Read Jeremiah 52
Focus on verse 31
I always like to stay seated in the theater after an epic movie to see if there will be a postscript. This is where the audience is informed of the rest of the story that the movie didn’t have time to tell. Where we discover what the key characters went on to accomplish – or in some cases not accomplish after the end of the movie. Back a few years, when radio was still one of the primary media by which people would listen to current news events, I was particularly fond of the radio legend Paul Harvey who would research current events and fill folks in on little known backstories. He would always end the segment with the words, “and now you know, the rest of the story.”
This last chapter of Jeremiah is something like that. The last sentence of the previous chapter states: “Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.” It is entirely possible that Baruch, the scribe who is mentioned several times previously in the book, was the one who provided the details included in this concluding chapter. In this postscript we discover some of the backstory of the sacking of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and even some details of what happened in Babylon, which indicates that whoever wrote it must have been among those 745 persons who were carried off to Babylon in the twenty third year of Nebuchadnezzar. Paul Harvey would have likely ended this section with, “and now you know – the rest of the story”.
There are four main sections to this epilogue. It begins with a summary of how Jerusalem was plundered and the capture of King Zedekiah. The second section describes the pillaging and burning of the temple. The third section recounts the exact number of people who were captured and taken to Babylon in each of the three Babylonian invasions according to the number of years Nebuchadnezzar had been king of Babylon. The final section describes how in the thirty-seventh year of the exile the king of Judah was released from prison by the Babylonian king and given a seat at the king’s table in the palace. It does not explain why this is done it simply states that the king spoke kindly to him. It makes me wonder if perhaps Daniel might have had something to do with it, but that is another story that we will arrive at in time.
The take away from this chapter is a reminder that for those who trust God, there may be difficult times during which it seems as though He has abandoned us, but there is always a ray of hope, and typically it ends well for those who choose to trust Him.