Jesus spoke about John (Lk 7:24-7:24)

“When John’s messengers

Had gone,

Jesus began

To speak

To the crowds

About John.

‘What did you go out

Into the wilderness

To look at?

A reed shaken

By the wind?’”

 

Ἀπελθόντων δὲ τῶν ἀγγέλων Ἰωάνου ἤρξατο λέγειν πρὸς τοὺς ὄχλους περὶ Ἰωάνου Τί ἐξήλθατε εἰς τὴν ἔρημον θεάσασθαι; κάλαμον ὑπὸ ἀνέμου σαλευόμενον;

 

Luke indicated that after John’s messengers had gone (Ἀπελθόντων δὲ τῶν ἀγγέλων Ἰωάνου), Jesus began to speak (ἤρξατο λέγειν) to the crowds (πρὸς τοὺς ὄχλους) about John the Baptist (περὶ Ἰωάνου).  These questions are word for word like Matthew, chapter 7:24, indicating a possible Q source.  Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John.  He asked them what did they go out into the wilderness to look at (Τί ἐξήλθατε εἰς τὴν ἔρημον θεάσασθαι)?  Was it a reed shaken by the wind (κάλαμον ὑπὸ ἀνέμου σαλευόμενον)?  Matthew indicated the same when he said that as these disciples of John were leaving on their journey, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John.  He asked them these questions.  Why did they go out into the wilderness to see John?  Was he a reed shaking in the wind?  This idea of the plentiful reeds waving in the desert would be compared to the luxury of a royal palace.  What do you think of John the Baptist?

The son of Hosea is called Jezreel (Hos 1:3-1:5)

“Gomer conceived.

She bore him a son.

Yahweh said to him,

‘Name him Jezreel!

In a little while,

I will punish

The house of Jehu

For the blood of Jezreel.

I will put an end

To the kingdom

Of the house of Israel.

On that day,

I will break

The bow of Israel

In the valley of Jezreel.’”

Gomer then conceived and bore a son. Yahweh, spoke directly to Hosea. He told him to name his son, Jezreel, meaning that God sows. All the children of this union between Hosea and Gomer will have symbolic prophetic names. In a little while, Yahweh was going to punish the house of Jehu, who had been king nearly a century earlier in 841-814 BCE. The current king of Israel, King Jeroboam II (783-743 BCE) was a descendant of King Jehu. Jezreel was also the name of the royal palace where King Jehu had killed the descendants of King Omri (885-874 BCE). The dynasty of King Jehu actually ended with the son of King Jeroboam II, King Zachariah in 743 BCE, after the death of King Jeroboam. Yahweh also said that the house of Israel would come to an end, which it did in 724 BCE. Thus, Yahweh was going to break the bow of Israel in Jezreel, the northern royal palace. Jezreel was also the name of the valley of Megiddo. The so-called history of the northern Israelite kings, especially King Jehu, can be found in 2 Kings, chapters 9-10.

The listeners of Jeremiah (Jer 38:1-38:1)

“Now Shephatiah,

The son of Mattan,

Gedaliah,

The son of Pashhur,

Jucar,

The son of Shelemiah,

With Pashhur,

The son of Malchiah,

Heard the words

That Jeremiah was saying

To all the people.”

People went to hear what Jeremiah had to say even while he was in prison. Shephatiah, Gedaliah, Jucar, and Pashhur were royal officials among the visitors who were listening to the words of Jeremiah.   Shephatiah is only mentioned here.   Gedaliah may be the son of Pashhur, who beat up Jeremiah in chapter 20. But he was a priest and not a royal official. Jucar is probably the same Jehucal mentioned in the preceding chapter as a messenger from the king to Jeremiah. Pashhur was the same royal messenger mentioned in chapter 21. Apparently while in the prison at the royal palace, Jeremiah could receive visitors. Like the preceding chapter, this is a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapter 45, not chapter 38 as here.

