Jeremiah 38: Jeremiah is cast into the cistern

READ and LISTEN 

(28 verses, 3:30 to read)

What I am about to READ

The Prophet Jeremiah had preached the truth of the impending burning of Jerusalem, and now the king and others see that he is punished.

MARK and LEARN

As Jerusalem is under siege by the Chaldeans, Jeremiah preaches that those who would save their lives should go over to the enemy, but those who would stay in the city would suffer death and the destruction of their city.  The city officials, feeling that this preaching negatively affects morale of the soldiers defending the city, ask King Zedekiah to punish Jeremiah.  Rather than kill Jeremiah they cast him into a dry cistern, though it is still muddy at the bottom

Ancient cisterns, even like modern ones, were used for catching and storing rain water, especially in places where there was a scarce water supply.  They were large holes in the ground, often pear-shaped and lined with plaster or clay to keep it from leaking.

Jeremiah is saved by an official of the king named Ebed-melech who goes to the king and petitions for Jeremiah’s life.  The king grants him to take 30 men and rescue Jeremiah with ropes from the bottom of the cistern, where he would have surely died from starvation and lack of water.

Interestingly, the king still seeks the council of Jeremiah when he comes up, though he wishes this council remain a secret, for the people still regard Jeremiah as somewhat traitorous. And Jeremiah’s prophecy regarding Jerusalem remains unchanged “…and this city shall be burned with fire.” (vs. 23).  Jeremiah would remain in the court of the guard in Jerusalem until the fall of the city.

MEDITATE

When God speaks the truth, we often do not like what he says.  What happened to Jeremiah happens even now when Christians and especially pastors are ostracized and persecuted for speaking God’s Word.  Sinful men would like to live according to their own councils and wills, and when God’s Word conflicts with them, as Zedekiah’s did, then the one who spoke the truth often suffers.  God grant that his people remain faithful even it times when people stop their ears to his Law and promises.

Pax,

Pr. Brandon Ross

Faith Ev. Lutheran Church

Johnstown, Colorado

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