The people of Judah ignore the prophet Jeremiah’s warnings - Catholic Courier
(Illustration by Linda Jeanne Rivers) The princes of Judah ignored Jeremiah's warnings and threw him in a cistern. (Illustration by Linda Jeanne Rivers)

The people of Judah ignore the prophet Jeremiah’s warnings

In this issue:

Children’s story: The people of Judah ignore Jeremiah
Essay Question
Bible Accent: King Zedekiah meets Jeremiah
Saint for Today: St. Jeanne Jugan
Puzzle: Unscramble

God told the prophet Jeremiah to relay warning messages to the people of Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel whose capital was Jerusalem.

God saw that the people of Judah were not following him and his commandments, and he wanted them to change their evil ways. If they did not repent and turn back to him, God was going to allow Judah to be conquered by its enemies.

For many years, Jeremiah told the people what God said to him. Unfortunately, the people did not listen to Jeremiah and his warnings. This upset Jeremiah, because he knew the terrible fate that would befall Judah for ignoring God.

Although it was frustrating not being listened to, Jeremiah never gave up relaying God’s messages to the people, even at the risk of being imprisoned or killed.

“Thus says the Lord: Those who remain in this city shall die by means of the sword, starvation and disease; but those who go out to the Chaldeans shall live,” Jeremiah told the people one day. “Thus says the Lord: This city shall certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon; he shall capture it.”

Jeremiah’s words upset the princes of Judah.

“Jeremiah ought to be put to death; he is demoralizing the soldiers who are left in this city, and all the people, by speaking such things to them; he is not interested in the welfare of our people, but in their ruin,” they said to King Zedekiah.

“He is in your power,” said the king, who could do nothing with the princes.

The princes threw Jeremiah into a mud-filled cistern, and Jeremiah began to sink into the mud.

Ebed-melech the Cushite, who was a court official, saw what was happening and approached the king.

“These men have been at fault in all they have done to the prophet Jeremiah, casting him into the cistern. He will die of famine on the spot, for there is no more food in the city,” he said.

The king listened to Ebed-melech and told him to take three men to rescue Jeremiah from the cistern before he died.


Jeremiah 38


1. What did Jeremiah tell the people?

2. Who was upset with what Jeremiah said?

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Essay Question

When has something bad happened to you after you ignored a warning?

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Bible Accent

In Jeremiah 38, we read that King Zedekiah secretly met with Jeremiah after the prophet was rescued from the cistern.

“I have a question to ask you,” the king said.

“If I tell you anything, will you not have me put to death? If I counsel you, you will not listen to me!” Jeremiah said.

The king promised not to kill Jeremiah or hand him over to those who wanted to kill him, so Jeremiah relayed God’s message.

“If you will only surrender to the princes of Babylon’s king, you shall save your life; this city shall not be destroyed by fire, and you and your household shall live,” Jeremiah said. “But if you do not surrender to the princes of Babylon’s king, this city shall fall into the hand of the Chaldeans, who shall destroy it by fire, and you shall not escape their hand.”

The king doubted Jeremiah’s words.

“I beg you!” Jeremiah said. “Please listen to the voice of the Lord regarding what I tell you.”

The king did not promise to listen. Instead, he swore Jeremiah to secrecy about their meeting.

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Saint for Today: St. Jeanne Jugan

St. Jeanne Jugan was born in Brittany, France, in 1792. Her father, a fisherman, died when she was 4, and her mother worked on a farm to support her six children.

Jeanne became a kitchen maid at 16, and her mistress often took her to visit the poor and sick. At age 25, Jeanne joined a third order and worked in a hospital for six years, then she returned to domestic service.

She soon devoted herself entirely to caring for the poor, especially widows, while living in community with two other women. She established the Little Sisters of the Poor in 1842 but was not recognized as the founder until 1893.

Jeanne died in 1879, and we honor her on Aug. 30.

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Unscramble the words and arrange them to make a quotation from the children’s story.

ni woper eh yuro si

Answers: in, power, he, your, is

He is in your power.

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