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Jer 21:1-44. ZEDEKIAH CONSULTS JEREMIAH WHAT IS TO BE THE EVENT OF THE WAR: GOD'S ANSWER.
Written probably when, after having repulsed the Egyptians who brought succors to the Jews (Jer 37:5-8; 2Ki 24:7), the Chaldees were a second time advancing against Jerusalem, but were not yet closely besieging it (Jer 21:4, 13) [ROSENMULLER]. This chapter probably ought to be placed between the thirty-seventh and thirty-eight chapters; since what the "princes," in Jer 38:2, represent Jeremiah as having said, is exactly what we find in Jer 21:9. Moreover, the same persons as here (Jer 21:1) are mentioned in Jer 37:3; 38:1, namely, Pashur and Zephaniah. What is here more fully related is there simply referred to in the historical narrative. Compare Jer 52:24; 2Ki 25:18 [MAURER].
1. Zedekiah--a prince having some reverence for sacred things, for
which reason he sends an honorable embassy to Jeremiah; but not having
moral courage to obey his better impulses.
2. Nebuchadrezzar--the more usual way of spelling the name in Jeremiah
than Nebuchadnezzar. From Persiac roots, meaning either "Nebo, the
chief of the gods," or, "Nebo, the god of fire." He was son of
Nabopolassar, who committed the command of the army against Egypt, at
Carchemish, and against Judea, to the crown prince.
4. God of Israel--Those "wondrous works"
do not belong to you; God is faithful; it is you who
forfeit the privileges of the covenant by unfaithfulness. "God will
always remain the God of Israel, though He destroy thee and thy
5. The Jews shall have not merely the Chaldees, but Jehovah Himself in wrath at their provocations, fighting against them. Every word enhances the formidable character of God's opposition, "I myself . . . outstretched hand . . . strong arm (no longer as in Ex 6:6, and in the case of Sennacherib, in your behalf, but) in anger . . . fury . . . great wrath."
7. the people, and such--rather, explanatory, "the people," namely,
"such as are left."
8. "Life," if ye surrender; "death," if ye persist in opposing the Chaldees (compare De 30:19). The individuality of Jeremiah's mission from God is shown in that he urges to unconditional surrender; whereas all former prophets had urged the people to oppose their invaders (Isa 7:16; 37:33, 35).
(Jer 38:2, 17, 18).
10. set . . . face against--determined to punish (See on Le 17:10).
12. house of David--the royal family and all in office about the
king. He calls them so, because it was the greater disgrace that they
had so degenerated from the piety of their forefather, David; and to
repress their glorying in their descent from him, as if they were
therefore inviolable; but God will not spare them as apostates.
13. inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain--Jerusalem personified; situated for the most part on hills, with valleys at the bottom of them, as the valley of Hinnom, &c.; and beyond the valleys and mountains again, a position most fortified by nature, whence the inhabitants fancied themselves beyond the reach of enemies; but since God is "against" them, their position will avail nothing for them. The "valley" between Mount Zion and Moriah is called Tyropœon. ROBINSON takes, "rock of the plain" as Mount Zion, on which is a level tract of some extent. It is appropriately here referred to, being the site of the royal residence of the "house of David," addressed (Jer 21:12).
14. fruit of your doings--
Isa 3:10, 11).