The future death of King Zedekiah (Jer 34:4-34:5)

“Yet hear

The word of Yahweh!

O King Zedekiah

Of Judah!

Thus says Yahweh

Concerning you.

‘You shall not die

By the sword.

You shall die in peace.

As spices were burned

For your ancestors,

The earlier kings

Who preceded you,

So they will

Burn spices for you.

They will

Lament for you,

Saying.

‘Alas!

Lord!’

I have spoken the word.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh has Jeremiah tell King Zedekiah that he will not die by the sword or on the battlefield. Instead the king would die in peace. They would have a nice funeral for him. They would burn spices for him, as they had done to the honor the former kings, his ancestors. They had not done this for his brother King Jehoiakim or King Eliakim (609-598 BCE). However, they would lament the death of King Zedekiah as if he were a good king. Thus he would have a glorious happy death.

The restless sleep (Sir 40:5-40:7)

“When one rests

Upon his bed,

His sleep at night

Confuses his mind.

He gets little or no rest.

He struggles in his sleep,

As he did by day.

He is troubled

By the visions of his mind.

He is like one

Who has escaped

From the battlefield.

At the moment

He reaches safety,

He wakes up.

He is astonished

That his fears

Were groundless.”

Sirach points to the restless sleep that people have because their minds are confused. They actually get very little rest, since they are as if they were awake during the day. They struggle with troubled dreams or visions, while they try to get some restful sleep. They are like shell-shocked. They think that they are on a battlefield that they cannot escape. Yet they wake up astonished that they are safe. We might call these bad dreams or nightmares, where people are always trying to get away from someone or something.