Jeremiah – Chapter 12

jeremiah

There are three divisions in this chapter: (Jeremiah 12:1-6) which register’s Jeremiah’s complaint, (Jeremiah 12:7-13) which recounts God’s judgment upon Judah and her enemies, and (Jeremiah 12:14-17) that promises the return of Israel from captivity and the conversion of Gentiles, both of which are conditional.

“Wherefore… doth the wicked prosper …” (Jeremiah 12:1)? Jeremiah got to the point at once; and the problem here presented before the Lord in faith and humility was indeed an old one. Habakkuk had struggled with it; the patriarch Job (Job 21:7) was perplexed by it; and the Book of Psalms devotes at least two chapters to a discussion of it (Psalms 37 and Psalms 73).

Why do the wicked prosper? Why is crookedness a prime prerequisite for success in this world? Lord, you plant these scoundrels, and they grow. Why? They are pious frauds who mouth words of religion but have no real love for you in their hearts.”

God’s answer to Jeremiah is somewhat shocking. The Lord rebuked him. We might paraphrase in this manner:

Look, Jeremiah, why should you be bothered about the prosperity of wicked men? If, in your race for me, you have been worn out by men, what are you going to do when you have to run against horses? If you have trouble feeling secure on level ground, what is going to happen to you when you have to pass through the “pride of the Jordan?” You have hardly seen anything at all yet. Buckle your seat belt, the worst is yet to come! NOTE: In essence God is telling Jeremiah why be distracted by the successes of the wicked or this world. I called you to prophecy the destiny of Judah and Israel, not the earth-bound prosperity of the evil. Jeremiah is asking the wrong question of God.

  1. The values focused upon in Christianity are not temporal and physical at all, but eternal.
  2. The favor and prosperity enjoyed by wicked men are not marks of God’s approval
  3. God’s world is an orderly world; and there are certain rewards and penalties that derive from that order. It happens that in many instances wicked men are more skilled or aggressive in his or her goals, ambitions, and (earthly) achievement(s).
  4. The success of people of this world is that they make no other choice but this world in which to live and prosper. They think the grave ends it all.
  5. This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.

Jeremiah 12:7 refers to a house. This is not the House of the Temple but Israel as a people. The two teachings in Jeremiah 12:7 are (1) the Lord removed his presence, or Spirit, from the Jewish temple, and (2) he forsook the apostate nation, the “righteous remnant” alone being exempt.

It is apparent that Israel along with other heathen nations prefers a god one can see, touch and move to other places. The invisibility of God-Jehovah is their issue. Truth in their eyes comes only by seeing. Very forgetful memories have the people of Judah.

Reading a glowing book

Verse 10 of Jeremiah 12 is also something of interest to the bible student. The word Shepherds in this verse is sometimes translated “pastors” from the Hebrew. Some translations suggest the best translation should be “rulers.”  However, this is not the point in this verse. It is what they have done to God’s flock that is primary. “They have trodden my (God’s) portion under foot; striped my vines of its fruit; laid waste a once bountiful land.”

This is another one of those dual or double-meaning verses. Sheep graze the land and often pull up the grass by the roots. They leave the land desolate by their eating habits. What isn’t eaten to the root is “trodden under foot.” The second thought is the sheep being Israelis. They have grazed God’s grace and left no remnant of belief and faithfulness (seeds) behind through the upbringing and training of their children.

The next verse points out the desolation of the land. Recall that when the twelve Tribes of Israel first moved into this land, it was a land of “milk and honey.” It was a land area we call today the Levant; rich soils and great crops with plenty of rain. This has all changed and gets worse as we move to chapter 14 a b it later.

Verse 14 [a new paragraph within chapter 12 changes the subject] is both a double promise to both Judah during this time in history and to Judah’s neighbors in a future as discussed in Daniel 11. His warning is against “all mine evil neighbors that touch the inheritance which I caused my people Israel to inherit” [ESV]. Note very carefully that this verse does not identify the land as Israel’s but God identifies it as “HIS LAND by calling other nations “MY NEIGHBORS.” There are two things in this verse. God will pluck or remove the evil peoples next door from their land and remove the Israelis from their Promised Land. The neighbors who take advantage of this temporarily vacated land will themselves be *“plucked out of their own home and land in the future.”

