Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jeremiah 38:10

Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, "Take thirty men from here under your authority and bring up Jeremiah the prophet from the cistern before he dies."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Criminals;   Ebed-Melech;   Ethiopia;   Eunuch;   Intercession;   Jeremiah;   Minister, Christian;   Prisoners;   Zedekiah;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ebed-Melech;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ethiopia;   Zedekiah;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Persecution;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ebed-Melech;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Black People and Biblical Perspectives;   Cushite;   Prison, Prisoners;   Prophecy, Prophets;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Greek Versions of Ot;   Pashhur;   Zedekiah,;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Dungeon;   Ebedmelech ;   Ethiopians ;   Eunuch;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Ebed-melech;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ethiopia;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ethio'pian,;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ebed-Melech;   Pashhur;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ebed-Melech;   Pashur;   Well;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Take from hence thirty men - The king was determined that he should be rescued by force, if the princes opposed.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/jeremiah-38.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Thirty men - So large a number suggests that Zedekiah expected some resistance. (Some read “three” men.)

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/jeremiah-38.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian,.... Being affected with the case of the prophet; and repenting of the leave he had given the princes to do with him as they pleased, gave orders as follows:

saying, take from hence thirty men with thee; from the place where the king was, the gate of Benjamin; where very probably at this time was a garrison of soldiers, thirty of which were ordered to be taken; or these were to be taken out of the king's bodyguard, he had here with him. JosephusF23Antiqu. l. 10. c. 7. sect. 5. calls them thirty of the king's servants, such as were about the king's person, or belonged to his household; and so the Syriac version of Jeremiah 38:11 says that Ebedmelech took with him men of the king's household; but why thirty of them, when three or four might be thought sufficient to take up a single man out of a dungeon? Abarbinel thinks the dungeon was very deep, and Jeremiah, ah old man, could not be got out but with great labour and difficulty. Jarchi and Kimchi say, the men were so weakened with the famine, that so many were necessary to draw out one man; but the true reason seems rather to be, that should the princes, whom the king might suspect, or any other, attempt to hinder this order being put in execution, there might be a sufficient force to assist in it, and repel those that might oppose it:

and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon before he die; the king speaks honourably of Jeremiah, giving him his title as a prophet, and expresses great concern for him; and orders them to hasten the taking him up, lest he should die before, which he suggests would give him great concern.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/jeremiah-38.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

with theeHebrew, “in thine hand,” that is, at “thy disposal” (1 Samuel 16:2). “From hence,” that is, from the gate of Benjamin where the king was sitting (Jeremiah 38:7).

thirty men — not merely to draw up Jeremiah, but to guard Ebed-melech against any opposition on the part of the princes (Jeremiah 38:1-4), in executing the king‘s command. Ebed-melech was rewarded for his faith, love, and courage, exhibited at a time when he might well fear the wrath of the princes, to which even the king had to yield (Jeremiah 39:16-18).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/jeremiah-38.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die.

Thirty men — Probably the king commanded Ebed-melech to take thirty men to guard him against any opposition.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:10". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/jeremiah-38.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jeremiah 38:10 Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die.

Ver. 10. Then the king commanded Ebedmelech.] A sweet providence of God thus to incline the heart of this effeminate, cruel, inconstant, and impious king, to hearken to the motion, and to give order for the prophet’s deliverance from that desperate and deadly danger. A good encouragement also to men to appear in a good cause, and to act vigorously for God, notwithstanding they are alone, and have to encounter with divers difficulties.

Take from hence thirty men with thee.] Four or fewer might have done it; but perhaps the princes with their forces might have endeavoured to hinder them, but that they saw them so strong.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-38.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

There are several guesses why the king commandeth Ebed-melech to take

thirty men for the doing of that for which three or four were sufficient. I think they judge best who think it was to guard him against any opposition. Things were now in a great disorder, the city being upon the matter taken, and the king himself was much in the government of his princes, and, as may easily be judged by what went before, and what we shall hereafter meet with, could not rule them, but was in some fear of them, and he did not know but some of the most boisterous of them might oppose the execution of this command of his. This king in his whole story seemeth to have been of a much better humour than his predecessors, and to have had a kindness for the prophet, though he suffered himself to be miserably overruled by his courtiers, who were of a much fiercer temper, and worse affected to the prophet.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/jeremiah-38.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10.Thirty men — This great number has been a difficulty to many, and such bold and free critics as Ewald have conjectured an emendation of the text, substituting three for thirty. They support this by the fact that the word for “men” is plural in the original, whereas the ordinary Hebrew usage is to use the singular form of the noun with all numerals above ten.

