Freedom for Jeremiah (Jer 40:2-40:4)

“The captain of the guard

Took Jeremiah.

He said to him.

‘Yahweh your God

Threatened this place

With this disaster.

Now Yahweh

Has brought it about.

He has done

As he said.

Because all of you

Sinned against Yahweh.

You did not obey his voice.

Therefore this thing

Has come upon you.

Now look!

I have just released you today

From the fetters

On your hands.

If you wish

To come with me

To Babylon,

Come!

I will take good care of you.

But if you do not wish

To come with me

To Babylon,

You need not come!

See!

The whole land is before you.

Go wherever

You think it good

Or right to go!’”

Jeremiah is finally recognized by Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, who took him aside. He said to Jeremiah that his God Yahweh had threatened this place and made that threat come true. This happened because they were sinning in Jerusalem and Judah. They had not obeyed their God. This Babylonian captain then released Jeremiah from the chains around his hands. Here is where it gets interesting. He offers Jeremiah a choice. He could go to Babylon, where he would be taken care of, or he could stay in Judah, where the whole land would be his. The captain of the guard told Jeremiah to decide on what was right and good for him. The choice was up to Jeremiah, but it seemed obvious that Jeremiah would stay.

The fatal undignified future of the people (Jer 16:3-16:4)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning the sons,

As well as the daughters,

Of those born in this place.

The same fate awaits the mothers

Who bore them

As well as the fathers

Who begot them in this land.

They shall die of deadly diseases.

They shall not be lamented.

They shall not be buried.

They shall become

Like dung on the surface of the ground.

They shall perish

By the sword,

Or by famine.

Their dead bodies

Shall become food

For the birds of the air.

Their dead bodies

Shall become food

For the wild animals of the earth.”

Yahweh was clear to Jeremiah. This saying was meant for the sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers of the people in this place. The same terrible fate awaited them all. They were going to die of deadly diseases, which would not have been that uncommon. However, there would be no one to lament them or bury them. Their bodies would lie in the fields like fertilizer dung on the ground. Thus they would not receive a proper burial. They would die either by sword or famine. Their dead bodies would lay in the streets and fields to become food for the birds and the wild animals. This would not be a pretty sight.

No family for Jeremiah (Jer 16:2-16:2)

“You shall not take a wife

In this place.

You shall not have sons

In this place.

You shall not have daughters

In this place.”

In another simple statement, Yahweh says that Jeremiah is not to have a family in Judah or Jerusalem. He is not to take a wife or have sons or daughters in this place. His life style would be symbolic of the barren land.