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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 39

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 3416. B.C. 588.

This chapter contains an account,

(1,) Of the taking of Jerusalem by the Chaldean army, after eighteen months siege, Jeremiah 39:1-3 .

(2,) Of the flight of Zedekiah, and the particulars of his punishment, after he was taken and brought before the king of Babylon, Jeremiah 39:4-7 .

(3,) Of the burning of the city, and removal of the people, a few of the poor only excepted, Jeremiah 39:8-10 .

(4,) Of the release of Jeremiah, and the kindness wherewith he was treated, in consequence of a special charge from Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah 39:11-14 .

(5,) The piety of Ebed-melech is rewarded with a promise of personal safety amidst the ensuing public calamities, Jeremiah 39:15-18 .

Verses 1-3

Jeremiah 39:1-3. In the ninth year of Zedekiah, &c. See notes on 2 Kings 25:1-4. And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate Or, the gate of the centre, as Blaney translates it, observing, “The city of Jerusalem stood upon two hills, Zion to the south, and Acra to the north, with a deep valley between them. The gate of the centre, as the term seems plainly to import, was a gate of communication in the middle of the valley between the two parts of the city, sometimes called the higher and the lower city. The Chaldeans entered the city on the north side by a breach in the walls, and immediately rushing forward, and posting themselves in this gate, in the very heart of the city, they became thereby masters at will of the whole. Zedekiah, with his troops, perceiving this, fled out of the opposite gate on the south side.” Even Nergal- sharezer, Samgar-nebo, &c. It was customary among the Chaldeans to give the names of their idols, as an additional title or mark of honour, to persons of distinction: see note on Isaiah 39:1. Nergal was the name of an idol worshipped by the Cuthites, 2 Kings 17:30. Nebo was a Babylonish deity, Isaiah 46:1.

Verses 4-10

Jeremiah 39:4-10. They fled by the gate betwixt the two walls Betwixt the wall and the outworks, or betwixt the old wall of the city and the new one which Hezekiah built, of which mention is made 2 Chronicles 32:5. See note on 2 Kings 25:4. Blaney thinks it probable that between these two walls there might be a private postern through which the king and his followers might slip out unperceived by the besiegers, who surrounded the city, and undoubtedly kept a strict watch on the principal gates. The Chaldean army pursued, &c. For an illustration of this and the five following verses, see notes on 2 Kings 25:5-12.

Verses 11-12

Jeremiah 39:11-12. Now Nebuchadrezzar gave charge concerning Jeremiah He had undoubtedly been informed of the advice which Jeremiah had given, both to the king and people, to submit themselves to his authority: which advice, if it had been taken, would have prevented the charge and labour of so long a siege, and the bloodshed that attended it. Saying, Take him and look well to him Through this order of the king of Babylon, God fulfilled his promise made Jeremiah 15:11, I will cause the enemy to treat thee well in the day of evil. Jeremiah had been faithful to his God as a prophet, and now God approves himself faithful to him, and the promise he had made him. Now he is comforted, according to the time wherein he had been afflicted, and sees many fall on each hand while he is safe. The false prophets fell by those judgments which they affirmed would never come, (Jeremiah 14:15,) which made their misery the more terrible to them. The true prophet escaped those judgments which he said would come, and that made his escape the more comfortable to him. The same persons who were the instruments of punishing the persecutors, were the instruments of relieving the persecuted; and Jeremiah did not the less prize his deliverance, because it came by the hand of the king of Babylon, but saw thereby more of the hand of God in it.

Verses 13-14

Jeremiah 39:13-14. Nebuzar-adan sent and took Jeremiah out of the court of the prison Where he was when the city was taken, Jeremiah 38:28; and committed him unto Gedaliah Namely, after he had been carried out of Jerusalem with the rest of the captives as far as Ramah: see Jeremiah 40:1-5. Observe here, reader, a king of Israel and his princes put the Lord’s prophet in prison, and a heathen king and his princes took him out! God’s people and ministers have often met with fairer and kinder treatment among strangers and infidels than among those who call themselves of the holy city. St. Paul found more favour and justice with King Agrippa than with Ananias the high-priest. But we shall meet with a more full account of Jeremiah’s release, and of the kind treatment he received from the Chaldeans, in the next chapter.

Verses 15-18

Jeremiah 39:15-18 . The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah when he was in the court of the prison These words give us to understand that this and the next three verses respect a matter which took place before the things related in the preceding part of this chapter, namely, the kindness which Ebed-melech showed to Jeremiah in his distress. Here God commissions his prophet to promise him a recompense for that kindness. He had relieved a prophet in the name of a prophet, and he is here assured he shall receive a prophet’s reward. This message was delivered to him immediately after he had shown that mercy to Jeremiah; but it is mentioned here after the taking of the city, to show that, as God was kind to Jeremiah at that time, so he was to Ebed-melech for his sake; and it was a special favour to both, as they no doubt accounted it, that they were not involved in the common calamities.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 39". Benson's Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/jeremiah-39.html. 1857.
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