Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ebedmelech the Ethiopian Eunich

Today's reading: Jeremiah 38-41

Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, "Take three men with you from here, and pull the prophet Jeremiah up from the cistern before he dies." Jeremiah 38: 10 NRSV

Jeremiah is telling the people that if they surrendered to the Chaldeans and didn't fight for the city, they would be spared. If they remained and fought, then they would be killed and the city destroyed. When the people hear this, they are enraged. In their eyes, Jeremiah is going to cause the insurrection among the military! They go to the king's officials and ask them to put Jeremiah to death. The king says he is powerless (!) and gives Jeremiah into their hands. Jeremiah is put in a cistern in the guards' court.

Now Jeremiah has been preaching in order to save the lives of God's people, the Hebrews. But it is a foreigner and a person considered unwhole (he is a eunuch) who speaks on Jeremiah's behalf. Ebedmelech points to the fact that these men have done wickedly and that Jeremiah would surely starve in the well. The king listens to this outsider and gives him permission to free the prophet. Ebedmelech not only frees Jeremiah but also provides the means to prevent himself from being injured in the process.

Why does it take a foreigner, a servant, an unbeliever to see the evil that is being done to God's prophet?

What do you think you miss seeing as an insider and one of God's own followers?

God, you provide means of salvation for your people in strange ways. Help us to not be blind to the evil we may be committing or the injustice we may be upholding. Provide those outsiders to help us turn again to You. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims

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