[Treasures from God’s Word, Digging for Spiritual Gems: Jeremiah 25-28, and God’s Kingdom Rules, are all omitted from the review this week due to an enlarged Digging Deeper for Spiritual Gems section.]

Digging Deeper for Spiritual Gems

Summary of Jeremiah 26

Time Period: Beginning of rule of Jehoiakim (Before Jeremiah 24 and 25).

Main Points:

  • (1-7) Plea to Judah to listen because of calamity Jehovah is intending to bring.
  • (8-15) Prophets and priests turn against Jeremiah for prophesying doom and want to put him to death.
  • (16-24) Princes and people defend Jeremiah on the basis that he is prophesying for Jehovah.  Some older men speak on behalf of Jeremiah, giving examples of the same message from previous prophets.

Summary of Jeremiah 25

Time Period: Fourth year of Jehoiakim; first year of Nebuchadrezzar. (7 years before Jeremiah 24).

Main Points:

  • (1-7) Warnings given for previous 23 years, but no note taken.
  • (8-10) Jehovah to bring Nebuchadnezzar against Judah and surrounding nations to destroy, to make Judah devastated, an object of astonishment.
  • (11) Nations will have to serve Babylon 70 years.
  • (12) When 70 years have been fulfilled, King of Babylon will be called to account. Babylon to become a desolate waste.
  • (13-14) Servitude and destruction of nations will happen for a certainty because of Judah’s and nation’s actions in disobeying warnings.
  • (15-26) Cup of wine of Jehovah’s rage to be drunk by Jerusalem and Judah – make them a devastated place, object of astonishment, whistle at, malediction – (as at time of writing). So were Pharaoh, kings of Uz, Philistines, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, Ashdod, Edom, Moab, Sons of Ammon, kings of Tyre and Sidon, Dedan, Tema, Buz, kings of the Arabs, Zimri, Elam, and Medes.
  • (27-38) No escape.

Summary of Jeremiah 27

Time Period: Beginning of reign of Jehoiakim; repeats Message to Zedekiah (Same as Jeremiah 24).

Main Points:

  • (1-4) Yoke bars and bands sent to Edom, Moab, sons of Ammon, Tyre and Sidon.
  • (5-7) Jehovah has given all these lands to Nebuchadnezzar, they will have to serve him and his successors until the time of his land comes. ‘I have given it to whom it has proved right in my eyes,…even the wild beasts of the field I have given him to serve him.’ (Jeremiah 28:14 and Daniel 2:38).
  • (8) Nation that does not serve Nebuchadnezzar will be finished off with sword, famine and pestilence.
  • (9-10) Do not listen to false prophets who are saying ‘you will not have to serve the King of Babylon’.
  • (11-22) Keep serving the King of Babylon and you will not suffer devastation.
  • (12-22) Message of first 11 verses repeated to Zedekiah.

Verse 12 as vs 1-7, Verse 13 as vs 8, Verse 14 as vs 9-10

Rest of temple utensils to go to Babylon if they don’t serve Nebuchadnezzar.

Summary of Jeremiah 28

Time Period: Fourth year of reign of Zedekiah (Just after Jeremiah 24 and 27).

Main Points:

  • (1-17) Hananiah prophesies that exile (of Jehoiachin et al) will end within two years; Jeremiah reminds all that Jehovah has said it will not. Hananiah dies within two months, as prophesied by Jeremiah.
  • (14) Yoke of iron to be put on neck of all nations to serve Nebuchadnezzar.  ‘They must serve him, even wild beasts of the field I will give him.’   (Jeremiah 27:6 and Daniel 2:38).

Questions for Further Research:

Please read the following scripture passages and note your answer in the appropriate box(es).

Jeremiah 27, 28

  Fourth Year
Jehoiakim
Time of Jehoiachin Eleventh Year
Zedekiah
After
Zedekiah
(1) Which are the exiles who will return to Judah?
(2) When were the Jews under servitude to serve Babylon? (tick all that apply)

 

Deeper Analysis of Key Passages:

Jeremiah 27:1, 5-7

Verse 1 records “1In the beginning of the kingdom of Je·hoiʹa·kim”, the Scriptures state that all lands Judah, Edom, etc., had been given into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar by Jehovah, even the wild beasts of the field (contrast with Daniel 4:12,24-26,30-32,37 and Daniel 5:18-23) to serve him, his son Evil-Merodach and grandson[1] (Nabonidus[2]) (kings of Babylon) until the time of his own land comes.

Verse 6 states ‘And now I myself have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar’ indicating the action of giving has already taken place, otherwise the wording would be future ‘I will give’. Confirmation is given at 2 Kings 24:7 where the record states that at the latest, by the time of the death of Jehoiakim, the King of Egypt would not come out of his land, and all the land from the Torrent Valley of Egypt to the Euphrates was brought under the control of Nebuchadnezzar.  (If Year 1 of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar would have been crown prince and chief general of the Babylonian army (crown princes were often viewed as kings), as he became king in the 3rd Year of Jehoiakim.) Judah, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon were therefore already under the domination (serving) Nebuchadnezzar at that time.

