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Jeremiah 24:1 Yahweh showed me and behold, two baskets of figs set before Yahweh’s temple- The allusion is to how the firstfruits were brought as offerings to the temple, to be first inspected by the priests. "First-ripe" in :2 is the same word translated "firstfruits". And Jeremiah as a priest was asked to make that inspection. The fig trees had been destroyed by the drought of Jer. 14 and by the earlier incursions of the Babylonians (Jer. 5:17; 8:13; Am. 4:9). That there were any figs to offer was therefore of itself a reflection of God's grace.

"Two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the Lord"; one representing the apostate Jews who remained in the land, and the other those who went to Babylon and who were intended to there revive spiritually. It seems that an Angel dwelt literally in the temple. This vision of two groups of Jews standing before an Angel is probably the basis of the vision of Zech. 3, where Joshua and the Jews eager to rebuild Jerusalem stand before  the Angel, with the Satan standing there too. 'Satan' is often associated with apostate Jews in the New Testament.

After that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the princes of Judah- This prophecy is therefore to be dated when Zedekiah ascended to the throne. But it clearly states that Zedekiah was to spiritually fail (:8). And yet Jeremiah often appeals to him to repent. If he had done so, then this prophecy wouldn't have come true. Throughout, this is a prophecy of potentials, the final outcome of which human repentance could have changed.

With the craftsmen and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon- As noted on Jer. 10:18, it was Babylonian policy to take into exile only the leadership and their families. I suggest that the craftsmen and smiths were also taken because they were the ones who had constructed the idols and shrines. Their specific judgment was also to deprive those who remained of their services, in a bid to elicit repentance from Zedekiah, who would otherwise stand condemned (:8). See on Jer. 25:6.

Jeremiah 24:2 One basket had very good figs, like the figs that are first-ripe; and the other basket had very bad figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad-
There were three fig harvests / year. The ripe figs were freshly harvested, whereas the bad figs were either the immature fruit which was due for future harvest, or figs from the previous harvest. The eating of the offerings by the priests was to symbolize God's eating with Israel, His fellowship with them and acceptance of them. God would not accept / eat the bad figs, but He would accept the good ones.

Jeremiah 24:3 Then Yahweh said to me, What do you see, Jeremiah? I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the bad, very bad, that can’t be eaten, they are so bad-
The difference between the two types of figs was marked. And yet it is hard to perceive the fulfillment of this difference; Ezekiel's prophecies to those who had gone into captivity show that the early exiles of :5 were no better than Zedekiah's group who remained in the land; indeed in Ez. 18 those "good figs" complain that those left in the land were being punished unjustly. This prophecy therefore is about a potential fulfillment didn't come about.

Jeremiah 24:4 The word of Yahweh came to me saying-
The interpretation appears to have been given later. Perhaps literally the two baskets of figs were placed before the temple as an acted parable.

Jeremiah 24:5 Thus says Yahweh the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so will I regard the captives of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans, for good-
The first group of exiles didn't become so exceedingly good (:3) of themselves; it was because God decided to "regard" them like this; He would impute righteousness to them so that He saw them like this. The “good figs” were to be those who went to Babylon and through that experience there became “good figs”. Micah speaks of the same process. Zion was to be plowed and Jerusalem become heaps, which happened in the Babylonian invasion. But then afterwards- 70 years afterwards- the temple was to be rebuilt, “the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains” (Mic. 3:12; 4:1). “In that day…will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather that has been driven out…and I will make her that was cast off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth even for ever…the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem”. A Messianic Kingdom could then have come. This whole situation would be brought to pass because the daughter of Zion was to “go forth out of the city” of Jerusalem “and come even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered [RV rescued]: there shall the Lord redeem thee” (Mic. 4:10). How was the travailing daughter of Zion to be delivered / rescued in Babylon after having been taken captive there from Jerusalem by the Babylonians? Surely in that there, God intended a spiritual revival of the people, there they would hear Ezekiel’s appeal to repent, which if responded  to would enable them to build the temple which he had described (Ez. 43:10,11) and thus usher in a Messianic Kingdom. 

But there are several reasons to believe that this intended Divine program didn’t work out- due to the lack of human response. For one thing, the majority of the Jews chose to remain in Babylon. They didn’t return when they had the chance. And there is extra-Biblical evidence that they soon arose from their weeping by the rivers of Babylon, and wholeheartedly adopted the surrounding Babylonian beliefs and values. Further, in Esther’s time, a decree was made to “destroy… and cause to perish” the Jews throughout the provinces of Persia / Babylon (Esther 3:13; 7:4). This phrase uses the two Hebrew words which we find together three times in the list of curses to be brought upon a disobedient Israel (Dt. 28:20,51,63). There evidently is a connection. And yet by her wonderful self-sacrificial mediation, Esther brought about the deferment and even annulment of those justifiable curses. God’s prophetic word was again changed- due to a mediator, who of course pointed both backwards to Moses, and forwards to the Lord Jesus.

The prophecy of Jer. 29 is addressing the same two groups as in Jer. 24; the captives were intended to repent and become the good figs, whereas Zedekiah and his courtiers who remained in Jerusalem would become the bad figs (Jer. 29:17). But that prophecy was only potentially true. Because now in Jer. 29:21-32 Jeremiah warns the exiles, those who were supposed to become good figs, that they were tolerating false prophets and following them.

Jeremiah 24:6 For I will set My eyes on them for good-
To set the eyes upon for good, "take care of" or "look well unto", could mean that God's eyes, the Angels, would bless the "good figs" in captivity and lead them to repentance and salvation. For that is the ultimate "good" which God plans for His people. But twice we read that Jeremiah could have gone into captivity and been looked upon for good (Jer. 39:12; 40:4 s.w. "I will set My eyes on them for good" in Jer. 24:6). Yet Jeremiah declined; he chose to suffer affliction with the condemned, with the bad figs of the Jer. 24 prophecy, so that he might still help them to repentance. This looked forward to the Lord's death as a sinner on the cross. And it is to be our spirit too, ever seeking the repentance of those who otherwise will be condemned rather than enjoying time solely with those who apparently will be saved.

And I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up- Jer. 18:9 makes it clear that this was conditional; if God promises building and planting, then the potential activity of God in this regard would cease if the people were disobedient. Which they were. Had the first exiles truly been good figs, then they would have been built, planted and never plucked up again in the restored kingdom under the new covenant God was offering them (s.w. Jer. 31:28). And the same promise is made to those called here the bad figs, the Jews who remained in the land- they too could have been planted, built and not plucked up again if they resisted the temptation to flee to Egypt (s.w. Jer. 42:10). So this entire prophecy of the figs was not prescriptive, it was God's vision of what was possible, but it was precluded by a lack of repentance amongst the exiles, as Ezekiel laments so often. And likewise, the bad figs need not have been as they were; they could have had the blessings of the good figs.

Ezra 9:8 says that “And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage”. Ezra saw that “little space” as a time when they received grace; he understood the prophecy of the figs in Jer. 24, that it was only through the captivity and the fact God had graciously not destroyed them but rather preserved them there, that there was the opportunity for a remnant to re-establish the Kingdom. What may appear to some as forsaking is in fact God’s grace to us, when spiritually discerned- whether it be deep within our own lives, or in the state of affairs upon this planet. Yet it should be noted that the prophecy of Jer. 24:6,7 about the good figs seems not to have come true at the restoration- although it could potentially have done so.

Jeremiah 24:7 I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am Yahweh: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God; for they shall return to Me with their whole heart-
The gift of a new heart was that associated with acceptance of the new covenant by the repentant exiles (Jer. 31:33; 32:39; Ez. 11:19; 36:26). But they refused that new covenant, and so it was reapplied and offered to a new Israel formed through the Lord's death. The intention was that they would return to God, and therefore return to the land and enter this new covenant, which would involve God working directly upon their hearts, giving or 'putting in' their hearts His word and love for Him. This is still on offer today, through the gift of the holy Spirit given to all who truly accept the same new covenant in the blood of the Lord Jesus. But that was all potentially possible for the first group of exiles who went into Babylon; but they would not.

Jeremiah 24:8 As the bad figs, which can’t be eaten, they are so bad, surely thus says Yahweh, So will I give up Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt-
This was a subversion of their understanding, that those who had gone into captivity were sinners and they who remained were thereby declared righteous. It was God's intention that the opposite be the case. And yet Zedekiah was repeatedly appealed to for repentance, so that this scenario would not happen. Again we have to conclude that there is a large conditional element in prophecies. The people of Jerusalem and those who had gone to Egypt likewise were not all destroyed. Jeremiah went down into Egypt with them and so far as we know, he was preserved. The reference may be to Jews who had gone to Egypt earlier with Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:34).

Jeremiah 24:9 I will even give them up to be tossed back and forth among all the kingdoms of the earth for evil; to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places where I shall drive them-
This removing / tossing to and from of Judah from their land uses the same word as in Dt. 28:25; in response to their breaking of the covenant, they would be "removed (s.w.) into all the kingdoms of the eretz, throughout the land promised to Abraham. But this curse could have been turned into a blessing; for the restoration prophets envisaged the nations of the eretz repenting and converting to Yahweh. This could have been achieved by the exiles witnessing to the various peoples and languages within the Babylonian / Persian empire. But this didn't happen as was potentially possible. The exiles didn't repent, and so their repentance and experience of the grace of forgiveness was not the powerful pattern of conversion to their neighbours which it could have been.

Jeremiah 24:10 I will send the sword, the famine, and the plague, among them, until they be consumed from off the land that I gave to them and to their fathers
- "Consumed" clearly means 'destroyed' (Jer. 27:8; 36:23; 44:12,18 etc.). But yet again we see that in wrath God remembered mercy. Zedekiah was not destroyed but went into exile in Babylon and died there apparently of natural causes. God's plans are open ended, to always allow scope for human repentance; and somehow intertwined with that is His eagerness to respond to mediation from faithful third parties, as well as the simple fact of His extreme pity for human situations, arising out of His grace and love toward His people.