Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window or tab)
1. Do you find it easier to ignore or give advice? Why? What advice do you have on giving or asking advice?
2. Have you ever been entrusted with a secret which you (accidentally) passed on to others? Are there secrets you’ve never told? (Don’t start now.) Any secrets of yours you hope someone else is keeping?
3. Is Jeremiah reluctant to answer Zedekiah or is he simply negotiating (verses 14 and 15; compare Jesus’ predicament in Luke 22:66 and 67)? Why has Zedekiah neither killed him nor heeded his advice? What does he stand to lose either way?
4. What question does the king actually ask (verses 16 – 19)? What question do you deduce from Jeremiah’s answer? Is this message different from others in the past (see chapter 21:9, 10; chapter 32:3 – 5; chapter 34:2 – 5; chapter 38:2 and 3)?
5. Why is the king afraid to surrender (verse 19)? Who else is he afraid of (verses 16, 24 – 26)? What word fits Zedekiah’s situation?
6. Jeremiah says there is only one path to save the city (verses 17, 18, 20 – 23). Which path do you think he’ll take?
7. Was it right for Jeremiah to tell the officials a half-truth (verses 26, 27)? What would you have done?
8. Have you ever been in a no-win situation? If it looked like you would be “damned if you did and damned if you didn’t”, how did you decide the best way to lose?
9. Who do you know who shows interest in Christ time after time but never really takes the step of faith? What fears lie behind the mixed feelings? Do you have any mixed feelings about following God all the way? Explain.
10. Is the omission of true and relevant facts the same as lying? Do you always tell the whole truth, or is there a time for misleading silence, as in Jeremiah’s case?
Notes: Summary of Jeremiah’s Prison Experience
- He is arrested in the gate and committed to a dungeon on the false charge of treason (Jeremiah 37:11 – 15).
- He is released from the dungeon, but restricted to the court of the prison (Jeremiah 37:17 – 21).
- He is imprisoned in the cistern of Malkijah (Jeremiah 38:6).
- He is again released and kept in the prison court until the capture of the city (Jeremiah 38:17 – 28).
- He is carried in chains from Jerusalem by Nebuzar-adan (captain of the guard) being finally released at Ramah (Jeremiah 40:1 – 4).