Christian Churches of God
Commentary on Jeremiah
(Edition 1.0 20230417-20230417)
Chapters 37 - 40 using both the RSV and the Septuagint (LXX).
Commentary on Jeremiah Part 10
Zedeki'ah the son of Josi'ah, whom Nebuchadrez'zar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah, reigned instead of Coni'ah the son of Jehoi'akim. 2But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the LORD which he spoke through Jeremiah the prophet. 3King Zedeki'ah sent Jehu'cal the son of Shelemi'ah, and Zephani'ah the priest, the son of Ma-asei'ah, to Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "Pray for us to the LORD our God." 4Now Jeremiah was still going in and out among the people, for he had not yet been put in prison. 5The army of Pharaoh had come out of Egypt; and when the Chalde'ans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news of them, they withdrew from Jerusalem. 6Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet: 7"Thus says the LORD, God of Israel: Thus shall you say to the king of Judah who sent you to me to inquire of me, 'Behold, Pharaoh's army which came to help you is about to return to Egypt, to its own land. 8And the Chalde'ans shall come back and fight against this city; they shall take it and burn it with fire. 9Thus says the LORD, Do not deceive yourselves, saying, "The Chalde'ans will surely stay away from us," for they will not stay away. 10For even if you should defeat the whole army of Chalde'ans who are fighting against you, and there remained of them only wounded men, every man in his tent, they would rise up and burn this city with fire.'" 11Now when the Chalde'an army had withdrawn from Jerusalem at the approach of Pharaoh's army, 12Jeremiah set out from Jerusalem to go to the land of Benjamin to receive his portion there among the people. 13When he was at the Benjamin Gate, a sentry there named Iri'jah the son of Shelemi'ah, son of Hanani'ah, seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "You are deserting to the Chalde'ans." 14And Jeremiah said, "It is false; I am not deserting to the Chalde'ans." But Iri'jah would not listen to him, and seized Jeremiah and brought him to the princes. 15And the princes were enraged at Jeremiah, and they beat him and imprisoned him in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for it had been made a prison. 16When Jeremiah had come to the dungeon cells, and remained there many days, 17King Zedeki'ah sent for him, and received him. The king questioned him secretly in his house, and said, "Is there any word from the LORD?" Jeremiah said, "There is." Then he said, "You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon." 18Jeremiah also said to King Zedeki'ah, "What wrong have I done to you or your servants or this people, that you have put me in prison? 19Where are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, 'The king of Babylon will not come against you and against this land'? 20Now hear, I pray you, O my lord the king: let my humble plea come before you, and do not send me back to the house of Jonathan the secretary, lest I die there." 21So King Zedeki'ah gave orders, and they committed Jeremiah to the court of the guard; and a loaf of bread was given him daily from the bakers' street, until all the bread of the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.
Intent of Chapter 37
37:1-38:28 Jeremiah, Zedekiah and the Siege.
37:1-2 Zedekiah was made king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. However, neither he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land listened to the words of the Lord uttered through the mouth of Jeremiah the prophet.
37:3-10 Shortly after Zedekiah's accession (during the spring 588 BCE), the Eyptian Army under Pharaoh Hophra (Apries) came from Egypt to relieve besieged Jerusalem (34:21). The Chaldeans were forced to retire. The inhabitants thus concluded a deliverance similar to that of the days of Hezekaiah (2Kgs. 19:32-37) was under way. Zedekiah sent Jehucal and Zephaniah the priest (later to be killed by the Chaldeans) to enquire of Jeremiah, ostensibly requesting prayer. Jeremiah had not as yet been put in prison. God told Jeremiah to say to Zedekiah that Pharaoh's force would return to Egypt. God told them, through Jeremiah, that the Chaldeans would return, and they would sack and burn the city (vv. 6-10).
37:11-15 Jeremiah left the city by the Benjamin Gate (20:2). Jeremiah was arrested on suspicion of desertion (38:18-19). Perhaps that was based on the declaration of 21:1-14. The princes were enraged with Jeremiah and had him beaten and imprisoned in the house of Jonathan the secretary which had been made a prison.
37:12 To receive his portion seems to be the completion of 32:6-15.
37:16-21 In a secret interview Zedekiah asked for reassurance over his ill advised revolt but to no avail (21:2). Jeremiah's imprisonment was modified to arrest in the court of the guard with a minimum food ration while supplies lasted (v. 21).
The LXX for chapter 37 is missing vv. 10-11 and verse 22. The text for chapter 37 is found in the RSV at ch. 30 as in the later altered MT as seen in the RSV.
English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible.
