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Jeremiah 52:31-34 – A Future for Israel

Summary

Hope for Israelite exiles is expressed in the final verses of Jeremiah.

Analysis

The final verses of Jeremiah can be dated in 560/561 B.C.E., some twenty-six years after the destruction of Jerusalem, which is the subject of the prior verses in this chapter. The interest focuses on the Davidic king Jehoiachin, who reigned in Jerusalem briefly before he was taken into exile (598-597 B.C.E.). The text reports that he was pardoned by the Babylonian king, perhaps as part of a general amnesty. He was released from prison, given a special standing, and treated with respect.

It is disputed whether the final verses of Jeremiah (virtually identical to the final verses of 2 Kings) hold out hope for Israel's future. A hopeful word is certainly not very explicit. Yet, positive promissory words are found earlier in Jeremiah with respect to the future of the Davidic dynasty (23:5-6; 30:8-9; 33:14-26; see 3:15). The Davidic dynasty was still alive in exile. When that reality is combined with other promises of God with respect to Israel's future, this conclusion seems to carry some elements of hope.

Jeremiah 52:31-34

Jehoiachin Favoured in Captivity

31 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, King Evil-merodach of Babylon, in the year he began to reign, showed favour to King Jehoiachin of Judah and brought him out of prison; 32he spoke kindly to him, and gave him a seat above the seats of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 33So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes, and every day of his life he dined regularly at the king’s table. 34For his allowance, a regular daily allowance was given him by the king of Babylon, as long as he lived, up to the day of his death.

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