*To understand this better, one might wish to go back to the Book of Daniel articles to re-read his prophecies. In particular, read chapter 11 of Daniel. This is events of a future 300 years after Jeremiah was writing his book.

But the very next verse also states that God will eventually “…bring them again [this could mean after the 70 year captivity in Babylon] every man to his heritage and every man to his land” [End Time prophecy and the Millennial Reign of Christ.

Verse 16 is a promise that also is an indication of End Time prophecy; i.e. yet to be fulfilled. It is a verse with promise: “…if they [non-Jewish peoples or Gentiles] will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, as Jehovah liveth; even as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built up in the midst of my people”. All this will be fulfilled during the reign of the Messiah during the Millennial Reign of Jesus. God is here talking about the Gentile races, not Israel itself. He is talking New Testament times, belief in Jesus and God, but written in the Old Testament some 600 years before the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

The end of this chapter as written in the Contemporary English Version is self-explanatory…

Jer 12:15  But later, I will have pity on these [foreign] nations [people] and bring them back to their own lands.

Jer 12:16  They [foreign people] once taught my people to worship Baal. But if they admit I am the only true God, and if they let my people teach them how to worship me, these nations will also become my people.

Jer 12:17  However, if they [foreign nations outside of God] don’t listen to me, I will uproot them from their lands and completely destroy them. I, the LORD, have spoken.

The Christians today are also God’s people; i.e. the one-body church with Jesus at the head; not intended to refer to or infer any particular congregation within any denomination or church building. V17 is totally End Time New Testament prophecy… if they [foreign nations outside of God] don’t listen to me, I will uproot them from their lands and *completely destroy them. I, the LORD, have spoken. 

*The Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15 (Matthew 7:23; Mark 9:43-48; Romans 2:16; Hebrews 9:27.

Amen,

miniJimRev. DrJstark

January 2017

Jeremiah: The Weeping Prophet

jeremiahHe began his prophecy during the time of the prophet Zephaniah and prophetess Huldah, in the thirteenth year of King Josiah’s reign around 627 B.C. His ministry immediately preceded that of Zephaniah. Habakkuk was a contemporary, as most likely was Obadiah. Since Ezekiel began his ministry in Babylon in 593, he too was a late contemporary of the great prophet in Jerusalem. Jeremiah lived until around 560 B.C. but his prophesying ended with the capture of Jerusalem around 597 B.C. Jewish history tells us he fled or was taken to Egypt. However, Nebuchadnezzar befriended him as he had prophesied NOT to resist since this was a judgment of God.

Jeremiah was probably 20 to 22 years old when God called him. That is quite young for a guy to be called in front of the King of Judah or any high official. He would fit in well with the protests of the college campus students over everything and anything they want to protest per his age grouping. The major difference, Jeremiah was called of God, not some protest group. They protest without answers or solutions. Jeremiah didn’t protests. He simply gave the solution; one the kings of Judah did not want to follow. Jeremiah served as one of God’s prophets through the rule of five kings of Judah; Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah. Contemporary prophets during the time of Jeremiah include Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Daniel and Ezekiel.

A great timeline website for the deep study bible student, one who enjoys historical knowledge go to http://www.generationword.com/notes/jeremiah/prelim-notes.pdf

He was repeatedly arrested and King Jehoiakim had his prophecies burned after personally shredding them. But, Jeremiah’s scribe Baruch produced new copy.

