After hearing Jeremiah’s prophecy of God’s judgment on Jerusalem, and that the only way to spare their lives was surrender, some important-sounding men in the city insisted King Zedekiah put him to death. They did not like his message. The king weakly submitted and put Jeremiah into their hands, and they cast him into a muddy cistern to die.
“When Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern—the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate— Ebed-melech went from the king’s house and said to the king, ‘My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they did to Jeremiah the prophet by casting him into the cistern, and he will die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.’ Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, ‘Take thirty men with you from here, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.’ So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe in the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which he let down to Jeremiah in the cistern by ropes. Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, ‘Put the rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes.’ Jeremiah did so. Then they drew Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.” Jeremiah 38:7-13
Blessed, shining Ebed-Melech! He was attentive to all that happened around him, and he was brave. This unpedigreed eunuch in the king’s palace stood up boldly for Jeremiah, risking his own well-being out of compassion for one unjustly punished. Again, the weak king complied. Ebed-Melech engaged others in his rescue of Jeremiah, and kindly padded the ropes he used to pull him out of the well. And he saved him! What a man, whose heart beat for others and energies were spent for their good. Whether a publicly-known figure with known heritage and popular sway, or a background-living servant in another’s service, every one determines whether to squelch or promote God’s truth, to disdain or love His people. Ebed-Melech is commended in chapter 39. “Go, and say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will fulfill my words against this city. But I will deliver you on that day, declares the Lord, and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have put your trust in me, declares the Lord.’”
Lord, make me an Ebed-Meech, ever aware and open to opportunities to stand up and act for the needy. And send Ebed-Melechs to loved ones who need hope and rescue.