We will begin this lesson in Jeremiah 37:1 "And king Zedekiah the
son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom
Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah."

     II Kings 24:17  "And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his
father's brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah."
Coniah is the same person as Jehoiachin. Zedekiah was 21 years old,
when he began to reign.

     Jeremiah 37:2 "But neither he, nor his servants, nor the people
of the land, did hearken unto the words of the LORD, which he spake by
the prophet Jeremiah."

     It appears, that all the warnings that God sent Zedekiah and his
people were in vain. They did not listen to Jeremiah at all. They
thought of him as being the false prophet. They preferred to accept
the prophecy of their own false prophets, who spoke of good times.

     Jeremiah 37:3 "And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of
Shelemiah and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest to the prophet
Jeremiah, saying, Pray now unto the LORD our God for us."

     This is very ridiculous. They do not believe Jeremiah, but they
ask him to pray for them. Perhaps, they thought Jeremiah to be a
righteous man. James 5:16 "Confess [your] faults one to another, and
pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent
prayer of a righteous man availeth much."  They still claim that the
LORD is their God, but they certainly do not show that when they are
unfaithful to Him. Even the priest's son {Jehucal} comes to ask for

     Jeremiah 37:4 "Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the
people: for they had not put him into prison."

     This is early in the prophecies, when Jeremiah met with them. At
this time, they had not put him in prison. Even when they do put him
in prison, he had privileges that most prisoners do not have.

     Jeremiah 37:5 "Then Pharaoh's army was come forth out of Egypt:
and when the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them,
they departed from Jerusalem."

     They had tried to get help from Egypt, but the effort here is
temporary. At least for a moment, the Chaldeans turn back and leave
Jerusalem, because of the threat of the Egyptians. The Pharaoh
mentioned here was Hophra, who had fled to Egypt for safety. God had
warned that those who fled would be punished. He was not successful at

     Jeremiah 37:6  "Then came the word of the LORD unto the prophet
Jeremiah, saying," Jeremiah 37:7 "Thus saith the LORD, the God of
Israel; Thus shall ye say to the king of Judah, that sent you unto me
to inquire of me; Behold, Pharaoh's army, which is come forth to help
you, shall return to Egypt into their own land."

     Zedekiah had sent to Jeremiah for prayer, but Jeremiah would not
pray for something that was not in the will of God. Instead of praying
an intercessory prayer for Zedekiah and Judah, Jeremiah sends another
prophecy. Pharaoh's army will go home, and the Chaldeans will be back.
The Pharaoh had run for safety before, he would again.

     Jeremiah 37:8 "And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight
against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire."

     Jeremiah tells them that not only will the Chaldeans come again,
but they will win. When they have taken the city, they will burn it.

     Jeremiah 37:9 "Thus saith the LORD; Deceive not yourselves,
saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us: for they shall not

     They certainly had been deceiving themselves right along. They
did not believe the message God had sent them by Jeremiah. They were
deceived into believing the city would not fall.

     Jeremiah 37:10 "For though ye had smitten the whole army of the
Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained [but] wounded men
among them, [yet] should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn
this city with fire."

     Even if these exiled Jews from Egypt had won the battle, the city
would not be spared, because it is the judgement of God for it to
burn. Since God is truly behind this attack, even men near to death
could win. They would be fighting in the strength of the LORD, and not
in their own strength. They might turn them back, but they will come
again, and defeat the city.

     Jeremiah 37:11  "And it came to pass, that when the army of the
Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh's army,"
Jeremiah 37:12 "Then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into
the land of Benjamin, to separate himself thence in the midst of the

    It seems, that while the siege of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans was
momentarily stopped, Jeremiah went back to Anathoth, his home. This
separation is a holy separation. He was in the world, but not of the
world, the same as we Christians are. He was in the midst of the
people, but not involved in the sins of the people.

     Jeremiah 37:13 "And when he was in the gate of Benjamin, a
captain of the ward [was] there, whose name [was] Irijah, the son of
Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he took Jeremiah the prophet,
saying, Thou fallest away to the Chaldeans."

     Now, Jeremiah has been accused by Irijah of going over to the
side of the Chaldeans. This was a captain, so he had some authority.
It appears, that he arrested Jeremiah.

     Jeremiah 37:14 "Then said Jeremiah, [It is] false; I fall not
away to the Chaldeans. But he hearkened not to him: so Irijah took
Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes."

     Jeremiah tries to defend himself from the accusations by denying
affiliation with the Chaldeans.

     Jeremiah 37:15 "Wherefore the princes were wroth with Jeremiah,
and smote him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the
scribe: for they had made that the prison."