Brenton, Sir Lancelot C. L... (1851)
Chapter 37 37:1 THE WORD THAT CAME TO JEREMIAS FROM THE LORD, SAYING, 2 Thus speaks the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write all the words which I have spoken to thee in a book. 3For, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will bring back the captivity of my people Israel and Juda, said the Lord: and I will bring them back to the land which I gave to their fathers, and they shall be lords of it. 4 AND THESE ARE THE WORDS WHICH THE LORD SPOKE CONCERNING ISRAEL AND JUDA; 5 Thus said the Lord: Ye shall hear a sound of fear, there is fear, and there is not peace. 6 Enquire, and see if a male has born a child? and ask concerning the fear, wherein they shall hold their loins, and look for safety: for I have seen every man, and his hands are on his loins; their faces are turned to paleness. 7For that day is great, and there is not such another; and it is a time of straitness to Jacob; but he shall be saved out of it. 8 In that day, said the Lord, I will break the yoke off their neck, and will burst their bonds, and they shall no longer serve strangers: 9but they shall serve the Lord their God; and I will raise up to them David their king. 10 11 12 Thus saith the Lord; I have brought on thee destruction; thy stroke is painful. 13 There is none to judge thy cause: thou hast been painfully treated for healing, there is no help for thee. 14 All thy friends have forgotten thee; they shall not ask about thee at all, for I have smitten thee with the stroke of an enemy, even severe correction: thy sins have abounded above all thine iniquity. 15 Thy sins have abounded beyond the multitude of thine iniquities, therefore they have done these things to thee. Therefore all that devour thee shall be eaten, and all thine enemies shall eat all their own flesh. 16And they that spoil thee shall become a spoil, and I will give up to be plundered all that have plundered thee. 17 For I will bring about thy healing, I will heal thee of thy grievous wound, saith the Lord; for thou art called Dispersed: she is your prey, for no one seeks after her. 18 Thus said the Lord; Behold, I will turn the captivity of Jacob, and will have pity upon his prisoners; and the city shall be built upon her hill, and the people shall settle after their manner. 19 And there shall go forth from them singers, even the sound of men making merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not at all be diminished. 20 And their sons shall go in as before, and their testimonies shall be established before me, and I will visit them that afflict them. 21 And their mighty ones shall be over them, and their prince shall proceed of themselves; and I will gather them, and they shall return to me: for who is this that has set his heart to return to me? saith the Lord. 22 23 For the wrathful anger of the lord has gone forth, even a whirlwind of anger has gone forth: it shall come upon the ungodly. 24 The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he shall execute it, and until he shall establish the purpose of his heart: in the latter days ye shall know these things.
Now Shephati'ah the son of Mattan, Gedali'ah the son of Pashhur, Jucal the son of Shelemi'ah, and Pashhur the son of Malchi'ah heard the words that Jeremiah was saying to all the people, 2"Thus says the LORD, He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes out to the Chalde'ans shall live; he shall have his life as a prize of war, and live. 3Thus says the LORD, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and be taken." 4Then the princes said to the king, "Let this man be put to death, for he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm." 5King Zedeki'ah said, "Behold, he is in your hands; for the king can do nothing against you." 6So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchi'ah, the king's son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. And there was no water in the cistern, but only mire, and Jeremiah sank in the mire. 7When E'bed-mel'ech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern--the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate--8E'bed-mel'ech went from the king's house and said to the king, 9"My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they did to Jeremiah the prophet by casting him into the cistern; and he will die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city." 10Then the king commanded E'bed-mel'ech, the Ethiopian, "Take three men with you from here, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies." 11So E'bed-mel'ech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe of the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which he let down to Jeremiah in the cistern by ropes. 12Then E'bed-mel'ech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, "Put the rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes." Jeremiah did so. 13Then they drew Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard. 14King Zedeki'ah sent for Jeremiah the prophet and received him at the third entrance of the temple of the LORD. The king said to Jeremiah, "I will ask you a question; hide nothing from me." 15Jeremiah said to Zedeki'ah, "If I tell you, will you not be sure to put me to death? And if I give you counsel, you will not listen to me." 16Then King Zedeki'ah swore secretly to Jeremiah, "As the LORD lives, who made our souls, I will not put you to death or deliver you into the hand of these men who seek your life." 17Then Jeremiah said to Zedeki'ah, "Thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, If you will surrender to the princes of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. 18But if you do not surrender to the princes of the king of Babylon, then this city shall be given into the hand of the Chalde'ans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape from their hand." 19King Zedeki'ah said to Jeremiah, "I am afraid of the Jews who have deserted to the Chalde'ans, lest I be handed over to them and they abuse me." 20Jeremiah said, "You shall not be given to them. Obey now the voice of the LORD in what I say to you, and it shall be well with you, and your life shall be spared. 21But if you refuse to surrender, this is the vision which the LORD has shown to me: 22Behold, all the women left in the house of the king of Judah were being led out to the princes of the king of Babylon and were saying, 'Your trusted friends have deceived you and prevailed against you; now that your feet are sunk in the mire, they turn away from you.' 23All your wives and your sons shall be led out to the Chalde'ans, and you yourself shall not escape from their hand, but shall be seized by the king of Babylon; and this city shall be burned with fire." 24Then Zedeki'ah said to Jeremiah, "Let no one know of these words and you shall not die. 25If the princes hear that I have spoken with you and come to you and say to you, 'Tell us what you said to the king and what the king said to you; hide nothing from us and we will not put you to death,' 26then you shall say to them, 'I made a humble plea to the king that he would not send me back to the house of Jonathan to die there.'" 27Then all the princes came to Jeremiah and asked him, and he answered them as the king had instructed him. So they left off speaking with him, for the conversation had not been overheard. 28And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken.
Intent of Chapter 38
38:1-13 Jeremiah was trying to save the lives of his people in Jerusalem. He was telling them what God had instructed but the king and his servants, the pro-Egyptian counsellors, would not listen. These were Gedaliah son of Pashhur (20:1) Jucal or Jehucal (37:3) Pashhur (21:1). They persuaded the undecided Zedekiah that Jeremiah was subverting the war effort (There is a report of similar terminology or phraseology in a letter written eighteen months earlier found in the excavations at Lachish see OARSV n.)
38:6 The term the cistern was nearly dry indicates a time shortly before the Chaldeans final assault over August/September 587 (52:5-7; (#250B). Based on the comments of Jeremiah relaying the Word of God (v 2) the princes demanded that Jeremiah be put to death. Zedekiah was weak and let them do as they wanted to, so they took him and put him in the cistern of Malchiah the king’s son, in the court of the guard, to die. Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian (here stated to be a eunuch (v. 7)) went to the king and told him what they had done to Jeremiah. Zedekiah told him to take three men and lift him out of the cistern and so saved his life. Thus a foreign court official was the one to save Jeremiah from the hands of Jeremiah's own countrymen.
38:14-28 Zedekiah asked for secret audience for he was afraid of the pro-Babylonian faction and he was also scared of the pro-Egyptian faction in his own court. Jeremiah faithfully told him what God had said. The reality was the king was weakened by the factions in his own court and was trapped by them with fatal consequences.
He repeated the counsel of “surrender and live” which God had given them (20:1-16; 21:4-10; 27:1-11). Jeremiah emphasised it by relating the vision of the capture of the royal household and the burning of Jerusalem.
In the mire refers to Jeremiah's own recent experience re 38:6 above.
Jeremiah assured Zedekiah of Safety from Judean deserters (39:9). Zedekiah failed to act and extracted a promise, from Jeremiah, of secrecy and returned him to house arrest (37:21).
The LXX for Chapter 38 is found in the Later Post Temple MT in chapter 31 in the RSV and modern Bibles except for Knoch.
English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible.
Brenton, Sir Lancelot C. L... (1851)
Chapter 38 38:1 At that time, saith the Lord, I will be a God to the family of Israel, and they shall be to me a people. 2 Thus saith the Lord, I found him warm in the wilderness with them that were slain with the sword: go ye and destroy not Israel. 3 The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore have I drawn thee in compassion. 4 For I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt yet take thy timbrel, and go forth with the party of them that make merry. 5 For ye have planted vineyards on the mountains of Samaria: plant ye, and praise. 6 For it is a day when those that plead on the mountains of Ephraim shall call, saying, Arise ye, and go up to Sion to the Lord your God. 7 For thus saith the Lord to Jacob; Rejoice ye, and exult over the head of the nations: make proclamation, and praise ye: say, The Lord has delivered his people, the remnant of Israel. 8Behold, I bring them from the north, and will gather them from the end of the earth to the feast of the passover: and the people shall beget a great multitude, and they shall return hither. 9 They went forth with weeping, and I will bring them back with consolation, causing them to lodge by the channels of waters in a straight way, and they shall not err in it: for I am become a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born. 10 Hear the words of the Lord, ye nations, and proclaim them to the islands afar off; say, He that scattered Israel will also gather him, and keep him as one that feeds his flock. 11 For the Lord has ransomed Jacob, he has rescued him out of the hand of them that were stronger than he. 12And they shall come, and shall rejoice in the mount of Sion, and shall come to the good things of the Lord, even to a land of corn, and wine, and fruits, and cattle, and sheep: and their soul shall be as a fruitful tree; and they shall hunger no more. 13Then shall the virgins rejoice in the assembly of youth, and the old men shall rejoice; and I will turn their mourning into joy, and will make them merry. 14 I will expand and cheer with wine the soul of the priests the sons of Levi, and my people shall be satisfied with my good things: thus saith the Lord. 15 A voice was heard in Rama, of lamentation, and of weeping, and wailing; Rachel would not cease weeping for her children, because they are not. 16Thus saith the Lord; Let thy voice cease from weeping, and thine eyes from thy tears: for there is a reward for thy works; and they shall return from the land of thine enemies. 17 There shall be an abiding home for thy children. 18 I have heard the sound of Ephraim lamenting, and saying, Thou hast chastened me, and I was chastened; I as a calf was not willingly taught: turn thou me, and I shall turn; for thou art the Lord my God. 19 For after my captivity I repented; and after I knew, I groaned for the day of shame, and shewed thee that I bore reproach from my youth. 20 Ephraim is a beloved son, a pleasing child to me: for because my words are in him, I will surely remember him: therefore I made haste to help him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord. 21 Prepare thyself, O Sion; execute vengeance; look to thy ways: return, O virgin of Israel, by the way by which thou wentest, return mourning to thy cities. 22 How long, O disgraced daughter, wilt thou turn away? for the Lord has created safety for a new plantation: men shall go about in safety. 23 For thus saith the Lord; They shall yet speak this word in the land of Juda, and in the cities thereof, when I shall turn his captivity; blessed be the Lord on his righteous holy mountain! 