Bible Study, Commentary

Jeremiah 34 – Solitary Man

Photos courtesy Depositphotos

Jeremiah 34

Solitary Man


Jer 34:1 The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth of his dominion, and all the people, fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities thereof, saying,

As it was then, so it is now. All the world seems to be in opposition of Israel. What I find so disheartening is that on almost every alternative news video, there will be comments talking hatred toward the Jews. It is utterly sickening. I have had to repent from reading commentary anymore. I do not know if these are real people or AI or some group paid for by someone, but just the fact that there are thousands of videos posted every day and almost every one has someone taking the time to blaspheme Jews is mind boggling. The devil wants to play on the age old hatred of the Jew amongst the patriots, which are mainly composed of so called Christians.

If Christians refuse to reject this blatant, non stop antisemitism, then don’t expect God to forgive them on judgment day. How can you fight against those whom God has specially chosen? You say that they don’t know Jesus. What percentage of the church does not know Jesus either?

Try to find intelligent analysis about any serious topic online. Even in the alternate media space, it is almost impossible. For example, Tucker Carlson conducted an historic interview with Vladimir Putin. I watched the interview, and drew my own conclusions, both good and bad. Looking the next day to see what others thought, of course the mainstream will just screech hatred and unhinged garbage so there is nothing to see there. But on the alternative side, there was nothing to see either. Instead of finding reasoned discourse on the pros and cons of the points in question, many videos called them cabal plants, or Zionist conspirators. Because they didn’t talk about the Zionist plot behind everything bad going on in the world, they were both evil Zionists themselves!


I feel God is telling me to stop participating in this recent cultural practice, initiated by our cable news networks in the 80’s, of endlessly watching so called ‘experts’ give their useless opinions about anything and everything. I saw the interview, that was enough. Let the Holy Spirit teach you what you need to know.

The art of critical thinking and mature discussion, calmly examining the various sides of an issue, has been lost, even amongst the righteous. All we hear is someone taking a stance, and blasting the other side with insults and hatred and condemnation. We cannot find anyone anymore who can present all sides of an issue, or see 2 or more people in a room that can calmly debate some vital topic in an intelligent manner. Even in the church so much teaching is about hammering home some point by hiding the evidence for the other side.

I pray that this commentary contributes in a very small way to get the reader to reexamine how we look at things. I am not here to propagandize. I am a seeker of truth, and only want to share what I believe the Lord has shown me about this fascinating and timely book. That is why I often will give other commentators’ opinions on certain verses, as well as my own. I leave it up to the only perfect teacher, the Holy Spirit, to quicken what he wants to quicken in each and every heart.

Our world is falling apart in every way imaginable. Intelligent discourse and analysis is just another area that we are letting slip away.

This was written at the start of the final 18 month siege. There seems to of been a temporary relief in the midst of it, as Egypt came out to help, but was quickly driven back. This verse says that all of Babylon’s subject states, which was most of the known world, took part in this final assault. Whether that means there were troops from every land, or just a general statement of fact that all of the world was united behind Babylon, we do not know. We are rapidly approaching the time and place where all the known world will be united against the people of God one more final time.

Jer 34:2 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire:

The principle of haram – devoted to destruction, seems to be at play here. This is what the entire earth will be under during the apocalypse. What was once something that was only decreed upon the particularly wicked pagans, has now been decreed upon his own people.

How did it come to this?

Jer 34:3 And thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but shalt surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth, and thou shalt go to Babylon.

What a sinking feeling it must be to have God proclaim your certain doom before it actually occurs. God’s prophecies need to be read and understood with great precision. A quick glance would say: ‘This is not true, Zedekiah was blinded by the king of Babylon’. However this word said nothing about keeping his eyesight after he looked upon the king once he was captured. Zedekiah would see all his sons slain before his eyes, and it would be the last thing he would see. He had his chance to submit peacefully, but chose instead to listen to his false prophets, and to his elite, who were loath to lose all their wealth, and made the king fight to the bitter end.

