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the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 21

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary


Special Predictions of the Judgment to be accomplished by the Chaldeans, and of the Messianic Salvation. CHAPTERS 21-33.

With this chapter commences a new section of this book of prophecies. This section extends, according to Keil’s plan of the book, so as to include the thirty-third chapter.

Verse 1

THE KING’S QUESTION, Jeremiah 21:1-2.

1. The word… from the Lord The historical heading of the following prediction. For a better view of the historical setting of this whole passage, see chapters 37 and 38, between which this would fall.

When King Zedekiah sent The embassy here mentioned was sent after the siege of the city had actually commenced. That in this time of extremity and peril the king should send distinguished men to consult Jeremiah, shows not only the consternation of the court, but also the recognition vouchsafed to this prophet of evil. Corrupt and wicked men oft-times have in their hearts a conviction deeper and purer than they express with their lips and lives; and under the pressure of a great danger or calamity it will reveal itself.

Pashur Not the Pashur of the previous chapter, and not a priest, but probably a court official. His companion, Zephaniah, held a high position in the priesthood. See Jeremiah 29:25; Jeremiah 37:3; Jeremiah 52:24: and in Jeremiah 38:1; Jeremiah 38:4, he is mentioned as attempting to persuade the king to put Jeremiah to death.

Verse 2

2. Inquire Not pray for deliverance, but ask for a revelation. Perhaps the memory of Sennacherib’s miraculous discomfiture inspired the hope of a similar interference.

Nebuchadrezzar This is the common orthography of this name in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and is closer to the original than our Nebuchadnezzar.

According to all his wondrous works This expression confirms the intimation given above, that they may have had hope of miraculous help.

Verse 4

THE PROPHET’S ANSWER, Jeremiah 21:3-14.

4. I will turn back, etc. No help for the king in God. Without the walls, should be joined to ye fight, and not as in the Authorized Version.

Verse 5

5. With an outstretched… arm The same “arm” which of old was outstretched for their deliverance from Egyptian bondage will be stretched to sweep them into captivity.

Verse 7

7. Deliver Not “from” but into the hand of their enemies.

King… servants… people, and such as are left Such of them as “are left,” or escape with life from the “pestilence, sword, and famine.”

Verse 8

8. Way of life… death A grim and ghastly echo of Deuteronomy 30:19. Here the alternatives are, life saved by desertion to the enemy, or death by sword, pestilence, and famine.

Verse 9

9. Falleth to the Chaldeans That is, goes over to them. This apparently most treasonable intimation is but another way of saying that all resistance is useless. The city is doomed. Inevitable defeat is before them.

Life shall be unto him for a prey The ingenious note of Dean Smith on this phrase is hardly warranted: “A prey is something not a man’s own, upon which he seizes in the midst of danger, and hurries away with it. So must the Jews hurry away with their lives, as something more than they had a right to, and place them in the Chaldean camp as a place of safety.” The simple idea is, he shall preserve this most precious of all his treasures from the rapacious ruin.

Verses 11-12

11, 12. Some regard these verses as entirely independent of the foregoing, but there is no sufficient reason for this. The exhortation to righteousness could never be more appropriate or more forcible than when impressed by the sad lesson of their corruption and the ruin it had procured. Most unfortunately are these verses separated from each other. The word Hear, in Jeremiah 21:11, should go along with the appellative house of David, in Jeremiah 21:12.

Verse 13

13. O inhabitant of the valley Jerusalem, which is literally a rock in a “valley.” The ravines of Hinnom and Kidron, and the high mountains round about, especially Olivet and Mizpah, justify this description, while at the same time it is still the rock of the plain, Zion being the bold and abrupt southern termination of the tableland which stretches far northward. The two expressions mark the strength of the position a rocky fortress surrounded on three sides by ravines.

Verse 14

14. In answer to the self-secure question of the preceding verse, “Who shall come down against us?” the terrible answer comes, the Lord! The strong city has no defences against Him, and he it is who will accomplish its overthrow.

Forest The dense mass of houses, built, many of them, of the Lebanon cedar. Hence the expressions in Jeremiah 22:6, “Gilead” and “head of Lebanon.”

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/jeremiah-21.html. 1874-1909.
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