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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 39

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-18

Jeremiah 39:1 . In the ninth year of Zedekiah they besieged Jerusalem. On the very day that God revealed to Ezekiel in Babylon the taking of the city. This would reconcile the captives to their lot, and greatly encourage them to rely on the promises, and on the ministry of their prophet. See on Ezekiel 24:1-2.

Jeremiah 39:2 . In the fourth month, on the ninth day the city was broken up, by storming the breach already made in the northern wall. It had stood bravely a siege of six months. Though the king was destitute of talents and of virtue, there must have been some brave men engaged in its defence. It is very remarkable, that the Romans under Titus should afterwards storm the city on the same day. Joseph. wars, chap. 47.

Jeremiah 39:3 . All the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate. Jerusalem was built on two large hills, Zion the higher on the north, and Acra, the lower, on the south; these included smaller hills, seven in all. The name is composed of Jireh and Shalem, situate in the thirty third degree of north latitude. The fount Gihon was on the west, and ran round to the south, sending forth salubrious and copious streams in pipes, through the city. The brook Kedron ran to the east, and received the foul waters of the city near the watergate. The temple was on the east, and Millo north of the temple. A range of hills surrounded the city, which suggested the figure of speech in the Psalms: “As the mountains round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.” The interior of the city was adorned with towers, palaces, and strong walls. The broad valley which separated Acra from Zion, was full of streets, markets, and pools. The glorious temple, built on mount Moriah, was seen afar, having four hundred and eighty daughters or synagogues in the city. Mount Olivet was five furlongs from the eastern wall, and separated from the city by the Kedron. In a word, the strength and glory of Jerusalem made assailant kings afraid to commence a siege. It was alone the sins of the nation that sapped its foundations; and so completely did the Chaldean army destroy its buildings, as almost to obliterate the appearance of this city, once by all nations called holy.

Jeremiah 39:6 . The king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah. Those princes had sworn falsely to the Lord, and then falsely to the king of Babylon, and now the Lord exacted their oath: Jeremiah 34:18.

Jeremiah 39:8 . The Chaldeans burnt the king’s house, and the houses of the people. This verse is repeated in Jeremiah 52:13, with the heartrending adjection, they burned also the temple of the Lord. This could do no honour to the Chaldeans, while in burning the finest temple in the world they did a wrong to every nation.

Jeremiah 39:10 . Nebuzar-adan left of the poor, and gave them vineyards. Several among the old Hebrew writers affirm, that the Rechabites, as in chap. 35., were among these poor, the Chaldeans having stripped them of their flocks and herds. Thus was fulfilled the promise, that “Jonadab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever:” Jeremiah 35:19.

Jeremiah 39:13 . Rab-saris is a name of office. Saris is equivalent to the first eunuch, or chamberlain of the court. The offices of great men, it would seem, became their title. The middle gate was the centre between the upper and the lower city, as in the map.


Ah, poor fugitive Zedekiah! He is now a believer in prophecy. He would not see while he had light, and now his eyes must be put out. Alas, alas! the persecutors of Jeremiah are now persecuted. The poor had been robbed of their lands; now the year of jubilee came with double inheritance. They left their cottages for mansions and for gardens.

We see that God can secure his servants amidst general desolations. When a man’s ways please the Lord, he can make even his enemies to be at peace with him. The prophet found better usage among enemies and heathens, than among his own countrymen, the princes, nobles and priests of Israel. Thus the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of their tribulation, and reserves the unjust to be punished. So will it be in the future judgment. While the wicked are overwhelmed with speedy destruction, God will take care of his servants, and give his angels charge to look well to them: for the day cometh that shall burn like an oven, and the proud shall be destroyed; but God’s servants shall be his in the day when he maketh up his jewels. God remembers and will reward the favour and kindness shown to any of his servants, especially his ministers. Ebedmelech delivered Jeremiah, who was therefore sent to him with a comfortable assurance of protection in the day of evil. Because he had acted kindly to the prophet, and did it upon good principles, not from mere humanity, but from regard to divine authority, knowing that he was doing right, and trusting in God to prosper and defend him; the Lord therefore would deal kindly by him, and put it into the hearts of the Chaldeans to protect him. God will still be pleased with the favour shown to his ministers and people; and they who show it, and trust in him, mercy shall compass them about. God is not unrighteous to forget any work or labour of love that is done to his saints.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 39". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/jeremiah-39.html. 1835.
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