It had been seventy years, and now we see how God kept the promise he had given in Jeremiah’s prophecy. The time of captivity in Babylon was coming to an end. The new ruler, Cyrus, had been prompted by God to allow the exiles to return to their homeland. What a proclamation this is!
The Book of Ezra chronicles this return and how the people begin to rebuild their lives. We’ll read about the restoration of God’s people as they retell old stories and address new situations along the way. Would God’s promises still hold true? Had the people forgotten God during their time of exile?
Continue reading “Ezra 1:1-4 – Prophecy Fulfilled”
Zephaniah was a contemporary of Jeremiah and would have spoken God’s words during the reign of King Josiah. You’ll recall when King Josiah learned of the scrolls containing God’s law, great reforms began to help the people of Judah to return to God. Zephaniah would help shake the people of Judah out of their complacency so they could understand their hope comes from God.
Zephaniah doesn’t sugar coat the radical message from God but gets right to the point. God’s wrath will sweep away everything and crush Jerusalem and Judah. Even his own creation will suffer. God’s anger has been fueled by all the idol worship that fills the land.
Continue reading “Zephaniah 1:1-6 – God’s Wrath”
I just learned that this part of Nahum’s prophecy is referred to as a “woe oracle.” As such, it has two parts, and woe oracles are directed to those doomed by God, including the judgment pronounced on foreign nations, like Nineveh. We understand the word “woe” to be the state of distress and extreme grief. The two sections of this type of oracle are (1) accusation and (2) announcement.
The “accusation” states what evil has been done. What wrongs do we see highlighted here? “Nineveh, the beautiful and faithless city, mistress of deadly charms, enticed the nations with her beauty. She taught them all her magic, enchanting people everywhere.” The results of their evil schemes are also given.
Continue reading “Nahum 3:1-7 – Woe is Me”
Our final episode is taken directly from the history found in 2 Kings 25, the only difference being the date of King Jehoiachin’s release. Of course, Jeremiah was not the author of this final chapter since Jeremiah 51:64 says so, and this final event happens nearly halfway through the exile period. Jeremiah had been taken to Egypt.
What we have here is hope. The line of Davidic kings was spared for some reason. Was the new king simply offering clemency to long time prisoners or was he trying to strengthen his own position by making such a move? King Jehoiachin would be a noteworthy choice being he was nobility.
Continue reading “Jeremiah 52:31-34 – Hope”
If you got hauled off into exile, you’d certainly be hoping for them to spare your life. By the time this group of 74 people consisting of dignitaries, priests, and even poor folk were collected and taken to the king, many others were already hostage in Babylon. Would these people have knowledge of where they were headed from hearing word from those exiled or was it a total unknown?
No matter what these people knew or didn’t know, they endured emotional upheaval which led to the resolution of death. These prisoners would not be captive for long. Certainly they had seen death all around them when others had been taken or attacked. Now it was their turn. This was not a pleasant time to be in Jerusalem.
Continue reading “Jeremiah 52:24-30 – A Prisoner’s Death”