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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 52

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


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

This chapter contains a brief history of the captivity, nearly the same, word for word, as it is related in the second book of Kings, 2 Kings 24:18-20 , and chap. 25., with some few additions. Some have supposed it placed here as a proper introduction to the book of Lamentations. But more probably the design was, by immediately subjoining this historical narrative of the desolations of the Jewish nation to the predictions of Jeremiah concerning them, to give a nearer view of the exact accomplishment of the divine word of prophecy. That this narrative could not be added by Jeremiah is manifest, not only by the last clause of the preceding chapter, but also by this consideration, that a great part of it is a repetition of what he himself had related in the 39th and 40th chapters of his prophecy. As therefore it must have been subjoined by some other person, it is most probable it was done by Ezra, who is commonly supposed to have revised the sacred writings after the return of the Jews from Babylon, and to have collected them into one body. We have here,

(1,) The reign of Zedekiah rendered unhappy by his sins and punishments, Jeremiah 52:1-3 .

(2,) The besieging and taking of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, Jeremiah 52:4-7 .

(3,) The severe usage which Zedekiah and his princes met with from Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah 52:8-11 .

(4,) The destruction of the temple and the city 12-14.

(5,) The carrying away of the people into captivity, Jeremiah 52:15 , Jeremiah 52:16 , with an account of the numbers of those carried away, Jeremiah 52:28-30 .

(6,) The taking away of the plunder of the temple, Jeremiah 52:17-23 .

(7,) The murder of the two chief priests and seventy-two other persons of rank in cold blood, by Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah, Jeremiah 52:24-27 .

(8,) King Jehoiachin is released and honoured after Nebuchadnezzar’s death, as an earnest of the deliverance of the Jews, Jeremiah 52:31-34 .

Verses 1-11

Jeremiah 52:1-11. Zedekiah was one and twenty years old The first three verses of this chapter are word for word the same with 2 Kings 24:18-20, where see the notes; and for the six following verses, see those on 2 Kings 25:1-6. Where he gave judgment upon him Namely, for rebelling against him when he had taken an oath of allegiance to him. Of Nebuchadnezzar’s slaying the sons of Zedekiah, putting out his eyes, binding him with chains, &c., see note on 2 Kings 25:7.

Verses 12-13

Jeremiah 52:12-13 . Now in the fifth month This gave occasion to that solemn fast of the fifth month, observed in the times of the captivity: see Zechariah 7:3-5; Zechariah 8:19. In the tenth day of the month In the parallel place, 2 Kings 25:8, we read, on the seventh day. This difference some attempt to reconcile, by supposing that the one place may speak of the day Nebuzar-adan set out from Riblah, and the other of the day that he arrived at Jerusalem; or else, that he came on the seventh, but did not set fire to the building till the tenth. “But it is more likely,” says Blaney,” to have arisen from some mistake of the transcriber, perhaps, in setting down the numbers at full length, which were expressed by numeral letters in the old copies. And in this instance such a mistake might easily happen between the ז and the י , of which the first stands for seven, the latter for ten.” And burned the house of the Lord After it had stood, says Josephus, four hundred and seventy years; but Archbishop Usher reckons it only four hundred and twenty-four years from the laying of the first foundation by Solomon: see note on 2 Kings 25:9.

Verses 17-20

Jeremiah 52:17-20. Also the pillars of brass, &c., the Chaldeans brake See note on 2 Kings 25:13. The temple was rifled of its riches and furniture at several times. The first was when Nebuchadnezzar came up against Jehoiakim, Daniel 1:2. The second time was at the captivity of Jechoniah, Jeremiah 27:19; 2 Kings 24:13; and now at the final destruction of the city and temple they made a clear riddance of all its ornaments. And twelve brazen bulls that were under the bases Or rather, which were instead of bases, to support the brazen sea, (1 Kings 7:25,) the Hebrew word תחת , in other places, signifying instead, or, in the place of another. So the LXX. understand it here.

Verses 21-23

Jeremiah 52:21-23. The height of one pillar was eighteen cubits The same account is given of the height of these pillars, 1 Kings 7:15: but in 2 Chronicles 3:15, it is said, that both the pillars made thirty-five cubits; which two texts may be easily reconciled by allowing one cubit for the basis. And a fillet of twelve cubits So that the diameter was almost four cubits. The thickness whereof was four fingers The pillar being hollow, the thickness of the work that encompassed the hollow space was four fingers over. There were ninety and six pomegranates on a side Or, toward every wind, as Blaney very properly renders רוחה . “In 1 Kings 7:42, and 2 Chronicles 4:13, it is said, there were four hundred pomegranates for each net-work or wreath. The mode of expression here is different, but amounts to exactly the same. For divide the two pillars into four quarters, according to the four winds; and let ninety-six pomegranates stand opposite to each of the four winds upon the two pillars; the whole number in front of the four winds, taken together, will be three hundred and eighty-four. But they were in four rows, two on each pillar, and in each row must have been four angular pomegranates, that could not be said to be opposite to any of the four winds, consequently, sixteen angular ones in the four rows; which sixteen being added to three hundred and eighty-four, make up the number of pomegranates in all four hundred; that is, a hundred in a row of wreathen work round about.”