Verse 7 emphasizes this when it states ‘And all the nations must serve even him’ again indicating the nations would have to continue serving, otherwise the verse would state (in future tense) ‘and all the nations will have to serve him’. To ‘serve him, his son and his son’s son (grandson)’ implies a long period of time, which would only end when ‘the time even of his own land comes, and many nations and great kings must exploit him’. Therefore the end of the servitude of the nations including Judah would be at Babylon’s fall, (i.e. 539 B.C.E.), not afterward (537 B.C.E.).

Jeremiah 25:1, 9-14

“And all this land must become a devastated place, an object of astonishment, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”’ 12 “‘And it must occur that when seventy years have been fulfilled I shall call to account against the king of Babylon and against that nation,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘their error, even against the land of the Chal·deʹans, and I will make it desolate wastes to time indefinite. 13 And I will bring in upon that land all my words that I have spoken against it, even all that is written in this book that Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations’” (Jer 25:11-13)

Verse 1 records “in the fourth year of Je·hoiʹa·kim the son of Jo·siʹah, the king of Judah, that is, the first year of Neb·u·chad·rezʹzar the king of Babylon;’, Jeremiah prophesied Babylon would be called to account at the completion of 70 years. He prophesied “11and all this land will be reduced to ruins and will become an object of horror; and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon for 70 years. 12 But when 70 years have been fulfilled (completed), I will call to account the king of Babylon and that nation for their error, declares Jehovah, and I will make the land of the Chaldeans a desolate wasteland for all time

These nations will have to serve the King of Babylon for 70 years.’ What where these nations? Verse 9 stated it was ‘this land … and against all these nations around about.’ Verse 19-25 goes on to list the nations round about : ‘Pharaoh the King of Egypt .. all the kings of the land of Uz .. the kings of the land of the Philistines, .. Edom and Moab and the sons of Ammon; and all the kings of Tyre and .. Sidon .. and Dedan and Tema and Buz.. and all the kings of the Arabs .. and all the kings of Zimri, Elam and Medes.

Why prophesy that Babylon would be called to account after the completion of 70 years? Jeremiah says ‘for their error’.  It was because of Babylon’s pride and presumptuous actions, even though Jehovah was allowing them to bring punishment on Judah and the nations.

The phrase ‘will have to’ or ‘shall’ is in the perfect present tense, so Judah and the other nations were already under Babylonian domination, serving them; and would have to continue doing so until the completion of 70 years.

When was Babylon called to account? Daniel 5:26-28 records the events of the night of the fall of Babylon: ‘I have numbered the days of your kingdom and finished it, you have been weighed in the balances and found deficient, … your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.’  Using the generally accepted date of mid-October 539 B.C.E.[3] for the fall of Babylon, we add 70 years which takes us back to 609 B.C.E.  The destruction was foretold because they did not obey (Jeremiah 25:8) and Jeremiah 27:7 stated they would ‘serve Babylon until their [Babylon’s] time comes’.

Did anything significant happen in 610/609 B.C.E.? [4] Yes, it seems that the shift of world power from the Bible’s point of view, from Assyria to Babylon, took place when Nabopalassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar took Harran the last remaining city of Assyria and broke its power.  Assyria’s last King, Ashur-uballit III, was killed within little over a year in 608 B.C.E. and Assyria ceased to exist as a separate nation.

Jeremiah 25:17-26

Here Jeremiah “proceeded to take the cup out of the hand of Jehovah and make all the nations drink 18namely, Jerusalem and the cities of Judah and her kings, her princes, to make them a devastated place[5], an object of astonishment[6], something to whistle at[7] and a malediction[8], just as at this day;[9] In vs 19-26, the surrounding nations would also have to drink this cup of devastation and finally the King of Sheshach (Babylon) would also drink this cup.

This means the devastation cannot be linked with the 70 years from verses 11 & 12 because it is linked with the other nations. ‘Pharaoh the king of Egypt, kings of Uz, of Philistines, of Edom, of Moab, of Ammon, Tyre, Sidon’ etc. These other nations were also to be devastated, drinking the same cup.  However there is no time period mentioned here, and these nations all suffered from various lengths of periods of devastation, not 70 years which logically would have to be applied to them all if it applied to Judah and Jerusalem. Babylon herself did not start to suffer destruction until around 141 B.C.E. and was still inhabited until the Muslim conquest in 650 C.E., after which it became forgotten and hidden under the sands until the 18th century.

