Jeremiah 32:5
And he shall lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and there shall he be until I visit him, said the LORD: though you fight with the Chaldeans, you shall not prosper.
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(5) There shall he be until I visit him . . .The word for “visit” is ambiguous, being used elsewhere both for “punishing” and “delivering.” Its use in Jeremiah 29:10 is in favour of the latter meaning here. The prophet looks forward to a general deliverance, or at least mitigation of suffering, for the exiles in Babylon, and, though he does not in distinct terms predict that Zedekiah will share in it, seems to cherish the hope that he will not be altogether excluded. Of his fate after he arrived in Babylon we know nothing, but the absence of his name when Jehoiachin was released from his imprisonment (Jer. Iii. 31) by Evil-merodach suggests the conclusion that he was then dead.

32:1-15 Jeremiah, being in prison for his prophecy, purchased a piece of ground. This was to signify, that though Jerusalem was besieged, and the whole country likely to be laid waste, yet the time would come, when houses, and fields, and vineyards, should be again possessed. It concerns ministers to make it appear that they believe what they preach to others. And it is good to manage even our worldly affairs in faith; to do common business with reference to the providence and promise of God.I visit - In the sense of punishment. See Jeremiah 39:6-7; Jeremiah 52:11. 5. visit him—in a good sense (Jer 27:22); referring to the honor paid Zedekiah at his death and burial (Jer 34:4, 5). Perhaps, too, before his death he was treated by Nebuchadnezzar with some favor.

though ye fight … shall not prosper—(Jer 21:4).

Here the cause of the prophet’s imprisonment is expressed. The things were true which Jeremiah prophesied, and fulfilled, Jeremiah 39:5-7, and Jeremiah could not forbear speaking them, because he was sent of God upon the errand, Jeremiah 34:2,3; yet the king and court could not bear his words.

There shall he be until I visit him, saith the Lord: interpreters are divided whether the visitation here mentioned were a visitation of judgment, and the same with until he die; or of mercy: it is certain Zedekiah was not put to death, only his eyes put out, and he carried into Babylon, Jeremiah 39:7, where some think he afterward found favour with the king of Babylon; certain it is that he died in Babylon, and had an honourable burial, but whether he met with any other favour, or no, the Scripture saith not. Some will have the words read, until I visit this people, and think that Zedekiah lived in prison in Babylon till the restoration; but he was twenty-one years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years, so as he was thirty-two years old when he was carried to Babylon, 2 Chronicles 36:11, and must be then ninety-two years old when he died, which is hardly probable, considering the delicate education and life of princes, that he, having lost his eyes, and seen so much misery, should continue sixty years longer.

Though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper; though ye make many sallies out upon the Chaldeans, that are now besieging you, yet you shall be beaten in all, and not be able to drive them from your walls, Hitherto hath been but the preface to the prophetical type and discourse in this chapter, which now followeth. And he shall lead Zedekiah to Babylon,.... As he did in chains, from Riblah, where he was brought unto him after he was taken, endeavouring to make his escape, Jeremiah 52:8;

and there shall he be until I visit him, saith the Lord; in taking him away by death; for he continued in Babylon to the time of his death, which was not violent, but natural; and, considering his circumstances, his captivity, imprisonment, and loss of sight, might be reckoned a visitation in mercy: though some understand this of God's visiting the people at the return of them from their seventy years' captivity; if Zedekiah lived till then, he must be a very old man; but of this we have no account, nor is it probable:

though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper; though they should sally out upon them, in order to beat them out of their trenches, and drive them from the walls of the city, yet without success.

And he shall lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and there shall he be until {b} I visit him, saith the LORD: though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper.

(b) Till I take Zedekiah away by death: for he will not die by the sword as in Jer 34:4.

