Jeremiah 39 – The Fall of Jerusalem & The Kassites

When Jeremiah told King Zedekiah what God told him to tell him:

“Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; If thou wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylon’s princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thine house:

In ancient Jerusalem water was collected in huge cisterns. The prophet Jeremiah was held in this cistern according to legend. It is winter and there has been a lot of rain so this cistern is nearly full. He would have had to have been held in the summer when the water level was low.

Interestingly this is less than 100 feet from the Garden tomb. It is almost certain that Jeremiah was a type and shadow of Christ as he was held in the belly of the earth and so near to the place where the Savior of the world was laid.

But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand” (Jer 38-17-18).

Did he listen? 

Jeremiah 39
The Fall of Jerusalem

1 In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and they besieged it.

39:1-45:5 – the most detailed account in the Old Testament of Babylon conquest of Jerusalem and its aftermath.  The section concludes with a brief appendix (chapter 45).

2 And in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up.

3 And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, even Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim, Rab-saris, Nergal-sharezer, Rab-mag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon.

39:3 – Sat in the middle gate” – n fulfillment of 1:15.  The middle gate may have been located in the wall separating the citadel of mount Zion from the lower city, therefore serving as a strategic vantage point for the invaders.

4 And it came to pass, that when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the men of war, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king’s garden, by the gate betwixt the two walls: and he went out the way of the plain.

5 But the Chaldeans’ army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him.

6 Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah.

Jeremiah had to be let down and brought up by a rope, so the cistern is very deep and this hole is the only way out.

7 Moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon.

8 And the Chaldeans burned the king’s house, and the houses of the people, with fire, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem.

9 Then Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to him, with the rest of the people that remained.

10 But Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard left of the poor of the people, which had nothing, in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time.

11 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard, saying,

Main chamber of Zedekiah’s Cave

12 Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee.

13 So Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard sent, and Nebushasban, Rab-saris, and Nergal-sharezer, Rab-mag, and all the king of Babylon’s princes;

14 Even they sent, and took Jeremiah out of the court of the prison, and committed him unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, that he should carry him home: so he dwelt among the people.

“Took Jeremiah out” – either (1) a summary of Jeremiah’s release from prison, the specific details of which are given in 40:1-6; or (2) specific details of the first of two releases, the second of which  (made necessary because Jeremiah had been arrested again by mistake in the confusion surrounding the capture and transporting of thousands of exiles) is detailed in 40:1-6.

15 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying,

16 Go and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished in that day before thee.

Zedekiah is chained and brought before Nebuchadnezzar, from Petrus Comestor’s “Bible Historiale,” 1670 A.D.

17 But I will deliver thee in that day, saith the LORD: and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid.

18 For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD.

The Kassites

The Kassites were a race of people in the ancient Middle East who ruled over Babylonia almost continuously from the seventeenth or sixteenth century B.C. until about 1155 BCE. Like with many ancient people, it is somewhat difficult to identify their origins with any degree of certainty, however, it is believed that they originate from around the Zagros Mountains in modern day Iran.

The Babylonian Empire under the Kassites.

One scholar identified that the Kassite homeland, during the 12th to ninth century B.C., were Namri (earlier Namar or Nawar) and Bit Hamban and this is generally accepted amongst most scholars. He further states that during the early reign of the Kassites over Babylonia that:

“the eastern mountain region remained linked with the central government in Babylonia during the eleventh and tenth centuries.

The Kassites are considered to be the first people to exploit the use of chariots (a two wheeled fighting vehicle with a two man crew, one driving and the other using as a platform for missile weapons, such as the bow and arrow).

There is very little evidence for serious political problems before the thirteenth century B.C. when Assyria to the north and Elam to the west began to threaten Babylonia, and eventually brought an end to Kassite control. The chronology of the Kassite rulers is very uncertain.

The Kassite Dynasty rebuilt many of the ancient Babylonian cities, such as the city of Nippur, making it one of the most important administration centers.   The Kassites also constructed a new city called Dur Kurigalzu (named after one of the Kassite kings) near modern Baghdad.

Important sources for reconstructing the Kassite Dynasty are kudurrus. Other revealing information is provided by the Amarna letters and clay tablets, which include correspondence from the Kassite Babylonian kings to the Egyptian pharaohs of the mid-fourteenth century B.C.

People should learn from this, You gave King Zedekiah a chance, he didn’t listen and he really messed up.

Under the orders of Nebuchadnezzar king, Gedaliah let Jeremiah out of prison.  Why did the king choose him to do that and take care of him?