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Posts Tagged ‘Gedaliah’


Thursday, January 30, 2020

Jeremiah 40 & 41: Being Quiet Amid the Storm

gedaliah[1]Nebuchadnezzar’s forces invaded Jerusalem on the ninth day of the ninth month in the eleventh year of Zedekiah (586 B.C.E.) This Jewish king had entered into an alliance with Egypt and in doing so he aggravated the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar who took the land of Judah by force.  The Jewish nation had been a kingdom paying tribute to Babylon.  Now they had become part of a greater empire, and many of her citizens were sent in exile to the place we today call Iraq.

In today’s Noontime we read about how Jeremiah, Zedekiah’s prophet who had urged the king to commit himself to God instead of doing evil in God’s sight, is at first given the freedom to go where he likes after the invasion.  His overseer is Gedaliah and we can find out more about him at this site.

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Minor_Fasts/Ideas_and_Beliefs/Tzom_Gedaliah.shtml

What we find to be intriguing about this man Gedaliah is that he had received a warning about Ishmael’s plot to kill him.  Believing the rumors he had heard to be only slander, Gedaliah welcomes Ishmael instead of being wary of him . . . and then dies at the betrayer’s hand.  Gedaliah is remembered as both the one who releases Jeremiah from prison and the one who dies through betrayal.

It is believed that Jeremiah is later whisked away to Egypt with fellow Jews who seek asylum there.  Zedekiah is forced to watch the execution of his sons after which he is blinded and deported to Babylon along with thousands of his people.  These are stories of such violence that they are difficult to comprehend; and yet they are stories that give way to hope despite their ugliness.

The prophecy of Jeremiah is one through which we understand that we are each called into a personal relationship with God.  In the following chapter we hear these words of comfort from God: If you remain quietly . . . I will build you up; not tear you down; I will plant you, not uproot you; for I regret the evil I have done you . . . for I am with you to save you, to rescue you. 

Everywhere we go there is danger on all sides, Jeremiah warns.  Yet there is safety deep within where God has planted the law by which we are to live.  Today we read about betrayal in the middle of a prophecy which brings hope.  Today we read about assassination in the midst of a prophecy about life.  Today we read about flight in a prophecy about nearness to God.  There is always a place in the darkness in which we might close our eyes, be still, and listen for the voice within.

If you remain quietly . . . I will build you up; not tear you down; I will plant you, not uproot you; for I regret the evil I have done you . . .

Let us pray that in our times of deepest stress that he have the sense to remain quiet . . . so that the Lord might build us up.  Let us pray that in our times of greatest darkness that we have the confidence to remain quiet . . . so that the Lord might plant us anew.  And let us pray that in our times of most piercing pain that we have the strength to remain quiet . . . so that the Lord can undo the evil that has been done.  We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Image from: http://sephardicguy.com/2011/10/02/gedaliah-who-is-he-why-do-we-fast/

Written on March 7, 2010.  Re-written and posted today as  Favorite.

For more on Ishmael and Gedaliah, go to: http://professorwillis.blogspot.com/2011/07/ishmael-and-ammonites-murder-gedaliah.html

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

mizpah

Ruins of Mizpah

Jeremiah 40

Points of View

More intrigue follows as the Babylonians establish their control over the city and her people.

“The Judeans who remained in Palestine rallied around Gedaliah, who ass governor stood for a policy of obedience to Babylon, and prospered. But their prospects were undermined by his assassination. Especially because Babylonian soldiers were among those slain, this act had the appearance of rebellion. It caused consternation among the survivors because of the reaction they expected from the Babylonians.

“What motivated the assassination? The perpetrator, Ishmael, was a member of the Judean royal house and during the war had been a freedom fighter . . . Thus, it is possible that this act was a last gasp of the old party struggle. Given the magnitude of Judah’s defeat in 587, this was less likely am attempt to assume leadership than an act of revenge. From one point of view, Gedaliah, like Jeremiah, could be considered a traitor”. (Mays 573)

It is likely that each of us has lived through an overthrow of some kind. A takeover may have occurred in our workplace, with our family, or perhaps in our civil community. No matter the size of the revolution or occupation, a traitor and hero may be one in the same person; collaborators and companions may be difficult to discern. In the end, our point of view will determine how we record an event and how we react afterward.

As Jesus walks among us he constantly asks that we consider the other point of view, listen to the other voice, make room for the other perspective. God’s kingdom is inclusive of all – even those we believe to be our enemies. So as we go about our daily life, let us consider the point of view in which we have planted ourselves. And let us be open to the Gedeliahs and the Ishmaels in our midst.

For more on the murder of Gedaliah, visit: http://professorwillis.blogspot.com/2011/07/ishmael-and-ammonites-murder-gedaliah.html 

For more on Gedaliah, a little known figure, click on the image of Mizpah above, or visit: http://obscurecharacters.com/2013/11/11/gedaliah-nebuchadnezzars-governor/ 

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 573. Print.

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