God’s Incredible Respect

God’s Incredible Respect

Jeremiah is a tough, rough book to read and grasp; but well worth the effort.

Its message is broad and deep. It ties back to the rest of the Old Testament, and it undergirds and foretells the New Covenant. It is MUST reading for followers of Christ and students of God’s Word.

Of great importance, it documents, explains, and illustrates – over and over again – how God has chosen to operate in this world. The strength of this message is startling. It is different than advertised,[i] and its implications are far reaching.

What becomes clear is that God respects human freedom. He maintains a strict “non-interference” policy toward us. We are granted the God-given right to make our own decisions and choose our paths. This started with Eve and Adam and continues today. Yes, God maintains a noninterference policy toward human decision making. Blame for the horrors on this planet rests entirely on us.

From start to end, Jeremiah reinforces the terms of God’s covenant with the people of Israel. Leviticus 26 is the essential context for understanding the prophecies and events the Old Testament. It is well worth your time to study and note the downward spiral of punishments that color Israel’s history. The people, through their centuries of rebellion, have reached the 5th, the severest stage of God’s corrective judgement. But the Lord, through Jeremiah, still offers escape through repentance.

“If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned.” 18:7-8

“Therefore, Jeremiah, go and warn all Judah and Jerusalem. Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am planning disaster for you instead of good. So turn from your evil ways, each of you, and do what is right.’” 18:11.

This theme of non-interference underpins the whole message of Jeremiah and how the book interprets God’s actions throughout history. God’s offers of relief are woven throughout Jeremiah’s scroll (5:1, 7:3, 11:4, 17:24-25, 22:4-5, 26:13-15, 27:12-13, 38:17-18,20, 42:10). He is in no way belligerent or bullying. He is “slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.” The book of Jonah also highlights God as a responder to human choices.

Us followers of Jesus today must get this right. Its implications and applications are seismic for us personally, and for corporate gatherings of churches, missions, etc. It sharpens our understanding and approach to God. Shakes up our prayer life. Heightens our responsibility to know, understand, and assist those around us.

[i] [1] Much preaching and writing today does not go deep enough into what this paper presents.

Intro to the Book

Where to start?

This book portrays a most remarkable human being: Vulnerable, strong, brash, funny.[1] Derided then, misjudged today.

Meet him. Get to know him. You won’t regret the plunge.


He is called “indomitable” and here is why. His Divine message enraged the powers of his day. They burned and boiled. Religious leaders publicly insulted him, stripped him, whipped him, locked him in stocks. Neighbors he grew up with wanted him gone. Crowds rioted for his death. Kings hunted him, jailed him, destroyed his work, threw him in a muddy pit, jailed him again. But he never quit!

What motivated him?

He was desperately trying to prevent his nation and people from extinction.

Does Deity Communicate?

Yes, the Bible describes God as a communicator. He speaks in the Bible as early as the third verse (Gen. 1:3, “Let there be light.”) and is still speaking in the second to last verse (Rev. 22:20, “Yes, I am coming soon”).


He, amazingly, pursues connection; meaningful, interactive engagement with His human creatures. He craves to bless everyone through mutually beneficial, interactive relationships.[2] Yes, God is above all else a Relational Being.[3] His relational nature permeates Jeremiah’s prophetic work. Meet the Living God!

Deity weeps. Deity pleads. Deity rebukes. Deity warns and disciplines. And through his spokesperson he repeatedly, tirelessly, works for reconciliation with his rebellious people.[4]

Note a few of the Lord’s statements:

“She [Jerusalem] spouts evil like a fountain. Her streets echo with the sounds of violence and destruction. I always see her sickness and sores.” 6:7.[5]

“Am I the one they are hurting? Most of all they hurt themselves to their own shame.” 7:19.

“Why do these people stay on their self-destructive path?” 8:5.

And responses the people fired back:

“Save your breath. I’m in love with these foreign gods, and I can’t stop loving them now!” 2:25.

“At last we are free from God! We don’t need him anymore!” 2:31.

“Let’s destroy this man [Jeremiah] and all his words… Let’s cut him down, so his name will be forgotten forever.” 11:19.

The Lord, through his chosen spokesperson, spoke for decades, reaching out in love and compassion; aiming to woo his beloved people back to relationship. “With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” 31:3.


The Divine Communicator is passionate[6], relentless[7], and demanding.[8] His spokesperson is swept into the harrowing task of mediating between Him and the belligerent recipients[9] of these communications.

There is a dynamic, massive, 3-party “tug-a-war” erupting throughout the book of Jeremiah. Recognizing and tracking these dynamics illuminates the book and the parties involved. There is nothing flat or boring when the book of Jeremiah is permitted to speak for itself.[10]

What’s Ahead?

Comprehensive study of Jeremiah’s scroll awaits later publication.[11] It is a massive labyrinth that takes courage and endurance to scope out. Yet, it is packed with gold, diamonds and precious stones that demand multiple coverage.

The starting point is to get to know the remarkable man himself. The environment where he lived and breathed and served. The duties he was asked to perform. And the callus, vengeful responses of those in power and in all strata of society.

Let’s endeavor to encounter the wily character himself, spokesperson for Israel’s God, Prophet Jeremiah.

“Although it is not an easy task simply to read the Book of Jeremiah… nevertheless it is an indisputable fact that… a partial but striking picture of the prophet emerges from the pages of the book named after him. Unlike many of the biblical prophets, who remain perpetually as figures in the shadows of history, Jeremiah stands out as a truly human figure. He is torn between faith and doubt, he is deeply involved in the contemporary affairs of his time, and, in the pages of this book, he passes from youth to old age against the backdrop of the history of his era.”[12]

Three Parts of This Book

Jeremiah “the man” is ample study. His life was unique and diverse; its study is therefore multifaceted. This book comprises three major sections:

I. Stumbling onto the National Stage

Jeremiah started his work with a sterling ally sitting on Judah’s throne.[13] But catastrophe struck, and he was asked to contribute to the late king’s funeral by composing the dirges. Now he finds himself in the national spotlight.

This section gives an easy-access “brief” on the life and times of Jeremiah. Areas of background include the historical, political, social, religious, and economic conditions of those times. Creative Nonfiction[14] is used in chapters 1, 4, 5, and 7, for enjoyable reading and better retention.

II. Waves of Opposition

God’s spokesperson met trauma and abuse for much of his 40 years of service. It came from his Master’s rebellious people and their leaders. Priests, prophets and kings. Creative Nonfiction is again the medium for chapters 2-7. The prophet never withdrew from his people or society, nor from speaking out on behalf of the marginalized and neglected. His predicaments drew him closer to the Living God; the theme of the next section.

III. Dialogues with Deity

Nowhere else in scripture is there such a gold mine; cataloging 40 years of interactive, growing relationship between the Living God and his fallible ambassador. These interactions are interlaced deliberately into the text of Jeremiah; but overlooked by most of the Christian world.[15]

Here lies a 2-party dialogue that progresses throughout Jeremiah’s large book. Relationships have difficulties, ebbs and flows, but mature individuals value relationships above the “costs” involved. And this is what we find, both parties commit to success in the relationship. Turbulence strains, conflict arises, but the relationship supersedes.


These three sections are followed by 10 Appendices, covering a range of important and related topics.

“Let’s try to discover Jeremiah, this deeply human and attractive prophet, whose oracles comprise struggle and courage, torments and happiness, rejection and solidarity, disappointment and hopes, doubts and passion.”[16]

[1] Yes, funny.

[2] God is by nature one who “blesses”. He seeks relationships not for selfish reasons but because he desires to bless and improve everyone’s existence.

[3] “The relational God of Jeremiah is no aloof God, somehow present but detached. God is a God of great passions (pathos); deep and genuine divine feelings and emotions are manifest again and again. Sorrow, lament, weeping, wailing, grief, pain, anguish, heartache, regret, and anger all are ascribed to God in Jeremiah.” Fretheim, Terence E. Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary: Jeremiah. Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys, 2008. p. 33. To ponder the complexities involved here, please read Appendix 7, Two Sticky Issues: Weeping and a Conditional Future.

[4] “God is jealous for your heart, not because he is petty or insecure, but because he loves you. The reason why God has such a huge problem with idolatry is that his love for you is all-consuming. He loves you too much to share you.” Kyle Idleman, @KyleIdleman [Twitter], 11, 26, 2018.

[5] Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from: New Living Translation, second edition. Copyright © 2004 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

[6] Jer. 14:17; 44:6.

[7] Jer. 31:3; 44:4.

[8] Jer. 7:5-7.

[9] Jer. 44:16-17.

[10] “It is often easy for us to read millennia-old accounts that describe death and devastation, misery and grief, suffering and tears, and to remain unmoved. After all, the written text can seem so impersonal and distant, and we do not actually hear the cries of the wounded and dying – in reality, the people involved are complete strangers to us – nor do we smell the smoke rising from the flames of destruction … We tend to demonize the villains, lionize the heroes, and seek primarily to gain theological or practical insight from the (sometimes) stern dealings of God with his people, forgetting that these were real people, too, with real hopes and dreams and all too human disappointments and hurts.” Brown, Michael L.; Ferris, Paul W. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah, Lamentations. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010, Kindle Edition, Location 1742.

[11] This book is produced as part 1 of a trilogy. The second book title: Masterful Communication from DEITY – The Book of Jeremiah. Third title: Urgent, Critical, Paradigm-Shifting Communiques from DEITY – Via Jeremiah.

[12] Craigie, Peter c., Kelly, Page H., Drinkard, Jr., Joel F. Word Biblical Commentary, Vol 26, Jeremiah 1-25. Dallas TX: Word Inc., 1991, p. xxxvii.

[13] King Josiah receives the highest endorsement of all the kings of Israel and Judah. “Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.” 2 Kin. 23:25.

[14] This is a well-documented genre in modern literature, with guidelines, code of ethics, and taught in Universities. For further information see Appendix 1, What is Creative Nonfiction?

[15] Indeed, these dialogues are among the more difficult threads to uncover and follow in scripture.

[16] Prevost, Jean-Pierre. How to Read the Prophets. NY, NY: Continuum Publishing Company, 1997, p. 73.

Dialogues with Deity

Someone with a military background might balk at this title. No one is permitted to “dialogue” with the Supreme Commander! And here’s the point. It is absolutely, entirely, 100% astonishing to see a human being and DEITY engage in true conversation. This is what the book of Jeremiah chronicles; multiple conversations between Almighty God and his very human spokesperson, Jeremiah.

Value of The Book

In the natural world, things of great value (gold and diamonds) hide in rugged and difficult locations. In Biblical literature, the Book of Jeremiah compares well to those rugged landscapes. Rough, tough reading. And “buried” within the book are insights of tremendous value.

The book of Jeremiah affords the remarkable opportunity to gaze into a dynamic, 40-year relationship; the relationship between a human being and Almighty, Living God.

Dialogues may not dominate the text, but they are present, woven in at appropriate places. They provide meaning, practicality, and embodiment of how God chooses to operate in this world. He works in and through genuine relationships; through true interpersonal communication.

Jeremiah displays the Living God doing this; it is incredible to behold.[1]

The Relationship

Private conversations between God and his spokesperson enter the public domain through Jeremiah’s book. Things aren’t always smooth between the two parties. It is a growing, dynamic, interactive, two-party, give-and-take relationship. Things get turbulent; but they work things out. Insights abound.[2]

Catch the turbulence. Listen to a complaint Jeremiah articulates against his Maker and Commander:

Yet I curse the day I was born!

I curse the messenger who told my father, “Good news – you have a son!” Let him be destroyed… because he did not kill me at birth.

Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb, that her body had been my grave!” 20:14-18.

What induced Jeremiah to such anger and despair? Is a human being allowed to rail against God?

The following 10 chapters aim for a “full-disclosure” presentation of this God-man, man-God relationship as revealed in Jeremiah’s tome. The disclosure of this relationship is intentional; deliberately included in the text of the book. This explains part of the Book’s non-chronological organization. Relational issues between God and prophet, and between God and the people, take center stage.[3]

God initiates most of the dialogues, others originate from Jeremiah. Note the words, the interchanges, and even the silences (sometimes glaring silences).

The ongoing dialogues in Jeremiah divide into 10 parts:

  1. Conscripted into the Lord’s Army, 1:4-19.
  2. On-The-Job Training, 3:1 – 6:30.
  3. Growing Deeper, 7:1 – 10:25.
  4. Conspiracy Leading to Understanding and Empathy, 11:1 – 12:17.
  5. Sharing in God’s Greater Heart-Pain, 14:1 – 15:21.
  6. Full, Unreserved Compliance, 16:1 – 17:27.
  7. A Most Important Revelation, 18:1 – 20:18.
  8. Theaters of Operation, 24:1-10.
  9. An Adult Prayer, 32:1-44.
  10. Choose Your Zip Code, 39:11 – 45:5.

God and Jeremiah converse back and forth throughout much of the book. Jeremiah’s life and ministry was difficult and confusing, and seemingly without positive results. Through submission and obedience, Jeremiah traded comfort and ease for something much greater – a raw, genuine, developing relationship with Almighty God. We tend to think a “right relationship with God” will make life prosperous and glowing, but the relationship between God and Jeremiah pops this false bubble.[4] “The lasting value of Jeremiah’s book lies … also in its being a wonderful handbook for learning the art of having fellowship with God. Here is personal faith at its highest in the OT.”[5]

[1] “It was the intensely individual, person-to-person experience of God that was Jeremiah’s epoch-making discovery. It was not merely emotional, ecstatic, or mystical; it was a strong, undergirding, and fruitful relationship that engendered profound thought, a social conscience, a high personal ethic, and a comprehensive view of the divine purpose.” White, p. 175.

[2] “The prophet and God are often in lively and urgent communication, with regard to both personal and community matters (e.g., 12:1-6; 15:15-21); though God’s word begins the relationship (1:4-5), both take the initiative in the ongoing interaction. The God of Jeremiah not only speaks, but listens, and is open to taking new directions in view of what is heard (e.g. 18:7-10).” Fretheim p. 6.

[3] This emphasis on relationships cannot be stated strong enough.

[4] “The root of our problem is that we want God to hand us a magic apple and send us on our way. Meanwhile God wants to be generous and share parts of his will with us in the context of an ongoing, loving dialogue. Our hunger to know God’s will is an invitation, placed deep within us, to encounter God and to know his love.” Shallenberger, Larry Divine Intention: How God’s Work in the Early Church Empowers Us Today. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook,Kindle Edition, pp. 120-121.

[5] Zondervan NIV Study Bible Commentary Vol. 1, Old Testament, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994, p. 1155.

A Book Like No Other

Not a commentary. Not a normal biography. It starts as a “life and times of Prophet Jeremiah” but goes well beyond. The greatest thing we find in the biblical Book of Jeremiah is the record of a 40 year relationship – stormy interactions between God and His chosen Spokesperson!

The conflict comes not because God is ornery or Jeremiah selfish. Conflict comes because the people of Judah are ornery, selfish and a whole lot more. God wants to save them, Jeremiah tries to reach them, but things go from bad to worse.

The Book of Jeremiah catalogues 10 dialogues between God and Prophet. Much of it is stormy, but there is so much to learn. Unfortunately, commentaries and other books in print have missed this treasure trove. It needs to be seen.

Available worldwide through Amazon and other retailers, in both print and eBook formats. 275 pages. You can also click below and buy direct from the publisher.

A Book like no other, about a most underappreciated man and his Commander.

Indomitable Spokesperson for Deity – Prophet Jeremiah.


Jeremiah’s Broad Interests

Observant and Caring toward People

From Appendix 8 it should be clear that Jeremiah’s interests included the needs of marginalized people: Orphans, widows, poor, slaves, foreigners, and oppressed. These were not “issues” to him, these are flesh-and-blood people who are not being cared for as their Lord demands.

Note: These four areas below were revealed to this author by R. E. O. White, and rather than rewrite them in my own words (as if deserving any credit) it seems best to quote verbatim with him getting the recognition.[1]

Studious of God’s Created World

“Nature, too, taught Jeremiah much. He observed with care the returning stork “who knows her times,” turtledoves, swallows, cranes, the “deaf’ uncharmable adders, the lairs of jackals, the speckled bird ostracized by its mates. He saw wild asses panting for water, gadflies tormenting cattle, “bristling” locusts, “slithering” serpents, “restive” young camels in heat “interlacing their tracks,” and the eagle’s enormous wing-span high above her lofty nest.”[2]

“Jeremiah shared the popular belief that the partridge gathers a breed it did not hatch. He seems to have watched a forest lion breaking cover to scatter a panic-stricken flock across the hillside. He described the desert wolf, the “watchful” leopard, the owl (NIV; “ostrich,” RSV) inhabiting ruins with hyenas. All this, of course, without any of the aids to accumulated knowledge that we now take for granted. And he responded to what he saw. He was deeply impressed by the orderliness of the universe, the “covenant” of day and night, the fixed order of the stars’ movements, the limits set for the sea, the immeasurable immensity of the heavens, and the immovable foundations of the earth. He was a remarkably well-informed man.”[3]

Studious of Peoples and Places

 “But whence came Jeremiah’s extensive knowledge of the personalities, policies, geography, and religions of the Middle East? He knew so much, not only of former northern Israel (“Samaria” or “Ephraim”) and Lebanon, but of Damascus, Tyre, and Sidon, and further north, even to Hamath; of the Scythians invading Asia Minor; of the river Euphrates, Babylon, Chaldea, Media, and Elam at the head of the Persian Gulf; of Egypt and Ethiopia to the far south; of Philistia and Cyprus to the west; and of Gilead and distant Kedar and Hazor on the edge of the eastern wilderness, with Edom, Moab, Ammon, and the Arab tribes.

“Nor were these mere names to Jeremiah. He listed their many cities, revealing knowledge of their position. He knew the rocky heights of Edom, the deep glens of Moab, the rising and falling of the Nile, the massive walls and wide moats of Babylon. He knew the names of foreign kings, the outlandish titles of foreign officers of state. He knew of the salt lands beyond the Dead Sea, the winds of the Euphrates delta, the dark skins of the Ethiopians – and all without a map.”[4]

Knowledgeable of Religious practices

“Jeremiah knew the varying customs and religions of different lands, the names of many gods and goddesses, the feasts observed, the sacrifices required, the rituals followed, the trimming of hair and beards and other strange rites practiced. The book of Jeremiah provides a well-informed handbook of comparative religion for the Near East of his time. Trade, travel, military expeditions, and civil organization of a great empire all served to foster the flow of information and the international ‘commerce of thought.’ Jeremiah evidently took great advantage of his opportunities.”[5]

Observant of Various Employments

“Nearer home, and with profit to his poetry, Jeremiah watched or heard of metal refiners, shepherds, archers, horsemen, potters, reapers, fowlers, fishers, hunters, craftsmen, smiths, woodsmen, Arabs waylaying travellers in the deserts, and thieves. He knew that debtors’ gratitude turns easily to hatred of their creditors; he knew the ways of grape gatherers and wine makers; he understood the unscrupulous use that scribes could make of their skill.”[6]

No “Loner” Was He

Never regard Jeremiah as a recluse or loner. Far from being detached from society, he mingled with common people, visited the poor and distressed, and addressed the powerful. He abstained from marriage and stayed away from such gatherings as funerals and feasts, not because he wanted to, but because his Commander forbade him. But as the statements above show, he was no recluse. He mingled with people of all walks of life. His mind was learned and alert. The knowledge he gained was not from a monastery or seminary, but rather through intentional interactions with people from all strata of society. He was a “people” person.


