A Life of Fidelity:
Scorned and Rewarded
As the Babylonians prepare to take charge in Jerusalem and Judah, we have yet another king, this one a vassal appointed by Nebuchadnezzar. In the estimate of Jeremiah, he does not amount to much, a pliable weakling. Weakness on high, strength below; the ironies of Yahweh in full play.
An interruption of the siege. The Babylonian armies fall back under a threatened invasion from Egypt. (The same event occasioned the shady deal regarding the Hebrew slaves [34:8ff.].) So in the hiatus, a delegation from the king waits on Jeremiah. He reports his own situation somewhat wryly as “not yet put in prison, still moving freely among the people.” The message is a curious one: “to ask me to pray to the Lord our God on behalf of our nation.”
What is he to make of the message, and its sudden outburst of piety? Ambiguous, to say the least; Jeremiah has reported that “neither Zedekiah nor his officials nor the people obeyed the message which the Lord had given me.”
To all appearance, the “message” has to do with that famous second scroll, its intimations (and more) of the morbid outcome of national