Jeremiah 37

CHAPTER XXXVII

Zedekiah succeeds Coniah, the son of Jehoiakim, in the Jewish

throne, and does that which is evil in the sight of the Lord,

1, 2.

The king sends a message to Jeremiah, 3-5.

God suggests an answer; and foretells the return of the

Chaldean army, who should most assuredly take and burn the

city, 6-10.

Jeremiah, in attempting to leave this devoted city, and retire

to his possession in the country, is seized as a deserter, and

cast into a dungeon, 11-15.

The king, after a conference with him, abates the rigour of his

confinement, 16-21.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXXVII

Verse 1. And king Zedekiah the son of Josiah] Of the siege and

taking of Jerusalem referred to here, and the making of Zedekiah

king instead of Jeconiah, see 2Ki 24:1, &c., and the notes there.

Verse 3. Zedekiah-to the prophet Jeremiah] He was willing to

hear a message from the Lord, provided it were according to his

own mind. He did not fully trust in his own prophets.

Verse 4. Now Jeremiah came in and went out] After the siege was

raised, he had a measure of liberty; he was not closely confined,

as he afterwards was. See Jer 37:16.

Verse 5. Then Pharaoh's army] This was Pharao-hophra or Apries,

who then reigned in Egypt in place of his father Necho. See

Eze 29:6, &c. Nebuchadnezzar, hearing that the Egyptian army,

on which the Jews so much depended, was on their march to relieve

the city, suddenly raised the siege, and went to meet them. In the

interim Zedekiah sent to Jeremiah to inquire of the Lord to know

whether they might consider themselves in safety.

Verse 7. Pharaoh's army-shall return to Egypt] They were

defeated by the Chaldeans; and, not being hearty in the cause,

returned immediately to Egypt, leaving Nebuchadnezzar unmolested

to recommence the siege.

Verse 10. For though ye had smitten the whole army] Strong

words; but they show how fully God was determined to give up this

city to fire and sword, and how fully he had instructed his

prophet on this point.

Verse 12. Jeremiah went forth] At the time that Nebuchadnezzar

had raised the siege, and gone to meet the Egyptian army.

Go into the land of Benjamin] To Anathoth, his native city.

To separate himself thence] "To receive a portion thereof among

the people;"-Blayney: who supposes that Jeremiah went to receive a

portion of the proceeds of his patrimony at Anathoth, which had,

previously to the siege, been in the hands of the Chaldeans. The

siege being now raised, he thought of looking thus after his own

affairs. The Chaldee is to the same sense. "He went that he might

divide the inheritance which he had there among the people."

Dahler translates, 'He went to withdraw himself from the siege,

as many others of the inhabitants." I believe he went to withdraw

himself from a city devoted to destruction, and in which he could

no longer do any good.

Verse 13. Thou fallest away to the Chaldeans.] Thou art a

deserter, and a traitor to thy country. As he had always declared

that the Chaldeans should take the city, &c., his enemies took

occasion from this to say he was in the interest of the Chaldeans,

and that he wished now to go to them, and betray the place.

Verse 15. And smote him] Without any proof of the alleged

treachery, without any form of justice.

In prison to the house of Jonathan] In Asiatic countries there

is an apartment in the houses of the officers of the law, to

confine all the accused that are brought before them. Jonathan was

a scribe or secretary, and had a prison of this kind in his house.

Verse 16. Entered into the dungeon, and into the cabins] The

dungeon was probably a deep pit; and the cabins or cells, niches

in the sides, where different malefactors were confined. See

Blayney.

Verse 17. Is there any word from the Lord?] Is there any farther

revelation?

There is:-thou shalt be delivered] What bold faithfulness! And

to a king, in whose hands his life now lay.

Verse 19. Where are now your prophets] They told you that the

Chaldeans should not come; I told you they would. According to my

word the Chaldeans are come, and are departed only for a short

time.

Verse 20. Cause me not to return to the house of Jonathan] He

had been ill used in this man's custody, so as to endanger his

life, the place being cold, and probably unhealthy.

Verse 21. Then Zedekiah-the court of the prison] Was contiguous

to the king's house, where the prisoners could readily see their

friends.

Give him daily a piece of bread out of the bakers' street] From

the public stores; which he received till all the provisions were

spent.

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