Jeremiah – Chapter 33

More Prophecies in Prison

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d spoke to Jeremiah again, while he was still in prison. G-d said that if Jeremiah prayed to Him, He would answer and He would tell him important things.

G-d spoke about the houses of Jerusalem and the palaces of the kings of Judah, which were razed to make mounds for warfare with the Kasdim (Chaldeans) and to reinforce the city wall against the invaders. The houses had to be demolished because the Jews insisted on fighting the Kasdim, rather than accepting them as their conquerors as G-d had said. The former sites of these houses are now graves for those killed in battle. G-d allowed this because of the people’s evil deeds, but He will ultimately heal them and bring peace. The captives of Judah and Israel will return and be established as they had been before. They will be purified of their sins and G-d will forgive them.

When this happens, it will be a kiddush Hashem – a sanctification of G-d’s Name among the nations of the world, who will tremble before Him. Then, the desolate cities of Judah and streets of Jerusalem will once again ring with the sounds of rejoicing and weddings and people thanking G-d for His goodness. They will bring sacrifices to the Temple to thank G-d because He will have restored the exiles to their homeland. Jerusalem, which had been made desolate of both people and animals, will once again be home to shepherds and their flocks. In the Negev, in the territory of Benjamin, and throughout the rest of Judah, flocks will once again pass under the hand of a loving shepherd – not only literally, but metaphorically, as the people are returned under the rule of a righteous king. (Presumably, this refers to the Messianic era, as the period of the Second Temple had no Davidic king.)

Days are coming, G-d says, when He will fulfill the good things He has promised. He will establish the offspring of David (i.e., the Messiah), who will perform acts of justice and righteousness. Judah and Jerusalem will be safe and secure; they will be called “G-d is our Righteousness.” (This is also a name used for the Messiah in chapter 23.) G-d said that the Davidic dynasty would never be completely cut off. Similarly, there will always be Kohanim (priests) from the Tribe of Levi to perform the Temple service.

G-d continued: Just as His arrangement with day and night, to proceed in their proper times, cannot be broken, similarly His covenant with David cannot be broken. Just like the stars and the grains of sand cannot be counted, that’s how the house of David and the Leviim (Levites) will be increased. The people claim that G-d has rejected the royal family of David and the Priestly Levites. Not so! Like day and night, like Torah itself, these two families will endure! The family of David will continue to reign when the Jews are ultimately redeemed from their captivity.

More familiar verses: portions of verses 10 and 11 comprise the song “Od Yishama,” which is actually part of the Sheva Brachos, the Seven Benedictions recited at a wedding and the subsequent celebratory meals.

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