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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 34

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-7

C. Historical Appendix to Jeremiah 32:1-5

(Jeremiah 34:1-7)

From the introductory words to chh. 32 and 33 we perceive that the event, which is here narrated (Jeremiah 34:1-7), falls in the 10th year of Zedekiah, since the conference, in consequence of which Jeremiah was confined in the court of the prison (Jeremiah 32:3), must be that of which we have an account in this passage. Both passages agree almost verbatim in the announcement of the fate impending on the king and the city (comp. Jeremiah 32:3-5 with Jeremiah 34:2-3); especially is the phrase “ thy mouth shall speak to His mouth, thine eyes shall see His eyes ” peculiar to both. What is said in Jeremiah 34:4-5 of the fate of Zedekiah is found in a condensed form in Jeremiah 32:5 in the words, “ and there shall he be until I visit him.” The concluding words of Jeremiah 32:5 “ though ye fight, etc.,” are not found in Jeremiah 34:0. (comp. rems. on Jeremiah 32:1-5).—Jeremiah 34:1-7 is therefore evidently the special report, written by Jeremiah himself of his conference with Zedekiah. In consequence of this conference he was thrown back into the court, notwithstanding his favorable announcement to Zedekiah, Jeremiah 34:4-5. The king might have expected something better from, the prophet, as he approached when not called for. It was after this return to the court that Jeremiah received the revelation contained in chh. 32. and 33. The event narrated in Jeremiah 34:1-7 also precedes these two chapters in the order of time. The report of it, perhaps written by the prophet immediately after the interview, is however, as a brief isolated passage, added as an appendix. It is evident that the conversation with Zedekiah did not long precede the facts related in chh 32, 33, from the circumstance that the confinement of Jeremiah in the court, which is spoken of in Jeremiah 32:3 as a consequence of the conversation, was properly a remanding to prison. If then the first confinement, as appears from Jeremiah 37:17-21, especially Jeremiah 34:21, falls in the last period of the siege, after the return of the Chaldeans from their diversion against the Egyptians (B. C. 687), the second incarceration cannot be placed earlier, but must be ascribed to a somewhat later date of the same year.

Jeremiah 34:1-7

1The word which came unto Jeremiah from the .Lord [Jehovah] when [or while] Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the 1 earth, of [subject to, lit., the dominion of His hand] His dominion, and all the 2people, fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities thereof, saying, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel: Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of 3Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire: And thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but shalt surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth,2 and 4thou shalt go to Babylon. Yet [only] hear the word of the Lord, O Zedekiah king5of Judah; Thus saith the Lord of thee, Thou shalt not die by the sword: But thou shalt die in peace; and with the burnings3 of thy fathers the former kings which were before thee, so shall they burn odors4 for thee; and they will lament thee, saying, Ah [alas] lord! for I have pronounced the word [spoken a word], saith6the Lord. Then Jeremiah the prophet spake all these words unto Zedekiah king7of Judah in Jerusalem. When [while] the king of Babylon’s army [power] fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah: for these defenced cities remained of the cities of Judah.


During the siege (Jeremiah 34:1) Jeremiah receives command to go and announce to king Zedekiah that the city will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon and burned (Jeremiah 34:2). Zedekiah himself will be captured, brought before the king, and carried to Babylon (Jeremiah 34:3). Yet he will not perish by the sword (Jeremiah 34:4), but die in peace and be interred with royal honors, after the traditional manner (Jeremiah 34:6). Jeremiah executed his commission punctually (Jeremiah 34:5) at the time when Jerusalem and the still uncaptured fortified cities of Lachish and Azekah were being besieged (Jeremiah 34:7).

Jeremiah 34:1-5. The word … saith Jehovah. The style in Jeremiah 34:1-2 bears the character of great diffuseness, such as is peculiar to Jeremiah in the later period of his ministry. Hence such phrases as all the people, Jeremiah 34:1, and tell him, Jeremiah 34:2, which strictly taken are superfluous, need not surprise us.—Of the dominion of his hand. This addition is a restriction and definition of the earth; not all kingdoms of the earth, but of the earth in so far as it was the “dominion of his hand.” Comp. Jeremiah 51:28; 1 Kings 9:19.—Go, etc. Two questions here present themselves which it is not easy to answer. 1. How is the conference with Zedekiah here narrated connected with the other mentioned in Jeremiah 32:3; Jeremiah 37:17? 2. What relation does that bear which is said in Jeremiah 34:4-5 of Zedekiah’s end, to the other declarations concerning it (Jeremiah 39:5-7; Jeremiah 52:9-11; 2 Kings 25:6-7)? These two questions seem to be heterogeneous. There is, however, a close connection between them, for which reason we investigate the second question here instead of at Jeremiah 34:4-5.

