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"Ebedmelech and Onesiphorus"
Parallel Lives of the Old and New Testaments
Part 9 of 12
Clarence E. Macartney
When Jesus said to His disciples in the desert of
Caesarea Philippi, "Whom do men say that I the Son of
man am?" they answered, "Some say that Thou art John
the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias." Both
John and Elijah had Christ's flaming zeal and
courageous denunciation of public iniquity and private
sin. But neither was like Him in His pity, His
tenderness, and His compassion. That we find in
Jeremiah. He is the Old Testament's Man of Sorrows:
and yet, at the same time, a brazen wall and a pillar
of iron. The spell that he cast over Israel in
succeeding generations is brought out in the legend
that at a critical time in one of the battles for
Israel's freedom, the prophet Jeremiah appeared and
placed in the hand of Judas Maccabaeus a great sword
with which he conquered his enemies.
No man ever had a more difficult commission than
Jeremiah. In the day when the army of Babylon was at
the gates of Jerusalem, it was his unpopular duty to
counsel submission, declaring that the king of Babylon
would certainly take and destroy the city. This made
him the object of bitter hatred on the part of jealous
nationalists and patriots. Nor was this strange.
Unless they took him to be a prophet, speaking for
God, and uttering words not his own, it was only
natural that they should have resented his
predictions. On one occasion, when Jeremiah was
leaving the city to go to a town in the tribe of
Benjamin, he was arrested by the Jewish army and
charged with attempting to desert to the enemy.
Zedekiah was then the weak king of Israel. He
respected and feared Jeremiah as a prophet of the
Lord. Yet he permitted him to be cast into a loathsome
dungeon. He stoutly denied the charge that he was
falling away to the Chaldeans; but the circumstances
made his enemies suspicious, and he r ...
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