Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
Jeremiah having already (Jeremiah 39:1-18; Jeremiah 40:1-16) given the history in the proper place, was not likely to repeat it here. Its canonical authority as inspired is shown by its being in the Septuagint version. It contains the capture and burning of Jerusalem, etc, Zedekiah's punishment, and the better treatment of Jehoiachin under Evil-merodach, down to his death. These last events were probably subsequent to Jeremiah's time.
And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
Through the anger of the Lord ... Zedekiah rebelled. His "anger" against Jerusalem, determining Him to "cast out" His people "from His presence" heretofore manifested there, led Him to permit Zedekiah to rebel (2 Kings 23:26-27; cf. Exodus 9:12; Exodus 10:1; Romans 9:18). That rebellion, being in violation of his oath "by God," was sure to bring down (God's vengeance (2 Chronicles 13:1-22; Ezekiel 17:15-16; Ezekiel 17:18).
And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about.
Nebuchadnezzar ... built forts - rather, 'built against it towers' of wood (Kimchi), for watching the movements of the besieged from the height, and annoying them with missiles.
So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.
No JFB commentary on these verses.
Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king's garden; (now the Chaldeans were by the city round about:) and they went by the way of the plain.
All the men of war fled ... out of the city by night, by the way of the gate between the two walls - (note, Jeremiah 39:4).
But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
Then they took the king, and carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; where he gave judgment upon him.
He gave judgment upon him - as guilty of rebellion and perjury (Jeremiah 52:3; cf. Ezekiel 23:24).
And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.
He put out the eyes of Zedekiah - thus fulfilling Ezekiel 12:13, "I will brink him to Babylon, yet shall he not see it."
Put him in prison - literally, the house of visitations or punishments; i:e., where there was penal work enforced on the prisoners, as grinding. Hence, Septuagint render it 'the house of the mill.' So Samson, after his eyes were put out, "did grind" in the Philistine prison-house (Judges 16:21).
Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem,
In the tenth day - but in 2 Kings 25:8 it is said "the seventh day." Probably Nebuzaradan started from Riblah on the "seventh" day, and arrived in Jerusalem on the "tenth" day. Seeming discrepancies, when cleared up, confirm the genuineness of Scripture; because they show there was no collusion between the writers; as in all God's works there is latent harmony under outward varieties.
And burned the house of the LORD, and the king's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire:
All the houses ... and all the houses of the great ... burned he - the "and" defines what houses especially are meant-namely, "the houses of the great men."
And all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive certain of the poor of the people, and the Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive certain of the poor of the people, and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude.
Nebuzaradan ... carried away ... certain of the poor of the people - added to the account in 2 Kings 25:11. "The poor of the people" are of the city, as distinguished from "the poor of the land" - i:e., of the country.
But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
Also the pillars of brass that were in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brasen sea that was in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans brake, and carried all the brass of them to Babylon.
The pillars of brass ... the bases and the brasen sea ... the Chaldeans brake - that they might be more portable. Fulfilling exactly the prophecy (Jeremiah 27:19). See 1 Kin. 6:15,23,27,50 . Solomon had made two pillars of brass, a molten sea standing upon twelve oxen, ten bases; also bowls, snuffers, and spoons of gold. Nothing is so particularly related here as the carry away of the articles in the temple. The remembrance of them beauty and preciousness heightens the bitterness of their loss, and the evil of sin which caused it.
Of brass ... brasen - rather, of copper ... of copper.
The caldrons also, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the bowls, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away.
Caldrons ... shovels ... snuffers ... - (Exodus 27:3).
And the basons, and the firepans, and the bowls, and the caldrons, and the candlesticks, and the spoons, and the cups; that which was of gold in gold, and that which was of silver in silver, took the captain of the guard away.
That which was of gold in gold - implying that the articles were of solid gold and silver respectively, not of a different metal inside, or alloyed (Grotius). The captain of the guard took them away whole, not breaking them, as was done to the brass (Jeremiah 52:17).
The two pillars, one sea, and twelve brasen bulls that were under the bases, which king Solomon had made in the house of the LORD: the brass of all these vessels was without weight.
