Read: Jeremiah 52
The last chapter in Jeremiah parallels 2 Kings 24:18-25:21 and then 2 Kings 25:27-30. It appears here as an historical appendix, perhaps repeated as a reminder, I’m really not sure. The count of the people in exile is incredibly small: 4,600 people in all. This tiny number sheds new light on the term remnant!
As we recall, Zedekiah rebelled against God and was carried off into Babylonian exile; here he continues his rebellious ways toward the king of Babylon.
It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence. Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. Jeremiah 52:3
Instead of surrendering peacefully as Jeremiah told him, Zedekiah fled and was captured. He was forced to watch the execution of his sons and officials, then his eyes were gouged out. He was imprisoned until he died. Daily tortured by the memory that no doubt replayed in his mind. Insanity would have been comforting I’m sure.
Some notes indicate this was only the number of men, but in any case,
This is the number of the people Nebuchadnezzar carried into exile:
in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews;
29 in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year,
832 people from Jerusalem;
30 in his twenty-third year,
745 Jews taken into exile by Nebuzaradan the commander of the imperial guard.
There were 4,600 people in all.
The Jews were scattered across the countryside. Perhaps Jeremiah’s words to the surrounding nations in chapters 46-51 (see yesterday’s post) were meant to give them hope as they lived in fear, disbanded and isolated. There were literally millions of Jews, though few honored God, misled by kings who adopted the ways of their neighboring countries.
Today we finish reading Jeremiah, but I hope we learn from the words, that we read the warnings and see the signs of today that would lure us into sin. Jeremiah summarizes a great deal of activity over many years, but we have the privilege of perspective and can see the trap of evil as a spider’s web that caught our ancestors. One thread at a time, the spider wraps its prey over and over again. Each thread is individually broken easily enough, but together they form an impossible bond that holds its captive until death.
How many threads have wrapped us today? Which have become ropes that would strangle us? Lord, help us to see these clearly and escape that which would hold us and separate us from you.