Jeremiah’s Message for Zedekiah
21 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur the son of Malchijah, and Zephaniah the priest the son of Maaseiah, saying, 2 “Please inquire of the Lord for us, because [a]Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is making war against us. Perhaps the Lord will deal [favorably] with us according to all His wonderful works and force him to withdraw from us.”
3 Then Jeremiah said to them, “Say this to Zedekiah: 4 ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Behold, I will turn back and dull the edge of the weapons of war that are in your hands, [those] with which you fight against the king of Babylon and the [b]Chaldeans who are besieging you outside the walls; and I will bring them into the center of this city (Jerusalem). 5 I Myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm in anger, in fury, and in great indignation and wrath. 6 I will also strike the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast; they will die of a great virulent disease. 7 Then afterward,” says the Lord, “I will hand over Zedekiah king of Judah and his servants and the people in this city who survive the virulent disease, the sword, and the famine, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemy, into the hand of those who seek their lives. And he will strike them with the edge of the sword; he will not spare them nor have mercy and compassion on them.”’
8 “And to this people you (Jeremiah) shall also say, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. 9 He who remains in this city [of Jerusalem] will die by the sword and by famine and by virulent disease. But he who goes outside and surrenders to the [c]Chaldeans who are besieging you will live, and his life will be like a prize of war to him. 10 For I have set My face against this city to do harm and not good,” says the Lord. “It shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon and he will burn it with fire.”’
11 “And concerning the royal house of the king of Judah [you shall say], ‘Hear the word of the Lord, 12 O house of David, thus says the Lord:
“Administer justice in the morning,
And rescue the one who has been robbed from the hand of his oppressor,
That My wrath will not roar up like fire
And burn so [hotly] that none can extinguish it,
Because of the evil of their deeds.
“Understand this, I am against you, O inhabitant of the valley,
O rock of the plain,” says the Lord—
“You who say, ‘Who will come down against us?
Or who will enter into our dwelling places?’
“But I will punish you in accordance with the [appropriate] consequences of your decisions and your actions,” says the Lord.
“I will kindle a fire in your forest,
And it will devour all that is around you.”’”
- Jeremiah 21:2 In Hebrew there are two ways of spelling the name of the ruler of Babylon resulting in two English variations: Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuchadrezzar. Nebuchadnezzar II of the Chaldean Dynasty, more commonly known as Nebuchadnezzar the Great, ruled Babylon from 605-562 b.c. He conquered Jerusalem in 597 b.c.
- Jeremiah 21:4 The Chaldeans dominated and ruled Babylonia from 625 b.c., until their empire fell in 539 b.c., but they were known as early as 1000 b.c. as an aggressive, tribal people in the southern region of Babylonia. They were highly skilled in both the science of astronomy and the pseudo-science of astrology. They kept meticulous records of celestial motion and correctly calculated the length of a year to within just a few minutes. Babylon, their capital city, was the center of trade and learning in the western part of Asia. The classical literature of the Chaldeans was written in cuneiform, but the common language, both written and spoken in Babylon, was Akkadian increasingly influenced by Aramaic.
- Jeremiah 21:9 The Chaldeans became the dominant people in Babylonia when Merodach-baladan declared himself king of Babylon. The words “Chaldean” and “Babylonian” are used interchangeably.