Verses 24-25

Jeremiah 52:24-25. And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest 1 Chronicles 6:14, he was the father of Ezra; Ezra 7:1. And Zephaniah the second priest See note on Jeremiah 29:26; 2 Kings 25:18. And the three keepers of the door These were not the ordinary porters, who were taken from among the Levites, but were priests who stood at the door to receive the offerings of the people, and thus were keepers of the sacred treasury, an office of high trust and consideration: see 2 Kings 12:9; 2 Kings 23:4. He took also out of the city a eunuch

An officer: so it is in the parallel place, 2 Kings 25:19, where, instead of seven men, we read five. Josephus agrees with the reading here. And the principal scribe of the host The muster-master-general, as we style him, or secretary of war. And threescore men that were in the midst of the city Of whom see note on 2 Kings 25:19.

Verses 28-30

Jeremiah 52:28-30. This is the people whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive “These verses are not inserted in 2 Kings 25:0. Nor are they to be found here, according to the Roman and Alexandrian editions of the LXX.; but in the Complutensian they are, and in two MSS. collated by Dr. Grabe; also in Theodotion’s version in the Hexapla. All the other ancient versions acknowledge them; and they are not omitted in any of the collated Hebrew MSS.; so that there is no doubt of their being genuine. But are we to conclude from them, that the whole number of the Jews, whom Nebuchadnezzar, in all his expeditions, carried into captivity, was no more than four thousand six hundred? This cannot be true, for he carried away more than twice that number at one time; which is expressly said to have been in the eighth year of his reign, 2 Kings 24:12-16. Before that time he had carried off a number of captives from Jerusalem in the first year of his reign, among whom were Daniel and his companions, Daniel 1:3-6. And of these Berosus, the Chaldean historian, speaks, as cited by Josephus, Ant., lib. 10. cap. 11. These are confessedly not taken notice of here. And as the taking and burning of Jerusalem are in this very chapter said to have been in the fourth and fifth months of the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar, those who were carried into captivity, at the date of those events, cannot possibly be the same with those that are said to be carried away either in the 18th or 23d year of that prince. Nor indeed is it credible, that the number carried away at the time the city was taken, and the whole country reduced, could be so few as eight hundred and thirty-two. Here then we have three deportations, and those the most considerable ones, in the 1st, the 8th, and 19th years of Nebuchadnezzar, sufficiently distinguished from those in his 7th, 18th, and 23d years. So that it seems most reasonable to conclude, with Archbishop Usher, that by the latter three the historian meant to point out deportations of a lesser kind, not elsewhere noticed in direct terms in Scripture.” Blaney.

Verses 31-32

Jeremiah 52:31-32. In the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin, &c. This note of time confirms the observation formerly made, namely, that the Scripture computation of the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign anticipates that of the Babylonians by two years, which two years he reigned with his father: see note on Jeremiah 25:1. In the five and twentieth day of the month, Evil-merodach lifted up the head of Jehoiachin Released him out of prison, where he had lain thirty-seven years, and advanced him. In the parallel place, 2 Kings 25:27, where see the notes, we read, the seven and twentieth day of the month, which difference between the two passages, Lowth thinks may be reconciled, by supposing that his advancement was resolved upon the 25th day, but not brought to pass till the 27th. In the first year of his reign Hebrew, בשׁנת מלכתו , literally, in the year of his reign, or kingdom, that is, the year coincident with the beginning of it, from whence the date is taken. So that the word first is virtually implied in the phrase. Spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of kings See 2 Kings 25:28-30. This clause may perhaps be more properly rendered, Set his seat above the seat of the kings, which may easily be understood to signify, that the king of Babylon showed him more respect and honour than he did to any of the other captive princes, by placing him nearest to himself: see Esther 3:1. “It is probable,” says Blaney, “the phrase may have proceeded from the custom of placing cushions for persons of more than ordinary distinction in the place allotted them to sit in.” See Harmer, chap. 6. observ. 26.

Verses 33-34

Jeremiah 52:33-34 . And changed his prison garments This has been considered by some an act of generosity in Evil-merodach, giving the captive king new garments, more suitable to his royal dignity than those he wore in prison. But Blaney thinks “it was rather the act of Jehoiachin himself, who, out of respect to the king of Babylon’s presence, and to mark his just sense of the favour shown him, no longer neglected his person and dress, as when a prisoner, and in affliction: but put on new apparel more adapted to the change in his circumstances. So Joseph, when he was sent for out of prison to appear before Pharaoh, first shaved himself, and changed his raiment, Genesis 41:14. David did the same after he had ceased mourning for his child, before he went into the house of God, 2 Samuel 12:20. Mr. Harmer, (chap. 6. obs. 44, 45,) observes, both that to change the garments often is in the East a mark of respect in visiting; and also that the putting on of new clothes is thought by those people to be very requisite, and indeed almost necessary, for the due solemnization of a time of rejoicing.” And there was a continual diet given him of the king As it appears from the preceding verse that Jehoiachin himself sat at the king of Babylon’s own table, this seems to have been an allowance for the maintenance of his attendants and family.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 52". Benson's Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/jeremiah-52.html. 1857.
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