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Jeremiah, Chapter 21
Zedekiah Consults Jeremiah What Is to Be the Event of the War: God's Answer
Zedekiah Sends to Jeremiah to Ask about the War of Nebuchadnezzar.
The Book of Jeremiah is not written in any consecutive kind of order. This specific prophecy Jeremiah does date. The prophecies are just the prophecies of Jeremiah at actual times in actual situations, but they certainly do not follow in a succeeding order or in a chronological order. This specific prophecy in Chapter 21, to King Zedekiah actually takes place about six years AFTER the prophecy in Chapter 24. So, as you see, they are not in order. They are simply Jeremiah’s prophecies, at the different times, and they are not in a chronological order, seemingly just thrown in. IF there was a special order as Jeremiah figured it, we do not know what that was, but Jeremiah’s prophecies, are not being in a chronological order. But Jeremiah is careful to date for us the particular times of the prophecies he brings, and he dates this specific prophecy to Zedekiah in Chapter 21.
As stated above, it is plain that the prophecies of this Book are not placed in the same order in which they were preached; for there are chapters after this which concern Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim and Jeconiah . . . all who reigned BEFORE Zedekiah, in whose reign the prophecy of this chapter bears date. This Chapter brings: (1). The message which Zedekiah sent to the prophet, to beg him to ask the LORD for them (v. 1-2). (2). The answer which Jeremiah, in God's Name, sent to that message, in which, (a). He foretells the certain and inevitable ruin of the city, and the fruitlessness of their attempts for its preservation (v. 3-7). (b). He advises the people to make the best of bad, by going over to the king of Babylon (v. 8-10). (c). He advises the king and his family to repent and reform (v. 11-12), and not to trust to the strength of their city and grow secure (v. 13-14).
Message from Zedekiah to the Prophet,
To Enquire of the LORD for Them (Jer.21:1-2)
Jer. 21:1 The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when king Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying, (KJV)
King Zedekiah (2 Ki.24:17 – 25:7), reigned (597-586 B.C.). Zedekiah was king before Jehoiachin. Pashur, this priest was not the same man, by this name that we saw in (Jer.20:1-6).
*****Chapters 21-24 deal with Judah’s false leadership. This Pashur is to be set apart from Pashur ben Immer (20:1-6). Possibly the similarity in names may account for the placement of chapter 21 after chapter 20, even though the events of the present chapter occur sometime later in the days of King Zedekiah. Some say this chapter must be dated about 589/588 B.C., near to the events described (in Jer.37:1-10). Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah is also mentioned (in Jer.37:3), and seems less hostile to Jeremiah than were many of the priests (Jer.29:25-26).
We must always remember that these messages that Jeremiah spoke were actually God's Words coming from Jeremiah's mouth.
Jer. 21:2 Enquire, I pray thee, of the LORD for us; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon maketh war against us; if so be that the LORD will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, that he may go up from us. (KJV)
Zedekiah was not one of the best kings, in fact, he was one of the worst kings of Judah. It seemed that he did have some reverence for the LORD, as he sent Pashur to Jeremiah, to inquire of the Lord, because the king of Babylon was come up to make war against them.
Those who have the greatest contempt for God and his faithful ministers will sometimes, in great straits, choose to send for God’s servants, rather than those who in their riches pleased them. We know about Saul, when he went to the witch at Endor (1 Sam.28:7), desiring that Samuel might be raised up. But of Zedekiah, we read no such outstanding contempt of God, just a disobedience to the commands of God, which came from his tolerating to be ruled by his corrupt court. By Zedekiah mentioning God's former wondrous works, maybe he may have had hope and confidence in the LORD God for further deliverances.
Guilt of sin hinders confidence and holy boldness in the best of God’s children, but when the guilt is greater, so too the hope or confidence of any is always less.
*****Jer. 21:1-2. It is interesting that when Zedekiah got into big trouble, he went to the one person he knew was bringing the Word of God. He went right past the priests, Pashur and his crowd . . . he did not seek help from organized religion. Many people today belong to liberal churches, but they seldom pick up the Bible and SEE if that preacher is speaking Truth or not! Dear one, when you are in trouble, NOTHING will give you satisfaction and peace except the Word of God.
Zedekiah comes to Jeremiah but he gets NO comfort from him at all. Jeremiah tells him that Nebuchadnezzar is coming and he will destroy the city unless there is a turning to God. Jeremiah really tells it like it is! I wish that more preachers in the pulpits today would ‘tell it like it is’ and NOT tell, people what they want to hear! People do NOT want to hear that they are sinners! People do NOT want to hear that unless they repent, God will condemn them to Hell (Jn.3:18, 36; 5:24). Zedekiah hopes for God's special intervention, such as was experienced by Hezekiah against Sennacherib (2 Ki.19:35-36). He was hoping that Nebuchadnezzar would go up or withdraw from them. It did not happen.
Mat. 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (KJV)
Mat. 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (KJV) . . . Jesus’ Words!
He Foretells the Certain Ruin of the City,
And their Failure to Preserve it (Jer.21:3-7)
Jer. 21:3 Then said Jeremiah unto them, Thus shall ye say to Zedekiah: (KJV)
Then said Jeremiah unto them . . . the two priests, Pashur and Zephaniah (vs.1), after the prophet had sought the LORD, and knew His mind and His will.
Thus shall ye say to Zedekiah . . . the priests were sent by Zedekiah. It seems that the priests had talked to Jeremiah, and now Jeremiah is giving them a message to take back to the king.
Jer. 21:4 Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, wherewith ye fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans, which besiege you without the walls, and I will assemble them into the midst of this city. (KJV)
Thus saith the LORD God of Israel . . . the God who in history past had acted on behalf of Israel, is now going to use His power against His people. In spite of this, He still calls Himself, the God of Israel. God will always remain the God of Israel, even though He at times would destroy the wicked ones.
Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands . . . the meaning of this statement is unclear in the Hebrew Text. The siege was obviously not in full force yet.
Wherewith ye fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans, which besiege you without the walls . . . the Judean army will soon be driven back within the city. Maybe because of a hasty retreat to the safety of the city, the troops will abandon weapons that will be used to turn against them.
I will assemble them into the midst of this city . . . God threatened to bring the Chaldeans into the midst of the Holy City, that their city would be broken up, their arms taken from them, and they would be killed with their own swords. There is a great emphasis in the pronoun “I”. It is NOT an enemy that is to be feared, but when God is our enemy, we do not have a chance!
*****Jer.21:3-4. The king of Judah had put great honor on Jeremiah, in sending these special messengers to him, but it was no temptation to this good servant to prophesy smooth things to him, for he had no permission from God to prophesy deceits (Isa.30:10). The prophet called the LORD, the God of Israel, because the whole posterity of Jacob was in covenant with God; even though ten parts of twelve were at this time carried into a captivity from which they never returned. Yet God was indeed the God of Israel, the TRUE Israel, the remnant ( for all were NOT Israel that were descended from Israel, just those only who were really Israelites, without guile; so that Jeremiah by this name given to God both declares God's faithfulness to His covenant, and also shows the consistency of that faithfulness with those judgments which He was now bringing upon that remnant of Israel which were yet still in their own land. The message which God by the prophet sent to Zedekiah is worse than terrible. The bottom line is, that because they had not dealt with God as they should have, so they must not expect that God would deal with them according to His former wondrous works, but that as God with the pure had showed Himself upright, so too, with the froward He would show Himself froward (stubborn and unyielding). For the LORD had determined to turn Himself against them, the weapons they had in their hands were those taken up against the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans, that were now surrounding them. Some say that this message was sent during the time of the siege, possibly about the beginning of it, for it lasted eighteen months.
Jeremiah makes most elaborate use of the theory. The prophet foresees that Judah is doomed to captivity; but he is equally certain that a remnant will survive. This remnant will have to endure much. It will be gleaned as thoroughly as a vine (Jer. 6:9). It is described as the remnant of my flock (Jer. 23:3), and is promised restoration and increase. This remnant is the subject of a most fervent, but triumphant, prayer for relief (Jer. 31:7).
Ezekiel is moved by the signs of destruction to ask whether the remnant of Israel will not be spared (Eze.9:8; 11:13). The context shows that for Ezekiel the phrase has the value of a technical term meaning the congregation of Israel, the exiles; and in Haggai it has the same strength, meaning the common people, the congregation, as separate from the princes and priests (Hag.1:12; 2:2).
This congregation, or remnant of Israel, according to some critics, is the same with the loyal Ḥasidim (a religious group, the meek and the poor) so often referred to in the Psalms, the martyrs during the Maccabean rebellion, the servants of Yahweh, who, when the Maccabean princes proved false, remained true to their God.
Jer. 21:5 And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath. (KJV)
And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm . . .
God used an invader as His judging instrument (verse 7). The Jews not only have the Babylonians as their enemy, but also a much worse one, God. His outstretched hand and a strong arm (Jer. 6:12; 32:21; 1 Ki.8:42; Ps.89:13; 136:112) is against them.
Even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath . . . with such a hand and power as I revealed for my ancient Israel (Ex.6:6). God is here spoken of in a way which makes Him more understandable to us. God the Father is a Spirit. John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (KJV) . . . God the Father has no hands, no arms, neither are anger and fury in Him considered as turbulent passions, as they are in us; but as men stretch out their hands and arms when they intend to give hard and terrible strokes, and are urged to such blows from their passions and excessive wrath, so God is set out to us by expressions proper to mankind.
The sense is that an end was now come, and God was resolved no longer to bear with such a provoking people, but to bring His utmost wrath upon them, and to deal with them no longer according to His wondrous works of mercy, but in wondrous works of justice, which in men, would look like the effects of wrath and fury.
The worst part of all this is that God will fight against them Himself. His fury has reached a boiling point, because of their worship of false gods. Dear one . . . the wrath of God is reserved for those who have disobeyed Him and have been unfaithful to Him.
Jer. 21:6 And I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast: they shall die of a great pestilence. (KJV)
God is still stating Himself this people's enemy. Pestilences are usually the result of long sieges, because of lack food and unsafe food; but God is the first cause of such painful judgments, although there are other causes. The murrain (Ex.9:3), an infectious disease of animals could be compared to the pestilence among men, and the beasts are threatened as well as men, not because of any sin in them, but because men are punished in them, they being part of what they have. This is a part of that bondage of corruption from which the creature groans to be delivered, of that vanity to which they are subject. Rom. 8:20-22 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (KJV)
Jer. 21:7 And afterward, saith the LORD, I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and such as are left in this city from the pestilence, from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those that seek their life: and he shall smite them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy. (KJV)
And afterward, saith, the LORD . . . many of the people of this city shall be destroyed, some by the enemy attacking and warfare with them; others by the famine that shall be among them through a lack of provisions, being all consumed with the long siege; others by the pestilence. Zedekiah, who shall escape these three judgments, together with his courtiers, and the residue of the people, shall be delivered into the power of the king of Babylon, and into the power of such as will not be content with the plunder of their houses, but thirst after their blood; and these enemies (set on by Nebuchadnezzar) shall smite them with the sword, without showing them any mercy or pity. This is not to be understood of king Zedekiah himself, for the LORD let him know that he would not die by the sword, but in peace(Jer. 34:4-5), as he did afterward in Babylon, although in prison. It was true of his sons and courtiers, and a great part of the people (Jer.49:6; 52:10). Those who went into captivity were only those who had revolted during the siege, and many of those that were of the poor of the land, for the rest there was little pity had of them, nor mercy shown to them (Jer.39:1-18; 52:1-34). 2 Chr. 36:17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. (KJV)
*****Nebuchadrezzar . . . this name is spelled like this, here and in 31 places of the Book of Jeremiah, and 4 times in the Book of Ezekiel.
Nebuchadnezzar . . . this name is spelled like this in 10 places in Jeremiah, which is the most common spelling, and it is found a total of 60 times in the Old Testament.
It is the same person who is meant by both names; and here all the Versions, except the Arabic, which omits the name, have it in the usual form.
He Advises the People Go Over
To the King of Babylon (Jer.21:8-10)
Jer. 21:8 And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death. (KJV)
The LORD is telling them what they SHOULD do, for He sets before them two ways: the way of life is by obedience to Him; and the way of death is continuing in their wicked ways.
*****Dear one, that is exactly what the LORD tells us today. The way of life for us today is to believe God (1 Jn.5:10), and accept the LORD Jesus Christ as your Saviour. God gave His Only Begotten Son (Jn.3:16), to die for us, to pay the penalty of our sin. He arose again from the dead so that we might have righteousness through Him.
Rom. 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (KJV)
Rom. 5:9-10 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (KJV)
1 Cor. 15:4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (KJV)
2 Cor. 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (KJV)
1 Thes. 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (KJV)
If you want to be saved, you must be in Him, in Christ: (Rom.8:1-2; 12:5; 1 Cor.1:2, 30; 15:18, 22; Gal.3:28; Eph.2:10; 1 Thes.4:16; 1 Pet.5:14).
You get into Him, into Christ, by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, when you put your trust in Christ Jesus as your Saviour. When you do that, you become a child of God. God tells us, this is My one and only Way for eternal life, you can take it or leave it. I set before you life and death. That is the way God has put it. God also pleads with tears in His eyes.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (KJV)
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (KJV)
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (KJV)
1 John 5:10-13 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (KJV)
Jeremiah was indeed a type of Christ Jesus in some ways; and one of them is evident here. Both Jeremiah and Christ commanded the TRUE followers of God to abandon the city of Jerusalem. Christ did so in: Matthew 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: (KJV) . . . Then let them which be in Judea . . . this has to do with people who are in Judea. Our Lord is giving that prophecy to those people, not to us. When this sign takes place, let them that are in the city of Jerusalem, depart out of it. Those who are in any other parts of Judea, in any of the towns or cities . . . let them not go to Jerusalem, thinking they may be safe there, in so strong and fortified a place, but let them flee elsewhere (Lk.2:21). It is observed, that many did flee about this time; and it is remarked by several interpreters, and which Josephus takes notice of with surprise, that Cestius Gallus having advanced with his army to Jerusalem, and besieged it, all of a sudden, without any cause, raised the siege, and withdrew his army, when the city might have been easily taken; by which means a signal was made; and an opportunity given to the Christians, to make their escape: which they accordingly did, and went over Jordan, so that when Titus came a few months after, there was not a Christian in the city, but they had fled as they are here bidden to . . .
Flee into the mountains . . . or any places of shelter and refuge. Destruction would not only visit the city, but would extend to the surrounding part of Judea. The mountains . . . in the mountains of Palestine, caves abound, a safe retreat for those pursued. All through the ages these caves were the favorite places of robbers; and were also where those in danger would hide. In the mountains they would be safe. Caves: (Gen.19:30; 23:9, 19; 25:9; 49:30; 50:13; Josh.10:16-18,22-23,27; Judg.6:2; 1 Sam.13:6; 22:1; 24:3; 2 Sam.23:13; 1 K.19:9; 1 Chron.11:15; Isa.2:19; Eze.33:27; Jn.11:38; Heb.11:38; Rev.6:16)
The choice set before the people of Judah was to stay in the city and die or to surrender to the king of Babylon and live.
Jer. 21:9 He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth out, and falleth to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey. (KJV)
If ever a man spoke high treason, this prophet did it here. When there was an enemy surrounding them, Jeremiah told them, that if they wanted to save their lives, they must revolt against their king, and unite with their enemies. The prophet had this Divine revelation to him from the LORD, and the message was sent to the king himself . . . and Jeremiah must say what the LORD told him to say.
For verse 9, see:
Jer. 38:2 Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live. (KJV)
Jer. 38:17-18 Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; If thou wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylon's princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thine house: 18 But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand. (KJV)
His life shall be given him for a prey . . . this seems to have been a proverbial expression, signifying either: (1). A man's possession of his life, as a prey or booty recovered from death, or the hand of the enemy; or, (2). A man's rejoicing in the saving of his life, as if he had got some notable booty. (3). The narrowness of the escape, and the joy felt at it, are included in the idea (Jer. 39:18).
Jer. 21:10 For I have set my face against this city for evil, and not for good, saith the LORD: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire. (KJV)
I have set my face against this city for evil, and not for good, saith the LORD . . . meaning that He will set himself against Jerusalem.
It shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon . . . the city will be given to Babylon, and He will be an enemy to it. Lev. 17:10 And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. (KJV) . . . This signifies not only God's hatred for them, and their taking their affection off Him and to vain idols, but also His determination to bring ruin to them.
And he shall burn it with fire . . . this is to be understood of the city, rather than the inhabitants, for the people were not burned with fire, although most likely many of the people did perish in such great burnings.
*****Jer. 21:9-10. King Zedekiah did not follow through. He was a weakling and the worst of the kings. He does not turn to God at all. And he shall burn it with fire . . . as God allowed Jerusalem to be burned, the Temple was burned as well. The king's house or palace, the majestic houses of the princes and nobles, and even the common houses of all the people (Jer. 52:13). It is not enough that the city would be overthrown, it will be burned as well. The LORD wants to wipe out the memory of the wickedness that went on there. The king of Babylon was the destroyer, but the judgement came from God.
He Advises the King to Repent and Reform (Jer.21:11-12)
Jer. 21:11 And touching the house of the king of Judah, say, Hear ye the word of the LORD; (KJV)
And touching the house of the king of Judah . . . to the house of the king of Judah; meaning his palace, as some understand it.
Hear ye the word of the LORD . . . and obey it . . . for not just to hear the word is meant, but a serious attention to do what is right, and a cheerful and ready obedience to what is heard.
Jer. 21:12 O house of David, thus saith the LORD; Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver him that is spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, lest my fury go out like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. (KJV)
O house of David, thus saith the LORD . . . the royal family and all connected were called to authorize justice and righteousness promptly in the morning. There was still time for them to escape the destruction IF they would repent.
Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver him that is spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor . . . without partiality; the prophet's advice to them to execute judgment in the morning lets them know they must do it quickly. The LORD threatened sure destruction and ruin to them, which no one would be able to hinder or avoid. The reason was their wickedness; because God always does ‘good’ for people, and shows them favor, not for their sake, but for His own Name's sake, yet He NEVER punished them, except for a reason (disobedience and wickedness) found in them.
*****David was dearly loved by God (1 Sam.13:14; 17:37; 20:41-42; 2 Sam.9:1; 13:38-39; 18:33; Ps.62:1-2). The house of David, was the royal family and all the officers who serve the king. David is the example of a good and righteous king. He is the standard by which all following kings would be measured, and after 400 years, his dynasty was still in power.
Execute judgment in the morning . . . this refers to the ancient Near Eastern practice of dispensing justice early in the day (2 Sam. 4:5; 15:1-6; Ps.101:8; Am. 4:4); but the logic is mainly well-known, showing that justice is brought about with promptness, diligence, and persistence. God expected the king and his officials to execute justice promptly and constantly. Lest my fury go out like fire, and burn that none can quench it . . . this refers to the covenant curses (Deut. 29:27-28; Dan. 9:11-14).
