Jeremiah chapter 39, in my opinion, is one of the saddest chapters in the Bible, yet God's faithfulness and protection shines through darkness and despair.
Verse 1 - Babylonia seizes Jerusalem in the ninth year of Zedekiah in the 10th month (Zedekiah was king of Jerusalem at the time)
Verse 2 - Ninth day of the fourth month of Zedekiah's 11th year, the city wall was broken through by the Babylonians.
Almost two years the people of Jerusalem were witnessing the very thing Jeremiah proclaimed, that Jerusalem would fall, that they would be taken into captivity - yet even then they must not have repented, they continued to believe in themselves, not God.
Verse 4 - Zedekiah and his family flee Jerusalem. Jeremiah had told Zedekiah that he would be safe if he surrendered. Again, man doesn't listen to God, Zedekiah flees.
Verses 5-7 Babylonian army pursues Zedekiah, captures him and his family and officials. Puts to death Zedekiah's sons and nobles in front of Zedekiah, puts out Zedekiah's eyes, shackles him, takes him to Babylonia. The horror he must have felt watching all this, the pain he felt, yet his pride had gotten in the way.
Verse 8 - Babylonians set fire to Jerusalem and capture the people, let some stay in Jerusalem, take the rest in captivity to Babylonia.
Verses 11-12 Nebuchadnezzar (king of Babylonia) orders for Jeremiah to be kept safe. God's promise to Jeremiah for his faithfulness to God that he would be safe. God kept (keeps) his word.
Verse 15 - Ebed-Melech receives word he will be kept safe.
Verse 18 - "I will save you, you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life because you trust in me" declares the Lord (God tells Ebed-Melech). Ebed-Melech had pulled Jeremiah out of the cistern (well) when the Israelites had put Jeremiah in it because they were tired of listening to his true prophecies.
God recognizes/rewards those who trust in him.
Example to follow:
Jeremiah - his faithfulness to obey God no matter what, no matter if anyone was for him or believed what he said as the message given to him by God.
Ebed-Melech - he took a stand (rescuing Jeremiah) when a wrong doing occurred.
Zedekiah (example not to follow). He listened to people's word rather than seeking God and trusting in his word.
Even in the midst of tragedy, God still protected those who did his work and trusted in him. Awesome.
But still such a sad chapter that Zedekiah did not listen, did not trust that God would keep his word and protect him if he did not flee. He fled and endured hardship and pain and suffering on himself and his family. So sad.
Such lessons to be learned in this 39 chapter of Jeremiah.