Zedekiah was afraid to go to the *Babylonians. Some *Jews had given in already to the *Babylonians. Zedekiah said that the *Jews would behave badly towards him. Perhaps they would blame Zedekiah for the *Babylonian attack. Also they might blame him because he did not make peace. So he had put the city in danger.
Verses 21-23 Jeremiah told Zedekiah that he need not be afraid of the *Jews. He should obey the *LORD. Zedekiah should give in to the *Babylonians. They would not kill him. But the *LORD had shown Jeremiah what could happen. If the king refused to give in, the women and children from his family would have troubles. Soldiers would make them prisoners and hand them over to the *Babylonian officials. The officials might behave badly towards them. The women would sing a sad song about friends who gave bad advice. And they were friends who did not remain loyal.
Probably Zedekiah thought about what some of the officials had done. They had encouraged him to go against his promise to the king of Babylon. They had persuaded him to ask Egypt for help. Jeremiah's enemies had put him down into the mud of the well. That describes how Zedekiah also had sunk into a bad situation. He could not help himself. The writer of Psalm 69:14 used the same kind of language. 'Rescue me from the mud. Free me from those people who hate me.’ Ebed-Melech rescued Jeremiah. But nobody would rescue Zedekiah. The king of Babylon would seize him. The *Babylonians would destroy the city.
Verses 24-28 Zedekiah did not want the officials to know what he had talked about with Jeremiah. Jeremiah might die if the officials heard about the conversation in the secret meeting. Jeremiah had advised Zedekiah to give in to the *Babylonians. Zedekiah was afraid of the reaction of the officials. Zedekiah did not have the courage to follow Jeremiah's advice. Jeremiah obeyed Zedekiah's order. He told the officials that he had been speaking to the king. He had asked the king urgently not to send him back to the prison in Jonathan's house. His answer satisfied the officials. Jeremiah remained in the same place until the *Babylonians defeated Jerusalem.
Verses 1-2 These two verses are a shorter account of Jeremiah 52:4-6. The *Hebrew year began in March to April. So Nebuchadnezzar began his attack on Jerusalem in January 588 *BC. In Jeremiah 52:4, it adds that it was on the 10th day. The *Babylonian attack continued until July 587 *BC, apart from a brief period when they left. The *Babylonians forced their way through the city walls. That happened just when there was no food left in the city (Jeremiah 52:6).
Verse 3 One of the *Babylonian officials was called Nergal-Sharezer. He may have been Neriglissar, who later became king of Babylon. There is another reference to him in verse 13.
Verses 4-7 Zedekiah saw 'them' coming. That may refer to the officers who were at the gate. Or it may refer to the *Babylonian soldiers as they were arriving. Zedekiah escaped through the king's garden. That was near to the pool called Siloam (Nehemiah 3:15). The gate between the two walls was probably the Fountain Gate (Nehemiah 2:14). The Arabah was the Jordan valley to the north of the Dead Sea. Zedekiah may have wondered whether to go further south. Or he could have crossed to the east side of the river Jordan. But the *Babylonian soldiers caught him near to Jericho. Nebuchadnezzar had his main camp at Riblah. It was a town in Syria near to the river Orontes. Nebuchadnezzar decided what cruel punishment he was going to give to Zedekiah. First Zedekiah had to watch the soldiers as they killed his sons. Then the soldiers made him blind. That was an ancient punishment. The *Philistines made Samson blind (Judges 16:21). Then Zedekiah went to Babylon with metal chains round him. They put chains round prisoners to make sure that they did not escape. Zedekiah probably died in Babylon.
Verses 8-10 Nebuzaradan arrived in August, one month after the *Babylonians defeated the city (Jeremiah 52:12). He took command of the arrangements to destroy the city. Also he destroyed the *Temple. The text here does not mention that, but 2 Kings 25:9 and Jeremiah 52:13 describe it. Nebuzaradan arranged to take away everyone from the city and take them into Babylon. Also he took away everyone who had joined the *Babylonians. Many of the skilful workers went into *exile with Jehoiachin in 597 *B.C (2 Kings 24:12-14). The 'rest of the people' were the skilful workers who had remained in Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan left behind only the poorest people. He gave them *vineyards and fields in which to work (Jeremiah 52:16).
