Jeremiah Chapter 38

"Jeremiah's Private Conference with King Zedekiah."

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription/ location is provided by http://www.theseason.org

Jeremiah 38:1 "Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur the son of Malchiah, heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken unto all the people, saying,"

Jeremiah 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."

These four men heard the public message that Jeremiah had spread throughout the city. That public message was that all those that remained in the city would surely die by the sword, or by famine or pestilence. However if you desire to live, when the Babylonians come, go out and meet them, and they will give you your life as a gift [prey, or ransom]. In other words, God's plan is perfect, and this is the only way you can escape, is by knowing who they are, and not allowing them to strike out against you.

Many today believe that you will die if you don't worship the king of Babylon, and you will starve if you have not taken his name and number. That is true, however when Satan comes to earth with his many fallen angels, he comes to win you over. He wants you to worship him. He doesn't know what you are thinking, and we are told to be wiser then the serpent, who is Satan. If you know who he is, Why would you ever want to worship him or serve him in any manner? You don't, and you won't. That is why you make some preparation, for we know that period has been shortened for us living in this final generation.

What we are talking about here for survival is your faith in God to provide for His own. He provided for the Israelites in the wilderness for forty years, don't you think that He can provide for His elect during this five month period? As you go through the signs and events prophesied throughout the entire Bible, every detail of Satan's coming and arrival is spelled out for those that will be part of God's elect. There is nothing that will happen that has not been foretold, so the great mystery is only to those so foolish as to think that they can believe in fairy tales, and that they will fly out of here. God takes care of his own, and your faith should be sufficient to see you through.

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Don't you think that if by faith God will save your soul, that in His divine plan there is also provision He will make for those that love and trust Him, and rely on His Word through these times when the serpent will be on earth to deceive His elect?

Jeremiah 38:3 "Thus saith the LORD, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon's army, which shall take it."

This is not a popular thing that Jeremiah is saying, that the enemy is coming and when they get here, go out to meet them and watch your city be burned to the ground.

Jeremiah 38:4 "Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt."

This was unusual for a prophet of God to be speaking of such things. God had decided that because of the idolatry and filth that the people of Jerusalem had allowed to enter into their Temple worship, to replace the laws and ordinances of His Word; He would allow Nebuchadnezzar to destroy the city. For the past twenty years, and through two sieves of Jerusalem Jeremiah had told the king and the people that Nebuchadnezzar is God's servant, and he would destroy the city if they would not repent.

Rather then repenting for their sins and changing their wicked ways, they went out to devise their own ways of survival. Each step of what happened both before and during the taking of Jerusalem is detailed, and is a type of what shall happen when the Nebuchadnezzar of Revelation comes to earth to set us his rule in Jerusalem. Friend, it is going to happen exactly as the Word of God is warning us. God thinks enough of you that He is letting you know all the details of that eventful coming of the one we commonly call the Antichrist, or "instead of Christ".

Jesus even told us his name by language and by the role he plays. In Revelation 9:11 we are told that this king or Antichrist is called Abaddon in the Hebrew tongue, and in the Greek he is called Apollyon, and both these name in the English is "Destroyer". Satan has the power of death of your soul, and that is the death that matters.

Hebrews 2: 14 "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil:" That is the reason that Jesus Christ came into the world in flesh and blood. He shed His blood to destroy the power that Satan, the devil, Apollyon, Abaddon, or by what ever you desire to call the Antichrist. That power and hold is gone when you know exactly who he is, and what he plans on doing to deceive you, for you just will not buy into Satan's plan.

Back in Jeremiah's day, God told Jeremiah everything in detail that he planned to do, we saw in the previous chapters how every time Jeremiah went to warn the people, the would not listen to him. The false prophets all spoke out against Jeremiah, and taught their traditions that the people liked to here, for they found comfort in the lies. Jeremiah knew that what ere happens, God will take care of Him.

Jeremiah 38:5 "Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand: for the king is not he that can do any thing against you."

Notice how the government loses its backbone, and gives in to everyone that comes to them with a threat. Zedekiah was the king, and he didn't even have the guts to stand up for what is right. He should have stood up to them and made a stand, and said, NO, the man is a messenger from God, and don't you dare touch him. We are to be careful of gutless wonders in these end times, of leaders of government, the church, or what ever organization they head. Men, women, and children of God are not weak spiritually, and they are bold in the Word of God.

Zedekiah knew that the cause was right and just, he knew the idolatry that was going on, and the filth of the foreign religions that crept into the Temple and their tradition that had made void the Word of God. He knew it, watch it take place, and even practiced it himself. He watched the burning of the roll by the former king, and saw the consequences that happened to him. Zedekiah not only let God down, but he let God's servant Jeremiah down.

What happened to Jeremiah wasn't pleasant, but God will see him through just as He will see you through.

Jeremiah 38:6 "Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire."

This word "dungeon" in the Hebrew means "bore" it is more like a old cistern where the water is gone and only a muddy mire is left in the bottom. When Jeremiah hit the bottom, he sunk right down in the muck and mire. When you were lowered in the cistern, there was no way out. Jeremiah couldn't even sit down to rest in the make-shift prison. Though it is not pleasant, never give up for no matter how bleak or bad something looks at the time, God will take care of His own.

Jeremiah 38:7 "Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs which was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon; the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin;"

"Ebed-melich" in the Hebrew means "servant of the king", and this Ethiopian servant to Zedekiah heard what these four men had done to Jeremiah, and he knew that Jeremiah couldn't last long in that old cistern, that muddy pit. God is sending this Gentile person to help Jeremiah out of this pit. God used this black servant when the king of Judah did not have the courage to make a stand for what is right before his own people.

Jeremiah 38:8 "Ebed-melech went forth out of the king's house, and spake to the king, saying,"

This Ethiopian wasn't afraid to make a stand when he saw that a wrong was done and that it needed correcting. This stand is bold, and there was no time to wait.

Jeremiah 38:9 "My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is like to die for hunger in the place where he is: for there is no more bread in the city."

The Ethiopian was a servant of God and he was used by God to bring a message to the king. God opened his eyes to what was going on around him, and then used him to make a wrong right. God uses whom ever He chooses. It was a servant in the king's house that had to stand up and speak of the evil that the king had allowed to happen. Friend, don't think for one moment that if they had thrown Jeremiah the prophet of God in the dungeon, that they would have also thrown the the servant there also. This was a brave bold man and directed by God.

Jeremiah 38:10 "Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die."

It took this Gentile to speak out to show courage. God will use who ever He knows can get the job done.

Jeremiah 38:11 "So Ebed-melech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took thence old cast clouts and old rotten rags, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah."

It is interesting that Christ was sold for thirty pieces of silver, that it was also the price of a slave, and it was the price required by the Kenite priests for the deliverance of the Messiah to them. That was the price to buy the potters field, and in biblical numerics, that is the number of men to redeem Jeremiah from the mire and muddy pit that he was put into.

Jeremiah 38:12 "And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now these old cast clouts and rotten rags under thine armholes under the cords. And Jeremiah did so."

This Ethiopian was captain of these thirty men, because it was done under the king's orders. Notice the tender love and mercy that this black man had for Jeremiah, that he didn't just take stiff hard cords that would rip at Jeremiah's tender skin, and harm his limbs in their pulling him out of the pit. Ebed-melech was thinking of Jeremiah's condition, and padded the cords with old rags that were soft to the touch, and give padding under the armpits, as Jeremiah was pulled free from the mire.

When you rely on our Heavenly Father for your protection, when the times require it, He will place the padding around you to protect you, that padding comes by our faith in Him, that He will keep his promises. When your faith is not sure, then you will be skinned by the world every time you turn around.

Jeremiah 38:13 "So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison."

So God delivered Jeremiah through this Gentile servant of the king, and no Jeremiah is in the court of the prison.

Jeremiah 38:14 "Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took Jeremiah the prophet unto him into the third entry that is in the house of the LORD: and the king said unto Jeremiah, I will ask thee a thing; hide nothing from me."

Here Jeremiah was put in this cistern when the king turned him over to these four trouble-makers, and now this same king is taking Jeremiah into one of the most secret places in the palace to inquire of Jeremiah exactly what God has told him. This place were Jeremiah was taken was a corner of the palace were no one outside of the king knew it even existed except maybe a trusted servant.

King Zedekiah has already proven that he is not to strong of a person. Zedekiah was not an honestly appointed king of Judah, but was appointed by Nebuchadnezzar, when Coniah had to be removed from the throne, and all of Coniah's sons were killed.

