Study of Jeremiah, Chapters 33-34, Judgment and Promises

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judgment

So often, we look at another and make a judgment. Maybe not verbally, but mentally.  The Bible tells us that we should not be judgmental, but despite our efforts to keep from doing so, it just sometimes happens.  We don’t know God’s plan for the person next to us, or any particular group of people.  Often times we observe something happening that seems wrong to us, or out of place.  But, God may be using that situation for the best of those involved.  Regardless of what we ‘see’ or ‘hear’ occurring, we should always look at it with an open mind and refrain from being judgmental.

Jeremiah 33:1-3Jeremiah 33:1-3
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

33 1 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying, 2 Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; the LORD is: or, JEHOVAH, etc 3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. mighty: or, hidden  

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1 While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the LORD gave him this second message:  2 “This is what the LORD says – the LORD who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the LORD:  3 Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.

The reference made to the ‘second message‘ connects this chapter to the previous one as a continuation.  God reaffirms His authority and His character as Creator and Sustainer of all things.  God invites Jeremiah into a continuing relationship with Him.

Jeremiah 33:4-5Jeremiah 33:4-5
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

4 For thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword; 5 They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.  

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4 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says:  You have torn down the houses of this city and even the king’s palace to get materials to strengthen the walls against the siege ramps and swords of the enemy.  5 You expect to fight the Babylonians, but the men of this city are already as good as dead, for I have determined to destroy them in my terrible anger.  I have abandoned them because of all their wickedness.

God reminds Jeremiah that the invasion by Babylon was ‘allowed’ by God, and it really didn’t matter what efforts they took to defeat the Babylonians, they had already lost and would be taken into captivity.

Jeremiah 33:6-13Jeremiah 33:6-13
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

6 Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth. 7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. 8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. 9 And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it. 10 Thus saith the LORD; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast, 11 The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD. 12 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down. 13 In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the LORD.  

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6 “Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace.  7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns.  8 I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion.  9 Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth!  The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them.
10 “This is what the LORD says:  You have said, ‘This is a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’  Yet in the empty streets of Jerusalem and Judah’s other towns, there will be heard once more 11 the sounds of joy and laughter.  The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will be heard again, along with the joyous songs of people bringing thanksgiving offerings to the LORD. They will sing,
‘Give thanks to the LORD of Heaven’s Armies,
for the LORD is good.
His faithful love endures forever!’
For I will restore the prosperity of this land to what it was in the past, says the LORD.
12 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says:  This land – though it is now desolate and has no people and animals – will once more have pastures where shepherds can lead their flocks.  13 Once again shepherds will count their flocks in the towns of the hill country, the foothills of Judah, the Negev, the land of Benjamin, the vicinity of Jerusalem, and all the towns of Judah.  I, the LORD, have spoken!

Prosperity awaits the people of Judah and Israel.  God is very specific in the promises that He makes.

Jeremiah 33:14-15Jeremiah 33:14-15
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

14 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. 15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.  

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14 “The day will come, says the LORD, when I will do for Israel and Judah all the good things I have promised them.
15 “In those days and at that time
I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line.
He will do what is just and right throughout the land.

With the restoration of Judah and Israel, the Messiah will emerge from the family line of King David.  The Messiah will being justice and righteousness over the land.

Jeremiah 33:16-18Jeremiah 33:16-18
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. The LORD...: Heb. Jehovahtsidkenu 17 For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; David...: Heb. There shall not be cut off from David 18 Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.  

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16 In that day Judah will be saved,
and Jerusalem will live in safety.
And this will be its name:
‘The LORD Is Our Righteousness.’
17 For this is what the LORD says:  David will have a descendant siting on the throne of Israel forever.  18 And there will always be Levitical priests to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings and sacrifices to me.”

At this time, all will be saved and live in complete safety.  Their access to God will be assured.

Jeremiah 33:19-22Jeremiah 33:19-22
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

19 And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying, 20 Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; 21 Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. 22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.  

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19 Then this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD:  20 “This is what the LORD says:  If you can break my covenant with the day and the night so that one does not follow the other, 21 only then will my covenant with my servant David be broken.  Only then will he no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne.  The same is true for my covenant with the Levitical priests who minister before me.  22 And as the stars of the sky cannot be counted and the sand on the seashore cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of my servant David and the Levites who minister before me.”

