Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jeremiah 38:9

"My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet whom they have cast into the cistern; and he will die right where he is because of the famine, for there is no more bread in the city."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ebed-Melech;   Ethiopia;   Eunuch;   Intercession;   Jeremiah;   Minister, Christian;   Prisoners;   Zedekiah;   Thompson Chain Reference - Intercession;   Prayer;  
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;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Kings, the Books of;   Pit;   Zedekiah;   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 ;   Eunuch;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Ebed-melech;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ethiopia;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Zedeki'ah;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ebed-Melech;   Famine;   Hunger;   Like;   Pashhur;   Zedekiah (2);   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ebed-Melech;   Famine;   Pashur;   Well;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

My lord the king, these men have done evil - He must have been much in the king's confidence, and a humane and noble spirited man, thus to have raised his voice against the powerful cabal already mentioned.

There is no more bread in the city - They had defended it to the last extremity; and it appears that bread had been afforded to the prophet according to the king's commandment, as long as there was any remaining. See Jeremiah 36:21.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:9". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/jeremiah-38.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

My lord the king,.... He addresses him as a courtier, with great reverence and submission, and yet with great boldness:

these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet; meaning the princes, who might be present, and whom he pointed at, and mentioned by name; which showed great courage and faithfulness, as well as great zeal for, and attachment to, the prophet; to charge after this manner persons of such great authority so publicly, and to the king, whom the king himself stood in fear of: he first brings a general charge against them, that they had done wrong in everything they had done to the prophet; in their angry words to him; in smiting him, and putting him in prison in Jonathan's house; and particularly in their last instance of ill will to him:

whom they have cast into the dungeon; he does not say where, or describe the dungeon, because well known to the king, and what a miserable place it was; and tacitly suggests the cruelty and inhumanity of the princes:

and he is like to die for hunger in the place where he is, for there is no more bread in the city; or very little; there was none to be had but with great difficulty, as Kimchi observes; and therefore though the king had ordered a piece of bread to be given him daily, as long as there was any in the city; yet it being almost all consumed, and the prophet being out or sight, and so out of mind, and altogether disregarded, must be in perishing circumstances, and near death; and must inevitably perish, unless some immediate care be taken of him. It may be rendered, "he will die"F20וימת "morietur enim", Schmidt. , &c. or the sense is, bread being exceeding scarce in the city, notwithstanding the king's order, very little was given to Jeremiah, while he was in the court of the prison; so that he was half starved, and was a mere skeleton then, and would have died for hunger there; wherefore it was barbarous in the princes to cast such a man into a dungeon. It may be rendered, "he would have died for hunger in the place where he was, seeing there was no more bread in the city"F21"Qui moriturus fuerat in loco suo propter famem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. ; wherefore, if the princes had let him alone where he was, he would have died through famine; and therefore acted a very wicked part in hastening his death, by throwing him into a dungeon; this is Jarchi's sense, with which Abarbinel agrees.

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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 38:9". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/jeremiah-38.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

My lord the king, f these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is certain to die from hunger in the place where he is: for [there is] no more bread in the city.

(f) By this is declared that the prophet found more favour at this strangers hands, than he did by all them of his country, which was to their great condemnation.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:9". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/jeremiah-38.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

no  …  bread in  …  city — (Compare Jeremiah 37:21). He had heretofore got a piece of bread supplied to him. “Seeing that there is the utmost want of bread in the city, so that even if he were at large, there could no more be regularly supplied to him, much less now in a place where none remember or pity him, so that he is likely to die for hunger.” “No more bread,” that is, no more left of the public store in the city (Jeremiah 37:21); or, all but no bread left anywhere [Maurer].

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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 38:9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/jeremiah-38.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jeremiah 38:9 My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is like to die for hunger in the place where he is: for [there is] no more bread in the city.

Ver. 9. My lord the king, these men have done evil.] What a brave man was this, to oppose so many princes, and so potent that the king himself dared not displease them! It was God’s holy Spirit that put this mettle into him, and gave him the freedom of speech. [Psalms 119:46]

And he is like to die for hunger in the place where he is.] Or, Who would have died for hunger in the place where he was.

For there is no more bread in the city.] Cum panum annona sit pauca et parca. What need he to be doubly murdered?