So what do you do today as a Christian living in the end days, when the king or someone in authority asks you for the truth when it could mean prison time, or a great loss. You have to use common sense, now let's see what Jeremiah did when the king asked him not to speak the truth. This is the way that God expects you to handle it.

Jeremiah 38:15 "Then Jeremiah said unto Zedekiah, If I declare it unto thee, wilt thou not surely put me to death? and if I give thee counsel, wilt thou not hearken unto me?"

Jeremiah knew that what ever he says, the king will not listen to him. Zedekiah hadn't listened to anything Jeremiah had said in the past several years, so why should he listen to Jeremiah now. Jeremiah is telling the king that what ever he says, could cause the king to put him to death. Jeremiah has told all the people over and over what is going to happen, and no one will listen. The thinking is that if Jeremiah would change his story, then God will have to go against His Word, and the city and people will be saved. Friend, that is not how it works.

Remember this is taking place in a very secret place in the palace, and only Jeremiah and the king are aware of the conversation. So what does Jeremiah do?

Jeremiah 38:16 "So Zedekiah the king sware secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, As the LORD liveth, that made us this soul, I will not put thee to death, neither will I give thee into the hand of these men that seek thy life."

This is getting real serious, and king Zedekiah is swearing by the LORD, the almighty Father that created the very souls. Zedekiah hadn't believed what God had said before, and last time Jeremiah came to him with a warning, the king gave Jeremiah into the hands of those that tried to kill him. What is the difference? The king's word has proven no good; he has shown that he does not believe in Jehovah God, so what good is any promise the king would give?

What would you do in this case? Jeremiah did what God expects that we are to do when the matter happens to the elect in our generation.

Jeremiah 38:17 "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:"

Jeremiah spelled out for king Zedekiah exactly what he must do to prevent destruction upon Jerusalem. This is the same story Jeremiah has given over and over again. That Word from the Almighty God to Zedekiah is that if you do not want the city, the people, your family and children and the Temple destroyed, you will do what God has ordered you to do. You will go forth out of the city and submit yourself to the king of Babylon when he comes.

God never changes, when He says something He expects it to be done His way. God declared that for the sin that all the people had committed in defiling his Temple and the laws and commandments, the punishment was seventy years in captivity. He allowed them a time for repentance, and they refused to repent. The held to their traditions, and tried to make God conform to their man made ways and religious forms.

It isn't God that is making it rough on them, for God has given a way out where they will be fed and cared for by His servant Nebuchadnezzar, and the children will be taught in the finest educational system of that day. They have chosen their traditions and heathen doctrines over following the laws and ordinances of His Word, and just like in the past, God warned that with disobedience comes the punishment and the curses. The entire chapter of Deuteronomy 28 gives us these punishments.

Do you understand that it wasn't God that caused Jerusalem to be destroyed, for obedience to go would have saved the city and the people. It was Zedekiah himself that was the cause of destruction.

Jeremiah 38:18 "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."

This is the other hand of what will happen if king Zedekiah decides not to surrender himself and the people to Babylon. The Chaldeans are the Babylonians, and you are going to die in their captivity.

Jeremiah 38:19: "And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me."

This is an improper translation and it should read, "I am afraid of the children of Judah that are already in the captivity in Babylon". Remember that there has already been two sieges of Jerusalem and many people of Judah have already been taken captive. The ones that Zedekiah is referring to are men like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, and the others that would not bow to Nebuchadnezzar. Ones that were tested by God, and remained true to God, and would not bow to the image. This king Zedekiah is worried about being mocked by them. Remember also that they had also been risen in rank in Babylon, and were part of the government of Nebuchadnezzar. They were men of trust, that is respected in all governments.

These men would have mocked Zedekiah in the sense that Zedekiah should not have fought against what God had instructed them to do. Zedekiah was full of pride, for his downfall was his vanity and he did not want to hear the mocking. The trouble is his self pride, and it can cause you a great deal of pain with God. It doesn't matter what people think when you are going according to His Word.

We are to teach God's Word as it should be taught, and if it hurts someone feelings, so be it. Stay on the correct teaching of God's Word and allow it to sting and correct where it ought to. Here Zedekiah is starting to worry what the others will say, if he does go on to Babylon.

Jeremiah 38:20 "But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the LORD, which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well unto thee, and thy soul shall live."

