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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 34

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-7

Jer 34:1-7

Jeremiah 34:1-5

THE PROPHECY REGARDING ZEDEKIAH

The word which came unto Jeremiah from Jehovah, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth that were under his dominion, and all the peoples, were fighting against Jerusalem, and against all the cities thereof, saying: Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Go, and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus saith Jehovah, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire: and thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but shalt surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth, and thou shalt go to Babylon. Yet hear the word of Jehovah, O Zedekiah king of Judah: thus saith Jehovah concerning thee, Thou shalt not die by the sword; thou shalt die in peace; and with the burnings of thy fathers, the former kings that were before thee, so shall they make a burning for thee; and they shall lament thee, [saying], Ah Lord! for I have spoken the word, saith Jehovah.

All the kingdoms of the earth...

(Jeremiah 34:1) This is a reference to the composite nature of Nebuchadnezzar’s army, which was made up of numerous detachments from the many nations that had submitted to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar as the suzerain overlord of all those countries had the right to demand troops of all of them to aid in his fight against enemies. He even had that right over Zedekiah who had at this juncture of events rebelled against him.

And against all the cities thereof...

(Jeremiah 34:1). This refers to the surrounding cities in Palestine which were fortified towns and would of necessity be captured prior to the assault against Jerusalem the major stronghold. Lachish and Azekah (Jeremiah 34:7) were the last two of these to hold out against the Chaldeans.

Thou shalt not escape out of his hand...

(Jeremiah 34:3). This meant that Zedekiah would most certainly he required to give an account to Nebuchadnezzar his overlord, with whom he had negotiated a covenant of obedience, in all probability cutting a covenant after the pattern of that mentioned in Jeremiah 34:18, below, and entailing the most terrible consequences upon its violation by the vassal.

Yet. thou shalt not die by the sword ... but in peace .....

(Jeremiah 34:4). The very word yet in this passage seems to hold out a certain hope for Zedekiah, always contingent, of course, (See Jeremiah 18:7-10) upon his obedience to God’s command to deliver the city at once into the hands of his overlord. Whether or not this is actually the true understanding of this place does not appear absolutely certain to this writer; but Barnes, and many others, hold this view.

The city was doomed and Zedekiah’s capture was assured, but he was still in a position to procure good terms; and the prophet here laid before him the alternative; but Zedekiah with all the obstinacy of a weak man chose to continue the war, and lost: (1) the kingdom; (2) his eyesight; and (3) his liberty.

This view, in effect, denies that the prophecy here was fulfilled, due to Zedekiah’s violation of the condition implied in the prophecy itself. Ash, Dummelow, and others concur with Barnes in this understanding. Dummelow submits as proof of this interpretation that, "Although the key condition of Zedekiah’s surrender is omitted in this chapter, it is emphatically stated in Jeremiah 38:17." We accept this understanding of the place and note that, in addition to the benefits to Zedekiah which were conditionally promised here, the lives of his sons would also have been spared if he had obeyed the word of the Lord (Jeremiah 38:17 ff).

Thou shalt die in peace...

(Jeremiah 34:5). How could one die in peace, after his sons were slain before him, and after he had been blinded, enslaved, and deported to Babylon where he died? We agree with Matthew Henry that one may die in peace, even though in prison, and also that to die in peace might have referred to his attaining peace with God, as did Manasseh at the end of his life. Others have also suggested that, when contrasted with the death of Jehoiachim who died unmourned, receiving the burial of an ass, Zedekiah did indeed die in peace. If so, then this part of the prophecy was unconditional.

With the burnings of thy fathers, etc.,...

(Jeremiah 34:5). The Jews never had a custom of cremation, and this refers to the lighting of bonfires upon the death of a beloved monarch, spices also being added to the burning faggots in such lamentations. The expression Ah Lord was the customary exclamation upon the death of a king. Barnes and others thought this promise of that kind of a burial for Zedekiah was a pledge (if he had obeyed the Lord) of a successful tenure on the throne of Jerusalem as a vassal of Babylon. However, it is by no means impossible that the captive Jews in Babylon would have been allowed thus to honor their deceased monarch. Still, we favor the view of this whole prophecy as conditional and the conclusion that it was not fulfilled because Zedekiah violated the conditions in it.

Jeremiah 34:6-7

TIME WHEN THIS WAS PROPHESIED

Then Jeremiah the prophet spake all these words unto Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem, when the king of Babylon’s army was fighting against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish and against Azekah; for these [alone] remained of the cities of Judah [as] fortified cities.

It is a marvelous fact that the details of this siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar have been strikingly confirmed by the spade of the archaeologist within our very generation. "The Mari letters and the Lachish Ostraca (broken pieces of pottery with inscriptions upon them) have been uncovered in the ruins of Lachish during the years 1935-1938, and have been positively dated in this very year of the final siege of Jerusalem." "These treasures were discovered by the Wellcome-Marston Expedition."

Lachish and Azekah...

(Jeremiah 34:7). These were important fortified towns, which longer than any others except Jerusalem itself, resisted the Chaldean army. Lachish, at one time, had been larger than Jerusalem itself, and according to the Lachish Letters was the last to surrender prior to the fall of Jerusalem. Lachish was located 23 miles southwest of Jerusalem, and Azekah was eleven miles north of Lachish. Letter No. 4 deals with the very time when this prophecy was written by Jeremiah.

It records urgent military messages from the commander of Jerusalem’s defenders to the garrison commander in Lachish, saying, "Let my lord know that we are watching the signals of Lachish (the smoke signals), according to all the indications which my lord has given; for we cannot see Azekah (evidently Azekah had fallen)."

There are also mentioned in these letters a half dozen names, including that of the father of Baruch, which are also found in this section of Jeremiah. Now, not for a moment, do we suppose that anything in the Bible needs to be confirmed either by pagan writers, or by fragments digged up from ancient ruins; but it is interesting and encouraging indeed to find that the deeper the spade of the archaeologist goes, the more is the proof of the truth of every word in the Holy Bible verified.

"This prophecy was given just a short time before Letter IV was written," because Azekah had not yet fallen (Jeremiah 34:7).

AN INCIDENT DURING THE FINAL SIEGE OF JERUSALEM Jeremiah 34:1-22

Chapter 34 contains two messages delivered during the final siege of Jerusalem. The first of these messages is directed to king Zedekiah (Jeremiah 34:1-7). According to Jeremiah 34:7 the message was delivered after Nebuchadnezzar had conquered all the outlying cities of Judah except Lachish and Azekah and was about ready to begin the assault against Jerusalem. According to the calculations of Finegan the siege of Jerusalem began on January 15, 588 B.C. The first message of Jeremiah then was delivered a short time before this date.

The second message in this chapter (Jeremiah 34:8-22) is directed to the people in general and the nobles in particular. In the summer of 588 B.C. the Egyptian army moved north to come to the aid of Zedekiah. The Chaldean army was forced to withdraw from Jerusalem to deal with the threat from the south. This second message of the prophet falls in the period just after the Chaldeans had been forced to lift their siege of Jerusalem.

A Solemn Declaration Jeremiah 34:1-7

During the last days of Jerusalem Jeremiah had several conversations with the king Zedekiah. It is not easy to reconstruct the chronology of these interviews but it is generally agreed that the present episode was one of the earliest. A probable reconstruction is: Jeremiah 21:1-10; Jeremiah 34:1-7; Jeremiah 32:3-5; Jeremiah 37:1-10; Jeremiah 37:16-21; Jeremiah 38:14-28. The message consists of two parts, condemnation and consolation.

The condemnatory word is first spoken concerning the city and then concerning the king. Again Jeremiah emphasizes that Jerusalem shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon but then he adds a new element. For the first time the king is told that Jerusalem would be burned with fire (Jeremiah 34:2). Zedekiah himself would be captured by the enemy. He would have to meet face to face the mighty Nebuchadnezzar against whom he had committed such a dreadful act of treachery in violating his solemn oath of allegiance. He would spend his last days as a captive in far away Babylon (Jeremiah 34:3). Apparently Jeremiah now regarded the destruction of Jerusalem and the deportation of a portion of the population as inevitable.

To his word of condemnation Jeremiah now appends a word of consolation to the hapless Zedekiah. The king would not die by the sword (Jeremiah 34:4) but would die in peace in captivity. He shall receive a royal funeral including the burning of spices and appropriate lamentation (Jeremiah 34:5). That “burnings of your fathers” does not refer to cremation but to the burning of spices is made clear by 2 Chronicles 16:14; 2 Chronicles 21:19. “Ah Lord” is a phrase used in lamentation over a king who was respected. See Jeremiah 22:18.Some commentators feel that this note of consolation to Zedekiah is conditional. Only if he surrenders immediately to Nebuchadnezzar will he be treated with due honor in life and death. This view may well be correct but it is not necessary. Zedekiah did spend his last years peacefully in Babylon and there is no reason to assume that he did not receive a royal burial in that land.

Verses 8-11

Jer 34:8-11

Jeremiah 34:8-10

SLAVES FREED AND PROMPTLY ENSLAVED AGAIN (Jeremiah 34:8-22)

The word that came unto Jeremiah from Jehovah, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people that were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them; that every man should let his man-servant, and every man his maid-servant, that is a Hebrew or a Hebrewess, go free; that none should make bondmen of them, [to wit], of a Jew his brother. And all the princes and all the people obeyed, that had entered into the covenant, that every one should let his man-servant, and every one his maid-servant, go free, that none should make bondmen of them any more; they obeyed, and let them go:

As evident later in the chapter, this solemn covenant was entered into in the holy Temple itself, and was witnessed by the priesthood and attested by all of the appropriate ceremonies.

Made a covenant...

(Jeremiah 34:8; Jeremiah 34:10). Evidently, the covenant here resembled that of Genesis 15:2, in which one or more birds or animals or both were cut in half, and the contracting parties walked between the divided portions of the living creatures that were slain, thus calling all men and God Himself to witness that any violator of the solemn agreement entered into by this ceremony would himself be destroyed after the manner of the slain creatures.

They obeyed, and let them go free...

(Jeremiah 34:11). In the abbreviated account here, it is not clear whether or not the Jews freed all of their slaves, or only those who were being kept in bondage contrary to the Law of Moses; but, in any case, the number of manumissions must have been very considerable, as all the princes and the people entered into the covenant to do so.

Again the existence of the Pentateuch, and the Jews’ familiarity with its teachings, is emphatically evident in the events of this prophecy. The laws appealed to here were those of Exodus 21:2; Exodus 21:7 and Leviticus 25:39-55. The Jews knew all about those laws but simply refused to obey them. What induced the change here?

Early in the final siege of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar’s immense composite army approached the city. It was early January in Zedekiah’s ninth year. The evident danger quickened the conscience of the king and his people; and they at once "cut the covenant" to free their slaves, no doubt praying that, as a reward, God might spare their city.

This good deed was evidently a case of "death-bed repentance," as indicated in a quotation which Green attributed to Peake. Feinberg called it, "panic piety."

Since there seems to have been no genuine religious devotion whatever behind this maneuver, we are led to inquire what was behind it?

REASONS FOR THIS MANEUVER

(1) In the approaching siege, by freeing their slaves, the evil masters would be no longer obligated to feed them.

(2) The shortage of defenders of the city might have been somewhat alleviated by making freemen of all the slaves, who then would be expected to fight for "their" city.

(3) The lack of opportunity to employ the slaves on the surrounding farm lands of Jerusalem, due to the occupation of this land by the enemy, could have made the quartering, clothing, and feeding of the slaves a very unwelcome burden.

Whatever the reasons, we can find nothing whatever honorable in this conduct of the Hebrew people.

Jeremiah 34:11

but afterwards they turned, and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids.

What caused a reversal like this? It is easy to ascertain. The approach of an Egyptian army led by Pharaoh-Hophra caused a brief interruption of Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem; and the Jews jumped to the conclusion that God had spared the city, even as he had in 701 B.C., when Sennacherib’s army was destroyed in a single night, and Jerusalem was spared. This false appraisal of their true situation occasioned their display of their true colors that exposed the whole people as a heartless group of wicked, selfish men who cared neither for God or mankind.

Harrison made this comment on Jeremiah 34:11, "By breaking their promises the owners not merely disregarded the covenantal oath but also profaned the divine name they had invoked when they made it. This, however, was typical of the casual and irresponsible attitude which had characterized the Chosen People for many generations, and for which stem retribution was now at hand."

Was the king in on this crooked reversal of the people’s solemn promises? He evidently was, because he had led the way in the making of it.

A Shameful Repudiation Jeremiah 34:8-11

Jeremiah 34:8-11 reveal the background of the blistering denunciation which is contained in the last half of the chapter. Here is recorded one of the most disgusting acts of hypocrisy ever recorded in the Bible. Israel, like other nations of the ancient Near East, had laws which permitted an impoverished man to sell himself into slavery. While this provision may seem harsh by western standards it was certainly a boon for the poor. Numerous invasions, enormous taxation and natural disasters (such as the drought mentioned in Jeremiah 14:1) would have reduced many Israelites—former land owners—to abject poverty. The wealth of the nation such as it was seems to have been concentrated in the hands of a relatively few members of the aristocracy. Under such conditions, no doubt many Israelites found slavery an attractive alternative to starvation. However the law of Moses had strict regulations governing the servitude of fellow Hebrews. Such bond-slaves were to be released after six years of service unless, of course, they preferred to remain in this state (Exodus 21:5 f.; Deuteronomy 15:16 f.). The slave owners of Jerusalem had been guilty of violating these regulations, refusing to release their slaves at the end of the legally stipulated period.

When Jerusalem came under siege in January 588 B.C., king Zedekiah took the initiative in securing the release of these Hebrew bondsmen. First came the proclamation; each master proclaimed liberty, i.e., emancipated his slaves. Then, in the Temple in Jerusalem, the king and princes ratified the agreement by participating in ancient and solemn ceremonies. A calf was slaughtered and divided down the middle. One half was laid against the other with a passage between and the covenanters walked between the pieces. The significance of this act was probably that of an implied curse: May the party who breaks this covenant be cut in two even as the calf is divided. Perhaps an oath was actually repeated as the parties passed between the halves of the dead animal. By such a ceremony God’s covenant with Abraham had been ratified many years earlier (Genesis 15:9 f.).

What motivated the slave owners to suddenly comply with the law and release their slaves? Their impulse was born while the Chaldeans were pounding on the gates of Jerusalem. Perhaps the thought was that by correcting this open and flagrant abuse of the law they might influence God to intervene on their behalf and spare the city. Sheldon Blank sees a vague hint that this was the motivation in Jeremiah 34:15 which he translates, “you turned today and did what pleased Me.” Blank thinks this means, “you did what you did in order to please Me.” Their action might be likened to “death-bed repentance” or “fox-hole religion”—a sort of last ditch effort in the time of peril. In the present crisis these men were willing to try anything, even the religion of Jeremiah. On the other hand other motives may have influenced the nobles in their, decision. With Jerusalem under siege the slaves might have become economic liabilities rather than assets. They would no longer be able to work the farm lands which lay outside the city walls. With food scarce within the city the slave owners were hard pressed to feed their own families let alone their slaves. Furthermore, freeing the slaves would make more men available for the defense of Jerusalem. A free man has more incentive to fight against the invaders than a slave. Thus Zedekiah probably did not have a great deal of difficulty in persuading the nobles to release their slaves.

When the Egyptian forces came to the relief of Jerusalem in the summer of 588 B.C. the siege of Jerusalem was temporarily lifted. The foolish inhabitants of the city thought that the danger was over. The enemy would not return! God had delivered them! Thinking that normal conditions would soon be restored, the nobles issued a new proclamation: they revoked the freedom they had given, broke their solemn pledge, and brought the former slaves into servitude again. Thus is the usual sequel of religious commitments made under duress. This shameful repudiation of a sacred covenant made with God and man incensed Jeremiah and he delivered the stinging rebuke which follows.

Verses 12-22

Jer 34:12-22

Jeremiah 34:12-16

Therefore the word of Jehovah came to Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel: I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying, At the end of seven years ye shall let go every man his brother that is a Hebrew, that hath been sold unto thee, and hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear. And ye were now turned, and had done that which is right in mine eyes, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbor; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name: but ye turned and profaned my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had let go free at their pleasure, to return; and ye brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids.

Proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbor

(Jeremiah 34:15). The words here are particularly those used in Leviticus, stressing the existence of all the other books of the Pentateuch in addition to Deuteronomy.

It would be impossible to overestimate the extent of Judah’s crime in the event here recorded: (1) It was a violation of God’s specific commandment. (2) They had mocked God Himself by that hypocritical "covenant" they cut in the very house that was called by God’s name. (3) They profaned the name of God by invoking his holy name upon an action which they had no intention of honoring. (4) It was an inhuman, unfeeling crime against innocent and defenseless people. (5) It was a violation and repudiation of the promises they themselves had made under oath; it was a perfidious perjury. (6) It was a crime against both God and mankind. (7) It was a crime against their wicked state which suffered the punishment their conduct so richly deserved.

Jeremiah 34:17

Therefore thus saith Jehovah: ye have not hearkened unto me, to proclaim liberty, every man to his brother, and every man to his neighbor: behold, I proclaim unto you a liberty, saith Jehovah, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be tossed to and fro among all the kingdoms of the earth.

What a proclamation is this! God says, "Very well, I make a proclamation for you, freeing you from my love and protection, and giving you your liberty to be destroyed by the ravages of war, disease, and starvation."

Jeremiah 34:18

And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, that have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before me, when they cut the calf in twain and passed between the parts thereof;

For more on the nature of the covenant here, see under Jeremiah 34:8; Jeremiah 34:10 above. It was the kind of covenant that God made with Abraham in Genesis 15:10 ff, in which birds and/or animals were divided, and the parties of the covenant passed between the divided portions of the creatures that had been slain. The implication was that any violator would deserve to suffer the same fate of the animals or birds used in the ceremony. Here it was a calf that had been cut in twain.

The prophet here enumerated the men who had thus violated the solemn covenant. The list given in the next verses included practically all the leaders of the nation, even that of the king himself and his princes.

Jeremiah 34:19-20

the princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, that passed between the parts of the calf; I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life; and their dead bodies shall be for food unto the birds of the heavens, and to the beasts of the earth.

In a word, this was a death sentence for the violators of the covenant. Note the opening words in the next line, "And Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes." Thus there is no way to exempt the king and his advisers from association with the crimes enumerated here.

Jeremiah 34:21-22

And Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, that are gone away from you. Behold, I will command, saith Jehovah, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant.

These two verses fix the date of the events in this chapter. They occurred in that brief period during the appearance of Pharaoh-Hophra with his Egyptian army that caused Nebuchadnezzar to lift the siege momentarily. In that interval, the Jews enslaved the servants they had freed, and the whole nation violated its solemn promises.

God at once pronounced the sentence of death upon them; and within a year’s time, it was fully executed.

A Stern Denunciation Jeremiah 34:12-22

God had something to say about the hypocritical actions of the Jerusalem nobles and Jeremiah was the instrument by which His word was spoken. In his message Jeremiah condemns the act of treachery which has just been committed (Jeremiah 34:12-16) and spells out the consequences of that act (Jeremiah 34:17-22).

Jeremiah begins his condemnation of the act of treachery by reminding his hearers of the stipulations of the Sinai covenant with regard to servitude. A Hebrew who served six years was to be released in the seventh year (Jeremiah 34:13-14). Apparently this law had been generally ignored because Jeremiah says the fathers of his hearers refused to hearken to this commandment of God (Jeremiah 34:14). God had actually been pleased that finally the nobles, whatever their ulterior motives, had compiled with His law and had released their slaves (Jeremiah 34:15). But the wrath of God was kindled when these nobles went back on their word. Since the nobles had pledged in the name of God and in the house of God to release their slaves, Jeremiah charges that they had profaned the name of God. The idea that God’s name suffers profanation because of His people has two different meanings in the Old Testament. (a) God is defamed by the shameful conduct of his people (Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 19:12; Leviticus 20:3; Leviticus 21:6; Leviticus 22:2; Leviticus 22:32; Amos 2:7; Jeremiah 34:16; Ezekiel 20:39; Malachi 1:12). (b) God is also disgraced because of the shameful condition of his people (Isaiah 48:11; Ezekiel 36:16 ff; Ezekiel 23 Ezekiel 20:8-10; Ezekiel 20:14; Ezekiel 20:22; Ezekiel 39:7). Sheldon Blank has a helpful discussion of the whole concept though written from an extremely liberal standpoint.

Such an act of betrayal and treachery as committed by the nobles of the land will have serious consequences. The paragraph begins with a rather sarcastic word. Since the nobles had failed to proclaim liberty to their slaves in accordance with both the ancient and the recent covenant, God will proclaim “liberty” to them. They will be free from those obligations which they regard as unbearable; they will be free from the gracious protection of the Lord. God will deliver them over to that fourfold alliance of evils: sword, pestilence, famine and captivity (Jeremiah 34:17). Freedom from God, from divine obligations and restraint, is not true freedom at all. The cruel taskmaster of sin will take an awful toll in the life of that individual who declares his independence from God.

The punishment of the hypocritical covenanters will be appropriate to the crime that was committed. They had piously passed between the halves of the calf they had cut in two and in so doing had pronounced upon themselves a self-malediction if they should be unfaithful to the terms of the covenant. Just as that calf had been slain, so they would be given over into the hands of the Chaldeans who would slay them. Like the carcasses of animals, their bodies would be left unburied, exposed to the ravaging appetite of scavenger birds and beasts (Jeremiah 34:20).

This paragraph closes with a specific word for Zedekiah the king and a specific word about the Babylonian armies which have withdrawn from the siege of Jerusalem. King Zedekiah would be handed over to the Chaldeans along with his princes (Jeremiah 34:21). The Chaldeans will return; Jerusalem will fall. The city will be burned and left desolate (Jeremiah 34:22). The word of God spoken by his prophet some forty years earlier will be fulfilled.

Judgment Arrives - Jeremiah 34:1 to Jeremiah 35:19

Open It

1. Whom do you admire for his or her faithfulness and integrity, and how does this person demonstrate those qualities?

2. What do you think motivates people to go back on their word?

Explore It

3. What good news and bad news did Jeremiah have for king Zedekiah during the siege of Jerusalem? (Jeremiah 34:1-5)

4. At the time of this prophecy, what cities had not yet fallen to the king of Babylon? (Jeremiah 34:6-7)

5. What agreement did king Zedekiah make with the people of Jerusalem? (Jeremiah 34:8-9)

6. How did the people respond to Zedekiah’s suggestion about abolishing the slavery of fellow Jews? (Jeremiah 34:10)

7. After they had agreed to free the slaves, what did the people do? (Jeremiah 34:11)

8. What was God’s plan for dealing with the issues of Israelites as slaves? (Jeremiah 34:12-14)

9. What solemn agreement was initiated by Jeremiah’s countrymen? (Jeremiah 34:15)

10. What action by the leadership of Judah profaned God’s name? (Jeremiah 34:16)

11. What was God’s sarcastic expression for the punishment He decreed? (Jeremiah 34:17)

12. How did God turn the ceremony used for solemnizing an agreement into a picture of the punishment due those who broke the agreement? (Jeremiah 34:18-20)

13. What specific prophecy destroyed the hope that Nebuchadnezzar had withdrawn from Jerusalem for good? (Jeremiah 34:21-22)

14. What invitation did God tell Jeremiah to issue to the Recabite family? (Jeremiah 35:1-2)

15. Where did Jeremiah meet with the Recabites? (Jeremiah 35:3-5)

16. How did the Recabites respond to Jeremiah’s invitation? (Jeremiah 35:6)

17. What instruction of their ancestor had the Recabites been obeying to the letter? (Jeremiah 35:7-10)

18. Why had the Recabites come to Jerusalem? (Jeremiah 35:11)

19. How did Jeremiah use the example of the Recabites’ obedience to call the people of Jerusalem to account? (Jeremiah 35:12-16)

20. How did the people’s response to God’s call through His prophets seal their doom? (Jeremiah 35:17)

21. What was God’s promise to the Recabites because of their integrity and wholehearted obedience? (Jeremiah 35:18-19)

Get It

22. What might Zedekiah have hoped would happen if the people repented of making slaves?

23. In what sense did it profane the name of God when His people broke their agreement with Him?

24. Why were the people of Jerusalem unwise to break a covenant they had made with God?

25. Why did God honor the obedience of the Recabites?

26. How are the examples in these chapters insightful lessons about the value of keeping your word?

27. What promises do contemporary people tend to take lightly?

28. What sorts of consequences follow in the wake of a broken promise?

29. What is gained by fulfilling the terms of a promise even if it hurts or requires sacrifice?

Apply It

30. What promise do you need to keep, even if it is costly to you?

31. How could you advise a fellow Christian before he or she enters into a binding promise or agreement?.

Questions On Jeremiah Chapter Thirty-Four

By Brent Kercheville

1 What is God’s message to Zedekiah about him and the city (Jeremiah 34:1-7)?

2 What had God commanded the people to do regarding the slaves (Jeremiah 34:8-16)?

3 Had the people been obeying this command?

4 What proclamation of freedom does God declare because they refused to free their slaves (Jeremiah 34:17-22)?

5 What else will happen?

TRANSFORMATION:

How does this relationship change your relationship with God? What did you learn about him? What will

you do differently in your life?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Jeremiah 34". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/jeremiah-34.html.
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