     The princes had spoken highly of Jeremiah in the past, but they
must not have much depth in themselves. The first accusation from
Irijah of Jeremiah siding in with the Chaldeans, is accepted as fact
by them. They did not examine the facts, just took Irijah's word.
They not only took Jeremiah, but struck him. This is a dangerous thing
to do to a prophet of God. The scribe, here, is like a secretary of
state. They imprisoned Jeremiah in the house of Jonothan.

     Jeremiah 37:16  "When Jeremiah was entered into the dungeon, and
into the cabins, and Jeremiah had remained there many days;"

     This was some underground building with rooms in it. They locked
Jeremiah in this place, and left him three days.

     Jeremiah 37:17 "Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took him out:
and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there [any]
word from the LORD? And Jeremiah said, There is: for, said he, thou
shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon."

     Remember, that Zedekiah had asked Jeremiah to pray for him. He
now wants to know what the answer is from God. This is, probably, the
only reason he took him out of the dungeon. Jeremiah can only speak
the words that God puts into his mouth. He tells Zedekiah the bad
news, that he will be taken by the king of Babylon.

     Jeremiah 37:18 "Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, What
have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this
people, that ye have put me in prison?"

     The king in the land is responsible for what the princes do.
Jeremiah wants to know what crime he committed that was worthy of
imprisonment. He asks Zedekiah, "Why did you put me in prison"?

     Jeremiah 37:19 "Where [are] now your prophets which prophesied
unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor
against this land?"

     Jeremiah reminds Zedekiah, that the prophecy he had given, came
true. The false prophets, that he was so eager to listen to, had lied.
Now, Jeremiah asks Zedekiah, "How have you punished the false
prophets"? They had dealt harshly with Jeremiah, and he was a true
prophet. What punishment had the false prophets received?

     Jeremiah 37:20 "Therefore hear now, I pray thee, O my lord the
king: let my supplication, I pray thee, be accepted before thee; that
thou cause me not to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest
I die there."

     Jeremiah is speaking this to Zedekiah. The word "lord" is not
capitalized, which means an earthly lord. "Supplication", in this
particular instance, means graciousness, or entreaty. Jeremiah is
explaining that he is just speaking the Words that God puts into his
mouth. That is his duty as a prophet. He has committed no crime, and
should not be imprisoned in the dungeon, again. This is such a
terrible place, that Jeremiah felt he might die there.

     Jeremiah 37:21 "Then Zedekiah the king commanded that they should
commit Jeremiah into the court of the prison, and that they should
give him daily a piece of bread out of the bakers' street, until all
the bread in the city were spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court
of the prison."

     Jeremiah was still imprisoned, but it was minimum security. He
would even receive a piece of bread each day to keep him from
starving. Probably, this was more than what we would call a slice. It
was, possibly, a small loaf. Bread was short, because there was a
famine, as well as a siege against the city. The court was a little
like being under house arrest. He was detained, but had some freedom
of movement.

                         Jeremiah 40 Questions

1.  Who is Coniah?
2.  How old was Zedekiah, when he began to reign?
3.  Verse 2 tells us the people _____ _____ accept the prohecy of
4.  What did Zedekiah send messengers to Jeremiah to ask him to do?
5.  Quote James chapter 5 verse 16.
6.  Who was sent to ask Jeremiah to pray?
7.  Verse 4 says, Jeremiah could come and go as he pleased because of
8.  What happened to the Chaldeans in Jerusalem, when they heard of
    the Egyptians coming?
9.  Who was the Pharaoh mentioned in verse 5?
10. What did God tell Jeremiah to say to the king of Judah?
11. Why had Jeremiah not prayed for Zedekiah?
12. What will the Chaldeans do, when they come again to the city?
13. Why would the city not be spared, even if the exiled Jews had
    defeated the Chaldeans?
14. When did Jeremiah decide to leave Jerusalem?
15. Where did he want to go?
16. What happened, when Jeremiah was in the gate of Benjamin?
17. Who accused Jeremiah?
18. What did he accuse Jeremiah of?
19. What answer did Jeremiah give to the accusation?
20. What did Irijah do with Jeremiah?
21. Who smote Jeremiah?
22. Where did they imprison Jeremiah?
23. How long was Jeremiah in the dungeon?
24. Who took Jeremiah out of the dungeon?
25. What did he ask Jeremiah?
26. How did Jeremiah answer him?
27. What does Jeremiah remind Zedekiah of in verse 19?
28. Why did Jeremiah ask not to be sent back to Jonothan's house?
29. Where did they imprison Jeremiah?
30. What was he to be fed?