2 Kings 25:19
And out of the city he took an officer that was set over the men of war, and five men of them that were in the king's presence, which were found in the city, and the principal scribe of the host, which mustered the people of the land, and three score men of the people of the land that were found in the city:
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(19) The city.—Thenius is probably right in explaining the city of David.

An officer that was set over the men of wari.e., a royal officer commanding the garrison of the city of David. He was probably not an eunuch (2Kings 20:18; 2Kings 24:12), though in the Byzantine empire, at all events, eunuchs were sometimes great soldiers—e.g., the heroic Narses.

And five men of them . . .—See margin. The phrase is explained by the seclusion affected by Oriental sovereigns. The LXX., Syriac, and Vulg., read five; the Targum, fifty. Jeremiah 52 and the Arabic read seven. The numeral letter denoting 5 had probably become partially obliterated in the MS. used by the writer of Jeremiah 52. The persons in question were royal counsellors. They may have dissuaded the king from flight, and so held out to the last (Thenius).

The principal scribe of the host.—See margin. This scribe was an officer on the staff of the commander-in-chief, who had himself either fallen fighting or accompanied the king in his flight.

Which mustered the people of the land—i.e., enrolled the names of such persons as were bound to serve in the army.

Threescore men of the people of the land . . .i.e., apparently the remains of the garrison of the citadel. Keil thinks such as had distinguished themselves above others in the defence, or had been ringleaders in the rebellion.

That were found . . .—This expression seems to imply that they were the few survivors of a much larger force.

In the city.—Jeremiah 52 in the midst of the city, an expression which seems to point to the city of David, which was the strategical centre of Jerusalem.

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.Out of the city - This clause shows that the five persons mentioned in 2 Kings 25:18 were taken out of the temple.

Five men - Or, "seven men," according to Jeremiah 52:25. It is impossible to say which of the two numbers is correct.

Of them that were in the king's presence - See the margin. A mode of speech arising from the custom of Eastern rulers to withdraw themselves as much as possible from the view of their subjects.

19. five men of them that were in the king's presence—that is, who belonged to the royal retinue. It is probable that there were five at first, and that other two were found afterwards (Jer 52:25). Of them that were in the king’s presence, i.e. of them who constantly attended upon the king’s person: see 1 Kings 10:8 Esther 1:14.

Object. These were seven, Jeremiah 52:25.

Answ. Either five were first taken, and two after them; or two of the seven were of an inferior rank, who therefore are here omitted.

Threescore men of the people of the land; who had been most forward or active in the rebellion. 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 out of the city he took an officer that was set over the men of war, and {k} five men of them that were in the king's presence, which were found in the city, and the principal scribe of the host, which mustered the people of the land, and threescore men of the people of the land that were found in the city:

(k) Jeremiah makes mention of seven but here he speaks of those who were the chiefest.

19. five men of them that were in the king’s presence] R.V. that saw the king’s face. For the expression, cf. Esther 1:14. The officer over the men of war, and the five persons admitted to closest intimacy with the king, together with the scribe, represented the remaining conspicuous persons in the city: Seraiah and the others were prominent among the servants of the temple.

principal scribe of the host] R.V. the scribe, the captain of the host. This was the chief military secretary, Secretary at War. Some would render ‘the scribe of the captain of the host,’ and suggest that his superior officer had been already taken away, or had fled.

threescore men of the people of the land] These, though undefined, had made themselves obnoxious in some way or other; else they would not have been taken and put to death among the distinguished people named before them.Verse 19. - And out of the city he took an officer - literally, a eunuch - that was set over the man of war - eunuchs were often employed in the East as commanders of soldiers. Bagoas, general of the Persian monarch, Ochus, is a noted example - and five men of them that were in the king's presence - literally, of them that saw the king's face; i.e. that were habitually about the court; Jeremiah says (Jeremiah 50:25) "seven men" instead of five - which were found in the city - the majority of the courtiers had, no doubt, dispersed, and were not to be found when Nebuzar-adan searched for them - and the principal scribe of the host; rather, as in the margin, the scribe of the captain of the host (τὸν γραμματέα τοῦ ἄρχοντος τῆς δυνάμεως, LXX.). "Scribes" or "secretaries" always accompanied the march of Assyrian armies, to count and record the number of the slain, to catalogue the spoil, perhaps to write dispatches and the like. We may gather that Jewish commandants were similarly attended. Which mustered the people of the land - i.e., enrolled them, or entered them upon the army list, another of the "scribe's" duties - and threescore men of the people of the land that were found in the city. Probably notables of one kind or another, persons regarded as especially responsible for the revolt. The brazen vessels of the temple were broken in pieces, and the brass, and smaller vessels of brass, silver, and gold, were carried away. Compare Jeremiah 52:17-23, where several other points are mentioned that have been passed over in the account before us. The pillars of brass (see 1 Kings 7:15.), the stands (see 1 Kings 7:27.), and the brazen sea (1 Kings 7:23.), were broken in pieces, because it would have been difficult to carry these colossal things away without breaking them up. On the smaller vessels used in the worship (2 Kings 25:14) see 1 Kings 7:40. In Jeremiah 52:18 המּזרקת are also mentioned. 2 Kings 25:15 is abridged still more in contrast with Jeremiah 52:19, and only המּחתּות and המּזרקות are mentioned, whereas in Jeremiah six different things are enumerated beside the candlesticks. כּסף...זהב אשׁר, "what was of gold, gold, what was of silver, silver, the captain of the guard took away," is a comprehensive description of the objects carried away. To this there is appended a remark in 2 Kings 25:16 concerning the quantity of the brass of the large vessels, which was so great that it could not be weighed; and in 2 Kings 25:17 a supplementary notice respecting the artistic work of the two pillars of brass. וגו העמּוּדים is placed at the head absolutely: as for the pillars, etc., the brass of all these vessels was not to be weighed. In Jeremiah 52:20, along with the brazen sea, the twelve brazen oxen under it are mentioned; and in the description of the pillars of brass (Jeremiah 52:21.) there are several points alluded to which are omitted in our books, not only here, but also in 1 Kings 7:16. For the fact itself see the explanation given there. The omission of the twelve oxen in so condensed an account as that contained in our text does not warrant the inference that these words in Jeremiah are a spurious addition made by a later copyist, since the assumption that Ahaz sent the brazen oxen to king Tiglath-pileser cannot be proved from 2 Kings 16:17. Instead of אמּה שׁלשׁ we must read אמּת המשׁ, five cubits, according to Jeremiah 52:22 and 1 Kings 7:16. The על־השּׂבכה at the end of the verse is very striking, since it stands quite alone, and when connected with וגו וכאלּה does not appear to yield any appropriate sense, as the second pillar was like the first not merely with regard to the trellis-work, but in its form and size throughout. At the same time, it is possible that the historian intended to give especial prominence to the similarity of the two pillars with reference to this one point alone.
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