Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jeremiah 38:2

"Thus says the Lord , ‘He who stays in this city will die by the sword and by famine and by pestilence, but he who goes out to the Chaldeans will live and have his own life as booty and stay alive.'
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Israel, Prophecies Concerning;   Persecution;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Pashur;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gedaliah;   Jeremiah;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Pashur;   Shephatiah;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Jehucal;   Jeremiah;   King;   Kings, the Books of;   Pashur;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Jeremiah;   Pashur;   Prison, Prisoners;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Greek Versions of Ot;   Pashhur;   Zedekiah,;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Judah, Kingdom of;   Pashhur;   Zedekiah (2);   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Pashur;  

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Thus saith the Lord, he that remaineth in this city,.... Of Jerusalem; that does not go out of it, and surrender himself to the Chaldeans; but continues in it fighting against them:

shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence; that is, by one or other of these:

but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live: that goes out of the city, throws down his arms, delivers up himself to the Chaldean army, and submits to their mercy, shall have quarters given him, and his life shall be spared:

for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live; or, "his soul, and it shall live"F14והיתה לו נפשו לשלל וחי "et erit illi anima ejus in praedam et vivet", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Schmidt. ; comfortably and in safety; he shall escape with his life, and that shall be preserved from the sword, famine, and pestilence; and whereas it was, as it were, lost, it shall be recovered out of the jaws of death, out of the above calamities it was exposed to; and so be like a prey taken out of the hands of the mighty, and be quite safe.

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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 38:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/jeremiah-38.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for b a prize, and shall live.

(b) Read (Jeremiah 21:9), (Jeremiah 45:5).
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:2". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/jeremiah-38.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

a prey — He shall escape with his life; though losing all else in a shipwreck, he shall carry off his life as his gain, saved by his going over to the Chaldeans. (See on Jeremiah 21:9).

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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 38:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/jeremiah-38.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jeremiah 38:2 Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live.

Ver. 2. Thus saith the Lord, He that remaineth in the city.] This is the self-same truth which he had preached before, and for the which he suffered. See Jeremiah 21:9. He is constant to his principles, and although it be commonly said and seen that he who receives a courtesy sells his liberty; yet it was not so with this holy prophet. He had received some enlargement, and care was taken by the king that a piece, or a roll of bread should be brought him daily to the prison out of the baker’s street: but that stoppeth not his mouth.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-38.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Jeremiah 38:2. He shall have his life for a prey As a spoil gained from the enemy; snatched out of the flames, and saved from the carnage. The beginning of the next verse should be rendered, For thus saith the Lord; which keeps up the connection.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:2". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/jeremiah-38.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

As to what is Jeremiah 38:3, it is no more than had for some time been the constant tenor of this prophet’s prophecies. The crime seemeth to lie in this, that in such a time of extreme danger he should repeat this prophecy, and also advise the people to leave the city, and shift for themselves, by going out to the Chaldeans, telling them that if they did so, though the city would be lost, and their estates in it lost, yet they should save their lives, which words might encourage many of low and cowardly spirits to desert their posts; which indeed had been crime sufficient in an ordinary time, and under ordinary circumstances, but was no crime now that God had revealed his will to the king, princes, and people that the city should be lost; there lay now no further duty upon any to contribute to its defence, but they were obliged to make as good provisions for themselves as they could; but these wicked princes believed no such thing, therefore they make this a great charge.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/jeremiah-38.html. 1685.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Safe. Hebrew, "a booty," chap. xxi. 9. --- Septuagint, "like a thing found." (Calmet) --- The Hebrew idiom implies that he shall most surely live. Voluntary offerings prevent eternal misery. (Worthington)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/jeremiah-38.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

goeth forth. Some codices add "and falleth".

life = soul.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:2". "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

Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live.

He that goeth forth to the Chaldeans ... shall have his life for a prey - he shall escape with his life; though losing all else, as in a shipwreck, he shall carry off his life as his gain, saved by his going over to the Chaldeans (note, Jeremiah 21:9).

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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 38:2". "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

(2) Thus saith the Lord.—The words carry us back to Jeremiah 21:9, and in any chronological arrangement of the book the one chapter would follow the other. It is obvious that to all who did not recognise the divine mission of the prophet, words like those which he had then spoken would seem to come from the lips of a traitor. Desertion to the enemy was represented as the only way of safety, and this was the counsel given to those who were defending the city of their fathers against an alien invader. What made it appear worse was that the prophet himself had been caught in an act which, though he denied the charge, might not unnaturally seem like an act of treacherous desertion.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/jeremiah-38.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live.
He
17-23; 21:8,9; 24:8; 27:13; 29:18; 34:17; 42:17,22; 44:13; Ezekiel 5:12-17; 6:11; 7:15; 14:21; Matthew 24:7,8; Revelation 6:4-8
shall have
21:9; 39:18; 45:5
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 25:3 - there was no;  Isaiah 22:2 - thy slain;  Jeremiah 1:18 - against;  Jeremiah 21:4 - Behold;  Jeremiah 25:2 - GeneralJeremiah 27:11 - those;  Jeremiah 29:16 - GeneralEzekiel 5:2 - shalt burn;  Acts 17:6 - These

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/jeremiah-38.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

We have seen elsewhere that the Prophet had before said the same; it was not, then, a new thing, for he had thirty years before that time dearly pronounced the same in the Temple, and it was then written as a prophecy and fixed to the doors of the Temple. It was, therefore, nothing new to hear all this from the mouth of Jeremiah. But as I have already said, the king and his couriers thought that he was so subdued by evils that he could hardly open his mouth. In short, they thought that the holy man had, in a manner, lost his tongue since he had been in prison. This, then, was the reason why they now accused him so gravely to the king, and declared him worthy of death. He had deserved death many years before, if he had now committed a capital offense. But as I have already stated, they regarded the Prophet as having designedly despised the king’s authority, and they were indignant because he could not be subdued, when yet he was a prisoner and might see danger at hand every hour. This, then, was the reason why they regarded as a new thing what Jeremiah said, Whosoever abides in the city shall perish, etc.

As to these threatenings, we have elsewhere said, that all those who expected help from the Egyptians were willful despisers of God; for the Prophet had often exhorted them all, quietly and submissively to bear that temporary punishment which God had resolved to inflict on them. They wished in their perverseness to drive to a distance God’s judgment, and then when they saw that God was their enemy, they deemed it enough to have the Egyptians as their friends. It was then no wonder that the Prophet allotted to them the sword, and famine, and pestilence.

He then adds, Whosoever passeth over to the Chaldeans shall live The condition, however, was very hard; his soul, he says, shall be for a prey, as though he had said, “He who flees to the Chaldeans shall only save his life, but must suffer the loss of all his property,” as when a shipwreck is dreaded, there is no one who is not ready to save his life at the loss of all his goods; and, therefore, in extreme danger the merchants are wont to cast into the sea all that they have, for they prefer to escape to the harbor empty and destitute of everything, than to perish together with their riches. It was, then, a hard condition; but the Prophet shews that they could not otherwise escape; they were to give up their own country, and all other things, and could only preserve their life. For this reason he says, that their life would be for a prey to them, as when anything is snatched from the fire, or as when one is exposed to plunder, he were content to take something away by stealth, for otherwise, if he sought to take away many things, he would have to contend with many enemies. The Prophet then intimates that the Jews could not save themselves from death in any other way than by casting away all they had, and by being solicitous only to save life. He again repeats, he shall live. By this repetition he more pressingly urged them, and with more earnestness exhorted them to save their life.

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:2". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jeremiah-38.html. 1840-57.