Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Ch. 52. Historical Appendix to the Book
This ch. except Jeremiah 52:28-30, whose source is unknown, is taken from 2 Kings 24:18; 2 Kings 25:21; 2 Kings 25:27-30, but in some cases the text here has been more faithfully preserved than that in 2 Kings Vv4-11, 13-16 here have already appeared in Jeremiah 39:1-2; Jeremiah 39:4-10, where see notes. Particulars relating to the Temple vessels, etc., not recorded in ch. 39, are given here (see Jeremiah 52:17-23), while Nebuchadnezzar’s charge concerning Jeremiah’s safety (Jeremiah 39:2-14) is not found in the present narrative. The aim in adding this Appendix apparently was to shew the fulfilment of that overthrow which Jeremiah had so persistently foretold. It may be added that Jeremiah 52:2-3; Jeremiah 52:15; Jeremiah 52:22-30 are not found in the LXX.
Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.Ch. Jeremiah 52:1-11. Capture of the city
1. Zedekiah was one and twenty years old] So 2 Chronicles 36:11, but, if we compare 1 Chronicles 3:15 and 2 Kings 23:31 (= 2 Chronicles 36:2), we find that, supposing the numbers which we now read there to be correct, Zedekiah should by this time have been thirty-four or thirty-five years of age. An error has somewhere crept in.
his mother’s name was Hamutal] or Hamital, the other reading of MT. both here, and in 2 Kgs. Zedekiah was thus brother of Jehoahaz but half-brother of Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:31; 2 Kings 23:36).
And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about.4. in the tenth month] Cp. Zechariah 8:19 for the memorial fast.
Nebuchadrezzar] the more accurate form of the name. See on ch. Jeremiah 21:2.
forts] some kind of bulwarks, or siege-wall.
So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.
And in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land.6. In the fourth month] In memory of this date also, a fast was appointed (Zechariah 8:19). The numeral, which was dropped out of the Kgs. narrative, here survives.
famine] described in detail in Lamentations (Jeremiah 2:19 f., Jeremiah 4:3 ff., Jeremiah 5:10). Cp. Ezekiel 4:16 f., Jeremiah 5:16 f.
the people of the land] the poorer classes, who had taken refuge in Jerusalem, or who dwelt there.
Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king's garden; (now the Chaldeans were by the city round about:) and they went by the way of the plain.7. See on Jeremiah 39:4.
But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him.8. Lamentations 4:19 f. may perhaps refer to this, in which case the circumstances probably were these, that one body of Chaldaeans followed, and another laid wait in the plain. Cp. Ezekiel 12:13.
Then they took the king, and carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; where he gave judgment upon him.9. Riblah] See on Jeremiah 39:5.
he gave judgement upon him] For mg. spake judgements with him see on Jeremiah 1:16.
And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah.10. he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah] omitted in 2 Kgs.
10, 11. These vv. appear in a shorter form in 2 Kings 25:7.
Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.11. he put out the eyes] See on Jeremiah 34:3, and Jeremiah 39:7.
and put him in prison till the day of his death] an addition to the narrative in 2 Kgs.
prison] lit. the house of visitations, i.e. of punishment. The LXX render mill, of which rendering there is also a trace in Jeremiah 39:7 in that Version; an indication perhaps of a tradition on the subject.
Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem,12–27. Severities following upon the capture
12. From this to Jeremiah 52:23, a part of the narrative which has been summarized in Jeremiah 39:8-10, we find in almost verbal accord with 2 Kings 25:8-17.
in the fifth month] See Zechariah 7:3 for the commemorative fast.
tenth] 2 Kgs has seventh. We have no grounds whereby to decide between the two dates.
captain of the guard] See on Jeremiah 39:9.
stood before] See on Jeremiah 15:19.
And burned the house of the LORD, and the king's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire:13. every great house] We must render as mg. every great man’s house, but the Heb. expression is a strange one.
And all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about.
Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive certain of the poor of the people, and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude.15. The whole v. is omitted by the LXX. The words “of the poorest sort of the people and” seem to have come in from the next v. through an error of sight on the part of a copyist. The three classes of persons actually spoken of in the v. appear to be (a) those found within the city at the time of its capture, (b) those who had gone out to the Chaldaeans during the siege (see note on Jeremiah 39:9), (c) the “residue of the multitude.” But for “multitude” read, as mg. artificers. Cp. Proverbs 8:30 (R. V. “a master workman”). The original differs by but one consonant from “multitude” which is the reading in Kings.
But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen.
Also the pillars of brass that were in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brasen sea that was in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans brake, and carried all the brass of them to Babylon.17. This description of the fate of the Temple furniture is much fuller than that in the Kings passage, and has no parallel in ch. 39. For the vessels mentioned in this v., see on ch. Jeremiah 27:19 with note. They were too large to be conveniently carried as they were, and so were broken and taken to Babylon for the sake of the material. For “brass” and “brasen” read bronze in this and the following vv.
The caldrons also, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the bowls, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away.18. pots] See 1 Kings 7:45. They were used (Exodus 27:3) for the altar of burnt offering.
snuffers] for the lamps (Exodus 25:38; Numbers 4:9).
basons] lit. tossing-vessels, to toss (not “sprinkle” as in E.VV. in Leviticus 1:5; Leviticus 1:11; Leviticus 3:2, etc.), the blood of the sacrifices against the sides of the altar.