5. until I visit him] The words are in themselves ambiguous and they with the rest of the v. are lacking in the LXX.Verse 5. - Until I visit him; i.e. until I take notice of him. "To visit" is used in a good (Jeremiah 27:22; Jeremiah 29:10) as well as in a bad sense (Jeremiah 6:15; Jeremiah 49:8), so that no definite announcement is made respecting Zedekiah's future. There was no object to gain by extending the scope of the revelation beyond the immediate present, and Zedekiah's offences did not require such an anticipative punishment as the clear prediction of the details of his fate (Jeremiah 39:6, 7; Jeremiah 52:11). Then shall Jerusalem be built up as a holy city of God, and be no more destroyed. After ימים, the Masoretic text wants בּאים, which is supplied in the Qeri. Hengstenberg is of opinion that the expression was abbreviated here, inasmuch as it has already occurred before, several times, in its full form (Jeremiah 31:27 and Jeremiah 31:31); but Jeremiah does not usually abbreviate when he repeats an expression, and באים has perhaps been dropped merely through an error in transcription. "The city shall be built for Jahveh," so that it thenceforth belongs to Him, is consecrated to Him. The extent of the new city is described as being "from the tower of Hananeel to the gate of the corner." The tower of Hananeel, according to Nehemiah 3:1 and Zechariah 4:10, was situated on the north-east corner of the city wall; the gate of the corner was at the north-west corner of the city, to the north or north-west of the present "Jaffa Gate;" see on 2 Kings 14:13; 2 Chronicles 26:9; cf. Zechariah 14:10. This account thus briefly describes the whole north side. Jeremiah 31:39. The measuring-line (קוה as found here, 1 Kings 7:23 and Zechariah 1:16, is the original form, afterwards shortened into קו, the Qeri) further goes out נגדּו, "before itself," i.e., straight out over the hill Gareb. על does not mean "away towards, or on" (Hitzig); nor is the true reading עד, "as far as, even to," which is met with in several codices: the correct rendering is "away over," so that a part, at least, of the hill was included within the city bounds. "And turns towards Goah." These two places last named are unknown. From the context of the passage only this much is clear, that both of them were situated on the west of the city; for the starting-point of the line spoken of is in the north-west, and the valley of Ben-hinnom joins in at the end of it, in the south, Jeremiah 31:40. גּרב means "itching," for גּרב in Leviticus 21:20; Leviticus 22:22 means "the itch;" in Arabic also "the leprosy." From this, many expositors infer that the hill Gareb was the hill where lepers were obliged to dwell by themselves, outside the city. This supposition is probable; there is no truth, however, in the assumption of Schleussner, Krafft (Topogr. von Jerus. S. 158), Hitzig, and Hengstenberg, that the hill Bezetha, included within the city bounds by the third wall of Agrippa, is the one meant; for the line described in Jeremiah 31:39 is not to be sought for on the north side of the city. With Graf, we look for the hill Gareb on the mount which lies westward from the valley of Ben-hinnom and at the end of the valley of Rephaim, towards the north (Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16), so that it is likely we must consider it to be identical with "the top of the mountain" mentioned in these passages. This mountain is the rocky ridge which bounds the valley of Ben-hinnom on the west, and stretches northwards, on the west side of the valley of Gihon and the Lower Pool (Birket es Sultn), to near the high road to Jaffa, where it turns off towards the west on the under (i.e., south) side of the Upper Pool (Birket el Mamilla); see on Joshua 15:8. It is not, as Thenius supposes (Jerusalem before the Exile, an appendix to his commentary on the Books of Kings), the bare rocky hill situated on the north, and overhanging the Upper Pool; on this view, Goah could only be the steep descent from the plateau into the valley of Kidron, opposite this hill, towards the east. Regarding Goah, only this much can be said with certainty, that the supposition, made by Vitringa and Hengstenberg, of a connection between the name and Golgotha, is untenable; lexical considerations and facts are all against it. Golgotha was situated in the north-west: Goah must be sought for south-west from Jerusalem. The translation of the Chaldee, "cattle-pond," is a mere inference from גּעה, "to bellow." But, in spite of the uncertainty experienced in determining the positions of the hill Gareb and Goah, this much is evident from the verse before us, that the city, which is thus to be built anew, will extend to the west beyond the space occupied by old Jerusalem, and include within it districts or spots which lay outside old (i.e., pre-and post-exile) Jerusalem, and which had been divided off from the city, as unclean places.
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