Jeremiah 39-41
(The Walls Came Tumbling Down)
August 16th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, on the ninth day of the fourth month, the city wall was breached.

- Jeremiah 39:2 (NAB)

Summary of Chapters

These three chapters begin a historical account of the fall of the Jerusalem and the immediate aftermath. The beginning of chapter 39 records some of the events that took place during the month in which the city wall finally fell during a multi-year siege conducted by the Babylonians.

King Zedekiah, who had been inserted as a puppet king by the Babylonians, tried to sneak out with his entourage, but was caught running away. Zedekiah was forced to watch the execution of his family and officials, and then his captors gouged his eyes out. He is not mentioned again in the historical account and is presumed to not have survived long afterwards.

The Babylonians then burned the place to the ground. They allowed some of the poor people to remain and the king of Babylon commanded the release of Jeremiah. Prior to his release, Jeremiah had told Eded-Melech that the LORD will enable his escape during the siege because he had spoken to the king on Jeremiah’s behalf when Jeremiah was stuck in the well where he would have eventually died.

In chapter 40, the account of Jeremiah’s release is described in more detail. He was treated with great respect and was given the choice of coming to Babylon as a free man or staying in Judah. Jeremiah chose to stay with the others who were left behind. The king of Babylon had appointed Gedeliah to rule over the remaining people. Others were drawn to him from neighboring lands. They had a brief period of prosperity.

Chapter 41 explains how the good times ended when a jealous former “noble” named Ishmael assassinated Gedeliah in cold blood. Ishmael also murdered those who came to mourn and then took the survivors as captives. A well-meaning officer named Johanen son of Kareah rescued these survivors and then planned to escape to Egypt.

Reflection and Application

What went through Zedekiah’s mind when he was captured and had to suffer the anguish of watching his family and colleagues suffer? Maybe he acknowledged at that point that he should have listened to Jeremiah, but it was too late. Let’s ensure that we listen to the words of this prophet before it’s too late for us.

Why did the Babylonians treat Jeremiah with more respect than his own people? This is a consistent flaw of human nature. We overlook the geniuses and divinely appointed that are among us because we underestimate them or are jealous of them. Jesus described this phenomenon when the people in his hometown took offense at his teachings:

We should be careful not to dismiss the wisdom of someone who we assumed is just a kid from the neighborhood, because God may have chosen him or her for a special mission.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

Related Questions

  1. What experiences have you had visiting the remains or ruins of forts or cities that had been overtaken?
  2. We know that all that is built by man eventually fades. How do we structure our life so that we are protected by an eternal wall?
  3. Who are the geniuses and divinely appointed among us that we may be overlooking?

Recommended Prayer
Father in heaven, please help us to see the strength and character of people in the same way you do and then fortify ourselves with your word

Suggested Prayer Concerns
Stone Masons

Looking Ahead

Tomorrow's reading: Jeremiah 42-45 (The Aftermath)

Comments and Questions
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