Verses 11-14 Nebuzaradan obeyed the orders of Nebuchadnezzar to free Jeremiah. This is just a brief record. There is more detail in Jeremiah 40:1-6. That may have been the first of two occasions when Nebuzaradan freed Jeremiah. The *Babylonians respected Jeremiah. Probably they had heard about his advice from the people who had joined the Babylons. Gedaliah came from an important family in Judah. His grandfather, Shaphan, had been Josiah's secretary. He took to Josiah the *scroll that the priest had found in the *Temple (2 Kings 22:10). Shaphan's son, Ahikam, protected Jeremiah after the *Temple *prophecy. That happened when Jeremiah was in great danger (Jeremiah 26:24). Another son of Shaphan was called Gemariah. He tried to stop King Jehoiakim so that he did not burn Jeremiah's *scroll (Jeremiah 36:25). Gemariah and another son of Shaphan, called Elasah, took Jeremiah's letter to the *exiles in Babylon (Jeremiah 29:3).
Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah to govern Judah (Jeremiah 40:5). The home, to which Gedaliah took Jeremiah, was the official house of the ruler. At Lachish, people found the mark of a 6th century stamp. People used it to sign records. It has these words. 'Belongs to Gedaliah who is over the house.’ The word 'over the house' was the official way to describe the king's chief minister.
Verses 15-18 This promise follows Ebed-Melech's action because he rescued Jeremiah from the well (Jeremiah 38:7-13). Ebed-Melech was probably afraid of the officials. He had appealed to the king against their action. He had shown that their action was wicked. But the *LORD would reward him. Ebed-Melech would be safe when the *Babylonians defeated Jerusalem
AD ~ refers to the years after Christ was born.
ancestors ~ members of your family who lived in the past.
Baal ~ a local false god. People thought that these false gods made crops grow.
Babylonian ~ people who live in, or come from, the country called Babylon; anything connected with Babylon.
BC ~ refers to the years before Christ was born.
commandments ~ the 10 important commands or rules that God gave to Moses on *Mount Sinai.
covenant ~ the special promise that the *LORD made to his people, the *Israelites. The *LORD’s covenant with the *Israelites established a special relationship between him and them. But they had to obey him.
descendants ~ members of your family who live after you live.
desert ~ a wild place where there are small bushes and not much water. It has poor soil and people cannot grow crops there.
Egyptian ~ a person who comes from the country called Egypt; something that has a connection with Egypt.
exile ~ absence from the country where usually you live. Usually somebody forces a person to go into exile.
Hebrew ~ the language in which the authors wrote the *Old Testament. The language that the *Israelites spoke. Another name for a *Jew or an *Israelite.
Israelites ~ people from the nation called Israel; another name for the *Jews.
Jew ~ a *descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
kingdom ~ a country where a king rules.
LORD ~ a special name for God. In the *Hebrew Bible it translates the word YHWH. Probably YHWH (Yahweh) means ‘he is always alive’.
New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible that the writers wrote after the life of Jesus.
Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible that the writers wrote before the life of Jesus.
Pharaoh ~ a name for the king or the ruler in Egypt.
Philistines ~ a nation that fought against the people in Israel and in Judah.
prophecy/prophecies ~ the words that a *prophet speaks or writes.
prophesy ~ to speak or write about things that will happen in the future; to speak on behalf of God or on behalf of a false god.
prophet ~ a person who declares God's message.
scroll ~ a long piece of paper or the skin of an animal on which people wrote.
sin ~ when a person does or says bad things against God or against other people; the bad things that a person does or says when they do not obey God.
temple ~ a building where people *worship a false god.
Temple ~ the most important building in Jerusalem where the *Jews *worshipped God.
tribe ~ group of people that have the same *ancestor.
vineyard ~ the place where *vines grow.
worship ~ to show honour to God or to a false god. People may sing or pray when they worship. Or they may kneel or give a gift to God.
R.K. Harrison ~ Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries: Jeremiah and Lamentations ~ Tyndale Press 1973
Derek Kidner ~ The Bible Speaks Today: The Message of Jeremiah ~ IVP 2003 reprint
Alan Millard ~ Discoveries from Bible Times ~ Lion Publishing 1997
J A Thompson ~ New International Commentary on the *Old Testament: The Book of Jeremiah ~ Eerdmans 1980
New International Version ~1st published 1979
New International Readers Version ~ 1998
New International Version Study Bible ~ 1987
New English Bible ~ 1970
Jerusalem Bible ~ 1974
Today's English Version ~ 1976
Concise Oxford Chambers 21st Century
Thesaurus ~ Geddes and Grosset ~ 1999
© 2014, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).
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