Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Jeremiah Chapter 38
Metaphysically Interpreting Jeremiah 38:1-6
38:1And Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchijah, heard the words that Jeremiah spake unto all the people, saying, 38:2Thus saith Jehovah, He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey, and he shall live. 38:3Thus saith Jehovah, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it. 38:4Then the princes said unto the king, Let this man, we pray thee, be put to death; forasmuch as he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt. 38:5And Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand; for the king is not he that can do anything against you. 38:6Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchijah the king's son, that was in the court of the guard: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire; and Jeremiah sank in the mire.
Metaphysically Interpreting Jeremiah 38:7-13
38:7Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon (the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin,)38:8Ebed-melech went forth out of the king's house, and spake to the king, saying, 38:9My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is like to die in the place where he is, because of the famine; for there is no more bread in the city. 38:10Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die. 38:11So Ebed-melech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took thence rags and worn-out garments, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. 38:12And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now these rags and worn-out garments under thine armholes under the cords. And Jeremiah did so. 38:13So they drew up Jeremiah with the cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.
August 27, 1905: Jeremiah 38:1-13
Jeremiah, the prophet is that in us which discerns the working of the law. We know that transgressed law brings its own punishment. “As a man soweth so shall he also reap,” is true everywhere, and it is the prophet of the Lord that sees it particularly true in the lives of men. It is the prophet in us that often warns and keeps us from transgressing the law, because we discern what the result will be.
The gift of prophecy is greatly prized and much sought after. Those who can tell the future are supposed to be endowed with supernatural ability. But in the light of spiritual facts, prophecy becomes rational. In the mind all things are now accomplished. If you decide to go on a journey, it is completed in your mind before you begin to travel with your body. So all things are completed in mind as soon as conceived, and a mind reader can tell the result of certain thoughts, because they are already in process of fulfillment, and he sees their climax. The period of generative thinking with most people is from the age of fifteen to forty years. After that the crop is so heavy that nearly all the thought energy is required in taking care of it. The ability to prophesy has its disadvantages. If you see the result of evil coming upon you, and are beset on all sides by enemies seeking to take advantage of your weakness, as were the Israelites in this lesson, it is doubly weakening to be talking about the coming peril, and fearing it.
The esoteric meaning of the names of the four sons, mentioned in verse 1, is of judgment and perfection. These warn the king, or ruler in consciousness, that this continual prophecy of death, famine and pestilence “weakeneth the hands of all people, in speaking such words unto them.” They demanded that the prophet be suppressed, which was done, and he was put into a dungeon of mire and slime. This means that when we see the evil of our deeds coming upon us, we sink our spiritual perception down into darkness and materiality by talking about and fearing the results.
The Ethiopian eunuch who saved Jeremiah represents the impartial natural law constantly at work in the subjective consciousness readjusting the errors of thought. The old cast-off clouts and rotten rags used in the rescue, represent the negative, poverty-stricken conditions existing in that part of the consciousness. For instance, an angry thought in the mind may be reflected into the subjective and free itself in a boil on the body. It is a mighty rotten and ragged way to get out of an error thought, but it is better than suffering internal pains; so the subconsciousness works out for us many an error, which we name disease, but which is in reality a safety valve for our evil thinking.
– UNITY magazine.
June 11, 1922: Jeremiah 38:4-13
What does the conflict between the Israelites and the Babylonians represent? It represents the conflict between truth and error, Spirit and matter, mind and body.
Why did Jeremiah (spiritual discernment) prophesy disaster for Israel? Jeremiah saw that the Israelites had not been loyal to God, and were not strong enough to hold out against onslaughts of the Babylonians.
The context of this lesson reveals that Jeremiah advised the king to make friends with his enemies. Why was this advice given? When there is conflict between states of consciousness, they must be unified, by one or the other making concessions. Resistance always leads to destruction. Jesus advised: “Agree with thine adversary quickly.”
Why did not Zedekiah, the king, follow the advice of Jeremiah? Because Zedekiah, who represents the will, settled back into stubbornness, and became indifferent to Truth.
What effect do prophecies of evil have upon people? Prophecies of evil put fear into the hearts of the people and they are weakened. “He weakeneth the hands of the men of war.”
When the executive powers of the mind (princes) see this, what is their feeling? They insist that the spiritual urge to harmony (Jeremiah) be suppressed.
What is the result of the suppression of Jeremiah, the prophet? Negative words bring about, not only suppression, but imprisonment in material consciousness, as represented by the dungeon, or the abandoned well, into which Jeremiah was put.
What does Ebed-melech represent? Ebed-melech represents the king's servant or the king's thought, as it went out and helped to rescue Jeremiah.
Was the relenting of the will (king) sufficient to harmonize the within and the without? No. A subsequent chapter relates that the city held out, for a time, but was finally captured, and that nearly all its people were destroyed.
What should we learn from this lesson? We should learn to relax the will and all stubbornness, and to open ourselves to the spirit of love and harmony, which really exists everywhere, both within and without. “Not my will, but thine, be done.”
June 2, 1929: Jeremiah 38:4-13
Judging by the general trend of Jeremiah’s writings, how should we class Jeremiah among the prophets? Jeremiah lived in a period in which the Israelites were sorely harassed by their enemies; they were reaping the result of their erroneous thinking and doing. They had not kept the commandments of Jehovah; consequently evil days had come upon them. Jeremiah was overwhelmed by the mental darkness and disaster which he perceived must follow. He is known as the “sorrowful prophet.”
Should one who has mental discernment, who can read out of the law, allow his spiritual power to be swamped by impending disaster and seemingly inescapable results of wrong thinking? The true prophet minimizes the evil days that seem to be impending and, like Elijah, sees a heavenly host and brings to bear his spiritual power, to the end that impending disaster may be turned into safety.
Did not Jeremiah see and advise a plan of escape? Disaster was so dominant in the mind of Jeremiah that he advised surrender to the enemy as the only means of escape.
Did Jeremiah's negative prophecies come to pass? According to history the prophecies of Jeremiah were fulfilled and disaster came to the Israelites as he had foretold.
Would it have been possible for the Israelites to overcome the enemy through the power of Spirit? The history of all the prophets who have spiritual discernment and faith in the higher power, proves that there is a spiritual force that will extricate from every difficulty those who trust its superpower and who declare the law of Spirit in thought and in word.
Can a condition be imagined where it would be wise to surrender to error? Yes, there are conditions where one may temporarily surrender to error for the purpose of finally overcoming it. Jesus is the great example for all men who are passing from the natural to the spiritual consciousness. He surrendered to the enemy, was apparently killed, but He resurrected His body, and thus demonstrated that death can be overcome. He said, “Suffer it to be so now.”
Was there any saving grace in Jeremiah's advice to the Israelites to surrender to the enemy? Jeremiah seemingly had no faith in the power of God to deliver the children of Israel. He thought that their sins were beyond redemption.
How did Jeremiah's negative teaching react upon him? As a result of his negative thought, Jeremiah was put into an abandoned well and left to starve.
What kind of thought was instrumental in rescuing Jeremiah from the material thought that overwhelmed him? Jeremiah was rescued by the intervention of an Ethiopian servant. The Ethiopian servant represents the eternal goodness which is at work in our behalf even when we are down in the mud of materiality and misery. We call this eternal goodness the restoring power of nature.
May 20, 1945: Jeremiah 38:5-13
When in unquestioned ascendancy, sense consciousness causes men to reject spiritual faith and try to do away with it. The princes of Judah informed on Jeremiah and wished to have him put to death because he foretold that Jerusalem would be taken and recommended that it be surrendered to save the life of its inhabitants. In our day Jeremiah would be called a “quisling” and doubtless would be condemned whether his prophecies were fulfilled or not. However the law of cause and effect is operative in human affairs, and it should be recognized and taken into consideration. If we do not wish to lose the battle of life, it is our prerogative to dedicate ourselves anew to keeping the law of life, for the battle is to the faithful keeper of the divine law.
Jeremiah was a faithful witness of the effects of Judah's failures, and although he suffered much at the hands of those whom he tried to help, he survived his sufferings and lived to see all his words justified. Through faith in unchanging Truth we perceive that the divine law is constant, unvarying, but that we benefit by it only as we keep its conditions. If we live by it, we reap its rewards. If we go counter to it, we reap its penalties. When we have wisdom to foresee the effects of living out of harmony with the law we should stir our perceptive faculties or develop our imagination to the point where we can perceive the rewards of obedience and secure them.
August 8, 1948: Jeremiah 38:7-13
In this lesson what do ]eremiah and Ebed-melech, the Ethiopian “eunuch,” represent? Jeremiah represents spiritual faith, which is in temporary subjection to the personal will (the king). Ebed-melech, who was a slave in the household of the king but with some measure of authority over the household, represents the natural forces of the body that help to keep it functioning efficiently.
Are the natural forces of the body thoroughly understood? No. We know nothing of their origin. Their action is subconscious, and for the most part we are unaware of them. Ebed-melech was an Ethiopian of whose origin nothing is known.
What is the character of the work done by these forces? When not interfered with, it is “upbuilding” and constructive. Ebed-melech believed in Jehovah and saved Jeremiah (spiritual faith) from the dungeon. The natural forces are not altogether under the control of the personal will, except in its subconscious aspect. Ebed-melech criticized the king's weakness indirectly by telling him that the men who had imprisoned Jeremiah (with the king's consent) had done evil.
Metaphysically Interpreting Jeremiah 38:14-28
38:14Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took Jeremiah the prophet unto him into the third entry that is in the house of Jehovah: and the king said unto Jeremiah, I will ask thee a thing; hide nothing from me. 38:15Then Jeremiah said unto Zedekiah, If I declare it unto thee, wilt thou not surely put me to death? and if I give thee counsel, thou wilt not hearken unto me. 38:16So Zedekiah the king sware secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, As Jehovah liveth, that made us this soul, I will not put thee to death, neither will I give thee into the hand of these men that seek thy life.
38:17Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: If thou wilt go forth unto the king of Babylon's princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thy house. 38:18But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand. 38:19And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen away to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me. 38:20But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of Jehovah, in that which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well with thee, and thy soul shall live. 38:21But if thou refuse to go forth, this is the word that Jehovah hath showed me: 38:22behold, all the women that are left in the king of Judah's house shall be brought forth to the king of Babylon's princes, and those women shall say,
Thy familiar friends have set thee on,
and have prevailed over thee:
now that thy feet are sunk in the mire,
they are turned away back.
38:23And they shall bring out all thy wives and thy children to the Chaldeans; and thou shalt not escape out of their hand, but shalt be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon: and thou shalt cause this city to be burned with fire.
38:24Then said Zedekiah unto Jeremiah, Let no man know of these words, and thou shalt not die. 38:25But if the princes hear that I have talked with thee, and they come unto thee, and say unto thee, Declare unto us now what thou hast said unto the king; hide it not from us, and we will not put thee to death; also what the king said unto thee: 38:26then thou shalt say unto them, I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan's house, to die there. 38:27Then came all the princes unto Jeremiah, and asked him; and he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they left off speaking with him; for the matter was not perceived. 38:28So Jeremiah abode in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 01-30-2014