Relationships – Jeremiah and the Kings and Priests of Judah

“When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer. Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.

  • Jeremiah 7:27-28

The Lord Almighty, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you, because the people of both Israel and Judah have done evil and aroused my anger by burning incense to Baal.
Because the Lord revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing. I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying,
“Let us destroy the tree and its fruit;
    let us cut him off from the land of the living,
    that his name be remembered no more.”
But you, Lord Almighty, who judge righteously
    and test the heart and mind,
let me see your vengeance on them,
    for to you I have committed my cause.
Therefore this is what the Lord says about the people of Anathoth who are threatening to kill you, saying, “Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord or you will die by our hands”—therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will punish them. Their young men will die by the sword, their sons and daughters by famine. Not even a remnant will be left to them, because I will bring disaster on the people of Anathoth in the year of their punishment.”

  • Jeremiah 11:17-23

“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on this city and all the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked and would not listen to my words.’”

  • Jeremiah 19:15

When the priest Pashhur son of Immer, the official in charge of the temple of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin at the Lord’s temple. The next day, when Pashhur released him from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord’s name for you is not Pashhur, but Terror on Every Side. For this is what the Lord says: ‘I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; with your own eyes you will see them fall by the sword of their enemies. I will give all Judah into the hands of the king of Babylon, who will carry them away to Babylon or put them to the sword. I will deliver all the wealth of this city into the hands of their enemies—all its products, all its valuables and all the treasures of the kings of Judah. They will take it away as plunder and carry it off to Babylon. And you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house will go into exile to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you have prophesied lies.’”

  • Jeremiah 20:1-6

When the officials of Judah heard about these things, they went up from the royal palace to the house of the Lord and took their places at the entrance of the New Gate of the Lord’s house. Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, “This man should be sentenced to death because he has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears!”
Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people: “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the things you have heard. Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the Lord your God. Then the Lord will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you.

  • Jeremiah 26:10-13

Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribe’s knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire. The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes. Even though Elnathan, Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. Instead, the king commanded Jerahmeel, a son of the king, Seraiah son of Azriel and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet. But the Lord had hidden them.

  • Jeremiah 36:23-26

After the Babylonian army had withdrawn from Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s army, Jeremiah started to leave the city to go to the territory of Benjamin to get his share of the property among the people there. But when he reached the Benjamin Gate, the captain of the guard, whose name was Irijah son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah, arrested him and said, “You are deserting to the Babylonians!”
“That’s not true!” Jeremiah said. “I am not deserting to the Babylonians.” But Irijah would not listen to him; instead, he arrested Jeremiah and brought him to the officials. They were angry with Jeremiah and had him beaten and imprisoned in the house of Jonathan the secretary, which they had made into a prison.
Jeremiah was put into a vaulted cell in a dungeon, where he remained a long time. Then King Zedekiah sent for him and had him brought to the palace, where he asked him privately, “Is there any word from the Lord?”
“Yes,” Jeremiah replied, “you will be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon.”

  • Jeremiah 37:11-16

Then the officials said to the king, “This man should be put to death. He is discouraging the soldiers who are left in this city, as well as all the people, by the things he is saying to them. This man is not seeking the good of these people but their ruin.”
“He is in your hands,” King Zedekiah answered. “The king can do nothing to oppose you.”
So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.

  • Jeremiah 38:4-6

But the Babylonian army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. They captured him and took him to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced sentence on him. There at Riblah the king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes and also killed all the nobles of Judah. Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon.

  • Jeremiah 39:5-7

When Jeremiah had finished telling the people all the words of the Lord their God—everything the Lord had sent him to tell them—Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, “You are lying! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, ‘You must not go to Egypt to settle there.’ But Baruch son of Neriah is inciting you against us to hand us over to the Babylonians, so they may kill us or carry us into exile to Babylon.”
They also led away all those whom Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had left with Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan—the men, the women, the children and the king’s daughters. And they took Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch son of Neriah along with them.

  • Jeremiah 43:1-3, 6

A Quote

[Jeremiah 38:6]: no water, but mire. The murderous princes (cf. v. 4) would let God’s spokesman die of thirst, hunger, hypothermia, or suffocation if he sank too deeply into the bottom of the cistern. Cf. Psalm 69:2, 14, which is a reference to Messiah.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary

What Do We Know about their Relationship?

Jeremiah is young, an unproven prophet.  All of Jeremiah’s prophecies have an element of bad news, if not all bad news.

