Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jeremiah 38:19

Then King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, "I dread the Jews who have gone over to the Chaldeans, for they may give me over into their hand and they will abuse me."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - King;   Prisoners;   Zedekiah;   Thompson Chain Reference - Courage-Fear;   Fear;   Fear of Man;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Zedekiah;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Prophet, Prophetess, Prophecy;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Foreknowledge of God;   Jew;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - King;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Greek Versions of Ot;   Zedekiah,;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Foreknowledge;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

They mock me - Insult me, and exhibit me in triumph.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:19". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/jeremiah-38.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The Jews that are fallen to the Chaldaeans - These deserters probably formed a numerous party, and now would be the more indignant with Zedekiah for having rejected their original advice to submit.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:19". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/jeremiah-38.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah,.... In answer to this advice he gave him, persuading him to give up himself and the city into the hands of the Chaldeans:

I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans; who did go out of the city, and surrendered to the Chaldeans, whom Zedekiah had cruelly used, or severely threatened:

lest they deliver me into their hands, and they mock me; that is, lest the Chaldeans should deliver him into the hands of the Jews, and they should jeer and scoff at him, for doing the same thing he had forbidden them on the severest penalty; or lest they should put him to death in the most revengeful and contemptuous manner, as Kimchi's note is: but all this was either a mere excuse, or showed great weakness and pusillanimity, and was fearing where no fear was; for, on the one hand, it was not reasonable to think that the Chaldeans, when they had got such a prize as the king of the Jews, that they should easily part with him, and especially deliver him up into the hands of his own people; and, on the other hand, it is not likely, that, should he be delivered into their hands, they would ever have treated him in so scornful and cruel a manner, who was their prince, and a partner with them in their captivity.

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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 38:19". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/jeremiah-38.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Zedekiah the king said to Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that have fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they i mock me.

(i) Which declares that he more feared the reproach of men than the threatenings of God.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:19". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/jeremiah-38.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

afraid of the Jews — more than of God (Proverbs 29:25; John 9:22; John 12:43).

mock me — treat me injuriously (1 Samuel 31:4).

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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 38:19". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/jeremiah-38.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me.

Lest they — Lest the Chaldeans should deliver me into the hands of those Jews which have fallen to them.

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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 38:19". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/jeremiah-38.html. 1765.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

A ROYAL PUPPET

‘And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, ‘I am afraid.’

Jeremiah 38:19

I. It is strange to think of the contrast between this reed shaken with the wind, and the stalwart oak, defying every storm, which Jeremiah was.—The prophet stood alone. He stood as adamant against every foe. He held by his testimony. Nothing could shake him. He was not to be bribed nor cajoled, nor terrified into silence. He was a pulpit that all the wealth of the state could not tune. He delivered the same message to the king in secret audience as to the people in public assembly. Yet to that timid, cowering, pithless man he could impart no breath of his own dauntless spirit and iron will. He clings to Jeremiah: he shows him favours: he believes that what the prophet speaks is the word of God, and yet he never has a grain of courage to act according to his counsel.

II. If decision of character be lacking in any man, that indeed is a fatal want.—We habitually underrate the seriousness of such a defect. We so often apologise for a man, saying, ‘There is no evil in him, but he is weak.’ Now in this world, where the forces of evil are so aggressive, where the current flows so fiercely towards evil, where temptation is so insistent, that is a sentence of doom. We are apt to think of such a man as Zedekiah, that if only he had been a private citizen he would have been inoffensive and respectable. He was amiable and religiously inclined, and had nothing vicious in him. He was a weak man in a false position, in a place that before all things else required force of character. He was without conviction, without strength of will, without resolution. Now, we had better awaken to the brutal fact that God does not supply cloisters and sequestered retreats, sheltered from all rough blasts, for such effeminate souls. They are like the rest of us, thrust out into life, and they go under. They cannot swim against the stream. Invertebrate they are, and without force to resist, and the decision ever to say no. The only thing they can do is weakly to yield. Now it follows that such a fatal temperament shuts a man out of the ranks of Christians. Christ’s appeal is always to decision. He puts iron into the blood. He calls us to follow Him, to take up our cross, to deny ourselves. If all we can do or care to do is to go with the crowd, then we cannot have part or lot with Him. It may all the more open our eyes to the evil of this disposition if we follow the career of this last king of Judah, who to his own and his nation’s ruin was cursed with feebleness of will.

Illustration

‘What a pitiable character is this weak king, shuttle-cocked between stronger wills, sometimes sending for Jeremiah and having secret talks with him, which he is desperately afraid may leak out, sometimes listening to the princes, and then again doing as Ebed-melech urges. There is a dash of bitterness in his answer to the truculent demand for the prophet’s life: “The king is not he that can do anything against you.” Like all weak men, he resents the dominance of the stronger will to which he yields, and yet yields to the dominance which he resents. Poor creature! the times were “out of joint,” and he, certainly, was not the man “to set them right.” So he “hobbled along on both knees,” to use Elijah’s contemptuous simile, and, of course, ruined himself and all that was entrusted to him. Such men always do. This is no world for an irresolute man to make his way in.’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:19". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/jeremiah-38.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jeremiah 38:19 And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me.

