-At the point and time of this chapter being narrated, Zedekiah had been named king in Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in place of Coniah, the son of Jehoiakim. “But, neither he (Zedekiah) nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the LORD which He spoke through Jeremiah the prophet (Jeremiah 37:1-2).” Yet, Zedekiah asked Jeremiah to pray for the people of Judah and Jeremiah had freedom at this point to go in and out among the people. Meanwhile, the plot thickened as Pharaoh’s army from Egypt set out to confront the Chaldeans who had been besieging Jerusalem. When the Chaldeans heard of this, they temporarily lifted the siege of Jerusalem to pay military attention to their foe. However, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Jeremiah at this time warning that the Chaldeans of Babylon would be back as the Egyptian army would return to its own land in Egypt (Jeremiah 37:3-7). God’s word was stark, “The Chaldeans will also return and fight against this city, and they will capture it and burn it with fire. Do not deceive yourselves, saying, ‘The Chaldeans will surely go away from us,’ for they will not go. For even if you had defeated the entire army of Chaldeans who were fighting against you, and there were only wounded men left among them, each man in his tent, they would rise up and burn this city with fire (Jeremiah 37:8-10).”
-As the Babylonian siege was indeed lifted at this time because of Pharaoh’s army, Jeremiah went to the land of Benjamin in order to take possession of some property there among the people (more than likely this is a prequel occurrence of the narrative in Jeremiah 32:6-44). When he came to the gate of the city a captain of the guard whose name was Irijah arrested the prophet accusing him of going over to the Chaldeans as a treasonous act. Jeremiah vehemently denied the accusation as a lie, yet the authorities were angry with him with demonic fury and beat him and put him in jail in the house of Jonathan the scribe in a dungeon, which was a vaulted cell (probably cut out of rock). Jeremiah, the Bible says, stayed there in confinement many days (Jeremiah 37:11-16). He was eventually rescued by King Zedekiah when he sent for him and brought him back to Jerusalem to secretly ask if there was a prophetic word from the LORD. Jeremiah said, “There is!” Then he proclaimed emphatically, “You will be given into the hand of the king of Babylon (Jeremiah 37:17)!” He then questioned the king as to what way he had personally sinned against him, his servants, and his people to be treated with disdain and thrown into prison like he indeed was. He then mocked the false prophets with derision saying, “Where then are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you or against this land?’” After this he pleaded with the king to allow him to stay in Jerusalem and not have to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe because he feared they would kill him there with a slow and torturous death. To his credit, Zedekiah gave commandment and Jeremiah was committed to the court of the guardhouse being given a loaf of bread daily from the baker’s street until all the bread was gone under the Babylonian siege. So Jeremiah remained in confinement in the court of the guardhouse (Jeremiah 37:18-21). Jeremiah had a tough ministry assignment. *Application* God directs our steps and actions as we surrender our will to His in every dimension. Often, as we see here in this passage, there is pain in the offering. But let us examine the attitude and courage of the man of God. He never backed down from what he knew the LORD was telling him, and God eventually provided and took care of His servant. Here is an example of a surrendered life that has complete faith and dependence on what God is doing even in dire circumstances. Brothers and sisters, keep faith and the charge of the Living God in all you are called to during this life. Notice too how even those who do not listen to God will eventually come around and ask your opinion and advice on important matters and benefit you like King Zedekiah did. O stay strong my fellow soldier in Christ, stay strong and be blessed!