The four successful court attendants (Dan 1:19-1:21)

“The king spoke

With them.

Among them all,

No one was found

To compare with

Daniel,

Hananiah,

Mishael,

Azariah.

Therefore,

They were stationed

In the king’s court.

In every matter

Of wisdom,

Of understanding,

Concerning

What the king inquired of them,

He found them

Ten times better

Than all the magicians,

All the enchanters

In his whole kingdom.

Daniel continued there

Until the first year

Of King Cyrus.”

The Babylonian king spoke with all his new young court people. These 4 young Israelite royal students, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were very successful, since no one could compare to them. Thus, they were stationed in the king’s court. In anything about wisdom and understanding, these 4 court attendants were 10 times better than the more traditional Babylonian court magicians and enchanters. These 4 young men became the favorites of King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel, in fact, stayed the whole time in the royal court until King Cyrus of Persia took over around 538 BCE. Thus, Daniel would have spent pretty much his entire life in the Babylonian royal court, about 70 years.

Yahweh did what he wanted to do (Lam 2:17-2:17)

Ayin

“Yahweh has done

What he purposed.

He has carried out

His threat.

As he ordained

Long ago,

He has demolished

Without pity.

He has made

Your enemies

Rejoice

Over you.

He exalted

The might

Of your foes.”

Yahweh has done what he planned to do. He has carried out his threat as he said he would. He has demolished Jerusalem without any pity. Notice that it was Yahweh and not the Babylonian king who destroyed Jerusalem. Now, he has made the enemies and foes of Zion rejoice and exalt. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Ayin. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The destruction of Jerusalem (Jer 52:13-52:14)

“Nebuzaradan burned

The house of Yahweh

As well as the king’s house.

He also burned

All the houses of Jerusalem.

He burned down

Every great house.

All the army

Of the Chaldeans,

Who were with

The captain of the guard,

Broke down

All the walls

Around Jerusalem.”

This is exactly word for word like 2 Kings, chapter 25, but slightly different than the earlier chapter 39 description of Jeremiah. There was no mention about the burning of the Temple in the earlier Jeremiah description. Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard of the Babylonian king, had his Chaldean fighters burn the Temple of Yahweh and the palace of the king, as well as all the great houses of Jerusalem. They also broke down all the walls around Jerusalem.

Against Babylon (Jer 50:1-50:1)

“The word

That Yahweh spoke

Concerning Babylon,

Concerning the land

Of the Chaldeans,

By the prophet Jeremiah.”

Now there is a switch in tone. Prior to this, Jeremiah and the oracles of Yahweh had said to obey the Babylonian king. Now there are a series of oracles against the Babylonians or the Chaldeans. Eventually Babylon would fall in 539 BCE, long after the death of Jeremiah (582 BCE) and King Nebuchadnezzar (562 BCE). In the Septuagint Greek translation, this is chapter 27, not chapter 50 as here.

The speech of Gedaliah (Jer 40:9-40:10)

“Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam,

The son of Shaphan,

Swore to them

With their troops.

Saying.

‘Do not be afraid

To serve the Chaldeans!

Stay in the land!

Serve the king of Babylon!

It shall go well with you.

As for me,

I am staying at Mizpah,

To represent you

Before the Chaldeans

Who come to us.

But as for you,

Gather wine!

Gather summer fruits!

Gather oil!

Store them in your vessels!

Live in the towns

That you have taken over!’”

Gedaliah, whose father Ahikam and grandfather Shaphan were well known, swore to these field leaders and their troops. As in 2 Kings, chapter 25, he told them not to be afraid of these Chaldean officials. They would be better off staying in the land and serving the Babylonian king. He would take care of things with the Chaldean officials, representing their causes. They should just go home and enjoy their wine, fruits, and oils. They should store them up and live in their towns. Everything was okay. Thus it was clear that not everyone was sent into captivity.

Jeremiah says that the king will live (Jer 38:17-38:17)

“Then Jeremiah said

To King Zedekiah.

‘Thus says Yahweh!

The God of hosts!

The God of Israel!

If you will surrender

To the officials

Of the king of Babylon,

Then your life

Shall be spared.

This city

Shall not be burned

With fire.

You

With your house

Shall live.’”

Jeremiah told King Zedekiah what Yahweh, the God of hosts, the God of  Israel, had said. If he surrendered to the officials of the Babylonian king, then his life would be spared. Jerusalem would not be burned down. He and his whole household would be able to live. In other words, Jeremiah was telling the king of Judah to surrender to the king of Babylon.

Jeremiah is to wear an iron yoke (Jer 28:13-28:14)

“‘Go!

Tell Hananiah!

Thus says Yahweh!

You have broken wooden bars,

Only to forge iron bars

In place of them!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

I have put an iron yoke

On the neck of all these nations.

Thus they may serve

King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon.

They shall indeed serve him.

I have even given to him

The wild animals.’”

Yahweh spoke to Jeremiah to tell him to go to the prophet Hananiah. Jeremiah was to tell Hananiah that even though he had broken the wooden yoke that Jeremiah had around his neck, it was going to be replaced with an iron yoke. In fact, Yahweh, the God of Israel, was going to put an iron yoke on all the nations, so that they would all serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. There was no doubt that Yahweh favored the Babylonian king, so that even the wild animals were under his control.