Twelve brasen bulls that were under the bases - but the bulls were not "under the bases," but under the sea (1 Kings 7:25; 1 Kings 7:27; 1 Kings 7:38); the ten bases were not under the sea, but under the ten lavers. In the English version "bases" therefore must mean the lower parts of the sea under which the bulls were. Rather translate [ tachat (Hebrew #8478)], 'the bulls were IN THE PLACE OF (i:e., by way of; so the Hebrew, Deuteronomy 2:12; 1 Samuel 14:9) bases,' or supports to the sea (Buxtorf). So the Septuagint. The writer of 2 Kings 25:16 omits "the bulls," and has 'and the bases;' so Grotius here reads 'the bulls (which were) under (the sea), and the bases.'
And concerning the pillars, the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits; and a fillet of twelve cubits did compass it; and the thickness thereof was four fingers: it was hollow.
The height of one pillar was eighteen cubits - but in 2 Chronicles 3:15 it is "thirty-five cubits." The discrepancy is thus removed. Each pillar was 18 common cubits. The two together, deducting the base, were 35 cubits, as stated in 2 Chronicles 3:15 (Grotius). Other ways-e.g., by reference to the difference between the common and the sacred cubit-are proposed: though we are not able positively to decide now which is the true way, at least those proposed show that the discrepancies are not irreconcilable.
And a chapiter of brass was upon it; and the height of one chapiter was five cubits, with network and pomegranates upon the chapiters round about, all of brass. The second pillar also and the pomegranates were like unto these.
The height of one chapiter was five cubits - (so 1 Kings 7:16). But 2 Kings 25:17 has "three cubits." Probably there were two parts in the chapiter; the one lower and plain, of two cubits, the other higher and curiously carved, of three cubits. The former is omitted in 2 Kings 25:17, as belonging to the shaft of the pillar; the latter alone is there mentioned. Here the whole chapiter of five cubits is referred to.
And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side; and all the pomegranates upon the network were an hundred round about.
There were ninety and six pomegranates on a side - literally (on the side). refunds the air or wind - i:e., on the outside of the capitals of the pillars conspicuous to the eye, as opposed to the four remaining pomegranates, which were not seen from the outside. The 184 pomegranates here are 96; but in 1 Kings 7:20 they are 200 on each chapiter, and 400 on the two (2 Chronicles 4:13). It seems there were two rows of them, one above the other, and in each row 100. They are here said to be 96, but presently after 100, and so in 1 Kings 7:20. Four seem to have been unseen to one looking from one point, and the 96 are only those that could be seen (Vatablus); or the four omitted here are those separating the four sides, one pomegranate at each point of separation (or at the four corners between the four sides). (Grotius.)
And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:
Seraiah the chief priest - different from the Seraiah (Jeremiah 51:59) son of Neraiah, who was sent to Babylon in the fourth year of Zedekiah, and who is described as "a quiet prince." Probably son of Azariah, sprung from Eleazar and Aaron (1 Chronicles 6:14).
Zephaniah - son of Maaseiah (notes, Jeremiah 21:1; Jeremiah 29:25).
He took also out of the city an eunuch, which had the charge of the men of war; and seven men of them that were near the king's person, which were found in the city; and the principal scribe of the host, who mustered the people of the land; and threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the midst of the city.
Seven men - but in 2 Kings 25:19 it is "fire." Perhaps two were less illustrious persons, and are therefore omitted.
Principal scribe of the host - (Isaiah 33:18). His office was to preside over the levy and enroll recruits. Rawlinson observes, the Assyrian records are free from the exaggerated expressions found in the Egyptian. A minute account was taken of the spoil. Two "scribes of the host" are seen in every bas-relief, writing down the various objects brought to them-the heads of the slain, the prisoners, cattle, sheep, etc.
So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah.
No JFB commentary on these verses.
This is the people whom Nebuchadrezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year three thousand Jews and three and twenty:
In the seventh year - in 2 Kings 24:12; 2 Kings 24:14; 2 Kings 24:16 it is said "the eighth year" of Nebuchadrezzar. No doubt it was in part about the end of the 7th year, in part about the beginning of the 8th year. Also in 2 Kin. 24,10,000 (Jeremiah 52:14), and 7,000 men of might, and 1,000 craftsmen (Jeremiah 52:16) are said to have been carried away. But here 3,023 Probably the latter 3,023 were of the tribe of Judah, the remaining 7,000 out of the 10,000 were of the other tribes, out of which many Israelites still had been left in the land. The 1,000 "craftsmen" were exclusive of the 10,000, as appears by comparing 2 Kings 24:14 with Jeremiah 52:16. Probably the 3,023 of Judah were first removed in the end of "the seventh year;" the 7,000 and 1,000 craftsmen in the "eighth year." This was at the first captivity under Jehoiachin.
In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons:
In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar - when Jerusalem was taken. But in Jeremiah 52:12, and 2 Kings 25:8, "the nineteenth year." Probably it was in the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th year (Lyra).
Eight hundred and thirty and two. The most illustrious persons are meant, who no doubt were carried away first in the end of the 18th year.
In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadrezzar Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons: all the persons were four thousand and six hundred.
In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadrezzar, Nebuzaradan ... carried away captive ... seven hundred forty and five persons. Not recorded in Kings or Chronicles. Probably it took place during the commotions that followed the death of Gedaliah (Jeremiah 41:18; 2 Kings 25:26).
All the persons were four thousand and six hundred - the exact sum total of the numbers specified here-namely, 3,023, 832, 745, not including the general multitude, and the women and children (Jeremiah 52:15; Jeremiah 39:9; 2 Kings 25:11).
And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison,
In the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin ... Evil-merodach ... lifted up the head of Jehoiachin - (2 Kings 25:27-30).
In the five and twentieth day of the month - but in 2 Kings 25:27 it is "the twenty-seventh day." Probably on the 25th day the decree for his elevation was given, and the preparations for it made by releasing him from prison; and on the 27th day it was carried into effect.
Evil-merodach - son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar (Lyra); and the Hebrew writers say that during Nebuchadnezzar's exclusion from men among beasts, Evil-merodach administered the government; and that when Nebuchadnezzar, at the end of seven years, was restored, hearing of his son's misconduct, and that he had exulted in his father's calamity, he threw him into prison, where the latter met Jeconiah, and contracted a friendship with him, whence arose the favour which subsequently he showed him. God, in his elevation, rewarded his having surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar (cf. Jeremiah 38:17 with 2 Kings 24:12).
Lifted up the head - (cf. Genesis 40:13; Genesis 40:20; Psalms 3:3; Psalms 27:6).
And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon,
Set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon - a mark of respect.
The kings - the Hebrew text reads (other) "kings." "The kings" is a Masoretic correction.
And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life.
Changed his prison garments - gave him garments suitable to a king.
He did continually eat bread before him - (2 Samuel 9:13, "Mephibosheth ... did eat continually at the king's table").
And for his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his
There was a continual diet given him ... every day a portion - rather, 'its portion,' margin (cf. margin, 1 Kings 8:59, 'the thing of a day in his (its) day' - i:e., 'at all times, as the matter shall require').
(1) When God is angry, and purposes to punish nations and individuals, he gives them over, or at least those on whom their well-being depends, to a judicial blindness as to their own interests, just as he gave over Zedekiah to the suicidal infatuation of rebelling against the great King of Babylon. How much, then, we need to have the Lord on our side in our national politics, seeing that otherwise we have no guarantee against false steps being taken by our rulers, which must end in national humiliation and misery!
(2) Zedekiah tried to secure himself by flight from the consequences of his rebellion and perjury; but it is vain for the transgressor to think of escaping from the appointed judgments of God (Jeremiah 52:7-10). Those eyes which had looked Nebuchadnezzar in the face, at the time of taking the solemn oath of allegiance to him before God, were put out as unworthy any more to see the light of day (Jeremiah 52:11). The sinfully weak king, who had through fear of his princes permitted Jeremiah, the prophet of God, to be cast into a miry dungeon, was himself consigned to a Babylonian prison until the day of his death (Jeremiah 52:11).
(3) The poorer classes alone suffered but little in the general calamity. Nay, many of them were given possessions, which they had never been permitted heretofore to enjoy, through the oppression of the wealthier Jews, and were made by the Chaldeans vinedressers and farmers (Jeremiah 52:16). How wise it is for us to avoid such entanglement of our hearts in earthly goods, as that in losing them we should be losing our all! The believer alone can stand upon the ruins of empires and worlds, and say, I have lost nothing.
(4) The awful enormity and bitterness of sin appear especially in the overthrow even of the temple of God. The remembrance of its precious furniture, its perfect symmetry, and its holy services, now lost to them, would be the most bitter ingredient in the cup of the Jewish captives. How they must have reproached themselves, that they had not prized these spiritual treasures enough while they had them! Let us so use our spiritual privileges now, that there may never come a time when we shall have sad experience of the righteous appointment of God, "From him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath."
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 52". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany