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Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

Jeremiah 34-36

Chapter 34

The Lord spoke to Jeremiah while King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was attacking Jerusalem and the towns around it with a large army. This army consisted of troops from his own army and from the kingdoms and peoples of the lands under his dominion. 2 The Lord God of Israel told Jeremiah to go and give King Zedekiah of Judah a message. He told Jeremiah to tell him, “The Lord says, ‘I am going to hand this city over to the king of Babylon and he will burn it down. 3 You yourself will not escape his clutches, but will certainly be captured and handed over to him. You must confront the king of Babylon face to face and answer to him personally. Then you must go to Babylon. 4 However, listen to what I, the Lord, promise you, King Zedekiah of Judah. I, the Lord, promise that you will not die in battle or be executed. 5 You will die a peaceful death. They will burn incense at your burial just as they did at the burial of your ancestors, the former kings who preceded you. They will mourn for you, saying, “Poor, poor master!” Indeed, you have my own word on this. I, the Lord, affirm it!’”

6 The prophet Jeremiah told all this to King Zedekiah of Judah in Jerusalem. 7 He did this while the army of the king of Babylon was attacking Jerusalem and the cities of Lachish and Azekah. He was attacking these cities because they were the only fortified cities of Judah which were still holding out.

8 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to grant their slaves their freedom. 9 Everyone was supposed to free their male and female Hebrew slaves. No one was supposed to keep a fellow Judean enslaved. 10 All the people and their leaders had agreed to this. They had agreed to free their male and female slaves and not keep them enslaved any longer. They originally complied with the covenant and freed them. 11 But later they had changed their minds. They had taken back their male and female slaves that they had freed and forced them to be slaves again. 12 That was when the Lord spoke to Jeremiah, 13 “The Lord God of Israel has a message for you. ‘I made a covenant with your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt where they had been slaves. It stipulated, 14 “Every seven years each of you must free any fellow Hebrews who have sold themselves to you. After they have served you for six years, you shall set them free.” But your ancestors did not obey me or pay any attention to me. 15 Recently, however, you yourselves showed a change of heart and did what is pleasing to me. You granted your fellow countrymen their freedom and you made a covenant to that effect in my presence in the house that I have claimed for my own. 16 But then you turned right around and showed that you did not honor me. Each of you took back your male and female slaves whom you had freed as they desired, and you forced them to be your slaves again. 17 So I, the Lord, say: “You have not really obeyed me and granted freedom to your neighbor and fellow countryman. Therefore, I will grant you freedom, the freedom to die in war, or by starvation or disease. I, the Lord, affirm it! I will make all the kingdoms of the earth horrified at what happens to you. 18 I will punish those people who have violated their covenant with me. I will make them like the calf they cut in two and passed between its pieces. I will do so because they did not keep the terms of the covenant they made in my presence. 19 I will punish the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the court officials, the priests, and all the other people of the land who passed between the pieces of the calf. 20 I will hand them over to their enemies who want to kill them. Their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals. 21 I will also hand King Zedekiah of Judah and his officials over to their enemies who want to kill them. I will hand them over to the army of the king of Babylon, even though they have temporarily withdrawn from attacking you. 22 For I, the Lord, affirm that I will soon give the order and bring them back to this city. They will fight against it and capture it and burn it down. I will also make the towns of Judah desolate so that there will be no one living in them.”’”

Chapter 35

The Lord spoke to Jeremiah when Jehoiakim son of Josiah was ruling over Judah. 2 “Go to the Rechabite community. Invite them to come into one of the side rooms of the Lord’s temple and offer them some wine to drink.” 3 So I went and got Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah the grandson of Habazziniah, his brothers, all his sons, and all the rest of the Rechabite community. 4 I took them to the Lord’s temple. I took them into the room where the disciples of the prophet Hanan son of Igdaliah stayed. That room was next to the one where the temple officers stayed and above the room where Maaseiah son of Shallum, one of the doorkeepers of the temple, stayed. 5 Then I set cups and pitchers full of wine in front of the members of the Rechabite community and said to them, “Have some wine.” 6 But they answered, “We do not drink wine because our ancestor Jonadab son of Rechab commanded us not to. He told us, ‘You and your children must never drink wine. 7 Do not build houses. Do not plant crops. Do not plant a vineyard or own one. Live in tents all your lives. If you do these things you will live a long time in the land that you wander about on.’ 8 We and our wives and our sons and daughters have obeyed everything our ancestor Jonadab commanded us. We have never drunk wine. 9 We have not built any houses to live in. We do not own any vineyards, fields, or crops. 10 We have lived in tents. We have obeyed our ancestor Jonadab and done exactly as he commanded us. 11 But when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invaded the land we said, ‘Let’s get up and go to Jerusalem to get away from the Babylonian and Aramean armies.’ That is why we are staying here in Jerusalem.”

12 Then the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. 13 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all told him, “Go and speak to the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. Tell them, ‘I, the Lord, say: “You must learn a lesson from this about obeying what I say! 14 Jonadab son of Rechab ordered his descendants not to drink wine. His orders have been carried out. To this day his descendants have drunk no wine because they have obeyed what their ancestor commanded them. But I have spoken to you over and over again, but you have not obeyed me! 15 I sent all my servants the prophets to warn you over and over again. They said, “Every one of you, stop doing the evil things you have been doing and do what is right. Do not pay allegiance to other gods and worship them. Then you can continue to live in this land that I gave to you and your ancestors.” But you did not pay any attention or listen to me. 16 Yes, the descendants of Jonadab son of Rechab have carried out the orders that their ancestor gave them. But you people have not obeyed me! 17 So I, the Lord, the God who rules over all, the God of Israel, say: “I will soon bring on Judah and all the citizens of Jerusalem all the disaster that I threatened to bring on them. I will do this because I spoke to them but they did not listen. I called out to them but they did not answer.”’”