Jer 34:4 Yet hear the word of the LORD, O Zedekiah king of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of thee, Thou shalt not die by the sword:
Jer 34:5 But thou shalt die in peace: and with the burnings (cremation) of thy fathers, the former kings which were before thee, so shall they burn (set on fire) odours for thee; and they will lament (tear the hair, beat the breast) thee, saying, Ah (woe) lord! for I have pronounced the word, saith the LORD.

This prophecy becomes more specific. It sounds like a classic good news / bad news scenario. Yes, you will be captured and sent to exile, but no, you will not die, at least not in war. You will even seem to have a proper burial.

Here is a verse where the Hebrew text alone seems to indicate cremation. The word ‘odours’ is in italics and thus, not in the text. Yet every classic commentator says that since it was not the custom of the Jews to cremate their dead, then this verse simply speaks of burning spices at his death, as suggested in 2 Chr 16:14, 21:19.

So, do we go with the unanimous opinion of the respected commentators of old, assuming they knew something we don’t, or do we follow the text? Unless someone can show me definitive proof that Zedekiah wasn’t cremated, or that the Hebrew words used can mean the simply burning of spices (perhaps Strong’s missed that nuance), then I think cremation is a possibility. What does argue for the opposite view, however, is the text itself. It says he shall die in peace, with the same manner of burning as of your fathers. His fathers were mostly to be said to be buried properly, so maybe the commentators are correct in their view. I think the point is that his burial won’t be like Jehoiakim, who was said to be buried with the burial of an ass (Jer 22:18,19).

Perhaps the main point of this prophecy was that God was trying to find something positive to say about Zedekiah’s future, in the tiny hope that he would yet show some measure of repentance. God is always looking for a way to get us to shoob on to the correct deh-rek. At least he was promised that he would be genuinely missed by at least some.

Jer 34:6 Then Jeremiah the prophet spake all these words unto Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem,

The text wants to make clear that Jeremiah was once again faithful and obedient to speak what God wanted him to speak.

Jer 34:7 When the king of Babylon’s army fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah: for these defenced cities remained of the cities of Judah.

These two cities are mentioned in this book for the first time. Near Jerusalem, they were both fortified during the time of Rehoboam (2 Chr 11:9). Lachish was once an Amorite stronghold (Josh 10:3,5). Amaziah took refuge there in his flight from a conspiracy against him (2 Chr 25:27). Azekah is also mentioned in Josh 10:10-11, 15:35 and 1 Sam 17:1.

Jer 34:8 This is the word that came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people which were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty (freedom) unto them;
Jer 34:9 That every man should let his manservant, and every man his maidservant, being an Hebrew or an Hebrewess, go free; that none should serve himself of them, to wit, of a Jew his brother.

This was one of those cases when someone decided to start obeying one of the more obscure laws of torah. According to Ex 21:2 and Dt 15:12-18, you could make a native Hebrew your servant for 6 years, but in the 7th year you must let them go free (also later extended to the year of jubilee for the terribly poor). Lev 25:39-43 indicated you were not to treat them as slaves, but more like a hired servant. Probably this passage was in mind when the people under siege decided to proclaim a special jubilee in order to obtain God’s favor, presumptuously hoping God would grant them a special jubilee (dispensation) from judgment on their behalf.

Whether this was motivated by a momentary twinge of conscience, or to release more people to fight in the army, is unknown. In any case, God took notice, and now had something to say about it.

Jer 34:10 Now when all the princes, and all the people, which had entered into the covenant, heard that every one should let his manservant, and every one his maidservant, go free, that none should serve themselves of them any more, then they obeyed, and let them go.

So initially, all is well. Someone brought up this law and for whatever reason, they decided to obey it.

Jer 34:11 But afterward they turned, and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids.

Your actions will always reveal what is really in your heart. This reversal most likely occurred when there was a temporary lifting of the siege when Egypt showed up to help (see Jer 37:5-10). They probably thought that God had answered their prayers, so there was no reason to suffer any more personal financial loss, so they went right back to their old way of behavior.

