Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window or tab)
1. Has your vehicle ever gotten stuck in the mud or snow? How did you get out?
2. What is your favorite odd item of clothing? Why are you attached to it?
3. Why does this “gang of four” have it in for Jeremiah (verses 1 – 4; chapter 21:1; chapter 37:3)?
4. How and why does Zedekiah appear “wimpish” (verses 5, 6, 10)? Why not just kill Jeremiah outright? In using a cistern so publicly accessible (verse 6), what might the king be secretly hoping?
5. Who stands up for Jeremiah and why (verses 7 – 9; see also chapter 39:18)? Why the details about the 30 men and the old rags?
6. Is this a retelling of the same story in chapter 37:16 – 21? Has Jeremiah been thrown in different cisterns or the same one twice? Why do you think so?
7. Are you “stuck in the mud” or “climbing the walls” right now? Is it from . . .
- an accident?
- all work, no play?
- an enemy?
- having no friends?
What would be solid ground for you now?
8. What has been your spiritual low point? Where did you receive help? Were any “old rags” or trusted friends used in your rescue?
9. Like King Zedekiah, do you come off as “everyone’s friend”, even “wishy-washy”? Explain.
10. What are you (and your church) doing for the human rights of political prisoners and detainees?
1. Jeremiah was arrested during the long, final siege of Jerusalem – a time when food became so scarce some Israelites resorted to cannibalism. The prophet could have easily starved to death. Interestingly, only a foreigner cared enough to go to the king and convince him to let Jeremiah out of the well. For this, Ebed-melech (Ebed-Melek) received a special message from God (chapter 39:15 – 18).
2. King Zedekiah was afraid of the nobles who had been brought into power by his wicked brother, Jehoiakim. Although Zedekiah wished to be a good king, his weakness and fear not only made him ineffective but also caused him to be actually a bad king. Jehoiakim had been hampered in some of his evil ways by the good nobles whom his father (Josiah) had put in power. But by the end of his reign, Jehoiakim had succeed in replacing most of them with the wicked men who now controlled Zedekiah.