Sunday, September 29, 2019

Jeremiah 29.1, 4-7: Doing What God Says

Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens. Eat the food you produce. Raise your children. Have grandchildren. (Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7) In other words, settle in. You are going to be there for a while. So the people do what God commands. And now we know that's exactly what they did.

In 2015 the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem held an exhibition titled "By the Rivers of Babylon." The focus of the exhibit was a collection of clay tablets - not a lot to look at, really - that offered a look at just what the exiles did while they were in Babylon. Written in cuneiform, the tablets gave details of life in the 6th century BCE.
Cuneiform tablet on display in "By the Rivers of Babylon." Bible Lands Museum of Jerusalem.
If your cuneiform is a little rusty (as mine is), I can tell you that the tablets are a civic archive: rental agreements, tax records, and land deeds. The names are Hebrew names (or Babylonian versions of those names). A collection of the tablets are connected to a town called Al-Yahudu (the City of Judah).
"By the Rivers of Babylon" opened at the Bible Lands Museum of Jerusalem in February 2015. 
See below for links to the exhibit. 
God instructed the people to make lives for themselves and seek the welfare of the city where they found themselves. And that's exactly what the people did. Which doesn't mean they weren't homesick for Israel, just that they looked ahead as much as they looked back.

For a virtual tour of the exhibit, click here.
Because of the success of "By the Rivers of Babylon", the core of the exhibition was reinstalled at the BLMJ in an exhibit titled "Jerusalem in Babylon: New Light on the Judean Exiles." For that exhibit, click here.

For thoughts on Luke 17:11-19, click here.
For thoughts on Luke 17:11-19, see Art&Faith Matters on Facebook.

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