Do Not Trust the Strength of Their City
And Grow Secure (Jer. 21:13-14)
Jer. 21:13 Behold, I am against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain, saith the LORD; which say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations? (KJV)
Behold, I am against thee, O inhabitant of the valley . . . the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem are those that are intended (Ps.125:2 Lam.4:12).
And rock of the plain, saith the LORD . . . the mountains were round about Jerusalem, with Jerusalem being built in part upon the rocky mountain of Zion; but a great part was in the valley, and the higher mountains around Mount Zion made that mountain itself, in comparison with them, as a valley. And rock of the plain; meaning near to the plain.
Which say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations? . . . because of the situation of this Jerusalem, the Jews thought it was impenetrable, and they mocked at dangers or threats of enemies, saying, Who can or would dare to come against us? Who will be able to enter into our city? . . . BUT . . . the LORD said: I am against you; I will come down against you, and I, by those I shall direct, will enter into your dwellings. No natural position or situation of places, no artificial fortifications, are ever sufficient against the Almighty God.
*****Jerusalem is described as situated for the most part on hills, with valleys surrounding them. Jerusalem was naturally fortified, which made the residents to feel quite secure from invasion. But since God is against them, their considered position will not help them. The valley may be the Tyropoeon, situated between present-day Mount Zion and the Temple Mount. Tyropoeon Valley (Valley of the Cheesemakers) is the name given by Josephus the historian (Wars 5.140) to the valley or rugged ravine, in the Old City of Jerusalem, which in ancient times separated Mount Moriah from Mount Zion and emptied into the valley of Hinnom. The Tyropoeon, now filled up with a vast accumulation of debris, and almost a plain, was spanned by bridges, the most noted of which was Zion Bridge, which was probably the ordinary means of communication between the royal palace on Zion and the Temple.
Some take rock of the plain to be the Temple area and the adjacent royal quarters. This could be so since this section is addressed to the royal family (21:12). On the other hand, the valley could be a reference to the idolatrous rituals that had been practiced in the Valley of Hinnom (Jer.7:30-32; 19:5-6).
Jer. 21:14 But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings, saith the LORD: and I will kindle a fire in the forest thereof, and it shall devour all things round about it. (KJV)
But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings . . . I will punish you; in the Hebrew it is, I will visit you. Any time that the LORD ‘visits’ someone or some nation, He visits either mercy (Gen.50:24-25; Job 5:24; Ps. 80:14; 106:4; Jer.15:15; 29:10; Zep.2:7) . . . or in judgment (Lev.18:25; Ps.59:5; 89:32; Isa.23:17; Jer.5:9, 29; 6:15). People shall be treated according to the fruit of their doings (Pro.24:12; Jer.25:14; Mat.16:27; 2 Cor.11:15; 2 Tim.4:14; Rev.2:23; 18:6; 20:12-13). The fruit of our doings is the product of our actions . . . the LORD either rewards or punishes according to the fruit of our doings (1 Cor.3:10-15). In His showing mercy, we are privileged; in judgment, He simply punishes people according to their own ways, and gives them according to the fruit of their doings, as in Jer.21:12.
I will kindle a fire in the forest thereof . . . by the forest, the LORD means either the forest of Lebanon, or possibly their houses made up of wood cut out of that forest, or their idolatrous groves.
And it shall devour all things round about it . . . this fire would not just destroy the city, but it would be the total destruction of all the country adjoining Jerusalem.
*****The fruit of your doings . . . they all would get exactly what they deserve; the LORD will make sure that the punishment will fit the crime (Pro. 1:31; Jer.6:19; Isa. 3:10-11). The forest thereof . . . the absence of forests around Jerusalem suggests that the palace built of cedar brought from Lebanon is meant (1 Ki. 5:8-18; 7:2-5; 9:11; 10:27). David actually referred to his palace as a house of cedar (1 Chron. 17:1).
Consider: 1 Cor. 3:10-15 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (KJV)
Book of Jeremiah
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