24 And there shall be dwellers in the cities of Juda, and in all his land, together with the husbandman, and the shepherd shall go forth with the flock. 25 For I have saturated every thirsting soul, and filled every hungry soul. 26 Therefore I awake, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet to me. 27 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Juda with the seed of man, and the seed of beast. 28 And it shall come to pass, that as I watched over them, to pull down, and to afflict, so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the Lord. 29 In those days they shall certainly not say, The fathers ate a sour grape, and the children’s teeth were set on edge. 30 But every one shall die in his own sin; and the teeth of him that eats the sour grape shall be set on edge. 31Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Juda: 32 not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took hold of their hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; for they abode not in my covenant, and I disregarded them, saith the Lord. 33 For this is my covenant which I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will surely put my laws into their mind, and write them on their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. 34 And they shall not at all teach every one his fellow citizen, and every one his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them: for I will be merciful to their iniquities, and their sins I will remember no more. 35 Thus saith the Lord, who gives the sun for a light by day, the moon and the stars for a light by night, and makes a roaring in the sea, so that the waves thereof roar; the Lord Almighty is his name: 36 if these ordinances cease from before me, saith the Lord, then shall the family of Israel cease to be a nation before me forever. 37 Though the sky should be raised to a greater height, saith the Lord, and though the ground of the earth should be sunk lower beneath, yet I will not cast off the family of Israel, saith the Lord, for all that they have done. 38Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when the city shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Anameel to the gate of the corner. 39 And the measurement of it shall proceed in front of them as far as the hills of Gareb, and it shall be compassed with a circular wall of choice stones. 40 And all the Asaremoth even to Nachal Kedron, as far as the corner of the horse-gate eastward, shall be holiness to the Lord; and it shall not fail any more, and shall not be destroyed for ever.
In the ninth year of Zedeki'ah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadrez'zar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and besieged it; 2in the eleventh year of Zedeki'ah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city. 3When Jerusalem was taken, all the princes of the king of Babylon came and sat in the middle gate: Ner'gal-share'zer, Sam'gar-ne'bo, Sar'sechim the Rab'saris, Ner'gal-share'zer the Rabmag, with all the rest of the officers of the king of Babylon. 4When Zedeki'ah king of Judah and all the soldiers saw them, they fled, going out of the city at night by way of the king's garden through the gate between the two walls; and they went toward the Arabah. 5But the army of the Chalde'ans pursued them, and overtook Zedeki'ah in the plains of Jericho; and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadrez'zar king of Babylon, at Riblah, in the land of Hamath; and he passed sentence upon him. 6The king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedeki'ah at Riblah before his eyes; and the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah. 7He put out the eyes of Zedeki'ah, and bound him in fetters to take him to Babylon. 8The Chalde'ans burned the king's house and the house of the people, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem. 9Then Nebu'zarad'an, the captain of the guard, carried into exile to Babylon the rest of the people who were left in the city, those who had deserted to him, and the people who remained. 10Nebu'zarad'an, the captain of the guard, left in the land of Judah some of the poor people who owned nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time. 11Nebuchadrez'zar king of Babylon gave command concerning Jeremiah through Nebu'zarad'an, the captain of the guard, saying, 12"Take him, look after him well and do him no harm, but deal with him as he tells you." 13So Nebu'zarad'an the captain of the guard, Nebushaz'ban the Rab'saris, Ner'gal-share'zer the Rabmag, and all the chief officers of the king of Babylon 14sent and took Jeremiah from the court of the guard. They entrusted him to Gedali'ah the son of Ahi'kam, son of Shaphan, that he should take him home. So he dwelt among the people. 15The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah while he was shut up in the court of the guard: 16"Go, and say to E'bed-mel'ech the Ethiopian, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will fulfil my words against this city for evil and not for good, and they shall be accomplished before you on that day. 17But I will deliver you on that day, says the LORD, and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid. 18For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have put your trust in me, says the LORD.'"
Intent of Chapter 39
39:1-40:6 Jeremiah and the fall of Jerusalem
39:1-14 Verses 1-10 summarise 52:4-16 (2Kgs. 25:1-12) adding the names of Babylonian officials (v. 3). The OARSV n. has an alternative reading of v. 3 “Nergal-sherezer the Simmagir, Nebushazban the chief court official, Nergal Sherezer the Rabmag...: Simmagir and Rabmag are titles of Babylonian officials. According to 52:6-14 the sack of Jerusalem (v. 8) occurred a month after its capture.
