Jeremiah 37:5-16 & 34:11-22
During 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.