Johanan asks Jeremiah for help (Jer 42:1-42:3)

“Then all the commanders

Of the forces,

With Johanan,

The son of Kareah,

Also with Azariah,

The son of Hoshaiah,

All the people,

From the least

To the greatest,

Approached

The prophet Jeremiah.

They said to him.

‘Be good enough

To listen

To our plea!

Pray to Yahweh!

Your God!

For us!

For all this remnant!

There are only a few

Of us left

Out of the many,

As you can see.

Let Yahweh

Your God

Show us

Where we should go!

What we should do!’”

Apparently this small group of Judeans, with the leaders Johanan and Azariah decided to approach Jeremiah. As he had been released to the protection of Governor Gedaliah, he probably was at Mizpah while the attack of Ishmael had taken place. Thus he was with the freed group at Gibeon. Interesting enough, they referred to Yahweh as Jeremiah’s God not their God. They wanted Jeremiah to intercede for them with Yahweh, as Moses had done centuries earlier. They were only a small group or remnant of what had been many people. They wanted to know where they should go and what to do. Like the preceding chapter, this section has a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapters 49 and 50, not chapter 42 as here.

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The siege of Jerusalem (Jer 32:2-32:2)

“At that time,

The army of

The king of Babylon

Was besieging Jerusalem.

The prophet Jeremiah

Was confined

In the court of the guard

That was in the palace

Of the king of Judah.

King Zedekiah of Judah

Had confined him.”

The time frame is clearly the time of the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army. However, Jeremiah was imprisoned in the palace jail by King Zedekiah of Judah. King Zedekiah had been installed as king by King Nebuchadnezzar in 598 BCE. However, he revolted against him and sought the aid of King Hophra or Pharaoh Apries (589-570 BCE) of Egypt. This led to the siege that lasted almost 2 years as the Egyptians tried to help King Zedekiah. Eventually, the Babylonians were successful. Meanwhile, King Zedekiah had Jeremiah confined to prison because, as always, Jeremiah was pro-Babylonian.

Prayer for deliverance (Ps 80:1-80:2)

To the choirmaster, according to Lilies, a testimony of Asaph, a psalm

“Give ear!

O shepherd of Israel!

You lead Joseph like a flock!

You are enthroned upon the cherubim!

Shine forth

Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh!

Stir up your might!

Come to save us!”

Psalm 80 is another choral psalm of Asaph, a transcriber or author of psalms at the time of David and Solomon, a Temple singer at the time of Solomon during the transport of the Ark of the Covenant.  This psalm is set to the tune of the lilies, much like Psalm 45 and Psalm 69. This is an attempt of the northern tribes of Israel, Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh to have God come to their aid. Notice the importance of Joseph here. Remember that those northern Israel tribes were sent to captivity before the people in Jerusalem and Judah. This psalmist wanted the shepherd of Israel to listen and shine before the northern tribes. The God of Israel sat on the cherubim in the holy of holies. He wanted God to stir up his might and thus save them from their captivity.