Jeremiah 39

CHAPTER XXXIX

This chapter gives an account of the siege and taking of

Jerusalem; the flight, capture, and punishment of Zedekiah;

the burning of the city; and the carrying away of the people,

(a few of the meanest excepted,) to Babylon, 1-10;

also of the release of Jeremiah, and the special orders of

Nebuchadnezzar concerning him, 11-14.

The remaining verses relate to the subject of the preceding

chapter; and contain promises of personal safety to Ebed-melech

the Ethiopian amidst the public calamities, on account of his

piety, and his humanity to the prophet, 15-18.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXXIX

Verse 1. In the ninth year of Zedekiah-in the tenth month] This

month is called Tebeth in Es 2:16. It began with the first new

moon of our January, and it was on the tenth day of this month

that Nebuchadnezzar invested the city.

Verse 2. The eleventh year-in the fourth month] This month in

the Hebrew calendar is called Thammuz, and commences with the

first new moon of our July. The siege had lasted just eighteen

months.

The city was broken up.] A breach was made in the wall by which

the Chaldeans entered.

Verse 3. Sat in the middle gate] The city of Jerusalem stood

upon two hills, Sion to the south, and Acra to the north, with a

deep valley between them. The gate of the centre, as the term

seems plainly to import, was a gate of communication in the middle

of the valley, between the two parts of the city, sometimes called

the higher and the lower city. The Chaldeans entered the city on

the north side by a breach in the walls, and rushing forward and

posting themselves in this gate, in the very heart or centre of

the city, became thereby masters at will of the whole. Zedekiah

with his troop, perceiving this, fled out of the opposite gate on

the south side. See Blayney. This is likely; but we know nothing

positively on this subject.

Nergal-sharezer] These were the principal commanders; but Dr.

Blayney thinks that instead of six persons, we have in reality

but three, as the name that follows each is a title of office.

Thus, Nergal-sharezer, who was Samgar; Nebusarsechim, who was

Rab-saris; and Nergal-sharezer, who was Rab-mag. As

Nergal-sharezer occurs twice here, and we know that Nebuzaradan

was general-in-chief, the first Nergal-sharezer is probably a

mistake for Nebuzar-adan, or some other of the commanders. But

these things are as uncertain as they are unimportant.

Verse 4. Went forth out of the city by night] Probably there was

a private passage under ground, leading without the walls, by

which Zedekiah and his followers might escape unperceived, till

they had got some way from the city.

The way of the plain.] There were two roads from Jerusalem to

Jericho. One passed over the mount of Olives; but, as this might

have retarded his flight, he chose the way of the plain, and was

overtaken near Jericho, perhaps about sixteen or eighteen miles

from Jerusalem. He had probably intended to have passed the

Jordan, in order to escape to Egypt, as the Egyptians were then

his professed allies.

Verse 5. To Riblah] This city was situated on the northern

frontier of Palestine, and Hamath was a large city belonging also

to Syria. See Ge 10:18.

Verse 7. Bound him with chains] Margin: "Two brazen chains;" one

for his hands, and the other for his feet.

Verse 9. Those that fell away] That deserted to the Chaldeans

during the siege.

Verse 10. Left of the poor of the people] The very refuse of the

inhabitants, who were not worthy of being carried away; and among

them he divided the fields and vineyards of those whom he took

away.

Verse 12. Take him-look well to him] Nebuchadnezzar had heard

that this prophet had foretold his capture of the city, and had

frequently used all his influence to induce Zedekiah to pay the

tribute, and not rebel against him; and on this account would be

inclined to show the prophet especial favour.

Verse 16. Go and speak to Ebed-melech] The king's servant, the

Cushite.

Verse 18. I will surely deliver thee] Thou hast feared the Lord,

and not the king, nor his princes, and thou hast taken the part of

the prophet, and become his intercessor. Thou shalt not be slain.

Thou hast put thy trust in me; thou shalt therefore be safe

whithersoever thou goest. They that fear God need fear nothing

besides.

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