Are the words of the prophet in Jeremiah 34:2-5 to be understood in a good sense for Zedekiah, or as a menace? All depends on the understanding of the sentence yet hear, etc., Jeremiah 34:4. Venema, Chr. B. Michaelis, Hitzig and Graf are of opinion that this sentence proposes an exceptional case, viz., in case Zedekiah obeys the command to give himself up to the Chaldeans the threatening pronounced against him in Jeremiah 34:3 will not be fulfilled, but he will die in quiet possession of his throne. The reasons urged for this explanation are: The pleasant prospect, which in Jeremiah 34:4-5 is placed before Zedekiah, would contradict the elsewhere constantly repeated exhortation to surrender himself; it would also be otherwise too favorable. Here it is presupposed that Jeremiah 34:5 can be understood only of the quiet possession of the throne and of a peaceful end and honorable interment, which Zedekiah will receive as the reigning king. Aside from Jeremiah 34:4 a, this explanation would certainly be possible. It is, however, also possible to understand Jeremiah 34:5 as an antithesis to “thou shalt not die by the sword,” not a violent death in battle, but a natural, peaceful end. This might be, even if Zedekiah died a prisoner (comp. Jeremiah 52:11), as imprisonment is not necessarily a hinderance to the usual funeral obsequies. The Jews were generally well treated while in captivity,—many of them enjoyed the favor of the rulers, and excited the envy of the natives by their preferment, and most of them were undesirous of returning to their native land.—Jehoiachin was elevated to royal honors after twenty-seven years, confinement (Jeremiah 52:31). Why may not Zedekiah have been kept in mild imprisonment and permission have been given to the Jews after his death to bury their king according to the custom of their country? This appears to be the only possible explanation, as the sentence “Thus saith the Lord of thee,” Jeremiah 34:4 b, cannot be other than a summary of the word of God, which, according to Jeremiah 34:4 a, Zedekiah is to hear. I leave out of account that the other explanation would require “Listen to” or “Heed” the word, and also a designation of the divine word to which Zedekiah is to listen. But it would be indispensable that “hear the word,” etc., should be plainly designated as a condition, and what follows as a consequence of the condition’s being fulfilled. As the words now read Jeremiah 34:4 b can be taken only as the word which Zedekiah is to hear. Jeremiah 34:4 a then expresses no condition, but in Jeremiah 34:4-5 a restriction or more exact definition (not a continuation, as Hitzig supposed), is added to Jeremiah 34:3. In Jeremiah 34:3 it was said that Zedekiah should be captured and taken to Babylon. Jeremiah 34:4-5 mitigate this harsh sentence, adding that he shall not die by violence there, but in peace and be buried with royal honors. Thus rendered, the passage harmonizes with the other intimations, which are given with respect to the end of the king: Jeremiah 32:5; Jeremiah 39:5-7; Jeremiah 52:9-11; 2 Kings 25:6-7. Is then this declaration adapted to excite the anger of the king? Though the first part of it is gloomy, the second presents some points of comfort. The terrible fate which befel the tyrant Jehoiakim (the words “will lament thee,” Jeremiah 34:5, are in evident contrast to Jeremiah 22:18) will not be Zedekiah’s. His fate, when the severest crisis is past, will take a (relatively) better turn; he will at least enjoy a respectful treatment as a prisoner, and indeed again receive honor after death. Zedekiah is thus relatively favored. Should he for this have the prophet confined, as must have been the case if the conference reported here be identical with that mentioned in Jeremiah 32:3? According to chh. 37 and 38., where the whole history of the relations between Zedekiah and the prophet is related according to its main features, the former confined the latter in the court only with benevolent intentions. In the first instance the court of the guard was assigned as a mitigation in contrast to the terrible detention he had suffered in the prison of Jonathan, the Scribe (Jeremiah 37:20). Afterwards the court of the guard was again assigned him out of kindness, after his still more terrible confinement in the pit (Jeremiah 38:13). Chh. 37 and 38 make the general impression that Zedekiah kept the prophet in custody only on account of the princes. I Had it not been for these he would have given him his entire freedom (comp. Jeremiah 38:5). It should, moreover, be observed that according to Jeremiah 34:2 Jeremiah seeks the king freely, while according to chh. 37 sq. this scarcely seems possible. Then we have reports of two conferences of Jeremiah with the king. On the first he is brought from strict confinement in the house of Jonathan (Jeremiah 37:17), on the second he is brought after his deliverance from the pit (Jeremiah 38:14). The fear, which Jeremiah expresses on this latter occasion, shows that he had no desire to present himself before the king. Thus it appears as if the different accounts of Jeremiah’s conferences with Zedekiah would not agree, especially does a confinement in the court of the guard as a punishment, according to Jeremiah 32:3, seem to agree neither with chh. 37 and 38 nor with Jeremiah 34:2-5. Meanwhile as the apparent want of agreement itself excludes the idea of an interpolation, and as there is nothing in the language which betrays a strange hand, we are forced to the hypothesis that in Jeremiah 32:1-5 and Jeremiah 34:1-5 we have an account of a conference of Zedekiah with Jeremiah which is distinct from the two narrated in. Jeremiah 37:17-20 and Jeremiah 38:14-16. From the words “with thou not certainly put me to death,” Jeremiah 38:15, it is clear that Jeremiah did not expect a very kindly disposition on the part of the king. It is conceivable that the court was assigned him as a place of punishment, when after a voluntary visit to the king (comp. Jeremiah 22:1), he was dismissed with the ungracious words “back into the court!” Although, as we have shown, the words in Jeremiah 34:4-5 are relatively favorable to the king, yet he may have expected something better of the prophet when he appeared uncalled for and have accordingly become indignant at the essentially invariable prediction of the capture of the city and his own imprisonment. If it is asked what was the object of this address to the king, not occasioned by the king but commanded by God, it is surprising that the prophet does not say what the fate of the city will be in case of voluntary submission (comp. Jeremiah 38:17). He does not, however, say fully what will be the fate of the king in case of stubborn refusal to surrender. Nothing is here said of Zedekiah’s children together with the princes of Israel being killed before his eyes, of his own eyes being put out (Jeremiah 52:10), or of his wives being given to the Babylonian princes (Jeremiah 38:21-23). This lack of an alternative distinguishes the present passage from Jeremiah 21:9; Jeremiah 38:2; Jeremiah 38:17.

