Jeremiah (Ch 37-38)

The list of kings of Judah towards the end; in successive reigns, as Josiah (reign 640–609), Jehoahaz (reign 609), Jehoiakim (reign 609–598), Jehoiachin or Jechonias (reign 598–597), and Zedekiah (reign 597–586)

Jeremiah 37

1 And King Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah. — and King Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned… the brother of Jehoiakim, whose untimely death, and want of burial, are prophesied of in the preceding chapter. The name of Zedekiah was Mattaniah before he was king; his name was changed by the king of Babylon, who made him king, II Kings 24:17.

But neither he nor his servants, nor the people of the land hearkened unto the words of the Lord, which He spoke by the prophet Jeremiah. — but neither he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land… the king, his courtiers and subjects the royal family, nobility, and common people; they were all degenerate and corrupt; that Jehoiakim was wicked, and so with all his people wicked but Zedekiah seems to possess one single righteous action of taking Jeremiah out of prison; and according to this account, king and people were all wicked.

And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “Pray now unto the Lord our God for us.” — to the Prophet Jeremiah, saying, pray now unto the Lord our God for us. This message was sent either upon the rumour of the Chaldeans coming against Jerusalem, as some think; or rather when it had departed from the city, and was gone to meet the army of the king of Egypt; so that this petition to the prophet was to pray that the king of Egypt alight get the victory over the Chaldean army, and that that might not return unto them. Thus wicked men will desire the prayers of good men in times of distress, when their words, their cautions, admonitions, exhortations, and prayers too, are despised by them at another time.

Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the people, for they had not put him into prison. — now Jeremiah came in and went out among the people… was free to go in and out of the city whenever he pleased; or go to any part of it, and converse with the people and prophesy to them; which he could not do in the latter part of Jehoiakim’s reign, who sent officials after him and Baruch to take them, and they hide themselves, yea, the Lord hid them,Jeremiah 36:19; but now he was under no restraint, as least as yet:

— for they had not put him into prison; not yet; they afterwards did, Jeremiah 37:15.

Then Pharaoh’s army came forth out of Egypt; and when the Chaldeans who besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they departed from Jerusalem. — then Pharaoh’s army was come forth out of Egypt… at the time the above message was sent to Jeremiah. Zedekiah, though he had took an oath of homage to the king of Babylon, rebelled against him, and entered into a league with the king of Egypt, to whom he sent for succours in his distress; and who, according to agreement, sent his army out of Egypt to break up the siege of Jerusalem; for though the king of Egypt came no more in person out of his land, after his defeat at Carchemish by Nebuchadnezzar, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, Jeremiah 46:2; yet he sent his army to the relief of Jerusalem.

Then came the word of the Lord unto the prophet Jeremiah, saying,

“Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel: Thus shall ye say to the king of Judah, who sent you unto Me to inquire of Me: ‘Behold, Pharaoh’s army, which has come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt into their own land. — thus shall ye say to the king of Judah, that sent you unto me, to inquire of me; in an oracular way; for by this it seems that they were not only sent to desire the prophet to pray for them, but to obtain an oracle from the Lord, confirming it to them, that the Chaldean army which was gone would not return any more; this they were willing to believe, but wanted to have a confirmation of it from the Lord;

— and so the Targum says “to seek an oracle from me;” or to ask instruction or doctrine from me: now these messengers are bid to go back and tell the king, his nobles, and all the people of the land, what follows:

— behold, Pharaoh’s army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt, into their own land; being afraid to face the Chaldean army; or being defeated and driven back by it. Josephus a says there was a battle fought between the Egyptians and Chaldeans, in which the latter were conquerors, and put the former to flight, and drove them out of all Syria. Rashi relates a fable, how that the Egyptian army came by ships, and that at sea they saw strange appearances, upon which they said one to another, what means this? they replied, these are our fathers, whom the fathers of those we are going to help drowned in the sea; and immediately returned to their own land.

