Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jer 38

38:28. It is an odd turn-around, more than once, the relationship between Jeremiah and the king or kings just before Jerusalem is captured in the next chapter. Zedekiah takes Jeremiah out of prison (37:17), asks for prayer (37:3, perhaps because of seeing a circumstantial change, 37:5). But in 38:5 he assents to Jeremiah being captured ... then changes his mind again (38:10)!

Taking a cue from 37:5, and 37:17 we may recognize that game of roulette the wicked sometimes play with God in many religions, gauging what God must be saying by what circumstances "must be" saying, and expecting changes to percolate up from changing circumstances all the way to the oracles of God! Jeremiah resists that (37:17).

The surprise is in reality the tone Jeremiah takes with the king in 37:18-20, and the consequence in 37:21. There is an ongoing relationship there. There is a respect and a deference on Jeremiah's part. He had at a prior time even told the king as much positive news as could be expected, given the fall of Jerusalem: the king would be buried with spices, just as his fathers (34:5), and die in peace!

This is a good OT reflection of the responsibility to do good to all, and the varied results that may come from it.

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