Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jeremiah 38:24

Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, "Let no man know about these words and you will not die.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - King;   Prisoners;   Zedekiah;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Zedekiah;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - King;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Prophecy, Prophets;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Greek Versions of Ot;   Zedekiah,;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Zedekiah (2);  

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

ZEDEKIAH PLEDGES JEREMIAH TO SECRECY

"Then said Zedekiah unto Jeremiah, Let no man know of these words, and thou shalt not die. But if the princes hear that I have talked with thee, and they come unto thee, and say unto thee, Declare unto us now what thou has said unto the king; hide it not from us, and we will not put thee to death; also what the king said unto thee: then, thou shalt say unto them, I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan's house, to die there. Then came all the princes unto Jeremiah, and asked him; and he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they left off speaking with him; for the matter was not perceived. So Jeremiah abode in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken."

"My supplication ... that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan's house, to die there ..." (Jeremiah 38:26). The mention of Jonathan's house in this passage is alleged to support the notion that only one imprisonment is in view in these two chapters; but such a view is a total misunderstanding.

This was a master-stroke on the part of Zedekiah. By the mention of Jeremiah's petition not to be sent back to Jonathan's house, the princes would have concluded immediately that Zedekiah, displeased with their placement of Jeremiah in the miry cistern, had told Jeremiah that he would send him back to the house of Jonathan where Jeremiah would have been silenced as in the second imprisonment; and they would have instantly supposed that this "second plea" of Jeremiah not to be sent back to the house of Jonathan was a response to Zedekiah's threat, a threat that never took place at all, but from this misunderstanding of the real nature of Jeremiah's supplication, doubtless caused them to accept what they understood as Zedekiah's action as compatible with what they desired.

Thus Jeremiah told nothing but the truth, but not all of the truth, and it served the wishes of both Zedekiah and Jeremiah perfectly. We have yet to find the writing of any scholar which acknowledges what to us is the perfect explanation of this episode.

We have no patience whatever with "scholars" who criticize the "ethics of Jeremiah," suggesting that perhaps he told a lie on this occasion. Nonsense! Jeremiah obeyed his king, which he was honor bound to do; what he said was absolutely true. Of course, it was not "the whole truth," but Jeremiah was under no oath nor any responsibility whatever to tell those crooked murderers the "whole truth." It was not Jeremiah's error that his supplication not to be sent back to the house of Jonathan had occurred at the end of the second imprisonment, and not at the end of the third.

One may only marvel at the genius of Zedekiah who arranged this skillful deception of the crooked princes who were his bitterest enemies.

Keil and many other commentators have pointed out that Jeremiah 38:28 here actually belongs to Jeremiah 39, and "forms the introductory sentence of the passage ending in Jeremiah 39:3."[17]

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:24". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/jeremiah-38.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then said Zedekiah to Jeremiah,.... Not a word signifying his approbation of the counsel given him, or that he intended to take it; his silence showed the reverse:

let no man know of these words: that had passed between them; of the conference and conversation they had had together, at least not the particulars of it; the thing itself was known, as appears by what follows, that the king and prophet had been discoursing together; but what they talked of, he desires might be concealed, pretending the prophet's good, though it was his own honour and safety he sought:

and thou shall not die; as he had promised he should not, and had sworn to it; but suggests by this, that if he disclosed the conversation, he should took upon himself free from his word and oath; so that this carried something menacing in it: or it may be rendered "that thou die not"F3ולא תמות "ne moriaris", Gataker, Schmidt; "ut non moriaris", Piscator. ; intimating, that if the princes should come to the knowledge of what he had said, of the advice he had given, they would surely put him to death; and therefore, for his own safety, he desires the whole may be kept a secret.

Copyright Statement
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 38:24". "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

Let no man know — If thou wilt not tell this to the people, I will engage thy safety.

Copyright Statement
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 38:24". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/jeremiah-38.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jeremiah 38:24 Then said Zedekiah unto Jeremiah, Let no man know of these words, and thou shalt not die.

Ver. 24. Let no man know of these words,] Muliebriter deprecatur rex incredulus fidelem. Thus he who feareth not God, feareth his own servants and counsellors.

And thou shalt not die.] The crafty king would seem to be solicitous of the prophet’s safety, but mainly intendeth his own.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:24". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-38.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

These words sufficiently let us know that Zedekiah stood in awe of his courtiers, and we might probably think, that had it not been for them, he would have done better. This is the righteous judgment of God; those that will not sanctify the Lord of hosts, and make him their fear, shall fear men, whom to fear is much more base and ignoble.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:24". 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

24.Let no man know — A king, and yet did not dare to have the particulars of this interview known!

 

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:24". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/jeremiah-38.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Zedekiah made Jeremiah promise that he would not tell anyone that they had had this conversation. If he kept it a secret, the prophet could live.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:24". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/jeremiah-38.html. 2012.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Then said Zedekiah unto Jeremiah, Let no man know of these words, and thou shalt not die.

Let no man know of these words, and thou shalt not die - if thou wilt not tell this to the people, I will engage thy safety.

Copyright Statement
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 38:24". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/jeremiah-38.html. 1871-8.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Here is seen the miserable condition of the king. Had he no faith in the answer of Jeremiah, he would not have thus feared. But he acknowledged that what he had heard from the mouth of the Prophet was true. In the meanwhile he delayed and extended time as far as he could, and chose rather to spend his life in trembling than to be immediately freed from all care and anxiety. This was by no means to act like a king; for had he any courage, he would not have waited to the last hour. We indeed know that men of courage boldly meet death, when they see no hope of honor remaining. Zedekiah had lost his authority; he held indeed the title of a king, but he was without power; for he was compelled servilely to obey his counselors; and now he feared his own shadow, and yet protracted time, as I have said, as much as he could; and on this account he requested the Prophet, that this conversation might remain as buried.

By saying, thou shalt not die, he did not threaten the Prophet, but intimated that silence would not be less a benefit to Jeremiah than to himself: “Thou wilt rouse the fury of all against thyself, if thou speakest of this interview, for no one can bear to hear anything of the ruin of the city: if then thou consultest thine own benefit, say not a word of this, and let it not come to the people nor to my counselors.” Under the color of an advice then he said to Jeremiah, “See lest thou die (115) He therefore did not speak threateningly.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:24". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jeremiah-38.html. 1840-57.