Jer 1:1-10 – Jeremiah’s call
Jer 7:1-34 – Sermon against the Temple
Jer 16:1-4 – God instructs Jeremiah not to marry
Jer 36:1-32 – Jeremiah’s burned scroll by king Jehoiakim of Judah
Jer 43:1-7 – Jeremiah taken to Egypt (voluntarily or involuntarily is not know)

Jeremiah was born in Anathoth. Other mentions of this village in Jeremiah are found below:

Jeremiah 1:1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:

Jeremiah 11:21 Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning the men of Anathoth, who seek your life, saying, You shall not prophesy in the name of Yahweh, that you not die by our hand;

Jeremiah 11:23 and there shall be no remnant to them: for I will bring evil on the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.

Jeremiah 29:27 Now therefore, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth, who makes himself a prophet to you,

Jeremiah 32:7 Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle shall come to you, saying, Buy my field that is in Anathoth; for the right of redemption is yours to buy it.

Jeremiah 32:8 So Hanamel my uncle’s son came to me in the court of the guard according to the word of Yahweh, and said to me, Please buy my field that is in Anathoth, which is in the land of Benjamin; for the right of inheritance is yours, and the redemption is yours; buy it for yourself. Then I knew that this was the word of Yahweh.

Jeremiah 32:9 I bought the field that was in Anathoth of Hanamel my uncle’s son, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver.

 

ANATHOTH

an’-a-thoth (`anathoth; Anathoth): A town which lay between Michmash and Jerusalem (Isaiah 10:30), in the territory of Benjamin, assigned to the Levites (Joshua 21:18). It was the native place of Abiathar (1 Kings 2:26), and of the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:1; Jeremiah 11:21, etc.). Here lay the field which, under remarkable circumstances, the prophet purchased (Jeremiah 32:7). Two of David’s distinguished soldiers, Abiezer (2 Samuel 23:27) and Jehu (1 Chronicles 12:3), also hailed from Anathoth. It was again occupied by the Benjamites after the return from the Exile (Nehemiah 11:32, etc.). It is identified with `Anata, two and a quarter miles Northeast of Jerusalem, a small village of some fifteen houses with remains of ancient walls. There are quarries in the neighborhood from which stones are still carried to Jerusalem. It commands a spacious outlook over the uplands to the North, and especially to the Southeast, over the Jordan valley toward the Dead Sea and the mountains of Moab. There is nothing to shelter it from the withering power of the winds from the eastern deserts (Jeremiah 4:11; Jeremiah 18:17, etc.).  (Wikipedia)

 

  1. Ewing:
    Jeremiah’s attitude toward the *Deuteronomic reforms of King Josiah of Judah is difficult to assess. Clearly, he would have found much in them with which to agree; a passage in chapter 11 of Jeremiah, in which he is called on by Yahweh to urge adherence to the ancient Covenant upon “the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem,” is frequently interpreted as indicating that the prophet traveled around Jerusalem and the villages of Judah exhorting the people to follow the reforms. If this was the case, Jeremiah later became disillusioned with the reforms because they dealt too largely with the externals of religion and not with the inner spirit and ethical conduct of the people. This is not uncommon even in today’s churches.

*Deuteronomists were a school or movement who edited the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings into a more or less unified history of Israel (the so-called Deuteronomistic History) during the Jewish exile in Babylon (6th century BCE).[

Jeremiah prophesied not just during the reign of Jehoiakim, but began his prophetic career during the reign of Josiah ramping it up when Jehoiakim came to the throne of Judah. Josiah is seen as a good king. However, Jehoiakim very much disliked Jeremiah and his prophecies per the Kingdom of Judah. King Zedekiah, the son of Jehoiakin, put him in prison and on the run a number of times. He prophesied through the end of the reign of Zedekiah who himself was taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Jeremiah was allowed to remain wherever he wanted as the Babylonians saw him as an okay guy. This attitude was not shared by others in Judah.

