13 October 2011

"So Eded-melech left the king's house and spoke to the king, 'My lord king, these men have acted wickedly in all they did to the prophet Jeremiah ...'" (vv. 8-9a)


This reading is almost a repeat of yesterday's passage. Jeremiah refuses to keep his mouth shut, and his warnings become ever more strident and urgent. Zedekiah's courtiers lose all patience with him (and with Zedekiah, who they know has been protecting Jeremiah). This time Jeremiah is flung into the water-storage tank, whose bottom is covered with mud. Zedekiah's comment is fascinating: clearly he knows his opinions carry no weight with the guards!

It is a foreigner who intervenes on Jeremiah's behalf, an Ethiopian named Ebed-Melech. Although food supplies are now at an all-time low, Ebed-Melech is outraged that Jeremiah should be left to die alone in such awful circumstances. Jeremiah is lifted out of the cistern and again entrusted to the guard.

To Ponder

The story of Ebed-Melech is echoed in the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). God's compassion is conveyed by someone who does not belong, and from whom it was not expected. To what extent is this a recurring biblical theme?

Even when the situation is close to catastrophe there is still room for care and generosity. In your discipleship where can you show care and generosity? And to whom?

Bible notes author: The Revd Dr John Ogden

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