A Summary of Jeremiah 30 – 35

Jeremiah 30-35

Jeremiah 30–34:7 | Book of Encouragement

And at this point — having summarized Jeremiah 1-6, 7-20, 21-26, and 27-29 — you need to admit that things are looking pretty bleak. Sin has brought God’s punishment and no one is getting out of this unscathed.

But this is exactly where God nuances his tone a bit. In Jeremiah 30-34:7 God still does recognize his need of judging the sinful rebels in Judah. But he looks beyond that immediate judgement to a time of restoration. And it’s for this reason that these 4-plus chapters are often called in the academic literature on Jeremiah the Book of Consolation or the Book of Encouragement. And within this larger Book of Encouragement there are a few sub-sections.

Jeremiah 30:1-3 | Introduction

Jeremiah 30:1-3 serve as a short introduction to this Book of Encouragement.

Jeremiah 30:4-31 | Concerning Israel & Judah

Following that to the end of chapter 31 we have Encouragements Concerning Israel and Judah. God gives prophecies of future restoration and a new covenant with Israel and Judah in the midst of his current punishment for their sin.

Jeremiah 32 | Jeremiah Redeems a Field

Then in Jeremiah 32 we have a story about Jeremiah Redeeming a Field.

As a continuation of the book of consolation, Jeremiah is told by God to buy a field in Anathoth from his relative – though Jeremiah himself is in prison. God is signifying by this that in the future God will restore Judah to its land and that people will buy fields once again.

This is all in the context of the last year before Jerusalem was taken by Babylon.

Jeremiah 33 | David, Levi, & Jacob Will Never End

Next in Jeremiah 33 God promises that David, Levi, & Jacob Will Never End.

Jeremiah – still imprisoned like he was in the last chapter – receives word from the Lord that God will restore Judah. In particular, he will restore the cities of Judah and preserve sons of David and sons of the Levites to minister to himself.

Also promised – just like in chapter 23 – is the coming of the Righteous Branch of David.

Jeremiah 34:1-7 | Zedekiah Will Not Die

And the last part of this Book of Encouragement is in Jeremiah 34:1-7 where God says that Zedekiah Will Not Die.

In the midst of the great siege of Babylon against Jerusalem, God sends Jeremiah to King Zedekiah to relay a message. The message is that God will not allow Zedekiah to die. Zedekiah will lose to Nebuchadnezzar, but he will live and even have a decent burial.

And that ends the Book of Encouragement.

Jeremiah 34–35 | Promise Keeping

Then in the rest of Jeremiah 34 and to the end of 35 we’re taught The Importance of Keeping Promises. And this breaks into two sub-sections.

Jeremiah 34:8-22 | Jubilee Covenant Violated

First in Jeremiah 34:8-22 we see The Jubilee Covenant Violated.

King Zedekiah and the officials in Jerusalem apparently released their Hebrew servants in keeping with the law of Jubilee. But it seems that when Nebuchadnezzar left briefly they took their servants back by force.

God was not pleased that they broke the covenant they made with their former servants in keeping with Jubilee. So God promises to destroy them.

Jeremiah 35 | Rechabites

And then the second section that teaches the importance of keeping promises – Jeremiah 35 where we see the Rechabites’ Obedience.

In contrast to the broken covenant of Zedekiah’s day just previously related, the Rechabites obeyed a relatively obscure command of their ancestor to not drink wine. They serve as an example to Judah of how to obey.

And yet Judah has not obeyed God like the Rechabites obeyed their ancestor. So God needs to punish Judah. But the Rechabites will always have someone to stand before God as a result of their obedience.

A Summary of Jeremiah 27 – 29

Jeremiah 27-29

Jeremiah 27–28 | Submit to Babylon

Jeremiah 27 and 28 deal more with Judah’s responsibility to submit to Babylon. Remember? That was God’s gracious provision for the people of Judah to not lose their lives for their disobedience. If they go out and surrender to Babylon, they were promised life.