Ver. 19. Then Zedekiah said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews.] Thus hypocrites will at one time or other detect themselves, as Zedekiah here plainly declareth that he more feared the loss of his life, honour, wealth, &c., than of God’s favour and kingdom; so do the most among us. Pilate feared how Caesar would take it if he should release Jesus. Herod laid hold on Peter, after he had killed James, that he might please the people. The Pharisees could not believe, because they received glory from men. This generous king cannot endure to think that his own fugitives should flout him; but to be ruled by God, and his holy prophet advising him for the best, he cannot yield. Thus still vain men are niggardly of their reputation and prodigal of their souls. Do we not see them run wilfully into the field, into the grave, into hell? and all lest it should be said they have as much fear as wit.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:19". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-38.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

But if Zedekiah went out according to the prophet’s advice, and delivered himself, what needed he to fear his subjects (that had deserted the city) delivering of him? It seems rather therefore to be the sense, lest the Chaldeans, when I have yielded myself to them, should deliver me into the hands of those Jews which have fallen to them, and they should mock me: so as he seems to be more concerned for his honour than for his own life, and his family’s, and the whole city: thus often great persons are more patient of death than of reproach and dishonour.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:19". 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

19.I am afraid of the Jews — More “afraid” of them than of God! more afraid of contumely and ridicule than of calamity and ruin!

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:19". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/jeremiah-38.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Zedekiah admitted that he feared the Jews who had already surrendered. He feared that if he surrendered, the Babylonians would turn him over to those Jews, and they would torture him.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:19". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/jeremiah-38.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Jews. Traitors, whom Sedecias had perhaps treated ill. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:19". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/jeremiah-38.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

afraid = apprehensive.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:19". "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

And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me.

I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans. He was more afraid of them than of God (Proverbs 29:25, "The fear of man bringeth a snare; but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe;" John 9:22; John 12:43).

Lest they mock me - treat me injuriously, (1 Samuel 31:4, margin).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:19". "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

(19) I am afraid of the Jews . . .—The special form of fear was characteristic of the weak and vacillating king. It was not enough to know that his life would be safe. Would he also be saved from the insults of his own subjects, who had already deserted to the enemy? These were, in the nature of the case, friends and followers of the prophet, and had acted on his advice (Jeremiah 21:9). The king, who had shrunk from Jeremiah’s taunts (Jeremiah 37:19), could not, for very shame, expose himself to the derision of others. Perhaps even he feared more than mere derision—outrage, death, mutilation, such as Saul feared at the hands of the Philistines (1 Samuel 31:4).

(20–22) Obey, I beseech thee. . . .—The king’s misgiving is met in part by an earnest entreaty to obey the voice of the Lord, in part by the assurance that thus it “shall be well with him” (literally, there shall be peace to thee); in part also by bringing before him the mockery which is certain to await him if he persists in his defiance. The women of the harem, the surviving wives and concubines of former kings, as well as his own, should become the spoil of the Chaldæan princes, and should take up their taunting proverbs against him. “Thy friends” (literally, the men of thy peace, as in Jeremiah 20:10; the men who promised peace and safety), “they set thee on, and having dragged thee into the mire of shame, have left thee there.” The imagery of the taunt seems drawn from the prophet’s recent experience (Jeremiah 38:6). The king was plunging into a worse “slough of despond” than that into which Jeremiah had sunk in the dungeon of Malchiah.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:19". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/jeremiah-38.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me.
I
5; 1 Samuel 15:24; Job 31:34; Proverbs 29:25; Isaiah 51:12,13; 57:11; John 12:42; John 19:12,13
mock
22; Judges 9:54; 16:25; 1 Samuel 31:4; Isaiah 45:9,10
Reciprocal: Ezekiel 11:8 - General

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:19". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/jeremiah-38.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Zedekiah seems, here to have had a good reason why he should not immediately obey the Prophet. And often the best of the faithful openly set forth their anxieties, and we have seen that even the Prophet, when any apprehension of danger was entertained, sometimes mentioned it. It was not then a thing to be blamed, that Zedekiah ingenuously confessed that he was prevented by the fear of those who had revolted to the Chaldeans. For we know that subjects, having once cast off the yoke, and violated their pledged faith, conduct themselves in an insolent way; for they know that those to whom they have not performed their duty would be implacable to them. Zedekiah then was justly anxious, and his simplicity in explaining to the Prophet his fear, seemed worthy of an excuse, for he seemed to give some sign of obedience. But the event at length will shew us, that he was so bound by fear, that he refused the counsel of God and the Prophet. It often happens, as I have just said, that the faithful also fear, and thus vacillate or stand still, when God commands them anything hard and difficult, and they would willingly withdraw from the contest, but they at length obey God, and surrender their own thoughts, and submit in obedience to God. But Zedekiah so feared, (112) that he could not partake of God’s goodness promised to him.

We hence see what the faithful have in common with the reprobate, and also how they differ from one another. At first the faithful fear as well as the unbelieving; they are anxious, they vacillate, and make known their perplexities: the unbelieving at the same time indulge themselves, and become hardened in their perverse purposes; but the faithful fight with themselves, and subject their thoughts to the will of God, and thus overcome fear by faith; they also crucify the flesh, and give themselves up wholly to God. We have seen the same thing before in the Prophet. But we shall now see the obstinacy of King Zedekiah, to which we have referred. Then Zedekiah feared lest the Jews, who had revolted to the Chaldeans, should treat him with insolence. The Prophet thus answered him —

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:19". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jeremiah-38.html. 1840-57.