Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jeremiah 38:6

Then they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchijah the king's son, which was in the court of the guardhouse; and they let Jeremiah down with ropes. Now in the cistern there was no water but only mud, and Jeremiah sank into the mud.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Dungeon;   Hammelech;   Imprisonment;   Jeremiah;   Persecution;   Prisoners;   Rulers;   Zedekiah;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bondage, Physical;   Cruelty;   Imprisonment;   Jeremiah;   Kindness-Cruelty;   Suffering for Righteousness' S;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Persecution;   Prisons;   Punishments;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Pashur;   Pit;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gedaliah;   Jeremiah;   Jerusalem;   Prison;   Zedekiah;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Persecution;   Pit;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Cistern;   Dungeon;   Pashur;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Cistern;   Ebed-Melech;   Hammelech;   Kings, the Books of;   Malchiah;   Pashur;   Pit;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Cistern;   Court of the Prison;   Cushite;   Drink;   Hammelech;   Jeremiah;   Malchijah;   Prison, Prisoners;   Prophecy, Prophets;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Cistern;   Greek Versions of Ot;   Hammelech;   Malchiah;   Pashhur;   Zedekiah,;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Prison (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Dungeon;   Hammelech ;   Malchiah, Malchijah ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Cistern;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Cistern,;   Clay;   Ham'melech,;   Punishments;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Gedaliah;   Hammelech;   Jerahmeel;   Joash (1);   Malchijah;   Mattan;   Pashhur;   Pit;   Zedekiah (2);   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Cruelty;   Ebed-Melech;   Pashur;   Well;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

So Jeremiah sunk in the mire - Their obvious design was, that he might be stifled in that place.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/jeremiah-38.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The dungeon - The cistern. Every house in Jerusalem was supplied with a subterranean cistern, so well constructed that the city never suffered in a siege from want of water. So large were they that when dry they seem to have been used for prisons Zechariah 9:11.

Hammelech - See Jeremiah 36:26 note.

The prison - The guard. They threw Jeremiah into the nearest cistern, intending that he should die of starvation. Some have thought that Psalm 69 was composed by Jeremiah when in this cistern.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:6". "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 took they Jeremiah,.... Having the king's leave, or at least no prohibition from him; they went with proper attendants to the court of the prison, and took the prophet from thence:

and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison; this was a dungeon that belonged to the prison which Malchiah had the care of, or which belonged to his house, which was contiguous to the court of the prison. The Targum renders it, Malchiah the son of the king; and so the Septuagint and Arabic versions; but it is not likely that Zedekiah should have a son that was set over his dungeon, or to whom one belonged, or should be called by his name: here the princes cast the prophet, in order that he should perish, either with famine or suffocation, or the noisomeness of the place; not caring with their own hands to take away the life of a prophet, and for fear of the people; and this being a more slow and private way of dispatching him, they chose it; for they designed no doubt nothing less than death:

and they let down Jeremiah with cords; there being no steps or stairs to go down into it; so that nobody could come to him when in it, or relieve him:

and in the dungeon there was no water, but mire; so Jeremiah sunk in the mire; up to the neck, as JosephusF17Antiqu. l. 10. c. 7. sect. 5. says. Some think that it was at this time, and in this place, that Jeremiah put up the petitions to the Lord, and which he heard, recorded in Lamentations 3:55; and that that whole chapter was composed by him in this time of his distress.

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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.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:6". "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

dungeon — literally, the “cistern.” It was not a subterranean prison as that in Jonathan‘s house (Jeremiah 37:15), but a pit or cistern, which had been full of water, but was emptied of it during the siege, so that only “mire” remained. Such empty cisterns were often used as prisons (Zechariah 9:11); the depth forbade hope of escape.

Hammelech — (Jeremiah 36:26). His son followed in the father‘s steps, a ready tool for evil.

sunk in the mire — Jeremiah herein was a type of Messiah (Psalm 69:2, Psalm 69:14). “I sink in deep mire,” etc.

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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.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/jeremiah-38.html. 1871-8.

Scofield's Reference Notes

then took they

(See Scofield "Jeremiah 37:11").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Jeremiah 38:6". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/jeremiah-38.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jeremiah 38:6 Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that [was] in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon [there was] no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire.

Ver. 6. Then took they Jeremiah.] Whom the king had now (against his conscience, as afterwards Pilate dealt by Jesus), either through fear or favour, betrayed unto his deadly enemies; and so he was in a pitiful plight, in a forlorn condition. But Jeremiah, de profundis, out of the deep called upon God (whom he found far more facile than these princes did Zedekiah), "Thou drewest near," saith he, "in the day when I called upon thee; thou saidst, Fear not." [Lamentations 3:57] I called upon thy name, O Lord, out of the low dungeon.

