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Jeremiah;- Bad prophets in Babylon (ch29)

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posted on Nov, 18 2022 @ 05:03 PM
At the beginning of ch29, Jeremiah wrote a letter (“build houses, plant gardens”) to the first batch of exiles in Babylon. This letter was delivered by courtesy of the king’s two envoys to Nebuchadnezzar. The rest of the chapter contains further messages which were probably delivered later. One of the messages, at least, has to be later, because it responds to somebody’s reaction to the first letter.

“Because you have said; The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon…”

The connection between this claim and the Lord’s response is not spelled out clearly, but we can guess that these false prophets are echoing the teaching of Hananiah in the previous chapter. That is, “The Lord will bring back to Jerusalem the exiled king and the rest of the exiles”. The Lord’s response is that, on the contrary, the rest of Jerusalem will be sent out to Babylon to join them.

It is a prophecy about the king who currently sits on the throne of David and “your kinsmen who did not go out with you into exile”. He repeats the previous warnings about “the sword, famine, and pestilence”, and the prophecy of ch24 is echoed in “I will make them like vile figs which are so bad they cannot be eaten”. They will become a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, because they did not heed the Lord’s word.

Vv20- 23
In a probably separate message, he speaks about two of the false prophets by name, viz. Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah. They have been prophesying a lie in the Lord’s name. They have also, incidentally, committed “folly in Israel” through adultery with men’s wives. Therefore they will be delivered into the hands pf Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. If they are repeating Hananiah’s claim that the Lord has “broken the yoke of the king of Babylon”, then from that king’s viewpoint they are clearly inciting rebellion. They will be executed by roasting in the fire, the same penalty that he imposed in Daniel ch3. Thus in future a common curse used among the exiles will be “May you become like Ahab and Zedekiah who were roasted in the fire”. Ezekiel is already among the exiles in Babylon. He also complains (ch13) about the false prophets found out there, but he does not give us any names.

The background to the last message is that another false prophet, Shemaiah of Nehelam, has reacted to the original “houses and gardens” letter. He sent circular letters in response to the priest Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah (Zedekiah’s brother?) and all the priests and “all the people who are in Jerusalem”. The letter to Zephaniah reminds hm that he has been given his post in place of the (exiled?) priest Jehoiada so that he might have charge in the house of the Lord “over every madman who prophesies, to put him in the stocks and collar”. Since he holds this position, why is he not doing something about Jeremiah?

This is a very pointed reminder of how Pashhur son of Immer, chief officer of the house of the Lord, put Jeremiah in the stocks on a previous occasion (ch20). This may mean that Zephaniah is the new “chief officer”, or else the task of supervising prophesying madmen has become critical enough to be assigned as a more specific responsibility.

Zephaniah took pleasure in reading out Shemaiah’s letter in the hearing of Jeremiah. Was this a private meeting? Or did he make a point of reading it aloud to the congregation in the Temple, while Jeremiah was present. It was, after all, written to “all the priests and people”, so that would be the perfect excuse to read out this interesting news “from our kinsmen in Babylon”. I don’t suppose the smile on his lips would have been sympathetic.

In response, the Lord prompted Jeremiah to send another letter to all the exiles, announcing how Shemaiah would be punished. He would have no living descendants to see the good which the Lord would do to his people, I.e. the real return from exile after the “seventy years”.

posted on Nov, 18 2022 @ 05:52 PM
It's fascinating stuff!!!

posted on Nov, 18 2022 @ 05:55 PM
a reply to: Inbangstickitin
Thank you. This is one of a series, and the previous chapters can be found on my profile.

posted on Nov, 18 2022 @ 07:14 PM
bad enough when we as individuals disregard God's word

but when someone takes it on themselves to publicly proclaim lies, they ensnare innocent others.

the death penalty for false prophets was tragically appropriate.

presumably some lazy self-promoters played prophet for the attention, status, $, etc.

fascinating piece of history, if a bit depressing.

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