Jeremiah spent over 40 years fellowshipping with the Biggest, Most Caring Heart in the universe. His own heart was pried open as he saw the Lord’s hurt and tears.

Jeremiah learned to weep not for himself, but for his people and even his God. Deity is deeply, most deeply hurt as His love is spurned and trampled upon by mere mortals.

The severest blunder of all is human beings misjudging their astounding Creator. Learn to live with your eyes wide-open in this beautifully created world.

[1] Permission has been granted by Eerdmans to provide these quotes. White, R.E.O. The Indomitable Prophet: A Biographical Commentary on Jeremiah: The Man, the Time, the Book, the Tasks. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1992.

[2] White, p.5.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid, p.4.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid. pp. 4-5.

Jeremiah – Choose Your Zip Code

Introduction to Dialogue #10

Some may hesitate to call this passage a “dialogue”. But it is included here because God DID speak, Jeremiah DID answer, and the consequences were great. Jeremiah’s last prayer is also recorded. It was offered on behalf of other people. They were anxious and worried, forced to wait ten long days for their answer. These were unusual times.

Flow of Conversation

Easily the strangest “dialogue” of all, the two parties communicate indirectly. God’s “servant”, Emperor Nebuchadnezzar, finds and frees Jeremiah (39:11-14). The Lord speaks through another foreigner to say, “Chose where you will live out the rest of your days.” (40:1-5). Jeremiah remains silent but answers with his feet (40:6). People force the prophet to reengage with Supreme Commander (42:1-3). Who then delays His answer (42:7) but eventually speaks clearly (42:9-22). Which the people reject anyway (43:1-2). Yes, this is a strange dialogue.

We can’t imagine the feelings of loss, devastation, and helplessness as Jeremiah watched the city walls torn down, the palace buildings destroyed, and the Temple of the Lord demolished.
The Babylonian officer in charge of the demolition was Nebuzaradan, a VIP Captain of the army, who received orders directly from King Nebuchadnezzar. He arrived a month after the wall was breached and King Zedekiah was blinded and taken away. Nebuzaradan’s job was to level the city.
Nebuchadnezzar, the Great Emperor himself, was very aware of God’s spokesperson, Jeremiah, and was ready to protect and honor him. This is not so surprising and shows the broad and powerful influence God’s spokesperson had. The Babylonian emperor told his top deputy to find Jeremiah. “See that he isn’t hurt. Look after him well and give him everything he wants.” 39:12.
The text sidetracks a little to show how the Lord remembered the Ethiopian (who saved Jeremiah from the muddy cistern) and promised to keep him safe (Jer. 39:15-18).
Then comes this statement, “The LORD gave a message to Jeremiah after Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had released him at Ramah.” (40:1). But this was not a direct message (as were all the preceding ones), the Lord used a human intermediary, the foreign Captain himself.
The captain of the guard called for Jeremiah and said, “The LORD your God has brought this disaster on this land, just as he said he would … But I am going to take off your chains and let you go. If you want to come with me to Babylon, you are welcome. I will see that you are well cared for. But if you don’t want to come, you may stay here. The whole land is before you – go wherever you like … it’s up to you; go wherever you like.” 40:2-5.
This was the Lord’s word to Jeremiah. He gives him complete freedom and impels him to make a decision. Will you choose to join the exiles in Babylon or will you choose to remain in the land? You must decide, no one will do it for you.
There is no verbal response recorded in the text. Jeremiah instead spoke with his feet.
So Jeremiah returned to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah, and he lived in Judah with the few who were still left in the land. 40:6.

Jeremiah’s Decision
The text offers no comment on this decision.
Did he make the “right” (God honoring) decision or the “wrong” (self-serving) decision? What was his thinking and motives? For what reasons did he choose to stay? For selfish reasons? Self-pity? Or to avoid the attention that awaited him in Babylon? We can only speculate, but asking these honest questions brings us “into” the situation, and how the text addresses it.
It seems apparent, though, that he chose to stay among the “bad figs” in the land accursed by God. Perhaps this was motivated by bitterness. He had worked tirelessly, against great opposition for 40 years, motivated by the hope that the holy city and temple could be saved. He gave his all, and it was not enough.

The results
We learn that things turned out horribly for him. There was hope for peace while Gedaliah served as governor, but then he was murdered. Jeremiah was in the hands of this murderer and about to be taken to Ammon.
A rescue mission took place and now there was a diverse group of people under the leadership of the rescuer, Johanan. They felt they should flee to Egypt before the Babylonian armies brought vengeance for the murder of the appointed governor. But they decided to ask Jeremiah to check what God thought about their plans.
Then all the guerrilla leaders, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from the least to the greatest, approached Jeremiah the prophet. They said, “Please pray to the LORD your God for us. As you can see, we are only a tiny remnant compared to what we were before. Pray that the LORD your God will show us what to do and where to go.” 42:1-3.
Jeremiah agreed to enquire.
“All right,” Jeremiah replied. “I will pray to the LORD your God, as you have asked, and I will tell you everything he says. I will hide nothing from you.” 42:4.
They promised to do whatever the Lord said.
Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the LORD your God be a faithful witness against us if we refuse to obey whatever he tells us to do! Whether we like it or not, we will obey the LORD our God to whom we are sending you with our plea. For if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us.” 42:5-6.
But, the Lord did not answer quickly. Think of the times Jeremiah received almost immediately a “Word of the Lord.” But here a whole week went by without an answer. These are people living in fear; fear for their very lives. Eight days, no answer. Nine days, no answer.
The Lord’s spokesperson did not receive a word from him until the 10th day. Jeremiah was not in close fellowship with his God at this point of his life. Anger, bitterness, disappointment raged in this heart.
During this long wait the distraught seekers made up their own minds what to do. Jeremiah finally delivered a detailed, lengthy, well documented “word from the Lord” on the 10th day (42:7-22). But by now the people were prepared to go completely against the Lord’s instructions. They went to Egypt where God’s wrath awaited, and they forced Jeremiah and Baruch to go with them.
The Lord gave a few more messages to his spokesperson for the hearing of those in Egypt, but they were only messages of judgement that the people refused to hear. (43:8-13, 44:1-14, 44:20-30).

