Jun 26

Weapons and warfare

By Mark Morgan | Jeremiah

Weapons and warfare:

Weapons and warfare

The study of history is difficult. Written records do not always tell the whole picture (and some records don’t even tell the truth!), while archaeology can only analyse what is found. Altogether, this will always give us an incomplete picture. An example of this in relation to warfare is shown when some people conclude from archaeology that the Babylonians did not have bows. In such cases, the Bible can add to our knowledge as history written at the time, or even before the events took place. The Bible has a few references to bows and arrows being used by the Babylonians. One of them is the chilling warning found in Jeremiah 5:16 that “Their quiver is like an open grave” (see also Jeremiah 6:23 and Jeremiah 51:56). The threat of the attacking Chaldean army was very real.Continue reading

May 31

A king’s mother

By Mark Morgan | Jeremiah

A King's mother:

A king’s mother

When Jeremiah collected the loincloth that he had buried near the Euphrates (see the post “Jeremiah: priest or prophet?“), God gave him a message to deliver which included a reference to “the king and the queen mother” (Jeremiah 13:18).  We are not told who this refers to, so are there any other hints that can help us to work out who they were?Continue reading

May 06

Seals and signets

By Mark Morgan | Jeremiah

Seals and signets:

Seals and signets

When God challenged righteous Job to acknowledge his sovereignty, he said that the light of dawn makes the features of the landscape stand out in the same way as when clay is shaped under seals (Job 38:12-14).

Why use a seal?

Throughout the Bible we read of people sealing documents to make sure they were not changed. A scribe would use damp clay to form a seal, then press a carved object into it.  Anyone trying to tamper with the document would damage the impression left in the clay.Continue reading

Apr 20

How did he die?

By Mark Morgan | Jeremiah

How did he die?:

Jehoiakim’s death

As the end of the kingdom of Judah drew near, the empire of Babylon became an increasingly dangerous threat to Judah and the surrounding kingdoms.  Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, had agreed to serve Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, in the fourth year of his reign.[1]  However, after three years, he rebelled, probably believing that Nebuchadnezzar would be too busy with the various rebellions that were occurring in areas much closer to Babylon.  For quite a while it appeared that he was right, but after about four years the army of Babylon came.  Shortly afterwards, Jehoiakim was dead and his son Jeconiah (also known as Jehoiachin) had become king.Continue reading

Apr 06

Family friendships

By Mark Morgan | Jeremiah

Family friendships:

Family friendships

Personal friendships are a wonderful part of life, and faithful friendships help us enormously.  Family friendships, when members of one family are consistently friendly to another family, can help even more.

During the reigns of King Josiah and his sons, various members of two families are presented in the books of 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Jeremiah and Ezekiel with enough hints at connections to suggest that the families got on well together.

So who are these families?Continue reading

Mar 15

Sieges

By Mark Morgan | Jeremiah

Sieges: Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem (FreeBibleImages.org / Sweet Publishing http://freebibleimages.org/illustrations/jeremiah-cistern/ Slide 6)

Sieges in Bible times

Nations come and nations go.  Empires rise and empires fall.  Cities blossom and flourish, then moulder into dust.

When a nation has a leader with grand ideas and a strong desire for power, its neighbours must pay heed to their defences.  Armies swell and walls are built or strengthened to protect important cities.  Watchers are placed at borders and leaders must decide what defensive action is best.Continue reading

Feb 23

God’s cup of anger

By Mark Morgan | Jeremiah

Cup of anger: “Cup” by Firkin on OpenClipArt (https://openclipart.org/detail/282246/cup)

God’s cup of anger

Many prophets of God saw unusual sights and strange visions.  At times, it is hard to tell whether what they were seeing was real, a vision or a dream.

In Jeremiah 25:15-38, Jeremiah was given a cup – God’s cup of anger – to take to many different nations.  Verse 18 talks of the nations being ruined “as at this day”, which suggests that this part of the text was written some time after the prophecy was fulfilled.Continue reading

Jan 23

Languages around Israel

By Mark Morgan | Jeremiah

Languages around Israel:

Languages around Israel

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was trying to build an empire.  Defeating several small enemies one by one was going to be much easier for him than fighting a group of enemies who had banded together to fight a common enemy.  The nations around Israel knew this and were doing their best to fight King Nebuchadnezzar together.  They sent envoys to Jerusalem to meet together and arrange joint resistance.

But it wasn’t going to work.Continue reading

Dec 21

The stocks in the Bible

By Mark Morgan | Jeremiah

The stocks:

Comfort

Comfort is important to us.  To get comfortable, we will often be willing to spend a lot of money or work very hard – maybe even change our job or move to a different house, town or country. Some prophets, however, could not avoid the stocks in the Bible: it was all part of doing their job.

We do our best to avoid discomfort and expect others to do the same, so when we look at the lives of prophets in the Bible, the difference stands out.Continue reading

Dec 08

Priest or prophet?

By Mark Morgan | Jeremiah

Prophet or priest:

Jeremiah: priest or prophet?

Have you ever wondered what a prophet of God did when he wasn’t prophesying?

Of the people who we know as prophets, many seem to have been used by God on only a few occasions.  For example, Abraham, Oded (2 Chronicles 28:9), Uriah (Jeremiah 26:20) and various other prophets who aren’t even named.Continue reading

Nov 27

Silence?

By Mark Morgan | Jeremiah

Silence:

Arguments from silence

Often when we have a pet theory but little evidence, we will use arguments from silence.  We use the fact that something has not been reported as proof that it never happened or that the evidence we have should be ignored.  This is a very weak way of arguing, but sometimes we use it anyway.

However, it is also valuable at times to think of things about which the Bible is silent and what the reasons for the silence might be.  Today we will look at some events or facts which the book of Jeremiah does not mention.Continue reading

Nov 10

Marriage in the Bible

By Mark Morgan | Jeremiah

Marriage:

Marriage?

In the times of Jeremiah, God often used the picture of unfaithfulness in marriage, and even divorce, to show how terrible the behaviour of Israel and Judah was when they worshipped other gods.  This lesson has now lost its power in many countries of the world because unfaithfulness and adultery are not viewed as seriously as God views them.Continue reading