Jeremiah 37 and 38
Although Egypt had been decisively defeated by the armies of Babylon at Carchemish twenty years before (46:2), now a new king had arisen in Egypt who sought to oppose Nebuchadnezzar’s southward advance. He sent an army, while Nebuchadnezzar was besieging Jerusalem, whose approach forced the Chaldeans to raise the siege. This excited great hopes, but Jeremiah was the Chaldeans, he said, would come back and burn the city with fire.
- How do these two arrests of Jeremiah illustrate 1:18, 19? His arrest seems to have contributed to his safety (37:21). Should we expect to find God’s goodness in our hardest experiences? Cf. Ps. 23:4; Acts 27:21-25.
- Which do you think were harder to bear – the physical sufferings or the reproaches hurled at him? Why did he not keep silent and so escape censure? See 20:7-11; Acts 4:18-20; 5:29.
- What can we learn from the character of Zedekiah as revealed in these chapters? Cf. Prov. 29:25a; Jas. 1:8.
37:12. ‘To take over some property among his people’ (Moffatt).
Jeremiah 39 – 41
The fall of Jerusalem and the events immediately following.
- What message did Jeremiah give to Ebed-Melech, and why? Cf. Matt. 10:40-42. Is your faith equally practical? Cf. Jas. 2:21-24.
- Note carefully 40:2, 3. Could the matter be better summed up than in these words of a heathen officer? Cf. Prov. 29:1; Is. 30:9-14.
- Most Christians are too ready to believe evil of others. Gedaliah was the opposite. What can we learn from this example? Note that as a public leader he had responsibility for others (40:10; 41:10) as well as for himself.
- 39:4. ‘Between the two walls’: i.e., of the city, probably ‘the wall along the west side of the east hill’ (Driver).
- 39:5. ‘Riblah’: in the far north, fifty miles south of Hamath.
- 41:1. Ishmael was probably jealous that Gedaliah had been appointed governor, and sought to get the remnant of the Jews under his control (41:10).