Jeremiah was forced to choose his own zip code. He could not blame God for that choice, the results that followed were entirely upon himself.
Jeremiah’s time in Judah and Egypt were, for all we can see, a waste. There is nothing good that came out of it.
The other place Jeremiah could have taken up residence had hundreds of thousands of the Lord’s “good figs.” The Lord’s heart, the Lord’s favor, and the Lord’s future plans were with those exiles. His seasoned spokesperson could have had (and I would say “should” have had) a strategic impact among those favored people.
But this was a choice Jeremiah had to make himself: To set aside his heart-pain and be willing to offer himself as a “living sacrifice” to the Lord, for the sake of his captive people.

Jeremiah was overcome by tragedy. But his amazing, longsuffering, relationship-driven God was not done with him. It would seem clear that God’s spokesperson, and the spokesperson’s scribe were in Egypt for some length of time. And as their hearts softened, as they allowed their loving God to renew their strength, they took the opportunity to work together in constructing this amazing, lengthy, full-disclosure scroll that we now know as The Book of Jeremiah.

Conclusion: Waves of Opposition

Few on planet earth endure a range of hardships like Jeremiah.

  • Death threats from family and townsfolk.
  • Angry, anonymous mob demanding death by stoning.
  • Public whipping and a night in stocks.
  • Months of work destroyed and need to flee.
  • Strange acted-out dual leading to death.
  • Cast into a stinking muddy pit.
  • Forced to make a repulsive purchase.

One episode remains. Something entirely different. In this one, Jeremiah becomes somewhat a trouble maker.

Jeremiah the Tempter

Jeremiah sought out the leaders of a certain family clan and invited all the men to join him inside the temple. At the appointed time they came. Jeremiah had reserved a room and set it up to host them. He welcomed them in the traditional way with cups and jugs of wine.

All the social norms, all the accepted behavior, etiquette, decency, in that day placed a strong obligation on these guests to receive the drink with gratitude. The host honored them by going personally to invite them. The host prepared everything in advance. They came as guests and were obliged to return honor to their host. Refusing the welcoming drink is a breach of etiquette, an unforgivable offense. But this is what they did. They brought shame on Jeremiah by refusing his welcome. In normal circumstances, Jeremiah would be hotly offended.

The problem? These men, along with their whole clan for generations, were under oath to not drink from the fruit of the vine. They were teetotalers from birth to death. Even God’s spokesperson in a private temple room would not get them to change.

Jeremiah breathed a sigh of relief. The Recabites’ unswerving obedience to their forefathers became powerful ammunition for rebuking the populace and the leaders of Judah.

Come and learn a lesson about how to obey me. The Recabites do not drink wine to this day because their ancestor Jehonadab told them not to. But I have spoken to you again and again, and you refuse to obey me. Time after time I sent you prophets, who told you, “Turn from your wicked ways, and start doing things right. Stop worshiping other gods so that you might live in peace here in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you would not listen to me or obey me. The descendants of Jehonadab son of Recab have obeyed their ancestor completely, but you have refused to listen to me. Jer. 35:13-16.

A Clear Contrast

The contrasts are powerful:

In terms of loyalty, the Almighty, Living, Covenant God of Israel is certainly worthy of greater allegiance than any ancestor.

In terms of self-help, the benefits derived by obeying their Covenant God are exponentially greater than the Recabites were to gain through family loyalty.

But in all the places Jeremiah journeyed, and rebuked, and called for change, the people spat in his face, refusing to listen. The Recabites proved noble, all the others were ignoble.

“My people are foolish and do not know me,” says the LORD. “They are stupid children who have no understanding. They are clever enough at doing wrong, but they have no idea how to do right!” Jer. 4:22.

Therefore, their land will become desolate, a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be astonished and will shake their heads in amazement. Jer. 18:16.

I will reduce Jerusalem to ruins, making it a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be astonished and will gasp at the destruction they see there. Jer. 19:8.

These are the people Jeremiah spent 40 years trying to educate, awaken, and rescue from the consequences of their folly.


It is unfortunate that Jeremiah’s most famous title among popular circles is “the weeping prophet.” There is even the term “jeremiad” coined in his “honor.” Yes Jeremiah wept, but not out of self-pity and weakness. His weeping spawned out of concern for his people. He joined the “Weeping God.”

Now, Jeremiah, say this to them: “Night and day my eyes overflow with tears. I cannot stop weeping, for my virgin daughter – my precious people – has been struck down and lies mortally wounded.” Jer. 14:17.

This point is stated well by Paul House, “This emphasis on his weeping may mislead readers regarding his toughness. Jeremiah was a determined, dedicated, long-suffering, and visionary follower of God. His courage and stamina serves as examples to even the most faithful of all God’s embattled servants.”[1]

God’s spokesperson, Jeremiah, deserves a gold medal. As a man, servant of The Most High, citizen of a small, troubled nation, an activist for social concern,[2] and a bastion of hope for the future – very few human beings should stand in honor with him. God gifted us not only with a historical record of Jeremiah, we also have his writing in which he expresses many of his feelings and thoughts in an ongoing communication with his Divine Commander.

This is the focus of the third and largest section of this book, Dialogues with Deity. It is up next.

[1] ESV Study Bible. Crossway Bibles, Wheaton IL, 2008, p. 1364.

[2] This is covered in Appendix 8, Spokesperson’s Social Concern.

Reluctant Landowner

Below is one more expression of Creative Nonfiction. It starts with a newspaper article, leading to three very different “Letters to the Editor.” We then peek into Jeremiah’s personal memoirs of the event. Things conclude with “A word from heaven” of what may have been the Lord’s thoughts on the whole thing. Enjoy!

Jerusalem Post

Freedom for All [well almost all]

After many long months of total lockdown, the city gates were open yesterday to the relief of the entire population of Jerusalem. The rumors of help from Egypt would seem to be confirmed as the only possible reason for Babylon to suddenly drop their month’s-long siege and depart the city. This help from our southern neighbor will come at a cost, but such philosophical thoughts were pushed aside as the population rushed out of the city walls in a desperate search for water and food.

