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Sunday, June 22, 2014

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The end of the chapter 51 says, “Thus far are the words of Jeremiah” (Jeremiah 51:64).  Then, who wrote this chapter 52?  Jeremiah started his prophetic ministry around 625 BC.  He was probably not alive at the time when the king Nebuchadnezzar died and Evil-Merodach became the king of Babylon in 562 BC.  This was in the 37th year of the King Jehoiachin, after his exile to Babylon.  Moreover, chapter 52 is almost identical to the last portion of 2 Kings (24:18-25:30).  Therefore, Jeremiah’s scribe could have added this portion, considering it necessary to put it at the end of the book of Jeremiah as an added note of confirmation of the fall of Jerusalem.

In this chapter (vs. 1-11) it depicts the reign of Zedekiah, defeat of Judah by the Chaldeans, and the disastrous end of the royal family and the officers of Judah. The reason why God had cast Jerusalem and Judah from His eyes was because of the evil deeds of Zedekiah before the Lord just as the deeds of Jehoiakim (vs. 2-3).

In (vs. 12-16) it mentions what Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard of Nebuchadnezzar, arranged the remaining affairs of Jerusalem after its conquest.  On the tenth day of the fifth month of the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, he entered into Jerusalem and burned the Temple of God and the royal house after plundering them. The Chaldean army destroyed the city walls around Jerusalem, and Nebuzar-adan took most of the Judeans to Babylon, except the poorest farmers whom he left as vinedressers of the land. 

In (vs. 17-23) it lists the items of the temple utensils of Jerusalem that they took with them to Babylon. They carried away most of the gold, silver, and bronze utensils including the two tall bronze pillars and a huge bronze “sea.” Then in (vs. 24-27) it says that Nebuzar-adan took 74 Judeans, including priests, to Riblah where Nebuchadnezzar was, and the king killed all of them at Riblah in the land of Hamath.

In (vs. 28-30) it tells us the number of the Judean exiles who were taken away from the land of Judea. The total number was 4,600.  How sad it is to read about the destruction of Jerusalem. The people of Judah could have prospered if they had obeyed God. The one good report mentioned at the end of this chapter is that when Evil-Merodach became king of Babylon, he took Jehoiachin, king of Judah, out of prison and allowed him to eat with him.

Yoshitaka Kobayashi, Ph.D., Japan