Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
Q. (Jeremiah 32:1): I thought it would be a good idea to give the status of the main characters in this story. I think it’s captivating to have two prophets at the center of attention.
A. Jehoiachin: Captured by King Nebuchadnezzar, Jehoiachin is in Babylon under some form of guard (we don’t know exactly) along with around 3,000 Jews, including Ezekiel and Daniel, who were taken from Judah as the “best and brightest” in order to assimilate them into Babylonian culture. According to 2 Kings 25, Jehoiachin was a prisoner of some sort for almost forty years (which we are still in the “middle” of), and was probably taken captive in 598 BC. My notes indicate that the Jews, both in Jerusalem and in Babylon, still think of him as the true king, and not…
Zedekiah: Still in Jerusalem, as king, surrounded by other stubborn, wicked leaders and about to be captured.
Jeremiah: Currently imprisoned in the court of Zedekiah, but we do not know how long he is there. The Babylonians will show him great kindness after Jerusalem is destroyed, and he will live out his days in one of the regions near Jerusalem (we don’t know where exactly) under the governor appointed by Babylon to control Judah after Jerusalem’s destruction.
Ezekiel: Ezekiel is one of the Jews taken into captivity by Babylon, and as such, his messages are primarily directed at them. We don’t really know anything more than we he has been telling us in his writings about his circumstances (i.e. the death of his wife), and there is no record of his death, but the dating given in the text tells us that he heard from the Lord beginning around 590 BC, around 9 years into his captivity, and concluding, possibly with his death, in 570 BC.
Nebuchadnezzar: The story tells us that the great king attacked and conquered Jerusalem at least twice: the first time to take the captives as we have mentioned, and the second time to stamp out the revolt of king Zedekiah and a potential alliance with Egypt. I do not know if he will be mentioned again in Jeremiah or Ezekiel, but I know Daniel has more to say about him.
Q. (32:8): How could Jeremiah pay for land when he was in prison? I guess this was just God giving another demonstration to the Israelites via Jeremiah. I wondered if Jeremiah would lose out on his purchase since he was in prison and Judah was going to be flattened. But, the sealed deed was place into a pottery jar to preserve it. So, this is a sign from God that there will be something for the Israelites to come back to. They will be restored to Canaan.
A. We might think of Jeremiah as being more under house arrest rather than in a prison, so there is no reason to think that he would not have access to money. God’s direction for Jeremiah to BUY the field despite Jerusalem’s impending destruction tells us, I think, all we need to know about God’s plans to restore His people. Keep in mind through, as we’ve discussed, the people who are taking these actions won’t be around to see it — 70+ years is a long time.
Q. (32:18): We read previously where God was going to take away the requirements where several generations pay for their ancestor’s sins. But here, Jeremiah accuses God of punishing more generations than the accused.
A. What we established, as I recall it anyway, was that the death that is required of sin was only on the generation that actually committed the sin, i.e. you don’t die for sins your father or mother committed, but the consequences of sin can pass from generation to generation: that has remained unchanged to this day.
Q. (32:39-40): Does this apply to God’s relationship with us today, or is it just for the Israelites? I have a desire in my heart to follow God and I can’t imagine not worshipping Him. But on my pessimistic side, I thought, “Well, God doesn’t always do good for me.” Then, I remembered that He does do good for me, just not always what I want Him to do.
A. Hang in there, the NT will redefine everything that happens between God and man. For the moment of our timeline, His words only refer to the Jews, but that will change.
Q. (Ezekiel 26:1-14): God was upset with Tyre because they rejoiced at the fall of Jerusalem or because they desired to become greater than Jerusalem?
A. The verses imply that Tyre hoped to reap the benefits of Jerusalem being wiped out (remember what I wrote about Jerusalem being an important trade point?) by taking over this trade. God was not pleased by this part gloating and part greed.