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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 24

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary


Jeremiah 24:0


(The parentheses represent poetic literary units)

Basket of Figs and the ReturneesThe Sign of Two Baskets of FigsThe Vision of the Basket of FigsTwo Baskets of FigsThe Two Baskets of Figs
Jeremiah 24:1-3Jeremiah 24:1-3Jeremiah 24:1-3Jeremiah 24:1-3aJeremiah 24:1-10
Jeremiah 24:3b
Jeremiah 24:4-7Jeremiah 24:4-7Jeremiah 24:4-7Jeremiah 24:4-7
Jeremiah 24:8-10Jeremiah 24:8-10Jeremiah 24:8-10Jeremiah 24:8-10

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

Verses 1-3

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Jeremiah 24:1-3 1After Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the officials of Judah with the craftsmen and smiths from Jerusalem and had brought them to Babylon, the LORD showed me: behold, two baskets of figs set before the temple of the LORD! 2One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, and the other basket had very bad figs which could not be eaten due to rottenness. 3Then the LORD said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “Figs, the good figs, very good; and the bad figs, very bad, which cannot be eaten due to rottenness.”

Jeremiah 24:1 “Nebuchadnezzar” See Special Topic: Kings of Mesopotamia.

This specifically dates this strophe as 597 B.C (cf. 2 Kings 24:10-16; 2 Chronicles 36:9-10). The king goes by three names

1. Jeconiah, Jeremiah 24:1; Jeremiah 27:20; Jeremiah 28:4; Jeremiah 29:2

2. Coniah, Jeremiah 22:24, Jeremiah 22:28; Jeremiah 37:1

3. Jehoiachin, Jeremiah 52:31; Jeremiah 24:2ings 24-25

See Appendix Four, #3.

“craftsmen” This term (BDB 360, cf. Jeremiah 29:2) refers to an engraver of

1. gems (cf. Exodus 28:11)

2. stone (cf. 2 Samuel 5:11)

3. wood (cf. Jeremiah 10:3)

4. metal (cf. Jeremiah 10:9)

It can also mean “idol-maker” (cf. 2 Kings 24:14, 2 Kings 24:16; Isaiah 44:11; Isaiah 45:16).

“smith” This ambiguous term (BDB 688, KB 604 II) may refer to a metal worker (NJB, NET). It could also mean “harem” (REB textual marginal note) or possibly “builders” or “engineers.”

“two baskets of figs” This is another visual image to communicate God's message vividly to the people of Judah who were left in Jerusalem.

Amos used the same type of imagery in Amos 8:1-3.

“set before the temple of the LORD” These baskets of figs represented two groups of people. They were seen as offerings to YHWH (cf. Deuteronomy 26:2-11), to use for His purposes.

1. good figs - those Judeans already exiled

2. bad figs - those Judeans in Palestine

Jeremiah 24:2 “very bad figs” These same inedible, rotten figs are mentioned in Jeremiah 29:17.

Verses 4-7

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Jeremiah 24:4-7 4Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 5”Thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the captives of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans. 6For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will build them up and not overthrow them, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. 7I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.

Jeremiah 24:5 The good figs are, surprisingly, the Judeans taken into exile. One would have thought the ones left in Palestine were the favored ones, but not so. YHWH will work with the exiles (to whom Ezekiel ministered in Babylon).

“Chaldeans” See Special Topic: Chaldeans.

Jeremiah 24:6-7 List the promises YHWH makes to the Judeans in exile.

1. He will regard them as “good”

2. He will set His eyes on them for good

3. He will bring them back to Judah

4. He will build them up and not overthrow them

5. He will plant them and pluck them up

6. He will give them a heart to know Him

Jeremiah 24:7 has several covenant terms. It speaks of a new day of faithfulness and devotion (cf. Ezekiel 36:22-38; Jeremiah 31:31-34). YHWH will give them a “new heart” and a “new mind.”

The phrases “build them up” (BDB 124, KB 139); “not overthrow them” (BDB 248, KB 256); “plant them” (BDB 642, KB 694); and “not pluck them up” (BDB 684, KB 737) are also used in Jeremiah's call in Jeremiah 1:10. Here these VERBS are preceded by a vision, but there they are preceded by two visions (an almond rod and a boiling pot).

Jeremiah 24:7 “they will return to Me” This VERB (BDB 996, KB 1427) is used to express true repentance. See Special Topic: Repentance in the Old Testament. This involves the mystery of foreknowledge, human free will and predestination (see Special Topic: Predestination [Calvinism] vs Human Free Will [Arminianism] and Special Topic: Election/Predestination and the Need for A Theological Balance).

“with a whole heart” This is a Hebrew idiom of complete devotion (cf. Jeremiah 3:10; 1 Samuel 7:3; 1 Chronicles 22:19; 2 Chronicles 22:9; Joel 2:12-14). It was used of David's devotion to YHWH but not Solomon who, in his old age, became involved in idolatry (cf. 1 Kings 11:0).

Verses 8-10

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Jeremiah 24:8-10 8”'But like the bad figs which cannot be eaten due to rottenness-indeed, thus says the LORD-so I will abandon Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials, and the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land and the ones who dwell in the land of Egypt. 9I will make them a terror and an evil for all the kingdoms of the earth, as a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse in all places where I will scatter them. 10I will send the sword, the famine and the pestilence upon them until they are destroyed from the land which I gave to them and their forefathers.'“

Jeremiah 24:8-10 The royal family of Zedekiah and all his helpers will be abandoned (BDB 678, KB 733, Qal IMPERFECT). This VERB has a wide semantic field. The context requires “give over” (cf. Numbers 21:3, Numbers 21:29; Deuteronomy 7:2, Deuteronomy 7:23; Deuteronomy 31:5; Judges 20:13; etc.). This is so shocking in light of 2 Samuel 7:0!

Jeremiah 24:8 “the remnant of Jerusalem” See Special Topic: The Remnant, Three Senses.

“the ones who dwell in the land of Egypt” Who these are depends on to whom verses Jeremiah 24:8-10 refer. It probably refers to those in Zedekiah's day, after the exile of 597 B.C. If so, then who are “the ones”?

1. those taken into exile by Pharaoh Necho along with Jehoahaz (609 B.C.; cf. 2 Kings 23:31-34)

2. pro-Egypt supporters who fled when they saw Babylon invading

3. a future reference to those who fled to Egypt after the murder of Gedaliah (cf. Jeremiah 40-41)

Jeremiah 24:9-10 These two verses describe what YHWH will do to those who remain in Judah and those who fled to Egypt.

1. make them a terror (BDB 266)

2. make them an evil (BDB 949)

3. make them a reproach (BDB 357)

4. make them a proverb (BDB 605)

5. make them a taunt (BDB 1042)

6. make them a curse (BDB 887)

7. send the sword

8. send the famine

9. send the pestilence

This was because of their continuing, unrepentant covenant disobedience. YHWH revoked the covenant promises made to their forefathers (cf. Jeremiah 24:10). Instead of the “nations” seeing YHWH's mercy, grace, and justice in the covenant people, they saw His judgment (cf. Deuteronomy 28:25, Deuteronomy 28:37; Ezekiel 36:22-23). This very purpose in YHWH's calling Abraham (cf. Genesis 12:3) has been compromised!

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 24". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/jeremiah-24.html. 2021.
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