-By the 9th year in the 10th month of Zedekiah, the Babylonians (Chaldeans) under Nebuchadnezzar laid siege on Jerusalem to capture it according to the Word of the LORD. By the 11th year in the 4th month the city wall was breached and all the Babylonian officials came in and sat at the Middle Gate (Jeremiah 39:1-3). This was in 586 B.C.. When Zedekiah and all the men of war saw the enemy, they fled and went out of the city in the night by way of the king’s garden through the gate between the two walls towards the Arabah (the Jordan Valley area to the east). But the Chaldean army pursued them and overtook them in the plains of Jericho (just north of the Dead Sea area). They were seized and brought up to Nebuchadnezzar in Riblah in the land of Hamath (far to the north past the Sea of Galilee in what would today be Lebanon). There sentence was passed on the rebellious king (Mattaniah, or Zedekiah) that Nebuchadnezzar had set up as his person to rule Judah after Jehoiachin was taken into exile. Zedekiah’s sons and nobles were killed before his eyes and then his own eyes were gauged out with him being put in fetters of bronze to take him to Babylon as a prisoner where he would later die (2 Kings 24; 25, 2 Chronicles 36, Jeremiah 39:4-7; 52). The Chaldeans also burned the city of Jerusalem with fire including the king’s palace and the houses of the people, and they broke down the walls of the city (Jeremiah 39:8). As for the people who remained behind and capitulated to the Chaldeans, they were carried off to Babylon, but some of the poorest people who had nothing were left behind in Judah and given vineyards and fields (Jeremiah 39:9-10).
-Nebuchadnezzar was somehow aware of Jeremiah and his prophecies for the Babylonian nation’s benefit and gave orders to protect him so that no harm would befall him. He commanded that his guards deal with the prophet of God just as he (Jeremiah) tells them. Here we see the respect for Jeremiah that was too often lacking from the Jewish people, which resulted in their calamity. Jeremiah was allowed to stay among the people of the land (Jeremiah 39:11-14). Before this time, while he was still in captivity in the court of the guardhouse, the word of the LORD came concerning Ebed-melech the Ethiopian (who had saved his life, Jeremiah 38:7-13). This prophecy was predicting the coming fall of Jerusalem, but Ebed-melech’s deliverance from the men he dreaded. “’For I will certainly rescue you, and you will not fall by the sword; but you will have your own life as booty, because you have trusted in Me,’ declares the LORD (Jeremiah 39:15-18).” *Application* We see the sovereignty of God to take care of matters that He declares through His prophetic Word here in this passage. What does it take in our life to avoid His judgment and certain calamity in our own lives? Trust in Him and His Word, that’s the simple message, yet so profound. Lean not unto your own understanding, acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your path just like He did with Jeremiah and Ebed-melech (Proverbs 3:5-6). He in the end will deliver and bless those who fear Him. For those who rebel, disaster will come as with Zedekiah and so many of the Judeans.
Verses to Memorize: Jeremiah 39:6-8, 18