The plot against Jeremiah (Jer 18:18-18:18)

“Then they said.

‘Come!

Let us make plots against Jeremiah!

Instruction shall not perish

From the priest.

Counsel shall not perish

From the wise.

The word shall not perish

From the prophet.

Come!

Let us bring charges against him!

Let us not heed any of his words!’”

This unidentified they, maybe the people of Anathoth mentioned in chapter 11, are making a plot against Jeremiah. This is Jeremiah reporting about a plot against himself. These people said, that if they got rid of Jeremiah, the priests would still instruct, the wise would still counsel people, and the prophets would still prophesize. Thus they decided to bring charges against him. They were not going to listen to his words anymore.

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Title (Jer 1:1-1:3)

“These are the words of Jeremiah,

Son of Hilkiah,

Of the priests

Who were in Anathoth

In the land of Benjamin.

The word of Yahweh

Came in the days of King Josiah

Son of Amon of Judah,

In the thirteenth year of his reign.

It came also in the days of King Jehoiakim,

Son of Josiah of Judah,

Until the end of the eleventh year of King Zedekiah,

Son of Josiah of Judah,

Until the captivity of Jerusalem

In the fifth month.”

Jeremiah probably was a prophet in Judah from 627-587 BCE, about 40 years, much like the 40 years of Moses in the desert. He was the son of Hilkiah, who was mentioned in 2 Kings, chapter 26. Although this priest Hilkiah served under King Josiah (641-609 BCE) of Judah, it is not clear that he is the same person as the father of Jeremiah. This Hilkiah, the father of Jeremiah, was among a number of priests who lived at Anathoth, in the Benjamin territory, about 2 miles outside of Jerusalem. If this is the 13th year of King Josiah, who had succeeded his killed father, King Amon (642-641 BCE), the call of Jeremiah to be a prophet took place around 627 BCE. These are the words about Jeremiah during the reigns of King Josiah, and under his sons, King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) and King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE). There is no mention of the other two sons of King Josiah, who only were kings for 1 year each, King Jehoahaz in 609 BCE, and King Jehoiachin in 598 BCE. King Zedekiah was the king at the time when the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem took place in 587 BCE.

The villages of Benjamin (Neh 11:31-11:36)

“The people of Benjamin also lived from Geba onward, at Michmash, Aija, Bethel and its villages, Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah, Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim, Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat, Lod, and Ono, the valley of artisans. Certain divisions of the Levites in Judah were joined to Benjamin.”

This author named 15 towns in the old Benjamin territory. Geba and Michmash were on the northeast side, while Hadid, Lod and Ono were on the west side. Bethel would be on the north side. Aija, this Zeboim, and Neballat are only mentioned here. Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah, Hazor, Ramah, were all within 10 miles of Jerusalem. Some of the Levites went to these towns in Judah and Benjamin.

The leaders of the people (Neh 10:14-10:27)

“The leaders of the people were Parosh, Pahath-moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai, Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua, Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub, Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek, Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, Ahiah, Hanan, Anan, Malluch, Harim, and Baanah.”

Unlike the 2 other groups, like the priests and Levites that are mentioned often in this book, 25% of these named leaders only appear here rather than elsewhere in this book, Adonijah, Azzur, Nebai, Magpiash, Hezir, Pelatiah, Hoshea, Pilha, Shobek, Hashabnah, Ahiah, and Anan. However, the other 30 of the 44 are common names mentioned often in this book, since they are ancestral leaders.

The list of men by towns returning (Neh 7:25-7:38)

“The men of Gibeon were ninety-five. The men of Bethlehem and Netophah were one hundred eighty-eight. The men of Anathoth were one hundred twenty-eight. The men of Beth-Azmaveth were forty-two. The men of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth were seven hundred forty-three. The men of Ramah and Geba were six hundred twenty-one. The men of Michmas were one hundred twenty-two. The men of Bethel and Ai were one hundred twenty-three. The men of the other Nebo were fifty-two. The descendents of the other Elam were one thousand two hundred fifty-four. The descendents of Harim were three hundred twenty. The men of Jericho were three hundred forty-five. The men of Lod, Hadid, and Ono were seven hundred twenty-one. The men of Senaah were three thousand nine hundred thirty.”