39:15-18 This oracle of God assures Ebed -Melech, the Ethiopian, of his safety because of his trust in God. It appears to be a continuation of Ch. 38:13.
The text for the LXX chapter 39 is found in chapter 32 in the later Post Temple MT of the RSV and other Bible texts.
English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible.
Brenton, Sir Lancelot C. L... (1851)
Chapter 39 39:1 The word that came from the Lord to Jeremias in the tenth year of king Sedekias, this is the eighteenth year of king Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon. 2 And the host of the king of Babylon had made a rampart against Jerusalem: and Jeremias was kept in the court of the prison, which is in the king’s house; 3 in which king Sedekias had shut him up, saying, Wherefore dost thou prophesy, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it; 4 and Sedekias shall by no means be delivered out of the hand of the Chaldeans, for he shall certainly be given up into the hands of the king of Babylon, and his mouth shall speak to his mouth, and his eyes shall look upon his eyes; 5 and Sedekias shall go into Babylon, and dwell there?
6 AND THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME TO JEREMIAS, SAYING, 7 Behold, Anameel the son of Salom thy father’s brother is coming to thee, saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for thou hast the right to take it as a purchase. 8 So Anameel the son of Salom my father’s brother came to me into the court of the prison, and said, Buy thee my field that is in the land of Benjamin, in Anathoth: for thou hast a right to buy it, and thou art the elder. So I knew that it was the word of the Lord. 9 And I bought the field of Anameel the son of my father’s brother, and I weighed him seventeen shekels of silver. 10 And I wrote it in a book, and sealed it, and took the testimony of witnesses, and weighed the money in the balance. 11 And I took the book of the purchase that was sealed; 12 and I gave it to Baruch son of Nerias, son of Maasaeas, in the sight of Anameel my father’s brother’s son, and in the sight of the men that stood by and wrote in the book of the purchase, and in the sight of the Jews that were in the court of the prison. 13 And I charged Baruch in their presence, saying, Thus saith the Lord Almighty; 14 Take this book of the purchase, and the book that has been read; and thou shalt put it into an earthen vessel, that it may remain many days. 15 For thus saith the Lord; There shall yet be bought fields and houses and vineyards in this land. 16 And I prayed to the Lord after I had given the book of the purchase to Baruch the son of Nerias, saying, 17 O ever living Lord! thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power, and with thy high and lofty arm: nothing can be hidden from thee. 18 Granting mercy to thousands, and recompensing the sins of the fathers into the bosoms of their children after them: the great, the strong God; 19 the Lord of great counsel, and mighty in deeds, the great Almighty God, and Lord of great name: thine eyes are upon the ways of the children of men, to give to every one according to his way: 20 who hast wrought signs and wonders in the land of Egypt even to this day, and in Israel, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and thou didst make for thyself a name, as at this day; 21 and thou didst bring out thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, with a mighty hand, and with a high arm, and with great sights; 22 and thou gavest them this land, which thou didst swear to give to their fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey; 23 and they went in, and took it; but they hearkened not to thy voice, and walked not in thine ordinances; they did none of the things which thou didst command them, and they caused all these calamities to happen to them. 24 Behold, a multitude is come against the city to take it; and the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans that fight against it, by the power of the sword, and the famine: as thou hast spoken, so has it happened. 25 And thou sayest to me, Buy thee the field for money; and I wrote a book, and sealed it, and took the testimony of witnesses: and the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans. 26 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 27 I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: shall anything be hidden from me! 28 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel; This city shall certainly be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it: 29 and the Chaldeans shall come to war against this city, and they shall burn this city with fire, and shall burn down the houses wherein they burnt incense on the roofs thereof to Baal, and poured drink-offerings to other gods, to provoke me. 30 For the children of Israel and the children of Juda alone did evil in my sight from their youth. 31 For this city was obnoxious to my anger and my wrath, from the day that they built it even to this day; that I should remove it from my presence, 32 because of all the wickedness of the children of Israel and Juda, which they wrought to provoke me, they and their kings, and their princes, and their priests, and their prophets, the men of Juda, and the dwellers in Jerusalem. 33 And they turned the back to me, and not the face: whereas I taught them early in the morning, but they hearkened no more to receive instructions. 34 And they set their pollutions in the house, on which my name was called, by their uncleannesses. 35 And they built to Baal the altars that are in the valley of the son of Ennom, to offer their sons and their daughters to king Moloch; which things I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Juda to sin. 36 And now thus has the Lord God of Israel said concerning this city, of which thou sayest, it shall be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by famine, and banishment. 