Jeremiah 21

DateVersionReading Plan
@July 13, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


  • Jerusalem will fall to Nebuchadnezzar
  • Message to the house of David


The chapter opens with Zedekiah, king of Judah, sending messengers, Pashur and Zephaniah, to inquire of the Lord that He would compel the king of Babylon to relent from his attack. Pashur is a different Pashur from Jer. 20:1 and Zephaniah was the successor of the priest, Jehoiada.

Jeremiah addresses them beginning in Jer. 21:3 and it is certainly not the message they had hoped. God will limit their defenses against attack (Jer. 21:4), driving them back into a tightly knit cordon within the walls (Jer. 21:4) and will also fight against them Himself “with outstretched hand and strong arm” (Jer. 21:5). The devastation will be intense and those who survive the pestilence will be given over to the king of Babylon who will strike them with the sword without compassion (Jer. 21:7).

In Jer. 21:8, Jeremiah then tells them that the LORD has set before them “the way of life and the way of death”. Those who willingly go into exile to Babylon will have his life “as a prize of war” but those who stay will “die by the sword” (Jer. 21:9).

The remaining verses (Jer. 21:11-14) are a message to the “house of David” (the house of the king of Judah) in a time when repentance and righteousness would still have reversed the threatened judgment of God. The LORD declares His opposing position to the people and that He will punish them according to the “fruit of your deeds”, referring to their continual idolatry and refusal to repent.


Jeremiah remains faithful to the Lord in his speaking to king Zedekiah and his house despite the unfavorable content. They wanted him to appeal for God’s mercy and be given a word of reprieve but Jeremiah did not falter from God’s true message of destruction.

Bringing this into our context, I think about how difficult it is for us to be equally true to God’s message of salvation. The hope of the gospel is only hope to those who are healthily crushed by the truth of eternal damnation apart from faith in Christ. People need to hear this message and I have been commissioned to deliver it with both love and resolve. It is a test of my faith every time I encounter such an opportunity. Will I stay silent or will I boldly proclaim the love of Christ, of Him crucified for sin, trusting in the Spirit’s ability to use my words to redeem and renew hearts?

Scripture Journal Notes

Commentaries & Resources