In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and they besieged it.
"The Capture of Jerusalem" - The majority of the particulars given in Jeremiah 39:1-14 occur again (marginal reference); and are by some regarded as an interpolation. The external evidence (that of the versions) is, however, in favor of their authenticity. Jeremiah 39:14 is to be reconciled with Jeremiah 40:1-4 by remembering that Gedaliah had left Jerusalem and gone to Mizpah Jeremiah 40:6, a city in the immediate neighborhood; and as he was not at home to protect the prophet, nothing is more probable than that Jeremiah in company with the main body of captives was brought to Ramah in chains.
And in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up.
And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, even Nergalsharezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergalsharezer, Rabmag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon.
These princes were four:
(1) Nergal, Sharezer, i. e., Nirgal-sar-usur (May Nergal protect the king);
(2) Samgar-Nebo (Be gracious, O Nebo);
(3) Sarsechim. No explanation is given at present of this name. He was Rab-saris, i. e., chief of the eunuchs (2 Kings 18:17 note).
(4) another Nergal-sharezer, who was Rab-mag, i. e., chief of the Magians. He is known in history as Neriglissar, the son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar, and probably his vicegerent during his seven years of madness. Two years after his death Neriglissar murdered Evil-Merodach, Nebuchadnezzars son, and seized the crown, but after a reign of four years was slain in battle against Cyrus, when disputing with him the crown of Media. See Daniel 5:1 note.
The middle gate - Probably that which separated the city of Zion from the lower town.
And it came to pass, that when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the men of war, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king's garden, by the gate betwixt the two walls: and he went out the way of the plain.
Compare the marginal reference. The differences between the two accounts are slight.
But the Chaldeans' army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him.
Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah.
Moreover he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon.
And the Chaldeans burned the king's house, and the houses of the people, with fire, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem.
Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to him, with the rest of the people that remained.
But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left of the poor of the people, which had nothing, in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time.
Now Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying,
Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee.
So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent, and Nebushasban, Rabsaris, and Nergalsharezer, Rabmag, and all the king of Babylon's princes;
Nebuzar-adan is in the inscriptions Nabu-zir-iddina (Nebo has given offspring); and Nebushasban, Nabu-sizibanni (Nebo save me), whom some identify with Sarsechim Jeremiah 39:3.
Even they sent, and took Jeremiah out of the court of the prison, and committed him unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, that he should carry him home: so he dwelt among the people.
Jeremiah was to be taken out of the court of the watch, and placed in the palace close by.
He dwelt among the people - i. e., he was no longer in custody, but master of his own actions.
Now the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying,
This prophecy probably came to Jeremiah after his interview with Zedekiah Jeremiah 38:14, but is added here as a supplement in order not to break the sequence of events.
Go and speak to Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished in that day before thee.
But I will deliver thee in that day, saith the LORD: and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid.
Of whom thou art afraid - The Chaldaeans. Ebed-melech apparently looked forward with much alarm to the b oodshed sure to take place at the storming of the city.
For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD.
A prey unto thee - An unexpected and unlooked-for gain. He had given proof of faith in courageously delivering God's prophet.