Jeremiah 33 – Promise of Restoration and Scribes

I guess scribes are important people, but Jeremiah didn’t need a scribe, he needed a lawyer to get out of prison, but then again, I guess for some reason You wanted him there or You allowed it to happen for some reason.

This map includes the area of the tribe of Benjamin. It includes the area north of the hill country of Judah. It was a relatively small area, about 10 miles from north to south and notice Jerusalem is located within its boundaries.

I thought King Zedekiah was a good guy, but it appears that he broke his promise to You.  Why would someone do that, did he get caught up in…

Jeremiah 33
Promise of Restoration

1 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,

33:1-26 – concluding Jeremiah’s “book of consolation” the section is divided into two roughly equal parts: (1) vv. 1-13, which continue and build on chapter 32 and (2) vv. 14-26, which summarize a wider range of earlier passages in Jeremiah and elsewhere – they are not found in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament).

“Yet shut up” – in 587 B.C.

2 Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name;

3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

4 For thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword;

Jeremiah’s houses – including those of the king – were torn down so that their stones could be used to repair the city’s battered walls (see 22:10).

5 They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.

6 Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.

7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.

8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.

9 And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honor before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.

Jeremiah 33:17:
“For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel….”

10 Thus saith the LORD; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast.

11 The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth forever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.

12 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.

13 In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the LORD.

14 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.

15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.

16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.

17 For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;

33:17-26 – in the face of the impending judgment in which the nation will be swept away and the promised land reduced to a desolate wasteland, all God’s past covenants with His people appear to be rendered of no effect – His covenants with Israel, with David and with Phineas.

This series of oracles gives reassurance that the ancient covenants are not being repudiated, that they are as secure as God’s covenant concerning the creation order, and that in the future restoration they will all yet be fulfilled.

18 Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.

An aerial view of the Jordan River, which lies about 30km East of Jerusalem and flows from north of the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea.

See Num 25:13.  The priestly covenant with the Levites, like the royal covenant with David was not a private grant to the priestly family involving only that family and the Lord (these are not like Catholic priests). 

It was rather an integral part of the Lord’s dealing with His people in which Israel was assured of the ministry of a priesthood  that was acceptable to the Lord and through whose mediation they could enjoy communion with Him.

That ministry was and is being fulfilled by Jesus, who administers a higher and better priesthood (see Ps 110:4; Heb 5:6-10, 6:19-20; 7:11-25)

19 And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying,

20 Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;

21 Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.

22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.

In words that echo the covenant promises to the patriarchs (Abrams, Gen 22:17; Isaac, Gen 26:4; Jacob, Gen 32:12), the Lord assures the flourishing of the two mediatorial (royal and priestly) families and thus the continuation of this ministry in the spiritual commonwealth He has established with His people.

An aerial view of the Church of the Beatitudes by the Sea of Galilee near Capernaum, the traditional site where Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount as told in the New ATestament.

The promise of a numerous progeny to both the royal and priestly families is no doubt fulfilled in the great throng who (will) reign with Christ (see Rom 5:17, 8:17; 1 Cor 6:3; 2 Tim 2:12; Rev 3:21, 5:10, 20:5-6, 22:5) and who in Christ have been consecrated to be priests (see 1 Pet 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6, 5:10, 20:6).

23 Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,

24 Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.

25 Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;

26 Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.

Scribes

Jean Miélot, also Jehan, (born Gueschard, Picardy, died 1472) was an author, translator, manuscript illuminator, scribe and priest, who served as secretary to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy from 1449 to Philip’s death in 1467, and then to his son Charles the Bold.

He also served as chaplain to Louis of Luxembourg, Count of St. Pol from 1468, after Philip’s death.

He was mainly employed in the production of de luxe illuminated manuscripts for Philip’s library. He translated many works, both religious and secular, from Latin or Italian into French, as well as writing or compiling books himself, and composing verse.

Between his own writings and his translations he produced some twenty-two works whilst working for Philip, which were widely disseminated, many being given printed editions in the years after his death, and influenced the development of French prose style.

A scribe is a person who writes books or documents by hand as a profession and helps the city keep track of its records. The profession, previously found in all literate cultures in some form, lost most of its importance and status with the advent of printing.

The work could involve copying books, including sacred texts, or secretarial and administrative duties, such as taking of dictation and the keeping of business, judicial and, historical records for kings, nobles, temples, and cities.

Later the profession developed into public servants, journalists, accountants, typists, and lawyers. In societies with low literacy rates, street-corner letter-writers (and readers) may still be found providing a service.

Ancient Egypt

The Ancient Egyptian scribe, or sesh, was a person educated in the arts of writing (using both hieroglyphics and hieratic scripts, and from the second half of the first millennium B.C.  The demotic script, used as shorthand and for commerce) and dena (arithmetic).

Not anyone could become a scribe.  In most cases sons of scribes were brought up in the same scribal tradition, sent to school and, upon entering the civil service, inherited their fathers’ positions.  Much of what is known about ancient Egypt is due to the activities of its scribes and the officials.

Scribal equipment
The scribe was generally depicted carrying the tools of his trade: a wooden palette with brushes and reed pens and a roll of papyrus.

Papyrus was the ancient world’s version of paper and in fact is the root of the word “paper”. It was made by slicing the yellowish-white pith of the papyrus reed into long strips and laying them out in horizontal and vertical layers to form a mat.

A sticky vegetable gum was poured over the sheets to filling up spaces in the mat and it was then pounded flat with a mallet and placed under a heavy weight to dry. Once the juices of the plant had evaporated the papyrus mat would be pliable and strong. It was polished with a piece of wood or ivory and was then ready to use. Papyrus was expensive and time consuming to make so students would practice by copying texts on ostraca.

The pen of a scribe was made from a thin-stemmed reed, usually around nine inches long. The end of the reed was hammered soft to cause it to fray, and then trimmed to create a brush.

Monumental buildings were erected under their supervision, administrative and economic activities were documented by them, and tales from the mouths of Egypt’s lower classes or from foreign lands survive thanks to scribes putting them in writing.

Scribes were also considered part of the royal court and did not have to pay tax or join the military. The scribal profession had companion professions, the painters and artisans who decorated reliefs and other relics with scenes, personages, or hieroglyphic text. A scribe was exempt from the heavy manual labor required of the lower classes, or corvee labor.

Ancient Israel

Scribes in Ancient Israel, as in most of the ancient world, were distinguished professionals who could exercise functions we would associate with lawyers, government ministers, judges, or even financiers, as early as the 11th century B.C.  Some scribes copied documents, but this was not necessarily part of their job.

A Scribes Tools

Scribes usually wrote on papyrus with reed brushes dipped in ink. The ancient Egyptians made ink by grinding brightly colored minerals into powder, then mixing the powder with liquid so that it was easier to apply.

Scribes in ancient Egypt
an ancient Egyptian scribe named Dersenedj from around 2400 BC

It is no exaggeration to say that we owe most of our knowledge of ancient Egypt to the work of her scribes. The ancient Egyptians covered their temples and tombs with hieroglyphs, but they also employed scribes to record everything from the stocks held in the stores for workers, the proceedings in court, magic spells, wills and other legal contracts, medical procedures, tax records and genealogies.

Scribes were central to the functioning of centralised administration, the army and the priesthood and in truth very little happened in ancient Egypt which did not involve a scribe in some manner.

It is perhaps no surprise then that one of the most respected titles in ancient Egypt was “sesh” – “scribe”. The terms is more properly translated as “to draw” or “to create” rather than simply “to write” or “to read”.

The occupation of scribe is also one of the earliest jobs. There are depictions of scribes (identified by the traditional scribal crossed legged pose and their scribal equipment) dating back to as early as the Old Kingdom.

Until 1948, the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible dated back to 895 A.D. In 1947, a shepherd boy discovered some scrolls inside a cave West of the Dead Sea. These manuscripts dated between 100 B.C. and 100 A.D.

Over the next decade, more scrolls were found in caves and the discovery became known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Every book in the Hebrew Bible was represented in this discovery except Esther.

Numerous copies of each book were discovered, such as the 25 copies of Deuteronomy that were found.  While there are other items found among the Dead Sea Scrolls not currently in the Hebrew Bible, the texts on the whole testify to the accuracy of the scribes copying down through the ages, though many variations and errors occurred. 

 

The Dead Sea Scrolls are currently the best route of comparison to the accuracy and consistency of translation for the Hebrew Bible, due to their date of origin being the oldest out of any Biblical text currently known.

…some cult or something like that?

 

 

 

 

Old Kingdom
The Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt is generally described as the period from the Third Dynasty through to the Sixth Dynasty (2686 BC-2181 BC), although there is still some debate regarding the start and finish dates of the Old Kingdom.

This period was followed by the First Intermediate Period, when central authority declined and the country fragmented into different factions.

However, a number of Egyptologists also include the Memphite Seventh and Eighth Dynasties (of the First Intermediate Period) in the Old Kingdom because there is evidence that Memphis retained a fairly high degree of control over much of the country.

A huge number of pyramids were constructed, and so the Old Kingdom is frequently referred to as “the Pyramid Age”.