37 Behold, I will gather them out of every land, where I have scattered them in my anger, and my wrath, and great fury; and I will bring them back into this place, and will cause them to dwell safely: 38 and they shall be to me a people, and I will be to them a god. 39 And I will give them another way, and another heart, to fear me continually, and that for good to them and their children after them. 40 And I will make with them an everlasting covenant, which I will by no means turn away from them, and I will put my fear into their heart, that they may not depart from me. 41 And I will visit them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, and with all my heart, and with all my soul. 42 For thus saith the Lord; As I have brought upon this people all these great evils, so will I bring upon them all the good things which I pronounced upon them. 43 And there shall yet be fields bought in the land, of which thou sayest, it shall be destitute of man and beast; and they are delivered into the hands of the Chaldeans. 44 And they shall buy fields for money, and thou shalt write a book, and seal it, and shalt take the testimony of witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and round about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Juda, and in the cities of the mountain, and in the cities of the plain, and in the cities of the south: for I will turn their captivity.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD after Nebu'zarad'an the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he took him bound in chains along with all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being exiled to Babylon. 2The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, "The LORD your God pronounced this evil against this place; 3the LORD has brought it about, and has done as he said. Because you sinned against the LORD, and did not obey his voice, this thing has come upon you. 4Now, behold, I release you today from the chains on your hands. If it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you well; but if it seems wrong to you to come with me to Babylon, do not come. See, the whole land is before you; go wherever you think it good and right to go. 5If you remain, then return to Gedali'ah the son of Ahi'kam, son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon appointed governor of the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people; or go wherever you think it right to go." So the captain of the guard gave him an allowance of food and a present, and let him go. 6Then Jeremiah went to Gedali'ah the son of Ahi'kam, at Mizpah, and dwelt with him among the people who were left in the land. 7When all the captains of the forces in the open country and their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedali'ah the son of Ahi'kam governor in the land, and had committed to him men, women, and children, those of the poorest of the land who had not been taken into exile to Babylon, 8they went to Gedali'ah at Mizpah--Ish'mael the son of Nethani'ah, Joha'nan the son of Kare'ah, Serai'ah the son of Tanhu'meth, the sons of Ephai the Netoph'athite, Jezani'ah the son of the Ma-ac'athite, they and their men. 9Gedali'ah the son of Ahi'kam, son of Shaphan, swore to them and their men, saying, "Do not be afraid to serve the Chalde'ans. Dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you. 10As for me, I will dwell at Mizpah, to stand for you before the Chalde'ans who will come to us; but as for you, gather wine and summer fruits and oil, and store them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken." 11Likewise, when all the Jews who were in Moab and among the Ammonites and in Edom and in other lands heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedali'ah the son of Ahi'kam, son of Shaphan, as governor over them, 12then all the Jews returned from all the places to which they had been driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedali'ah at Mizpah; and they gathered wine and summer fruits in great abundance. 13Now Joha'nan the son of Kare'ah and all the leaders of the forces in the open country came to Gedali'ah at Mizpah 14and said to him, "Do you know that Ba'alis the king of the Ammonites has sent Ish'mael the son of Nethani'ah to take your life?" But Gedali'ah the son of Ahi'kam would not believe them. 15Then Joha'nan the son of Kare'ah spoke secretly to Gedali'ah at Mizpah, "Let me go and slay Ish'mael the son of Nethani'ah, and no one will know it. Why should he take your life, so that all the Jews who are gathered about you would be scattered, and the remnant of Judah would perish?" 16But Gedali'ah the son of Ahi'kam said to Joha'nan the son of Kare'ah, "You shall not do this thing, for you are speaking falsely of Ish'mael."
Intent of Chapter 40
40:1-6 Ramah (31:5) is considered to have been a transit point for deportees. For reasons not stated, but probably because the oracles he spoke showed that his God favoured the Babylonians at that time, Jeremiah was allowed to be well treated and to either go with Nebuzaradan to Babylon or to remain here in Judah, in which case he was to report to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah. He gave him a ration of food and a present when he chose to remain in Judah. Jeremiah had long been friendly with the family of Gedaliah (26:24; 36:10).
40:7-41:18 The Third Revolt
40:7-12 Gedaliah was a member of a prominent Judean Family (2Kgs. 22:12-14). He assured his countrymen that he would represent them before the Babylonians (Chaldeans). He urged them to return to their fields and to their cities. From the text on 32:1-8, and Neh. Ch. 7, scholars assume Benjamin had been largely spared in the tribulation. Mizpah (probably Tel en-Nasbeh) seems to have become the provincial capital.
40:13-41:3 Judah had five prosperous years under Gedaliah, who was not of royal blood. Ishmael, one of the royal bloodlines, was encouraged by Baalis of Ammon for political reasons and because he was allegedly a “super patriot” planned Gedaliah's assassination (see OARSV n.). Gedaliah dismissed the report.
The results are in Part XI Ch 41.
The text of Chapter 40 of the LXX is found in Ch. 33 of the post Temple MT of the RSV and other modern Bible texts.
English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible.