And they let down Jeremiah with cords.] With a murderous intent there to make an end of him privily, ut ibi praefocatus moreretur; ille vero usque ad collum mersus ibi manebat, said Josephus, that he might there pine and perish; but God graciously prevented it.

And in the dungeon there was no water but mire.] A typical hell it was, worse than Joseph’s pit, [Genesis 37:24] or Heman’s lake, [Psalms 88:6] or any prison that ever Brown the sect master ever came into, who used to boast that he had been committed to thirty-two prisons, and in some of them he could not see his hand at noonday. He died at length in Northampton jail, A.D. 1630, whereto he was sent for striking the constable requiring rudely the payment of a rate. (a)

So Jeremiah sunk in the mire.] Up to the neck, saith Josephus, and so became a type of Christ. [Psalms 69:2]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-38.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Jeremiah 38:6. Then took they Jeremiah It is commonly thought that Jeremiah, during his abode in this loathsome place, composed the melancholy meditations inserted in the third chapter of his Lamentations. See Lamentations 3:53; Lamentations 3:55. Josephus asserts, that he sunk up to his neck in the mire; and adds, that their intention in putting him into so noisome a place was, that he might perish in it. See Antiq. lib. 9: cap. 10 and Calmet. This account of the dungeon accords with what was mentioned in the note on ch. Jeremiah 37:16. For if the dungeon was in the open court, and left open like a well at top, there being no other way of giving it air and light, the falling of rain mixing with the earth below would occasion mud in a place where the sun's rays could not reach to dry up the moisture.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:6". 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

Cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison; a place much of the same nature with that of which we read Jeremiah 37:16, but in another prison. It should seem there was no passage into it by stairs, so as they were forced to let him down with cords. And in the bottom was nothing but mire, into which the prophet sank, in respect of which circumstances it was a much worse place than the dungeon in the prison in Jonathan’s house appeared to be, though Jeremiah feared that he should die there. It is probable these princes thrust him into this place, designing he should die in this hole a miserable death, but God otherwise provided for him.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:6". 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

JEREMIAH’S CLOSER CONFINEMENT AND RELEASE, Jeremiah 38:6-13.

6.Dungeon — Literally, as above, cistern. As every house was supplied with these they easily served as ready-made prisons. In a cistern like to these, in the field or pasture, Joseph was placed by his brethren at Dothan. This explains the allusion in Zechariah 9:11, “prisoners out of the pit in which is no water.” Hence also the use of cords to let down Jeremiah into the prison.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/jeremiah-38.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The nobles had Jeremiah placed in a cistern of one of the royal princes, Malchijah, which was in the court of the guardhouse. Jeremiah had previously been confined in this court or stockade ( Jeremiah 37:21), but now he was lowered into the cistern with ropes. The cistern had no water in it, but the bottom was very muddy, and Jeremiah sank into the mud. The nobles wanted him to die there of "natural causes," i.e, hunger-probably to alleviate their guilt (cf. Genesis 37:18-20; Genesis 37:24; Genesis 37:26-27).

"A typical cistern was dug out of limestone rock and consisted of a narrow neck perhaps three feet across and three or four feet in depth opening into a much longer bulbous cavity of varying depth. Water from catchment areas was directed to the opening." [Note: Thompson, p638.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:6". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/jeremiah-38.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Jeremiah 38:6. Then they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah — A place of much the same nature with that mentioned Jeremiah 37:16, but in another prison. And they let down Jeremiah with cords — It seems there was no passage into this dungeon by stairs, and, as it was deep, they were obliged to let him down in this manner. So Jeremiah sunk in the mire — Which was in the bottom of this pit. Josephus asserts that he sunk up to his neck in it, and adds, that their intention in putting him into so foul a place was, that he might perish in it, Antiq, lib. 9. cap. 10. It has been thought by some, that during his abode in this loathsome place he composed the melancholy meditations contained in the third chapter of his Lamentations; but this seems highly improbable.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:6". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/jeremiah-38.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Mire, up to the neck; so that he would soon have been smothered. (Josephus, Antiquities x. 10.)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/jeremiah-38.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

dungeon. See note on Jeremiah 37:16.

Hammelech = the king. See note on Jeremiah 36:26.

prison = house of detention.

sunk in the mire. To be preferred to the moral sinking of Zedekiah in Jeremiah 38:22.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:6". "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 took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire.

Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon - literally, the cistern of Malchiah. It was not a subterranean prison, as was that in Jonathan's house (Jeremiah 37:15), but a pit or cistern which had been full of water, but was emptied of it during the siege, so that only "mire" remained. Such empty cisterns were often used as prisons (Zechariah 9:11, "By the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water"); the depth forbade hope of escape.

Malchiah the son of Hammelech - (see note, Jeremiah 36:26). Like Jerahmeel his brother, Malchiah, who was also "the son of Hammelech," was a ready tool for evil.