It is difficult to discern any structure in Jeremiah, probably because the book had such a long and complex composition history. It can be divided into roughly 6 sections:Book of Jeremiah

  • Chapters 1–25 (The earliest and main core of Jeremiah’s message)
  • Chapters 26–29 (Biographic material and interaction with other prophets)
  • Chapters 30–33 (God’s promise of restoration including Jeremiah’s “new covenant” which is interpreted differently in Judaism than it is in Christianity)
  • Chapters 34–45 (Mostly interaction with Zedekiah and the fall of Jerusalem)
  • Chapters 46–51 (Divine punishment to the nations surrounding Israel)
  • Chapter 52 (Appendix that retells 2 Kings 24.18–25.30)

Jeremiah was active for forty years, from the thirteenth year of Josiah (627 BCE) to the fall of Jerusalem in 587. It is clear from the last chapters of the book, however, that he continued to speak in Egypt after the assassination of Gedaliah, the Babylonian-appointed governor of Judah, in 582. This suggests a theological parallel about Jeremiah comparing him to Moses . Moses spent forty years leading Israel from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land, Jeremiah’s forty years saw Israel exiled from the land and Jeremiah himself ultimately exiled in Egypt.

Several passages in Jeremiah that can be understood as “confessions or laments;” they occur in the first section of the book (chapters 1–25) and are 11:18–12.6, 15:10–21, 17:14–18, 18:18–23, and 20:7–18. Jeremiah wrote the book of Lament-ations (Lamentations).

The following is a list – not exhaustive – of noteworthy sign-acts found in Jeremiah:

  • Jeremiah 13:1–11 The wearing, burial, and retrieval of a linen waistband.
  • Jeremiah 16:1–9 The shunning of the expected customs of marriage, mourning, and general celebration.
  • Jeremiah 19:1–13 the acquisition of a clay jug and the breaking of said jug in front of the religious leaders of Jerusalem.
  • Jeremiah 27–28 The wearing of an oxen yoke and its subsequent breaking by a false prophet, Hananiah.
  • Jeremiah 32:6-15 The purchase of a field in Anathoth for the price of seventeen silver shekels. A demonstration of Jeremiah’s prophecy of a return to this land.
  • Jeremiah 35:1–19 The offering of wine to the Rechabites, a tribe known for living in tents and refusing to drink wine. This was done in the Temple, which is an important part of the breaking of societal norms.

Nebo-Sarsekim Tablet is a clay cuneiform inscription referring to an official at the court of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon. It may also refer to an official named in the Biblical Book of Jeremiah.

It is currently in the collection of the British Museum. Dated to 595 BC, the tablet was part of an archive from a large sun-worship temple at Sippar. Archaeologists unearthed the tablet in the ancient city of Sippar (about a mile from modern Baghdad) in the 1870s. The tablet is dated just eight years before the events in Jeremiah. According to Jursa, the rarity of the Babylonian name, the high rank of the rab ša-rēši and the close proximity in time make it almost certain that the person mentioned on the tablet is identical with the biblical figure.

No one knows for sure how Jeremiah died. Some think he was stoned to death while in Egypt and by his own people. Some connect him with the British Isles. Some say he returned to Judah to possess the lands he purchased as stated in Jeremiah 32.

His book that bears his name is full of ancient and modern advice about the human character, our mind, and being close to God. Even though he never married he often gives examples of Israel (a wife) and her relationship with her husband (God). It might be wise here to point out to the reader that in Old Testament times God declared himself as the father of Israel. In the New Testament Jesus makes this claim over the church; bride and bride-groom. For those confused by these two seemingly at-odds statements read within this website our lessons on Daniel and Revelation. For those who want the short of it, Daniel 2:4 states: “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”

Revelation 19:16 brings Jesus to the forefront of this kingdom mentioned by Daniel. It reads: On his [Jesus’] robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.”

Add Revelation 19:6c and 21:3 to this understanding we find in 19:6… “For the Lord our GOD the Almighty reigns.” Then in 21:3 we read: “…the Lord our GOD will live with them. God himself will be with them.”

Jeremiah knew this but Israel continually refused to honor the covenants made between God and them as a separate people. Jesus covenants with the church, although they differ from God’s covenants with Israel, lead to the same conclusion and singular kingdom on earth.  Much of what Daniel studied in his years and lifetime in Babylon was the writings of Jeremiah. It will do us as students of the Word to do the same thing.miniJim

 

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