Jeremiah sings praises to the Lord as he remembers that the Lord is the God of Creation – “He has made the earth by His power; He has established the world by His wisdom, and stretched out the heaven by His understanding… For He is the Maker of all things; and Israel is the tribe of His inheritance. The Lord of hosts is His name.”
However the people of Judah and the surrounding nations do not fear the God of Creation. Instead they walk in the ways of their deceitful hearts and worship gods made by their own hands. Therefore, the Lord is using Babylon to bring judgment upon the nations including the nation of Judah. The Lord says Babylon is “My battle-ax and weapons of war: for with you I will break the nation in pieces; with you I will destroy kingdoms.”
After the Lord uses Babylon to judge the nations, He says He will then judge Babylon – “And I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all the evil they have done in Zion in your sight.” This repayment will occur when the Lord raises up the Medes and Persians to destroy Babylon. “For every purpose of the Lord shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without inhabitant.”
In 597 BC Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, “came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, as his servants were besieging it. Then Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his servants, his princes, and his officers went out to the king of Babylon; and the king of Babylon, in the eighth year of his reign, took him prisoner. And he carried out from there all the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house, and he cut in pieces all the articles of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said. Also he carried into captivity all Jerusalem: all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land. And he carried Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. The king’s mother, the king’s wives, his officers, and the mighty of the land he carried into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. All the valiant men, seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths, one thousand, all who were strong and fit for war, these the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon. Then the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah.”
Zedekiah is now sitting on the throne as the “puppet king” of Judah. He is the last king of Judah before the fall of Jerusalem. And although Judah still exists as a nation, it is under the rule of Babylon. “Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. He did evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of the Lord. And he also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear an oath by God; but he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord God of Israel. Moreover all the leaders of the priests and the people transgressed more and more, according to all the abominations of the nations, and defiled the house of the Lord which He had consecrated in Jerusalem.”
Zedekiah rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar by forming an alliance with Egypt. When the Chaldeans come up against Jerusalem, Pharaoh’s army from Egypt comes to help Jerusalem; therefore, the Chaldeans return home. Then the Lord says to Zedekiah, “Behold, Pharaoh’s army which has come up to help you will return to Egypt, to their own land. And the Chaldeans shall come back and fight against this city, and take it and burn it with fire… Do not deceive yourselves, saying, ‘The Chaldeans will surely depart from us,’ for they will not depart. For though you had defeated the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained only wounded men among them, they would rise up, every man in his tent, and burn the city with fire.” Because the Lord has already purposed to bring judgment upon Jerusalem for their rebellion against Him, and nothing is going to stop the Lord’s plans and purposes.
Tomorrow Jeremiah is thrown into a dungeon and we meet the prophet Ezekiel who was taken into captivity along with King Jehoiachin, so keep reading.
(Jeremiah 51:15-58, 2 Kings 24:10-17, 2 Chronicles 36:10, 1 Chronicles 3:10-16, 2 Chronicles 36:11-14, Jeremiah 52:1-3, 2 Kings 24:18-20, Jeremiah 37:1-10)