Jeremiah 21 Commentary
This is Jeremiah’s life. Today he is beaten at the Temple, tomorrow he is consulted by the King. Of course, these events may be wide apart and not exactly following each other, as may be suggested by the order of appearance in the book.
The Pashhur of verse 1 who King Zedekiah sent to Jeremiah is definitely different from the Pashhur who beat and locked up Jeremiah – in yesterday’s chapter.
What the LORD does – Pashhur, the fighter priest, disappeared in history quietly while Jeremiah’s name and his work are referenced by millions each year. The volume that bears his name nearly rivals the longest book in the holy script. Others argue that Jeremiah’s work is the longest-authored work in the holy script.
The Pashhur of this chapter is an emissary of the King to Jeremiah. The king wants Jeremiah to speak to the LORD concerning what the king knew was real and present danger. The Babylonians knocked hard. The stakes were high.
Jeremiah’s response impressed the King, but not King Zedekiah. He was not going to say anything other than what the King of kings had ordered.
We can see just how far the nation of Israel had fallen. The man sitting on David’s throne was supposed to be anointed and full of the Holy Spirit. Several centuries before Zedekiah was Samuel, an anointed leader who pleaded with the LORD for the people. Before Samuel were several Judges who under the power of the Spirit of God rescued Israel. Of course, Moses stands out amongst them all. And after Samuel was David on whose throne Zedekiah sat. They all sought the face of the LORD and the nation was saved.
Here is our Zedekiah, weak and sinful, and zero anointing, leading God’s people. The LORD God was the actual King and Zedekiah was meant to be an under-shepherd – feeding off the King of kings. But there was zero connection between Zedekiah and the King of kings whom he should have represented. Sad state of affairs, indeed.
We are not at all surprised that the king sends Pashhur and the priest Zephaniah to Jeremiah.
Enough about the Zedekiah but what about Zephaniah? Wasn’t the priest Zephaniah supposed to be God’s representative to the people? Zephaniah was possibly in the same boat as Zedekiah – zero anointing. King Zedekiah knew who to consult and who could possibly speak to the LORD. And it wasn’t the LORD’s priest, Zephaniah.
We can learn one important lesson from here. The world is watching. The world grades us: the serious, the less serious, and the useless – useless just like them but with religious talk. Zephaniah was graded lowly by King Zedekiah.
It takes a lot to gain a higher grade. Ask Jeremiah.
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me,” said the LORD Jesus Christ.
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