2 Kings 25:18
And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18, 19) List of the chief personages taken by Nebu-zaradan in the Temple and the city of David. This notice may be regarded as an indirect proof that the upper city was not captured before.

(18) Seraiah the chief (high) priest.—And grandfather or great-grandfather of Ezra (1Chronicles 6:14; Ezra 7:1).

Zephaniah the second priest.—See 2Kings 23:4, Note; and Jeremiah 21:1; Jeremiah 29:25; Jeremiah 29:29; Jeremiah 37:3. From the last three passages it is clear that Zephaniah was a priest of high rank, being probably the high priest’s deputy.

The three keepers of the door (threshold).—The chief warders of the principal entrances to the Temple. (See Jeremiah 38:13.) All the chief officials of the Temple were apparently taken away together.

2 Kings 25:18-19. The captain of the guard took Seraiah, the chief priest — The high-priest, grandson of that Hilkiah mentioned 2 Kings 22:4, and father of Jehosadak, who, it seems, was taken with his father; and when his father was slain, (2 Kings 25:21,) was carried away to Babylon, as is observed 1 Chronicles 6:13-14. And Zephaniah the second priest — Who was the high-priest’s deputy, when he was by sickness, or any other means, prevented from the execution of his office. And five of them that were in the king’s presence — Who constantly attended upon the king’s person wheresoever he was, and were his most intimate counsellors. And threescore men of the land that were found in the city — These were some eminent persons, who had concealed themselves in some private place; but before Nebuzar-adan left Jerusalem, were discovered.25:8-21 The city and temple were burnt, and, it is probable, the ark in it. By this, God showed how little he cares for the outward pomp of his worship, when the life and power of religion are neglected. The walls of Jerusalem were thrown down, and the people carried captive to Babylon. The vessels of the temple were carried away. When the things signified were sinned away, what should the signs stand there for? It was righteous with God to deprive those of the benefit of his worship, who had preferred false worships before it; those that would have many altars, now shall have none. As the Lord spared not the angels that sinned, as he doomed the whole race of fallen men to the grave, and all unbelievers to hell, and as he spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, we need not wonder at any miseries he may bring upon guilty nations, churches, or persons.It devolved on Nebuzaradan to select for exemplary punishment the persons whom he regarded as most guilty, either in respect of the original rebellion or of the protracted resistance. Instead of taking indiscriminately the first comers, he first selected those who by their offices would be likely to have had most authority - the high priest; the second priest (2 Kings 23:4 note); three of the temple Levites; the commandant of the city; five members of the king's Privy Council (or seven, see 2 Kings 25:19 note); and the secretary (or adjutant) of the captain of the host. To these he added sixty others, who were accounted "princes." Compared with the many occasions on which Assyrian and Persian conquerers put to death hundreds or thousands after taking a revolted town, Nebuzaradan (and Nebuchadnezzar) must be regarded as moderate, or even merciful, in their vengeance. Compare Jeremiah 40:2-5.

The three keepers of the door - Rather, "three keepers." The Hebrew has no article. The temple "door-keepers" in the time of Solomon numbered twenty-four 1 Chronicles 26:17-18, who were probably under six chiefs. After the captivity the chiefs are either six Ezra 2:42; Nehemiah 7:45 or four 1 Chronicles 9:17.

18. the three keepers of the door—not mere porters, but officers of high trust among the Levites (2Ki 22:4; 1Ch 9:26). Seraiah the chief priest; the high priest, grandson of that Hilkiah, of whom 2 Kings 22:4, and father of Jehozadak, who, as it seems, was taken with his father; and when his father was slain, 2 Kings 25:21, he was carried away to Babylon, as it is noted, 1 Chronicles 6:14,15.

Zephaniah the second priest; who was the high priest’s deputy, when he was hindered from the execution of his office: See Poole "Numbers 3:32"; See Poole "2Sa 8:17" 2 Kings 23:4???. And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest,.... The sagan, or deputy priest, who officiated for the high priest, when by any means he was rendered unfit and incapable; so Joseph, the son of Ellem, as Josephus (x) relates, officiated for Matthias, when defiled with a nocturnal pollution; and seven days before the day of atonement they always substituted one under the high priest, lest anything of this kind should happen to him (y). From hence, to the end of 2 Kings 25:21 the account is the same as in Jeremiah 52:25, only here in 2 Kings 25:19 it is said, that five men that were in the king's presence were taken, there seven men; to account for which; see Gill on Jeremiah 52:25.

(x) Antiqu. l. 17. c. 6. sect. 4. (y) Misn. Yoma, c. 1. sect. 1.

