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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Jeremiah 37

Verses 1-21

  1. Intro:
    1. Quote: Someone asked an ex-paratrooper how many jumps he had made. He responded by saying, "None! I was pushed out 18 times!"
      1. That story describes some Christians & their initiative or lack thereof.
      2. For Jeremiah, he needed no one to push him…He was a jumper!
    2. Our story takes place in downtown Jerusalem between the summer of 588bc(when Babylon temporarily slackened their grip on Jerusalem to deal w/Egypt) & July of 587bc (when the city was sacked).
    3. The events of chapters 37-39 are arranged chronologically. They trace Jeremiah’s life and ministry during the final siege and fall of Jerusalem.CHAPTER 37
  2. ZEDEKIAH’S VAIN HOPE! (1-10)
    1. Vs.2 – Zedekiah probably had a motto that ran “There’s no problem so big or complicated that it can’t be run away from!” (& so he’d try)
    2. Vs.2,3 – Gutsy for Zed to ask for prayer again! In ch.21 he asked for prayer against his enemy Babylon & God responded with(5) “I myself will fight against you…”!
      1. He completely ignores God’s word, YET wants Jeremiah to pray for him? (no obedience…no use in praying)
      2. He wants Intercession but not the Instruction!
      3. He wants God to be his servant, but wont become Gods Servant!
      4. Don’t expect God to change His mind on moral issues.
      5. Q: Do you ask God for help only in emergencies, or do you seek His direction each day?
        1. An old proverb says, "When you come to the end of your rope, tie a prayer knot and hang on." Though we can do this, the far greater is not waiting to get to the bottom of the rope!
      6. The story is told of a small town in which there were no liquor stores. Eventually, however, a nightclub was built right on Main Street. Members of one of the churches in the area were so disturbed that they conducted several all night prayer meetings, and asked the Lord to burn down that den of iniquity. Lightning struck the tavern a short time later, and it was completely destroyed by fire. The owner, knowing how the church people had prayed, sued them for the damages. His attorney claimed that their prayers had caused the loss. The congregation, on the other hand, hired a lawyer and fought the charges. After much deliberation the judge declared, "It's the opinion of the court that wherever the guilt may lie, the tavern keeper is the one who really believes in prayer while the church members do not!"
      7. Example: Boy upstairs (just pray for me…for what…[unbiblical]…no)
    3. Vs.5 - Archaeological evidence shows that an army did in fact at that time, come up from the Nile under Pharaoh Apries, as Herodotus, the Greek historian also mentions.
      1. Its destination, however, was not Jerusalem. Apries was making an attack by land and sea against the Phoenician ports. Evidence on fragments of Egyptian monuments of Pharaoh’s presence in Tyre and Sidon at that time have been found.
    4. Vs.10 – Clear & uncompromising!
      1. Beyond a shadow of a doubt…God’s word was coming true, it wasn’t changing!
      2. No politics, no military influence, nor threats of imprisonment, not even the king, would influence Jeremiah’s view.
      3. His words weren’t open to argument.
    5. The true Christian is one who is right-side-up in an upside-down world.
    6. God can stand with us only as we stand firm.
  3. JEREMIAH’S IMPRISONMENT! (11-15)
    1. ​​​​​​​Vs.13 – Can’t blame this guard – after all, he had been urging everyone to “desert to the enemy” in a sense!
      1. And, some had (38:19)
      2. It is pretty natural then that he is following his own advice & defecting.
    2. Vs.14-15 – He tries zealously to deny the charges.
      1. He’s then handed over to the state officials (flog him & imprison him).
      2. He doesn’t go to the state prison yet(21).
  4. ​​​​​​​SECRET INTERVIEW#1 (16-21)
    1. ​​​​​​​Vs.16 - They take him to the dungeon cells or the cistern house.
      1. Hewn limestone, narrow at top, opened into a bottle shape cavity, even called bottle prisons in some countries(castles in Scotland).
      2. In a prison like this they were either left to rot, to go mad, or to die a slow death.
    2. Vs.17 – “took him out” – saved from this fate…maybe now he would have broken his spirit? Any word jeremiah? Yes, the same word (4 shortHebrew words)!
      1. Jeremiah wasn’t going to bribe his way out of prison w/a new word(eg. something king Zed wanted to hear)!
    3. Zed brought him secretly so as not to cross the princes.
    4. Vs.18,19 – He protests to the king about his injustice.
      1. He contrasts his plight w/those “other prophets”(false).
      2. According to Deut.18:20 they ought to be put to death, but they walk free, & he is imprisoned.
    5. Vs.20 – Serious pleading!
    6. Vs.21 – Bakers Street – At the state prison he was at least guaranteed bread & a certain degree of freedom.
      1. This is an interesting glimpse into the ancient world. People who followed the same craft or trade where in the same quarter of town.
      2. This is preserved today in our street names like “Baker Street” or “Petticoat Lane”.
      3. Haiti – “Lapadoo lane”(we call it)brown sugar paste/mix with coffee.
      4. Israel – Herbs & spices in the Arab Market.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Jeremiah 37". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/jeremiah-37.html. 2017.