Study of Jeremiah, Chapters 25-26 Listening, and Jeremiah’s Escape

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Jeremiah

Can you imagine yourself in a position where you are responsible for delivering God’s message day after day, year after year, but no one is listening?  Jeremiah has been faithfully preaching God’s message for 23 years by this time, so many people have had the opportunity to hear what he is saying…repent from your sins.  The message has always been the same, and continues to be the same today.

Jeremiah 25:1-14Jeremiah 25:1-14
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

25 1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; 2 The which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, 3 From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened. 4 And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. 5 They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever: 6 And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt. 7 Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt. 8 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words, 9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. 10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. I will...: Heb. I will cause to perish from them 11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. punish: Heb. visit upon 13 And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations. 14 For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands.  

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1 This message for all the people of Judah came to Jeremiah from the LORD during the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign over Judah.  This was the year when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon began his reign.
2 Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people in Judah and Jerusalem, 3 “For the past twenty-three years – from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until now – the LORD has been giving me his messages.  I have faithfully passed them on to you, but you have not listened.
4 “Again and again the LORD has sent you his servants, the prophets, but you have not listened or even paid attention.  5 Each time the message was this: ‘Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are ding.  Only then will I let you live in this land that the LORD gave to you and your ancestors forever.  6 Do not provoke my anger by worshiping idols you made with your own hands.  Then I will not harm you.’
7 “But you would not listen to me,” says the LORD.  “You made me furious by worshiping idols you made with your own hands, bringing on yourselves all the disasters you now suffer.  8 And now the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says:  Because you have not listened to me, 9 I will gather together all the armies of the north under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, whom I have appointed as my deputy.  I will bring them all against this land and its people and against the surrounding nations.  I will completely destroy you and make you an object of horror and contempt and a ruin forever.  10 I will take away your happy singing and laughter.  The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard.  Your millstones will fall silent, and the lights in your homes will go out.  11 This entire land will become a desolate wasteland.  Israel and her neighboring lands will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years.
12 “Then, after the seventy years of captivity are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and his people for their sins,” Says the LORD.  “I will make the country of the Babylonians a wasteland forever.  13 I will bring upon them all the terror I have promised in this book – all the penalties announced by Jeremiah against the nations.  14 Many nations and great kings will enslave the Babylonians, just as they enslaved my people.  I will punish them in proportion to the suffering they cause my people.”

As we witness to others, sharing the Gospel, it is important that we never give up.  Regardless of people’s response, Jeremiah never failed to remain faithful to delivering God’s message, and this should serve as an example to us.  When we share God with others, we will get a variety of responses, but we should remain faithful to our call to share, and continue witnessing to others.  God never stopped loving His people of Israel, even when they rejected Him.  The same stands true today. God continues to love us, each and every day, even when we reject Him in our lives.
Jeremiah’s message was consistent over the years.  The bad behavior of the people and their continued worship of false gods would bring their destruction if they did not repent.  They will be held captive for seventy years, after which, their captors and other nations will also be punished for the same sins Judah was guilty of.

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arrogance

Every once in awhile, we come across that one person who is cockier and more arrogant than most.  They feel they are infallible; invincible.  They can be so irritating that you just want to reach up and ‘pop’ them on the back of the head!  Can you imagine dealing with not just one person that carries this persona, but entire nations?  When a total population gets to this point in their thought processes, it is very dangerous to everyone involved.  This type of thinking only leads to corruption, dishonesty, fraud, immorality, and crime.  Once you become accustomed to living in this fashion, it is very difficult for one to see their wrong-doing.  Someone has to step in and do something.  That someone is God, and He is about to reveal His anger!

