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Jeremiah — Godís Prophet Vindicated

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There is a place called perfect peace.  This world will continue down the slippery slope to sudden destruction through a maze of confusion and the results of evil pursuits.  But, in the middle of its demise, there is a place called perfect peace, for those whose hearts are perfect toward God.  Jesus said in John 16:33:

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Isaiah 9:6 reads:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Again, Isaiah 26:3:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

In a world full of contradiction and turmoil, there is a place of peace, a place of serene tranquility.  This is not an outward place of pristine silence, but an inward place of sure and quiet confidence.  The perfect peace is found in Christ Jesus alone.  Phillipians 4:6-7:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Are you ready for this perfect peace?  Are you ready to kiss your fears and anxieties goodbye?  Are you ready to have all your sins forgiven and all your shame expunged?  Today is the day of salvation.  Click onto “Further With Jesus” for childlike instructions and instant entry into the Kingdom of God.  NOW FOR TODAY’S SUBJECT.

GOD SAID, Jeremiah 1:4-10:

Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.

But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.

Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.

Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.

10  See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

MAN SAID:  According to new version Greek text editor, Bruce Metzger, “We should always remember the variety of literary forms found in the Bible, and should read a passage in the light of its own particular literary character.  Legend should be read as legend, and poetry as poetry, and not with a dull prosaic and literalistic mind.”

Now THE RECORD.  The information continues to pour in.  God’s Word is true and righteous altogether.  GodSaidManSaid, at the time of this printing, houses 406 feature articles in text and streaming audio.  This number grows by one, God-willing, every Thursday eve.  Each article certifies the inerrant, very literal, historic record of the Word of God.  It is important to know that the Holy Scriptures found in the majority-text are true and righteous altogether, since a believer is required to build his very life upon them.  Also, upon these Scriptures rests the sole assurance of eternal life.

The skeptics have railed upon the Bible, attempting to discredit its every aspect.  The great prophets of God such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc., have had their very existence in time challenged and their recorded statements impugned.  But be assured their challenges are continually upended. 

Today’s  subject will be just another proof that God’s Word is an accurate history book.  Times change and people change, but God’s Word stays the same.  What was true thousands of years ago is still true today.  This article will highlight some archaeological discoveries that confirm events written in the book of Jeremiah

To begin, we’ll start off with the tablet of Nebo-Sarsechim.  Sarsechim is a figure mentioned only once in the Bible.  His is identified in Jeremiah 39:3 as being one of the princes of Nebuchadnezzar.

And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, even Nergalsharezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergalsharezer, Rabmag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon.

An ancient tablet has been discovered bearing Sarsechim’s name.  The following excerpt is from the website of the Associates for Biblical Research, www.biblearchaeology.org:

Michael Jursa, associate professor at the University of Vienna, made the discovery.  Since 1991, he has been sifting through the approximately 130,000 inscribed tablets at the British Museum to ferret out data on Babylonian officials.  On July 5, 2007, just another day in the tablet room, Jursa made the find of a lifetime when he discovered the Biblical name (Reynolds 2007).  The tablet is so well preserved that it took him only minutes to decipher (Alberge 2007).  It was a mundane receipt acknowledging Nebo-Sarsekim’s payment of 1.7 lb (0.75 kg) of gold to a temple in Babylon. Dated to the tenth year of Nebuchadnezzar (595 BC), eight years before the fall of Jerusalem, the tablet reads in full:

[Regarding] 1.5 minas [0.75 kg] of gold, the property of Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, the chief eunuch, which he sent via Arad-Banitu the eunuch to [the temple] Esangila: Arad-Banitu has delivered [it] to Esangila.  In the presence of Bel-usat, son of Alpaya, the royal bodyguard, [and of] Nadin, son of Marduk-zer-ibni, Month XI, day 18, year 10 [of] Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (Reynolds 2007).

