The battle with King Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 34:1-34:1)

“The word

That came to Jeremiah

From Yahweh,

When King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon,

With all his army,

As well as all

The kingdoms of the earth,

All the people

Under his dominion,

Were fighting

Against Jerusalem

With all of its cities.”

Once again, the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, but there is a different setting, the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem in 588 BCE. King Nebuchadnezzar was going to fight against Jerusalem, as well as the towns and cities around it. At this point, the Babylonian king had a lot of people under him with a huge army. Besides his own army, other kingdoms under his control were also fighting with him against Jerusalem. Like the preceding chapter, this is a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapter 41, not chapter 34 as here.

The threat of Yahweh (Jer 27:8-27:8)

“‘But if any nation or kingdom

Will not serve this king,

Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon,

I will punish that nation or kingdom.

If they will not put their necks

Under the yoke

Of the king of Babylon,

I will punish that nation

With the sword,

With famine,

With pestilence,

Until I have completed

Its destruction

By his hand.’

Says Yahweh.”

In this oracle of Yahweh, via Jeremiah, if any country would not serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (605-562 BCE), Yahweh was going to punish them. If they were not willing to wear the yoke of the Babylonian king, Yahweh would punish them either by the sword, famine, or pestilence. This punishment would exist as long as it took for the Babylonian king to destroy them. This was a clear mandate of Yahweh in favor of the good King Nebuchadnezzar. Those who rebelled against him would be punished.

The end of happiness (Jer 25:10-25:13)

“‘I will banish from them

The voice of mirth,

The sound of gladness,

The voice of the bridegroom,

The voice of the bride,

The sound of the millstones,

The light of the lamp.

This whole land shall become

A ruin,

A waste.

These nations

Shall serve the king of Babylon

Seventy years.

Then after seventy years are completed,

I will punish the king of Babylon

With that nation,

The land of the Chaldeans,

For their iniquity.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Make the land

An everlasting waste!

I will bring upon that land

All the words

That I have uttered against it,

Everything written in this book.’”

This section begins with a reference to what Jeremiah had said in chapters 7 and 16. In the cities of Judah and on the streets of Jerusalem, there would be no longer the voice of mirth or gladness. In fact, the voice of the bride and bridegroom would be banished, also hinting at no more weddings. There would be no more millstones or light. The land would become a ruined wasteland. The Babylonian king would rule them for 70 years. However, after 70 years, Yahweh would punish Babylon and the Chaldeans, by making them an everlasting wasteland because of their iniquity. Everything that was written in this book of Jeremiah would come to pass upon them.