Jeremiah 24:1-10

Submitted by admin on Wed, 2017-01-18 13:44.

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YHWH showed Jeremiah “two baskets of figs” positioned in front of his temple. He saw this vision after Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar had taken “Jeconiah [Jehoiachin] the son of Jehoiakim,” the “princes [high officials or members of the royal household] of Judah,” the “craftsmen,” and the “smiths,” artisans, or metalworkers (“prisoners and the rich” [LXX]) from Jerusalem as captives to Babylon. (24:1)

The figs in one of the baskets were exceptionally good, “like early figs” that are ripe in late May, June, or early July. In the other basket, the figs were very bad, so rotten that they were unfit to eat. (24:2)

YHWH is quoted as asking Jeremiah, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” He replied, “Figs, the good figs [are] very good, and the bad ones [are] very bad, so bad that they cannot be eaten.” (24:3)

Again Jeremiah received a “word” or message from YHWH. (24:4) “YHWH the God of Israel” revealed the significance of the figs in the two baskets. The “good figs” represented the “exiles of Judah” (the kingdom of Judah) whom he had sent away from Jerusalem (literally, “this place”) “for good” (or for their well-being) to the land of the Chaldeans. (24:5)

YHWH promised to “set [his] eye” upon the exiles “for good,” granting them his favorable attention so that it would go well for them, and to bring them back to their own land. He would “build them up,” causing them to flourish, and not “tear them down,” not bringing ruin to them. He would “plant them,” making them secure, and “not uproot” them. (24:6) YHWH would give them a “heart” or an inner inclination to “know” him as people wanting to do his will and having his approval. Upon their coming to know him as their God YHWH to whom they were devoted, his promise was, “And I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” They would repentantly return unreservedly to him with their exclusive devotion and love. (24:7)

The “bad figs” that were so bad or rotten that they could not be eaten represented the Judean king Zedekiah, his “princes” (members of the royal household or high officials), the “remnant of Jerusalem (residents who continued to live in the city after Jehoiachin and many others were taken as exiles to Babylon) and those remaining in [the] land (everyone who had not previously been exiled), and those residing in the land of Egypt,” including those who were exiled with King Jehoahaz and others who may have chosen to take refuge in Egypt. (24:8)

YHWH determined to deliver all of them up to experience punitive judgment. He would “give them over for trembling [with fear] [for scattering (LXX)], for evil [or calamity] to all the kingdoms of the earth, for reproach [or insult] and for a proverb [a parable or likeness (LXX)],” or as an example of what can happen to unfaithful ones, “for a taunt [an object of mockery (for hatred or as an object of hatred [LXX])], and for a curse [to indicate the nature of the malediction to befall the one or ones for whom the curse was meant], in all the places” to which he would drive or scatter them. (24:9) Against the disobedient people, YHWH would “send the sword” (of war), “famine” (food shortage resulting from military invasion and siege), “pestilence” (infectious disease from unsanitary conditions, lack of potable water, and a compromised immune system [“death” (LXX)]). They would then come to a complete end, ceasing to be in the land that YHWH had given “to them and to their fathers” or ancestors. (24:10)