The TL:DR Bible: Jeremiah 36-40


Chapter 36:

God tells Jerry to write down all of the words God has told him about Jerusalem and to go to the Temple and read it before the people in the hopes that they will repent. Jerry is barred from the Temple, so he sends his scribe to go and read the scroll in front of everyone.

The people hear the scroll and the message goes up the chain of command to the king. The king is angry and burns the scroll and tries to arrest Jerry and his scribe, but they elude capture.

So God comes back and says write it all down again and add a note to the king that he’s going to die now and be childless. Because that is what always happens when you make Old Testament God angry.

 

Chapter 37:

King Zedekiah asks Jeremiah for a word of prophesy even though he hasn’t listened to anything Jerry has said before. So Jerry tells him that even though the army of Egypt is coming and Nebuchadnezzar has lifted the siege of Jerusalem, that the Egyptians will go home and Nebuchadnezzar will be back to finish the siege soon.

While the siege is lifted, Jeremiah tries to leave Jerusalem to go take possession of that piece of land he bought from his uncle, but one of the guards arrests him thinking he’s defecting to the Babylonians. He’s beaten and thrown into prison but eventually Zedekiah orders him moved to less horrible accommodations and provides meals to him.

 

Chapter 38:

While the second siege is happening, Jerry is out telling everyone to surrender to the Babylonians and they will live or they can stay in the city and they will die.

This pisses off some of the leaders of the people who still hope that their army can prevail, so they ask they king to kill Jeremiah, and the king tells them to do whatever they want with him.

So the men seize Jerry and throw him into an empty cistern full of mud, and Jerry sinks down into the mud.

One of the king’s servants, however, realizes that Jerry will die down there, so he appeals to the king and asks him to spare Jerry’s life. The king agrees and sends 30 soldiers to take Jerry. The king later meets with Jerry and says, “What should I do?”

“Why are you asking me? You don’t listen to me and you’ll probably kill me for the advice I give you.”

“I won’t kill you. Just spill it, okay?”

“Surrender and you and the city will survive. Don’t surrender and the city will burn and you will be taken by Babylon anyway.”

“What if the Jews who have already defected try to kill me?”

“They won’t. Please, just do what I’m saying so the Lord will have mercy on you.”

The king shook his head and said, “Keep these words between us and you will live. If anyone asks you what we talked about tell them that you were asking me to free you from the prison, so you wouldn’t die.”

And Jeremiah agreed to that.

 

Chapter 39:

After a two year siege, the walls are breached by the Babylonians. The king and his men flee, but are captured and brought to Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar takes a low view of treason, so he has Zedekiah’s family killed in front of him, then puts out his eyes, binds him in chains and takes him to Babylon.

Jerusalem is burned with fire. The people who surrendered go to Babylon, but the captain of the guard of the Babylonians leaves behind the poorest people to tend the land and pay the taxes required.

Nebuchadnezzar, probably having heard of Jerry from the Jewish defectors, orders that he be treated kindly and that his fate be left up to him. Jerry chooses to stay with the remaining Jews and sends a message to the king’s guard that helped him out of the cistern that God will spare his life and bless him for his kindness and faith.

 

Chapter 40:

The commander of the rest of the Babylonian army offers Jerry the choice to come with him as a free man to Babylon and he will provide for him or to stay here. Jerry chooses to stay, and the captain suggests going to serve the governor they appointed over Judah, Gedaliah. Jerry heads there and tells the remaining Jews to serve Babylon and listen to the governor and he will be their voice before the Babylonians.

Once the Jews hear that Nebuchadnezzar has left some Jews in Judah, they begin to migrate back from places they had fled to.

But the peace isn’t going to last long because reports reach the governor that someone has dispatched an assassin to kill him.

The governor doesn’t believe the reports, even though his men are begging him to let them kill the would-be assassin.

Lesson: When your trusted advisors tell you that someone is coming to kill you? Listen to them.

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