2 Kings 25:4
And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king's garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain.
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(4) Broken up.—Comp. 2Chronicles 32:1. A breach was made in the wall with battering-rams, such as are depicted in the Assyrian sculptures. The Chaldæans forced their entry on the north side of the city, i.e., they took the Lower City (2Kings 22:14). This is clear from Jeremiah 39:3, where it is said that, after effecting an entrance, their generals proceeded to assault “the middle gate,” i.e., the gate in the north wall of Zion, which separated the upper from the lower city. (See also 2Kings 14:13.)

All the men of war fled.—The Hebrew here is defective, for it wants a verb, and mention of the king is implied by what follows. (See Jeremiah 39:4; Jeremiah 52:7.) A comparison of these parallels suggests the reading: “And Zedekiah king of Judah and all the men of war fled, and went out of the city by night,” &c.

By the way of the gate between (the) two walls which is (was) by the king’s garden.—This gate lay at the south end of the Tyropœon, i.e., the glen between Ophel and Zion; and is the same as “the Gate of the Fountain” (Nehemiah 3:15). The two walls were necessary for the protection of the Pool of Siloam and the water supply; besides which the point was naturally weak for purposes of defence. Whether “the king’s garden” was within or without the double wall is not clear, probably the latter, as Thenius supposes.

Now the Chaldees . . . round about.—An indication that even by this route the king and his warriors had to break through the enemy’s lines, as the city was completely invested. (Corap. Ezekiel 12:12.)

And the king went.— Some MSS. and the Syriac, and they went. (So Jeremiah 52:7; a correction, after the mention of the king had fallen out of the text.)

The way toward the plain.—The Arabah, or valley of the Jordan (Joshua 11:2; 2Samuel 2:29).

2 Kings 25:4. The city was broken up — It was taken by storm, the besiegers having made a breach in the wall, at which they forced their way into it. All the men of war fled — Being unable any longer to defend the city, they endeavoured to quit it, which many of them found means to do by the way of the gate between the two walls — That is, between the inward and outward walls of the city, or between the wall and the outworks, by a private way, having the advantage of the darkness of the night, and possibly of some vault under the ground. Many however, no doubt, were put to the sword, the victorious army being much exasperated by their obstinacy. To account, in some degree, for the besieged making their escape, Josephus observes, that as the city was taken about midnight, the enemies’ captains, with the rest of the soldiers, went directly into the temple, which Zedekiah perceiving, took his wives, children, commanders, and friends, and they all slipped away together, by a narrow passage, toward the wilderness. But what this narrow passage was, is still a question. The Jews think there was a subterraneous passage from the palace to the plains of Jericho, and that the king and his courtiers might endeavour to make their escape that way. And we learn from Dion, that in the last siege of Jerusalem by the Romans, the Jews had covered ways, which lay under the walls of the city, to a considerable distance into the country, out of which they were wont to sally, and fall upon the Romans that were straggling from the camp: but since neither Josephus nor the sacred historian takes notice of any such subterraneous passage at this siege, it is most likely that the Chaldeans having made a breach in the wall, many of the besieged escaped through it, proceeding privately between the wall and the outworks, by a passage which the Chaldeans did not suspect. The king went toward the plain — Of Jericho, as it follows.

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 city was broken up - Rather, "broken into," i. e., A breach was made about midnight in the northern wall Ezekiel 9:2, and an entry effected into the second or lower city (see the 2 Kings 22:14 note), which was protected by the wall of Manasseh 2 Chronicles 33:14.

Precipitate flight followed on the advance of the Babylonians to the "middle gate," or gate of communication between the upper and the lower cities. This position was only a little north of the royal palace, which the king therefore quitted. He escaped by the royal garden at the junction of the Hinnom and Kidron valleys, passing between the two walls which skirted on either side the valley of the Tyropoeon.

Toward the plain - "The Arabah" or the great depression which bounds Palestine Proper on the east (Numbers 21:4 note). The "way toward the Arabah" is here the road leading eastward over Olivet to Bethany and Jericho.

2Ki 25:4-30. Zedekiah Taken.

4. the city was broken up—that is, a breach was effected, as we are elsewhere informed, in a part of the wall belonging to the lower city (2Ch 32:5; 33:14).

the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king's garden—The king's garden was (Ne 3:15) at the pool of Siloam, that is, at the mouth of the Tyropæon. A trace of the outermost of these walls appears to be still extant in the rude pathway which crosses the mouth of the Tyropæon, on a mound hard by the old mulberry tree, which marks the traditional spot of Isaiah's martyrdom [Robinson]. It is probable that the besiegers had overlooked this pass.

the king went … toward the plain—that is, the Ghor, or valley of Jordan, estimated at five hours' distance from Jerusalem. The plain near Jericho is about eleven or twelve miles broad.

The city was broken up by the Chaldeans, who broke and entered the gate, Jeremiah 39:3.

The men of war fled; which word is fitly supplied out of the parallel place, Jeremiah 39:4, or out of the following verb, went away.

Between two walls; between the outward and inward wall of the city, by a private way, having the advantage of the darkness of the night, and possibly of some vault under the ground. The king: this word also is necessarily to be understood; partly by its singular, which agrees not with the men of war; and partly out of the next verse, where it is expressed.

Toward the plain of Jericho, as it follows.

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 the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the {d} gate between two walls, which is by the king's garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain.

(d) Which was a back door, or some secret gate to leave by.

4. And the city was broken up] R.V. Then a breach was made in the city. The old phrase ‘broken up’ was the same in sense as ‘broken through’. See 2 Chronicles 24:7; Jeremiah 39:7; Micah 2:13; Matthew 24:43; Mark 2:4.

We have a more full account of the events here alluded to in Jeremiah 39:2-7. There we learn that when the breach had been made the princes of the king of Babylon came in and sat in the middle gate, and when Zedekiah saw them he and his men of war fled.

the men of war fled by night] The verb is supplied, but appears in the text of Jeremiah 39:4; Jeremiah 52:7. The scribe in this passage has been much at fault.

by the way of the gate between two [R.V. the two] walls] This was a definite locality. The A.V. translates as R.V. in Jeremiah 39 From its proximity to the king’s garden, this gate must be the same which is called in Nehemiah 2:14; Nehemiah 3:15, ‘the gate of the fountain’. It was close to the pool of Siloam, and so the way through it would lead down to the Kidron valley.

which is [R.V. was] by the king’s garden] The past tense suits the narrative and its date better. Whether the king’s garden was outside or within the walls does not appear.

and the king went the way [R.V. by the way] toward the plain] R.V. of the Arabah. See note on 2 Kings 14:25. The whole valley from the sea of Galilee southward to the desert was called by this name. On the character of this flight compare the words of Ezekiel 12:12.

Verse 4. - And the city was broken up; rather, brown into; i.e. a breach was made in the walls. Probably the breach was on the north side of the city, where the ground is nearly level (see Ezekiel 9:2). According to Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 10:8. § 2), the enemy entered through the breach about midnight. And all the men of war - i.e., all the soldiers who formed the garrison - fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls; rather, between the two walls, as in Jeremiah 52:7. As the enemy broke in on the north, the king and garrison quitted the city on the south by a gate which opened into the Tyropoeon valley, between the two walls that guarded the town on either side of it. Which is by the king's garden. The royal gardens were situated near the Pool of Siloam, at the mouth of the Tyrepoeon, and near the junction of the Hinnom with the Kidron valley (see Josephus, 'Ant. Jud.,' 7:11). (Now the Chaldees were against the city round about.) The town, i.e., was guarded on all sides by Chaldean troops, so that Zedekiah and his soldiers must either have attacked the line of guard, and broken through it, or have slipped between two of the blockading pests under cover of the darkness. As no collision is mentioned, either here or in Jeremiah, the latter seems the more probable supposition. And the king went the way toward the plain; literally, and he 'went. The writer supposes that his readers will understand that the king left the city with his troops; and so regards "he went" as sufficiently intelligible. Jeremiah 52:7 has "they went. By "the plain" (literally, "the Arabsh") the valley of the Jordan is intended, and by "the way" to it the ordinary road from Jerusalem to Jericho. 2 Kings 25:4Trusting partly to the help of the Egyptians and partly to the strength of Jerusalem, Zedekiah paid no attention to the repeated entreaties of Jeremiah, that he would save himself with his capital and people from the destruction which was otherwise inevitable, by submitting, to the Chaldaeans (cf. Jeremiah 38:17, Jeremiah 38:18), but allowed things to reach their worst, until the famine became so intense, that inhuman horrors were perpetrated (cf. Lamentations 2:20-21; Lamentations 4:9-10), and eventually a breach was made in the city wall on the ninth day of the fourth month. The statement of the month is omitted in our text, where the words הרביעי בּחרשׁ (Jeremiah 52:6, cf. Jeremiah 39:2) have fallen out before בּתשׁעה (2 Kings 25:3, commencement) through the oversight of a copyist. The overwhelming extent of the famine is mentioned, not "because the people were thereby rendered quite unfit to offer any further resistance" (Seb. Schm.), but as a proof of the truth of the prophetic announcements (Leviticus 26:29; Deuteronomy 28:53-57; Jeremiah 15:2; Jeremiah 27:13; Ezekiel 4:16-17). הארץ עם are the common people in Jerusalem, or the citizens of the capital. From the more minute account of the entrance of the enemy into the city in Jeremiah 39:3-5 we learn that the Chaldaeans made a breach in the northern or outer wall of the lower city, i.e., the second wall, built by Hezekiah and Manasseh (2 Chronicles 32:5; 2 Chronicles 33:14), and forced their way into the lower city (המּשׁנה, 2 Kings 22:14), so that their generals took their stand at the gate of the centre, which was in the wall that separated the lower city from the upper city upon Zion, and formed the passage from the one to the other. When Zedekiah saw them here, he fled by night with the soldiers out of the city, through the gate between the two walls at or above the king's garden, on the road to the plain of the Jordan, while the Chaldaeans were round about the city. In 2 Kings 25:4 a faulty text has come down to us. In the clause המּלחמה וכל־אנשׁי the verb יברחוּ is omitted, if not even more, namely העיר מן ויּצאוּ יברחוּ, "fled and went out of the city." And if we compare Jeremiah 39:4, it is evident that before הם וכל־אנשׁיstill more has dropped out, not merely המּלך, which must have stood in the text, since according to 2 Kings 25:5 the king was among the fugitives; but most probably the whole clause יהוּדה מלך צדקיּהוּ ראם כּאשׁר ויהי, since the words הם וכל־אנשׁי have no real connection with what precedes, and cannot form a circumstantial clause so far as the sense is concerned. The "gate between the two walls, which (was) at or over (על) the king's garden," was a gate at the mouth of the Tyropoeon, that is to say, at the south-eastern corner of the city of Zion; for, according to Nehemiah 3:15, the king's garden was at the pool of Siloah, i.e., at the mouth of the Tyropoeon (see Rob. Pal. ii. 142). By this defile, therefore, the approach to the city was barred by a double wall, the inner one running from Zion to the Ophel, whilst the outer one, at some distance off, connected the Zion wall with the outer surrounding wall of the Ophel, and most probably enclosed the king's garden. The subject to ויּלך is המּלך, which has dropped out before הם וכל־אנשׁי. הערבה is the lowland valley on both sides of the Jordan (see at Deuteronomy 1:1).
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