As intimated in the closing words of the preceding chapter, this final chapter of the book must be regarded as standing by itself as an appendix. Of the author we have no knowledge whatever. The one thing which seems certain is, that it cannot have been written by Jeremiah, as at least a portion of its contents belong to a period subsequent to the time of his death. It is also to be noted that the substance of the chapter is identical with the closing portion of the Second Book of Kings, with, however, many slight changes in words and order. See the notes in that place.
1-3.Zedekiah’ king of Babylon — These three verses are of the same purport with 2 Kings 24:18-20, with only two unessential differences. The word for is not to be taken as causal, but is simply the statement of the effect.
4.Nebuchadrezzar — A more ancient and correct form than Nebuchadnezzar.
9-11.Then they took the king — Zedekiah, king of Judah.
Put him in prison — Namely, in Babylon.
Till the day of his death — Yet it appears that toward the close of his life his confinement was less rigorous than when he was first taken to Babylon, and that an honourable interment was given him after his death. This is the purport of the promise made to him through Jeremiah while yet in Judea, as recorded in Jeremiah 34:1-5.
12.The tenth day of the month — In 2 Kings 25:8, we read the seventh day. This discrepancy is probably owing to letters having been used for numerals, and the proper letter having been wrongly transcribed.
13.All the houses of the great — Literally, every house the great. “The meaning is, that only the larger houses were burned; and as the article here is intensive, it should be rendered all the largest houses.” — Speaker’s Commentary.
23.Ninety and six pomegranates on a side; all’ were a hundred — The Hebrew for “on a side” is windwards, and it cannot mean that there were “ninety-six pomegranates” on each side, for then, as the capitals were square, the whole number would have been three hundred and eighty-four. The expression must mean that “ninety-six” were toward the four winds, twenty-four facing each quarter; and one at each corner, which would be each toward two winds, as north-east, north-west, etc: this would make “a hundred” all told.
28-30.In these verses we have an enumeration of the different deportations of Jews by Nebuchadrezzar, namely, first, 3,023 in the seventh year of his reign; second, 832 in the eighteenth year of his reign; and third, 745 in the twenty-third year of his rule; thus giving for the total, 4,600.
In this statement there are, as all confess, serious, if not inexplicable, difficulties. For example, in Jeremiah 52:12 the second deportation is represented as occurring in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar, instead of the eighteenth as here; and the first deportation was, as we learn from 2 Kings 24:12, in the eighth, and not in the seventh, year of his reign, and was much more numerous than is here stated. Hence many accept the suggestion of Ewald, that the word ten before seven has been dropped out of the Hebrew text, and that the true reading should be seventeenth. This would lead to the conclusion that we have mentioned here, simply three deportations in the final war of Zedekiah, occurring in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and twenty-third years of Nebuchadrezzar’s reign. The first took place a year before the fall of Jerusalem, and probably embraced people taken from the country districts of Judea. This accounts for the smallness of the number, three thousand and twenty-three. In the following year were added eight hundred and thirty-two others, who may have been selected because they were judged to be turbulent and dangerous men. Finally, at a later time, probably on the occasion of the war with the Ammonites and Moabites mentioned by Josephus, (Antiq., Jeremiah 10:9; Jeremiah 10:7,) seven hundred and forty-five more were carried away, perhaps because they too were judged likely to become disturbers of the peace.
31-34.Evil-merodach’ lifted up the head of Jehoiachin — This was evidently an act of favour performed on the occasion of his ascending the throne. May not the influence of Daniel and other highly esteemed Jews at the Babylonian court have operated in favour of the imprisoned king? The phrase “lifted up the head,” is a frequent one to denote the removal of sorrow from any cause, for those who grieve are apt to hang down the head, and those who rejoice to carry it erect. Evil-merodach, by this act of grace, gave gladness to Jehoiachin.
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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 52". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany