Jeremiah 36–45 | The Bitter End
Now, I have labeled Jeremiah 36-45 as The Bitter End.
What we have in these 10 chapters is generally chronological with a few flashbacks. And it details the temporary end of the nation of Judah’s occupation of the Promised Land at the hands of Babylon.
Within this section I see 6 sub-sections.
Jeremiah 36 | Jehoiakim Didn’t Tremble at God’s Word
First, Jeremiah 36 shows us that King Jehoiakim Didn’t Tremble at God’s Word.
God sends his message of punishment to the people in the days of Jehoiakim in hopes that the people will repent and he could spare them.
Jeremiah somehow by this time is not allowed into the Temple. So he sends the message with Baruch his scribe. On a fast day a few months later Baruch gives the message to the people.
The people hear but we don’t know their reaction. The officials hear and tremble. They relate the message to the king… who burns it up.
God promises then to bring all the punishment that was contained in that burned-up message.
Jeremiah 37–39:14 | Zedekiah Wavers
The second sub-section jumps forward quite a bit to Zedekiah’s reign. This sub-section chronicles the Wavering of Zedekiah in Jeremiah 37-39:14.
Zedekiah wavers between protecting Jeremiah and handing him over to his enemies. In addition, Zedekiah is faced with trusting God and going over to the Babylonians. But he won’t do it.
As a result he ultimately witnesses the murder of his children and then experiences the blinding of his own eyes. Ultimately Jerusalem is taken by Babylon and all the people – besides the poorest of the poor – are exiled.
But Jeremiah is treated well.
Jeremiah 39:15-18 | Flashback: Ebed Melech Saved by Faith
At the end of Jeremiah 39 there’s an interesting flashback. And it seems that the message of this flashback in Jeremiah 39:15-18 is Ebed-Melech Saved by Faith.
As opposed to Zedekiah’s terrible and yet merciful fate, Ebed-Melech who helped Jeremiah and trusted God is promised deliverance.
So, that’s the third sub-section of this Bitter End of Judah.
Jeremiah 40–43 | Gedaliah / Johanan
Then fourth, in Jeremiah 40-43 we have The Gedaliah/Johanan Fiasco.
After deporting most of the Jews from the land Babylon appoints Gedaliah to govern Judah. But one of the king’s relatives kills him and takes the captives to the nation of Ammon. Johanan rescues them and brings them to Bethlehem intending to escape to Egypt. They ask God’s counsel – “should we go to Egypt or stay in the Promised Land?” – while fully intending to go to Egypt. God and Jeremiah rebuke them for this. But the remnant won’t listen and they proceed to Egypt. God sends word in Egypt to Jeremiah that he will send Babylon against Egypt.
Jeremiah 44 | To the Jews in Egypt
The fifth sub-section — which consists of Jeremiah 44 — is God’s Message to the Jews in Egypt.
God sends a message to the Jews who rebelled by going to Egypt. They will meet their end there. God would rather have them repent and stop worshipping idols.
However, Israel doesn’t care what God wants and defies God’s message as delivered through Jeremiah. So God will overthrow all of Egypt on account of his rebellious people there.
Jeremiah 45 | Flashback: Baruch
Then we have one last flashback in Jeremiah 45. And in this shortest chapter of Jeremiah, we see Baruch Rewarded with Life.
At the end of this main section that details the historical catastrophe that came upon the Jews for their disobedience, we’re brought back to the 4th year of Jehoiakim and we’re reminded of a promise that God made to Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe.
It turns out that Baruch was seeking great things in a society that was crumbling to pieces. And so God told him to stop doing that, since God was going to uproot the whole nation in which he lived. But God would deliver Baruch.
Jeremiah 46–51 | Prophecies Concerning the Nations
Then in Jeremiah 46-51 we have Prophecies Concerning the Nations.
God foretells the destruction of 8 nations at the hands of Babylon. Finally he tells of the future destruction of Babylon at the hands of the Medes.
And as I mentioned before, the end of chapter 51 ends the “words of Jeremiah”.
Jeremiah 52 | God’s Promises Fulfilled
And then the absolute last section of this book. Jeremiah 52. It’s the Conclusion: God’s Promises Fulfilled.
All of what God spoke through Jeremiah concerning the punishment of Judah came to pass. Jerusalem was taken. Zedekiah and the Jews were exiled. The city was burned with fire. But the one king who had willingly gone over to Babylon – Jeconiah – was eventually treated well in captivity.