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Jer 37:1-21. HISTORICAL SECTIONS, THIRTY-SEVENTH THROUGH FORTY-FOURTH CHAPTERS. THE CHALDEANS RAISE THE SIEGE TO GO AND MEET PHARAOH-HOPHRA. ZEDEKIAH SENDS TO JEREMIAH TO PRAY TO GOD IN BEHALF OF THE JEWS: IN VAIN, JEREMIAH TRIES TO ESCAPE TO HIS NATIVE PLACE, BUT IS ARRESTED. ZEDEKIAH ABATES THE RIGOR OF HIS IMPRISONMENT.
3. Zedekiah . . . sent--fearing lest, in the event of
the Chaldeans overcoming Pharaoh-hophra, they should return to besiege
Jerusalem. See on
that chapter chronologically comes in between the thirty-seventh and
thirty-eighth chapter. The message of the king to Jeremiah here in the
thirty-seventh chapter is, however, somewhat earlier than that in the
twenty-first chapter; here it is while the issue between the Chaldeans
and Pharaoh was undecided; there it is when, after the repulse of
Pharaoh, the Chaldeans were again advancing against Jerusalem; hence,
while Zephaniah is named in both embassies, Jehucal accompanies
him here, Pashur there. But, as Pashur and Jehucal are both
Jer 38:1, 2,
as hearing Jeremiah's reply, which is identical with that in
it is probable the two messages followed one another at a short
interval; that in this
and the answer,
being the earlier of the two.
4. Jeremiah . . . not put . . . into prison--He was no longer in the prison court, as he had been (Jer 32:2; 33:1), which passages refer to the beginning of the siege, not to the time when the Chaldeans renewed the siege, after having withdrawn for a time to meet Pharaoh.
5. After this temporary diversion, caused by Pharaoh in favor of Jerusalem, the Egyptians returned no more to its help (2Ki 24:7). Judea had the misfortune to lie between the two great contending powers, Babylon and Egypt, and so was exposed to the alternate inroads of the one or the other. Josiah, taking side with Assyria, fell in battle with Pharaoh-necho at Megiddo (2Ki 23:29). Zedekiah, seeking the Egyptian alliance in violation of his oath, was now about to be taken by Nebuchadnezzar (2Ch 36:13; Eze 17:15, 17).
7. shall return--without accomplishing any deliverance for you.
8. (Jer 34:22).
9. yourselves--Hebrew, "souls."
10. yet . . . they--Even a few wounded men would suffice for your destruction.
11. broken up--"gone up."
12. Benjamin--to his own town, Anathoth.
13. ward--that is, the "guard," or "watch."
16. dungeon . . . cabins--The prison consisted of a pit (the "dungeon") with vaulted cells round the sides of it. The "cabins," from a root, "to bend one's self."
17. secretly--Zedekiah was ashamed to be seen by his courtiers
(Joh 12:43; 5:44; 19:38).
18. What--In what respect have I offended?
19. Where are now your prophets--The event has showed them to be liars; and, as surely as the king of Babylon has come already, notwithstanding their prophecy, so surely shall he return.
20. be accepted--rather, "Let my supplication be humbly presented"
21. court of the prison--
(Jer 32:2; 38:13, 28).