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"court of the guard," where he remained a longer time (cf. xxxii. 2, xxxiii. 1).


XXXVIII. 1. And Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jueal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchiah, heard the words which Jeremiah spoke to all the people, saying: 2. Thus says Yahveh: He that remains in the city shall perish by the sword, and by famine, and by pestilence. And he that goes forth to the Chaldeans shall remain alive, and have his soul for a prey and live. 3. Thus says Yahveh: This city shall certainly be delivered into the power of the army of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it. 4. Then said the princes to the king: Let this man, we pray thee, be put to death; for he verily weakens the hands of the men of war who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by addressing to them such words; for this man seeks not the weal of this nation, but its harm. 5. Then said king Zedekiah: Behold, he is in your hand, for the king verily can do nothing beside you. 6. Then they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king's son, which is in the court of the guard, and let

Chapter XXXVIII.

Ver. 1. Here four princes specially hostile to Jeremiah are mentioned (xxxvii. 15). Among them Jucal occurs, xxxvii. 3, Pashhur, son of Malchiah, xxi. 1. The words which he spoke (partic.) again and again to all the people with whom he came in contact. In the guard-court he was not cut off from intercourse; and what he said there to individuals became known, of course, to every one. Ver. 2 as in xxi. 9. Ver. 3. Cf. xxxvii. 17 et al. Ver. 4. m nDV, see on xxxv. 14.—p by '3, see on xxix. 28. NCiD with K as often instead of naiD. he makes slack the hands of the warriors, who, moreover, are not numerous; deprives them of courage and energy.—DW5 to seek any one's peace, to seek his good. Ver. 5. For the king is not one able to do anything beside you. D3nK for D3nK. In these words Zedekiah shows his fear of the importunity of the princes. Ver. 6. i3^6*i, scriptio def. in Hiphil, as occasionally.—The cistern of Jeremiah down by ropes; and there was no water in the pit but mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud.

7. Then Ebed-melech the Cushite, a eunuch who was in the king's house, heard that they had cast Jeremiah into the pit, whilst the king sat in the Benjamin-gate. 8. And Ebed-melech went forth from the king's house and spoke to the king, saying: 9. My lord and king, these men have done evil in all which they did to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they cast into the pit, so that he is dying in the place of hunger; for bread is exhausted in the city. 10. And the king commanded Ebed-melech the Cushite, saying: Take hence with thee three * men, and bring up the prophet Jeremiah from the pit before he die. 11. Then Ebed-melech took men with him and went into the king's house to the room under the treasury, and took thence torn clouts and

Malchiah, article in the construct state, not altogether rare before proper name, Ges. § 110. 26; Eng. § 108.—The king's son, see on xxxvi. 26. Ver. 7. Ebed - melech, an Ethiopian stranger, attendant of the king, as his name states, and a eunuch, as DnD (elsewhere merely DnD, see on xxix. 2) indicates. Lev. xxii. 24 and Deut. xxiii. 2 raise no difficulty in the case of a slave come from abroad. In a court so thoroughly worldly, where a great harem existed (ver. 22), heathenism would be imitated in this respect also.—Kim descriptive clause, indicating that he was in the royal castle while the king was absent. The princes no doubt waited till the vacillating king was absent to carry out their violent measures. He sat in the gate of Benjamin (xxxvii. 13), an important post of observation. Ver. 9. nDi, not: and he would have died (even without this) of hunger, which would have considerably palliated the crime, but as a certain effect of the act; so that he must die when the supply of bread fails, because he cannot move from the place and go after means of subsistence, which will not be brought to him in the general scarcity. It is, of course, implied that the means of living are not quite wanting, although the bread is exhausted (xxxvii. 21). As to the form, cf. Gen. xliv. 5. Ver. 10. Instead of D'B^C read nB6C? or TO as in

T: v:

2 Sam. xxiii. 13. The king had no superfluous men, and the plural DWK also shows that originally the reading was different, Ges. § 120; Eng. § 118 (Hitzig, Ewald, Graf). Ver. 11. D^3 and D'Kl^3 (ver. 12), old clothes or rags, from rfa, to be worn away. m3nD, better Keri without the article, which may have rotten rags, and he let them down by cords to Jeremiah in the pit. 12. Then said Ebed-melech the Cushite to Jeremiah: Put, I pray thee, the torn and rotten rags under both thy shoulders under the cord; then Jeremiah did so. 13. And they drew Jeremiah up by the cords out of the pit, and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.