A couple of the city’s residents, unfortunately, where trampled underfoot at the city gates and did not survive to enjoy the long-sought freedom. But apart from this, the citizen’s behaved lawfully as they scavenged through neglected gardens and raided fruit trees for anything nourishing and edible. The gates were closed again at sundown and the residents enjoyed a peaceful night.

In a related incident, one criminal added to his long rap-sheet of arrests and beatings and imprisonments. It seems that the cantankerous, old prophet, Jeremiah, was up to more of his shenanigans. He was apprehended trying to leave the city in hopes of catching up with his friends, the Babylonians. For years now, this renegade priest and prophet has been predicting doom for our beloved city (including the Temple and Palace) at the hands of these enemies, saying all sorts of nasty, unnecessary things and upsetting the populace. But now his prophecies had gone amuck. When he saw the Baboons leaving, it must have been too much for the old man; too hard to watch his prophecies flop. He attempted to run after them, but was grabbed by the alert guardsman named Irijah ben Shelemiah.

The clever old man attempted to argue his way out of the arrest with some ridiculous explanation about just wanting to see land he recently bought. A wire must be loose in his head because no one would believe such an outlandish claim. A prophet of doom buying real estate in a doomed land! What will this eccentric think of next! The argument was solved when Irijah took the perpetrator to the royal officials and they had him whipped and beaten and imprisoned. Such treatment has done little in the past to deter this windbag prophet, but the prison he is in now is the worst of the bunch. He won’t last long, and he won’t be causing any more trouble. [Jer. 37:11-16].

Letters to the Editor (two days later)

Letter #1

Let him rot

Dear editor,

Please let me express my opinion in your newspaper. That traitor in Jonathon’s house (the worst prison in the land) can just rot there forever. Yes, that man speaks only poison and doesn’t deserve to live. As a court recorder I want to take this opportunity to list his crimes. Surely all can agree he deserves to die.

As far back as the reign of King Josiah this man was saying our nation would be completely destroyed. These are his own obscene words: “The enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem. They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars – the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried. But will be scattered on the ground like manure.” [Jer. 8:1-2] Who in his right mind would compare the bones of our nobles to manure?

He compared our beloved nation to his own dirty underwear, and a perfectly good clay pot that he smashed to pieces in the eyes of all [Jer. 13:1-9; 19:10-11].

He has been saying that Babylon will deport all of us out of our land for a period of 70 long years [Jer. 25:11].

He wore a cow’s yoke around his neck for months and spoke to the ambassadors of our allied countries, telling us all to forfeit our sovereignty and bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar [Jer. 27:1-13]. This is outright treason! He then went public with it and was allowed to live and further spread his propaganda.

He has repeatedly expressed his belief that our glorious temple will be demolished and the “City of David” destroyed [Jer. 26:1-9]. Surely we noble citizens should not have to put up with such pessimistic, cynical, contrary preaching. Does he even know what he is saying?

My considered opinion is this, let this troublemaker rot in jail till the day he dies. Then proclaim a national holiday.


Unhappy court recorder

Letter #2

Loose wires

I am writing in regard to the news article in your paper where it states that my cousin, Jeremiah ben Hilkiah, has some wires loose in his head for saying he recently bought land and wanted to see it.
I, Hanamel ben Shallum, want to set the record straight and also call on you (the Jerusalem Post) to do a better job of investigative reporting. Get your facts straight! My cousin was indeed speaking the truth. The person he bought land from was me. I approached him at the court of the king’s guard where he was held prisoner and asked if he would buy the land since he has the right of first ownership. I was surprised that he had been expecting me and was prepared to buy it without further explanation. He paid 17 shekels of silver. We signed all the necessary paperwork and the transaction was competed in the eyes of official witnesses [Jer. 27:9 -12]. The land is in Anathoth, only a few kilometers away from Jerusalem. Had you or the royal officials simply investigated his claims the record is there for all to see.

I do, though, want to comment more on my cousin. We as his family are very ashamed of his behavior over these past decades. He is so different from the rest of us. He does many crazy things and doesn’t care what people think. He is guided by one thing and one thing only – the word and instructions of his God. At times our close relatives truly wanted him dead [11:18-21], but their plots failed and we have come to pretty well ignore him. And this headache won’t last much longer. He is old. He never married. Has no children. And even the land he bought will come back to me when he dies.

Thank you,


Letter #3

Most Loyal Subject

I take exception to your front-page article last Tuesday and its strongly biased description against the greatest of men, Jeremiah, the true prophet of the Living God of Israel. Yes. I may be a foreigner, but I have spent decades studying the unique religion and lifestyle of you Jews, and I must say that you are surely a most privileged people. Your history is full of miracles that no idol could perform, yet the majority population seeks only a life of ease and comfort, while true spirituality is non-existent.

This is what makes Jeremiah so great. He is in daily touch with the Living God and speaks with authority the message that you all hate to hear. There is no one more loyal to Jerusalem than Jeremiah. He is the only one willing to stick his neck out to try and save the city. None of you are willing to heed the call for repentance. This is the only way to save your city and nation. Rather than take note of this truly great man, you have subjected him to ridicule, humiliation, beatings, imprisonments, and yet he continues to speak God’s truth for the good of all you Jews.

I want to state it for the record that Jeremiah, God’s Spokesperson, is the most loyal of all the king’s subjects. He rises above everyone else in his efforts to save Jerusalem and Judah. He does this for the good of you all.

Respectfully yours,

E.M. [Jer. 38:7-13]

Jeremiah’s memoirs

Beaten and arrested again

Perhaps I should have known I wouldn’t get very far. I was still angry over this whole “landowner” incident. After all, it was God himself who forbade me to marry and have children – so why should I buy land? It was God who put me on public record time and time again saying Babylon would destroy this place and take everyone captive. Then, by telling me to buy the land, He made me look stupid, irrational, and incompetent in the eyes of all. “There’s that big-mouthed Jeremiah contradicting everything he ever said!”

There wasn’t any need for me to see the land, but the walk through the open spaces to Anathoth sounded like a good change from the cramped-ness and hostility of the city.