And the basons, and the firepans, and the bowls, and the caldrons, and the candlesticks, and the spoons, and the cups; that which was of gold in gold, and that which was of silver in silver, took the captain of the guard away.19. The cups, basons, and spoons are said in 1 Kings 7:50 to have been of gold.
candlesticks] See 1 Kings 7:49.
bowls] for libations in connexion with the table of “shewbread.” Cp. Exodus 25:29 in C. B., where Driver suggests “chalices,” and Numbers 4:7.
The two pillars, one sea, and twelve brasen bulls that were under the bases, which king Solomon had made in the house of the LORD: the brass of all these vessels was without weight.20. twelve brasen bulls that were under, etc.] There appears to be some confusion in the MT. In the Temple as built by Solomon the bases were under the lavers, while the twelve bulls supported the sea. (1 Kings 7:25; 1 Kings 7:44.)
And concerning the pillars, the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits; and a fillet of twelve cubits did compass it; and the thickness thereof was four fingers: it was hollow.21. eighteen cubits] a cubit was about 18 inches.
21–23. Cp. 1 Kings 7:15-18.
And a chapiter of brass was upon it; and the height of one chapiter was five cubits, with network and pomegranates upon the chapiters round about, all of brass. The second pillar also and the pomegranates were like unto these.22. a chapiter] a capital.
five cubits] From this, which agrees with 1 Kings 7:16, we must correct the “three cubits” of 2 Kings 25:17, unless we take the smaller number to denote the actual measurement of the network of the chapiter, excluding the pomegranates.
and pomegranates] The Heb. for “network” seems to have dropped out accidentally before these words, while conversely “network” has been retained, and the words “and pomegranates” apparently dropped out through inadvertence in 2 Kings 25:17.
And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side; and all the pomegranates upon the network were an hundred round about.23. In 1 Kings 7:20; 1 Kings 7:42 each pillar is said to have had two rows of pomegranates, a hundred in each, the one above and the other below the ornamental network of the chapiters. It is possible that the account here may not be inconsistent with the existence of such a double row upon each chapiter, though it certainly does not suggest it, or again, one of the rows may have been removed before this period, leaving one hundred on each chapiter.
on the sides] The other renderings in mg. shew that the meaning of the expression is obscure. Suggestions are (a) visible outwards, i.e. four of the hundred in each row were hidden owing to the nearness of the pillar to the wall of the porch, or (b) hanging loosely, i.e. four of the pomegranates were fixed to the network on the capitals, while the rest hung in festoons between them.
And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:24. Seraiah the chief priest] probably identical with the ancestor of Ezra, mentioned Ezra 7:1.
Zephaniah] See on Jeremiah 21:1.
keepers of the door] Heb. threshold. See on Jeremiah 35:4.
24–27. Omitted in ch. 39, but cp. with it 2 Kings 25:18-21.
He took also out of the city an eunuch, which had the charge of the men of war; and seven men of them that were near the king's person, which were found in the city; and the principal scribe of the host, who mustered the people of the land; and threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the midst of the city.25. seven men] in 2 Kings (Jeremiah 25:19) five men.
saw the king’s face] were near his person as privileged members of the court. So in Esther 1:14. Cp. 2 Samuel 3:13; 2 Samuel 14:24; 2 Samuel 14:28.
mustered] organised in military fashion.
So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah.
And the king of Babylon smote them, and put them to death in Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah was carried away captive out of his own land.
This is the people whom Nebuchadrezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year three thousand Jews and three and twenty:28–30. Enumeration of Nebuchadnezzar’s captives
28. in the seventh year] These vv. are absent from the LXX and from 2 Kings 25 and apparently come out of a separate document from the rest. For “seventh” we should read seventeenth, for in Jehoiachin’s captivity the number was far greater than is here specified (2 Kings 24:14; 2 Kings 24:16). Thus the first deportation would consist of the men of Judah taken prisoners outside Jerusalem in the first year of the siege (Jeremiah 39:1), the second (Jeremiah 52:29) of those carried captive “from Jerusalem” itself, but not including those taken into exile after the capture of the city. Of the third occurring some years later we have no other clear account, though we know from Josephus (Ant. X. ix. 7) that Nebuchadnezzar in his 23rd year carried on considerable warlike operations in the direction of Palestine and in Egypt, carrying off Jews from that country to Babylon.
In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons:
In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadrezzar Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons: all the persons were four thousand and six hundred.
And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison,31. the seven and thirtieth year] b.c. 561.
five and twentieth] 2 Kgs has seven and twentieth.
Evil-merodach] See on Jeremiah 27:7.
lifted up the head] For the phrase generally, but not always, used as here in a good sense cp. Genesis 40:13; Genesis 40:20.
31–34. Last notice of Jehoiachin
31–34. Found with slight variations in 2 Kings 25:27-30.
And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon,32. set his throne above] in general, paid him more honour.
the kings] Captured kings were kept at the court of their conqueror to perpetuate the memory of his triumph as well as for security against rebellion. Cp. Jdg 1:7. So Croesus dwelt at the court of Cyrus.
And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life.33. changed his prison garments] Cp. Genesis 41:14; Luke 15:22.
did eat bread before him continually] was admitted to the king’s own table. Cp. 2 Samuel 9:7; 2 Samuel 19:33. So this privilege was accorded to Democêdês the Greek physician after his cure of Darius (Herod. III. 132).
And for his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.34. until the day of his death, all the days of his life] The latter of these clauses (absent from LXX) is probably either an addition to, or originally a substitution for, the former, in order to avoid the inauspicious ending with the word death.