08 Jer 34-35 Broken Covenants & Defiant DisobedienceJeremiah & Lamentations
The year was 588 BC, and Nebuchadnezzar’s army was successfully conquering the kingdom of Judah. The last two fortified cities were about to fall: Lachish, twenty-three miles from Jerusalem, and Azekah, eighteen miles from Jerusalem (34:7). Not only did Nebuchadnezzar bring his own invincible Babylonian troops, but also he demanded that the vassal countries he’d conquered send their share of recruits. In a sense, the entire Near East was attacking God’s chosen people. – Wiersbe
30 mi SW of Jerusalem. 15 mi W of Hebron. Consisted of 18 acres before Joshua and the conquest.
Conquered by Joshua (vs. 5 kings); allotted to Judah. Josh 10, 15
Rehoboam rebuilt it to protect it vs. Egypt.
Amaziah fled to Lachish from an uprising. He was killed while hiding there (2 Kg 14:19; 2 Chr 25:27).
During the time of Hezekiah (701 B.C.), Sennacherib, king of Assyria, attacked it (2 Kg 18:13–17; 2 Chr 32:9). Its capture was so important to Sennacherib that he memorialized it in a magnificent relief on the wall of his palace at Nineveh. He also sent a letter to Hezekiah, demanding his surrender (2 Kg 18:14, 17; 19:8). – NIBD
About 100 years later, in 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar conquered the city and exiled the people in 586 BC (Jer 34:7). Lachish was inhabited again after their return (Neh 11:30).
A small temple with an altar for burnt offerings discovered. Bones of many animals. Sacrificial observances. Also, a deep well – probably provided water for the city when it was under siege.
Early Hebrew writings on bowls, seals, and a stone altar. Twenty-one pottery sherds, on which were written letters about the attack on Lachish and Jerusalem by Babylon in 586 BC, were also found. One of the letters states that signals from Azekah could no longer be seen. Written shortly after the events noted in Jeremiah 34:7, when Lachish and Azekah were the only fortified cities left in Judah.
Inscribed on the Sennacherib Prism, 689 BC: Sennacherib’s Boasting re: 701 BC Invasion of Judah
“As for Hezekiah, the Jew, who did not submit to my yoke, 46 of his strong, walled cities, as well as the small cities in their neighborhood, which were without number,—by escalade 3 (destroyed) and by bringing up siege engines(?), by attacking and storming on foot, by mines, tunnels and breaches(P), I besieged and took (those cities). 200,150 people, great and small, male and female, horses, mules, asses, camels, cattle and sheep, without number, I brought away from them and counted as spoil. Himself, like a caged bird, I shut up in Jerusalem, his royal city. Earthworks I threw up against him,—the one coming out of his city gate I turned back to his misery.” http://yash.ws/victory/sennacherib-prism.php
Jer 34 Covenant: Command & Commitment
34:1-7 The Destiny of the King
It’s 588 BC, 2 years to exile. Army enlarged with conquered recruits. Lachish and Azekah only fortified cities remaining. Zedekiah’s last chance. City will burn; king will be exiled.
“Die in peace” – not killed by the sword; suffered terribly in exile.
2 Kg 25:6-7; Jer 52:7–11. Note re: OT short-term predictions.
34:8-22 The Duplicity of the People
Covenant: freed all servants. Ex 21:1-11; Lv 25:39–55; Dt 15:12–18
Then subjected them again! Play on word “release” – to the sword!
“Cut a deal.” “Cut the calf in two.”
In this custom, as in Gen 15:8–17, two parties laid out parts of a sacrifice on two sides, then walked between the parts. By that symbolic action each pledged to fulfill his promise, agreeing in effect, “May my life (represented by the blood) be poured out if I fail to honor my part.” “May the same happen to me as happened to these animals, if I break this covenant.”
Jer 35 Covenant: Comparison & Contrast
35:1-11 Commendation: the Rechabites
Days of Jehoiakim (609-597 BC). Years prior to ch. 34. Why here? To show the people of Judah what it means to keep a covenant promise.
Object lesson: “Give the Rechabites wine to drink!” Why? It was a test, to set up the contrast. The Rechabites, for 250 years, had kept their commitment not to drink wine.)
Rechabites: nomadic, separatist Kenites. The Kenites were related to Moses’ Kenite father-in-law (Jdg 1:16; 4:11).
Their ancestor, Jonadab, helped Jehu remove Baal worship in North Israel (2 Kg 10:15–23). Note the rules he gave his descendants.
35:12-19 Condemnation: the People of Judah
What a contrast! Stakes are higher for breaking Yahweh’s rules.
How much more important it was to obey the LORD, and how much more costly to defy Him!
Reward for Rechabites: continuing inclusion, service. Cf. Neh 3:17
Written by Cory Collins
Cory Collins is a Bible teacher and a minister of the gospel. He serves with Keller church of Christ in Keller, Texas. He and his wife, Tanya, have been married since 1977. They have two children and two grandchildren.