Jeremiah wants to go to the palace jail (Jer 37:20-37:21)

“‘Now please hear me!

My lord king!

Be good enough

To listen to my plea!

Do not send me

Back to the house

Of the secretary Jonathan

To die there.’

So King Zedekiah gave orders.

They committed Jeremiah

To the court of the guard.

A loaf of bread

Was given him daily

From the bakers’ street,

Until all the bread of the city

Was gone.

So Jeremiah remained

In the court of the guard.”

Jeremiah did not want to go back to the dungeon cell in the house of the secretary Jonathan. Thus he pleaded with the king to get out of there. King Zedekiah granted his request. He was going to be kept in a semi-house arrest in the court of the guard, a real prison attached to the royal palace. There he would get a fresh loaf of bread from the common baker’s street area daily, until there were no more provisions in the city. Thus Jeremiah got better living conditions, if not released.

Micaiah informs other officials (Jer 36:11-36:13)

“When Micaiah,

The son of Gemariah,

The son of Shaphan,

Heard all the words

Of Yahweh

From the scroll,

He went down

To the king’s house.

He went into

The secretary’s chamber.

All the officials

Were sitting there.

That is

Elishama the secretary,

Delaiah the son of Shemaiah,

Elnathan the son of Achbor,

Gemariah the son of Shaphan,

Zedekiah the son of Hananiah,

With all the officials.

Micaiah told them

All the words

That he had heard,

When Baruch read

The scroll

In the hearing

Of the people.”

Apparently not everyone was listening to Baruch in the Temple. Micaiah, the son of Gemariah and grandson of Shaphan, was there listening to Baruch. When the reading of the scroll was over, he went to the royal palace to meet with all the other royal officials in the secretary’s chamber. All the officials were there, since they had not been at the reading in the Temple, including Elishama, Delaiah, Elnathan, and Gemariah himself. Elnathan may have been the same one who King Jehoiakim sent to Egypt to get the prophet Uriah in chapter 26 of this work. Micaiah then told them everything that he heard during Baruch’s reading of the scroll in the Temple courtyard. It is hard to believe that he memorized everything, so he must have just presented the highlights.

Jerusalem is not exempt from fire (Jer 21:13-21:14)

“‘See!

I am against you!

O inhabitant of the valley!

O rock of the plain!’

Says Yahweh.

‘You who say.

‘Who can come down against us?

Who can enter our places of refuge?’

‘I will punish you

According to the fruit

Of your doings.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will kindle a fire

In her forest.

It shall devour

All that is around it.’”

Here Yahweh makes a direct attack on the royal palace and its surroundings. The rock of the plain and the inhabitants of the valley refer to the royal palace in Jerusalem. The inhabitants there think that no one could come against them in their place of refuge. However, Yahweh was clear. He was going to punish them according to their fruits, or what they did. Yahweh was going to kindle a fire in this great palace made of wood, as if it were like a great forest. This fire would devour it and all its surroundings.

Preparations for the invasion (Isa 22:8-22:11)

“On that day,

You looked

To the weapons

Of the House of the Forest.

You saw

That there were so many breaches

In the city of David.

You then collected

The waters of the lower pool.

You counted

The houses of Jerusalem.

You broke down the houses

To fortify the wall.

You made a reservoir

Between the two walls

To hold the water of the old pool.

But you did not look

To him who did it.

You did not have regard

For him who planned it long ago.”

Isaiah now reprimands the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the second person plural. They made preparations to protect Jerusalem from invaders. The weapons were in the House of the Forest, which was the royal palace, since it had so much wood in it. The city of David was the older southeastern part of Jerusalem. They tried to fix the holes in the wall around Jerusalem by tearing down houses in the city to fill the holes. They also tried to make a reservoir for the water within the city from the old pool. Isaiah points out that there was a fatal flaw to their preparations. They forgot to consider who had made the city for them, God. They did not regard Yahweh who had planned this city with King David and King Solomon. They had forgotten the Lord.