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.