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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 37

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-5

PART III

A NATION IN CRISIS

(Chapters 37-45)

JEREMIAH - CHAPTER 37

JEREMIAH BEATEN AND IMPRISONED

For 40 years the kings, princes and people of Judah have ignored the faithful warnings of judgment delivered by the prophet Jeremiah. So, the people who were divinely chosen to be "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" are delivered into the hands of their enemies - a TOTAL FAILURE! By this judgment Jeremiah is finally recognized as the true man of God - though, even then, the remnant left behind refused to heed his voice!

Vs. 1-5: "PRAY FOR US!"

1. Zedekiah was a mere puppet of Babylon - installed by Nebuchadnezzar (597 B.C.) after Coniah had been taken captive to Babylon, (vs. 1; Ezekiel 17:11-21).

2. Neither the rulers nor the people in Judah were willing to heed the words that God had spoken to them through Jeremiah, (vs. 2; 2 Kings 24:18-20; 2 Chronicles 36:11-16; comp. Proverbs 29:12).

3. After the siege was temporarily lifted (because the Babylonians were distracted by news of the approaching Egyptian army) Zedekiah sent to Jeremiah - desiring that he pray to God for Judah, that the respite might be permanent, (vs. 3-5; Jeremiah 2:27; Jeremiah 42:1-4; Jeremiah 42:20 -­22).

a. One of the men sent to Jeremiah was an enemy, Jehukal, who was soon to seek Jeremiah’s death, (Jeremiah 38:4).

b. Zepaniah, the priest, had been sent to Jeremiah on a previous occasion, (Jeremiah 21:1-2; Jeremiah 29:25; Jeremiah 52:24).

Verses 6-10

Vs. 6-10: A WARNING AGAINST TRUSTING IN PHARAOH

1. The Lord sent Jeremiah to Zedekiah with the word that Pharaoh’s army, by which Nebuchadnezzar had been induced to lift the siege against Jerusalem, would NOT ACTUALLY FIGHT; they would, rather, return to their own land, (vs. 6-7; comp. Jeremiah 2:18-19; Jeremiah 2:36-37; Isaiah 30:1­3; 31:1-3; Ezekiel 17:17-20).

2. The Chaldeans will return to Jerusalem to fight against it, take it, and burn it with fire, (vs. 8; Jeremiah 34:21-22; Jeremiah 38:23; Jeremiah 39:2-8).

3. The people of Judah must not deceive themselves any longer; the Chaldeans will NOT depart until Jerusalem is subdued! (vs. 9; Jeremiah 29:8-10; comp. Matthew 24:4-5; Ephesians 5:6).

4. Though Judah had so smitten them that nothing remained but wounded men, still, they would rise up and burn Jerusalem! (vs. 10; Leviticus 26:26-38; Isaiah 30:17).

Verses 11-15

Vs. 11-15: THE PROPHET IS IMPRISONED

1. While the siege was lifted, Jeremiah tried to leave the city to examine the property he had bought from Hanameel, (vs. 11-12; Jeremiah 32:8­9).

2. At the Benjamin gate he was detained by a captain of the word by the name of Irijah, (vs. 13a) and charged with trying to desert to the enemy, (vs. 13b; comp. Jeremiah 18:8; Jeremiah 20:10; comp. Amos 7:10; Luke 23:2; Acts 7:8-15; Acts 24:5-9; Acts 24:13).

3. Though Jeremiah declared the charge to be false, Irijah refused to believe him, and brought him, bound, to the princes, (vs. 14; Jeremiah 40:4-6; Psalms 27:12; comp. Matthew 5:11-12).

4. Angry with him, the princes beat the prophet and imprisoned him in the house of "Jonathan the scribe" which had been transformed into a prison, (vs. 15; Jeremiah 20:1-3; comp. 2 Chronicles 16:10; 2 Chronicles 20:26; Acts 5:17­-18).

Verses 16-21

Vs. 16-21: SECRETLY VISITED BY ZEDEKIAH

1. After Jeremiah had spent several days in an underground dungeon, he was summoned to the palace for a secret interview with king Zedekiah, (vs. 16-17; Jeremiah 38:5; Jeremiah 38:14-16; Jeremiah 38:24-28).

a. Zedekiah wanted to know whether Jeremiah had ANY WORD FROM JEHOVAH, (vs. 17b; Jeremiah 15:11; Jeremiah 21:1-2).

b. Jeremiah responded that there surely was a message from Jehovah, though it was NOT what the king wanted to hear: Zedekiah will be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, (vs. 17c; Jeremiah 21:7; Jeremiah 24:8; Ezekiel 12:12-14; Ezekiel 17:19-21).

2. Then Jeremiah challenged the king:

a. For what sin - against the king, his servants, or the people of Judah - have you imprisoned me? (vs. 18; comp. 1 Samuel 24:9; 1 Samuel 26:18; John 10:32).

b. Where are those false prophets who had constantly repudiated the words of Jeremiah - assuring the king that there was nothing to fear from Babylon? (vs. 19; comp. Deuteronomy 32:37-38; Jeremiah 2:28; Jeremiah 28:1-4; Jeremiah 28:10-17).

3. Jeremiah pleads with the king not to send him back to the dungeon in the house of Jonathan the scribe, LEST HE DIE THERE! (vs. 20)

4. It was then that Zedekiah commanded the transfer of Jeremiah to the court of the guard, (vs. 21; Jeremiah 32:2-3).

a. A loaf of bread was also provided for his sustenance so long as the city stood, (Psalms 33:18-19; Isaiah 33:14-16).

b. But Zedekiah remained weak and vacillating to the very end - tempted to believe Jeremiah, and to follow his counsel; yet, lacking the courage to challenge the wisdom of his official advisors.

c. Thus, there was no way that Jerusalem could be spared from utter ruin!

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 37". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/jeremiah-37.html. 1985.
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