Opening Prayer

Jesus, you are to be valued above all else. Your name is to be honored above all others. Please accept my thanksgiving and praise as I come to you today.


39 In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army and laid siege to it. And on the ninth day of the fourth month of Zedekiah’s eleventh year, the city wall was broken through. Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came and took seats in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer of Samgar, Nebo-Sarsekim a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officials of the king of Babylon. When Zedekiah king of Judah and all the soldiers saw them, they fled; they left the city at night by way of the king’s garden, through the gate between the two walls, and headed toward the Arabah.[a]

But the Babylonian[b] army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. They captured him and took him to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced sentence on him. There at Riblah the king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes and also killed all the nobles of Judah. Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon.

The Babylonians[c] set fire to the royal palace and the houses of the people and broke down the walls of Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard carried into exile to Babylon the people who remained in the city, along with those who had gone over to him, and the rest of the people. 10 But Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard left behind in the land of Judah some of the poor people, who owned nothing; and at that time he gave them vineyards and fields.

11 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had given these orders about Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard: 12 “Take him and look after him; don’t harm him but do for him whatever he asks.” 13 So Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard, Nebushazban a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officers of the king of Babylon 14 sent and had Jeremiah taken out of the courtyard of the guard. They turned him over to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to take him back to his home. So he remained among his own people.

15 While Jeremiah had been confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him: 16 “Go and tell Ebed-Melek the Cushite, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I am about to fulfill my words against this city—words concerning disaster, not prosperity. At that time they will be fulfilled before your eyes. 17 But I will rescue you on that day, declares the Lord; you will not be given into the hands of those you fear. 18 I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the Lord.’”


  1. Jeremiah 39:4 Or the Jordan Valley
  2. Jeremiah 39:5 Or Chaldean
  3. Jeremiah 39:8 Or Chaldeans

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


May we learn to walk in the ways of the Lord, so that we will not live in fearful expectation of judgment.

Think Further

It is futile to resist the will of God. Jeremiah had consistently laid before king and country two possibilities: submit to Babylon and live, or resist and die. Those who submitted – Jeremiah (and Baruch) and Ebed-Melek – lived, whereas all who resisted – the king, the royals, the Jerusalem establishment, and most of the population in Judah – perished.

The end came in July 587 BC. The Babylonian field commanders took their seats in the Middle Gate. At their sight, the cowardly king, along with his sons and nobles, fled, heading for the Jordan Valley with the hope of escape. They abandoned the very people on whose behalf they had put up such resistance. However, like their resistance, their flight was futile. They were all captured and presented before Nebuchadnezzar at his field headquarters in Riblah. There the nobles and the king’s sons were executed. Zedekiah’s eyes were gouged out. The last thing he saw and would see as long as he lived, was the annihilation of the Davidic dynasty. He was then shackled and led to Babylon where he died in ignominy.

By contrast, there are two salvation oracles: the first is for Jeremiah (vs 11– 14) and the second is for Ebed-Melek (vs 15–18). Jeremiah had consistently criticized and resisted the official anti-Babylon viewpoint. He was arrested and imprisoned. Ebed-Melek, in a daring display of courage, had opposed the king and his complicity in Jeremiah’s plight. These two men, under God’s favor, escaped with their lives and are singled out as the bridge into Jewish exile and the faith that would survive it.


However countercultural God’s Word may appear, it is the gateway to life: ‘…the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.’1

Closing prayer

Lord God, I don’t understand your ways. How could I? You are God and I am not. But I do trust you. Please increase my trust.

Last Updated on December 7, 2023 by kingstar

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