Occasionally it’s good to remember our chronology – because Jeremiah doesn’t always pay attention to it. The prophet did his work during
the last 18 years of King Josiah,
through the 3 month reign of Josiah’s son, Jehoahahaz
through the 11 year reign of Josiah’s son Jehoiakim,
through the 3 month reign of Jehoiakim’s son, Jehoiachin, and
through the 11 year reign of Josiah’s son, Zedekiah.
Jeremiah 24 takes place about 598 B.C., just after Jehoiachin was taken captive along with many of the people of Judah and taken as slaves and spoils of war to Babylon.
Not every citizen of Jerusalem was taken captive at that time, and those left behind must have felt like they had dodged a bullet. Jeremiah, however, also left behind, told those breathing a sigh of relief that in God’s eyes, the captives were the blessed ones. Those left behind were destined to die a horrible death.
Often Judah thought they’d gotten away with sin, when in point of fact, punishment had only been delayed. Sometimes, we too have that feeling. But God knows. A “breather” is intended by Him only as time to repent. We will get away with nothing.