Wednesday, February 17, 2016
“Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt” (Jeremiah 38:4 KJV).
Who is “this man?” And, what words is he speaking to make him worthy of being “put to death?”
Let us start at the beginning of the chapter: “ Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur the son of Malchiah, heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken unto all the people, saying,  Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live.  Thus saith the LORD, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it.”
Jerusalem was such a glorious city in the days of King David and especially once his son Solomon assumed the throne. That was 400 years prior to today’s Scripture. During those four centuries, Jerusalem, and surrounding Judah, had steadily declined. They were now just about to hit “rock bottom” economically, socially, politically and spiritually. As we learn from the “fifth-course prophets” such as Jeremiah, divine judgment is swiftly coming on idolatrous Judah. Centuries of spiritual wickedness would finally be punished.
Earlier, JEHOVAH had told Jeremiah, “Therefore pray not for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee” (7:16). There will be no more delay, no more pleading, no more hope. God will use Babylon’s armies to return and level Jerusalem and deport nearly every Jew in Judah to Iraq. Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar will burn Jerusalem’s Temple to the ground and Israel’s religion will fall apart. This was the “hate speech” of Jeremiah the Prophet. Unbelief had gripped his kinsmen according to the flesh, and now they wanted his life!