Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
EVENT OF THE
Written probably when, after having repulsed the Egyptians who brought
succors to the Jews
the Chaldees were a second time advancing against Jerusalem, but were
not yet closely besieging it
(Jer 21:4, 13)
[ROSENMULLER]. This chapter probably ought to be
placed between the thirty-seventh and thirty-eight chapters; since what
the "princes," in
represent Jeremiah as having said, is exactly what we find in
Moreover, the same persons as here
are mentioned in
Jer 37:3; 38:1,
namely, Pashur and Zephaniah. What is here more fully related is there
simply referred to in the historical narrative. Compare
1. Zedekiah--a prince having some reverence for sacred things, for
which reason he sends an honorable embassy to Jeremiah; but not having
moral courage to obey his better impulses.
Pashur--son of Melchiah, of the fifth order of priests, distinct
from Pashur, son of Immer
of the sixteenth order
(1Ch 24:9, 14).
Zephaniah--of the twenty-fourth order. They are designated, not by
their father, but by their family
2. Nebuchadrezzar--the more usual way of spelling the name in Jeremiah
than Nebuchadnezzar. From Persiac roots, meaning either "Nebo, the
chief of the gods," or, "Nebo, the god of fire." He was son of
Nabopolassar, who committed the command of the army against Egypt, at
Carchemish, and against Judea, to the crown prince.
according to all his wondrous works--Zedekiah hopes for God's special
interposition, such as was vouchsafed to Hezekiah against Sennacherib
(2Ki 19:35, 36).
go up from us--rise up from the siege which he sat down to lay
(Jer 37:5, 11,
Nu 16:24, 27;
4. God of Israel--Those "wondrous works"
do not belong to you; God is faithful; it is you who
forfeit the privileges of the covenant by unfaithfulness. "God will
always remain the God of Israel, though He destroy thee and thy
turn back the weapons--I will turn them to a very different use from
what you intend them. With them you now fight against the Chaldees
"without the walls" (the Jewish defenders being as yet able to sally
forth more freely, and defend the fountains outside the walls in the
valley under Mount Zion; see
Jer 19:6, 7);
but soon ye shall be driven back within the city [MAURER], and "in the midst" of it, I will cause all your
arms to be gathered in one place ("I will assemble them,"
namely, your arms) by the Chaldean conquerors [GROTIUS], who shall slay you with those very arms [MENOCHIUS].
5. The Jews shall have not merely the Chaldees, but Jehovah
Himself in wrath at their provocations, fighting against them. Every
word enhances the formidable character of God's opposition, "I myself
. . . outstretched hand . . . strong arm (no
longer as in
and in the case of Sennacherib, in your behalf, but) in anger
. . . fury . . . great wrath."
7. the people, and such--rather, explanatory, "the people," namely,
"such as are left."
seek their life--content with nothing short of their death; not content
with plundering and enslaving them.
smite with . . . sword--This was the fate of Zedekiah's sons and many
of the Jewish nobles. Zedekiah himself, though not put to a violent
death, died of grief. Compare as to the accurate fulfilment,
2Ki 25:6, 7.
8. "Life," if ye surrender; "death," if ye persist in opposing the
The individuality of Jeremiah's mission from God is shown in that he
urges to unconditional surrender; whereas all former prophets had urged
the people to oppose their invaders
(Isa 7:16; 37:33, 35).
(Jer 38:2, 17, 18).
falleth to--deserts to.
life . . . a prey--proverbial, to make one's escape with life, like
a valuable spoil or prey that one carries off; the narrowness of the
escape, and the joy felt at it, are included in the idea
10. set . . . face against--determined to punish
12. house of David--the royal family and all in office about the
king. He calls them so, because it was the greater disgrace that they
had so degenerated from the piety of their forefather, David; and to
repress their glorying in their descent from him, as if they were
therefore inviolable; but God will not spare them as apostates.
in the morning--alluding to the time of dispensing justice
but the sense is mainly proverbial, for "with promptness"
(Ps 90:14; 143:8).
MAURER translates, "every morning."
lest my fury . . . like fire--Already it was kindled, and the decree
of God gone forth against the city
(Jer 21:4, 5),
but the king and his house may yet be preserved by repentance and
reformation. God urges to righteousness, not as if they can thereby
escape punishment wholly, but as the condition of a mitigation
13. inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain--Jerusalem
personified; situated for the most part on hills, with valleys at the
bottom of them, as the valley of Hinnom, &c.; and beyond the valleys
and mountains again, a position most fortified by nature, whence the
inhabitants fancied themselves beyond the reach of enemies; but since
God is "against" them, their position will avail nothing for them. The
"valley" between Mount Zion and Moriah is called Tyropœon.
ROBINSON takes, "rock of the plain" as Mount Zion,
on which is a level tract of some extent. It is
appropriately here referred to, being the site of the royal residence
of the "house of David," addressed
14. fruit of your doings--
Isa 3:10, 11).
forest thereof--namely of your city, taken from
"Forest" refers to the dense mass of houses built of cedar, &c.,
brought from Lebanon
(Jer 22:7; 52:13;