Jeremiah – Chapter 21

Only Tzidkiyahu Can Prevent Forest Fires

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

King Tzidkiyahu sent Jeremiah two kohanim (priests), Tzefanya and Pashchur the son of Malkiya. (This is a different Pashchur from the one that imprisoned Jeremiah in the previous chapter. That one was the son of Imeir.) These two kohanim asked Jeremiah to speak to G-d about Nebuchadnezzar, who was gearing up to attack them. They hoped that G-d would come to their defense and drive away the Babylonian army. Jeremiah sent them back to the king with a message that G-d would abandon them; He would allow the Babylonians and the Kasdim (Chaldeans) to take the city. G-d will battle against the Jews with great anger, striking down man and beast with a plague.

After this, King Tzidkiyahu, his servants, and the people who remain in Jerusalem, will be spared from the plague and the sword, to be taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar, who will kill some and exile others, as he sees fit. G-d tells Jeremiah to say that He places before them two paths: one of life and one of death. Whoever stays in the city will die, but whoever turns himself over to the Kasdim will live. Jerusalem will fall to the Babylonians and Nebuchadnezzar will burn it with fire.

G-d now addresses the king and his court through Jeremiah. He reminds the king of his righteous ancestor, David, and says that instead of eating and drinking in the morning, they should first execute justice and help the oppressed. If not, G-d’s anger will burn like fire against them. He stands opposed to Jerusalem, ready to pay them according to their deeds, consuming the city and those around it like a fire does to a forest.

Download Audio File