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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 39

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary

Verses 1-2

CAPTURE OF JERUSALEM, Jeremiah 39:1-3.

1, 2. Ninth year… eleventh year Comparing the two dates we learn that the siege lasted one and a half years. See 2 Kings 25:1-4.

Verse 3

3. All the princes, etc. As above intimated, (Jeremiah 38:17,) the king of Babylon was absent at Riblah, and hence the attacking army was under the command of these “princes.” As to their names, certain difficulties have been pointed out by the expositors, such as: 1) One name is repeated. 2) Another has the name of the god Nebo at the end, while all other known compounds of this name place it at the beginning, as Nebuchadnezzar, etc. 3) From this name, too, is omitted the title of office, though it is used with the following. 4) In Jeremiah 39:13 the Babylonian grandees are again spoken of, but there are three and not four. For such reasons as these, all of which are really very inconclusive, some have conjectured that the text here is corrupt. But this harsh conjecture is totally unwarranted. Two princes of a name are certainly by no means impossible, as history has abundantly illustrated.

Middle gate The conjecture is, that this was a gate in the wall which divided Zion from the lower city.

From this point both divisions could be most easily commanded. FAITH OF ZEDEKIAH AND Jeremiah , 4-14.

Verse 4

4. Saw Perhaps literally, notwithstanding it was night, but the sense may be perceived knew by the confusion.

Way of the king’s garden… the way of the plain In Nehemiah 3:15, occurs this expression: “The wall of the pool of Siloah by the king’s garden.” The two walls were that of Ophel on the east, and that of Zion on the west. The gate was probably in the short wall uniting these and stretching across the valley of the Tyropoeon. It was not, as some have suggested, “the gate of the fountain,” but the same that is called the “horse gate” in Nehemiah 3:28. The “way of the plain” is more distinctly indicated in the following verse the plain of Jericho.

Verse 5

5. Riblah is situated on the right bank of the Orontes, on the great road between Baalbec and Hums, about thirty-five miles from the former place.

It is fully identified and bears its original name. Dr. Robinson points out the advantages of this locality as a place of encampment for a great army.

“From this point the roads were open by Aleppo and the Euphrates to Nineveh, or by Palmyra to Babylon… by the end of Lebanon and the coast to Palestine and Egypt, or through the Bukaa and the Jordan valley to the centre of the Holy Land.”

Gave judgment Compare Jeremiah 1:16.

Verse 7

7. Put out Zedekiah’s eyes Jeremiah 32:4, says, “his eyes shall behold his eyes,” and Ezekiel 12:13, “shall he not see it [Babylon] though he shall die there.” In this passage we have the explanation of these apparently incongruous statements.

Verse 9

9. Nebuzar-adan seems to have been the highest officer under Nebuchadnezzar the commander in chief of his army and his secretary of state. He was not at the capture of Jerusalem, but was sent there immediately upon its downfall. He decided as to the booty to be carried away; he appointed the governor to be left in charge; he released Jeremiah from his confinement, making to him at the same time a speech, which, as coming from a heathen man, was certainly most remarkable. From all we know of him he certainly stands in a very attractive light.

Captain of the guard Literally, chief of the executioners a phrase fearfully suggestive of the bloody and cruel nature of oriental administration.

Those that fell… to him That is, deserters.

Verse 11

11. Nebuchadrezzar… gave charge For what reason we are not informed. Perhaps on account of his prophecies, of which he had knowledge through the deserters; perhaps because he had been imprisoned as an ally of Babylon; perhaps because of some personal influence, which in a royal court is not always known. At all events, this command is no slight recognition of the personal importance accorded to Jeremiah, and of his prophecies as a factor in the history of the times.

Verse 14

14. Out of the court of the prison From this account we should not doubt that Jeremiah was liberated at Jerusalem, but the following chapter makes it entirely certain that Ramah was the scene of his release. The explanation is, that the first gives the matter with great brevity, while the latter gives it in detail. It would appear that at the time of the capture of the city the male inhabitants who had not borne arms were carried to Ramah, as prisoners, and Jeremiah among them. In this summary account no mention is made of this, but he is spoken of as though he were still in the court of the prison.

Carry him home Literally, into the house. What house can only be conjectured. Hitzig says, the temple; Graf, the king’s house; Keil, the official residence of Gedaliah, the governor. This last is satisfactory, and explains why the pronoun is omitted. If it had been his private residence we should certainly expect to see the pronoun.

Verse 15


15. Word of the Lord came Doubtless at the time of Jeremiah’s deliverance by this eunuch, but it is placed here so as not to break the connexion of the more important body of narration.

Verse 16

16. Go and speak This language suggests that Jeremiah was not kept in close confinement, but could, upon special permission, go out at seasonable times.

Verse 17

17. The men of whom thou art afraid The Chaldeans. But some think the courtiers and princes, against whom Ebed-melech had set himself in delivering Jeremiah.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 39". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/jeremiah-39.html. 1874-1909.
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