Jeremiah 39
Benson Commentary
In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and they besieged it.
Jeremiah 39:1-3. In the ninth year of Zedekiah, &c. — See notes on 2 Kings 25:1-4. And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate — Or, the gate of the centre, as Blaney translates it, observing, “The city of Jerusalem stood upon two hills, Zion to the south, and Acra to the north, with a deep valley between them. The gate of the centre, as the term seems plainly to import, was a gate of communication in the middle of the valley between the two parts of the city, sometimes called the higher and the lower city. The Chaldeans entered the city on the north side by a breach in the walls, and immediately rushing forward, and posting themselves in this gate, in the very heart of the city, they became thereby masters at will of the whole. Zedekiah, with his troops, perceiving this, fled out of the opposite gate on the south side.” Even Nergal- sharezer, Samgar-nebo, &c. — It was customary among the Chaldeans to give the names of their idols, as an additional title or mark of honour, to persons of distinction: see note on Isaiah 39:1. Nergal was the name of an idol worshipped by the Cuthites, 2 Kings 17:30. Nebo was a Babylonish deity, Isaiah 46:1.

And in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up.
And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, even Nergalsharezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergalsharezer, Rabmag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon.
And it came to pass, that when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the men of war, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king's garden, by the gate betwixt the two walls: and he went out the way of the plain.
Jeremiah 39:4-10. They fled by the gate betwixt the two walls — Betwixt the wall and the outworks, or betwixt the old wall of the city and the new one which Hezekiah built, of which mention is made 2 Chronicles 32:5. See note on 2 Kings 25:4. Blaney thinks it probable that between these two walls there might be a private postern through which the king and his followers might slip out unperceived by the besiegers, who surrounded the city, and undoubtedly kept a strict watch on the principal gates. The Chaldean army pursued, &c. — For an illustration of this and the five following verses, see notes on 2 Kings 25:5-12.

But the Chaldeans' army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him.
Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah.
Moreover he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon.
And the Chaldeans burned the king's house, and the houses of the people, with fire, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem.
Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to him, with the rest of the people that remained.
But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left of the poor of the people, which had nothing, in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time.
Now Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying,
Jeremiah 39:11-12. Now Nebuchadrezzar gave charge concerning Jeremiah — He had undoubtedly been informed of the advice which Jeremiah had given, both to the king and people, to submit themselves to his authority: which advice, if it had been taken, would have prevented the charge and labour of so long a siege, and the bloodshed that attended it. Saying, Take him and look well to him — Through this order of the king of Babylon, God fulfilled his promise made Jeremiah 15:11, I will cause the enemy to treat thee well in the day of evil. Jeremiah had been faithful to his God as a prophet, and now God approves himself faithful to him, and the promise he had made him. Now he is comforted, according to the time wherein he had been afflicted, and sees many fall on each hand while he is safe. The false prophets fell by those judgments which they affirmed would never come, (Jeremiah 14:15,) which made their misery the more terrible to them. The true prophet escaped those judgments which he said would come, and that made his escape the more comfortable to him. The same persons who were the instruments of punishing the persecutors, were the instruments of relieving the persecuted; and Jeremiah did not the less prize his deliverance, because it came by the hand of the king of Babylon, but saw thereby more of the hand of God in it.

Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee.
So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent, and Nebushasban, Rabsaris, and Nergalsharezer, Rabmag, and all the king of Babylon's princes;
Jeremiah 39:13-14. Nebuzar-adan sent and took Jeremiah out of the court of the prison — Where he was when the city was taken, Jeremiah 38:28; and committed him unto Gedaliah — Namely, after he had been carried out of Jerusalem with the rest of the captives as far as Ramah: see Jeremiah 40:1-5. Observe here, reader, a king of Israel and his princes put the Lord’s prophet in prison, and a heathen king and his princes took him out! God’s people and ministers have often met with fairer and kinder treatment among strangers and infidels than among those who call themselves of the holy city. St. Paul found more favour and justice with King Agrippa than with Ananias the high-priest. But we shall meet with a more full account of Jeremiah’s release, and of the kind treatment he received from the Chaldeans, in the next chapter.

Even they sent, and took Jeremiah out of the court of the prison, and committed him unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, that he should carry him home: so he dwelt among the people.
Now the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying,
Jeremiah 39:15-18. The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah when he was in the court of the prison — These words give us to understand that this and the next three verses respect a matter which took place before the things related in the preceding part of this chapter, namely, the kindness which Ebed-melech showed to Jeremiah in his distress. Here God commissions his prophet to promise him a recompense for that kindness. He had relieved a prophet in the name of a prophet, and he is here assured he shall receive a prophet’s reward. This message was delivered to him immediately after he had shown that mercy to Jeremiah; but it is mentioned here after the taking of the city, to show that, as God was kind to Jeremiah at that time, so he was to Ebed-melech for his sake; and it was a special favour to both, as they no doubt accounted it, that they were not involved in the common calamities.

Go and speak to Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished in that day before thee.
But I will deliver thee in that day, saith the LORD: and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid.
For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD.
Benson Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

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