Ebed-Melech, the Ethiopian eunuch
The princes of Jerusalem, when Jeremiah’s prophecies came true and Nebuchadnezzar had their city tightly under siege, blamed the prophet and had him cast into a deep dungeon that was little more than a pit full of mud. There he would have surely died–but for a man called Ebed-Melech.
Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs which was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon… Ebed-melech went forth… and spake to the king, saying, My 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. (Jeremiah 38:7-9)
“Ebed-Melech” means “servant of the king” and probably was not the name this man’s mother had given him. In fact, he is too humble a personage to be known by his own name. The Scripture stresses the fact that he is an Ethiopian: that is to say, an outsider, a nobody. But he alone had the courage and the decency to speak to the king for Jeremiah’s sake. And he was taking a chance, because King Zedekiah had repeatedly demonstrated his moral cowardice and unreliability–and what’s one eunuch, more or else, with the Chaldean army at the city gates?
Providentially, Ebed-Melech caught the king on a good day, and was given thirty men to help him hoist Jeremiah out of the pit and move him to some place where at least he would be given food. Ebed-Melech saved the prophet’s life.
And then what happened? As Jeremiah had repeatedly warned, the enemy took the city, to destroy it. The king and his princes fled, pursued by the Chaldeans. Chaos swirled in all the streets. And God, amid this tumult, had one more word for Jeremiah.
Go and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished in that day before thee. But I will deliver thee in that day, saith the Lord; and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid. For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 39:16-18)
Under the circumstances, we may conjecture that even Jeremiah himself might have forgotten Ebed-Melech: but God did not forget him.
God knows and remembers those souls that He has made, who put their trust in Him. You don’t have to be a prince or a prophet. You just have to be His.