Blacks in the Bible: Ebed-Melech & Jeremiah
by Melineze Logan Hite
From Jeremiah 38:1-13 in the Holy Bible we read
"1Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur the son of Malchiah, heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken unto all the people, saying,
2Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live.
3Thus saith the LORD, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon's army, which shall take it.
4Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt.
5Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand: for the king is not he that can do any thing against you.
6Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire.
7Now when Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs which was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon; the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin;
8Ebedmelech went forth out of the king's house, and spake to the king saying,
9My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is like to die for hunger in the place where he is: for there is no more bread in the city.
10Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die.
11So Ebedmelech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took thence old cast clouts and old rotten rags, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah.
12And Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now these old cast clouts and rotten rags under thine armholes under the cords. And Jeremiah did so.
13So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison."
From the Holy Bible we learn that the prophet,
Jeremiah, a true man of God, was persecuted
unjustly because he spoke the words of God to a
sinful people. In this time, the Babylonians led
by King Nebuchadnezzar were soon to take the
city and destroy it, because the people had
rejected their God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob
for idols. Jeremiah told them to leave with
their powerful enemies and to not stay and die.
Famine, pestilence, and the sword would surely
overtake them if they stayed to fight their
enemies. They had continued to sin openly in the
eyes of God. They forgot that they were the
children of God. They wanted the prophet to
speak lies; they wanted their ears to be tickled
with untruths and pleasurable nonsense rather
the words of God Almighty. Although the prphet
knew the wickedness of the people and the evil
in their troubled hearts, Jeremiah continued to
speak the words given to him by the Spirit of
God. When he was thrown into the dungeon of
Malchiah, only a black man came to his defense.
This black man believed the words of the prophet
of God and rescued him. This black man was an
Ethiopian who worked in the king's house, and he
was called Ebed-Melech. With 30 men, given to
him by the king, this black man persuaded the
king to lift out of the dungeon the prophet, a
righteous man, because Jeremiah would soon die
without bread and water.
This black man named Ebed-Melech, saved the
prohet of God, Jeremiah, from death in the dungeon.