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Circumstances Attending the Capture of Jerusalem
v. 1. Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, when Nebuchadnezzar made him a tributary ruler over Judah, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. Note that the entire account of the chapter is parallel and, in part, supplementary to the narrative of 2 Kings 24:18 to 2 Kings 25:7 and Jeremiah 39:1-7.
v. 2. And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. Cf 2 Chronicles 36:11-13.
v. 3. For through the anger of the Lord it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, His wrath over their idolatry causing Him to cast them from His presence and to permit the rebellion of Zedekiah, which resulted in the final overthrow of the southern kingdom, till He had cast them out from His presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
v. 4. And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem and pitched against it, establishing the camp of the besieging army, and built forts against it round about, very likely towers of wood used for purposes of observation and as foundations for casting missiles into the city.
v. 5. So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.
v. 6. And in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city, reaching a height which made conditions very serious, so that there was no bread for the people of the land.
v. 7. Then the city was broken up, the enemies penetrating through the outer line of defenses, and all the men of war fled and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king's garden; (now, the Chaldeans were by the city round about;) and they went by the way of the plain, down toward the lowlands of the Jordan, near Jericho. Jeremiah 39:4-7.
v. 8. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him, for in a panic, as they were, there was no thought of real resistance.
v. 9. Then they took the king and carried him up unto the king of Babylon, to Riblah, in the land of Harrath, where Nebuchadnezzar had meanwhile established his headquarters, leaving the taking of Jerusalem to one of his generals, Nebuzar-adan, where he gave judgment upon him, for perjury and rebellion.
v. 10. And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes; he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah, because they had agreed to, and promoted, the rebellion of Zedekiah.
v. 11. Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, which meant the extremity of humiliation, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death, literally, "in the house of visitations," in penal servitude, which may have been a little less dishonorable than incarceration, for which reason he may also have had an honorable burial. Jeremiah 34:1-5.
v. 12. Now, in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard, one of the chief officers of the Chaldean king, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem, or, having started from Riblah on the seventh, he actually reached Jerusalem on the tenth, 2 Kings 25:8,
v. 13. and burned the house of the Lord, the magnificent Temple of Solomon, and the king's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem and all the houses of the great men, all the prominent buildings of the city, burned he with fire;
v. 14. and all the army of the Chaldeans that were with the captain of the guard brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about, so that all its fortifications were demolished down to the very foundations.
v. 15. Then Nebuzar-adan, the captain of the guard, carried away captive certain of the poor of the people and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude. Jeremiah 39:9. Thus the capture of the city was effected in exact agreement with the prophecy of the Lord against Jerusalem.
Disposition of the Spoil and of the Captives
v. 16. But Nebuzar-adan, the captain of the guard, left certain of the poor of the land, of those who had no possessions in money or goods, for vine-dressers and for husbandmen, so that the country would not revert to a wilderness on account of total neglect.
v. 17. Also the pillars of brass that were in the house of the Lord, on either aide of the main entrance of the Sanctuary, 1 Kings 7:15, and the bases, and the brazen sea that was in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans brake, in order to make all these pieces fit for transportation, and carried all the brass of them to Babylon.
v. 18. The caldrons also, large pots used for sacrificial worship, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the bowls, and the spoons, vessels for incense, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away, all those used for the altar of burnt offerings in the Court of the Priests.
v. 19. And the basins, and the fire-pans, and the bowls, and the caldrons, and the candlesticks, and the spoons, and the cups, all these used chiefly in the ministrations of the Holy Place; that which was of gold in gold, and that which was of silver in silver, in either case of solid metal, not of some cheap alloy or merely plated, took the captain of the guard away.
v. 20. The two pillars, one sea, and twelve brazen bulls that were under the bases, 1 Kings 7:23-26, which King Solomon had made in the house of the Lord. The brass of all these vessels was without weight, its mass beyond calculation.
v. 21. And concerning the pillars, the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, and a fillet of twelve cubits did compass it, that, in round numbers, being the circumference of either of the pillars; and the thickness thereof was four fingers; it was hollow. The thirty-five cubits of 2 Chronicles 3:15 either refer to a different cubit, or they give the sum total of both pillars less the bases.
v. 22. And a ter, or capital, of brass was upon it, and the height of one ter, that is, of its upper part, where it curved away from the shaft, was five cubits, with network and pomegranates upon the ters round about, all of brass, in the nature of ornaments in chains or festoons. The second pillar also and the pomegranates were like unto these.
v. 23. And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side, set towards the four winds or sides; and all the pomegranates upon the network were an hundred round about, including those on the corners of the capitals.
v. 24. And the captain of the guard took Seraiah, the chief priest, not identical with the man named Jeremiah 51:59, and Zephaniah, the second priest, a very important member of the hierarchy, and the three keepers of the door, officers of the Temple-guard.
v. 25. He took also out of the city an eunuch, which had the charge of the men of war, the commander of the city forces, and seven men of them that were near the king's person, of the king's intimate counselors, which were found in the city; and the principal scribe of the host, an officer in the direct service of the commander-in-chief, who mustered the people of the land, enrolling them for military service; and threescore men of the people of the land that were found in the midst of the city, either leaders in the rebellion or such as had distinguished themselves in the defense of the city.
v. 26. So Nebuzar-adan, the captain of the guard, took them and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah.
v. 27. And the king of Babylon smote them, for the part they had taken in the rebellion of Judah, and put them to death in Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the Syrian province in the extreme northern part of Palestine. Thus Judah was carried away captive out of his own land. There follows a summary or enumeration of the prominent captives.
v. 28. This is the people whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year, at the first captivity under Jehoiachin, three thousand Jews and three and twenty, these being of the tribe of Judah only, those from other tribes being more than twice as many;
v. 29. in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, after his actual accession to the throne, but nineteen years after he had gotten into power, 2 Kings 25:8, he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons;
v. 30. in the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzar-adan, the captain of the guard, carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons; all the persons evidently of the tribe of Judah alone, not including any of the other tribes who had sought and found refuge in Jerusalem since the fall of the northern kingdom, were four thousand and six hundred, not including the general multitude, and the women and children.
v. 31. And it came to pass in the seven-and-thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, the decree being issued on that day, although it was not carried out till two days later, 2 Kings 25:27, that Evil-merodach, king of Babylon, son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar, in the first year of his reign, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison, delivering him from the special bondage in which he had been held all these years,
v. 32. and spake kindly unto him and set his throne above the throne of the king's that were with him in Babylon, captive monarchs of other conquered nations,
v. 33. and changed his prison-garments, witnesses of his deep humiliation; and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life.
v. 34. And for his diet there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion, until the day of his death, all the days of his life. Cf 2 Kings 25:27-30. The same Lord who humbles the proud transgressors is able also to exalt those who turn to Him in true repentance.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Jeremiah 52". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 22 / Ordinary 27