But, a) This rule of Hebrew syntax, though general, is not invariable. There are many instances in which, when the numeral precedes, the plural form of the noun is used. b) And we know too little to object to the number thirty. They were not necessarily fighting men, nor does it follow that so many were actually needed to execute the order; but so many were given to make sure of the execution of the order.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/jeremiah-38.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Zedekiah authorized Ebed-melech to use30 of the eunuch"s own men to extract Jeremiah from the cistern. [Note: The Septuagint and one ancient Hebrew manuscript have "three" instead of "30," but30 is probably correct.] Evidently Zedekiah expected that Ebed-melech might encounter some opposition and would need a lot of manpower.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:10". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/jeremiah-38.html. 2012.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

thirty. The king knew the danger. No need to suppose that "thirty" is a copyist"s error for "three"!

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/jeremiah-38.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die.

Take from, hence ... with thee - Hebrew, 'in thine hand, i:e., at 'thy disposal,' (1 Samuel 16:2, margin.) From hence - i:e., from the gate of Benjamin, where the king was sitting (Jeremiah 38:7).

Thirty men - not merely to draw up Jeremiah, but to guard Ebed- melech against any opposition on the part of the princes (Jeremiah 38:1-4), in executing the king's command. Ebed-melech was rewarded for his faith, love, and courage, exhibited at a time when he might well fear the wrath of the princes, to which even the king had to yield (Jeremiah 39:16-18)

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/jeremiah-38.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) Take from hence thirty men.—The number seems a large one for the purpose, especially when we consider that the men were sent from a post from which they could ill be spared, but the king may have wished to guard against resistance on the part of the princes. Hitzig, however, conjectures that “three men” was the original reading of the Hebrew text.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/jeremiah-38.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die.
the king
Esther 5:2; 8:7; Psalms 75:10; Proverbs 21:1
with thee
Heb. in thine hand.
Reciprocal: Jeremiah 37:13 - Hananiah;  Jeremiah 37:16 - into the dungeon

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/jeremiah-38.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

We here see, what I have already said, that; the Prophet’s deliverance was wholly from above. The king, smitten with fear, had lately given over the holy Prophet to the cruelty of his princes; and had confessed that he had no longer any authority: “for it is not the king,” he said, “who now governs you.” As, then, the king had not dared resolutely to contend against his princes:, how was it, that he now ventured to extricate Jeremiah from the pit? We hence see that the king’s mind had been changed; because he was lately so stunned with fear, that he dared not to plead the cause of the holy man; but now he commands the Ethiopian totake him out from the pit It then appears that this was over-ruled by a divine power.

But let us hence learn to be courageous, when necessity requires, though there may not be a hope of a favorable issue. Ebedmelech might have thought within himself that his attempt would be in vain, however strenuously he might have pleaded for Jeremiah. He might, then, have thus relinquished that purpose which he had so boldly undertaken; for thus they who are over-wise are often led, as it were, into inertness: “What can you effect? thou art but one, and they are many; and then the thing is done. If the king himself has been forced to yield to their fury, and thou being a private individual, with what. confidence can you resist them? and further, a tumult will be raised, and thou wilt perish in it; and in the meantime they will perhaps stone with stones that unhappy man, whom thou seekest to help.” All these things might have occurred to Ebedmelech, and thus he might have desisted. But we see that he rested in confidence on God’s favor. Let us, then, remembering his example, hope beyond hope, when God requires us to do a thing, that is, when faith, the obligation of duty, demands anything from us, and which may be done, if we close our eyes to all obstacles and go on in our work; for events are in God’s hands alone, and they will be such as he pleases. In the meantime it is simply our duty to proceed in our course, though we may think that our labors will be in vain and without any fruit. Ebedmelech happily succeeded, and how? because he performed the part of a pious and upright man. Thus God will extend his hand to us; whatever difficulties may meet us, we shall overcome them all by his power and aid.

Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, Take hence thirty men with thee and extricate Jeremiah from the well Ebedmelech might even then have relinquished his undertaking; for he might not have been able with thirty men to overcome so great a power; for all the king’s counselors had united together, and no doubt they had enlisted many others. We thus see that Ebedmelech did not rely on human aid, but that being strengthened by invincible confidence he undertook this office, so that he dared to draw Jeremiah out of the pit. It hence follows —

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:10". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jeremiah-38.html. 1840-57.