The kings and priests listened to false prophets, who fed them with good news to allow them the stay the present course.  God prophesied that they would not listen, and they did not listen, other than to reject the message and silence Jeremiah whenever possible.

The king acted as if he had the power to silence Jeremiah.

What Can We Infer about their Relationship?

There is no discussion of “hearts being hardened,” thus, we can infer that the king, his court, and the religious leaders were so far removed from worshipping the true God in the right way that hardening of hearts was past tense.

We can assume that the king had power over all his kingdom, but someone, or a voice in his head, said that killing God’s messenger, if he really was God’s messenger, was going too far.  Everything short of that was fair game.  Consider Rev. MacArthur’s assumption that placing Jeremiah in the cistern could easily have led to his death. but then the king and his court could deny that they “directly” killed the prophet.

In What Ways Can We Fill in the Gaps about their Relationship?

In another comment by Rev. MacArthur, not provided above, the imprisonment of Jeremiah may have not been in a dungeon or prison, in that it was not recorded that the standing king imprisoned Jeremiah.  Thus, the word in the Hebrew could have meant silenced or in some way prohibited.  How effective can a prophet be if they are banished to a location where their voice cannot be heard?  But it could really be that Jeremiah was imprisoned for a time and the corresponding records do not reflect it.

There could be a lot of gap filling in figuring out, or simply guessing, why the various kings did not kill Jeremiah.  Other prophets were killed.  Why not?

What Can We Learn from this Relationship?

These days, on the internet, the search engines and news feeds learn what you like and tailor the news to fit your interests.  You can also go to specific news feeds that censor opposing views.  Okay, fail to upload opposing views since these extremists might get upset with the word “censor” although that is what it is.  Thus, for example, while some people hear that masks and the COVID vaccine were very effective.  Others hear that the masks and vaccines did more harm than good.  There may be legitimate studies to make each statement or data that was simply invented in a back room somewhere, but they both cannot be correct.  Is one correct?  Or is the truth somewhere between the two extremes?

Thus, we need to have a balanced news report no matter how bad it hurts, but we need to read Scripture as much or more than we read or watch or listen to the news.  Just news, no matter how slanted toward your likes, will still be depressing.  It is essential that we know and often remind ourselves that Jesus won the war on the cross, and that in the end, all will be much better in Heaven for those who love the Lord.

But as for Jeremiah, when God gives us a message to proclaim, we proclaim it, even if no one listens.  And even if the results bring us hardship and sever relationships here on earth.

What Have We Learned thus far?

We have learned to:

  • Own our own mistakes and not blame others.
  • Be faithful to God, and worship properly, in the proper spirit.
  • Go to God in prayer, especially before any major decisions.
  • Do not show favoritism among family members, but always go to God.
  • Forgiveness is extremely important for none of us are perfect except for God.
  • Beyond physical love, there are other expressions of love, and respect is very important.
  • A relationship requires maintenance, nurturing, and an acceptance of the roles.
  • Be humble and listen to wise advice, and even wait when necessary.
  • At times, we must be bold and trust God, and we must obey.
  • And to love, love, and love.
  • Be trustworthy.  Trust is required.
  • And don’t worry.  God has this situation, and He has us in the palm of His hand.
  • And remember to forgive others and confess our sins.
  • And never go against what God instructs us to do.
  • And truly believe that God can show you mercy and accept the mercy offered.  Yet remember that it is indeed mercy.
  • Not blindly trust our buddies from our youth as advisors and there may be emotional ties that make their advice sound better than it is.
  • Understand that good cannot compromise with evil.

A Closing Prayer

We look to You for guidance.  When You give us a message to proclaim, let us know that Your strength within us can weather any storm of discontent.  Remind us that the number of views or likes is far from the most important thing.  The most important thing is
Soli Deo Gloria, glorifying You in all things, even when we lose friends and influence enemies in the process.
In Thy Name we pray,

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.


Add yours →

  1. Great words Mark. I don’t know why they even have “likes” on our post. I can go fro ten to 190 in one day and then back to ten. You and I both know we do this because it is part of who we are, but only God can define us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing this Mark

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Poor Jeremiah – talk about shooting the messenger … !
    I know Jeremiah went through some horrendous things, but as a writer, I always cringe when reading about the king burning the scroll, and Jeremiah’s being told to write it AGAIN.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: