Royalty and Ruin


The Babylonians Respect Jeremiah

Of Jeremiah it is recorded, “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, ‘Take him ... and do him no harm; but do to him just as he says to you.’” Jeremiah 39:11, 12. RR 164.1

Released from prison by the Babylonian officers, the prophet chose to stay with the feeble remnant left by the Chaldeans to be “vinedressers and farmers.” Jeremiah 52:16. Over these the Babylonians set Gedaliah as governor. Only a few months passed before the governor was treacherously killed. After passing through many difficulties, the people were persuaded to take refuge in Egypt. Jeremiah lifted his voice in protest against this move: “Do not go to Egypt,” he pleaded. But the people did not listen to the inspired counsel, and “all the remnant of Judah” fled into Egypt. “They did not obey the voice of the Lord.” Jeremiah 43:2, 5, 7. RR 164.2

The Book of Lamentations reveals the prophet’s sorrow over the stubborn rebellion of those who should have been the light of the world and over the fate of Zion and the people carried captive to Babylon. Jeremiah left these laments on record as a memorial of the folly of turning from the counsels of Jehovah to human wisdom. Amid the ruin, Jeremiah could still declare, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed.” His constant prayer was, “Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord.” Lamentations 3:22, 40. RR 164.3

But now Zion was completely destroyed, and the people of God were in captivity. Overwhelmed with grief, the prophet exclaimed: RR 164.4

How lonely sits the city that once was full of people!
How like a widow has she become, she that was great among the nations!
She that was a princess among the provinces has become a vassal.
She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks;
among all her lovers she has no one to comfort her;
all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies.
Judah ... finds no resting place; ...
all her gates are desolate, her priests groan;
her young girls grieve, and her lot is bitter.
Her foes have become the masters, her enemies prosper.
How the Lord in His anger has humiliated daughter Zion!
He has thrown down from heaven to earth the splendor of Israel;
He has not remembered His footstool in the day of His anger.
He has bent His bow like an enemy, with His right hand set like a foe;
He has killed all in whom we took pride in the tent of daughter Zion;
He has poured out His fury like fire.
Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us. ...
Our ancestors sinned; they are no more, and we bear their iniquities.
Slaves rule over us;
there is no one to deliver us from their hand.
Restore us to Yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored;
renew our days as of old. Lamentations 1:1-5; 2:1, 4; 5:1-8, 21, NRSV
RR 164.5