Wish I was immune to the pain by now, but this flogging was extra bad. I’d like to complain to my God, but he sure hasn’t been sympathetic in the past [Jer. 12:2, 5-7; 15:15-19]. My wounds must be infected in this damp, infested hole. Fever will set in soon. I won’t last long [Jer. 37:16, 20].

Penning off,

Jeremiah ben Hilkiah

A word from Heaven

I have asked much from my servant, Jeremiah. Desperate times call for desperate measures. He had good reason (humanly speaking) to be upset when I told him to publicly purchase his cousin’s land. He has no use for it: He will be wandering and homeless for the rest of this life. I have forbidden him to marry [Jer. 16:1-4], so he has no heir. To the eyes of all the people, this purchase makes no sense. However, Jeremiah needs to know, all my people need to know, that I AM NOT DONE WITH ISRAEL AND JERUSALEM. The greatness of the past is NOTHING compared to the greatness that is YET TO COME [Jer. 32:36-44; 33:6-9, 14-26]! I know what I am doing!

I left the choice of leaving the city up to him. Could have prevented anyone from recognizing him, but I chose not to interfere. He has been so loyal to me and I wish the suffering could end, but even darker days lay ahead. I am genuinely proud of him. He has learned to look beyond his personal suffering to see the greater suffering that I endure [Jer. 14:17; 8:21-9:2].

Because of his faithfulness, the account of his obedience and the power of his words will last through all of time, and many will line up in heaven to meet him. It is he who announced the purpose and length of my people’s captivity [Jer. 24:4-7; 25:11-12]; it is he who will introduce the New Covenant [Jer. 31:31-34; 32:40-41]; and it is to him that my Son while on earth will frequently be compared [Mat. 16:14].

I have prepared for Jeremiah, my faithful servant, an eternity of reward. He has surely earned the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” And why not? At the resurrection of the dead I will give this very portion of prime land to my faithful servant to be enjoyed by him – and his large host of spiritual offspring – forever! [Jer. 32:40-41].

Things to Note

1. It is important to know this story because the events here are tied to very important revelation from the LORD. The Lord wasn’t playing games or just “testing” his spokesperson. The land purchase was a very significant prophetic “sign.” This will be dealt with in more detail later.[1]

2. We should not assume that everything Jeremiah did, and all the suffering he underwent, was the perfect will of God. Jeremiah was human. There is nothing in the Biblical text to indicate the Lord wanted him to leave the city and go view his land. Did he pray about it and receive a “yes” answer? We have no way of knowing. There is another incident in Jer. 19:14 – 20:2 that might be a clearer case of him suffering for going beyond what he was told. This was dealt with already and was probably a matter of anger getting him into trouble. Jeremiah’s complaint at that time was answered by God only with silence.[2]

[1] This will be given special attention in the third book in this series, Paradigm-Shifting Communiques from DEITY – via Jeremiah.

[2] And in still another instance, the LORD verbally chastised him, “This is how the LORD responds: ‘If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you!’” Jer. 15:19. But with the complaint about the land purchase the chastisement came as silence, unresponsiveness, as if he is saying, “your words are not even worthy of an answer.”

Stuck in the Mud


The following event is another true story. The 100% accurate account can be found at Jeremiah 38:1 – 13. This elaborated account is presented through the eyes of an unnamed “participant”.

Unnamed Palace Servant

I was on my knees busily polishing the marble floor when my top boss came marching past. Worry etched his extra-dark face as he headed off to Benjamin Gate where King Zedekiah sat, enjoying the fresh air.

Has Ebed Melech been summoned by the king? Has this good man offended His Majesty? But this is not proper protocol, what was his hurry? My boss must be panicked about something and seeks help from the king.

Peeking around the corner I could see I was right. Mr. Melech was in animated conversation with King Zedekiah himself. What could be so important?

He bows to the king and turns to come back, so I rush back to work. As he entered the palace he called my name and barked out, “Put that stuff away, we have to rescue the Prophet!”

I was confused but followed his orders. I put the polish and cloths in their proper place while Mr. Melech rounded up two others[1] and grabbed a rope from the storeroom. He threw it to me and without explanation he went downstairs. I am confused. He came back up carrying a bunch of old rags and worn-out clothes and he barked, “Let’s move it!”

Now I am totally confused. Rope, old clothes, big hurry to “save” the prophet. What will Boss Melech come up with next?

We marched to the temple yard with no chance for conversation.

My boss stops and calls down into the dark, damp cistern of the king’s son.[2] “Are you O.K., sir?”

The faint answer returns, “The Lord lives.”

Mr. Melech grabs the rope from me, ties up some of the cloths, and lowers it down the cistern.

“Put these rags and cloths under your arms.” He called down, “When we pull you out, these rags will pad your underarms and the ropes will not hurt you.”[3]

So, we pulled the prophet out. He was covered by smelly mud from waist to feet. How did he manage to breath down there? Who could have done this to such a man of God? Has he been down there all night?

We helped him get washed off and gave him a change of clothes. He gulped down water and tried to swallow some bread, then fell into exhausted sleep almost in our arms.

“What happened, Mr. Melech?” I asked as we cleaned the rope and removed the dirty rags. “Who could do such a terrible thing?”

So he told me the story.

He was in the king’s palace inspecting the rooms when he heard several nobles talking and laughing. He listened in and learned that they had reported Prophet Jeremiah to the king (no doubt speaking lies and false accusations). The king told them they could do whatever they saw fit. So they were laughing at the old prophet floundering in the mud “where all unclean animals (pigs) belong.”

So this explains the worry etched on Mr. Melech’s face as he rushed to see the king. But what made him, a foreigner from Ethiopia, care so much to risk his job, and maybe his life, to save him? So I pondered this old man, Jeremiah.

He is called “The Prophet.” Respected by most people but hated by a few. Unfortunately, these few are the ones in power. Jeremiah has been speaking on God’s behalf for 40 years. He has been beaten, jailed, ridiculed, and now thrown into a muddy cistern for his faithful service to the Living God. I decided then and there that if anyone is looking for a hero, brave and true, this is the man! Praise the Living God!

Things to Note

1. At the beginning of the Biblical account, four palace officials are mentioned by name. They were obsessed with permanently closing God’s spokesperson’s mouth. This is what they said to King Zedekiah, “Sir, this man must die! That kind of talk will undermine the morale of the few fighting men we have left, as well as that of all the people. This man is a traitor!” 38:4.

They admit that they have just “a few fighting men” while thousands of professional, fully armed enemy soldiers surround the city. On what source were they placing their hope for deliverance?