Brenton, Sir Lancelot C. L... (1851)
Chapter 40 40:1 And the word of the Lord came to Jeremias the second time, when he was yet bound in the court of the prison, saying, 2 Thus saith the Lord, who made the earth and formed it, to establish it; the Lord is his name; 3 Cry to me, and I will answer thee, and I will declare to thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. 4For thus saith the Lord concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the king of Juda, which have been pulled down for mounds and fortifications, 5to fight against the Chaldeans, and to fill it with the corpses of men, whom I smote in mine anger and my wrath, and turned away my face from them, for all their wickedness: 6Behold, I bring upon her healing and cure, and I will show myself to them, and will heal her, and make both peace and security. 7 And I will turn the captivity of Juda, and the captivity of Israel, and will build them, even as before. 8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned against me, and will not remember their sins, whereby they have sinned against me, and revolted from me. 9 And it shall be for joy and praise, and for glory to all the people of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I will do: and they shall fear and be provoked for all the good things and for all the peace which I will bring upon them. 10 Thus saith the Lord; There shall yet be heard in this place, of which ye say, it is destitute of men and cattle, in the cities of Juda, and in the streets of Jerusalem, the places that have been made desolate for want of men and cattle, 11 the voice of gladness, and the voice of joy, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of men saying, Give thanks to the Lord Almighty: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endures fore ever: and they shall bring gifts into the house of the Lord; for I will turn all the captivity of that land as before, said the Lord. 12 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; There shall yet be in this place, that is desert for want of man and beast, in all the cities thereof, resting-places for shepherds causing their flocks to lie down. 13 In the cities of the hill country, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the cities round about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Juda, flocks shall yet pass under the hand of him that numbers them, saith the Lord.
Bullinger’s Notes on Chs. 37-40 (for KJV)
Coniah: i.e. Jeconiah, called also Jehoiachin. whom: i.e. Zedekiah.
words = prophecies.
Pharaoh's: i.e. Pharaoh Hophra's. Compare Jeremiah 44:30 . The Apries of Herodotus, and fourth successor of Psammeticus on the throne of Egypt. He came to help Zedekiah (Ezekiel 17:15-17 ), but was defeated by the Chaldeans, and Egypt subdued. Compare 2 Kings 24:7 . Ezekiel 29:1-16 and chs. 30-33. Also Jeremiah 43:9-13 .
the LORD, the God of Israel. See note on Jeremiah 11:3 .
Behold. Figure of speech Asterismos.
yourselves = your own souls. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13 .
every man. Hebrew. 'ish. App-14 .
to go, &c. Probably to Anathoth.
to separate himself thence = to assign [himself] his portion there (i.e. at Anathoth, in Benjamin, three and a half miles north-east of Jerusalem), where he drew his living.
in the midst: for safety, and to avoid detection.
Hananiah. Perhaps the false prophet mentioned in Jeremiah 28:1-17 .
smote = scourged.
put him in prison. Note Jeremiah ' s prison experiences:. (1) put in on false charge (Jeremiah 37:11-15 ); (2) released, but confined in the court of the prison; (3) imprisoned again in Malchiah's miry dungeon (Jeremiah 38:1-6 ); (4) released again as before (Jeremiah 38:13-28 ); (5) carried away in chains by Nebuchadnezzar, but released at Ramah (Jeremiah 40:1-4 ).
in prison = in the house of bonds.
the prison = the house of detention.
When, &c. = For Jeremiah [actually] entered, &c,
cabins = cells.
offended = sinned.
prison = the house of detention. See Jeremiah 37:16 .
prison = guard-house. Not the same word as in Jeremiah 37:15 .
Pashur. See note on Jeremiah 20:1 .
goeth forth. Some codices add "and falleth".
life = soul.
welfare = peace.
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 .
Ebed-melech. Some codices add "the Ethiopian".
thirty. The king knew the danger. No need to suppose that "thirty" is a copyist's error for "three"!
old cast = cast-off clothes.
clouts = patches. Ang. -Sax. clut = a patch.
armholes = armpits.
remained. See note on Jeremiah 37:18 .
Then, &c. This is the last picture of Zedekiah, and the house of Judah.
wilt thou not . . . me? = thou wilt not. This second clause is not a question in the Hebrew text.
As the LORD liveth = By the life of Jehovah.
soul. Hebrew. nephesh ( App-13 ): i.e. May He Who gave us both our life, take mine away if I take thine, or give thee, &c.
the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel. See note on Jeremiah 35:17 .
the God of hosts. Some codices, with Aramaean, Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, omit "God", and read "Jehovah Z baioth, God of Israel".
afraid = apprehensive.
princes. Showing that Nebuchadnezzar himself was not there. Compare Jeremiah 39:1 .
set thee on = persuaded thee. See note on Jeremiah 20:7 .
sunk in the mire. The moral sinking of Zedekiah far worse than Jeremiah's physical sinking.
children = sons.
thou shalt cause this city to be burned. Hebrew thou wilt burn. Note the idiom by which the act is put for the declaration that it should be done.
he told them, &c. In Holy Scripture we have an inspired record of what was said and done by others, but it does not follow that all that was so said and done was inspired.
commanded. Some codices, with Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, add "him".
abode. See the note on Jeremiah 37:16 . further date: viz. "in the tenth day of the month".
broken up. Compare Ch. Jeremiah 52:6 ; which explains that provisions had failed before then.
