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Judah's Sceptre and Joseph's Birthright #16

The Royal Remnant that Escapes


JUDAH'S SCEPTRE AND JOSEPH'S BIRTHRIGHT #16

by J.H.Allen (published in 1917)


A ROYAL REMNANT THAT ESCAPES


     When Nebuzar-adan, the captain of the Chaldean guard, gave
Jeremiah privilege to go where he pleased, and provided him with
all that was needful for the journey, the record further
declares: "Then went Jeremiah unto Gedeliah, the son of Ahikam,
to Mizpah, and dwelt with him among the people that were left in
the land." (Jer.40:6.) The next verse of the same chapter states
that the people who were still in the land were "the poor of the
land, of them that were not carried away captive to Babylon."
This Gedeliah, the son of Ahikam, was the man whom the King of
Babylon had made governor of what little there was left in Judea;
for he had taken the masses of the people into captivity to
Babylon and made servants of them.
     It seems that, since the capital city of Judea was now
destroyed, Gedeliah had been compelled to set up a provincial
government in some other city and had chosen Mizpah. Also, when
the refugees from among the Jews who had fled into Moab, Ammon
and Edom heard that the King of Babylon had left a remnant in
Judea and had set a governor over them, then they returned and
put themselves under him. So also did the several captains of
small outlying forces until, all told, there was quite a goodly
number in this remnant, as it was called.

     But the little province did not prosper long, for the King
of Ammon entered into a plot with Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah,
to assassinate its new governor. Johanan, the son of Kareah,
discovered this plot and told Gedeliah. At the same time he
offered to slay secretly this Ishmael, the would-be assassin; but
Gedeliah would not permit it, would not believe Johanan's story,
and accused him of speaking falsely concerning Ishmael.
     However, it was only a short time until the plot was
successfully carried out; for Ishmael and nine of his
confederates slew not only the governor, but all the Chaldeans,
all the men of war, and all the Jews that were with him. His
object in all this was that he might easily make captives of the
rest of the people, who were unarmed, and carry them away into
Ammon to increase and strengthen the kingdom of the Ammonites.
     To show that this was the object, we quote the full text of
the tenth verse of the forty-first chapter of Jeremiah. Still it
is not of any very special interest to us to know that such was
his object, but there is something in that text which is of the
greatest possible interest to us. The reason for Jeremiah's going
to Mizpah is there. The key to the possible fulfillment of
Jehovah's promise to David is there. The possibilities of the 
success of Jeremiah's commission are there. The Divine support to
our faith and an opening door for the complete vindication of God
are there.


"Then Ishmael carried away captive all the residue of the people
that were in Mizpah, even the King's Daughters, and all the
people that remained in Mizpah, whom Nebuzar-adan, the captain of
the guard, had committed to Gedeliah, the son of Ahikam; and
Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, carried them away captive and
departed to go over to the Ammonites."

     What "The King's daughters?" we hear you exclaim.

     Yes; but wait until we shall gather into one focus a few
other points, and then we can see the way perfectly clear for
Jeremiah to finish completely his God-given task.

     When Johanan and the other captains of the fighting forces
heard what Ishmael had done they gathered themselves together,
started in pursuit and overtook him at Gibeon. At this juncture
the Scripture says: "Now it came to pass that when all the people
which were with Ishmael saw Johanan, the son of Kareah, and all
the captains of the forces that were with him, then they were
glad. So all the people that Ishmael had carried away captive
from Mizpah cast about and returned, and went unto Johanan, the
son of Kareah. But Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, escaped from
Johanan with eight men and went unto the Ammonites." (Jer.41:13,
15.)
     After Johanan had retaken this captive company, and Ishmael,
the traitor, had escaped, then he became afraid of the Chaldeans,
and feared that the King of the Chaldean Empire, Nebuchadnezzar,
who had placed Gedeliah over them, would, upon hearing what
Ishmael had done, send his army and destroy them. So, under the
distress and despair of the hour, Johanan, who was now their
recognized leader, with all the captains and the people, from the
least unto the greatest, made an appeal unto the prophet of God,
"and said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our
supplication be accepted before thee, and now pray for us unto
the Lord thy God, even for all this remnant (for we are left but
a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us); that the Lord thy God
may show us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we
may do."
     In reply to this appeal Jeremiah told them that he would
pray for them and inquire of the Lord for them, but that they
must obey the Lord; for he would tell them just what the Lord
said, whether it was good or bad, and that he would keep nothing
back. To which they replied: "Whether it be good, or whether it
be evil, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God, to whom we
send thee; that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of
the Lord our God." Then Jeremiah besought the Lord, and the Lord
heard and gave instructions. Among other things the Lord told him
to say to them, "Be not afraid of the King of Babylon, of whom ye
are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the Lord; for I am with
you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand." He also told
them not to go down to Egypt, as was their intention, thinking
they would be safe if they placed themselves under the protection
of the King of Egypt.
     Furthermore, he told them that if they did go to Egypt the
very thing which they feared would come upon them, and they
should be destroyed, saying: "If ye wholly set your faces to
enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there, then it shall come to
pass that the sword which ye feared shall overtake you there in
the land of Egypt, and the famine whereof ye were afraid shall
follow close after you there in Egypt, and there shall ye die."