Once again, we have a very close similarity with Ezra, chapter 2, almost word for word. This list refers to the towns that they had come from in Judah, but also a lot from the Benjamin territory. These were the leaders there that had been taken into captivity. Gibbar or the town of Gibeon had a mere 95 people, the same as Ezra. Bethlehem had 188 not 123 people. Here it is combined with Netophah, a small town near Bethlehem that only had 56 people, so that the net change is only 9 more people here. Anathoth, another small town in Benjamin, had exactly the same amount of 128 people. Beth-Azmaveth or just Azmaveth, a town near Jerusalem, had 42 people, the smallest amount, but exactly the same as in Ezra. There was a group of 3 towns near Jerusalem in the Benjamin territory of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth with exactly the same amount of 743 people. Ramah and Geba were northern towns in Benjamin with exactly the same amount of 621 people. Michmas was another Benjamin town with exactly the same amount of 122 people. Bethel and Ai were 2 northern Benjaminite towns with 123 instead of 223 people as in Ezra. This Nebo was a small town near Bethel and Ai with exactly the same amount of 52 people. There was no mention here of Magbish, a small town in Benjamin with 156 people as there was in Ezra. This other Elam had 1,254 people, but that is the exact amount as mentioned in the previous paragraph and in Ezra. Harim with 320 people was exactly the same as in Ezra. Lod, Hadid, and Ono were 3 Benjaminite towns with 721 instead of 725 people. Jericho had exactly the same amount of 345 people. Senaah, a town in northern Benjamin had the largest group with 3,930 instead of 3,630 people as in Ezra. Thus there were only minor discrepancies between this account and the one in Ezra.

The list of the men returning by towns (Ezra 2:20-2:35)

“There were the descendents of Gibbar, ninety-five. There were the descendents of Bethlehem, one hundred twenty-three. There were the descendents of Netophah, fifty-six. There were the descendents of Anathoth, one hundred twenty-eight. There were the descendents of Azmaveth, forty-two. There were the descendents of Kiriatharim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty-three. There were the descendents of Ramah and Geba, six hundred twenty-one. There were the descendents of Michmas, one hundred twenty-two. There were the descendents of Bethel and Ai, two hundred twenty-three. There were the descendents of Nebo, fifty-two. There were the descendents of Magbish, one hundred fifty-six. There were the descendents of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty-four. There were the descendents of Harim, three hundred twenty. There were the descendents of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty-five. There were the descendents of Jericho, three hundred forty-five. There were the descendents of Senaah, three thousand six hundred thirty.”

The second part of this list refers to the towns that they came from in Judah, but also in Benjamin. Thus these were the leaders there that had been taken into captivity. Gibbar or the town of Gibeon had a mere 95 people. Bethlehem had 123 people. Netophah was another small town near Bethlehem that only had 56 people, while Anathoth, another small town in Benjamin, had 128 people. Azmaveth, a town near Jerusalem, had 42 people, the smallest amount. There was a group of 3 towns near Jerusalem in the Benjamin territory of Kiriatharim, Chephirah, and Beeroth with 743 people. Ramah and Geba were northern towns in Benjamin with 621 people. Michmas was another Benjamin town with 122 people. Bethel and Ai were 2 northern Benjaminite towns with about 223 people. Although there are many places with the name of Nebo, this Nebo was a small town near Bethel and Ai with 52 people. Magbish was a small town in Benjamin with 156 people. From the other Elam there were 1,254 people. Harim had 320 people. Lod, Hadid, and Ono were 3 Benjaminite towns with 725 people. Jericho had 345 people. Senaah, a town in northern Benjamin had the largest group of 3,630 people.

The sons of Beecher (1 Chr 7:8-7:9)

“The sons of Becher were Zemirah, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jeremoth, Abijah, Anathoth, and Alemeth. All these were the sons of Becher. Their enrollment by genealogies, according to their generations, as heads of their ancestral houses, mighty warriors, was twenty thousand two hundred.”

There were 9 sons of Becher, the Becherites. There were 20,200 of them, about the same size as the Belaites. (1) Zemirah is only mentioned here. There were 8 different biblical people with the name of (2) Joash, the most famous was King Joash of Israel (798-783 BCE). There were 10 different biblical people with the name of (3) Eliezer. 6 different people had the name (4) Elioenai. There were 4 people with the name of (5) Omri, the most famous was King Omri of Israel (885-874 BCE). 5 different people had the name of (6) Jeremoth. There were 8 people with this name of (7) Abijah, the most famous being King Abijah of Judah (913-911 BCE). (8) Anathoth and (9) Alemeth were the names of Levite towns in Benjamin, perhaps names after these Benjaminites.