In Jeremiah 27 God tells Jeremiah to make bonds and wooden yokes, put them on his neck, and then prophesy that God is metaphorically putting the yokes of Babylon on the necks of the surrounding nations and Judah. The message of that metaphor was that the people needed to submit to God’s appointed nation to rule over them. Jeremiah gives this message to King Zedekiah and the priests and all the people. He stresses that they must not listen to the false prophets who are telling them that the exiled king (Jeconiah) and the temple vessels are coming back.

Then in Jeremiah 28 we have Hannaniah & the Broken Yoke. One of those false prophets that God just warned about – Hannaniah was his name – breaks the yoke off Jeremiah’s neck and prophesies a return of the exiled king (Jeconiah) and the temple vessels! Jeremiah then gets a word from God to tell Hannaniah the false prophet that he will die for his false prophesies. And so Hannaniah the false prophet dies two months later.

Jeremiah 29 | Exiles, Live Well in Exile

Jeremiah 29 is a message aimed at the Exiles. They are told to Live Well in Exile.

God sends a letter to the exiles in Babylon through Jeremiah. He tells them to live well in Babylon and to seek the welfare both of themselves and of the cities in which they live.

After 70 years (we’ve heard that number before!) they will be restored to the land. And therefore they need to not listen to the false Jewish prophets in Babylon who are prophesying that they will return to Judah sooner than that. They wouldn’t want to return to Jerusalem if they knew what God was going to do to the Jews who were refusing to leave that city.

So, God singles out a few of the false prophets by name for punishment.

A Summary of Jeremiah 21 – 26

Jeremiah 21-26

Jeremiah 21–23 | No Favor Without Repentance

As we continue to summarize the various sections of Jeremiah, we notice that the next section spans Jeremiah 21-23. This is what God is communicating in this section – No Favor Without Repentance.

King Zedekiah sends to Jeremiah requesting that God would help him defeat Nebuchadnezzar. God sends back through Jeremiah a response to:

  • Zedekiah
  • The people
  • The king’s household
  • The prophets and priests

The gist of his messages is:

  • Zedekiah will lose
  • Everyone should go out to the king of Babylon
  • Repent and do right before it’s absolutely too late
  • Speak God’s word and not the deceptions of your own mind

This section contains the first mention of Nebuchadnezzar and Chaldea/Babylon. Also, I think we have here the first mention of surrendering to Babylon as an option for the people whereby they might live and escape the full brunt of punishment.

Jeremiah 24 | Exiles Blessed, Remnant Punished

Then Jeremiah 24 seems to be a follow-up to the previous section where blessing was promised for surrendering to Babylon.

Here’s the idea of this section. Exiles Blessed, Remnant Punished.

King Jeconiah did surrender and go out to Babylon and because of that he would be blessed, as we’ll see at the end of this book – in Jeremiah 52. But the Jews who stayed in Jerusalem are going to be punished.

Jeremiah 25 | Judah Not the Sole Recipient of Punishment

Jeremiah 25 has the Lord assuring Judah that She’s Not the Sole Recipient of Punishment.

Both Judah and all the surrounding nations will be punished through the Lord sending Babylon. For seventy years these nations will be exiled. After that God will punish Babylon itself as we’ll hear later toward the end of the book.

Jeremiah 26 | Jerusalem like Shiloh, Jehoiakim not like Hezekiah

Jeremiah 26 compares Jerusalem to Shiloh. But in contrast, it shows that King Jehoiakim was not like righteous King Hezekiah of old.

God sent Jeremiah to proclaim punishment to Jerusalem in the beginning of King Jehoiakim’s reign, hoping that the people would repent.

Instead of repenting, the religious leaders sought to kill Jeremiah. But the people actually rose up and refused to execute him. They reminded their leaders of the prophet Micah’s previous prophecies of judgement and how Hezekiah humbled himself before God’s word.

But then Jeremiah — or someone else — relates a story of how Jehoiakim did indeed kill a true prophet for saying about the same thing that Jeremiah did. But in Jeremiah’s case, Ahikam (son of Shaphan and father of Gedaliah the future governor) was on his side to protect him.