Reflecting on his discovery, Jursa commented, “It is very exciting and very surprising.  Finding something like this tablet, where we see a person named in the Bible making an everyday payment to the temple in Babylon and quoting the exact date is quite extraordinary” (Alberge 2007).  Irving Finkel, Assistant Keeper in the Department of the Middle East at the British Museum, stated,

This is a fantastic discovery, a world-class find.  If Nebo-Sarsekim existed, then other lesser figures in the Old Testament existed.  A throwaway detail in the Old Testament turns out to be accurate and true.  I think that it means that the whole of the narrative [of Jeremiah] takes on a new kind of power” (Reynolds 2007).

In addition to Nebo-Sarsekim, Nebuchadnezzar and Nergal-Sharezer, the name of yet another Babylonian official has turned up in a Babylonian text.  His name is Nebuzaradan.  He played a significant role in the events of 587 BC.  Nebuzaradan was a high-ranking military official, called “Captain of the Guard” in the Biblical text, perhaps reporting directly to Nebuchadnezzar.  He was responsible for supervising the burning of the city (2 Kgs 25:8–9; Jer 39:8a 52:12–13), tearing down the defenses (2 Kgs 25:10; Jer 39:8b 52:14), deporting 832 captives to Babylon (2 Kgs 25:11; Jer 39:9; 52:15, 29), plundering the Temple (2 Kgs 25:15; Jer 52:17–19), and rounding up Judean officials to appear before Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kgs 25:18–21; Jer 52:24–27).

Nebuchadnezzar gave Nebuzaradan specific instructions to deal kindly with Jeremiah (Jer 39:11–12).  He released Jeremiah and gave him a choice of either going to Babylon or remaining in Judah (Jer 40:2–4).  Jeremiah chose to remain in Judah, and joined the newly appointed Judean leader Gedaliah at Mizpah (Jer 39:14; 40:5–6).  Five years later, Nebuzaradan returned to Jerusalem and deported another 745 people to Babylon (Jer 52:30).  A clay prism found in Nebuchadnezzar’s palace, dating to c. 570 BC, contains a list of court officials.  Among them is Nebuzaradan, with the title “Chancellor” or “Chief Baker” (Wiseman 1985: 73–75).  [End of quote]

Historians have been able to confirm many parts of Nebuchadnezzar’s actions resulting from excavations in Babylon.  Nebuchadnezzar’s palace turned up many writings that help piece together Nebuchadnezzar’s campaigns.  One such record is a tablet recording the actions taken by the Babylonian army from 605 BC to 595 BC.  The tablet begins with the Babylonian invasion of Egypt discussed in Jeremiah.  Jeremiah prophesies against the Jews who decided to go down to Egypt after God specifically told them not to.  God’s Word, by the mouth of Jeremiah, prophesies judgment against Egypt and those Jews who were intent on seeking refuge there in Jeremiah 44:11-14; 29-30; & 46:2:

44:11  Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah.

44:12  And 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.

44:13  For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence:

44:14  So that none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall return but such as shall escape.

44:29  And this shall be a sign unto you, saith the LORD, that I will punish you in this place, that ye may know that my words shall surely stand against you for evil:

44:30  Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give Pharaohhophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life.

46:2  Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaohnecho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah.

Notice Jeremiah says that God will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt so that none shall escape or remain.  It also says that Nebuchadnezzar’s army will come against Egypt’s army by the river Euphrates in Carchemish.  Now read the Babylonian version of the events:

In the twenty-first year the king of Akkad [Nabopolassar] stayed in his own land, Nebuchadnezzar his eldest son, the crown-prince, mustered the Babylonian army and took command of his troops; he marched to Karchemiš which is on the bank of the Euphrates, and crossed the river to go against the Egyptian army which lay in Karchemiš.  They fought with each other and the Egyptian army withdrew before him.  He accomplished their defeat and beat them to non-existence.  As for the rest of the Egyptian army which had escaped from the defeat so quickly that no weapon had reached them, in the district of Hamath the Babylonian troops overtook and defeated them so that not a single man escaped to his own country.  [End of quote]

This same tablet goes on to discuss the second invasion of Juday by Nebuchadnezzar and his appointment of Zedekiah as well as his confiscation of the temple’s vessels (as recorded in the ancient Biblical book of Jeremiah).