Sarsechim. Some codices, with four early printed editions, read "Sar-sechim". It is the plural of the Akkadian Sar-sak = king ' s son. R
Nergal-sharezer, Rab-mag = Nergal-sharezer, chief of the physicians (or magi). Only four names of persons in this verse, not six.
the plain. To avoid the Jordan.
Jericho. Thus, Jericho was the scene of Israel's first victory (Joshua 6:0 ), and final defeat.
Riblah. Now Hibleh, on the east bank of the Greekntes, thirty-five miles north-east of Baalbek, the base and headquarters of Nebuchadnezzar. Some twenty-two years before, Jehoahaz was put in bonds here by Pharaoh-nechoh, to be led captive to Egypt. See 2 Kings 23:33 .
before his eyes. A specimen of the inhumanity of those days.
put out Zedekiah's eyes. So that Ezekiel was quite correct when he said that Zedekiah should be taken to Babylon, though he should not see it (Ezekiel 12:13 ).
with chains = with two fetters.
Nebuzar-adan = the prince favoured by Nebo.
poor. Hebrew. dal. See note on "poverty", Proverbs 6:11 .
to = to the hand of, or through.
look well to him. Not the first, rejected by the Jews, who was honoured by the Gentiles.
Shaphan. See note on 2 Kings 22:3 .
carry him home. Some codices, with one early printed edition (Rabbinic), read "out of the [prison] house". From the next chapter we learn that he was taken north to Ramah with other captives, and from that place was set free, and went to Gedaliah to Mizpah (Jeremiah 40:6 ). This verse (Jeremiah 39:14 ) is only a brief summary.
so = and.
The Thirty-Fifth Prophecy of Jeremiah (see book comments for Jeremiah).
the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4 .
Go and speak. Not to interrupt the history, this incident as to Ebed-melech is reserved till now.
the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel. See note on Jeremiah 7:3 .
God. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4 .
Behold. Figure of speech Asterismos.
evil = calamity. Hebrew. ra'a'. App-44 .
saith the LORD = [is] Jehovah's oracle.
life = soul. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13 .
a prey: i.e. he should save it. Compare Jeremiah 21:9 .
put thy trust = confided. Hebrew. batah. App-69 .
the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4 .
chains = the two fetters, as in Jeremiah 39:7 .
the guard. See note on Jeremiah 39:9 .
said. Nebuzar-adan takes all the credit to himself. Compare Jeremiah 39:11 .
God. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4 .
evil = calamity. Hebrew. ra'a. App-44 .
because ye have sinned, &c. Reference to Pentateuch.
behold. Figure of speech Asterism o s . App-6 .
hand. Some codices, with eight early printed editions, Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, read "hands".
Now while he was not yet gone back = And ere yet he could make reply.
Shaphan. See note on 2 Kings 22:3 .
reward = present.
Mizpah. North of Jerusalem, near Anathoth. Compare Jeremiah 41:5-9 . Joshua 18:26 . 1Sa 7:16 ; 1 Samuel 10:17 , and 1 Kings 15:22 . The scene of the following events: here had been Asa's fortress (Jeremiah 41:9 ); here Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar and Titus got their first view of Jerusalem.
men. Hebrew pi. of 'enosh. App-14 .
governor. No more attempts to make a king, after Zedekiah's perjury. See Ezekiel 17:15-19 .
children = young children.
poor. Hebrew "poverty", put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Adjunct), App-6 , for poor people. See Proverbs 6:11 .
Ishmael. The Massorites ( App-30 ) set their hand to obliterate the Divine names in the case of men who had served to disgrace it. One is ' el , in the compound "Ishmael", which means "whom my El heareth". It is used of five different men, and occurs forty-eight times: twenty times of Hagar's son; twenty-three times of Nethaniah's son in this history; and five times of the other three. On account of his horrible treachery, the memory of which is perpetuated by the fast of the seventh month (Zechariah 7:5 ; Zechariah 8:9 ), the vowel points were changed to obliterate the Divine Name (El): viz. yishma'el, instead of yishma'el, which is not observable in the ordinary English spelling.
sons. Some codices, with Aram, and Septuagint, read "son", as in Jeremiah 40:13 .
wine. Hebrew. yayin. App-27 .
summer fruits. Hebrew "summer". Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Adjunct), App-6 , for the fruits gathered in summer.
fields = field (singular)
slay thee = strike thy soul. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13 .
man. Hebrew ' Ish . App-14 .
gathered = gathered out.