Thursday, January 28, 2016

Jeremiah's Prophecy of the Return of Jews to Israel

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                  
Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon 605-562 BCE, Conquerer all the lands from the Euphrates to the Egyptian frontier including Judah.  

Where was Babylon?  Is it Iraq?  It was known in the bible as the land of Shinar or of the Kasdim (Chaldees).  In Genesis it is regarded as the cradle of humanity and of the scene of the Tower of Babel-man's first revolt against G-d.  Abraham was born in the city of Ur of the Chaldeans, but migrated to Canaan where he later fought Amraphel, King of Shinar.  Ur today is in Iraq.
The Assyrians had already attacked Israel in 722 BCE and had led 10 of the 12 tribes away as slaves.  This left the tribe of Judah and some of the Benjaminites .  Then along came the Babylonians led by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 BCE and again in 586 BCE and destroyed the 1st Temple built by King Solomon.  This was the period that Jeremiah had been born into.
Jeremiah Painting by Michelangelo
"I will make Myself available to you----the word of HaShem (G-d)----and I will return your captivity and I will gather you in from all the nations and from all the places where I have dispersed you----the word of HaShem----and I will return you to the place from which I exiled you."

This has been now taking place in Israel. It took 2,000 years of patiently waiting.   From 650,000 Jews in 1948 to 6,000,000 today, Jews have been returning to the land of their origins.  The wonderful thing happening is that many from the 10 Lost Tribes from the days of the Assyrian attack back in 722 BCE  are returning, claiming to be from these lost tribes.  As anti-Semitism happens more and more in Europe, those Jews are finding refuge in returning to Israel such as the recent French and Swedish Jews.  Jeremiah saw it all happening.
Priests serving in the Temple of Solomon
Jeremiah lived in the 7th and 6th centuries BCE which would be sometime between 600 to 500 BCE.  He belonged to a priestly family of Anathoth near Jerusalem, and began to make prophecies in 625 BCE.

This means in today's DNA science that he must have had the Y haplotype of J1 and also J2, the Cohen gene.  Cohens were from the brother of Moses, Aaron.  It was Aaron who was chosen by Moses to be the High priest.  His sons were consecrated to the the Priesthood. Today's organization in the synagogue of men are the Cohens and the Levites and the Israelites.  Cohens have certain responsibilities.  What we notice the most is that they are the first to read from the Torah on Shabbat morning.  Then the Levites are called to read and after them, the Israelites.  There are also other responsibilities Cohens and Levites are expected to do.  Scientists have recently found  "indications that the majority of contemporary Jewish priests descend from a limited number of paternal lineages,"  or lines from Aaron.  " We find almost half of Jews today are descended from Aaron, brother of Moses  as they have the Cohen haplogroup gene, J1 and J2."

"Half of today's Kohanim (Jews knowing that they are Cohens in the synagogue) have the haplogroup of J1c3 or (J-P58). The Cohen I know personally is J1  (M267) and matches with J1c3d (L147.1) and J1c3-P58.   15% of the Kohanim today have the haplogroup of J2a (J-M410).  This line goes back a good 3,200 years to 4,200 years ago to Aaron, brother of Moses or his descendants who would have the same Ydna haplogroup but would have had time to pick up a few mutations.."  Therefore, Jeremiah was a Cohen from the priestly line.  Understandably,  he had inherited some special qualities of the gift of prophecy.  

His first prophecies were about scolding the nation of Israel for idolatry practices that he found going on.  After King Josiah's reform in 621 BCE, (637-608 BCE) he warned the nation to keep the covenant then made with G-d.

His prophecies were gloomy, and this aroused bitter resentment, but during the reigns of King Jehoiakim or  originally called Eliakim , depicted by Jeremiah as a tyranical oppressor, and died while Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonians in 598 BCE, (608-598 BCE) and King Zedekiah  or originally called Mattaniah (597-586 BCE) , he found, others starting to understand what he was saying and came over to his side.  He then found supporters among leading personalities and priests.  One was Baruch, a member of a prominent family who then joined him as a faithful friend and scribe.  

Jehoiakim 608-598 BCE- was the son of Josiah, made king by Pharaoh Necoh in succession to his brother Jehoahaz.
Jehoiachin 598-597 BCE-  was son of Jehoiakim and reined in 597 BCE, became king during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, lasted for 3 months and 10 days when only 18 years old, then capitulated to Nebuchadnezzar and taken to Babylon.  He had to remain in detention  for a long time.  His original name was either Coniah or Jeconiah.
Zedekiah-597-586 BCE  was the son of King Josiah of 637-608 BCE , and was appointed king by Nebuchadnezzar at age 21 to succeed the exiled  King Jehoiachin.  Because he had conspired with Egypt against Babylon finally, Babylon invaded Judah and captured Jerusalem.  He was put on trial by Nebuchadnezzar, his sons were killed in front of him and  he was blinded by having his eyes put out, then kept in prison until he died.  It's in the Book of Kings II 25 and Jer. 52.

Nebuchadnezzar became King of Babylonia  and took the Babylonian throne in 605 BCE. Jeremiah said he would conquer Judah. Judah was the southern part of Israel that consisted of the land allotted to the tribe of Judah.   The king of Judah then, King Jehoiakim, was upset because this prophecy could have a negative affect on his people, like a self-fufilling prophecy, and so he ordered Jeremiah's arrest.  This caused Jeremiah to go into hiding until the country had actually submitted to Nebuchadnezzar that very next year in 597 BCE.

King Zedekiah (597-586 BCE), Judah's last real king, had admired Jeremiah a great deal, but he hadn't followed his advice.  He went ahead a joined into an anti-Babylonian alliance.  Jeremiah then foretold of Judah's coming defeat and advocated to surrender now.  King Zedekiah put him in prison for that statement for a short period, and then had him consigned to a pit, being saved by Zedekiah's personal regard for him.

After the fall of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar's officials, aware of Jeremiah's pro-Babylonian attitude, accorded him protection.

 At this time, the Governor of Judah was a man named Gedaliah.  He was from a noble Jewish family and was appointed by the Babylonians as the governor.  The population was allowed to remain in Judah after the 586 BCE when the 1st Temple was destroyed.  Gedaliah  set up the seat of his administration at Mizpah.   Then Gedaliah was murdered by the commander,  Ishmael ben Nethaniah.  He and his followers were apparently planning a revolt against Babylon with their neighbors, and the panicky survivors of this attack forced Jeremiah and Baruch to go with them to Egypt where they were going to seek refuge as outlaws.  This slaughter of Gedaliah was tragic because it destroyed any hope of holding a Jewish community together in Judah after the Babylonian conquest.  Jews today have a fast on the day after Rosh ha-Shanah (Tishri 3) to remember the assassination of Gedaliah.

Jeremiah's last recorded prophecy was a condemnation of the Egyptian Jews for their idol-worship.

His subsequent history has been the subject of Jewish and Christian legends.  Jewish tradition says that he was the author of of the Book of Kings in the Bible, and possibly even Lamentations.  Evidently Baruch had taken dictation from Jeremiah and then were put together in the Book of Jeremiah, which was in a section of the Latter Prophets in the Bible.  His book consists of 52 chapters from 1-18,and his prophecies that were mostly from the time of King Josiah;  19-36 that were prophecies and a narrative from many periods mostly from the rein of King Jehoiakim, King Jehoiachin and King Zedekiah; 37-44 which was a historical narrative from the time of Zedekiah to the journey into Egypt;  45-51 that consisted of many prophecies mostly concerning other nations; and 52 that was a recapitulation of the last chapter of  the Book of Kings.

The Book of Jeremiah was edited by Baruch., who was Jeremiah's scribe.  It was Baruch who read the prophecies to the people of Jerusalem (jer. 36.).    There are variant readings between the masoretic text ( is the authoritative Hebrew and Aramaic text of the Tanakh for Rabbinic Judaism) .and the  Septuagint (Greek Translation of the Hebrew) evidence of subsequent re-editing. (The Septuagint Old Testament, because (1) It represents a translation of an older Hebrew text, (2) It includes books not found in the Masoretic text. It's something used by Christians. ) The final  edition has been placed in the 2nd century BCE which would be the time of Roman occupation in Jerusalem.  .

Resource: The New Standard Jewish encyclopedia

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