You won't be killed. You'll die a peaceful death. They will honor you with funeral rites as they honored your ancestors, the kings who preceded you. They will properly mourn your death. (Jeremiah 34:4-5)
I'm going to see you free--God's Decree--free to get killed in war or by disease or by starvation. (Jeremiah 34:7-8)
Poor King Zedekiah.
Well, not so poor. As king, I expect he had a fairly comfortable lifestyle; and his father was the great Hezekiah, one of the high notes as the kingdom of Judah stumbled toward exile.
The exile Judah had been earning year by year, decade by decade, century by century, came due during Zedekiah's reign. He couldn't escape. He would end his life in Babylon, far away from home.
Jeremiah sugar-coated the bitter pill of death in exile. He would live a full life span. He wouldn't die in battle, be executed or assassinated. When he died, he would be honored and mourned. His family and his people would mark his passing.
He might be a prisoner of war, but he was given VIP treatment. Bad news, with a twist that turned it good.
Later in the chapter, God turned good news into bad.
The people of Judah had entered into a covenant to free their slaves. They never should have kept their fellow-Israelites as slaves beyond seven years. But like so much else of the law, they paid no attention.
And in this case, they went back on their word almost as soon as they released them, pulling their former slaves back to work in their homes.
God teased them. I'm going to set you free!
Grins on everyone's faces. For a split second.
Freedom to get killed. Not in old age, in their sleep. No, war, disease, and starvation would thin their ranks.
Clouds can have silver linings. The glass can be half full when it seems half empty.
I believe I read this story in Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. They were in a concentration camp. And their barracks had bedbugs. Suffering upon suffering. Corrie complained about it until she realized--the guards turned their back on the Bible reading and prayer because they didn't want to come to close t the bugs.
Death in exile.
Small mercies help us keep the bigger problems in perspective.