The reading of the book (Bar 1:3-1:4)

“Baruch read

The words

Of this book

To King Jeconiah,

The son of King Jehoiakim,

King of Judah.

He read it

To all the people

Who came

To hear the book.

He read it

To the nobles,

To the princes,

To the elders,

To all the people,

Small and great,

All who lived

In Babylon

By the river Sud.”

Baruch was accustomed to reading aloud as he had done in Jeremiah, chapter 36. Here he is reading his book to King Jeconiah (598 BCE) in exile in 582 BCE, and not King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE). King Jeconiah was also known as King Coniah or King Jehoiachin, who ruled for less than a year after the death of his father King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE). As in Jeremiah, Baruch read this book publically to anyone who wanted to hear it. He also read it to all the important people in Babylon that included the nobles, the princes, and the elders, those great and small. There was no mention of the Babylonian king here. As for the Sud River, no one seems to know where that was.

The new king (Jer 37:1-37:1)

“King Zedekiah,

The son of King Josiah,

Whom King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Made king

In the land of Judah,

Succeeded King Coniah,

The son of King Jehoiakim.”          

This is a clear statement that the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 BCE) put King Zedekiah on the throne of David in Judah in 598 BCE. The Babylonian king got rid of King Coniah or King Jehoiachin, who was the son of King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE), who had just died. There is no doubt that King Zedekiah or King Mattaniah (598-587 BCE), the son of King Josiah (640-609 BCE) and brother of King Jehoiakim, was the favorite of the Babylonian king. Like the preceding chapter, this is a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapter 44, not chapter 37 as here.

The letter to the exiles (Jer 29:1-29:1)

“These are the words

Of the letter

That the prophet Jeremiah

Sent from Jerusalem

To the remaining elders

Among the exiles.

It was also sent to

The priests,

The prophets,

Including all the people

Whom King Nebuchadnezzar

Had taken into exile

From Jerusalem

To Babylon.

This was after King Jeconiah,

With the queen mother,

The court officials,

The leaders of Judah,

The leaders of Jerusalem,

The artisans.

With the smiths

Had departed from Jerusalem.”

Apparently Jeremiah wrote a letter to the elders from the first exile in 598 BCE. He sent this letter, like many of Yahweh’s oracles addressed to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, who went to Babylon during the first exile in 598 BCE. King Nebuchadnezzar had taken them from Jerusalem to Babylon. It is hard to tell whether this letter still exists in any form or when it was composed, but probably between 598-587 BCE. King Jeconiah or King Coniah or King Jeconiah of Judah had ruled for only a couple of months when King Nebuchadnezzar removed him in 598 BCE in favor of his uncle King Zedekiah or King Mattaniah (598-587 BCE). At that time, King Jeconiah’s mother, the wife of King Jehoiakim or King Eliakim (609-598 BCE), as well as the court officials and leaders of Judah and Jerusalem went into exile. With them also went the main artisans and iron workers of Jerusalem. Thus the remnant in Jerusalem was like a puppet government for King Nebuchadnezzar. Like the preceding chapter, this is a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapter 36, not chapter 29 as here.

The prophet Hananiah speaks (Jer 28:2-28:4)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘I have broken the yoke

Of the king of Babylon.

Within two years,

I will bring back

To this place

All the vessels

Of Yahweh’s house

That King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Took away from this place.

He carried them

To Babylon.

I will also bring back

To this place

King Jeconiah,

The son of King Jehoiakim

Of Judah,

With all the exiles

From Judah

Who went to Babylon.

I will break

The yoke

Of the king of Babylon.’

Says Yahweh.”

Hananiah, the prophet from Gibeon, then uttered an oracle of Yahweh, the God of Israel, much like Jeremiah had done. He claimed that he had broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. He said that within 2 years all the vessels from the Temple sanctuary would be returned to Jerusalem. He was also going to bring back the deposed King Jeconiah or King Jehoiachin or King Coniah as he was known as, who had been king for only a couple of months in 598 BCE after his father King Jehoiakim or King Eliakim (609-598 BCE) had been killed. In the meantime, King Nebuchadnezzar had put King Jeconiah’s uncle on the throne, King Zedekiah or King Mattaniah (598-587 BCE). The exiled King Jeconiah was in Babylon in captivity. He was part of the first captivity of 598 BCE, when the sacred vessels and the other exiles also went to Babylon. Clearly, Hananiah the prophet said that Yahweh wanted to break the yoke of the king of Babylon. However, Jeremiah the prophet had said that Yahweh was in favor of this yoke. Let’s see what happens as these 2 prophets interpret the will of Yahweh as regards Babylon.

Remembering the first captivity (Jer 27:19-27:20)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts

Concerning the pillars,

The sea,

The stands,

With the rest of the vessels

That are left in this city,

That King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Did not take away,

When he took into exile

From Jerusalem

To Babylon

King Jeconiah,

The son of King Jehoiakim,

Of Judah,

With all the nobles

Of Judah

As well as Jerusalem.”

Yahweh talked about the other holy vessels still in Jerusalem, including the Temple pillars, the sea structure outside the Temple, the various lamp stands in the Temple, as well as the other sacred vessels in the Temple. These were all left behind when the first captivity took place in 598 BCE, when King Zedekiah or King Mattaniah (598-587 BCE) was put on the throne by King Nebuchadnezzar. King Jeconiah or King Coniah or King Jehoiachin (598 BCE) was only on the throne for a few months before he was taken into exile. His father, King Jehoiakim or King Eliakim (609-598 BCE) had been favored by the Egyptians. King Zedekiah was the brother of King Jehoiakim and the uncle of King Jeconiah. In other words, there was a dispute between Egypt and Babylon and the kings of Judah changed on who was in charge, Egypt or Babylon. Clearly Jeremiah and Yahweh favored Babylon.

King Zedekiah (Jer 27:1-27:1)

“In the beginning

Of the reign

Of King Zedekiah,

The son of King Josiah,

Of Judah,

This word came

To Jeremiah

From Yahweh.”

Once again we have an exact time frame for this oracle of Yahweh to Jeremiah. This oracle took place at the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah or King Mattaniah (598-587 BCE). He was the son of King Josiah (640-609 BCE), but he was installed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (605-562 BCE) at the age of 21. His nephew King Jehoiachin or King Coniah (598 BCE) had preceded him for a couple of months. Thus this oracle took place around 598 BCE. Like the preceding chapter, this is a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapter 34, not 27.

The first exile of Judah (Jer 24:1-24:1)

“King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Had taken into exile

From Jerusalem

King Jeconiah,

The son of Jehoiakim,

Of Judah,

Together with

The officials of Judah,

The artisans

With the smiths.

He had brought them

To Babylon.”

This is the exile of King Coniah, King Jeconiah, or King Jehoiachin, as he was called. King Jehoiakim or King Eliakim was killed in 598 BCE. Thus his son, King Coniah, King Jeconiah, or King Jehoiachin, who was 18 years old, took over for 3 months as king, before he was taken away into the Babylonian captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 BCE), where he lived for over 25 years there. His uncle, King Zedekiah or King Mattaniah (598-587 BCE) took over for him. At that time, they took some of the officials of Judah with some artisans or craftsmen as well as the blacksmiths and other skilled workers. They were all brought to Babylon. However, the final exile was not to happen until 11 years later, since King Jeconiah’s uncle King Zedekiah or King Mattaniah ruled in Jerusalem from 598-587 BCE as a vassal of King Nebuchadnezzar.