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"Fears and Falls"
Jeremiah 37-39

Wednesday AM Bible Study
May 4, 2005

This chapters outline for us the sad events surrounding Jerusalem's final fall to the Babylonians. If you like adventure stories with high drama, this section of Jeremiah is for you! It reveals the courage of the prophet in the face of fierce persecution, the wavering heart of a cowardly king who feared men more than God, and the blessings of God upon a humble foreigner who reverenced His word.

There's a discernable pattern in the responses of King Zedekiah to God's word through the prophet. It begins with a fear of obeying God's command. When we are afraid to obey God's word when we hear it, we are soon afraid to hear it; and we are fearful of those who speak it to us. Zedekiah was frozen in fear from obeying God; and this eventually led to his enemies coming upon him.

A. The history of his heart attitude toward God's word is summed up for us in verse 1-2. But He was a duplicitous king. He would not obey; but he still wanted the prophet to pray.

B. The circumstances were the withdraw of the Babylonians because of the Egyptians. Yet, Jeremiah warned that the Babylonians would still come (vv. 3-10).

C. This led to an accusation against Jeremiah, and his subsequent imprisonment under a false charge (vv. 11-15). Even then, the king hypocritically sought a word from God (vv. 16-20). He was merciful to Jeremiah; but not obedient to God (v. 21). When a man is afraid to obey, it doesn't matter how much of the word he hears. Hearing a word from God, without a willingness to obey, only makes a man more confused (James 1:5-8).


A. The close aids to the king seek to have Jeremiah killed because of his words (vv. 1-4; see also 37:6-10). And of course, the weak-willed king complies. He allows Jeremiah to be thrown into a deep dungeon, where he sinks into the muck - certain to die a slow and silent death (vv. 5-6).

B. An Ethiopian eunuch named Ebed-Melech hears of this. Clearly, he is a believing man (39:16-18). He bravely entreats the king for mercy to Jeremiah; and the king permits him to rescue the prophet (vv. 7-13).

C. With the muck scarcely dried from Jeremiah's body, the king again sends for him and asks for another word from God. Zedekiah is, at this point very unreliable; and Jeremiah fears that whatever he says will result in his death (vv. 14-16). The king promises not to kill him (v. 16); but it's clear that he is more afraid of not hearing the word than he is of not obeying it. Zedekiah is a completely divided man.

D. Jeremiah shares the word with Zedekiah; but the king is so filled with fears that he doesn't even want the people to know that they spoke (vv. 17-28).


A. Finally, the promised end came. The Babylonians captured the king and burned the city (vv. 1-10).

B. The Babylonian king has great mercy on Jeremiah. He ensures that he is looked after. The sad prophet is rewarded for his faithfulness - although his reward had to come against the backdrop of great grief (vv. 11-14).

C. God also provided a word to the faithful eunuch Ebed-Melech (vv. 15-18). Surely this is a picture of Matthew 10:40-42).

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