What a stark picture of feigned conversion! How many times does man make a solemn vow to God when the pressure is on. As soon as the pressure is off, we squirm our way right out of our fake commitment. It is so nonsensical to make rash vows. God knows exactly if you truly mean it or not. That is the problem with a lot of our altar calls. Not just for salvation, but for any reason. You go up and promise to start really praying. Or reading the word. Or putting off some sin. Yet you make the decision in an emotional atmosphere, with all the peer pressure of everyone around you doing the same thing. These things rarely work. Next week you’re back at the same altar, making the same promise.

There is something about hitting your personal bottom, away from the crowd, away from your peers. In your personal walk, some judgment will finally come along that will cause you to say that you are finally willing to quit living the way you have been. Your life has been fruitless, pointless, and joyless. You are finally willing to live God’s way. This time when you start praying, you don’t quit after 2 or 3 days. Not after a week, or a month. You keep at it, you really mean it, and God notices. He begins to reward the sincere. You begin to experience the promises to those who are truly, genuinely, seeking him. You have now discovered the real fruits of true repentance.

All these rich men, who saw all their wealth about to be taken away, in desperation tried to appease God by obeying one rule.

Jer 34:12 Therefore the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

God continues to have something to say about this whole scenario.

Jer 34:13 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondmen, saying,

God begins with a little history lesson, to set the stage. Sometimes you need a little background information to understand the point that is being made.

Jer 34:14 At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear.

Because God had set all of the Hebrews free, no one had a right to re-enslave their brethren. They belonged to God and they were to be his bondmen, and his alone. However just as God permitted men to divorce their wives due to their hardness of hearts, perhaps he allowed a limited duration of servitude, in order to repay any debts that one had accumulated. Yet you were to extend grace, even as God had extended grace unto you. God states that this law has not been obeyed for a long time. Isaiah 58:6, and 61:1 may refer to this also.

Jer 34:15 And ye were now turned (shoob), and had done right (walked a straight line) in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour; and ye had made (kaw-rath) a covenant (ber-eeth) before me in the house which is called by my name (shame – an appellation of authority, honor, and character):

God took note of their actions. Even though we will find out that their hearts were not right, God still praised them for doing what was right. Maybe it wouldn’t be accredited to their spiritual account like it would have if their motives were pure, but it did provide freedom to those in bondage. They had went to the trouble to cut a covenant, something that was to be more binding than signing a legally binding contract in our day. Even turning one degree toward God allows God to begin to work in your life.

Jer 34:16 But ye turned and polluted (khaw-lal – to profane, defile) my name (shame – my mark of authority, character and honor), and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return (shoob), and brought them into subjection (to tread down upon), to be unto you for servants (bondmen) and for handmaids (bondwomen).

Isn’t this typical of the elites. They oppress and enslave the masses every chance they get. Only when they’re about to lose all did they in desperation let their slaves go free. At the first sign that they might not be overrun, they quickly switched course and reverted back to their wicked, greedy, covetous ways.

The elite will never go back on their depopulating, planet destroying agenda. Only if they are forced to stop will they stop. Since they didn’t launch their all-out global war until they had captured every major government branch in most every nation, only God can stop them now.

Repentance is an elusive thing. It is not easy to find. The further you go into darkness, the harder it will be to find your way back.

In verse 15, they had shoobed in the correct direction. Just one verse later, they were shoobing in the opposite direction.

Note that the primary sin was profaning God’s name. It wasn’t in the reharming of the poor slaves. It was that you swore a most solemn oath in Yahweh’s name, and you went back on your word. In effect, the name of Yahweh meant nothing to you. You treated his name as of no consequence. Who cares if you swore in the name of the Lord? The pressure was off. We could go back to our regularly scheduled programming of greed, extortion, oppression, and theft. This is our governments of today. Before 2020, at least if there was a major scandal, you could temporarily replace one set of crooks for another. Now, they simply don’t care what you find out about them. They have all the power. There are no more real elections. No more law enforcement. No more justice system. They can do whatever they want and they know it and they don’t have to try and hide it anymore. The rule of law only works if men decide to abide by it. At least the elites in Jeremiah’s time still tried to pretend that they were doing right.

Breaking your word before God clearly indicates you have zero fear of God in your life as you think God will not hold you to account for swearing an oath in his name.

Jer 34:17 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the LORD, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.