And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the {i} second priest, and the three keepers of the door:

(i) That is, one appointed to act in the place of the high priest, if he were sick or otherwise detained.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. Seraiah, the chief priest] Probably the son of Azariah and grandson of Hilkiah (1 Chronicles 6:14). His name is not found except in the parallel narratives.

Zephaniah the second priest] This was the son of Maaseiah (Jeremiah 21:1). He was the successor in office of Jehoiada (Jeremiah 29:25-26). The particulars known of his history are that he was asked by Shemaiah the Nehelamite (Jeremiah 29:29) to punish Jeremiah as if he were a false prophet. Zephaniah was also sent on two occasions to Jeremiah, once to ask the result of the siege, and secondly, to beg the prophet to intercede for the people (Jeremiah 27:3).

On ‘second priest’ see note on 2 Kings 23:4 above.

the three keepers of the door] These were the three Levites stationed one at each chief entrance to the temple.Verse 18. - And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest. The "chief priest" is a new expression; but it can only mean the "high priest." Seraiah seems to have been the grandson of Hilkiah (1 Chronicles 6:18, 14), and an ancestor (grandfather or great-grandfather) of Ezra (Ezra 7:1). He had stayed at his post till the city was taken, and was now seized by Nebuzar-adan as one of the most important personages whom he found in the city. And Zephaniah the second priest. Keil and Bahr translate "a priest of the second order;' i.e. a mere Ordinary priest; but something more than this must be intended by Jeremiah, who calls him (Jeremiah 52:34), כֹּהֵן הַמִּשְׁנֶה i.e. distinctly "the second priest." It is conjectured that he was the high priest's substitute, empowered to act for him on occasions. Possibly he was the Zephaniah, son of Maaseiah, of whom we hear a good deal in Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 21:1; Jeremiah 29:25-29: 37:3). And the three keepers of the door; rather, and three keepers of the threshold. There were twenty-five "gatekeepers" of the temple (1 Chronicles 26:17, 18), all of them Levites. On what principle Nebuzar-adan selected three out of the twenty-four is uncertain, since we have no evidence that the temple had. as Bahr says it had, "three main entrances." Jeremiah 38:14 certainly does not prove this. The rest of the people he led away, both those who had been left behind in the city and the deserters who had gone over to the Chaldaeans, and the remnant of the multitude. ההמון יתר, for which we have האמון יתר in Jeremiah 52:15, has been interpreted in various ways. As אמון signifies an artist or artificer in Proverbs 8:30, and העם יתר has just preceded it, we might be disposed to give the preference to the reading האמון, as Hitzig and Graf have done, and understand by it the remnant of the artisans, who were called והמּסגּר החרשׁ in 2 Kings 24:14, 2 Kings 24:16. But this view is precluded by Jeremiah 39:9, where we find הנּשׁארים העם יתר instead of האמון יתר or ההמון .י These words cannot be set aside by the arbitrary assumption that they crept into the text through a copyist's error; for the assertion that they contain a purposeless repetition is a piece of dogmatical criticism, inasmuch as there is a distinction drawn in Jeremiah 39:9 between בּעיר הנּשׁארים העם יתר העם הןּ and הנּשׁארים העם יתר. Consequently האמון is simply another form for ההמון (ה and א being interchanged) in the sense of a mass of people, and we have simply the choice left between two interpretations. Either בּעיר הנּשׁארים העם יתר means the fighting people left in the city, as distinguished from the deserters who had fled to the Chaldaeans, and האמון equals ההמון יתר in Jeremiah 52:15, or הנּשׁארים העם יתר in Jeremiah 39:9, the rest of the inhabitants of Jerusalem; or בּעיר הנּשׁ העם יתר is the people left in Jerusalem (warriors and non-warriors), and ההמון יתר the rest of the population of the land outside Jerusalem. The latter is probably the preferable view, not only because full justice is thereby done to בּעיר in the first clause, but also because it is evident from the exception mentioned in 2 Kings 25:12 that the deportation was not confined to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but extended to the population of the whole land. The "poor people," whom he allowed to remain in the land as vine-dressers and husbandmen, were the common people, or people without property, not merely in Jerusalem, but throughout the whole land. הארץ דּלּת equals עם־הארץ דּלּת (2 Kings 24:14). Instead of מדּלּת we have in Jeremiah מדּלּות: the plural used in an abstract sense, "the poverty," i.e., the lower people, "the poor who had nothing" (Jeremiah 39:10). Instead of the Chethb לגבים from גּוּב, secuit, aravit, the Keri has ליגבים from יגב, in the same sense, after Jeremiah 52:16.
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