For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2003 James Melough 

24:1.  “The Lord shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the Lord, after that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem and had brought them to Babylon.”


After the death of the good king Josiah, the people had made his son Jehoahaz king, but Pharaoh took him prisoner to Egypt where he died, and made his brother Eliakim king, and changed his name to Jehoiakim.  Shortly thereafter Babylon gained supreme power, and Jehoiakim became subservient to Nebuchadnezzar, but after three years he rebelled and was carried prisoner to Babylon, but seems to have been released, for it is recorded that he died in Jerusalem.  His son Jehoiachin (also called Jeconiah) then became king, but after reigning only three months, he and his family surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar, and with others were carried to Babylon, where after a 37 year imprisonment, he was released and promoted to the highest place of honor among the other captive kings, see 2 Ki 24:8-16; 25:27-30.  It was apparently shortly after the carrying of Jehoiachin and the princes and chief tradesmen to Babylon that Jeremiah was given the vision of the two fig baskets, the year being 597 BC when Zedekiah began to reign.


24:2.  “One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.”


“... naughty” means very bad: most foul: spoiled: rotten: moldy: completely inedible.  There were three crops of figs, one in June, another in August, and another in November, the best being that which ripened in June and being the ones referred to here, and from which the offering of firstfruits was to be presented to God.


24:3.  “Then said the Lord unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah?  And I said, figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil (bad), very evil (bad), that cannot be eaten they are so evil (bad).”


24:4.  “Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,”


24:5.  “Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.”


The two baskets of figs, of course, represent the two divisions of Judah at that time: the good figs representing the godly remnant; and the bad figs, the apostate mass of the people. 


In chapter 38:2 just prior to the fall of Jerusalem, Jeremiah warned Zedekiah that all who surrendered to the Babylonians would live, but those who refused to surrender would die, and this present verse indicates that among those taken away prisoner in the earlier sieges of 605 and 597 BC were some of the godly remnant, including Ezekiel, and Daniel and his three friends, whom God was actually saving from death by having them carried as prisoners into Babylon, a remnant of them in fact returning to Palestine at the end of the seventy years captivity.


This is an example of the truth that, “... all things,” even the seeming adverse, “work together for good to them that love God,” Ro 8:28.


24:6.  “For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and will plant them, and not pluck them up.”


Another translation of this verse reads, “I will see that they are well-treated and I will bring them here again.  I will help them and not hurt them: I will plant them and not pull them up,” - Taylor.


This was partially fulfilled in the return of the remnant at the end of the foretold seventy years, but the ultimate fulfillment will be in the deliverance and return of the believing remnant at the end of the Great Tribulation.


24:7.  “And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.”


Again, this had a partial fulfillment in the return of the remnant at the end of the seventy years, but complete fulfillment awaits the end of the Great Tribulation.


24:8.  “And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus saith the Lord, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt:”


Relative to eating, it is to be remembered that the purpose of eating is to get satisfaction, so that the inedibility of the bad figs represents the truth that the apostate mass of Judah afforded God no satisfaction.  And as rotten figs are fit only to be thrown away, so had apostate Judah fitted herself for the same end: God must cast them away, His implement of destruction being Babylon.


Keeping in mind that Babylon represents the world of false religion living in rebellion against God while preserving the sham of serving Him; and Egypt, the world of business and pleasure also living in rebellion against Him, the spiritual picture woven into the fabric of the literal is that those apostates who had fled to Egypt, and those who would be carried into Babylon, represent those who defy God even in the midst of all their money-making and pleasure-seeking, and the preservation of an outward travesty which they call worship.  All such will perish just as surely as did the apostates of Jeremiah’s day.


“... them that dwell in the land of Egypt” were those who had been carried there as captives by Pharaoh Necho, or who may have gone there voluntarily in order to escape the Babylonians.


24:9.  “And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach (a shame) and a proverb (a by-word), a taunt (a mockery) and a curse in all places whither I shall drive them.”


While this applied in a measure to the apostate generation of Jeremiah’s day, the ultimate application is very clearly to the Diaspora that finds them still scattered among virtually every country on earth, and from which only a believing remnant will be regathered at the end of the Great Tribulation to inherit millennial and eternal blessing. 


That scattering has been for their “hurt.”  Where ever they have fled, the sword has followed them, shedding their blood like water, the survivors being the objects of hatred, contempt, and cursing of those amongst whom they dwell, all of this to be experienced by them in yet fuller measure in the impending Great Tribulation.


24:10.  “And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.”


Relative to the generation addressed by the prophet, all of these things occurred when Babylon ravished the land, and led the survivors away captive; but it had a further and equally terrible fulfillment in AD 70 during the Roman siege and capture of Jerusalem; and the impending Great Tribulation will bring a yet more terrible execution of judgment that will involve the whole world.

[Jeremiah 25]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough