1 Yahweh shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of Yahweh, after that Nebuchadrezzar 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.

A little while before Jeremiah's book of Judgment was made public (as if to providentially create a background of urgent necessity for the message), Nebuchadnezzar had made his first invasion of Jerusalem, the shadow of what was to come.

He had put them under tribute and had carried certain selected ones away, including Daniel. Though this would give a tremendous emphasis to Jeremiah's warning still in the face of everything they stubbornly refused to even listen.

We are still in the eleven-year reign of .Jehoiakim, whom Necho king of Egypt, had set up when he carried captive Jehoahaz (who had reigned three months following the death of Josiah).

Jehoiakim's reign was troubled throughout by plundering raids from the surrounding nations whom God was sending to gradually reduce Judah to misery and helplessness. Jehoiakim died and, according to Jeremiah's prophecy his carcass was dragged out through the gate of Jerusalem and cast into the rubbish heap of Gehenna.

It was an ominous symbol of what was about to happen to the throne and the kingdom. Eleven evil years had passed since Josiah's death. Eleven worse years were to follow.

Jehoiachin, Jehoiakim's son, who followed him lasted but three months and was then carried prisoner into Babylon, spending the rest of his life in captivity. But he managed, in those three short months to leave behind a record that he did that which was evil in the sight of God.

Then came Zedekiah - weak, cowardly, and evil - but not as bitter against Jeremiah as Jehoiakim had been. However, with the increasing disasters of the country, the general antagonism to Jeremiah grew. The better and more godly of the people had been carried to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.

This is shown in the vision of the two baskets of figs in chapter 24. The "very good" figs are those like Daniel whom God had caused to be taken to Babylon to save them from the miseries ofJerusalem's last dying days.

We see how strangely God works! Would the ones carried captive realize that they were the blessed and favoured ones, though tom away from their homes by these cruel invaders and marched off in chains to a foreign land?

Very often what seems to be most distressing circumstances are provisions of God for our own ultimate good. God's beloved children are never a t the whim of time and chance.

"ALL things work togetherfor qood" to them, we are divinely assured - Rom. 8:28.

With the good people removed from the city, we can picture the hardness of Jeremiah's lonely position. left behind as a witness to this rejected and doomed remainder. It was his

heavy lot to stay with them to the end, just as Ezekiel at the same time was chosen to proclaim God's words to the captives in Babylon, and Daniel was placed where he could speak to and influence the Babylonian conquerors according to God's purpose.

Bro Growcott - BYT 4.17.