In the seventh year, the month of Kislîmu, the king of Akkad mustered his troops, marched to the Hatti-land, and besieged the city of Judah and on the second day of the month of Addaru he seized the city and captured the king [Jehoiachin].  He appointed there a king of his own choice [Zedekiah], received its heavy tribute and sent to Babylon.  [End of quote]

Further evidence was also discovered that corroborates events in Jahoichin’s life.  After his capture, the Bible records that Jahoichin eventually was given a diet directly from the king of Babylon.  Jeremiah 52:31-34:

31  And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison,

32  And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon,

33  And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life.

34  And for his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.

The excavations at Babylon turned up tablets showing rationing records for the foreign kings who had been captured and brought to Babylon.  The tablets contained things such as food and oils that were to be given to the kings.  The following excerpt is from the book, Bible Archaeology:

Administrative tablets found in Babylon list deliveries of oil by the royal household.  This very fragmented cuneiform tablet lists delivery to “Jehoiachin, king of Judah,” and to the “sons of the king of Judah.”  [End of quote]

Our final witness is in the form of ancient letters found during excavations at the Biblical city of Lachish.  They’re appropriately titled, “The Lachish Letters.”  The following excerpt is from the GodSaidManSaid article, “Lachish Reveals Its Secrets:”

Mr. J. L. Starkey and his worthy associates directed the excavations at Lachish from 1932 to January 10, 1938, and made many significant discoveries, the most important being twenty-one letters (now known as The Lachish Letters) which they found among the ashes and charcoal in the guard room adjoining the outer gate of the city.  These letters were written with “carbon ink by a certain Hoshaiah (Nehemiah 12:32, Jeremiah 42:1, 43:2), a subordinate military officer stationed at an outpost near Jerusalem, to Joash the commanding officer at Lachish.  These short messages were written during the last years of Jeremiah (c. 588 B.C.) and reflect the troubled period through which the kingdom was passing during Zedekiah’s reign just before the fall of Lachish and some two years before the fall of Jerusalem.  They were evidently written within a period of a few days or weeks, as is indicated from the similarity of the fragments, five of which fit together as pieces of one vessel.”

Letter I contains a list of nine proper names, five of which are found in the Old Testament.  Three appear only during the time of Jeremiah.  In Letter IV Hoshaiah writes:

And let my lord know that we are watching for the signals of Lachish according to all the indications which my lord hath given, for we cannot see Azekah.

Jeremiah mentions “fire” signals (Jeremiah 6:1), and tells how the king of Babylon “fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and Azekah: for these defenced cities remained of the cities of Judah” (Jeremiah 34:7).  [End of quote]

God’s Word is an inerrant record of all things.  Build your life upon it.

GOD SAID, Jeremiah 1:4-10:

Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.

But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.

Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.

Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.

10  See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

MAN SAID:  According to new version Greek text editor, Bruce Metzger, “We should always remember the variety of literary forms found in the Bible, and should read a passage in the light of its own particular literary character.  Legend should be read as legend, and poetry as poetry, and not with a dull prosaic and literalistic mind.”

Now you have THE LITERAL RECORD. 

 

 

References:

Authorized King James Version

Hoerth, A., & J. McRay, Bible Archaeology, p64

“Mesopotamian Chronicles,” http://www.livius.org/cg-cm/chronicles/chron00.html

Metzger, B., Read the Bible With Understanding

Wood, Bryant G., PhD, “Nebo-Sarsekim Found in Babylonian Tablet,” www.biblearchaeology.org

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