Jeremiah 25:15-38Jeremiah 25:15-38
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

15 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. 16 And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. 17 Then took I the cup at the LORD'S hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me: 18 To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day; 19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people; 20 And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod, 21 Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon, 22 And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea, isles: or, region by the sea side 23 Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners, that...: Heb. cut off into corners, or, having the corners of the hair polled 24 And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert, 25 And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes, 26 And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them. 27 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you. 28 And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink. 29 For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts. which...: Heb. upon which my name is called 30 Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. 31 A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD. 32 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. 33 And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground. 34 Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel. the days...: Heb. your days for slaughter a pleasant...: Heb. a vessel of desire 35 And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape. the shepherds...: Heb. flight shall perish from the shepherds, and escaping from, etc 36 A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and an howling of the principal of the flock, shall be heard: for the LORD hath spoiled their pasture. 37 And the peaceable habitations are cut down because of the fierce anger of the LORD. 38 He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger. desolate: Heb. a desolation  

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15 This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me:  “Take from my hand this cup filled to the brim with my anger, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it.  16 When they drink from it, they will stagger, crazed by the warfare I will send against them.”
17 So I took the cup of anger from the LORD and made all the nations drink from it – every nation to which the LORD sent me.  18 I went to Jerusalem and the other towns of Judah, and their kings and officials drank from the cup.  From that day until this, they have been a desolate ruin, an object of horror, contempt, and cursing.  19 I gave the cup to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, his attendants, his officials, and all his people, 20 along with all the foreigners living in that land.  I also gave it to all the kings of the land of Uz and the kings of the Philistine cities of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and what remains of Ashdod.  21 Then I gave the cup to the nations of Edom, Moab, and Ammon, 22 and the kings of Tyre and Sidon, and the kings of the regions across the sea.  23 I gave it to Dedan, Tema, and Buz, and to the people who live in distant places.  24 I gave it to the kings of Arabia, the kings of the nomadic tribes of the desert, 25 and to the kings of Zimri, Elam, and Media.  26 And I gave it to the kings of the northern countries, far and near, one after the other – all the kingdoms of the world.  And finally, the king of Babylon himself drank from the cup of the LORD’S anger.
27 Then the LORD said to me, “Now tell them, ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:  Drink from this cup of my anger.  Get drunk and vomit; fall to rise no more, for I am sending terrible wars against you.’  28 And if they refuse to accept the cup, tell them, ‘The LORD of Heaven’s Armies says:  You have no choice but to drink from it.  29 I have begun to punish Jerusalem, the city that bears my name.  Now should I let you go unpunished?  No, you will not escape disaster.  I will call for war against all the nations of the earth.  I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!’
30 “Now prophesy all these things, and say to them,
“‘The LORD will roar against his own land
from his holy dwelling in heaven.
He will shout like those who tread grapes;
he will shout against everyone on earth.
31 His cry of judgment will reach the ends of the earth,
for the LORD will bring his case against all the nations.
He will judge all the people of the earth,
slaughtering the wicked with the sword.
I, the LORD, have spoken!'”
32 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says:
“Look! Disaster will fall upon nation after nation!
A great whirlwind of fury is rising
from the most distant corners of the earth!”
33 In that day those the LORD has slaughtered will fill the earth from one end to the other.  No one will mourn for them or gather up their bodies to bury them. They will be scattered on the ground like manure.
34 Weep and moan, you evil shepherds!
Roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock!
you will fall and shatter like a fragile vase.
35 You will find no place to hide;
there will be no way to escape.
36 Listen to the frantic cries of the shepherds.
The leaders of the flock are wailing in despair,
for the LORD is ruining their pastures.
37 Peaceful meadows will be turned into a wasteland
by the LORD’s fierce anger.
38 He has left his den like a strong lion seeking its prey,
and their land will be made desolate
by the sword of the enemy
and the LORD’S fierce anger.

The cup of wrath

Over and over again, God has tried to reach His people.  He has tried to communicate with them through His own voice, His law, and through the many prophets He sent with His message.  The people continued to disobey and reject God.  Judah was not the only nation that God was angry with.  Jeremiah foretells other evil nations that would experience God’s wrath at the hands of Babylon, and in the end, Babylon would also be destroyed.  All of this because of their sins.
As with the clay pots, God uses the imagery of the ‘cup filled with anger’.  The focus of God’s anger appears to be focused on leaders.  They were responsible for shepherding their people (flocks). God intends to destroy everything and there will be no place to hide; no refuge.