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:9". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-38.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Jeremiah 38:9. And he is like to die for hunger, &c.— Particularly when he would have died by hunger where he was, if bread was wanting in the city. As much as to say, "There was no need for those who desired his death to put him into so filthy and loathsome a place;" since, if he had continued in the court of the prison, he must have died through the famine which threatens the city, if there were no bread. See Houbigant.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:9". 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

The courage of this good eunuch was very remarkable; he did not stay till the king came in, but went to the king, as he was sitting in the gate of Benjamin, administering justice, or receiving and answering petitions, where doubtless he was not alone, and probably was attended there by some of those princes who had thrown Jeremiah into this miserable place. Ebed-melech was not afraid of them, but openly complains of their cruelty to the king, and tells him that Jeremiah would be starved to death: those who were alive in the city could not long subsist, for the stores were almost all spent, and though the king had appointed the prophet an allowance, yet being in such a hole, and there being so little bread left in the city, it was not likely there would be much care taken of him.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:9". 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

9.Is like to die — Literally, he is dead upon the spot for hunger. This is the language of intensity and alarm. It is hence the language of the feelings, and not merely of the intellect.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:9". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/jeremiah-38.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Ebed-melech informed the king that Jeremiah"s enemies had acted wickedly by putting him in the cistern. The prophet would die if he remained there because there was no more food in Jerusalem and he would be neglected. Zedekiah had previously promised to provide food for Jeremiah as long as there was food available ( Jeremiah 37:21), so Ebed-melech may have been appealing to this promise.

"God, as is His way so often, used an insignificant person to touch off Jeremiah"s rescue." [Note: Jensen, p100.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:9". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/jeremiah-38.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

City. It was useless, therefore, to add the torment of the dungeon, since he must soon have perished. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:9". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/jeremiah-38.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is like to die for hunger in the place where he is: for there is no more bread in the city.

He is like to die for hunger in the place where he is, for there is no more bread in the city - (cf. Jeremiah 37:21). He had heretofore gotten a piece of bread supplied to him. What Ebed-melech means to say is, 'Seeing that there is the utmost want of bread in the city, so that even if he were at large there could no more bread be regularly supplied to him, much less can it be supplied to him now in a place where none remembers or pities him, so that he is like to die for hunger. "No more bread" - i:e., no more left of the public store in the city (Jeremiah 37:21): or, all but no bread left anywhere (Maurer).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:9". "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

(9) These men have done evil. . . .—It is noticeable that some MSS. of the LXX., following apparently a different text, represent the Eunuch as assuming that the king himself had given the order, “Thou hast done evil in all that thou hast done.”

He is like to die for hunger.—Literally, and he dies . . . painting vividly what would be the certain issue if no help were sent. It lies in the nature of the case that those who had thrown the prophet into the pit were not likely to continue the supply of his daily rations (Jeremiah 37:21), and the scarcity that prevailed in the besieged city made it all but impossible that his friends, even if they could gain access to him, should help him out of their own resources. Ebed-melech had obviously no power to help him without the king’s sanction.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:9". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/jeremiah-38.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is like to die for hunger in the place where he is: for there is no more bread in the city.
these
1-6; Esther 7:4-6; Job 31:34; Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9
is like to die
Heb. will die. for there
37:21; 52:6
Reciprocal: Genesis 47:18 - GeneralExodus 23:2 - to decline;  Isaiah 3:1 - the stay;  Jeremiah 39:17 - of whom;  Lamentations 1:11 - seek;  Lamentations 3:53 - cut;  2 Corinthians 11:27 - in hunger

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:9". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/jeremiah-38.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

He then said, that the king’s counselors had done wickedly in all the things which they had done against Jeremiah the Prophet, because they had cast him into the well: and he added, There he will die under himself, or as some render it, and rightly, “in his own place.” But the expression is striking, but cannot be fully expressed in our language: for Ebedmelech meant that Jeremiah would die, though no one molested him, though no evil or harm were done to him by another. He will, then, die in his own place, that is, he will die, if left where he is; because he lay, as it has appeared, sunk in mire. And then he said, He will die through famine; for he had been cast into the pit as into a grave. And as scarcity prevailed among the whole people, Jeremiah could not have hoped for any aid; and bread, as we shall hereafter see, could not have been thrown to him. Then Ebedmelech says here first, that Jeremiah had been unworthily treated, because he was God’s Prophet; for he honors him with this title, that he might expose the impiety of the princes; and secondly, he shews how miserably he lay in the pit, because no one could supply him with food, and there was no more bread in the city. It now follows —

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:9". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jeremiah-38.html. 1840-57.