Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window or tab)
1. Where are most of your ancestors and family buried? Where would you like to be buried?
2. What kind of funeral would you like: loud and brassy? quiet and somber? short and sweet? well-attended or family only?
3. What message does Jeremiah repeat to the rulers (verses 1 – 3)? Does this message seem like one addressed to a particular king, or a timeless message, applicable to all those in David’s royal line? Why?
4. What three oppressed groups of people are mentioned? What do they have in common (Exodus 22:21 – 24)? Why does the king’s security depend upon how he treats them?
5. Why is King Shallum also call Jehoahaz, to be pitied more than his father, Josiah (verses 10 – 12)? What happened to Jehoahaz (see 2 Kings 23:34, an event dated circa 609 BC)?
6. After his brother was deposed, Jehoiakim became king. For what did he use slave labor (verses 13 and 14)? What was his father (Josiah) like (verses 15 – 17)? How could such a good king have nasty sons?
7. Jehoiachin next ruled as king. What will happen to him (verses 24 – 27)? Did any of his descendents sit on the throne (verses 28 – 30; see also 2 Kings 24:15 – 17)?
8. If you were Zedekiah, what would you conclude from this sad replay of your family history? Through how many reigns has God been patient? Why does God wait so long to end the line?
9. Does God care about how governments rule? How did the early Christians feel about pagan kings (see 1 Timothy 2:1, 2; Romans 13:1 – 5)? How do you feel about the “kings” of today?
10. Which leader (church, civic or world) has made a great impact on you by their life? By their death?
11. How do you feel when a public champion of peace and justice (such as Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy or Gandhi) is assassinated? Do you hold any real hope that love is stronger than bullets?
12. As in Jeremiah’s time, leaders today usually set a tone for others. What positive tone or atmosphere are you setting in your home, job, school or church? Where might you have a negative impact?