Reading: Jeremiah 52:1-34
Focus: Jeremiah 52:31-34
Now it came to pass in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, that Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison. And he spoke kindly to him and gave him a more prominent seat than those of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life. And as for his provisions, there was a regular ration given him by the king of Babylon, a portion for each day until the day of his death, all the days of his life.
Finally, after reading chapter after chapter, verse after verse of misery, death, and disobedience, we get this glimpse of goodness in verses 31-37.
Evil-Merodach (sounds like a character from Star Wars) goes to Jehoiachin, the king of Judah, lifts up his head and brings him out of prison. Jehoiachin had been in prison for thirty-seven years. The scripture goes on to say that not only was he brought out of prison, but he was also given civilian clothing to wear and was provided enough food for each day until the day he died.
“…lifted up the head of Jehoiachin …” (Jeremiah 52:31).
This strange expression has a double meaning; but here, it has the more favorable of the two. In Genesis, Pharaoh “lifted up the head of the butler” and “lifted up the head of the baker,” but it meant that he promoted the butler and hanged the baker! The same words are frequently used with different meanings in the Bible.
There is a glimpse here of the lifestyle of Babylonian kings. The kings that they had fought and conquered were actually seated on thrones in the Babylonian king’s dining room, no doubt as part of the flattering display of his power. Jehoiachin waited for that status for 37 years! This passage speaks of his release from prison, of his restoration to royal status, and of his receiving a throne even above those of other monarchs conquered by Babylon.
The historical appendix for this passage cites literally dozens of fulfillments of Jeremiah’s prophecies, but the prophecy that more than all others appealed to the Jewish mind (namely the end of their exile and their restoration to Judah) had not taken place yet. To the person who added this chapter, it might have seemed to be a good omen… announcing the fulfillment of that prophecy, and that the new king of Babylon so favorably changed the status of Jehoiachin.
Jehoiachin must have felt pretty low during those thirty-seven years of captivity. I cannot imagine what he must have gone through, and I’m thankful that I do not have to face what he did. I am thankful that whatever circumstances I am facing today that I know that God will make a way to see me through it.
Maybe you are feeling like you have been in a battle, maybe for 37 years and you don’t see any way out. Know I am praying for you today and that God will make a way when there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see, and I trust He will make a way for you today.
Father, when I am feeling down about life’s issues, when my life seems to overwhelm me, would you please be my comfort? Would you come and bring peace in the midst of the things that bring stress to my life? I need you today, Lord Jesus. Amen.