1. Background History.
A. Kingdom of Israel divided at Soloman's death. Israel fell into Assurian captivity 722 B.C., during Isaiah's prophetic ministery.
B. Three dominant powers in today's lesson were struggling for control. Babolyn, Assyria, and Egypt.
C. Jeremiah witnessed the fall of Judah into Babolonian captivity in 687 B.C. His book, Lamentations of Jeremiah, expresses his brokenness over the fall. This is why he is called the weeping prophet.
D. Babolyn was an affluent, powerful empire. Nebuchadnezzer was king at this time. Two other major prophets were carried into captivity, Ezekiel and Daniel. Because Babolyn conquered Judah, it was prophesied that the empire would be destroyed and not be rebuilt. To this day Babolyn has never been rebuilt. The book of Revelation has two chapters about a figurative Babolyn (chapters 17 and 18).
2. Today's Background.
A. The Babolonians were about to enter into battle with Egypt.
B. Zedekiah had formed an alliance with Egypt.
C. Jeremiah 37:3, Zedekiah hoped Jeremiah would speak words of assurance of victory.
D. 37:8, The word from God, however, was a message of defeat and captivity.
E. 37:10, Even if Babolyn were defeated and only wounded men remained, even they could overtake Judah.
F. 37:12, While Jeremiah was on his way into the land of Benjamin, he was arrested, accused of treasen, beaten and thrown into prison.
G. 37:17a, In private, Zedekiah asks Jeremiah if he has a change of heart.
H. 37:17b, Defeat and captivity still prophesied.
I. 37:21, Zedekiah placed Jeremiah in the courtyard where he continued to preach his message.
J. 38:4, Complaints are made that Jeremiah should be put to death.
K. 38:5, Wishy-washy Zedekiah.
L. 38:6, They lowered him into a well or cistern to die. this is were our lesson takes up.
3. Personal Accounts Of Zedekiah, Jeremiah and Abed.
4. Character Analysis of these men.
Abed, Responsible, willing to risk his life.
Jeremiah, Underdog, burden-bearer. Jeremiah 1:4-5. Certain of and faithful to his calling.
A. Jeremiah 52:9-10, Because Zedekiah did not heed the word of God, see the consequences he faced.
B. 39:17-18, Because of Abed's responsible action to rescue Jeremiah, his life was sparred.
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May God speak to your heart! Bob Conar