Unpacking the Old Testament: Jeremiah

Taken from CatholicExchange.com
by Dr. Mark Giszczak

Unpacking the Old Testament: Jeremiah

Welcome to Unpacking the Old Testament, the new series by CatholicBibleStudent.com‘s Dr. Mark Giszczak. Dr. Giszczak is here to help us all come to a richer understanding of what can otherwise be a very daunting collection of books, the Old Testament.

First Reading for this Sunday, August 18: Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10.

Historical Context

This reading from Jeremiah offers a portrait of bad leadership and good friendship. The city of Jerusalem is surrounded by the Babylonian armies. Jeremiah has prophesied to the people that those who stay and fight will lose their lives, but those who surrender to the Babylonians will be spared (Jer 38:2).

Instead of heeding the Lord’s advice to surrender given through the prophet, the top officials of the Jerusalem court approach the king with a contrary message. They claim that Jeremiah’s message is “demoralizing,” or literally, “weakening the hands” of the Judahite soldiers. So they ask King Zedekiah to punish Jeremiah with a slow and painful death by having him cast into a cistern.

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