2. This story portrays Zedekiah as the wimpy king he was. He answered the four men’s request with these words: “All right. Do as you like. I can’t stop you.”38:5. But when another man makes a contrary request he does a 1800 turn: “Take thirty of my men with you, and pull Jeremiah out of the cistern before he dies” (38:10).

3. Ebed-Melech was a brilliant thinker. He approached the king as if the king didn’t know what was happening, saying, “these men have done a very evil thing.” Then, he mentions that Jeremiah might starve to death and added the strange words, “For almost all the bread in the city is gone.” There was a reason for this comment. King Zedekiah had recently made a very specific, unconditional promise that was now in danger of being forgotten, because Jeremiah was now “out of sight, out of mind.”

“The king also commanded that Jeremiah be given a loaf of fresh bread every day as long as there was any left in the city.” 37:21. Ebed-Melech indirectly called the king’s attention to this promise while not directly confronting his superior. This spurred the king’s action. Well Done E.M.

[1] Some manuscripts say “3 men”, some say “30 men.” The king was a weak leader. He wanted to assist this upright man to rescue the prophet, but he was not strong enough to confront the men who did the imprisoning. If he authorized “3” men, it means it was for a quick, stealth mission. If he authorized “30” men, it was intended as a show of force in case of confrontation.

[2] The ownership of the cistern is quite a remarkable detail. “It belonged to Malkijah, a member of the royal family.” Jer. 38:6. No one would want a human being (especially one of note) dying in their cistern, even if it was no longer used. This may have been a reason for King Zedekiah’s about-face and call to action. Had the officers intended to insult the king and his family?

[3] Nice little tidbit of information.

Prophets’ Showdown

Babylonian Chronicle – News Release

The people of the small vassal territory of Judah have long earned their reputation as shallow, fickle and even silly. Here is the latest news from our unfortunate correspondent assigned to their capitol city, Jerusalem.[1]

Verbal Duel by Two Prophets

The prediction of a Jewish but pro-Babylon prophet, Jeremiah ben Hilkiah, in Jerusalem, came true recently when another Jewish prophet, Hananiah ben Azzur, also of Jerusalem, suddenly died.[2]

Here are the details as best we can figure them out.

Prophet Hananiah had been boldly (and ludicrously) prophesying that “the yoke” of Almighty Babylon over tiny Judah would end within two short years; all the prisoners would return; and their failed king (of a mere three months), Jehoiachin, would re-establish himself on Judah’s puny throne! To demonstrate his prophecy, he broke a wooden yoke that Prophet Jeremiah had been carrying around for months on his own neck. “What!” (you say)? You may want to read the above paragraphs again before you continue reading. These “prophets,” are revered leaders among the Jewish people and here they are acting like spoiled toddlers!

Prophet Jeremiah (remember, he is the one who survived while the other one is dead) had been making a spectacle of himself by carrying this wooden oxen’s yoke on his shoulders. He did this in loud and public demonstration, urging Judah to surrender and submit to the authority of His Excellency, King Nebuchadnezzar. (We, of course, support his message and commitment, while his methodology leaves much to be desired).

It seems the prophet (with shoulders locked in the yoke) interrupted some high-level strategy meetings of ambassadors from five other nations.[3] Such meetings seem rather suspicious from our standpoint and perhaps should be investigated, but the prophet promised that voluntary submission to us would save the nation of Judah and the other nations as well.

The prophet was announcing repeatedly that their king, Zedekiah ben Josiah, should surrender and submit himself and their tiny nation to the yoke of Babylon. (Don’t resist the inevitable, you fools!).

This continued and escalated to the above-mentioned clash. The two prophets had a huge verbal boxing match in the middle of their temple, both prefacing their contradictory statements with the words: “The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says:”[4] It appears obvious that these Israelites and their prophets are a greatly confused people.

Wisecracking Jeremiah said, “Amen! May your prophecies come true!” But everyone knows he is publicly guaranteeing the opposite – that we are going to quash the little bug of Judah. But maybe among these people it is ok to say one thing and still agree with the opposite.[5]

After Hananiah broke the wooden yoke off of Jeremiah’s neck, fiery Jeremiah spoke even more boldly. He said to him, “You have broken a wooden yoke, but you have replaced it with a yoke of iron. The Lord says, ‘I have put a yoke of iron on the necks of all these nations, forcing them into slavery under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control!’” (Three cheers for Jeremiah!!!)

This prophetic showdown reached its climax two months ago, when Jeremiah said, “Listen Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, but the people believe your lies. Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘You must die. Your life will end this very year[6] because you have rebelled against the Lord.’”

And sure enough, the news of Hananiah’s sudden death has caused panic and paralysis among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. It seems that this news has also been relayed to the surrounding countries and they too are trembling.

Further investigation has revealed that prophet Jeremiah has often been accused by his fellow countrymen as a traitor. They accuse him of accepting bribes from Babylon to push a pro-Babylonian policy. However, Jeremiah is a man of great integrity who can neither be bought nor swayed by threat. This is shown by the fact that his preaching has often brought peril to his own life, but he will not compromise.

Prophet Hananiah’s sudden death has proven to the inhabitants of Jerusalem that Jeremiah is a true and genuine prophet of God.

An autopsy was performed on Hananiah but failed to reveal the cause of death. Many religious leaders in Jerusalem believe that his death is attributed to making false prophecies in the name of Israel’s God.

Things to Note

1. Indeed, the cause of death was Divine judgement, a judgement Hananiah should have known was coming, Duet 18:20-21. Both men claimed to be speaking the words of “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies” (Jer. 28:2, 27:19). Only one could be speaking the truth.

2. Hananiah’s death was a God-given prophetic sign that should have stunned Zedekiah and all the people, causing them to submit to the call of surrender and be spared from death and destruction. But this sign, like so many others, was rejected outright.

[1] Obviously, a foreign correspondent is going to have biases and slanted agendas in what they write for their own people.

[2] Details of this spectacular showdown can be found in Jeremiah 27 and 28.

[3] Jer. 27:3-6.

[4] Jeremiah 27:4, Hananiah 28:2, Jeremiah 28:14.

[5] This is correct. Jeremiah was on public record repeatedly announcing the upcoming destruction. However, his heart favored the opposite which is what his nemesis was announcing.

[6] Poor Hananiah won’t live long enough to see his prophecies “fulfilled.”