Scripture reading – Jeremiah 52


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Today’s scripture reading concludes our study of Jeremiah’s prophecies in the book that bears his name (our next Scripture reading will consider the Book of Lamentations and that prophet’s grief following the destruction of Jerusalem). I know the study and interpretation of prophecy can be challenging, but I trust these daily devotionals have simplified the complicated.


What a joy to be living in such a time!

We have the privilege of not only studying past prophecies but the advantage of gleaning from history the ways of the LORD. Modern archeology has only confirmed God’s Word. While many cast doubt on the Scriptures, understand that the burden of proof rests with them and not the believer. History is on our side, and we declare with the apostle Paul, “Ye, let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

The focus of Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry moved from the LORD chastening Judah to declaring God’s judgment against the Gentile nations, beginning with Egypt in Jeremiah 46 and the Philistines in Jeremiah 47. Employing Babylon as the tool of His judgment, other Gentile nations succumbed to Nebuchadnezzar’s army in quick succession. The Moabites (Jeremiah 48), Ammonites and Edomites, and nomadic tribes of Arabia fell to the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 49).

Though Nebuchadnezzar reigned as the world leader in his day, seventy years after Jerusalem’s destruction, Babylon was destroyed by the Medes and Persians under King Cyrus (Jeremiah 50:3, 9, 41-42).

The Siege and Suffering of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 52:4-8)

Jeremiah 52


The Reign of Zedekiah, the Last King of Judah (Jeremiah 52:1-3)

The historical narrative in Jeremiah 52 will be familiar. King Zedekiah was the last of a succession of wicked kings who reigned in Jerusalem. His sins provoked “the anger of the LORD,” and his rebellion stirred him to rebel “against the king of Babylon” (Jeremiah 51:3).


The Siege and Suffering of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 52:4-8)

As Jeremiah foretold, Nebuchadnezzar led “his army against Jerusalem” (Jeremiah 51:4). The city was besieged for nearly two years until the food stores were depleted, and “the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land” (Jeremiah 52:6).

God’s longsuffering with the sins of Judah was exhausted, and He determined to deliver the nation to judgment. The walls of Jerusalem were breached, and the soldiers of Judah fled the city with King Zedekiah and his family (Jeremiah 52:5-7). Babylon’s army, however, pursued Zedekiah and captured him near Jericho (Jeremiah 52:8; 2 Kings 25:4-7).

The Sorrow and Humiliation of Zedekiah (Jeremiah 52:9-11)

 Taken before Nebuchadnezzar to be judged, “the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes” along with other leaders of Judah (Jeremiah 52:9-10). Then he commanded that Zedekiah’s eyes be put out (Jeremiah 52:9-10; 2 Kings 24:19-20; 25:1-3). Zedekiah, the once proud king of Judah, was blind and led to Babylon in chains, where he died a prisoner (Jeremiah 52:11; 2 Kings 24:19-20; 2 Kings 25).

The Sorrow and Humiliation of Zedekiah (Jeremiah 52:9-11)

The Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (Jeremiah 52:12-30)

Jeremiah’s prophecies were fulfilled when Jerusalem was destroyed, and the palaces and Temple plundered and burned (Jeremiah 52:12-23).  Fulfilling the Word of the LORD, the people of Judah were taken as captives to Babylon, where they lived for seventy years (Jeremiah 52:24-30). Only the poorest were left behind, and their task was to serve as “vinedressers and for husbandmen” (Jeremiah 52:16).

The vessels of the Temple were broken and transported to Babylon with utensils, pans, and bowls that served in the Temple (Jeremiah 52:17-23). Unable to flee Jerusalem, the chief priest and other leaders of the Temple were captured and taken before Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 52:24-26). All were slain (Jeremiah 52:27).

A census of those Jews who were carried to Babylon was given. In Nebuchadnezzar’s first siege of Jerusalem, 3023 Jews were taken to Babylon (Jeremiah 52:28). No doubt among them was the young prophet Daniel (Daniel 1). Eight hundred and thirty-two Jews were taken captive in Nebuchadnezzar’s second siege of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 52:29). In the third and final siege of Jerusalem, only 745 souls were taken alive and removed to Babylon (Jeremiah 52:30). Altogether, only 4600 Jews were taken as captives to Babylon (Jeremiah 52:30).  


The Last Days of Jehoiachin, the Deposed King of Judah (Jeremiah 52:31-34) 

As recorded in 2 Kings 25, the book of Jeremiah concluded with a brief mention of King Jehoiachin becoming an object of grace before Evilmerodach, who succeeded Nebuchadnezzar as the king of Babylon (Jeremiah 52:31-34; 2 Kings 25:27-30).


Closing thoughts

We might learn many lessons from our study of Jeremiah’s prophecies and history. I take comfort in understanding that the LORD has revealed He is longsuffering with sinners, and in Peter’s words, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). His patience with Israel and Judah evidenced His longing to see His people love, trust, and obey His Word and Commandments. However, we were also reminded that the LORD is just and holy.

Israel and Judah broke their covenant with the LORD and disobeyed His Law and Commandments. In mercy, God sent prophets to call the nation to repent, but they despised the prophets and continued their wickedness until there was no remedy. Nebuchadnezzar served the LORD’s purpose to chasten the Jews, though He remembered His promises and preserved them amid Babylon.

Like the great and powerful nations of our world today, ancient Babylon’s army seemed invincible, and the walls of that great city impenetrable. Nevertheless, no one could save Babylon when the LORD declared His judgment against that nation. Bearing the weight of its wickedness, Babylon was overcome in a night and reduced to rubble (Daniel 8).

Warning: Every nation would do well to remember that no people or nation can stand when the LORD bears the sword of judgment.

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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