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“In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and besieged it”

Jeremiah 39:1 (ESV)

Jerusalem Under Siege

Jeremiah had warned them. God had tried to give them an out. There was plenty of time for them to make a move in the right direction.

They just would not listen to God’s prophet.

It led to Jerusalem being taken over by the invaders from Babylon.

It led to Babylonian officials taking over and passing judgment on the king and his nobles.

It led to Zedekiah’s sons and the nobles being slaughtered.

It led to Zedekiah having his eyes put out and him being taken in chains to Babylon.

It led to a mass exile of people to Babylon in captivity.

But it left all of the poor people and Jeremiah in the land.

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Jeremiah Spared from Exile

“Take him, look after him well, and do him no harm, but deal with him as he tells you.”

Jeremiah 39:12 (ESV)

Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave clear instructions on the care for Jeremiah and they were carried out by Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard. Jeremiah was removed from the court of the prison and placed in another’s charge where he lived “among his own people.”

Jeremiah finds favor among the invaders despite being imprisoned and shunned by the kings and leadership of his own land. In spite of being spared the cruelty of the exile, we still experience Jeremiah’s words of agony and anguish in Lamentations that speak of this time period and give testimony to personal hopes and pleas for God’s people to turn around and repent by coming back to God.

Read what others have written on this time period and chapter as well:

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When he was at the Benjamin Gate, a sentry there named Irijah the son of Shelemiah, son of Hananiah, seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are deserting to the Chaldeans.” - Jeremiah 37:13 (ESV)
Jeremiah was imprisoned falsely due to false accusations.

It was All Based on a Lie

Jeremiah was falsely imprisoned because he was falsely accused of “going over to the Chaldeans” (NASB). It was a lie. Jeremiah even said so in his protest of being seized at the time, according to verse 14. It was all based on a lie.

It didn’t matter.

But Irijah would not listen to him and seized Jeremiah and brought him to the officials. And the officials were enraged at Jeremiah, and they beat him and imprisoned him in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for it had been made a prison. – Jeremiah 37:15 (ESV)

False Accusations with Brutal Treatment and Cruel Confinement

Jeremiah is seized, beaten, and imprisoned due to the belief that he was an ally of the Chaldeans. He spent “many days” in captivity at the house of Jonathan the scribe. He was there under false accusations and found himself appealing to King Zedekiah to not return to confinement in that same location or potentially die.

Jeremiah also said to King Zedekiah, “What wrong have I done to you or your servants or this people, that you have put me in prison?

Jeremiah 37:18 (ESV)

No matter what Jeremiah had done. He had not lied about the inevitable invasion of Jerusalem and Judah. He had been forthright and straightforward with the words that God had shared with him. Even when summoned by the king of Judah during his imprisonment, Jeremiah still dropped the truth on the king that he would be handed over to the king of Babylon. He even appealed to the king of Judah for some relief from the confinement at Jonathan’s house.

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So King Zedekiah gave orders, and they committed Jeremiah to the court of the guard. And a loaf of bread was given him daily from the bakers’ street, until all the bread of the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.

Jeremiah 37:21 (ESV)

Help to Hold Fast

The lies can still hold us in captivity when we have not strayed from the Word of God nor the will of God. We can find ourselves subjected to all kinds of persecution due to our obedience, but we must endure and remain steadfast.

We learn that confinement at Jonathan’s was going to kill Jeremiah, so he made his appeal to the king of Judah. Jeremiah made his appeal in the hopes of the king making things easier for him.

But it wasn’t enough to get him free.

Yet, we watch on as he endures being wrongfully imprisoned and remaining steadfast to God’s direction and orders.

Download the Bible study guide for this week and explore more of what Jeremiah endured and experienced as the Babylonian invasion raged on in Jerusalem.

Look at Jeremiah. His story does not end here. This is not the end for Jeremiah. This is just another leg in the journey for the weeping prophet.

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Now at that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard, which was at the house of the king of Judah (v. 2, NASB)

The Danger of the Royal Treatment

Jeremiah has found himself the target of royal displeasure. He is not the first character within the Bible to experience such treatment. Elijah was forced to take off and flee the wrath of Jezebel and Ahab in 1 Kings 19:3-8. It sounds awfully similar to John the Baptist in his dealings with Herod that led to his own imprisonment (Mark 1:14). It gives a whole new meaning to the term the “royal treatment.”

It was Jeremiah’s prophecy that had King Zedekiah on the defensive. God had broken down the bleak future of Zedekiah and his mother at the hands of the Chaldean invaders with an eventual death in Babylon. According to the words of the Lord, prophesied by Jeremiah, Zedekiah and his mother would die before the 70 years of captivity ended. They would never see the everlasting covenant with God’s redeemed people from Babylonian captivity.

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Jeremiah’s Prayer (in a Word Cloud)

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God’s Response to Jeremiah

31 “Indeed this city has been to Me a provocation of My anger and My wrath since the day that they built it, even to this day, so that it should be removed from My sight, 32 because of all the evil of the sons of Israel and the sons of Judah which they have done to provoke Me to anger—they, their kings, their leaders, their priests, their prophets, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

jeremiah 32:31-32 (NASB)

The Lord offers His justification for allowing the invaders from the North to lay siege against the corrupt city of Jerusalem and all of its inhabitants. His explanation described their disobedience and disregard for Him and their covenant.

They have turned their back to Me and not their face; though I taught them, teaching again and again, they would not listen to accept discipline. – Jeremiah 32:33 (NASB)

Everyone is responding to the first siege by the Chaldeans differently, especially as God reveals more of His plan.
IsraelJudahJeremiah
Chaldeans attacked the city of Jerusalem, sieging it & setting on fireZedekiah imprisoned the prophet Jeremiah based on his prophecyBuying land from Hanamel & buried the deed
Indeed, this city has been to Me a provocation of My anger and My wrath since the day that they built it. . . (v.31). . .Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it (v.4, NKJV)People will buy fields for money, sign and seal deeds, and call in witnesses in the land (v. 44)
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God’s way of dealing with them was to allow the abomination to be abolished by its invaders (v. 4, 31). There was no absolution for such act as defiling the the “house which is called by My name” in the Lord’s eyes. He would rather reserve an “everlasting covenant” for the remnant that would return to the land, another generation of the people sent into captivity. This being revealed in God’s response to Jeremiah’s prayer linked directly to the prophet’s directive to purchase the plot of land in Anathoth from his relative by the “right of redemption,” for in the future they will buy and sell land just as they had done before (v. 44).

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