14. And king Zedekiah sent for the prophet Jeremiah to the third entrance which is in Yahveh's house. And the king said to Jeremiah: I would ask thee about a matter; conceal nothing from me. 15. Then said Jeremiah to Zedekiah: If I tell thee, wilt thou not surely kill me? And if I counsel thee, thou wilt not listen to me. 16. Then king Zedekiah secretly swore to Jeremiah, and said: As truly as Yahveh lives, who has made us this soul, I will not kill thee nor give thee into the hand of the men who watch for thy life. 17. Then said Jeremiah to Zedekiah: Thus says Yahveh, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: If thou certainly goest forth to the princes of the king of Babylon, thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burnt with fire, and thou shalt remain alive along with thy house. 18. But if thou goest not forth to the princes of the king of Babylon, this city shall be delivered into the hand of the Chaldamns, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape from their hand. 19. Then said king Zedekiah to Jeremiah: I am afraid of the Jews, who have fallen away to the Chaldceans; I should perchance be delivered into their hands, and they would make a mock of me. 20. Then said Jeremiah: Thou

arisen from the next verse, torn rags.—D'rfa (from nbo, to rub), cast-off clouts. He carefully gets this old stuff, because it will form a soft covering for the cords, that the latter may not cut. Ver. 12. b'VK, properly, joining, joint; but here at all events neither knuckle nor elbow, but slwulders, so that DT in the wider sense stands for the whole arm. Ver. 14. To the third entrance (art. only with the adj., Ges. § 111. 2a; Eng. § 109), which is in the temple—a quite unknown locality. / would ask thee about a matter (=a divine revelation, cf. xxxvii. 17). Ver. 17 f. The same counsel as from the first, cf. xxi. 8 f.; but here given to the king specifically as in xxxiv. 1-7, and put according to the consequences to him of compliance or neglect. Ver. 19. ta, see on xxi. 9. Ver. 21. JKD, verbal shalt not be delivered up. Hearken now to Yahveh's voice concerning that which I say to thee, that it may be well with thee, and thy soul may live. 21. But if thou refuse to go forth, this is the word which Yahveh showed me: 22. Behold, all the women, who are left in the house of the king of Judah, shall be led forth to the princes of the king of Babylon, and these women shall say: "The men of thy friendship have misled thee and overpowered thee. When thy feet remain fast in the mire, they go away backward." 23. And all thy wives and thy children shall be led forth to the Chaldjeans, and thou shalt not be saved from their hand, but shalt be seized by the hand of the king of Babylon, and thou shalt burn this city with fire. 24. Then said Zedekiah to Jeremiah: "Let no one know about these matters, lest thou die. 25. And if the princes shall hear that I have spoken with thee, and they come to thee and say to thee: Tell us now what thou saidst to the king, conceal it not from us, and we

adjective. The word which Yahveh showed me. ntn used of the prophetic reception, whose import as a word uttered by the Lord may be described as something seen, Ezek. xi. 25. Ver. 22. All the women left in the house of the king of Judah (not " will be left") intimates that the harem had been already reduced by the difficulty of the times and the different conquests of the capital. Nagelsbach identifies these left, in contrast with ytM, with those inherited from former kings; but in any case the latter are included under the former phrase. The satirical song derides the king as one betrayed and brought to ruin by his own friends, and is borrowed pretty literally from Obad. 7. In point of fact, the friends and allies mentioned in xxvii. 3, especially the Edomites, showed malignant joy at the fall of Jerusalem, and contributed to its humiliation and ill-usage. Cf. xx. 10 with "|D^c 'BOK. The conclusion of the verse may have sprung from a satirical song or current proverb referring to faithless friends. When the one tempted to go first sank in the mire (fa here only; cf. HS3), they faithlessly drew back instead of helping him.—To take (for T?ii) as subject to the second verb (Nagelsbach) is out of place. One who sinks in the mire cannot go back. Ver. 23. Accusative as often with passive, which here changes into the participle, because the influence of ver. 22 is still felt. Cf. xxxiv. 2. Thou wilt be seized by his hand, or in his hand. Thou wilt burn, i.e. cause it to be burnt by thy sin. LXX, will not kill thee; and what has the king said to thee? 26. then thou shalt say to them: I caused my supplication to fall before the king's face not to put me again into the house of Jonathan, lest I die there." 27. Then came all the princes to Jeremiah and questioned him: and he answered them exactly according to these words which the king commanded him; then they left him alone; for the matter was not spread abroad. 28. And Jeremiah dwelt in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken.

Syriac, Chaldee, Hitzig, Ewald, Graf read tptefi; easier, but scarcely correct. Ver. 26. i' earned my supplication to fall. = prayed most humbly, see on xxxvi. 7. Jeremiah really addressed the request to the king previously, xxxvii. 20. Ver. 286 belongs to ch. xxxix.


Contents of ch. xxxviii. New attack on the prophet's life, and its defeat. a. Jeremiah in the hands of the hostile Princes, vv. 1-6; 6. His deliverance by Ebed-melech, vv. 7-13; c. Secret Interview with Zedekiah, vv. 14-28.

Although Jeremiah had once, according to ch. xxxvii., escaped the wrath of the princes, the king making his imprisonment milder, they still remained his deadly enemies. They did not without reason reproach him with depriving the people of spirit and strength to resist by constantly insisting on the uselessness of resistance, and openly counselling passing over to the enemy's camp (cf. xxi. 8 ff.). From the ordinary civil and military standpoint they were in the right, as even modern historians are unable to do the prophet justice in this respect (cf. Maspero, Gesch. d. Morgenl. Volker im Alter, p. 495 f.). But it is otherwise when the nature of prophetic revelation is taken into serious account. When revelation set before Jeremiah the irrevocable fate of rebellious Jerusalem, compelling him also to impress it on his people, he was in the power of a higher lord, and could not remain silent for the sake of momentary outward " unity," but was obliged to

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