This passage reads like an unconditional sentence, in which, however, it is expressly remarked that this still severe sentence is yet to be regarded as a mitigation. (Comp. Jeremiah 34:4-5 with Jeremiah 22:18). It accordingly seems probable that this passage, together with the prophecy closely connected with it in chh. 32 and 33, belongs to the period indicated in Jeremiah 38:28, i. e. to the period after the last exhortation which the prophet addressed to Zedekiah conditionally. Now a simple announcement is made to him of what will take place. The possibility that Zedekiah may yet tread the path of deliverance so often pointed out to him, is no longer thought of. It is still a great favor that the full terrible reality is not yet disclosed to him. He doubtless owed this as well as the relative mildness of his sentence to the good-will he had manifested towards the prophet. It certainly seems, as remarked above, that this announcement of his sentence, by the prophet who comes before him uncalled-for, first irritated him towards the latter, on which supposition the words, “Wherefore dost thou prophesy?” in Jeremiah 32:3, would be explained.

And with the burnings of thy fathers. The burning of the dead was not a Jewish custom. Burning alive only occurs as a punishment, Leviticus 20:14; Leviticus 21:9 coll. Isaiah 7:25—and there is a trace of burning corpses in time of pestilence in Amos 6:10 (if משׂרבּו=מסרבּו). At any rate in the present passage it is the burning of spices which is meant, 2 Chronicles 16:14; 2 Chronicles 21:19. With this also will agree the dative of the pronoun and the form of the verb. Comp. the verb with the accusative of the thing and the dative of the person for whom the sacrifice is burned. Exodus 30:20; Lev 7:5; 2 Chronicles 13:11. [Calvin says, that to prevent putrefaction, the bodies of the dead were dried by a slow fire, but only at the burial of kings.—S. R. A.]

For I have spoken a word. Not merely breath, but a word which is spirit, life, power has the Lord uttered. (Comp. Deut. 22:47; Psalms 33:4; Psalms 119:160; Proverbs 30:5; Isaiah 40:8; Isaiah 55:10-11; Jeremiah 23:29). The expression “I have spoken,” without “word,” is found with special frequency in Ezekiel 5:13; Ezekiel 5:15; Ezekiel 5:17; Ezekiel 17:21; Ezekiel 17:24, etc.

Jeremiah 34:6-7. Then Jeremiah … cities of Judah. The performance of the task is mentioned as a proof that Jeremiah had the courage to appear before the king with a message, which was by no means such as he wished to hear in a time of severe affliction.—Lachish and Azekah were both situated in the Sephela, the low country in the south-western part of the tribe of Judah (Jer. 15:33, 35, 39). They were both fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:9). Lachish was besieged by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:14; 2Ki 18:17; 2 Kings 19:8; Isaiah 36:2; Isaiah 37:8). [“This celebrated siege is supposed by Layard to be depicted on certain slabs disinterred from the ruins of Nineveh.”—Cowles].—Fortified cities cannot well be taken as in apposition to cities of Judah, because this addition would either be superfluous or would give the wrong thought that unfortified cities were still left. It cannot also well be attached as a definition to remained: nam hæc oppida ex oppidis Judæ munita supererant (Rosenmueller). It is not credible that there were no other fortified cities besides these. It can only be in apposition to these; these, as fortified cities, were still left. The reason of their remaining is thus expressed, and this reason was the strength of their fortifications.


Jeremiah 34:1; Jeremiah 34:1.—The article is wanting before אֶרֶץ, as in Jeremiah 3:2; Jeremiah 14:18.

Jeremiah 34:3; Jeremiah 34:3.—[Literally: thy mouth shall speak with his mouth].

Jeremiah 34:5; Jeremiah 34:5.—[Henderson says twenty-eight MSS., with the 70., Arab., Syr., Vulg., read like the burnings.—S. R. A.]

Jeremiah 34:5; Jeremiah 34:5.—[Some render: light the funeral fire, but comp. Exeg. rems.—S. R. A.]

Verses 8-22


(Chap Jeremiah 34:8-22 and Chap 35)

At the close of the collected discourses we find two portions which may be regarded as an appendix, inasmuch as they afford a glaring instance of Israel’s disobedience towards Jehovah, in contrast with the obedience of a non-Israelitish tribe towards the command of their ancestor. The history of the discharge of servants, ordered in the pressure of distress but taken back when the danger seemed to be past, is a proof how lightly obedience to Jehovah’s law sat on the hearts of the Israelites, while the obedience of the Rechabites to their ancestral ordinances was deeply rooted and impregnable. Although the two portions are chronologically far apart, the first belonging to the tenth year of Zedekiah (more exactly to the time of the temporary suspension of the siege), the second to the reign of Jehoiakim (more exactly when the first invasion of the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar was expected); yet it is quite appropriate that they should stand side by side, since, as remarked above, the second serves as a foil to the first.
The reason for placing the older portion last may be that the following chapter
(36) belongs to the same period, viz., the fourth year of Jehoiakim.

The division into two parts is very clear and simple. The facts are narrated in Jeremiah 34:8-11. Then in Jeremiah 34:12-16 the facts are recapitulated by the prophet with reference to the legal enactments, finally in Jeremiah 34:17-22 the divine sentence is pronounced on the covenant-breaking Israelites.—Chap. 35 is plainly divisible into two halves. In the first (Jeremiah 34:1-11) the facts are again related, in the second the parallel is drawn between the behaviour of the Rechabites and of Israel, and corresponding recompense announced to both.

A. the disobedience of the israelites shown in their behaviour in setting free their servants

Jeremiah 34:8-22

8This is the word that came unto Jeremiah, from the Lord, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people which were at Jerusalem, to9proclaim liberty unto them;5 That every man should let his man-servant, and every man his maid servant, being an Hebrew or an Hebrewess, go free; that none should10serve himself of them,6 to wit, of a Jew his brother. Now when all the princes, and all the people, which had entered into the covenant, heard that every one should let his man-servant, and every one his maid-servant, go free, that none should serve themselves of them any more, then they obeyed, and let them go.11But afterward they turned, and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for [or compelled12them to be]7 servants and for handmaids.8 Therefore the word of the Lord came13to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of14the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondmen, saying, At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold [or who hath sold himself] unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined15their ear, And ye were now [to-day] turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbor; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name [whereupon my name is called]: 16but ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom he had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection [compelled them], to be unto you for servants and for handmaids.

17Therefore thus saith the Lord [Jehovah], Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbor: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the Lord [Jehovah], to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed9 into all the18kingdoms of the earth. And I will give10 [or deliver] the men that have transgressed my covenant, which [who] have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed be 19tween the parts thereof, the princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the20parts of the calf; I will even give them into the hands of their enemies, and into the hands of them that seek their life: and their dead bodies shall be for meat21unto the fowls of the heaven, and to the beasts of the earth. And Zedekiah, king of Judah, and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s22army, which are gone up from you. Behold, I will command, saith the Lord, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire; and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.


Jeremiah 34:8-11. This is the word … for servants and for handmaids. Though the expression “to make a covenant” generally means that two persons pledge themselves to a mutual performance, which accrues to the advantage of both parties, the expression here denotes a performance which all do in common in the interest of a third, from which, however, advantage is expected for all. For the setting free was chiefly for the advantage of those set free. It was, however, also hoped that it would be for the general good, account being taken partly of the gratitude of the freedmen and their increased activity in the defence, partly perhaps also of the favor of Jehovah thus to be procured. It is clear that the word “covenant” is thus employed in essentially the same sense as usual.—To proclaim liberty unto them. The expression is found in this sense besides only in Leviticus 25:10; Isaiah 61:1; Ezekiel 46:17. Them of course refers to the servants mentioned afterwards. The law on this point is found in Exodus 21:1 sqq.; Leviticus 25:39-41; Deuteronomy 15:12. Every servant of Hebrew origin was to be set free after six years’ service (without respect to the Sabbatical year); according to Leviticus 25:0 this was to be done in the year of jubilee. This involves no contradiction, for in Leviticus 25:0 it is the law of the jubilee year which is given. The former enactment is merely supplemented from this point of view, the jubilee year is to end the service unconditionally, wherefore the price was to be determined by the time intervening before the jubilee (Jer 34:50 sqq. where it is the sale of Israelitish servants to heathen inhabitants which is spoken of, but there is no reason to doubt the application of this rule to the purchase by Israelites). Comp. Saalschuetz, Mos. Recht. Kap., 14 and 101, § 3.—These legal prescriptions had, like so many others, remained unobserved. The reformation under Josiah may have revived the knowledge, but not the observance of them. The pressure of the siege aroused the thought that the observance of this law might be of use in both the ways above indicated. They therefore pledged themselves on the king’s demand by mutual agreement to set free the Hebrew servants and maids, and as appears from Jeremiah 34:9, all of them, even those who had not served six years. The supererogation with regard to some was outweighed by their short-comings with respect to the others. But—and this is a striking instance of false conversion, springing from bad motives,—when the danger seemed over on the withdrawal of the Chaldeans, they brought the servants again under the yoke.

Jeremiah 34:12-16. Therefore the word … for handmaids.—In the day. Comp. Jeremiah 7:22; Jeremiah 11:4; Jeremiah 31:32.—House of bondmen. Themselves delivered from oppressive servitude, Israel should be kind towards their servants, which is expressly designated in Deuteronomy 15:16 as the motive of the law of manumission.—At the end of seven years cannot mean at the end of every seven years. This would contradict what follows, “after he has served six years,” and the similar legal enactments (Exodus 21:2; Deuteronomy 15:12). It can only signify at the close of a septennium. The preposition מֵן then retains its proper signification;—from the close, i. e., when the close of the septennium, the seventh year, has begun. Comp. similar expressions in Deuteronomy 15:1; Deuteronomy 14:28 coll. Jeremiah 31:10.—Who hath sold himself. These words are a quotation from memory from Deuteronomy 15:12.—Turned, Jeremiah 34:15-16. The meaning of the verb is the same in both cases, only the termini a quo and in quem are opposite.—Called by my name. Every transgression of the divine commands, but especially a breach of a covenant sworn in His name, is a desecration thereof (comp. Leviticus 19:12; Leviticus 20:3).—At their pleasure. The expression occurs also in Deuteronomy 21:14. It is there used of the captive woman, married but afterwards disapproved. Here the antithesis is evidently not property or family, so that the sense would be, what she possesses belongs to her, but thou shalt set her person at liberty. But the antithesis is the unfreedom of the sold, who must go wherever his master sends him, and the freedom of the dismissed, to go wherever he wishes. The word then=according to, or at, their pleasure, נֶכֶּשׁ being regarded as the seat of desire, as in the expression “if it be your mind,” Genesis 23:8; 2 Kings 9:15.

