Bible Study, Commentary

Jeremiah 37 – Solitary Man

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Jeremiah 37

February 13, 2024 2:29 PM
Solitary Man


Jer 37:1 And king Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah.

We now embark on an historical section of the book. The next 3 chapters detail the latter reign of Zedekiah. Zedekiah’s original name was Mattaniah. Nebuchadnezzar deposed Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, Coniah), the successor of Jehoiakim (Eliakim), after only three months, thus ending Jehoiakim’s bloodline on the throne. He took his brother Mattaniah, changed his name to Zedekiah, and was installed as a puppet king from 597 to 586 BC, until the fall of Jerusalem.

This man, while still called an evil king (2 Chr 36:11-16), had some sense of piety, as we shall see in the following 3 chapters. He will at least communicate with Jeremiah, and listen to what he had to say, but could never bring himself to truly shama. His politics always took priority over his obedience. Sounds kind of familiar today, doesn’t it?

Jer 37:2 But neither he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land, did hearken (shama) unto the words of the LORD, which he spake by the prophet Jeremiah.

This is a kind of summary of what would be the main spiritual theme of this generation. It did not matter if you went to the top (the king), or the middle management (his servants), or the bottom (the common people). Generally, no one obeyed God.

Tell me if this is not true in the west today. Especially in a place such as Canada, you can look high or low, it is hard to find any one or any group that is truly shama’ing. We all know that there is not a single federal or provincial politician that will publicly mention the name of God in any kind of context that says we must obey him. Go down to 98% of the churches, and you might find several that still preach the ‘born again’ message. Yet none of those will preach against the alphabet crowd, transgenderism, the climate hoax, maid (medical assistance in dying), and most especially not against the poisonous jab (since most of their people took it).

Very recently, I was listening to the best sermon that I’ve heard since 2020. This man, who is the one pastor in Canada that is world renowned for his fearless stance against all manner of evil, regardless of the consequences, hit a home run in that he flatly stated that Canada had fallen. We have brought it on ourselves. God had destroyed us. He is getting more and more calls to visit people in the hospitals who are dropping dead and/or permanently injured from the kill shots. The trauma of the survivors is truly heartbreaking. He knows that this will simply accelerate exponentially as we go forward. He clearly stated that we are losing, we have lost, and that our only hope is true repentance by the church, as only God can save us now. I felt like he must be secretly reading these Jeremiah commentaries!

The message was full of Holy Ghost conviction. It was comforting to know that there are others out there who ‘get it’. Yet we are so pitifully few. He related a story that will serves as a typical encounter that one would experience when one interacts with the Laodicean church.

He was invited to speak to a certain mega church. He had some sort of poster that mentioned the evil of abortion. Some female associate pastor saw the poster, and started freaking out. She started yelling and waving her arms around, demanding he take down his poster. He refused. The senior male pastor was called in, and demanded he also take down the poster. He refused. He then threatened to call the police to get him to leave, so he left. Thus, a church that had specifically invited him to speak, threw him out, because some female pastor (an oxymoron, if ever there was one – sorry you feminists out there), freaked out when she saw he may actually speak about abortion.

Turns out, she had an unrepented of abortion in her own life. Here was a woman, who not only had no business being a pastor over other men, but also had the much more heinous crime of pastoring with unrepentant first degree murder in her soul. And the senior pastor took her side!

And you wonder why I (and so many of us) do not and cannot go to these modern day houses of Baal.

This wonderful man of God, who related this story, has a small church in a large city. I have come to the place where the smaller a church is, the better the odds it seems that the true word of the Lord is being spoken there. Jesus never trusted large numbers, nor had he any interest in attracting large crowds. I regularly pray that God keeps this substack anonymous and small. I pray that those who are not supposed to read these things are kept away, and that God draws only those whom he wills to see the things that are spoken of here. If too many people started to flood this site, then I would be much more alarmed than if you all left! Praise God for his true remnant. God is never about quantity. It’s always about quality.

