The oracle about Ebed-melech (Jer 39:15-39:18)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to Jeremiah

While he was confined

In the court of the guard.

‘Go!

Say to Ebed-melech,

The Ethiopian.

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘I am going to fulfill my words

Against this city

For evil,

Not for good.

They shall be accomplished

In your presence

On that day.

But I will save you

On that day.’

Says Yahweh.

‘You shall not be

Handed over

To those whom you dread.

I will surely save you.

You shall not fall

By the sword.

But you shall have

Your life

As a prize of war.

Because you have trusted

In me.’

Says Yahweh.”

Perhaps this oracle should have been at the end of chapter 38, but it is here. Jeremiah is still in the royal prison as he gets this oracle about the Ethiopian eunuch Ebed-melech, who had saved him from starvation and death in the cistern well. Jeremiah was to go to Ebed-melech to tell him what Yahweh had told him. Yahweh was going to destroy Jerusalem because of its evil ways, in the sight of this Ethiopian. However, the God of Israel was going to save him as he would not be handed over to the Babylonians to die by the sword. Ebed-melech was going to save his life as a prize of war. This usually meant that he would be taken into captivity with the king of Judah. His life would be saved because he trusted in Yahweh.

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Baruch reads the scroll to the royal officials (Jer 36:14-36:16)

“Then all the officials

Sent Jehudi,

The son of Nethaniah,

The son of Shelemiah,

The son of Cushi,

To say to Baruch.

‘Bring the scroll

That you read

In the hearing

Of the people.

Come!’

So Baruch,

The son of Neriah,

Took the scroll

In his hand.

He came to them.

They said to him.

‘Sit down!

Read it to us!’

So Baruch read it to them.

When they heard

All the words,

They turned to one another

In alarm.

They said to Baruch.

‘We certainly must report

All these words

To the king.’”

These royal officials sent a man named Jehudi to get Baruch. Jehudi has three generations of ancestors listed, instead of the usual one or two. Jehudi may mean Jew. Perhaps his great grandfather was an Ethiopian or Cushite, so that his family may have converted to Judaism, giving him this name. Anyway, this man was sent to get Baruch to come before the royal officials with his scroll so that they could hear the exact words of this scroll for themselves. When Baruch came with his scroll, they asked him to sit down like a distinguished teacher. He then read the words of the scroll that he had written under the dictation of Jeremiah. These officials seemed alarmed. They told Baruch that they were going to report the words from the scroll to the king directly. There was nothing secret about this, since Baruch had publically proclaimed these words a little earlier.