     The Lord also told Jeremiah that these people were
dissembling in their hearts, when they sent him to pray for them
and to make their request. So we are not surprised that it is
recorded that Johanan said unto Jeremiah: "Thou speakest falsely:
the Lord our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to
sojourn there: But Baruch, the son of Neriah, setteth thee
against us, for to deliver us into the hands of the Chaldeans,
that they might put us to death, and carry us away captive into
Babylon."
     Neither are we surprised to read the result, which is
recorded as follows: "But Johanan, the son of Kareah, and all the
captains of the forces took all the remnant of Judah that were
returned from all the nations whither they had been driven, to
dwell in the land of Judah; even men, women and children, and the
KING'S DAUGHTERS, and every person that Nebuzaradan, the captain,
had left with Gedeliah, the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan,
and JEREMIAH, the prophet, and Baruch, the son of Neriah. So they
came into the land of Egypt; for they obeyed not the voice of the
Lord. Thus came they even to Tahpanhes." (Jer.43:5-8.)

     Baruch, the scribe, was the companion of Jeremiah in prison,
when the Lord took them out and hid them. He was also his
companion in persecution and affliction and accusation. Now,
since we find his name mentioned as one of this company which
Johanan compelled to go to Egypt against the direct command of
God, there is just one prophecy concerning him which we need to
mention before we proceed further. It is as follows: "Thus saith
the Lord, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch: Behold, that
which I have built will I break down, and that which I have
planted I will pluck up, even this whole land, * * * but thy life
will I give unto thee for a prey (booty or reward) in all places
whither thou goest." (Jer.45:2,4,5.)
     Furthermore, when that company had reached Egypt and were at
Tahpanhes, the Lord again used Jeremiah to prophesy concerning
their destruction, and also concerning the King of Babylon and
his coming against Pharaoh-Hophra, the King of Egypt, and many
other matters; but we will only give a small portion - that which
pertains to the destiny of the people whose history we are
following.
     The prophecy opens with these words: "The word that came to
Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell in the land of
Egypt." Note carefully the following: "I will take the remnant of
Judah, that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to
sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed, and fall in the
land of Egypt; they shall even be consumed by the sword and by
the famine; they shall die, from the least even unto the
greatest, by the sword and by the famine; and they shall be an
execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach."   
(Jer.44:12.)
     The complete destruction of that company is foretold in
those words; yet the Lord has in that company a few persons whose
lives he has promised shall be spared. So, before the prophecy
continues much further the following proviso is given: "None
shall return but such as shall escape." (Verse 14.)
     And before the prophecy is ended abundant provision is made
for the very few whom God has promised shall live. Hence we find
in the prophecy as it continues the following: "Behold I shall
watch over them for evil, and not for good; and all the men of
Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the
sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them. Yet a
small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land
of Egypt."
     Remember that the masses of the house of Judah, of the
Jewish people, were in captivity in Babylon, where they were to
stay for seventy years. Also remember that this remnant which
came into Egypt were only the ragged end of the nation, i. e.,
the poor of the land, and a few captains of small military
forces. Now, the Lord proposes to destroy this rag-tag remnant,
out of which "a small number shall escape." Now, let us take our
bearings.

1. We have in this company, which has come down into Egypt from
Judea, "the King's daughters." Since the plural form of speech is
used there are at least two of them - history says there were
three. These are the royal seed of the house of David, who are
fleeing from the slayers of their father, Zedekiah, the last King
of the house of Judah, and the slayers of their brothers, the
sons of Zedekiah and princes of Judah.

2. In company with these princesses is Jeremiah, their
grandfather, whom also the Lord has chosen to do the work of
building and planting. In the princesses the prophet has royal
material with which to build and plant.

3. In company with Jeremiah and his royal charge we have Baruch,
his faithful scribe, whom expert genealogists prove to have been
uncle to the royal seed.

4. God has promised that the lives of this "small number," only
five or six at most, shall be to them a prey (reward) in all
lands whither they shall go.

5. Prior to this, at a time when Jeremiah was greatly troubled,
when in his great distress and anguish of heart he cried unto the
Lord, saying: "Remember me, visit me, and revenge me of my
persecutors"; then the Lord said, "Verily it shall be well with
thy remnant; verily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well
in the time of evil and in the time of affliction. And I will
make thee to pass with thine enemies into a land which thou
knowest not."  (Jer.15:11-14.) 


     Note the expression "thy remnant," i. e., Jeremiah's, for it
is he who must build and plant that royal seed. Understand also
that Jeremiah and his little remnant were well acquainted with
Egypt, and since it was well known to them it could not have been
their final destination. Hence, this escaping royal remnant must
journey back to Judea, and then - whither?

     "Into an unknown land!" Why? "For out of Jerusalem shall go
forth a remnant, and they that escape out of Mount Zion (on which
were the royal dwellings). The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do
this. And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah
(royal line) shall again take root downward and bear fruit
upward." (Isa.37:32-31.)

     Hear it! O hear it! Ye men of earth, HEAR IT! "Shall again
take root downward" - be planted! "and bear fruit upward" - be
builded! Where? God should tell us where in His Word, and he
does.
..........

To be continued

NOTE:

WHAT A STORY! WHAT A WORKING FROM THE LORD! HE WILL BE TRUE TO
HIS WORD, TO HIS PROMISE TO DAVID.

ARE YOU BEGINNING TO SEE HOW THE ETERNAL IS GOING TO KEEP DAVID'S
THRONE ALIVE ON THIS EARTH?


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