Jer 37:3 And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Pray now unto the LORD our God for us.

Jehucal appears as Jucal in Jer 38:1 as one who opposed the prophet’s words as unpatriotic and traitorous. Zephaniah has appeared in Jer 21:1 and 29:25. He was a sort of a second in command priest. Most commentators paint him as an evil priest. However the two texts mentioned paint him in more of a neutral manner.

The occasion of this embassy is to be found in verse 5, and we will explain when we get there.

God had told Jeremiah several times not pray anymore for this people (Jer 7:16, 11:14, 14:11, 15:1). It will be interesting to see how Jeremiah responds. Would you pray for someone who asked you to pray, even though God has told you not to? Would your human compassion or your obedience win out? Perhaps you’d at least go check with God again, to see if he changed his mind.

Jer 37:4 Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the people: for they had not put him into prison.

When we get to verse 15, Jeremiah’s status changes. At this time, he was yet free.

Jer 37:5 Then Pharaoh’s army was come forth out of Egypt: and when the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they departed from Jerusalem.

Referring back to verse 3, this was the reason for the petition. Egypt had just come out with the intent of aiding Judah against the Babylonians. The Chaldeans (another name for the Babylonians) responded to the new threat by temporarily lifting the siege off Jerusalem. Zedekiah saw this as a possible moment when Judah’s fortunes may be reversing, that God was once again favoring them. He wanted prophetic confirmation that this was indeed the case.

We need to be careful that our lust for confirmation over what we think is the will of God is not simply our selfish hearts looking for any sign that God is approving of our own wilful actions. How many times will we ignore the true warning signs from God until we think we see one thing that seems to confirm the self centered desire of our own heart. Nothing can replace the development of your own personal relationship with the Lord. Else you will always be susceptible to deception.

Here is a great example of not simply looking for signs in the natural to confirm the will of God. This is what the pagans do. In the natural, it looked like God was now blessing them. Help was being sent. The enemy was now leaving. All the multitudes of the false prophets were blowing up their youtube channels, crowing about how God had showed them retroactively that this was going to happen. (As an aside, do you notice how many false prophets seem to predict something and claim they predicted this before the fact, when before the fact there was no evidence they ever did so?).

Yet there was one voice dissenting voice. One man who wouldn’t join the party. One man left in the land that still heard from the one true God. Jeremiah knew that without true repentance, there would be no true deliverance. There may be fake deliverances. There may be illusions of victory. Yet if we refuse to do it God’s way, God will not permit us to escape our calamity.

No repentance, no salvation.

Jer 37:6 Then came the word of the LORD unto the prophet Jeremiah, saying,

It seems that Jeremiah did go to God to see what he’d have to say about this request. He was fully aware that God had said not to bother with them anymore. I suppose one could look at this two ways – it never hurts to double check with God, especially about a good thing like prayer. Or, some would think this was a sign of self will, like Balaam, when God told him not to go with the king’s messenger, but he kept asking God if he could again and again. We know it’s not fair to compare Jeremiah’s situation with Balaam, and the next verse confirms that God had no trouble in Jeremiah asking him for direction.

Jer 37:7 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say to the king of Judah, that sent you unto me to enquire of me; Behold, Pharaoh’s army, which is come forth to help you, shall return (shoob) to Egypt into their own land.

Not the sort of shoob that Zedekiah wanted to hear! There is good shoob, and there is bad shoob.

God responds to this morally weak king’s request for a prayer of approval on his political alliance with a special rebuke. God is going to make it clear on whose side he is fighting on. Don’t assume that just because you once said a sinner’s prayer, that God is automatically on your side.

This brings me to another passing thought. I was listening to an old sermon by my favorite preacher. It started well. Then it morphed into something resembling what you’d hear in a typical charismatic service of the 80’s and 90’s. A sort of all-inclusive all you can eat smorgasbord of scriptures of blessing, prosperity, and total victory. I felt a check in my spirit. This is the sort of pablum that the western Laodicean church has lived on for the last 40 years. How the meat of most every sermon was some sort of pep rally. About firing up the troops. The preacher would pull the one or two most positive passages from each epistle, mash them all together, and compose an entire message from that.

