Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
ZEDEKIAH AND THE
as to Zedekiah is an amplification of that in
in consequence of which Jeremiah was then shut up in the court of the
prison. The prophecy
refers to the Jews, who, afraid of the capture of the city, had, in
obedience to the law, granted freedom to their servants at the end of
seven years, but on the intermission of the siege forced them back into
1. Jerusalem and . . . all the cities thereof--(see on
It was amazing blindness in the king, that, in such a desperate
position, he should reject admonition.
4, 5. Mitigation of Zedekiah's punishment.
5. the burnings of thy fathers--Thy funeral shall be honored with the
same burning of aromatic spices as there was at the funerals of thy
(2Ch 16:14; 21:19).
The honors here mentioned were denied to Jehoiakim
Ah, lord!--The Hebrews in their chronology (Seder Olam)
mention the wailing used over him, "Alas! King Zedekiah is dead,
drinking the dregs (that is, paying the penalty for the sins) of former
7. these . . . retained--alone (compare
2Ch 11:5, 9).
8. By the law a Hebrew, after having been a bond-servant for six
years, on the seventh was to be let go free
Zedekiah made a covenant--with solemn ceremonial in the temple
(Jer 34:15, 18, 19).
9. none . . . serve himself of a Jew--
11. During the interruption of the siege by Pharaoh-hophra (compare
Jer 34:21, 22,
with Jer 37:5-10),
the Jews reduced their servants to bondage again.
13. The last year of Zedekiah was the sabbatical year. How just the
retribution, that they who, against God's law and their own covenant,
enslaved their brethren, should be doomed to bondage themselves: and
that the bond-servants should enjoy the sabbatical freedom at the hands
of the foe
which their own countrymen denied them!
14. At the end of seven years--that is, not on the eighth year,
but within the limit of the seventh year, not later than the end of the
(Ex 21:2; 23:10;
So "at the end of three years"
and "after three days, I will rise again"
that is, on the third day (compare
15. in the house . . . called by my name--the usual
place of making such covenants
16. polluted my name--by violating your oath
17. not . . . proclaiming liberty--Though the Jews had ostensibly
emancipated their bond-servants, they virtually did not do so by
revoking the liberty which they had granted. God looks not to outward
appearances, but to the sincere intention.
I proclaim a liberty--retribution answering to the offense
(Mt 7:2; 18:32, 33;
The Jews who would not give liberty to their brethren shall themselves
receive "a liberty" calamitous to them. God will manumit them from His
happy and safe service
which is real "liberty"
only to pass under the terrible bondage of other taskmasters, the
to be removed--The Hebrew expresses agitation
De 28:25, 48, 64, 65,
as to the restless agitation of the Jews in their ceaseless
removals from place to place in their dispersion.
18. passed between the parts thereof--The contracting parties in
the "covenant" (not here the law in general, but their
covenant made before God in His house to emancipate their
Jer 34:8, 9)
passed through the parts of the animal cut in two, implying that they
prayed so to be cut in sunder
Greek, "cut in two") if they should break the covenant
(Ge 15:10, 17).
20. I will even give--resuming the sentence begun, but not completed
"I will give," &c.
seek their life--implacably: satisfied with nothing short of their
blood; not content with booty.
dead bodies--The breakers of the covenant shall be cut in pieces, as
the calf between whose parts they passed.
21. gone up--that is, raised the siege in order to meet Pharaoh-hophra
The departure of the Chaldeans was a kind of manumission of the Jews;
but as their manumission of their bond-servants was recalled, so God
revoked His manumission of them from the Chaldeans.
22. I will command--Nebuchadnezzar, impelled unconsciously by a divine
instigation, returned on the withdrawal of the Egyptians.