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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 38

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-28

Chapter 37

Now we come to the third part of the book of Jeremiah and this covers the period of Zedekiah the king. These particular prophecies, thirty-seven through thirty-nine, cover from the time that Zedekiah ascended to the throne unto his captivity in Babylon. So he again gives us the time of the prophecy.

And king Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon had made king in the land of Judah ( Jeremiah 37:1 ).

So Zedekiah was king under the order of Nebuchadnezzar. When Jehoiakim died, you remember Jeremiah said, "There won't be any of your family sitting upon the throne." Well, one of his sons, Jehoiachin, sought for a time to sit upon the throne. He lasted for three months and Nebuchadnezzar came back and deposed him and Nebuchadnezzar set up Zedekiah as the king over Judah so that Jehoiakim was not succeeded by his own children. And the Word of the Lord was fulfilled. "Who Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon made king over the land of Judah."

But neither he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land, would hearken unto the words of the LORD, which he spake by the prophet Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 37:2 ).

People had closed their ears to the warning of God. Zedekiah refused to listen. He would listen privately. He would call Jeremiah and talk to him privately, but then publicly he would denounce him.

And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of 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 the people: for they had not yet put him into prison. Then Pharaoh's army had come forth out of Egypt: and when the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they departed from Jerusalem ( Jeremiah 37:3-5 ).

Now the Babylonian army was there, but when they heard that the Egyptian army was coming the Babylonian army withdrew. They withdrew their men from Jerusalem.

Then came the word of the LORD to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Thus 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, will return to Egypt into their own land. And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire. Thus saith the LORD; Don't deceive yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us: for they shall not depart ( Jeremiah 37:6-9 ).

Now the people thought, "Oh, we're free, you know, from the Chaldeans. The Egyptian army has frightened them off. They've gone. Now we can do our own thing. Now we can be independent of Babylon. Now we won't have to pay tribute." And they rebelled against the Babylonian authority. But Jeremiah warned them against this. He said, "Don't think that you're free of them, they're going to return again."

For though you had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans ( Jeremiah 37:10 )

Even if you had wiped out the whole army.

and there were only a few wounded men left ( Jeremiah 37:10 ),

God has determined to deliver you unto the Chaldeans. And just a few wounded men would be able to take you and they'll burn this city with fire.

So 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 from the midst of the people ( Jeremiah 37:11-12 ).

So Jeremiah started to take off and go up to Benjamin but,

As he was in the gate of Benjamin ( Jeremiah 37:13 ),

One of the gates of Jerusalem at that time.

a captain of the ward was there, whose name was Irijah; and he took Jeremiah the prophet, saying, You're going over [to the Babylonians] to the Chaldeans. Then said Jeremiah, That is not true; I am not going over to the Chaldeans. But this captain would not listen to him: so Irijah took Jeremiah, and brought him before the princes. When the princes were angry with Jeremiah, they smote him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe; for they had made that a prison. When Jeremiah was entered into the dungeon, and into the cabins, and Jeremiah had remained there for many days ( Jeremiah 37:13-16 );

So they imprisoned Jeremiah thinking that he was going to go over to the Babylonians. Jeremiah declared that wasn't his intention, but yet they made him a prisoner anyhow to keep him from that.

Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took him out; and the king asked him secretly in the 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 Babylon. Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, 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 will not come against you, nor against this land? ( Jeremiah 37:17-19 )

There were prophets that said, "The Babylonians will never come into this land." He said, "Where are those prophets now that gave you that story?"

Therefore hear now, I pray thee, O my lord the king: let my prayer, I pray thee, be accepted before thee; that thou cause me not to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there ( Jeremiah 37:20 ).

Please don't send me back to that prison. I'll die there if you do. He was put there in the prison at the house of Jonathan the scribe.

Then Zedekiah the king commanded that they should commit Jeremiah into the court of the prison ( Jeremiah 37:21 ),

Let us not put him back in the dungeon.

and that they should give him daily a piece of bread out of the bakers' street, until all the bread in the city was spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison ( Jeremiah 37:21 ).


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/jeremiah-38.html. 2014.
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