Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 39

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-3



Jerusalem’s hour has come! Stubborn, rebellious and self-willed, she has rejected the counsel of God, to walk in the way of her own choosing. But, she did not know HOW to direct her own steps! For 18 months the city has held out against a siege by the Babylonians, but she cannot do so indefinitely. Weakened and decimated, because her supplies are totally exhausted, Jerusalem finally surrendered - NOT because she ultimately CHOSE TO DO GOD’S WILL, but because she could not stay the hand of His JUDGMENT!

1. Further detail concerning the capitulation of Babylon may be found in Jeremiah 52:4-16 and 2 Kings 25:1-12.

2. The siege, of 18 months duration (January 588 B.C. - July 587 B.C.), had so decimated the city that many resorted to cannibalism, (La 4:10).

3. For over 10 years Zedekiah, and all Judah, had rejected the counsel of Jeremiah to turn from their iniquities and submit to the judgment that God was sending upon them; but they had rejected his counsel and despised him for his fidelity.

4. Now, however, they see the walls of Jerusalem broken down, and the chief officials of the army of Babylon assembled at the middle gate.

Verses 4-8

1. Horrified by the prospect of impending captivity (in spite of the faithful assurance given by Jeremiah, the man of God), Zedekiah attempted to flee -with what remained of the army of Judah .

a. At night they attempted to escape - leaving by way of the king’s garden, and passing between the two walls.

b. They headed toward Jericho and the Jordan valley, (vs. 4; comp. Ezekiel 12:12-13).

2. Pursued by the Babylonian army, Zedekiah was captured in the plains of Jericho and brought to the headquarters of Nebuchadnezzar, at Riblah, of Hamath, in the Orontes Valley, (vs. 5; 2 Kings 23:33; 2 Kings 25:6; 2 Kings 25:20).

3. The meeting was a tragic one for Zedekiah; he was forced to witness the slaying of his own sons and the remaining nobles of Judah (vs. 6, Jeremiah 34:19-21; Jeremiah 52:10; comp. Deuteronomy 28:34; 2 Kings 25:7); then he was blinded and taken to Babylon in chains (vs. 7; Jeremiah 52:11), where he remained a prisoner until the day of his death.

4. It appears that the Babylonians methodically destroyed the royal palace and the dwellings of the people -while breaking down the walls of the city (vs. 8); it is possible that this took place at the same time the temple was destroyed - a month after the actual capture of the city, (Jeremiah 52:12-13).

Verses 9-10

1. Nebuzar-adan, commander of the Imperial guard, took with him to Babylon: the captives of Jerusalem, those who had already deserted the city and gone over to him, and all the skilled craftsmen that remained in the land, (vs. 9; Jeremiah 52:29).

2. Since there would be no advantage in leaving the land totally deserted, he left behind a peasant population to be vinedressers and farmers, (vs. 10; Jeremiah 52:16).

Verses 11-14


1. From this passage it seems evident that Nebuchadnezzar was aware of Jeremiah’s consistent counsel to the kings of Judah against opposing Babylon.

2. Thus, he gave a specific charge to Nebuzar-adan concerning the man of God, (vs. 11-12).

a. He was not to be harmed, (vs. 11; comp. Jeremiah 1:8; Jeremiah 15:20-21; Psalms 105:15-16; Proverbs 21:1; 1 Peter 3:13).

b. Rather, the captain of the guard was to treat him well and permit him full liberty to choose his own future course, (vs. 12).

3. A number of Nebuchadnezzar’s chief officers were sent to set Jeremiah free and deliver him to the protective custody of Gedaliah, who was made governor over the remnant that was left in the land.

4. With Gedaliah, Jeremiah lived for a while at Mizpah; there they were joined by a number of Judeans who had deserted to the Babylonians - these being granted asylum to settle here, with the understanding that they would not revolt.

Verses 15-18


1. Some time before the fall of Jerusalem the Lord gave to Jeremiah a word of assurance for Ebed-melech -the servant who had rescued him from the miry pit, (s. 15-16).

2. Though the city will fall, Ebed-melech need not fear; his life will be spared because he has trusted in the Lord - a very unique thing in his day! (vs. 17-18; comp. Jeremiah 17:7-8; Psalms 34:22).

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 39". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.