Jeremiah 38 – “Jeremiah’s Secret Message for Zedekiah”

deep pit giant cave spelunker ropeHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Jeremiah is placed in a pit and subsequently removed from it. Jeremiah secretly informs king Zedekiah that surrendering to the Babylonians will save Jerusalem but resisting will destroy it.

II. Photo
Jeremiah is captured: “[The officials] took Jeremiah and put him down in the pit of Malchiah, the king’s son, which was in the prison compound; they let Jeremiah down by ropes.” (v. 6)

III. Select Verses
4-6: Then the officials said to the king, “Let that man be put to death, for he disheartens the soldiers, and all the people who are left in this city, by speaking such things to them. That man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm!” King Zedekiah replied, “He is in your hands; the king cannot oppose you in anything!” So they took Jeremiah and put him down in the pit of Malchiah, the king’s son, which was in the prison compound; they let Jeremiah down by ropes. There was no water in the pit, only mud, and Jeremiah sank into the mud.
12-13: And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian called to Jeremiah, “Put the worn cloths and rags under your armpits, inside the ropes.” Jeremiah did so, and they pulled Jeremiah up by the ropes and got him out of the pit. And Jeremiah remained in the prison compound.
17-18: Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus said the LORD, the God of Hosts, the God of Israel: If you surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, your life will be spared and this city will not be burned down. You and your household will live. But if you do not surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, this city will be delivered into the hands of the Chaldeans, who will burn it down; and you will not escape from them.”
24-27: Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Don’t let anyone know about this conversation, or you will die. If the officials should hear that I have spoken with you, and they should come and say to you, ‘Tell us what you said to the king; hide nothing from us, or we’ll kill you. And what did the king say to you?’ say to them, ‘I was presenting my petition to the king not to send me back to the house of Jonathan to die there.’” All the officials did come to Jeremiah to question him; and he replied to them just as the king had instructed him. So they stopped questioning him, for the conversation had not been overheard.

IV. Outline
1-3. The officials of Jerusalem hear Jeremiah’s prophecy of doom
4-5. The officials persuade the king to kill Jeremiah
6. Jeremiah is placed in a pit of mud
7-9. Ebed-melech asks the king to save Jeremiah
10-13. Jeremiah is lifted from the pit by 30 men but stays in prison
14-16. Zedekiah allows Jeremiah to speak without repercussions
17-23. Jeremiah’s message: surrender will save the city and its people, resistance will lead to death and destruction
24-27. Zedekiah and Jeremiah keep the conversation a secret
28. Jeremiah remained in prison until the day Jerusalem was conquered

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

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