18 Then Jeremiah spoke to the Rechabite community, “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all says, ‘You have obeyed the orders of your ancestor Jonadab. You have followed all his instructions. You have done exactly as he commanded you.’ 19 So the Lord God of Israel who rules over all says, ‘Jonadab son of Rechab will never lack a male descendant to serve me.’”

Chapter 36

The Lord spoke to Jeremiah in the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was ruling over Judah. 2 “Get a scroll. Write on it everything I have told you to say about Israel, Judah, and all the other nations since I began to speak to you in the reign of Josiah until now. 3 Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about all the disaster I intend to bring on them, they will all stop doing the evil things they have been doing. If they do, I will forgive their sins and the wicked things they have done.”

4 So Jeremiah summoned Baruch son of Neriah. Then Jeremiah dictated to Baruch everything the Lord had told him to say and Baruch wrote it all down in a scroll. 5 Then Jeremiah told Baruch, “I am no longer allowed to go into the Lord’s temple. 6 So you go there the next time all the people of Judah come in from their towns to fast in the Lord’s temple. Read out loud where all of them can hear you what I told you the Lord said, which you wrote in the scroll. 7 Perhaps then they will ask the Lord for mercy and will all stop doing the evil things they have been doing. For the Lord has threatened to bring great anger and wrath against these people.”

8 So Baruch son of Neriah did exactly what the prophet Jeremiah had told him to do. He read what the Lord had said from the scroll in the temple of the Lord. 9 All the people living in Jerusalem and all the people who came into Jerusalem from the towns of Judah came to observe a fast before the Lord. The fast took place in the ninth month of the fifth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was ruling over Judah. 10 At that time Baruch went into the temple of the Lord. He stood in the entrance of the room of Gemariah the son of Shaphan who had been the royal secretary. That room was in the upper court near the entrance of the New Gate. There, where all the people could hear him, he read from the scroll what Jeremiah had said.

11 Micaiah, who was the son of Gemariah and the grandson of Shaphan, heard Baruch read from the scroll everything the Lord had said. 12 He went down to the chamber of the royal secretary in the king’s palace and found all the court officials in session there. Elishama the royal secretary, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Achbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other officials were seated there. 13 Micaiah told them everything he had heard Baruch read from the scroll in the hearing of the people. 14 All the officials sent Jehudi, who was the son of Nethaniah and the grandson of Cushi, to Baruch. They ordered him to tell Baruch, “Come here and bring with you the scroll you read in the hearing of the people.” So Baruch son of Neriah went to them, carrying the scroll in his hand. 15 They said to him, “Please sit down and read it to us.” So Baruch sat down and read it to them. 16 When they had heard it all, they expressed their alarm to one another. Then they said to Baruch, “We must certainly give the king a report about everything you have read!” 17 Then they asked Baruch, “How did you come to write all these words? Do they actually come from Jeremiah’s mouth?” 18 Baruch answered, “Yes, they came from his own mouth. He dictated all these words to me and I wrote them down in ink on this scroll.” 19 Then the officials said to Baruch, “You and Jeremiah must go and hide. You must not let anyone know where you are.”

20 The officials put the scroll in the room of Elishama, the royal secretary, for safekeeping. Then they went to the court and reported everything to the king. 21 The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. He went and got it from the room of Elishama, the royal secretary. Then he himself read it to the king and all the officials who were standing around him. 22 Since it was the ninth month of the year, the king was sitting in his winter quarters. A fire was burning in the firepot in front of him. 23 As soon as Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king would cut them off with a penknife and throw them on the fire in the firepot. He kept doing so until the whole scroll was burned up in the fire. 24 Neither he nor any of his attendants showed any alarm when they heard all that had been read. Nor did they tear their clothes to show any grief or sorrow. 25 The king did not even listen to Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah, who had urged him not to burn the scroll. 26 He also ordered Jerahmeel, who was one of the royal princes, Seraiah son of Azriel, and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest the scribe Baruch and the prophet Jeremiah. However, the Lord hid them.

27 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah after Jehoiakim had burned the scroll containing what Jeremiah had spoken and Baruch had written down. 28 “Get another scroll and write on it everything that was written on the original scroll that King Jehoiakim of Judah burned. 29 Tell King Jehoiakim of Judah, ‘The Lord says, “You burned the scroll. You asked Jeremiah, ‘How dare you write in this scroll that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land and wipe out all the people and animals on it?’” 30 So the Lord says concerning King Jehoiakim of Judah, “None of his line will occupy the throne of David. His dead body will be thrown out to be exposed to scorching heat by day and frost by night. 31 I will punish him and his descendants and the officials who serve him for the wicked things they have done. I will bring on them, the citizens of Jerusalem, and the people of Judah all the disaster that I threatened to do to them. I will punish them because I threatened them but they still paid no heed.”’” 32 Then Jeremiah got another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah. As Jeremiah dictated, Baruch wrote on this scroll everything that had been on the scroll that King Jehoiakim of Judah burned in the fire. They also added on this scroll several other messages of the same kind.