Chapter 25 marks the end of Jeremiah’s prophetic warnings, which began in chapter 2.  We are at the point that the invasion by Babylon has taken place, and now God’s anger is being poured out on the nations.

It is important to remember that we are dependent on God.  We cannot successfully navigate this life without placing God first in our life.

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listening vs hearing

How often, when you are talking to someone, do you feel they are clearly listening, but just aren’t hearing what you are saying?  This brings to mind the movie Rush Hour, where Christ Tucker picks up Jackie Chan at the airport.  He doesn’t think that Jackie Chan speaks English and says “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?”
Over and over again, God has sent warnings to His people.  They were listening, but refused to hear the message.

Jeremiah 26:1-11Jeremiah 26:1-11
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

26 1 In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the LORD, saying, 2 Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD'S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD'S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: 3 If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. 4 And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, 5 To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; 6 Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth. 7 So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD. 8 Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die. 9 Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the LORD. 10 When the princes of Judah heard these things, then they came up from the king's house unto the house of the LORD, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the LORD'S house. in the...: or, at the door 11 Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears. This man...: Heb. The judgment of death is for this man  

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1 This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah.  2 “This is what the LORD says: Stand in the courtyard in front of the Temple of the LORD, and make an announcement to the people who have come there to worship from all over Judah.  Give them my entire message; include every word.  3 Perhaps they will listen and turn from their evil ways.  Then I will change my mind about the disaster I am ready to pour out on them because of their sins.
4 “Say to the, ‘This is what the LORD says:  If you will not listen to me and obey my word I have given you, 5 and if you will not listen to my servants, the prophets – for I sent them again and again to warn you, but you would not listen to them – 6 then I will destroy this Temple as I destroyed Shiloh, the place where the Tabernacle was located.  And I will make Jerusalem an object of cursing in every nation on earth.'”
7 The priest, the prophets, and all the people listened to Jeremiah as he spoke in front of the LORD’S Temple.  8 But when Jeremiah had finished his message, saying everything the LORD had told him to say, the priests and prophets and all the people at the Temple mobbed him.  “Kill him!” they shouted.  9 “What right do you have to prophesy in the LORD’S name that this Temple will be destroyed like Shiloh?  What do you mean, saying that Jerusalem will be destroyed and left with no inhabitants?”  And all the people threatened him as he stood in front of the Temple.
10 When the officials of Judah heard what was happening, they rushed over from the palace and sat down at the New Gate of the Temple to hold court.  11 The priest and prophets presented their accusations to the officials and the people.  “This man should die!” they said.  “You have heard with your own ears what a traitor he is, for he has prophesied against this city.”

The events in Chapter 26 occurred in 609-608 BC, so they were before the events in Chapter 25.  If you remember, Jehoiakim was not a godly man. Instead, he was materialistic and self-absorbed.  God gave Jeremiah a message and told him to publicly deliver it in the Temple, and to be sure to ‘include every word’.  Many times, we may speak with someone, or a group of people, and be tempted to leave certain parts of our message out of the conversation.  We may fear that we will offend someone, or feel that we are being too severe in our wording.  We must never change God’s message to appease the comfort of others.  We must be true to the Word of God, and if someone’s heart is convicted of a sinful nature, then so be it.

To review history here:  Shiloh was the place that the Tabernacle had been set up after the defeat of Canaan.  See Joshua 18:1Joshua 18:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

18 1 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them.  

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. When Jeremiah made reference to Shiloh, regarding the Temple, the priest and false prophets were angry.  The temple was important to them, but not for the right reasons.  They knew how the people felt about the Temple, and this brought them power.  Jeremiah threatened their authority when he said that the Temple would be destroyed.  They didn’t want to lose their power.  Remember, ALL the people were listening. God’s message was clear:  God wanted peace and a relationship with His people, and the choice was theirs.  If they refused to listen and hear the message, then they would endure a fate like Shiloh had.
God has clearly been patient with this nation.  It has been approximately 20 years since Jeremiah first began preaching the Word of God, but he never watered down God’s message, regardless of how the people responded.  Here, we see that the priest and prophets labeled Jeremiah as a ‘traitor’, all because Jeremiah was prophesying the destruction of the Temple.

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blamed

Have you ever been blamed for something that you didn’t do?  How do you defend yourself?  Is it even possible, when a group of people turn against you?  With God, anything is possible!

Jeremiah 26:12-24Jeremiah 26:12-24
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard. 13 Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you. 14 As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you. as...: Heb. as it is good and right in your eyes 15 But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the LORD hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears. 16 Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests and to the prophets; This man is not worthy to die: for he hath spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God. 17 Then rose up certain of the elders of the land, and spake to all the assembly of the people, saying, 18 Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest. 19 Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death? did he not fear the LORD, and besought the LORD, and the LORD repented him of the evil which he had pronounced against them? Thus might we procure great evil against our souls. the LORD, and the: Heb. the face of the LORD, etc 20 And there was also a man that prophesied in the name of the LORD, Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjathjearim, who prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah: 21 And when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men, and all the princes, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death: but when Urijah heard it, he was afraid, and fled, and went into Egypt; 22 And Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, namely, Elnathan the son of Achbor, and certain men with him into Egypt. 23 And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and brought him unto Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people. common...: Heb. sons of the people 24 Nevertheless the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death.  

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12 Then Jeremiah spoke to the officials and the people in his own defense.  “The LORD sent me to prophesy against this Temple and this city,” he said.  “The LORD gave me every word that I have spoken.  13 But if you stop your sinning and begin to obey the LORD your God, he will change his mind about this disaster that he has announced against you.  14 As for me, I am in your hands – do with me as you think best.  15 But if you kill me, rest assured that you will be killing an innocent man!  The responsibility for such a deed will lie on you, on this city, and on every person living in it.  For it is absolutely true that the LORD sent me to speak every word you have hear.”
16 Then the officials and the people said to the priests and prophets, “This man does not deserve the death sentence, for he has spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God.”
17 Then some of the wise old men stood and spoke to all the people assembled there.  18 They said, “Remember when Micah of Moresheth prophesied during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah.  He told the people of Judah,
‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says:
Mount Zion will be plowed like an open field;
Jerusalem will be reduced to ruins!
A thicket will grow on the heights
where the Temple now stands.’
19 But did King Hezekiah and the people kill him for saying this?  No, they turned from their sins and worshiped the LORD.  They begged him for mercy.  Then the LORD changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had pronounced against them.  So we are about to do ourselves great harm.”
20 At this time Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim was also prophesying for the LORD.  And he predicted the same terrible disaster against the city and nation as Jeremiah did.  21 When King Jehoiakim and the army officers and officials heard what he was saying, the king sent someone to kill him.  But Uriah heard about the plan and escape in fear to Egypt.  22 Then King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Acbor to Egypt along with several other men to capture Uriah.  23 They took him prisoner and brought him back to King Jehoiakim.  The king then killed Uriah with a sword and had him buried in an unmarked grave.
24 Nevertheless, Ahikam son of Shaphan stood up for Jeremiah and persuaded the court not to turn him over to the mob to be killed.

Jeremiah speaks in his own defense by telling the officials and the people that their salvation was dependent on their choice to repent and behave differently.  He stands firm that the message he delivered was from God, and not from himself, and if they choose to kill him the consequences would be suffered by everyone living in the city.
Micah was a prophet during the time of King Hezekiah.  King Hezekiah responded to Micah’s preaching with a moral reform of Judah, but it was short lived.  Uriah (also spelled Urijah) was also a prophet, although his words are not included in the Bible.  He was captured and murdered for delivering God’s message.
Although Jeremiah escaped death by the hands of Judah, the people completely missed the point of the story.  They acknowledged how God acted in the past and realized that repentance is God’s wish for His people.  They spared Jeremiah, but did not spare themselves destruction by repenting of their sins.

Written by Mary Hudak-Collins

Mary Hudak-Collins

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