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30 cease from thence man and beast? Therefore thus saith the Lord of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the
31 frost. And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men .of
. Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them;
32 but they hearkened not. Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burnt in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words.
Chap. XXXVII. 1—5. Zedekiah's reign. The Siege of the city is temporarily raised. 37 And king Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadrezzar king 2 of Babylon made king in the land of Judah. But neither
which Jeremiah here threatens, and which in consequence of the impenitence of king and people did a few years later come to pass. The destruction was carried still further in the sacking of the city at the end of Zedekiah's reign. We gather from the verse that it was this threat that most stirred the passionate wrath of the king, whose spirit was probably already chafed by the humiliation which he and his city had lately undergone.
30. He shall have nime to sit upon the throne of David] In point of fact he was succeeded by his son Jehoiachin, but he was immediately besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, and at the end of three months carried to Babylon. See further in note on xxii. 30.
his dead body shall be cast out] See note on xxii. 19.
32. and there were added...many like words] This second Roll therefore, still preserved to us in the earlier chapters of the Book, is fuller than that which was read in the ears of the people, and which contained briefer extracts from many years of prophecies.
Chap. XXXVII. 1—5. Zedekiah's Reign. The Siege Of The
CiTY iS TEMPORARiLY RAiSED.
1. And king Zedekiah...reigned] Here we return from the two parenthetical chapters which concerned the time of Jehoiakim to the last king of Judah, and the narrative (begun chap. xxxii.) of the last two years of that monarch's reign.
whom Nebuchadrezzar...made king] i.e. Zedekiah. See 2 Kings he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land, did hearken unto the words of the Lord, which he spake by the prophet Jeremiah. And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of 3 Shelemiah and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Pray now unto the Lord our God for us. Now Jeremiah came in and went out among 4 the people: for they had not put him into prison. Then 5 Pharaoh's army was come forth out of Egypt: and when the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they departed from Jerusalem.
6—10. Jeremiah foretells the return of the Chaldaeans.
Then came the word of the Lord unto the prophet Jere- 6 miah, saying, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; Thus 7 shall ye say to the king of Judah, that sent you unto me to inquire of me; Behold, Pharaoh's army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt into their own land.
xxiv. 17. These first two verses are a sort of sketch of the position of affairs.
3. And Zedekiah the king sent] This mission took place later than that related in chap. xxi. 1, which was sent when Nebuchadnezzar's array was approaching Jerusalem. In this case on the contrary the siege had begun and been raised, and the hopes of the people were excited in consequence.
Jehucal] In chap, xxxviii. 4 he proposes that Jeremiah should be put to death.
Zephaniah] the deputy high-priest. See chaps, xxi. 1, xxix. 25, lii. 24, 26, 27. 2 Kings xxv. 18, 20, 21.
Pray now unto the Lord our God for us] There seemed to be a hope that as in the time of Sennacherib's invasion, when Hezekiah was king (2 Kings xix. 35), there might now be given in answer to prayer a miraculous overthrow of the invading host.
4. came in and went out] was still free, had not suffered arrest. That was immediately to follow.
6. when the Chaldeans...heard tidings of them, they departed] See notes on xxxiv. 8 and 21. We do not know whether the retreat on the part of the Egyptians which followed was due to a defeat from the Chaldaeans, or not. The latter seems the most natural construction of the words which end ver. 7. Pharaoh-Hophra (called Apries by Herodotus), although an ally of the king of Judah, yet would feel it a serious matter to come face to face with such a force as that which Nebuchadnezzar was able to bring into the field. For this Pharaoh's reign and overthrow see note on chap. xliv. 30.
8 And the Chaldeans-shall come again, and fight against this
9 city, and take it, and burn it with fire. Thus saith the Lord; Deceive not your selves, saying, The Chaldeans
10 shall surely depart from us: for they shall not depart. For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained bat wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire.
11—15. Jeremiah is seized under a misunderstanding and imprisoned.
« And it came to pass, that when the army of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh's army,
« then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to separate himself thence in the midst
6—10. Jeremiah Foretells The Return Of The Chaldaeans. 8. The prophet is careful to leave no ground whatever for hope.
10. there remained but wounded men] Our version fails to give the full force of the Hebrew, which is that even though but a few individuals remained, and those severely wounded (literally, transfixed), they would be more than a match for the Jews. So certainly was it God's purpose that Jerusalem should be overthrown.
wounded] The same Heb. word is, according to the common rendering, used in a secondary sense (" stricken through ") of those dying of hunger in Lam. iv. 9. See however note there. 11—15. Jeremiah Is Seized Under A Misunderstanding And Imprisoned.
11. was broken up] See note on xxxiv. 21.
