Verse 18. "When they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof" - This was the ancient and most solemn way of making a covenant. 1. A calf as sacrifice was offered to God to secure his approbation and support. 2. The victim was then exactly divided from the nose to the rump; the spinal marrow being divided longitudinally, in the most careful manner, that the half of it might remain on each side. 3. These divided parts were laid opposite to each other, a passage being left between them. 4. The contracting parties entered this passage at each end, met in the middle, and there took the covenant oath; adjudging themselves to death should they break this covenant. 5. Then they both feasted on the victim. In reference to this last circumstance, God says he will give their bodies for meat to the fowls of heaven and to the beasts. This is a farther conformity between the crime and the punishment. See my notes on Gen. xv. 9-17.
Verse 21. "The king of Babylon's army, which are gone up from you." - Nebuchadnezzar, hearing that there was an Egyptian army coming to the relief of Jerusalem, raised the siege, went out, and met and defeated the Egyptians. It was in the interim this prophecy was delivered.
Verse 22. "I will-cause them to return" - They did return; re- invested the city; and, after an obstinate defense, took it, plundered it, and burned it to the ground, taking Zedekiah and his princes captive.