In 588 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar came for the third and final time against Jerusalem. After besieging the city for two years, he broke through its walls in 586, burned what was left of Judah’s capital, ransacked and destroyed the temple and carried off everybody and everything of value. Including Jeremiah.
Six miles north of Jerusalem at Ramah, the prophet was recognized by the commander of Babylon’s imperial guard and set free, urged to seek the protection of the appointed governor, Gedaliah.
Following his own advice, it would have been better for Jeremiah to have gone on to Babylon. But that doesn’t seem to have been an option for Jeremiah. Gedaliah attempts to unify the remaining three groups of people: the very poor, those who have run to the hills to escape the Babylonians (when God had told them plainly to take refuge with the Babylonians), and soldiers who were likely carrying on a futile guerrilla warfare with the Babylonian garrisons (who found them to be little more than an annoyance). Jeremiah appears to become a pawn in the hands of these people. God has not really abandoned him, but he has no place of authority. He is but a spokesman for God. Continuing our reading, it feels like God has left him to twist in the wind. But really, he is, like us all, but a servant of the Lord, carrying out his duties until finally the Lord calls Him home.