12. to separate himself] rather, to take his portion. The Hebrew
is difficult. The verb means literally to cause to divide, and hence the best explanation here seems to be to refer it to a portion of land in the neighbourhood of Anathoth belonging to him. He would naturally wish to take this opportunity of securing himself in the possession of it, so far as he might, particularly as the circumstances of the siege, and . his knowledge that it was only raised for a time, would make it necessary for him to do his utmost to provide himself with the means of subsistence. Another rendering is that of the Eng. margin, to slip away.
in the midst of the people] There was naturally a rush to get out of the city not only on account of the close confinement which the people had suffered, but because of the past and prospective scarcity and consequent high price of provisions. It therefore behoved all to furnish themselves as far as they could with these or with money for their purchase. We cannot connect Jeremiah's action with the portion of land which he is described in chap xxxii. as purchasing, as that event had not yet occurred.
of the people. And when he was in the gate of Benjamin, 13 a captain of the ward 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. Then said Jeremiah, It is false; I fall not away to 14 the Chaldeans. But he hearkened not to him: so Irijah took Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes. Wherefore 15 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.
16—21. Zedekiah takes compassion on the prophet. When Jeremiah was entered into the dungeon, and into is the cabins, and Jeremiah had remained there many days;
13. the gate of Benjamin] on the north side of the city, mentioned also by this name in xxxviii. 7; Zech. xiv. 10. It led through the territory of Benjamin to that of Ephraim, and hence appears also (2 Kings xiv. 13; Nehem. viii. 16, xii. 39) as "the gate of Ephraim."
a captain of the ward] literally, a lord of the watch, i.e. one charged with the duty of taking cognisance of those who passed the gate.
Thou fallest away] For the same Heb. verb, applied, in accordance with our own idiom, in this secondary sense of going over to the enemy compare 1 Sam. xxix. 3; 2 Kings xxv. ri. The views which Jeremiah was known to hold as to the propriety of yielding to the Chaldaeans (e.g. as expressed somewhat later in the words of chap. xxi. 9) would give some ground for suspicion under these circumstances.
16. the princes were wroth with Jeremiah] These were not the princes who had looked upon the prophet with favour in the reign of Jehoiakim (xxvi. 16, xxxvi. 19). Those were now no doubt exiles, and these their successors, as thoroughly opposed to the Chaldaean rule, and sympathizing with their compatriots of Babylon, had no favour to bestow upon Jeremiah. They would remember how he had likened them to evil figs (chap. xxiv.).
16—21. Zedekiah Takes Compassion On The Prophet. 16. dungeon] literally, "house of the pit."
cabins] The marginal reading cells is better. In Heb. indeed the word is found here only, but in the Chaldee and Syriac dialects it is found in the sense of shop. Thus it probably means a vaulted recess off a passage or room. In Jerusalem at the present day "the whole of the plateau on which the temple and palace stood is honeycombed underneath with works of various kinds. Captain Warren describes thirty-four such excavations, some of which are cisterns and others passages. One of these extends about 150 feet from north to south, and nearly as much from east to west, and its roof is supported by massive rude piers, which give the place a look of elephantine strength."
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
18 Babylon. Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants,
19 or against this people, that ye have put me in prison? Where are now your prophets which prophesied unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against
20 this land? 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 Jona
21 than the scribe, lest I die there. 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
many days] during which time the Chaldaeans resumed the siege and the danger became so pressing that Zedekiah was induced to send for the prophet, and ask him for some intimation of the future.
17. asked him secretly] This shews us that the prophet was as unpopular as ever. It also points to Zedekiah's moral weakness, as dread* ing the interference of the princes in the matter.
thou shalt be delivered...] coinciding with the prophecies delivered at greater length and in writing about the same time. See chaps, xxxii. 3, 4, xxxiv. 2, 3.
19. Where are now your prophets which prophesied unto you] Jeremiah in this verse addresses the whole people through their king ('your ...you') as opposed to his address in the singular number before and after. The question is equivalent to a challenge to them to come forward and defend their prediction or acknowledge their falsehood.
20. let my supplication...be accepted before thee] See note on xxxvi. 7.
21. court of the prison] court of the guard. See note on xxxii. 2. apiece of bread] a round cake of bread. The dough was divided into
round cakes not unlike flat stones in shape and appearance (Matt. vii. 9, comp. iv. 3) about a span in diameter and a finger's breadth in thickness : three of these were required for the meal of a single person (Luke xi. 5), and consequently one was barely sufficient to sustain life (1 Sam. ii. 36 "morsel" Eng. Vers.) Sm. Bibl. Diet. Art. Bread.
out of the bakers' street] This is the only case in which even the name of a Jerusalem street is preserved to us. The baking of a household was done from primitive times by the women of the family. But "baking as a profession was carried on by men (Hos. vii. 4, 6). In Jerusalem the bakers congregated in one quarter of the town, as we may infer from the name 'bakers' street,' and tower of the ovens (Neh. iii. 11. xii. 3,8 •furnaces'A. V.)." Ibid.