And the Chaldeans shall come again and fight against this city, and take it and burn it with fire.’ — and the Chaldeans shall come again… to Jerusalem, after they have defeated or drove back the Egyptian army:and fight against this city; with fresh rigour and resolution; being exasperated by the methods taken to oblige them to raise the siege:

— and take it, and burn it with fire; and they did, Jeremiah 39:8.

Thus saith the Lord: Deceive not yourselves, saying, ‘The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us,’ for they shall not depart.

10 For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent and burn this city with fire.”

11 And it came to pass that when the army of the Chaldeans had broken off from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh’s army, — and it came to pass, that when the army of the Chaldeans were broken up from Jerusalem… when the siege of the city was broken up and raised: or, when they “went up from Jerusalem” were gone from it;

— for fear of Pharaoh’s army; or rather “because of Pharaoh’s army”; the word “fear” is not in the text; nor did they leave Jerusalem for fear of his army, but to meet it, and give it battle, as they did; however, by this means there was a freer passage to and from the city.

12 then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin to separate himself from thence in the midst of the people.

13 And when he was in the Gate of Benjamin, a captain of the guard was there, whose name was Irijah the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he took Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “Thou fallest away to the Chaldeans!” — whose name [was] Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah: the grandson as some think, of that Hananiah the false prophet, of whose death Jeremiah the prophet prophesied, Jeremiah 28:16;

— and the Jews have a tradition that Hananiah ordered his son Shelemiah, that if he ever had an opportunity to bring Jeremiah to ruin, to do it; and the same charge Shelemiah gave to his son Irijah, who, having this opportunity, laid hold on him; Rashi make mention of it:

— and he took Jeremiah the prophet, saying, thou fallest away to the Chaldeans; it looks as if, though he might not have a family grudge against him, as the Jews suggest, yet had a hatred of him for his prophecies, and therefore fixes this calumny on him; for otherwise, why did he suffer the people to pass in great numbers without any such charge?

14 Then said Jeremiah, “It is false! I fall not away to the Chaldeans.” But he hearkened not to him; so Irijah took Jeremiah and brought him to the princes. — I fall not away to the Chaldeans; for the Chaldean army was gone from the city; nor did Jeremiah like so well to be with an idolatrous people; for after the city was taken, when Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard gave him his choice, either to go with him to Babylon, where he promised to take care of him; or to go to Gedaliah, who was made governor of Judah; he chose rather to be with him, and his poor company:

— so Irijah took Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes; the princes of Zedekiah’s court, or the princes of the people, the civil magistrates; or it may be the great Sanhedrin, who he knew had no good disposition towards the prophet.

15 Thereupon the princes were wroth with Jeremiah, and smote him and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe; for they had made that the prison. — and put him in prison, in the house of Jonathan the scribe; such an one as Elishama was in Jehoiakim’s time, who had a house or apartment at court as he had, who was now dead or removed, Jeremiah 36:12.

16 When Jeremiah had entered into the dungeon and into the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days,

17 then Zedekiah the king sent and took him out; and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, “Is there any word from the Lord?” And Jeremiah said, “There is; for, said He: Thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon!” — then Zedekiah the king sent and took him out… after Jeremiah had been in prison for some time; and the Chaldean army being returned, and having renewed their siege, the king is frightened; and knowing the prophet was in prison, sends a messenger to take him out from thence, and bring him to him; which was accordingly done:

— is there any word from the Lord? he means any particular word of prophecy, any late one, and what concerned their present circumstances, showing what would be the issue of the return of the Chaldean army; for prophecy did not come at all times, nor even according to the will of man, but always according to the will of God, and when he thought fit; this the king knew very well, and he wanted a comfortable word, some good news of the failure of the present attempt:

— for, said he, thou shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon; which was boldly and faithfully said, to be said to the face of the king himself, risking his life in so doing; or, at least, exposing himself to severer treatment, if severer could be used.

18 Moreover Jeremiah said unto King Zedekiah, “How have I offended against thee or against thy servants or against this people, that ye have put me in prison? — what have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison? or, “what have I sinned?” have I been guilty of treason against thee, O king? or of scandal and defamation of any of thy nobles and courtiers? have I done any injury to any of the king’s subjects? has there been any falsehood in my prophecies? has not everything appeared to be true that I have spoken, concerning the coming of the Chaldeans to invade the land, and besiege the city? and concerning the return of the Chaldean army when broken up?

— why then should I be cast into prison, and detained there? is it not a clear case that what I have said comes from the Lord? and therefore ought not to be used in this manner.

19 Where are your prophets now who prophesied unto you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land’? — where your prophets now that prophesied unto you… your false prophets, as the Targum says; what is become of their prophecies? where is the truth of them, to which general credit has been given? where are they?

20 Therefore hear now, I pray thee, O my lord the king. Let my supplication, I pray thee, be accepted before thee, that thou cause me not to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there.” — that thou cause me not to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe; but that he might be discharged from his confinement; or however be removed into another prison, not so uncomfortable and disagreeable as this man’s house or prison was; and which perhaps was still the worse through his cruel and ill natured carriage to him; and which all together endangered his life: wherefore he adds;

— lest I die there; for though he had continued there many days, yet the place was so exceedingly noisome, that he thought he could not long continue there, was he remanded back to it.

21 Then Zedekiah the king commanded that they should commit Jeremiah into the court of the prison, and that they should give him daily a piece of bread out of the bakers’ street, until all the bread in the city was spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison. — then Zedekiah the king commanded that they should commit Jeremiah into the court of the prison… he did not think fit to discharge him entirely, lest it should give offence to the princes, who had committed him; but he ordered him to be put in a court belonging to the prison, where he might breathe in a freer air, and have liberty of walking to and fro, where his friends might be admitted to come and see him:

— and that they should give him daily a piece of bread out of the bakers’ street; it seems there was a street in Jerusalem so called, where the bakers lived; and perhaps the king’s bakers; who had orders to deliver to the prophet every day a piece or loaf of bread, as much as was sufficient for a man; or, however, as much as the scarcity of provisions in a siege would allow. Kimchi makes mention of a Midrash, which interprets this of bread made of bran, which was sold without the palace; as if it was coarser bread than what was eaten at court:

— until all the bread in the city was spent; that is, as long as there was any. These were the king’s orders: thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison: until the city was taken; unless a small time that he was in the dungeon of Malchiah, out of which he was taken again, and restored to the court of the prison, and there continued; Jeremiah 38:6.

Jeremiah 38

1 Then 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,

“Thus 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 as a prey, and shall live.’ — but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live: that goes out of the city, throws down his arms, delivers up himself to the Chaldean army, and submits to their mercy, shall have quarters given him, and his life shall be spared.

Thus saith the Lord: ‘This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it.’” — thus saith the Lord, this city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army… when those found in it should be put to the sword, or carried captive: this the prophet declares with the greatest certainty; and what he had often affirmed for twenty years past, and now stands to it, having had fresh assurances from the Lord that so it would be; and which he faithfully published; though he had received some favours from the court, had his liberty enlarged, and was now eating the king’s bread, he was not to be bribed by these things to hold his peace; but the nearer the ruin of the city was, the more confident was he of its destruction.

Therefore 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 who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words unto them; for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt.” — we beseech thee, let this man be put to death; or, “let this man now be put to death,” as the Targum says;

— for thus he weakened the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words to them; dispirited the soldiers who were set for the defence of the city, such of them as were left, who were not taken off by the sword, famine, or pestilence; since, if what Jeremiah said was true, all attempts to defend it must be in vain; and the people be without any hope of being delivered out of the hands of the enemy.

Then Zedekiah the king said, “Behold, he is in your hand; for the king is not he that can do any thing against you.”

Then they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah, the son of Hammelech, which 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 sank in the mire.

Now when Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon (the king then sitting in the Gate of Benjamin),

Ebedmelech went forth out of the king’s house and spoke 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 likely to die of hunger in the place where he is, for there is no more bread in the city.”

10 Then 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 dies.”

11 So Ebedmelech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took from thence old castoff clothes and old rotten rags, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah.

12 And Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, “Put now these old castoff clothes and rotten rags under thine armpits, under the cords.” And Jeremiah did so.

13 So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon; and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.

14 Then Zedekiah the king sent and took Jeremiah the prophet unto him into the principal entry that is in the house of the Lord; and the king said unto Jeremiah, “I will ask thee a thing; hide nothing from me.”

15 Then Jeremiah said unto Zedekiah, “If I declare it unto thee, wilt thou not surely put me to death? And if I give thee counsel, wilt thou not hearken unto me?”

16 So Zedekiah the king swore secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, “As the Lord liveth, who made us this soul, I will not put thee to death, neither will I give thee into the hand of these men who seek thy life.”

17 Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, “Thus saith the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘If you will surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, then your soul will live and this city will not be burned with fire. Thus you and your household will live.’ — if thou wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylon’s princes; the generals of his army, whose names are mentioned, Jeremiah 39:3; the king not being with his army at this time, but at Riblah, Jeremiah 39:5; the meaning is, if he would open the gates of Jerusalem, and go forth from thence to the Chaldean army, and surrender himself and the city into the hands of the princes in it, and general officers of it:

— then thy soul shall live; in thy body and not be separated from it; or live comfortably in peace and safety though not in so much splendour and glory as he had done; and thine house; not only himself, but his wives, children and servants.

— and this city shall not be burned with fire; as had been threatened; and as the Chaldeans would be provoked to do, should it hold out to the last extremity; but should preserve it upon a surrender.

18 But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand.’” — but if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon’s princes… and surrender to them: then shall this city be given into the hands of the Chaldeans; if not willingly delivered up by the king of Judah, it shall be forcibly taken by the king of Babylon’s army.

19 And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Jews who are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me.” — I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans; who did go out of the city, and surrendered to the Chaldeans, whom Zedekiah had cruelly used, or severely threatened:

— lest they deliver me into their hands, and they mock me; that is, lest the Chaldeans should deliver him into the hands of the Jews, and they should jeer and scoff at him, for doing the same thing he had forbidden them on the severest penalty; or lest they should put him to death in the most revengeful and contemptuous manner, but all this was either a mere excuse, or showed great weakness.

20 But Jeremiah said, “They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the Lord, which I speak unto thee; so it shall be well with thee, and thy soul shall live. — obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the Lord, which I speak unto thee; the counsel he had given him, to surrender to the Chaldeans, was not from himself, but from the Lord: and though he had no express order to give it at that time, yet it was what was agreeable to the will of God, and what he had exhorted the people to in the beginning of this chapter; and therefore, since it came from the Lord, as it ought to be attended to, so he might be assured of the divine protection, should he act according to it:

— so it shall be well with thee, and thy soul shall live; that is, it would not only be much better with him than he feared, but than it would be with him should he obstinately stand out to the last; he should have more respect and honour from the king of Babylon; and not only have his life spared, but enjoy more of the comforts of life; particularly the sight of his eyes, which he lost when taken.

21 But if thou refuse to go forth, this is the word that the Lord hath shown me:

22 And behold, all the women who are left in the king of Judah’s house shall be brought forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, and those women shall say, ‘Thy friends have set thee up and have prevailed against thee. Thy feet are sunk in the mire, and they have turned away back.’ — and, behold, all the women that are left in the king of Judah’s house… that were left in the royal palace when Jehoiakim and Jeconiah were carried captives; or which were left of the famine and pestilence in, Zedekiah’s house; or would be left there when he should flee and make his escape; meaning his concubines, or maids of honour, and court ladies;

— and those women shall say, thy friends have set thee on, and have prevailed against thee: or, “the men of thy peace” the false prophets, and the princes that hearkened to them, and promised and flattered him with peace and prosperity, these deceived him; they set him on to hold out against the Chaldeans, and not believe the Prophet Jeremiah; and they prevailed with him to do so, though it was against himself, and his own interest:

— and they are turned away back; meaning either his feet, which were distorted, and had turned aside from the right way; or now could go on no further against the enemy, but were obliged to turn back and flee; or else the men of his peace, the false prophets and princes, who had fed him with vain hopes of safety, now left him, and every man shifted for himself. This would be said by the women, either in a mournful manner, by way of complaint; or as scoffing at the king, as a silly foolish man, to hearken to such persons; and so he that was afraid of being mocked by the Jews is jeered at by the women of his house.

23 So they shall bring out all thy wives and thy children to the Chaldeans. And thou shalt not escape out of their hand, but shalt be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon; and thou shalt cause this city to be burned with fire.” — so they shall bring out all thy wives and thy children to the Chaldeans… not the citizens of Jerusalem; but, as Kimchi observes, the Chaldeans that should enter the city shall bring them out to the Chaldeans without: or it may be rendered impersonally, “they shall be brought out” not only the ladies at court, that waited on him and his queen, as before; but all his wives and concubines, and his children, or his sons rather; for at the taking of the city no mention is made of daughters, only of sons, who were slain before his eyes, Jeremiah 39:6;

— and thou shalt not escape out of their hand, but shalt be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon; not by him personally, for he was not present at the taking of him, but by his army, who having taken him, brought him to him, and delivered him into his hand, Jeremiah 39:5;

— and thou shalt cause this city to be burnt with fire; or, “thou shall burn this city with fire” b; be the moral cause of it; through his sin and obstinacy, impenitence and unbelief, the burning of the city might be laid to his charge; his sin was the cause of it; and it was all one as if he had burnt it with his own hands. All this is said to work upon him to hearken to the advice given; but all was in vain.

24 Then said Zedekiah unto Jeremiah, “Let no man know of these words, and thou shalt not die.

25 But if the princes hear that I have talked with thee, and they come unto thee and say unto thee, ‘Declare unto us now what thou hast said unto the king, also what the king said unto thee; hide it not from us, and we will not put thee to death,’ — and say unto thee, declare unto us now what thou hast said unto the king; hide it not from us, and we will not put thee to death; also what the king said unto thee: the king knew how inquisitive they would be, and sift the prophet to the bottom, to know both what the prophet said to the king, about the state of affairs respecting the Chaldeans, and the surrender of the city to them, which they supposed to be the subject of the discourse; and what were the king’s thoughts about it, and his determinations concerning it; and in order to make the prophet easy, and more free and open to tell the whole matter, he suggests they would promise him his life should not be taken away.

26 then thou shalt say unto them, ‘I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan’s house to die there.’” — then thou shalt say unto them… here the king puts words into the prophet’s mouth, what he should say to the princes, to put them off from inquiring further, and so keep the matter a secret:

— that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan’s house, to die there; this he had entreated of the king before, Jeremiah 37:20; and now, no doubt, renewed his request, having this fair opportunity with the king alone to do it; or, however, it is highly probable he did it upon this hint of the king. This shows how much the king stood in fear of his princes in this time of his distress; and that he had only the name of a king, and had not courage and resolution enough to act of himself, according to the dictates of his mind; yea, that he feared men more than he feared the Lord.

27 Then came all the princes unto Jeremiah and asked him, and he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they left off speaking with him, for the matter was not perceived. — for the matter was not perceived; or, “was not heard” though there were persons that saw the king and the prophet together, yet nobody heard anything that passed between them; and therefore Jeremiah could not be confronted in what he had said, or be charged with concealing anything.

28 So Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison until the day that Jerusalem was taken, and he was there when Jerusalem was taken. — the Targum, rendering it, “and it came to pass when Jerusalem was taken.”

~ by Joel Huan on November 18, 2021.

One Response to “Jeremiah (Ch 37-38)”

  1. […] Study of Chapters 37 and 38 HERE ~ —— […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: