The time of this and the following two chapters is fixed by Keil as that of the siege of Jerusalem.
JEREMIAH’S PERSONAL EXPERIENCES WITH THE KING, Jeremiah 37:1-10.
1.Coniah — Jeconiah.
Whom Nebuchadrezzar’ made king — “Whom,” that is, Zedekiah.
2.Neither he, nor’ did hearken — “Amazing stupidity that they were not warned by the punishment of Jeconiah.” (Calvin.)
3.Zedekiah’ sent — This is not the same incident that is given in chap.
Jeremiah 21:9. That took place when the Chaldeans were first approaching Jerusalem — this in the interval of hope produced by the approach of the Egyptian army to raise the siege. But this was before Jeremiah was imprisoned.
5.Pharaoh’s army — Pharaoh Hophra. He reigned twenty-five years, and was then dethroned by Amasis. According to Nagelsbach, this was the first or second year of his reign, and seventeen years after the battle of Carchemish.
They departed — Whether he was defeated or withdrew without giving battle we do not know. The language suggests the latter.
6-10.Chaldeans shall’ burn it — The one thing noticeable about this passage is its terrible earnestness and minuteness. Jeremiah assures Judah that the Egyptians shall return to their own land and the Chaldeans to their siege, and that no possible reverse that can come to the Chaldeans will save the city from its impending fate. Even though the whole army were defeated, and there remained only the wounded who had been pierced through and through, (for this is the force of the term translated wounded,) still they would rise up and “burn” the city.
JEREMIAH’S IMPRISONMENT, Jeremiah 37:11-15.
11.Broken up — Rather, simply gone up.
12.To separate himself — Neither this nor the translation, to slip away, which stands in the margin, is correct. The better approved sense is, to receive a portion thence. The Vulgate, Chaldee, and Syriac Versions agree in translating, to receive an inheritance, and the Septuagint, to purchase thence, but the more exact sense is as above. The probable meaning is, that Jeremiah had gone back to the fields in which he had an interest to obtain the much needed supplies of food.
13.Gate of Benjamin — The north gate of the city, called also the gate of Ephraim; as in 2 Kings 14:13.
Captain of the ward — Literally, lord of the oversight, the commander of the watch at the gate.
Fallest away to the Chaldeans — The charge was probably the offspring of personal malice, but the known views of Jeremiah gave colour to it.
14.The princes — These were not the men who had twice before espoused the cause of Jeremiah. Chaps. 26 and 36. Probably those had been carried away with Jeconiah, and their places were now filled by men less worthy.
15.Put him in prison — As appears more clearly from the following verse, this was a subterranean prison having its wards or vaults. Its relation to the house of Jonathan the scribe indicates that he was an executive or police officer.
JEREMIAH’S INTERVIEW WITH THE KING, Jeremiah 37:16-21.
16.Cabins — Vaults. The mention of them indicates that Jeremiah’s imprisonment began with the extreme rigour of cruelty. The word is found nowhere else.
17.Secretly in his house — The “many days” of the preceding verse had passed, and probably the king of Babylon had been urging his siege. Zedekiah, now in alarm, sends to consult the prophet, but “secretly,” through fear of the princes and court ministers.
17-21.The bearing of Jeremiah in the presence of the king is a model of honesty, dignity, and simplicity. He plainly reaffirms the offensive message without softening it in the least. He then remonstrates with the king because of his treatment, and calls his attention to the fact that others had prophesied falsely in this matter. If, then, any should be punished severely, surely it should not be he who had timely told the truth. This frank appeal was successful, and the king gave command to soften the rigours of his imprisonment.
Piece of bread — Rather, loaf of bread.
Bakers’ street — Suggesting that in Jerusalem, as is common in modern oriental towns, the different, occupations or trades had come to have their respective quarters.
Court of the prison — See Jeremiah 32:2.
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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 37". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany