Jeremiah 52
(Hope Persists)
August 21st

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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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 Verses

3,023 men of Judah were taken into exile by Nebuchadnezzar in the seventh year of his reign.
832 from Jerusalem were taken in the eighteenth year of his reign.
745 men from Judah were taken off by Nebuzaradan, the king’s chief deputy, in Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year. The total number of exiles was 4,600.

- Jeremiah 52:28-30 (MSG)

Summary of Chapters

This is the final chapter of the book of Jeremiah, but it is presumed to have been written by another author as a conclusion to the book. The chapter is an historical account of the fall of Jerusalem. It records the beginning and ending dates of the siege of Jerusalem; which conclude with the capture of King Zedekiah, the last king to rule Judah prior to the fall of Jerusalem.

The author recounts the cruel treatment of Zedekiah and his family and officials at the hands of their captors. He also records the plundering and destruction of the temple. The account here provides an inventory of items stolen and carried to Babylon by the invaders.

Near the end of the chapter there is a tally of the people taken into exile at three different points in Jeremiah’s life. The first group was exiled with Jehoiachin, the last group with the fall of Jerusalem and one group in-between. The total written here is 4,600 people, but most likely it only counts the heads of the families. The final verses of the book describe the release of king Jehoiachin from prison, 37 years after his exile. He had ruled Judah prior to his uncle Zedekiah, but had been taken into exile first. The final verses of Jeremiah record that Jehoiachin was released by a newly anointed king, was invited to dine at the kings table, and given an allowance until the end of his days:

    In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Awel-Marduk became king of Babylon, on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month, he released Jehoiachin king of Judah and freed him from prison. He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table. Day by day the king of Babylon gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance as long as he lived, till the day of his death.

    - Jeremiah 52:31-34 (NIV)

Reflection and Application

This chapter is an encore presentation of 2 Kings 24:18 – 25:30, minus a few verses and with the addition of some details. It serves as an appropriate conclusion for the book of Jeremiah to demonstrate that his prophecies came true. Why the two versions are different is not totally clear, but their common parts should be accepted as the facts that are to be remembered: Israel sinned and was punished, but a remnant remained. A descendant of David survived, as promised – the release of Jehoiachin was a significant sign of hope for a future for Israel.

The account of the fall of Jerusalem might also be considered as part of the explanation for God’s anger against Babylon. The cruelty towards the people and the destruction and desecration of the temple may have been considered over the top. These are the types of actions that may have earned Babylon the title of “Arrogant One” assigned by the LORD in the oracle against that nation (e.g. in Jeremiah 50:31).

The book of Jeremiah is ultimately about hope. It includes a lot of sorrow and suffering, but repeatedly points to, and ends with, hope. Although Jehoiachin had been an evil king and was taken captive, his descendants will represent the family of David and will eventually produce the earthly father of Jesus. The first chapter of the book of Matthew records the genealogy of Jesus:

    After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah (aka Jehoiachin) was the father of Shealtiel,
    Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
    Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
    Abihud the father of Eliakim,
    Eliakim the father of Azor,
    Azor the father of Zadok,
    Zadok the father of Akim,
    Akim the father of Elihud,
    Elihud the father of Eleazar,
    Eleazar the father of Matthan,
    Matthan the father of Jacob,

    and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

    - Matthew 1:12-16 (NIV)

God can create success from failure and has a plan for each of us. When times are tough, remember the hope described in the book of Jeremiah and the popular quote from 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (NIV)."

For another brief perspective on this chapter see the blog entry from the web site Reading and Understanding God's Story

What are the key words from the 52 chapters of Jeremiah that stand out in your mind? See the word cloud for this book from the 66 Clouds web site by clicking the following link: Jeremiah word cloud

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What items, if any, have ever been stolen from you?
    2. When have you experienced success after a failure?
    3. How would you summarize the book of Jeremiah for a friend?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we know you give us hope and we are reminded of it by the sign of the cross that we see in our churches and oftentimes see it on the highway. Help us to turn to you in times of trouble.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Truck Drivers

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Lamentations 1-2 (Not Gonna Say I Told You So)

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