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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Jeremiah 39

 

 

Introduction

Jeremiah 27-29. Certain linguistic peculiarities (e.g. the incorrect spelling, Nebuchadnezzar) suggest that these three chapters may have circulated as a separate pamphlet, e.g. in Babylon. They deal with the rebuke of false hopes concerning a speedy return from exile.

Jeremiah 30-31. The Future of Israel and Judah.—These two chapters of prophecy, dealing with the future restoration of Israel and Judah, appear to be a later editorial insertion in the narrative scheme of Jeremiah 26-45, placed here perhaps because Jeremiah 32 and Jeremiah 33 contain narratives and prophecies dealing with the same subject (cf. also Jeremiah 29:10 ff.). In Jeremiah 30 and Jeremiah 31, there are numerous points of contact with Deutero-Isaiah, a fact which, with other features, has suggested to many scholars an exilic or post-exilic date for much that these chapters contain. The contrast with the general "pessimism" of earlier chapters is very noticeable. On the other hand, the internal evidence for Jeremiah 31:2-6, Jeremiah 31:15-22, Jeremiah 31:31-34 entitles us to regard these sections as Jeremianic.

Jeremiah 40-44. The next five chapters continue the biography of Jeremiah, including connected events, after the capture of Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 46-51. The Foreign Prophecies.—These form the third principal division of the Book of Jeremiah. As already seen (Jeremiah 1:5; Jeremiah 1:10, Jeremiah 25:15), Jeremiah's prophetic horizon naturally included the surrounding nations; how far the prophecies that follow are his can be decided only by detailed criticism in each case. They refer, though in somewhat different order, to the several nations enumerated in Jeremiah 25:19-26 (which may be regarded as an introduction to them), except that an oracle on Damascus here replaces the reference to Tyre, Sidon, and the Mediterranean. (The LXX, which places this group of prophecies after Jeremiah 25:13, follows a third order.) It is generally admitted that the long prophecy on Babylon (Jeremiah 50 f.) is not by Jeremiah (see prefatory note). As to Jeremiah 46-49, there is considerable difference of opinion, ranging from Duhm's rejection of the whole, through Giesebrecht's acceptance of Jeremiah 47 (except towards end), with the nucleus of Jeremiah 46:2-12, Jeremiah 49:7-11, up to Cornill's acceptance of most of Jeremiah 46-49 (so also Peake). It is in any case natural to suppose that there are genuine prophecies by Jeremiah which underlie these chapters, though they have been worked over, or incorporated with other non-Jeremianic prophecies (e.g. Jeremiah 48) by later writers. For details, the larger commentaries must be consulted.

Jeremiah 26-45. These chapters, usually ascribed in the main to Baruch, chiefly narrate selected incidents in the life of Jeremiah, often with connected prophecies; they form a second main section of the book, in contrast with 1-25, which consist chiefly of prophecies, with little narrative.


Verses 1-14

Jeremiah 34:1-14. The Fall of Jerusalem: Jeremiah Spared.—This paragraph well illustrates the growth of the OT text; cf. 2 Kings 25:1-12 (also reproduced in Jeremiah 52:4-16, from which Jeremiah 39:1 f. and Jeremiah 39:4-10; Jeremiah 39:13 have been here interpolated. The former verses (Jeremiah 39:1 f., bracketed in RV) break the Hebrew connexion, and refer back to the time prior to the capture of the city; the latter (Jeremiah 39:4-13 are omitted in LXX) include events connected with Nebuzaradan, who arrived a month later than the capture (2 Kings 25:8, Jeremiah 52:12). Jeremiah 39:14 properly connects with Jeremiah 39:3. For the interpolated verses, see on 2 Kings. The special instructions as to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 39:11 f.; not in 2 Kings or Jeremiah 52) would be due to his known policy of surrender. The closing words of Jeremiah 38, as continued in Jeremiah 39:3; Jeremiah 39:14, describe what happened to Jeremiah on the fall of the city. The Babylonian officers held a court ("sat in the middle gate", Jeremiah 39:3), and directed Gedaliah (son of Jeremiah's friend Ahikam, Jeremiah 26:24) to take the prophet home, where he was set at liberty.

Jeremiah 39:3. The personal names (note mg.) are probably a corrupt expansion of the two names correctly given in Jeremiah 39:13. [On the meaning of Rab-mag, see J. H. Moulton, Early Zoroastrianism, pp. 187f., 430. He argues for the view that it means "chief of the Magi"; if this is correct there was apparently a priestly caste of Magi in Babylonia at this date. For the presence of Magi at Jerusalem cf. Ezekiel 8:17*.—A. S. P.]


Verses 15-18

Jeremiah 39:15-18. Ebed-melech.—A prophecy of his deliverance, given during the siege (cf. Jeremiah 38:7-13).—His enemies (Jeremiah 39:17) may be either the Babylonians, or the hostile princes.

Jeremiah 39:18. Cf. Jeremiah 21:9, Jeremiah 45:5.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Jeremiah 39:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/jeremiah-39.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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