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AM Bible Study Archives
"Memos to Exiles"
Wednesday AM Bible Study
March 16, 2005
In Chapters 29-31, we find a series of messages that God gives Jeremiah to
pass on to those who are in exile in Babylon. Daniel and Ezekiel were both
written by authors who were in exile. And interestingly enough, Peter chose
to write his first letter to his Jewish brethren in the same vein; writing
to "the pilgrims of the Dispersion" (1 Peter 1:1). God has a message to His
people who are in exile.
In Chapters 30-31, Jeremiah is given a poetic message of great hope and
promise to pass on to the Jews in exile in Babylon. He lets them know that
He still loves them; and that He intends to bring them back and restore them
to their land. His great theme to them is, "Yes, I have loved you with an
everlasting love . . ." (31:3). But this is preceded by Chapter 29. This
contains a letter sent to the exiles, in which some hard things need to be
said regarding the present. It appears that false prophets had arisen in
Babylon - passing on a false hope to the people. Jeremiah writes to tell them
the truth from God. Nevertheless, even this is a message of great
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE LETTER (vv. 1-3).
A. It was sent from Jerusalem to those who were taken captive in the time
of Jehoiachin (vv. 1-2; see also 2 Chron. 36:9-10).
B. It was apparently sent along with a message from King Zedekiah to the
king of Babylon - probably a message sent of submission to the Babylonian king
II. THE CONTENT OF THE LETTER (vv. 4-23).
A. To the exiles in general:
1. Dwell in the land and seek the peace of it (vv. 1-7; see 1 Tim. 2:1-7).
2. Do not listen to the false prophets who are trying to deceive you by
telling you that you will come home soon; because you will be there for
seventy years (vv. 8-10).
3. But be assured that I have good plans for you and will be found by you
if you seek Me (vv. 11-14).
B. To those who listened to false prophets in Jerusalem:
1. Because you listened to them, I will make those remained in Jerusalem
suffer (vv. 15-18; compare v. 17 with 24:1-10).
2. This was because they would not heed My warnings through the true
prophets (v. 19).
C. To those who listen to false prophets in Babylon:
1. Do not listen to the false prophets Ahab and Zedekiah (vv. 20-21).
2. Their destined end will serve as a new way to curse people (v. 22).
3. This is because I know the truth about their immoral living (v. 23).
III. A FOLLOW-UP TO THE LETTER (vv. 24-32).
A. This is a note to a man named Shemaiah; who sent letters to a priest
named Zephaniah in Jerusalem - encouraging him to imprison Jeremiah because of
his message that the captivity would be long (vv. 24-28).
B. This priest, Zphanaih, apparently didnšt do as Shemaiah had said. He
read the letter to Jeremiah (v. 29).
C. Jeremiah is given a word from the Lord to the people in exile in
1. I have not sent Shemaiah to speak for Me. He is a liar (v. 31).
2. I will punish Shemaiah and his family; because he has preached rebellion
* * * * * * * * * *
This is a warning to us as well against gathering teachers around ourselves
that tell us what we want to hear (2 Tim. 4:1-4).