So Jeremiah sunk in the mire. Jeremiah herein was a type of Messiah, (Psalms 69:2; Psalms 69:14, "I sink in deep mire," etc.)

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:6". "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

(6) The dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech.—Literally, the pit, or cistern. The LXX. agrees with the marginal reading in describing him as “a son of the king.” The same phrase is so translated in 1 Kings 22:26; 2 Chronicles 28:7, and would seem to have been an official or court title, applied to one of the royal house, as distinguished from. others. (See Note on Jerahmeel in Jeremiah 36:26.) We have no data for judging whether this Malchiah is identical with the lather of Pashur in Jeremiah 38:1; but it is not unlikely. In Lamentations 3:53-55 we have probably a reminiscence of these days of horrible suffering. The cistern had been partly dried up (possibly through the supply of water having been cut off during the protracted siege), but there remained a thick deposit, three or four feet deep, of black foetid mud,, and there, it is obvious from Jeremiah 38:9 of this chapter, his enemies meant to leave him to die of hunger. They probably shrank from the odium of a public execution, or thought, with the strange superstition of the Eastern mind, that in this way they could escape the guilt of shedding the prophet’s blood. The death by starva-tion might easily be represented, even to themselves, as a death by disease.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/jeremiah-38.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire.
took
37:21; Psalms 109:5; Luke 3:19,20
into
37:16; Lamentations 3:55; Acts 16:24; 2 Corinthians 4:8,9; Hebrews 10:36
Hammelech
or, the king.
36:26
and they
11,12
And in
This dungeon, which seems to have belonged to one of Zedekiah's sons, appears to have been a most dreadful place; the horrors of which were probably augmented by the cruelty of the jailor. "The eastern people," observes Sir J. Chardin, "have not different prisons for the different classes of criminals; the judges do not trouble themselves about where the prisoners are confined, or how they are treated, considering it merely as a place of safety; and all that they require of the jailor is, that the prisoner be forthcoming when called for. As to the rest, he is master to do as he pleases; to treat him well or ill; to put him in irons or not; to shut him up close, or hold him in easier restraint; to admit people to him, or to suffer nobody to see him. If the jailor and his servants have large fees, let the person be the greatest rascal in the world, he shall be lodged in the jailor's own apartment, and the best part of it; and on the contrary, if those that have imprisoned a man give the jailor greater presents, or that he has a greater regard for them, he will treat the prisoner with the greatest inhumanity." This adds a double energy to those passages which speak of "the sighing of the prisoner," and to Jeremiah's supplicating that he might not be remanded to the dungeon of Jonathan. (ver. 26; ch. 37:20.)
22; Genesis 37:24; Psalms 40:2; 69:2,14,15; Lamentations 3:52-55; Zechariah 9:11
Reciprocal: Exodus 12:29 - dungeon;  Exodus 23:2 - to decline;  1 Kings 22:27 - Put this fellow;  2 Chronicles 18:25 - and carry him back;  2 Chronicles 36:16 - misused;  Job 30:19 - cast me;  Isaiah 24:22 - shall they;  Isaiah 51:14 - die;  Jeremiah 1:19 - And they;  Jeremiah 20:2 - smote;  Jeremiah 29:26 - that thou;  Jeremiah 32:2 - Jeremiah;  Jeremiah 36:5 - GeneralJeremiah 37:15 - in the;  Jeremiah 38:13 - So;  Lamentations 3:1 - the man;  Lamentations 3:7 - hedged;  Lamentations 3:53 - cut;  Daniel 3:23 - fell;  Luke 4:28 - were;  2 Corinthians 6:5 - imprisonments;  Hebrews 11:36 - bonds

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/jeremiah-38.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

HERE is narrated the extreme presumption as well as cruelty of the princes; for they cast the holy Prophet into a pit, where he sank in the mire. It was a proof of hardened impiety not to spare so excellent a servant of God; and it was also a savage cruelty, when they had no cause of being so filled with rage, except that Jeremiah had obeyed God, and faithfully performed the office committed to him.

Let us at the same time learn from this example, whenever it pleases the Lord to try our patience, to bear with resignation what we see to have been borne by the holy Prophet. If, then, we shudder at any time at the horrors of the cross, so that it may seem hard to us to bear persecution, let us remember this example of the Prophet. In a word, there is here, on the one hand, shewn to us, as in a picture, the wickedness of the world; and on the other, the wonderful constancy and also the singular meekness of God’s servant shine forth gloriously.

Jeremiah then says, that he was taken by the princes and cast into a pit, which was in the court of the prison; and in that part, where one of the counselors dwelt, even Malchiah the son of Hamelech And at the same time he describes the state of the place, that it was a miry pit, so that he sank down in the mud. He does not mean that he was covered with mud, but that he was fixed in it, as the Hebrew word intimates; and we may thus rightly render the words, “He lay fixed in the mud.” It now follows —

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jeremiah-38.html. 1840-57.