And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)In the plains of Jericho.—In the neighbour. hood of Jericho, the Arabah expands to the breadth of eleven or twelve miles. The part west of Jordan was called the “plains” (Arbôth plural of Arabah) of Jericho; and that which lay east of the river was known as the plains of Moab (Joshua 4:13; Numbers 22:1). The depression between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Akaba still bears the old name of the Arabah; between the Dead Sea and the Lake of Tiberias it is called the Ghor.2 Kings 25:5. The army of the Chaldees pursued after the king — Intelligence was soon given of his flight, and which way he was gone, so that they soon overtook him. And all his army — His guards; were scattered from him — Every man shifting for his safety. Had he made his peace with God, and put himself under his protection, he would not have failed him now. It seems to have been the design of the king, and of those with him, to escape into Egypt through Arabia Deserta. Zechariah 12:13 had prophesied this capture; and the latter had also prophesied the dispersion of the troops 2 Kings 25:14.
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.2 Kings 25:7, the account exactly agrees with Jeremiah 52:4. And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. And [R.V. But] the army of the Chaldees] R.V. Chaldeans. This change in the name of the people of Babylon is made in every place through the chapter. As the troops were all round the city there was very little chance for the king to get away. In his flight he was making for the Jordan, thinking pursuit to be more difficult in the mountainous region on the east of the river. But he was overtaken in the plains of Jericho, before the river was reached.Verse 5. - And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king. When the escape of Zedekiah and the soldiers of the garrison was discovered, hot pursuit was made, since the honor of the great king required that his enemies should be brought captive to his presence. The commanders at Jerusalem would fuel this the more sensibly, since Nebuchadnezzar had for some time retired from the siege, and left its conduct to them, while he himself exercised a general superintendence over military affairs from Riblah (see ver. 6). They were liable to be held responsible for the escape. And overtook him in the plains of Jericho. The "plains of Jericho" (עַרְבות יְרֵחו) is the fertile tract on the right bank of the Jordan near its embouchure, which was excellently watered, and cultivated in gardens, orchards, and palm-groves. It is probable, though not certain, that Zedekiah intended to cross the Jordan, and seek a refuge in Moab. And all his army were scattered from him (comp. Ezekiel 12:14). This seems to be mentioned in order to account for there being no engagement. Perhaps, thinking themselves in security, and imagining that they were not followed, the troops had dispersed themselves among the farmhouses and homesteads, to obtain a much-needed refreshment. Jeremiah 52) furnishes a parallel, which agrees with it for the most part word for word, omitting only the short account of the murder of Gedaliah and of the flight of the people to Egypt (2 Kings 25:22-26), and adding instead a computation of the number of the people who were led away to Babel by Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 52:28-30). Apart from the less important variations, which have arisen in part simply from copyists' errors, we have in Jeremiah 52:18, and especially in Jeremiah 52:21 and Jeremiah 52:22, by no means unimportant notices concerning the vessels of the temple, especially concerning the ornaments of the brazen pillars, which do not occur anywhere in our books. It is evident from this that our text was not derived from Jer (Hvernick), and that Jer was not borrowed from our books of Kings and appended to the book of Jeremiah's prophecies (Ros., Maur., Ew., Graf). On the contrary, the two accounts are simply brief extracts from one common and more elaborate history of the later times of the kingdom of Judah, possibly composed by Jeremiah or Baruch, analogous to the two extracts from the history of Hezekiah in 2 Kings 18-20 and Isaiah 36-39. - More minute accounts of this space of time are given in the historical portions of the prophecies of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 39-44), which form an explanatory commentary to the section before us.)
Length and spirit of Zedekiah's reign (cf. Jeremiah 52:1-3, and 2 Chronicles 36:11-13). - Zedekiah's mother Hamital, daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah, was also the mother of Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:31); consequently he was his own brother and the half-brother of Jehoiakim, whose mother was named Zebidah (2 Kings 23:36). His reign lasted eleven years, and in its attitude towards the Lord exactly resembled that of his brother Jehoiakim, except that Zedekiah does not appear to have possessed so much energy for that which was evil. According to Jeremiah 38:5 and Jeremiah 38:24., he was weak in character, and completely governed by the great men of his kingdom, having no power or courage whatever to offer resistance. but, like them, he did not hearken to the words of the Lord through Jeremiah (Jeremiah 37:2), or, as it is expressed in 2 Chronicles 36:12, "he did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spake to him out of the mouth of the Lord."
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