4th Captivity

Approx. 590 BC Babylon attacked Judah and besieged Jerusalem in the 10th day of the 10th month of the 9th year of Zedekiah’s reign. At the 10th year of Zedekiah’s reign and the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, when Babylon departed from Jerusalem and Judah to go to battle against Egypt (who had been hired by Judah), the prisoners accumulated from Judah were deported to Babylon so that they would not be a liability in war against the Egyptian Army (Jer. 52:29, 37:11, 34:21). [832 persons were deported]

Jeremiah 37:5-16 & 34:11-22During the 10th year of Zedekiah’s reign (Jer. 37:5-11, 34:21, 52:29), lo and behold the besiegement of Jerusalem was temporarily broken free by Pharaoh sending an army to Zedekiah’s relief… but Babylon did not wholly depart from the besiegement effort. After engaging the matter of Egypt’s army, they returned just as God had said through Jeremiah, “they shall not depart” (Jer. 37:9), and, “I will command, saith the LORD, and cause them to return” (Jer. 34:22). These acts of withholding tribute (before Babylon came) and hiring Egypt (after Babylon came) were the manifestation of Zedekiah’s rebellion against God (2 Kings 24:20). In the process of doing this, Zedekiah had to break two oaths: first in chronology, Zedekiah made an oath to the King of Babylon at his installment (Ezek. 17:11-21) and, secondarily, Zedekiah and the princes made a covenant with the LORD during their repentance of enslaving their brethren, the Israelites (Jer. 37:5-16). The Lord is infuriated by the breaking of these covenants because they were done in obedience to the Lord. A strong delusion did consequentially come upon Zedekiah and the princes so that they believed the word of the Lord through Jeremiah had proven false. Once they saw Babylon depart from Jerusalem, Zedekiah and the princes reverted to apostasy suspecting that Jeremiah was wrong when he said, “thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but shalt surely be taken…” (Jer. 34:3), and such like words. A revival of apostasy and a strong delusion transpired here insomuch that the princes did harden their hearts in thinking that Jeremiah was a fraud in that the word failed! Oh, my reader, this is a great reversion! These princes, who were now counting Jeremiah a fraud, were greatly fearing in the days of Jehoiakim (Jer. 36:16, 19) and were humbled to see Jehoiakim die according to Jeremiah’s word. In fact, the princes were fearing alongside Zedekiah their King (which was a first for the King of Judah since the days of Josiah)! Shockingly, they who feared were now slanderous against and angry with Jeremiah! Shockingly, they smote him and put him in prison and left him there to die (Jer. 37:12-16)! Note: the promise given to Zedekiah (Jer. 34:2-7) was breached (Jer. 34:17-22, 32:3-5). Note: Zedekiah himself was still fearing the Lord in some measure, though moved by the princes exceedingly, for he later inquired of Jeremiah and drew him out of the place wherein he was starving to death (the prison in the house of Jonathan the Scribe), and, afterward, even though the word delivered was not good (“thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the King of Babylon”-Jer. 37:17), Zedekiah moved Jeremiah into “the court of the prison” where he was fed daily (see Jer. 37:17-21). Secret Conversation: 37:17-21.

Jeremiah 38:1-28During the 10th year of Zedekiah’s reign, I conclude, because Ezekiel prophesies in correlation with the events of Jeremiah 37:5-16 & 34:11-22. According to Jeremiah 38:1-6, Jeremiah continues to prophesy to all the people from the court of the prison the same word, which was, to surrender to Babylon and live (Jer. 38:2-3). It is probable that Jeremiah 32:1-44 is a record of what Jeremiah prophesied from the court of the prison in this time. When the princes heard it, or such like words, they requested of the King his death (Jer. 38:4). Zedekiah granted to them their request (Jer. 38:5), and they took Jeremiah and cast him into “the dungeon of Malchiah” that was in the court of the prison, and Jeremiah sunk in the mire. There was no water in this place and there was no more food in the city. According to Jeremiah 38:7-28, the Ethiopian Eunuch rescues Jeremiah at the King’s consent, not wanting Jeremiah to die. Jeremiah is then brought back to the court of the prison (Jer. 38:13). After this, Zedekiah secretly inquired of the Lord by Jeremiah yet again! Zedekiah is secretly seeking repentance (Jer. 38:19).

Jeremiah 32:1-44During the 10th year of Zedekiah’s reign (Jer. 32:1), while Jeremiah is shut up in the Court of the Prison, the word of the LORD comes to him the first time (Jer. 32:2, 33:1). It is probable that this prophecy was given to Jeremiah and delivered to the people while he was in the court of the prison prior to being cast into the dungeon of Malchiah.

Jeremiah 33:1-26During the 10th year of Zedekiah’s reign and subsequent to Jeremiah’s former prophecy (Jer. 32:1-44; “the second time” – Jer. 33:1). It is probable that this prophecy was given to Jeremiah and delivered to the people after Jeremiah was pulled out of the dungeon of Malchiah and returned to the court of the prison, as recorded in Jeremiah 38:1-28.

Ezekiel 25:1-32:32During a 36-month period (between the 10th day of the 10th month of the 9th year of Zedekiah’s reign [Ezek. 24:1, 2 Kings 25:1] and the 5th day of the 10th month of the 12th year [of what would have been Zedekiah’s reign] counting from the 3rd Captivity in which Jechoiachin was taken Captive & Zedekiah was installed King), Ezekiel prophesied against Heathen Nations until the word of the LORD concerning Jerusalem was completely fulfilled (i.e. Jerusalem was destroyed and a messenger came back to give the report to Ezekiel; Ezek. 24:25-27, 33:21-22).