You reap what you sow. Don’t listen to God, suffer the consequences. Often in the exact same area as your transgression. I think this is where inspiration for writings like Dante’s inferno sprung up from. We sort of envision hell as a place where the punishment will have something to do with the crimes committed. Since you have reversed your stance on freeing your servants, so I will perform your vow for you. I will proclaim liberty to you personally, but this liberty is being set free to be devoured by my big 3 – war, famine and disease. I will take you and fling you away into the furthest corners of the earth. My sword will chase you. Hunger and disease will be your companions.

The liberty to sin will only result in the liberty of receiving the sorest judgments.

Jer 34:18 And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof,
Jer 34:19 The princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf;
Jer 34:20 I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life: and their dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the heaven, and to the beasts of the earth.

God now goes into great detail listing each and every group that he holds accountable. They had actually entered into the same ancient ritual that God had performed with Abraham. The Jew based his entire hope on this one sovereign act of God. This is what made them set apart from all others. And here they were, making a mockery of that very act, by breaking the covenant so soon after they performed it. They showed they never really meant it. They blasphemed one of the most sacred rituals that God had given man. The Jews seemed to have become experts on how to really, really anger Jehovah.

All men who participated in the ritual are held especially liable. They did it at the behest of the elite – the princes who probably had the most servants to be set free and therefore would of suffered the greatest financial loss. It’s surprising to see the eunuchs mentioned. However in those days eunuchs often held high government office and would have had servants of their own. Then we come to the priests. If anyone should of known better, it should of been God’s representatives. They got rich off the people’s tithes. They would of had servants. If they didn’t follow the law, who would?

Finally anyone else who participated in the ceremony is singled out. They all had just sealed their own doom. The enemy would crush them. Not just their enemy, but those who really wanted to kill them. They would end up suffering the greatest of indignity, as they would not be allowed to have a proper burial. That was a very dig deal in those days. Even today, so many now are not allowed to have a proper funeral. First it was lockdowns. Now people have lost all friends, so there’s no one to mourn their passing. Abandoned and forgotten. That is the fate of the wicked.

Jer 34:21 And Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which are gone up (broken off, gone away) from you.

The words are important here. The King James obscures the meaning a bit. Babylon’s army is said to of gone up from you. The sense is that they have temporarily gone away, to deal with the new threat of Egypt’s army showing up. The siege has been temporarily lifted. That’s what motivated the wicked rich people to blaspheme God and go back on their solemn oath, ratified by cutting a covenant before Yahweh. God reiterates that the king and his cronies are still going down. Babylon will be back to complete the task of judgment that God has given them. Just because the pressure is off for the moment, does not mean that God is going back on his promise.

How many of us, individually, and as a church, and as a nation, have done this again and again? I remember before I was saved, how I would get in some sort of trouble with the law, and get my parents to bail me out financially. Then once the pressure was off, go out and continue in the same behaviours that got me into the trouble in the first place. Even after I was saved, there were times when I struggled with certain sins. Perhaps guilt and/or consequences caught up to me. So I’d get real serious with God once again. Once the pressure eased, the motivation to keep walking the narrow path also eased. Without true repentance and the accompanying permanent heart change, our actions will never exhibit the sort of permanency that God is looking for.

This sort of attitude pervaded America when Trump was elected in 2016. After 8 years of ungodly rule, we all thought our prayers were strongly answered and our problems were over. We took our foot off the gas. Repentance took a back seat to watching the show, as he entertained us with his bold insults of the media and all his enemies. Yet we remain essentially unchanged. The clock was ticking. God was watching. He did not like what he saw. Thus, he allowed the election steal of 2020 as a sign of his hot displeasure. Now we have 2024, and a certain sense of ominous foreboding of what is just ahead.

Jer 34:22 Behold, I will command, saith the LORD, and cause them to return (shoob) to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.

More classic Jeremiah. If you want to betray God with your words and your actions, God will give you over to your enemies. You will not stand. God will not fight on your behalf. Instead, this verse says that God will cause your enemies to specifically go after you, and utterly consume you. You will be left with nothing. With no one. Nothing at all.

On that note, have a blessed day, if you can.

Solitary Man

Photos courtesy Depositphotos


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