Jeremiah 34:17-22. Therefore … without an inhabitant.—Liberty is used the second time in Jeremiah 34:17 ironically; because ye did not proclaim liberty (that which is taken back again directly is as good as none), liberty shall be proclaimed to you, but a liberty of which you will be the victims. [I set you, whom I have hitherto regarded as my servants, free, deliver you over, to your fate, to the sword, etc.—Hitzig].—The calf. Jeremiah 34:18 seems to me better connected with I will give [make], in which we are grammatically fully justified (comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 69, 3). So also Luther and others. The symbolical meaning of the rite here alluded to appears then immediately applied, in order to present before the covenant breakers the threatening punishment. They themselves are to be the calf cut in two. On this rite comp. Genesis 15:10, and Delitzsch thereupon. According to the other explanation, “the calf” is in opposition to “the covenant.” Then, however, the similarity in the fate of the transgressor to that of the calf, is only implicitly hinted at, not expressed. The late and anacoluthic resumption “I will give,” in Jeremiah 34:21, is then also troublesome.—In Jeremiah 34:19 chiefs of tribes, city-chiefs (elders of the city), courtiers, priests and common people, are distinguished. When afterwards, verse 21, his princes are again mentioned with the king, we must attribute this to Jeremiah’s diffuseness, and emphasize it the less, as it is very common to mention the king and princes together (Jeremiah 24:8; Jeremiah 25:19, etc.).


1. On Jeremiah 34:8-11. “The peculiar difference between hypocritical repentance and true conversion. The hypocrites when they do penance, do it (1) not from faith, but from fear of distress and danger, in which they are at the time; (2) they do not make a change in all points of disobedience, but only in the ethical, as here with the jubilee year, as if there were nothing more to be altered; (3) they do such things as make a show for the people and have a high regard, as the manumission, letting loose the rabble, would have a great noise and show, but meanwhile there were few thoughts of faith, love, fear of God, hope and thanksgiving; (4) such penitence does not last long, but as soon as the distress finds a hole, the devotion goes with it.” Cramer.

2. On Jeremiah 34:12. “Qua locutione mystica (verbum Jovæ factum esse a Jovæ) qualis etiam, Genesis 19:24, innuitur mysterium Trinitatis juxta regulam Lutheri commendatam nobis in aureo scripto de ultimis verbis Davidis. Insinuatur enim hac et similibus loquendi formulis pluralitas personarum, ut hic Filii et Spiritus sancti.” Förster.

3. On Jeremiah 34:15-16. “Converted, but not rightly; friendship made when the foot is on the neck, Pharisaic repentance. Yet thus, there is often an interval, a period of rest and of refreshment for the kingdom of Christ. And God has this in view when He extorts conversions of this kind.” Zinzendorf.

4. On Jeremiah 34:15-16; Jeremiah 34:18-22. The Jews thus committed a double sin: 1. They did not keep the promise made to each other and to the servants; 2. They desecrated the name of God by their disobedience and breach of the oath sworn in God’s name and house.


True repentance in distinction from false. 1. The occasion may be the same in both; external distress (comp. ex. gr., Isaiah 28:19; 1 Corinthians 11:32; Titus 2:12). 2. In false penitence the inward disposition remains unchanged; in true penitence man turns inwardly with pain and sorrow from evil and to God. 3. False penitence lasts as long only as the outward need; true penitence is a permanent -condition of the heart, and notwithstanding single backslidings, advances to a more complete subjugation of the old man (the old Adam in us is to be drowned and perish by daily sorrow and repentance).


Jeremiah 34:8; Jeremiah 34:8.—The construction is ad sensum, and very common in Hebrew. Comp. 2 Kings 10:24; Naegelsb. Gr., § 95, 2.

Jeremiah 34:9; Jeremiah 34:9.—עבר בם. Comp. Jeremiah 22:13; Jeremiah 25:14; Jeremiah 30:8.

Jeremiah 34:11; Jeremiah 34:11.—ויכבישׁום. The Hiphil does not occur elsewhere. The Masoretes therefore read Kal (Jeremiah 34:16; 2 Chronicles 28:10).

Jeremiah 34:11; Jeremiah 34:11.—On the construction לְַעַבַדִים ו comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 95 g., Anm. 5.

Jeremiah 34:17; Jeremiah 34:17.—[A. V. marg.: for a removing; Naegelsb.: for a horror; Henderson: give you up to agitation.—S. R. A.]

Jeremiah 34:18; Jeremiah 34:18.—[Naegelsb., Hitzig, Wordsworth: I will make the men who … the calf which they cut; i. e. like the calf, etc.—Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 69, 3.—S. R. A.]

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 34". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/jeremiah-34.html. 1857-84.
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