2 Kings 25:3
And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.
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(3) And on the ninth day of the fourth month.—The text is supplemented from Jeremiah 39:2; Jeremiah 52:6. The Syriac, however, has, “And in the eleventh year of King Zedekiah, in the fifth month, on the ninth day of the month, the famine prevailed,” &c.; which may be original. (Comp. 2Kings 25:1.)

The famine prevailed.—Not that the scarcity was first felt on that day, but that it then had reached a climax, so that defence was no longer possible. The horrors of the siege are referred to in Lamentations 2:11 seq., Lamentations 2:19 seq., Lamentations 4:3-10; Ezekiel 5:10; Baruch 2:3. As in the famine of Samaria and the last siege of Jerusalem, parents ate their own offspring. (Comp. the prophetic threats of Leviticus 26:29; Deuteronomy 28:53 seq.; Jeremiah 15:2 seq., Jeremiah 27:13; Ezekiel 4:16 seq.)

The people of the land.—The population of the city, especially the families which had crowded into it from the country. Thenius, as usual, insists that the militia are meant. But these are the “men of war” (2Kings 25:4).

2 Kings 25:3. The famine prevailed in the city — So that for a long time they ate their bread, as Ezekiel foretold they should do, (Ezekiel 4:16,) by weight and with care, and drunk their water by measure and with astonishment, perceiving the quantity of it lessening fast every day, and having no hope of a fresh supply. Thus they were punished for their gluttony and excess, their fulness of bread, and feeding themselves without fear. At length there was no bread for the people of the land — For the common people, who, upon the approach of the Babylonian army, had flocked from all parts of the country, to secure themselves and their families, but only for the great men. Now they eat their own children for want of food, as had been foretold by one prophet, (Ezekiel 5:10,) and is bewailed by another, Lamentations 4:3, &c. Jeremiah, in this extremity, earnestly persuaded the king to surrender, but his heart was hardened to his destruction.25:1-7 Jerusalem was so fortified, that it could not be taken till famine rendered the besieged unable to resist. In the prophecy and Lamentations of Jeremiah, we find more of this event; here it suffices to say, that the impiety and misery of the besieged were very great. At length the city was taken by storm. The king, his family, and his great men escaped in the night, by secret passages. But those deceive themselves who think to escape God's judgments, as much as those who think to brave them. By what befell Zedekiah, two prophecies, which seemed to contradict each other, were both fulfilled. Jeremiah prophesied that Zedekiah should be brought to Babylon, Jer 32:5; 34:3; Ezekiel, that he should not see Babylon, Eze 12:13. He was brought thither, but his eyes being put out, he did not see it.The siege lasted almost exactly a year and a half. Its calamities - famine, pestilence, and intense suffering - are best understood from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, written probably almost immediately after the capture. 3. on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed—In consequence of the close and protracted blockade, the inhabitants were reduced to dreadful extremities; and under the maddening influence of hunger, the most inhuman atrocities were perpetrated (La 2:20, 22; 4:9, 10; Eze 5:10). This was a fulfilment of the prophetic denunciations threatened on the apostasy of the chosen people (Le 26:29; De 28:53-57; Jer 15:2; 27:13; Eze 4:16). The fourth month; which word is easily understood, by comparing this and the first verse, and Jeremiah 39:2 52:6, where it is expressed.

For the people of the land, i.e. for the common sort of people, who flocked thither from all parts, upon the approach of the Babylonian army; but only for the great men and soldiers. See of the grievousness of this famine, Lamentations 4:10 Ezekiel 5:10,12. And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign,.... Of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah. From hence to the end of 2 Kings 25:7, the account exactly agrees with Jeremiah 52:4. And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine {c} prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.

(c) So much that the mothers ate their children, La 4:10.

3. And on the ninth day of the fourth month] The words in italic omitted here by the scribe, can be filled up from Jeremiah 39:2; Jeremiah 52:6.

the famine prevailed] R.V. was sore. The verb is that which is found used of famine in Genesis 41:56-57, though we have a different word for a sore famine in Genesis 43:1. The rendering of R.V. is from A.V. in Jeremiah 39:6.Verse 3. - And on the ninth day of the fourth month. The text of Kings is here incomplete, and has to be restored from Jeremiah 52:6. Our translators have supplied the missing words. The famine prevailed in the city (see the comment on ver. 2). As I have elsewhere observed, "The intensity of the suffering endured may be gathered from Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Josephus. The complexions of the men grew black with famine (Lamentations 4:8; Lamentations 5:10); their skin was shrunk and parched (Lamentations 4:8); the rich and noble women searched the dunghills for setups of offal (Lamentations 4:5); the children perished for want, or were even devoured by their parents (Lamentations 2:20; Lamentations 4:3, 4, 10; Ezekiel 5:10); water was scarce, as well as food, and was sold at a price (Lamentations 5:4); third part of the inhabitants died of the famine, and the plague which grew out of it (Ezekiel 5:12)" (see the 'Speaker's Commentary,' vol. it. p. 147). And there was no bread for the people of the land. Bread commonly fails comparatively early in a siege. It was some time before the fall of the city that Ebed-Meleeh expressed his fear that Jeremiah would starve, since there was no more bread in the place (see Jeremiah 38:9). Over the lower classes of the people who had been left behind Nebuchadnezzar placed the paternal uncle of the king, who had been led away, viz., Mattaniah, and made him king under the name of Zedekiah. He was the youngest son of Josiah (Jeremiah 1:3; Jeremiah 37:1); was only ten years old when his father died, and twenty-one years old when he ascended the throne; and as the uncle of Jehoiachin, who being only a youth of eighteen could not have a son capable of reigning, had the first claim to the throne. Instead of דּדו, his uncle, we have in 2 Chronicles 36:10 אהיו, his brother, i.e., his nearest relation. On the change in the name see at 2 Kings 23:34. The name צדקיּהוּ, i.e., he who has Jehovah's righteousness, was probably chosen by Mattaniah in the hope that through him or in his reign the Lord would create the righteousness promised to His people.
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