It is unclear whether the phrase ‘a devastated place… just as at this day’ refers to the time of prophecy (4th Year Jehoiakim) or later, likely when he rewrote his prophecies after their burning by Jehoiakim in his 5th year.  (Jeremiah 36:9, 21-23, 27-32[10]). Either way it appears Jerusalem was a devastated place by the 4th or 5th year of Jehoiakim, (1st or 2nd year of Nebuchadnezzar) likely as a result of the siege of Jerusalem in the 4th year of Jehoiakim.  This is before Jerusalem’s devastation in Jehoiakim’s 11th year which resulted in Jehoiakim’s death, and Jehoiachin’s exile 3 months later, and its final devastation in 11th year of Zedekiah. This lends weight to understanding Daniel 9:2 ‘for fulfilling the devastations of Jerusalem’ as referring to more occasions than just the final destruction of Jerusalem in Year 11 of Zedekiah.

Jeremiah 28:1, 4, 12-14

“Then it came about in that year, in the beginning of the kingdom of Zed·e·kiʹah the king of Judah, in the fourth year, in the fifth month,” (Jer 28:1)

In Zedekiah’s 4th year Judah and surrounding nations were under a wooden yoke of servitude to Babylon. Now because of defiantly breaking the wooden yoke and contradicting Jeremiah’s prophecy from Jehovah about serving Babylon, they were going to be under an iron yoke instead. Desolation was not mentioned. Referring to Nebuchadnezzar, Jehovah said: “Even the wild beasts of the field I will give him”. (Compare and contrast with Daniel 4:12, 24-26, 30-32, 37 and Daniel 5:18-23, where the wild beasts of the field would seek shade under the tree (of Nebuchadnezzar) whereas now Nebuchadnezzar himself was ’dwelling with the beasts of the field.’)

From the wording (tense) it is clear that the serving was already in progress and could not be avoided. Even the false prophet Hananiah proclaimed that Jehovah would ‘break the yoke of the King of Babylon’ thereby confirming the nation of Judah was under the domination of Babylon by the 4th Year of Zedekiah at the latest. The completeness of this service is emphasized by mentioning that even the beasts of the field would not be exempt. The Darby Translation reads in vs 14 For thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel: I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also.’  Young’s Literal Translation states ‘and they have served him and also the beasts of the field I have given to him’.

Conclusion

These nations will have to serve Babylon 70 Years

(Jeremiah 25:11,12, 2 Chronicles 36:20-23, Daniel 5:26, Daniel 9:2)

Time Period: October 609 BCE – October 539 BCE = 70 Years,

Evidence: 609 B.C.E., Assyria becomes part of Babylon with the fall of Harran, which becomes the world power. 539 B.C.E., The destruction of Babylon ends control by King of Babylon and his sons.

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Footnotes:

[1] It is unclear whether this phrase was meant to be a literal grandson or offspring, or the generations of a line of kings from Nebuchadnezzar. Neriglissar succeeded Nebuchadnezzar’s son Evil (Amil)-Marduk, and was also a son-in-law to Nebuchadnezzar. Neriglissar’s son Labashi-Marduk ruled only about 9 months before being succeeded by Nabonidus. Either explanation fits the facts and hence fulfills the prophecy. (See 2 Chronicles 36:20 ‘servants to him and his sons’.)

[2] Nabonidus was probably a son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar as it is believed he also married a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar.

[3] According to the Nabonidus Chronicle, the Fall of Babylon was on the 16th day of Tasritu (Babylonian), (Hebrew – Tishri) equivalent to 3th October. http://www.livius.org/cg-cm/chronicles/abc7/abc7_nabonidus3.html

[4] When quoting secular chronology dates at this time period in history we need to be careful in stating dates categorically as there is rarely a full consensus on a particular event occurring in a particular year. In this document I have used popular secular chronology for non-biblical events unless otherwise stated.

[5] Hebrew – Strongs H2721: ‘chorbah’ – properly = drought, by implication: a desolation, decayed place, desolate, destruction, laid waste.

[6] Hebrew – Strongs H8047: ‘shammah’ – properly = ruin, by implication: consternation, astonishment, desolate, waste.

[7] Hebrew – Strongs H8322: ‘shereqah’ – a hissing, whistling (in derision).

[8] Hebrew – Strongs H7045: ‘qelalah’ – vilification, curse.

[9] The Hebrew word translated ‘at this’ is ‘haz.zeh’. See Strongs 2088. ‘zeh’. Its meaning is This, Here. i.e. present time, not past. ‘haz’ = at.

[10] Jeremiah 36:1, 2, 9, 21-23, 27-32. In the 4th year of Jehoiakim, Jehovah told him to take a roll and write all the words of prophesy he had given him down to that time. In the 5th year these words were read aloud to all the people gathered at the temple.  The princes and the king then had it read to them and as it was read it was burnt. Jeremiah was then commanded to take another roll and rewrite all the prophecies that had been burnt.  He also added more prophecies.