By Mike Chaffin
And he spoke kindly to him and gave him a more prominent seat than those of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life. And as for his provisions, there was a regular ration given him by the king of Babylon, a portion for each day until the day of his death, all the days of his life. Jeremiah 52:32-34
Interestingly, the last words here are identical to the last words in 2 Kings. Jehoiachin’s release from a thirty-seven-year imprisonment was important enough for God to have two writers include it in the Bible. As I’ve written in earlier chapters, when something is in the Bible, it is important. When it is in there more than once, it is very important.
God doubled down on telling this story of redemption and mercy. The new King of Babylon had mercy on Jehoiachin and released him from prison. He redeemed him by making him a constant companion at his dinner table and elevating him above others. King Evil-Merodach set an example of how to show mercy.
Mercy is one of God’s main attributes. He had mercy on Adam and Eve, clothing them before expelling them from the garden due to their disobedience. He had mercy on mankind by saving Noah from the flood and setting the rainbow in the sky as a sign of his mercy. He is a merciful God. He sent his Son to die on the cross for our sins. His mercy made a way for our salvation.
In Micah 6:8 God declares what he wants of us. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
Jesus doubles down again in the beatitudes with Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
Some later translations and paraphrases exchange the word mercy in Micah with kindness. Mercy is compassion and kindness toward anyone else. In fact, Jesus goes on to teach us that real mercy is shown to your enemies and those who can’t repay your kindness. If we only show kindness (mercy) to those who can return the favor what have we really accomplished? The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) is a case in point, as well as His teaching on the judgement day when the sheep will be separated from the goats (Matthew 25:31-46). The last words in Isaiah told us where goats go. You don’t want to be a goat. Have mercy, that’s the last word.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for having mercy on us, while we were still sinners, by sending your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. Lord help me to fulfill your desires in Micah 6:8 by showing mercy to others, to do justice and to walk with you in relationship. In Jesus name, amen.