The problem the Holy Spirit pointed out, is that none of the original epistles had that intent ever in mind. A promise or two was given in each letter, but the theme or meat of the directive was one of warning, of exhortation, of preparation for adversity. The writer would then assert a positive promise or two to keep the believer anchored and hopeful. Yet no letter was ever written to fire the church up into some frenzy of positive promise pronouncements of perpetual prosperity. As you finished reading one of Paul’s epistles, you never got the sense that he was trying to get everyone to jump up and down, run around the church, and leave everyone all fired up like they had just been at a rock concert. The contents were always very sober, serious, and sombre affairs.

Real Christianity is a serious business. There is nothing more serious than our walk with Christ. Why do we always have to turn everything into some sort of entertainment extravaganza?

Jer 37:8 And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire.

What you thought was an ingenious political move on your part, is going to blow up in your face. You are doing all these machinations without my counsel. In fact, you are continually doing the exact opposite of what I am commanding. What sort of result were you expecting?

Jer 37:9 Thus saith the LORD; Deceive (naw-shaw – lead astray, mentally delude, morally seduce) not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us: for they shall not depart.

2020 onwards may go down as the decade of deceit. Deception rules. It began with covid. It has morphed into everything. Nothing is real anymore. What news can you trust? What man can you really trust? How are we to tell what is real and what is not?

Only the Holy Spirit can lead us into all truth. We have run out of options. No one is giving you the full story anymore. God is speaking loud and clear. Stop deceiving yourselves. Quit only listening to what you want to hear.

We think that somehow we are helping ourselves by refusing to listen to the ugly things that are going on out there. How is it helpful to pretend that reality is not reality? Now I am not talking of delving into all the dark details of something like, all the sexual acts that the alphabet crowd are indulging in. That serves no purpose except to scar your soul. I am speaking about refusing to accept the fact that we are in the final global war. A war unlike anything humanity has ever seen. We need to find our place in this war, get geared up, and do our part for the kingdom of God.

Jer 37:10 For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire.

In Jer 21:4-7, a dire prediction had already been given. In that passage, the outcome of this war was decreed. Yet because of a favorable circumstance, this unrepentant king thought that he’d try again. He’d go and see if God had now changed his mind.

With no repentance, there is absolutely no reason why God would capriciously change his mind. God is not like the god of the muslims, or any other pagan group, whose god is unknowable and totally unpredictable. God has perfect reasons for what he does. He can repent, but only if we meet his conditions. He never acts on a whim, or because of a change in mood.

God is saying that even if I had allowed you to wipe out Babylon’s entire army, so that it looked like total victory, yet the wounded soldiers on the other side would be enough to destroy you, because I am fighting for the other side. Forget about all your presumptions and assumptions that God is always with us, so who can be against us? How about God himself?

Jer 37:11 And it came to pass, that when the army of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh’s army (or they left due to seeing the face of Pharaoh’s army),
Jer 37:12 Then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to separate himself thence in the midst of the people (or, to receive a portion or take a share thereof in the midst of the people).

Here was a lifting of the travel ban. I am sure many took advantage of the lifting of the siege to go and take care of their affairs outside the city. However Jeremiah had some very powerful enemies, who were just waiting for an excuse to manufacture a reason to pounce on him.

Jeremiah took advantage of the circumstance to flee from the city. From all the political intrigue. From his tormentors. From being in the presence of a sin sick society. Who amongst us have not felt this tug to get out of Babylon? And for the most part, it’s always a good thing to separate oneself from a corrupt society. Many of us have been ordered to go to one place or another.

The reason given for Jeremiah’s departure from Jerusalem was to separate himself from the bulk of humanity around him. This same humanity who by and large, was rejecting every single message that God was speaking through him. Perhaps he had had enough. Perhaps God had told him to ‘bug out’. Perhaps he needed to go and take care of affairs in the home front, since his home was in Benjamin. In any event, he was taking off.

The alternate translation of the latter part of this verse indicates that there was a straightforward, practical reason for this trip. He was simply going to go and receive a share of the produce of the land under his control in Anathoth. No big spiritual mystery. Just a mundane, going to the bank kind of thing.

Jer 37:13 And when he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the ward was there, whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he took Jeremiah the prophet, saying, Thou fallest away to the Chaldeans.

Here we go. The devil lies in wait for all true children of God, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. I am reminded of all the false accusations Trump faced during his presidency. The nonsense the cabal made up. Yet it was very effective. It effectively tied him up so fully, that most of what he had planned to accomplish fell by the wayside. He was too busy defending himself, putting out imaginary fires.

I think it is a mistake for believers to try and defend themselves too often. Jesus is our example. Sometimes he defended his teaching against the Pharisees. Yet when he was being maligned and lied about at his trials, he uttered not a word. Let the Holy Spirit guide each and every one of us in the days ahead. I know that it’s all too easy to worry way too much about defending your reputation on social media. You can never really win that battle.

Now the question was, since Jeremiah would suffer consequences for trying to leave, did he leave because of fear and/or a desire to escape all the persecution, or was his flight motivated by God, and all the consequences thereof?

I think that we can sometimes drive ourselves crazy. When we have made a choice, and evil consequences result, we can spend all our time beating ourselves up and forget to live in the moment. The best thing is to recognize that God is still in control. Whether or not we made a mistake, we need to seek God going forward. Now that the choice is made, whether inspired by God or not, what does God want us to learn, and what does he want us to do going forward? Living and reliving past mistakes is rarely productive, though extremely hard to let go of, at least for a season.

Jeremiah had predicted Hananiah’s death (Jer 28:16). It was not a surprise to see his grandson looking for an opportunity to avenge his death. Blood feuds were a big deal in those cultures. It would matter not this this would be a false accusation, as long as he could sell it. You must be prepared for special hatred if you are going to take a public stand against unrighteousness, especially in a land so far gone that God has targeted it for total destruction, like Judah of that day, and North America of today.

Jer 37:14 Then said Jeremiah, It is false; I fall not away to the Chaldeans. But he hearkened not to him: so Irijah (fearful of Jah) took Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes.

Of course no one was going to listen to the prophet. He had been getting on everyone’s nerves. His words sounded like he was on Babylon’s side. Finally, a chance to shut him up!

What an irony were some of these people’s names! Irijah – fearful of Jah. Nothing could be further form the truth. I wonder if a special curse falls on someone who so lives the opposite to what his name is supposed to represent?

Jer 37:15 Wherefore the princes were wroth (burst out in rage) with Jeremiah, and smote (beat, give stripes, wound) him, and put him in prison (in bonds) in the house of Jonathan the scribe: for they had made that the prison.

It was not uncommon to take a portion of a prominent minister’s house and create a dungeon. This place had a cistern, or a pit, as well as separate cells. The text seems to indicate he may of been beaten and had manacles placed on him. Jeremiah may of spent the majority of the final 18 month siege in this house.

These insiders seemed much more hostile to the prophet than Jehoiakim’s counsellors were. It did not say he was given a trial of any kind. The fact they exploded in anger was all you needed to know about their state of mind. These had no intention of listening to God. They were wise in their own eyes. They were going to solve the nation’s problems without any divine help. They finally had the excuse they needed to lock this adversary up.

The cabal is always looking for an excuse to lock up any and all opposition.

Jer 37:16 When Jeremiah was entered into the dungeon, and into the cabins, and Jeremiah had remained there many days;

Most commentators think many meant most, if not all, of the final siege of 18 months in 587-586 BC. For most of this time, Jeremiah was mired in some sort of deep pit or hole, in a private cell. This would of been their equivalent of solitary confinement, where the worst of the worst were kept. This sounds so familiar of the kind of treatment Canadian pastors, the Coutts 4 and J6’ers have been getting from their respective governments. Treatment that in normal times would of caused massive scandals, and great outrage. Now all the media has been paid to not report anything. These men suffer like the poor believers in communist countries we have read about. Oh, wait, we are already a communist country, so why are we surprised?