Since God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, there is no way that the day and night can be altered by anyone but God.  God guarantees His promises as eternal, never to be changed.

Jeremiah 3:23-26Jeremiah 3:23-26
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

23 Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel. 24 For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.  

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23 The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah.  He said, 24 “Have you noticed what people are saying?  – ‘The LORD chose Judah and Israel and then abandoned them!’  They are sneering and saying that Israel is not worth to be counted as a nation.  25 But this is what the LORD says:  I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws that govern night and day, earth and sky.  26 I will never abandon the descendants of Jacob or David, my servant, or change the plan that David’s descendants will rule the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Instead, I will restore them to their land and have mercy on them.”

God addresses what other nations are saying about Judah and Israel.  The other nations believe that God has abandoned the people of Judah and Israel, and mockingly saying that Israel should not be a nation.  God responds by confirming that He has never, nor will He ever, abandon His people of Israel.  They will always be His ‘chosen’ people, despite their sins.

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broken promises

How many times have you made a promise that you didn’t keep, whether to God, or to someone you know?  When we are faced with a hard time and our backs are pressed against a wall, we may offer up promises of empty words.  When we break a promise, whether consciously or unconsciously, others lose trust in us.  I wonder what God thinks of us when we break a promise that we have made to Him.

Jeremiah 34:1-3Jeremiah 34:1-3
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

34 1 The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth of his dominion, and all the people, fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities thereof, saying, of his...: Heb. the dominion of his hand 2 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire: 3 And thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but shalt surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth, and thou shalt go to Babylon. he shall...: Heb. his mouth shall speak to thy mouth  

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King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with all the armies from the kingdoms he ruled, and he fought against Jerusalem and the towns of Judah.  At that time this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD:  2 “Go to King Zedekiah of Judah, and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says:  I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down.  3 You will not escape his grasp but will be captured and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face.  Then you will be exiled to Babylon.

God’s promised judgment has arrived.  Zedekiah had looked to Egypt as an ally instead of God.  In chapter 37:5, we will see the army of Pharao Hophra appear at the southern border of Judah, causing the Babylonians to withdraw, but only for a short time. Jeremiah warned Zedekiah (chapter 38:17) to surrender himself to the Babylonians in order to live and for God to spare the city from destruction.  Zedekiah refuses to do so as we will see in chapter 39.  Nebuchadnezzar will attack Judah for the third time, and after two and a half years, the city will fall.  This attack destroys the city as Jeremiah has predicted.

Jeremiah 34:4-5Jeremiah 34:4-5
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

4 Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of thee, Thou shalt not die by the sword: 5 But thou shalt die in peace: and with the burnings of thy fathers, the former kings which were before thee, so shall they burn odours for thee; and they will lament thee, saying, Ah lord! for I have pronounced the word, saith the LORD.  

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4 “‘But listen to this promise from the LORD, O Zedekiah, king of Judah.  This is what the LORD says:  You will not be killed in war 5 but will die peacefully.  People will burn incense in your memory, just as they did for your ancestors, the kings who preceded you.  They will mourn for you, crying, “Alas, our master is dead!”  This I have decreed, says the LORD.'”

Jeremiah receives a comforting message for King Zedekiah.  Zedekiah would die a peaceful death and would have a burial as any royal funeral.

Jeremiah 34:6-7Jeremiah 34:6-7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

6 Then Jeremiah the prophet spake all these words unto Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem, 7 When the king of Babylon's army fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah: for these defenced cities remained of the cities of Judah.  

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6 So Jeremiah the prophet delivered the message to King Zedekiah of Judah.  7 At this time the Babylonian army was besieging Jerusalem, Lachish, and Azekah – the only fortified cities of Judah not yet captured.

Lachish, a fortified city 30 miles southwest of Jerusalem, and Azekah, a fortified city northeast of Lachish, were the only two cities that remained of all of Judah’s cities as the destruction of Jerusalem continued.

Jeremiah 34:8-11Jeremiah 34:8-11
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 This is the word that came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people which were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them; 9 That every man should let his manservant, and every man his maidservant, being an Hebrew or an Hebrewess, go free; that none should serve himself of them, to wit, of a Jew his brother. 10 Now when all the princes, and all the people, which had entered into the covenant, heard that every one should let his manservant, and every one his maidservant, go free, that none should serve themselves of them any more, then they obeyed, and let them go. 11 But afterward they turned, and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids.  

