Did you know that there was another Ethiopian Eunuch mentioned in the Bible? The one that we normally know as the Ethiopian Eunuch is found of course in the NT in Acts 8 who Philip preached Christ to. The Ethiopian Eunuch heard Christ preached and believing said to Philip, “here is water what doth hinder me from being baptized?” Philip said, “if you believeth with all your heart, you may” (34-47). They both went straightway to the water and the Ethiopian Eunuch was lifted from the mire of sin that he was living in and became a Christian. Well in the book of Jeremiah, we find another Ethiopian Eunuch who we actually have his name recorded for us in chapter 38:1-13. This Ethiopian Eunuch is credited for “Lifting Jeremiah from the Mire.”
Yet again we find the prophet Jeremiah having not been deterred by the many horrible things that he has already experienced. We noted in last week’s article from Jeremiah 20 that Passhur the priest, also chief governor in the house of the Lord had struck Jeremiah and placed him in the stocks due to the unpopular words of the Lord that Jeremiah had spoken. He has been physically assaulted and imprisoned throughout the prior chapters and here in chapter 38 we find that the Jeremiah speaks the words of the Lord again and really if you noticed in verse 2 that the same thing was said by Jeremiah in chapter 21:9. Of course this was still very unpopular to those who heard these words, as we find the princes saying to the king, “Please let this man be PUT TO DEATH, for thus he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man does not seek the welfare of this people, but their harm” (38:4).
I think it is ironic that these princes are accusing Jeremiah of DEMORALIZING the people by speaking such words to them, that they would accuse Jeremiah of NOT seeking the welfare of the people. Jeremiah has truly been seeking the welfare of the people! They may not have liked the words that Jeremiah was delivering from the Lord, but they were the words that they needed to hear so they wouldn’t lose their hope of being safe in the hands of the Lord! As we find from verse 5 of our text, King Zedekiah told the princes that Jeremiah was in their hands. In verse 6, they took Jeremiah and they cast him into a dungeon, letting him down with ropes. In the dungeon there was NO WATER, but MIRE. So, Jeremiah sank in the mire.”
One thing about Jeremiah, he was not politically correct. Jeremiah wasn’t one to check everyone’s temperament before he delivered the words of the Lord. He didn’t hold the word of the Lord back just because there were those who had the power and authority to do him harm. He was one like the apostles in Acts 5:29, who said, “we ought to obey God rather than man.” No matter the consequences, Jeremiah would not relent from saying the words of the Lord. He would not compromise.
How much “compromising” and “political correctness” do we see today? Not just in our society in general, but even in the Lord’s church?! We see something that is wrong, and we won’t touch it with a 10-foot pole. If I stand up for truth, even telling a brother or sister in Christ of a sin they are engaging in, we tend to shy away due to the fear of how they will react. We MUST stand for the truth! Having seen Jeremiah time and time again in predicaments even as he is yet again for speaking the truth, how many of us would have said, “I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE!” Remember that Jeremiah did think about keeping the words shut inside of him, but he couldn’t, it was like a fire that was consuming him where he couldn’t hold the words of the Lord back! So here we have Jeremiah being lowered into the dungeon where there is NO water and he sank in the mire. What a horrible predicament to be in! He would record in the book of Lamentations 3 of his life being cut off in the pit/dungeon and calling out to the Lord. In verse 7, we find the other Ethiopian Eunuch by the name of Ebed-Melech who stepped up to lend a helping hand of someone who was stuck in the mire. Upon hearing of Jeremiah’s predicament, Ebed-Melech went out of the king’s house and spoke to the king… notice again in verse 9. So, the king commanded for Ebed-Melech to take thirty men with him to go fetch Jeremiah from the dungeon. Don’t overlook the care and thoughtfulness of Ebed-Melech. 11-13: He took old clothes and rags, sending them down to Jeremiah so they could be used to prevent harm to Jeremiah as they would lift him from the miry dungeon.
There’s really a stark contrast of characters that’s given in this short and simple text. King Zedekiah certainly had power and authority, but did not seek to help Jeremiah, rather let him be taken by the princes to be cast into the dungeon. Ebed-Melech was a foreign eunuch who was a servant, with no power or authority, however he was willing to stand up for the prophet Jeremiah who was doing the great work of the Lord. Ebed-Melech was bold and courageous to stand up for what was good and right. We certainly need a lot more of Ebed-Melech’s in the world today. The compassion that Ebed-Melech had for Jeremiah and such CARE. It wasn’t just that Ebed-Melech was going to get Jeremiah out of the dungeon, but NOTABLY it was HOW HE WENT ABOUT DOING IT! How Ebed-Melech lifted him out of the miry dungeon is significant. We as disciples today will take that to heart and apply it. It’s not about just going and doing things, it’s also about HOW WE go about doing it! With our compassion, showing care in all that we say and do in our service to others. We can try to jerk others out of the miry dungeons they are dealing with, but sometimes we will do more harm than good if we are not careful on our approach. If we don’t show the spirit of gentleness. (cf. Gal. 5:23; Colossians 4:6 ; Galatians 6:1 ; Ephesians 4:1-3).
These are just some simple thoughts from these few verses. The last I conclude with I believe is appropriate in bringing the article to a close and that is something else we find about this other Ethiopian Eunuch who lifted Jeremiah from the mire. Jeremiah 39:15-18 says “Meanwhile the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying, 16 “Go and speak to Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will bring My words upon this city for adversity and not for good, and they shall be performed in that day before you. 17 But I will deliver you in that day,” says the Lord, “and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. 18 For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me,” says the Lord.’ Due to Ebed-Melech’s faithful actions, he was blessed by the Lord. There are so many thoughts here from the text and so many directions that we could go with this, but I am going to try to sum it up with this: Be a Jeremiah – Don’t waiver due to “political correctness,” but stand for the truth. The words you speak may bring harm, maybe not physical, but sometimes emotional. You may be in the miry dungeon because of those princes/King Zedekiah’s of the world who consider themselves righteous in their own eyes and will do whatever to keep you silence you. Be a Jeremiah in calling on the Lord in your distress. You never know when the Ebed-Melech’s will show up with their compassion to help lift you from the mire. You may be the Ebed-Melech to someone. Your compassion, your willingness to boldly call out that which is wrong and stepping up to help. Helping, not just because you are doing something, but taking care in how you do it with gentleness and care.
Zedekiah and the princes would face judgment, while Ebed-Melech would be blessed by the Lord because of his trust and service. Whether Ebed-Melech realized it or not at the time, Ebed-Melech was delivering himself out a massive predicament all because he cared to lift Jeremiah from the mire. Don’t ever think that the small things go unnoticed.
Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 😊