Jer 37:17 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took him out: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from the LORD? And Jeremiah said, There is: for, said he, thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.

Now here is an amazing thing. First, that Zedekiah still remembered Jeremiah. I am sure that as the siege was nearing the end, Zedekiah began to realize that all the false hope that his counsellors and false prophets had been feeding him were all lies. He was about to be overrun. In desperation, as a last resort, he turns to the only man of God left in the city who can still hear truth.

The second thing is that even at this late stage, Zedekiah is afraid of the elite. He meets Jeremiah in secret. You would think that with the city on the verge of being lost, that he would stop being so afraid of those whose advice had gotten him into the mess he was in in the first place.

The third thing is that even after many days of extreme hardship, you would think Jeremiah would at least be partially broken. That he would say whatever the king wanted to hear just so he wouldn’t have to endure one more day in that hole. Yet the first words out of this mouth are the same words as always. You are about to be utterly destroyed.

If Jeremiah would of compromised, then all his suffering would of been for naught. Let us try to remember the example of Jeremiah should we have to face our own Gethsemane.

Jer 37:18 Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison?

It sounds like it’s the first time that Jeremiah has actually had to plead his case. Often we cannot get access to those in power, as they hide behind their functionaries. They keep their hands clean, saying the illegal mandates and fatal jabs are medical directives. Therefore there was nothing I could do. They think that they will escape scot free when the crisis is over and so far, they are absolutely correct. No matter how many horrific tickets were issued, how the truckers were brutalized, how the J6’ers were rounded up (and still are), no politician has stepped up to the plate and taken charge and said: ‘This is on me, and I am going to put a stop to these tyrannical practices’. Instead, all pass the buck. All pretend that there is nothing they can do. Zedekiah could of acted long ago, but chose not to, until he had nowhere else to turn.

Perhaps there will come a day in the not too distant future where at least some will realize that there is no where else to turn. We will then be asked to extend grace and mercy to those who mocked and scorned and hated us. Will we be up to the challenge?

Jer 37:19 Where are now your prophets which prophesied unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land?

You gotta love the boldness of this man! Not only has he been suffering so many months, but he finally gets the one chance to appeal to the ultimate authority himself. His first duty is to reiterate God’s message. His second statement is to mock the false prophets, whom the king was stupid enough to listen to, which has led to the nation’s uttermost ruin.

Jer 37:20 Therefore hear now, I pray thee, O my lord the king: let my supplication, I pray thee, be accepted before thee; that thou cause me not to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there.

You wouldn’t think that Jeremiah would have much success in getting his petition answered after he has seemed to disrespect the king and his office. Yet God will always honor the truth. As long as you are speaking out of a heart filled with zeal for the truth and the honor of God’s holy name, and not out of bitterness and a desire for vengeance, your conscience can then rest in the peace of the Lord.

Jer 37:21 Then Zedekiah the king commanded that they should commit Jeremiah into the court of the prison, and that they should give him daily a piece of bread out of the bakers’ street, until all the bread in the city were spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.

With one brief exception (Jer 38:6), he was put in the equivalent of the minimum security prison. Zedekiah did not feel that he had the political capital to set him completely free, but he calculated that he could probably get away with this concession. He also made sure that he wouldn’t starve.

God granted him favor even in the midst of tribulation, but only because he passed his test of suffering.

While not a total deliverance, I am sure Jeremiah was grateful for the great improvement in his living conditions. Just when you think you cannot take any more pain, God is shown to appear just in the nick of time to make it possible to endure. This reminds us of the great promise in Corinthians:

1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Let us cling to the sure promises of God, now that day by day it appears the more certain that we will all desperately need to take hold of them like never before.

Solitary Man

Photos courtesy Depositphotos


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