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8 This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah made a covenant with the people, proclaiming freedom for the slaves.  9 He had ordered all the people to free their Hebrew slaves – both men and women.  No one was to keep a fellow Judean in bondage.  10 The officials and all the people had obeyed the king’s command, 11 but later they changed their minds.  They took back the men and women they had freed, forcing them to be slaves again.

The city was being ravished by the Babylonians so Zedekiah decided to listen to what Jeremiah was saying.  He wanted to please God so he freed the slaves.  Zedekiah believed he could obtain God’s mercy by doing a good deed, but what God was looking for was a change in heart.  We can spend our entire life doing good deeds; being a good person, but if we don’t repent of our sins, that is all we are doing is being a ‘good’ person.

Jeremiah 34:12-22Jeremiah 34:12-22
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 Therefore the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 13 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondmen, saying, 14 At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear. hath been...: or, hath sold himself 15 And ye were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name: now: Heb. to day which...: Heb. whereupon my name is called 16 But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids. 17 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the LORD, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. to be...: Heb. for a removing 18 And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof, 19 The princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf; 20 I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life: and their dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the heaven, and to the beasts of the earth. 21 And Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon's army, which are gone up from you. 22 Behold, I will command, saith the LORD, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.  

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12 So the LORD gave them this message through Jeremiah:  13 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says:  I made a covenant with your ancestors long ago when I rescued them from their slavery in Egypt.  14 I told them that every Hebrew slave must be freed after serving six years.  But your ancestors paid no attention to me.  15 Recently you repented and did what was right, following my command.  You freed your slaves and made a solemn covenant with me in the Temple that bears my name.  16 But now you have shrugged off your oath and defiled my name by taking back the men and women you had freed, forcing them to be slaves once again.
17 “‘Therefore, this is what the LORD says:  Since you have not obeyed me by setting your countrymen free, I will set you free to be destroyed by war, disease, and famine.  You will be an object of horror to all the nations of the earth.  18 Because you have broken the terms of our covenant, I will cut you apart just as you cut apart the calf when you walked between its halves to solemnize your vows. 19 Yes, I will cut you apart, whether you are officials of Judah or Jerusalem, court officials, priests, or common people – for you have broken your oath.  20 I will give you to your enemies, and they will kill you.  Your bodies will be food for the vultures and wild animals.
21 “I will hand over King Zedekiah of Judah and his officials to the army of the king of Babylon.  And although Babylon’s king has left Jerusalem for a while, 22 I will call the Babylonian armies back again.  They will fight against this city and will capture it and burn it down.  I will see to it that all the towns of Judah are destroyed, with no one living there.”

** The ritual of cutting a calf in half and then walking between the pieces was done to confirm, or show agreement, of a covenant.  The ritual was to signify that if anyone broke the covenant, or agreement, would become as the calf:  split in two.

God had made a covenant with the people’s ancestors that they disregarded.  The people were on the right track and headed in the right direction when they freed the slaves.  But, when they went back on their word, they once again turned away from God.  When the going got rough, they agreed to a covenant with God.  But, once things begin to return to normal, they regained their slaves.  God holds back the flood waters of destruction, but there comes a point where He will no longer do this and will open the gates, pouring out His judgment upon the people.

Ecclesiastes 1:9-10Ecclesiastes 1:9-10
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.  

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tells us that history will continue to repeat itself, over and over again, until the end of time.  There is coming a great time when God will open the gates once again, and His judgment will pour out upon this world and quench its sinful nature.

Written by Mary Hudak-Collins

Mary Hudak-Collins

2 thoughts on “Study of Jeremiah, Chapters 33-34, Judgment and Promises

  1. Martha Orlando

    It is all too easy to be judgmental of others. Last year, the year of “love,” I would immediately pray any time I found myself making a judgment about someone I didn’t even know. It takes practice and a lot of help from God!
    Once again, a wonderful scripture lesson and reflection, Mary! Blessings!

    1. mhudakcollins Post author

      Martha, what a wonderful idea! Of course, it would take a lot of practice and definitely a lot of help from God. By nature, we seem to jump at any chance to make a judgment on others, sometimes without even realizing it until after we have done it. This would assuredly make us conscious of our every thought and action. Thank you for sharing! I believe I will make this a ‘New Year’s Resolution’ ♥

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