Jeremiah 24

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Read Jeremiah 24

Two Baskets of Figs

24 After Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the skilled workers and the artisans of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Lordshowed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the Lord.One basket had very good figs, like those that ripen early; the other basket had very bad figs, so bad they could not be eaten.

Then the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”

“Figs,” I answered. “The good ones are very good, but the bad ones are so bad they cannot be eaten.”

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

“‘But like the bad figs, which are so bad they cannot be eaten,’ says the Lord, ‘so will I deal with Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the survivors from Jerusalem, whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt.I will make them abhorrent and an offense to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword, a curse and an object of ridicule, wherever I banish them. 10 I will send the sword, famine and plague against them until they are destroyed from the land I gave to them and their ancestors.’”

Go Deeper

Matthew Henry, a 17th century theologian, ends his commentary on Jeremiah 24 saying, “Let those who desire blessings from the Lord, beg that He will give them a heart to know Him.” Keep this thought in mind as we look closer at this short, yet poignant chapter.

The Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar, have conquered Judah. The king and many of the people are taken captive by the Babylonians. Some fled to Egypt while others stayed. The prophecies of Jeremiah are now reality. He continues on with a vision describing Judah as two baskets of figs. One of the baskets is described as good and the other is sadly the opposite.

Let’s review the meaning of the bad figs first. Described as inedible and abhorrent, verses 8-10 make it clear that God is dealing directly with the leaders and those remaining in the land and in Egypt. His judgment is a result of their proud and stubborn hearts that were unwilling to live in obedience to God. Many in leadership positions (and the priests) encouraged a life of willful disobedience to God’s law living in blatant idolatry and a self-driven lifestyle apart from God. It led to their demise. Romans 1:28 speaks a similar message toward disobedience and God’s thoughts on it saying, “Furthermore, as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so they do what ought not to be done.”  Living in a manner described in this verse is tragic, lonely, and full of strife and never ends well.

The good figs, in contrast, are given 4 promises in verses 5-7:

  1. God promises that He is sovereign.
  2. He promises to “watch over them for their good” (v. 6), which means He will always be present with them.
  3. He promises later “bring them back to this land and build them up” (v. 6b), which means He will restore them. 
  4. He promises to “give them a heart to know Me, and I will be their God and they will return to me with all of their heart” (v. 7), which means He is forever faithful in His love and heart for them.

If we find ourselves in a similar place, we also can hang onto these same four promises that God gave to those of Judah. He is in control, he will always be with us, he will restore us in His time, and He is faithful in His love and care over us. Imagine for a moment how the disciples felt afraid, helpless, and hopeless on the Friday that Christ died. They felt their world had ended. Then, Sunday came for them, and will come for us. He is always faithful, and His promises are true. We must never determine God’s love or view of us by our circumstances. Let God have His way with us and let Him teach and grow us believing His word and promises that our Sunday is coming!


  1. Compare the good figs in this story with the bad figs. What are the differences?
  2. Why must we examine our lives before God regularly?
  3. What promise from the reading today can you lean into right now that will be helpful? Discuss this with someone in your Life Group and ask for prayer support as well.

A Quote

Eugene Peterson, a pastor and author, once said, “As acts of human wrongdoing and lying accumulate, people are trying to shroud truth. But the reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is!”

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6 thoughts on “Jeremiah 24”

  1. Ella Snodgrass

    In the midst of heartache, suffering, and brokenness it’s easy to forget the sovereignty and faithfulness of God, the unchangeable One who scripture tells us is deeply acquainted with our grief and sorrow. Lest we forget, the gospels show events leading up to the cross and what Christ endured that we might be saved. Jeremiah reminds us that whatever personal exile we may experience, believers can respond with trusting hearts that are strengthened in the battle and are cared for by the Lord. Praying that whatever comes our way we would steadfastly cling to our Savior and in him have hope all the day long.

  2. As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ I am beyond words thankful for Holy Spirit that guides. When I listen, the guidance, direction and strength is there through Holy Spirit. It is so easy to let my will and my helpfulness override God’s ways but those actions turn into “bad figs”. But one other thing that I desire for the Holy Spirit to do in me is to stir a increased longing for more of God. I desire for Him to blow upon the embers of my heart and kindles a fresh desire to go deeper, pursue more, live a life that is beyond what I can do by myself.
    Are we going through the motions of doing what we think others or even what God wants? Have we sat down and just meditated on God? Then are we listening when He does speak? With compassion and grace that He gives us we can extended that to others. His Word is full of good words to use. His desires is for us to be His, completely and utterly His. To love Him completely and utterly.
    ‘I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart. Jeremiah 24:7 NASB

    God thank You for blowing on the embers of my heart. Give me a fresh desire to go deeper and pursue You more and more. God I so thankful, grateful and blessed. BUT GOD (Eph. 4:14-21) For this reason I kneel before You Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of Your glorious riches You may strengthen me with power through Your Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that I will be rooted and established in love, and may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of You God. Now to You God, who is able to do immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine, according to Your power that is at work within me, to You be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! in Jesus name Amen.

  3. Welcome back, Jeremiah!

    7 “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”

    Lord, help me to be a “good fig” today!

  4. Diane Frances Rogers

    God is forever faithful in His love to us. Lord may the burning desire of my heart to know You more be evident in my actions. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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