August 22 – King Zedekiah Refuses Mercy


  • Jer. 21:1-14; 22:1-9; 34:1-7; 32:1-44; 33:1-9


Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, has surrounded the city of Jerusalem. Zedekiah, king of Judah, sends men to Jeremiah to inquire of GOD, hoping that GOD would all of a sudden deliver them from Nebuchadnezzar even though Jeremiah had been prophesying of these very events for years. Instead, GOD tells Jeremiah to inform the king that GOD Himself would fight against the city of Jerusalem and they had no chance to defeat the Babylonians. Then GOD gives Zedekiah a choice—surrender or the city will be burned:

8 “Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the LORD says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. 9 Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives. 10 I have determined to do this city harm and not good, declares the LORD. It will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it with fire.’
(Jer. 21:8-10 NIV)

Sadly, Zedekiah refuses again to humble himself before GOD and surrender. Later, Jeremiah received the following message from GOD:

1 While Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army and all the kingdoms and peoples in the empire he ruled were fighting against Jerusalem and all its surrounding towns, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Go to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. 3 You will not escape from his grasp but will surely be captured and given into his hands. You will see the king of Babylon with your own eyes, and he will speak with you face to face. And you will go to Babylon. 4 “‘Yet hear the LORD’s promise to you, Zedekiah king of Judah. This is what the LORD says concerning you: You will not die by the sword; 5 you will die peacefully. As people made a funeral fire in honor of your predecessors, the kings who ruled before you, so they will make a fire in your honor and lament, “Alas, master!” I myself make this promise, declares the LORD.’
(Jer. 34:1-5 NIV)

When Jeremiah spoke this message, King Zedekiah didn’t like it and was tired of hearing from Jeremiah so he put him under house arrest, which is where a person is confined to a house and not allowed to leave. It is during this time that GOD reveals yet another promise of the coming blessings He will give in restoring Israel once their 70 years of punishment are over:

6 Jeremiah said, “The word of the LORD came to me: 7 Hanamel son of Shallum your uncle is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth, because as nearest relative it is your right and duty to buy it.’ 8 “Then, just as the LORD had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard and said, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. Since it is your right to redeem it and possess it, buy it for yourself.’

“I knew that this was the word of the LORD; 9 so I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel and weighed out for him seventeen shekels of silver. 10 I signed and sealed the deed, had it witnessed, and weighed out the silver on the scales. 11 I took the deed of purchase—the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, as well as the unsealed copy— 12 and I gave this deed to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and of the witnesses who had signed the deed and of all the Jews sitting in the courtyard of the guard.

13 “In their presence I gave Baruch these instructions: 14 ‘This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Take these documents, both the sealed and unsealed copies of the deed of purchase, and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time. 15 For this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.’
(Jer. 32:6-15 NIV)

Even amidst so much pain, sorrow and suffering because of sin, GOD remains full of mercy and compassion towards His people. Praise Him and thank Him for His mercy!


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