Jeremiah is pleading with Zedekiah to obey the Word of the Lord. Jeremiah is assuring the king that those in Babylon that are in captivity already will not think of him as he thinks of himself. There are none of the children of Judah that are already in Babylon that would make light of this king.

Jeremiah 38:21 "But if thou refuse to go forth, this is the word that the LORD hath shewed me:"

This is what is going to happen to you.

Jeremiah 38:22 "And, behold, all the women that are left in the king of Judah's house shall be brought forth to the king of Babylon's princes, and those women shall say, Thy friends have set thee on, and have prevailed against thee: thy feet are sunk in the mire, and they are turned away back."

This is referring to Zedekiah's own wives, his children, his hand maids and servants. Jeremiah is telling Zedekiah that you don't have to worry about Daniel and the others mocking you, your own women and children will mock you right to your face. They are going to remind you continually that you listen to the wrong friends, and your friends have brought you down.

This looks forward to that time when the rapture doctrine will lead many people to the wrong Christ. Instead of living in that time period and knowing the deceit that is going on, they will be ignorant of all the deception, lies and wonders that Satan has, and they will think him to be the Christ. Christians will turn on their ministers and family members and ask them, "Why did you teach us those things when it wasn't in God's plan at all?"

The king of Babylon is coming and he is Satan. We are obligated to stand against him right here on earth in the flesh. There is no fly away, and the only purpose for the great apostasy is so that the Holy Spirit can speak through us, and that people will come to understand that they have been deceived. It is a time to prepare them for the teaching and correction that will take place in the Millennium age that will follow.

Jeremiah 38:23 "So they shall bring out all thy wives and thy children to the Chaldeans: and thou shalt not escape out of their hand, but shalt be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon: and thou shalt cause this city to be burned with fire."

It is going to get worse then the taking of the wives and the kids of the king. The king of Babylon will kill Zedekiah's own sons right in front of him, and then put his eyes out. Don't put the blame on the Babylonians but right were it belongs, right on the king and the religious leaders for their refusal to submit as God has ordered. If Zedekiah had obeyed God, his sons would have not have been killed and his wives would not have mocked him.

When you do not listen to God, it is not just you that suffers, but your family also.

Jeremiah 38:24 "Then said Zedekiah unto Jeremiah, Let no man know of these words, and thou shalt not die."

Zedekiah doesn't want the other leaders to know that Jeremiah has warned him of the outcome. Then they also would hold Zedekiah accountable after the fact.

Jeremiah 38:25 "But if the princes hear that I have talked with thee, and they come unto thee, and say unto thee, Declare unto us now what thou hast said unto the king, hide it not from us, and we will not put thee to death; also what the king said unto thee:"

Zedekiah is telling Jeremiah that if the leaders come to you and ask you what was said in that secret chamber, and ask you not to withhold anything, this is what you tell them.

Jeremiah 38:26 "Then thou shalt say unto them, I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan's house, to die there."

Zedekiah is asking that Jeremiah only give them part of the truth. That is what Jeremiah came to the king for however it was the king that wanted the other council.

Jeremiah 38:27 "Then came all the princes unto Jeremiah, and asked him: and he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they left off speaking with him; for the matter was not perceived."

King Zedekiah knew that this is exactly what would happen, and it did. Jeremiah honored the request of the king, and the matter was kept secret. We see that Zedekiah wanted to keep his word to Jeremiah, but he was afraid of those that gave council to the king at this time. He worried more about those under him disobeying his orders, but he doesn't take a second thought about disobeying God's orders.

Jeremiah 38:28 "So Jeremiah abode in the court of the prison until the day that Jerusalem was taken: and he was there when Jerusalem was taken."

When the princes left Jeremiah, Jeremiah was not bothered again from them all the days until the city of Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar. When Nebuchadnezzar took the city, he saw to it that Jeremiah was well taken care of. Though Zedekiah's sons were killed, Jeremiah was given the daughters to take care of. We discussed this in part in Jeremiah 33, with the charts of the kings and queens that came through these daughters of Zedekiah.

Jeremiah took these daughters to Egypt, then on to Spain and Ireland, where the throne of the David was "overturned, overturned, and overturned again", and that is where it will remain until the one who has the right to sit on that throne returns at the seventh trumpet. That person is Jesus Christ the Son of God. We will read of this in later chapters.

God takes care of His own, and we move now into the process of the captivity.

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