This chapter was added after Jeremiah's time probably by Ezra, after the return from the captivity, of which it gives a short account, nearly the same as in 2 Kings 24:18-20, and 2 Kings 24:18-20. It is very properly subjoined to the preceding prophecies, in order to show how exactly they were fulfilled. It likewise forms a proper introduction to the following Lamentations, as it gives an account of the mournful events which gave rise to them. Zedekiah's evil reign and rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah 52:1-3. Jerusalem is taken by the Chaldeans after a siege of eighteen months, Jeremiah 52:4-7. Zedekiah pursued and taken in the plains of Jericho, and his whole army dispersed, Jeremiah 52:8, Jeremiah 52:9. The king's sons and all the princes of Judah slain in Riblah, Jeremiah 52:10. Zedekiah has his eyes put out by order of the Chaldean monarch; and is afterward bound in chains, carried to Babylon, and imprisoned for life, Jeremiah 52:11. Nebuzar-adan, the captain of the guard, burns and spoils the city and temple, Jeremiah 52:12-19. The two pillars of the temple, with their dimensions and ornaments, Jeremiah 52:20-23. The officers of the temple, and several others, carried away captives into Babylon, and then slain by order of Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah 52:24-27. The number of Jews that Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive in the seventh year of his reign, Jeremiah 52:28; in his eighteenth year, Jeremiah 52:29; and in his twenty-third year, Jeremiah 52:30. Evil-merodach, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, in the year of his accession to the throne of Babylon, (which was in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity, and the one hundred and ninety-first from the building of Rome, according to the computation of Varro), orders Jehoiachin to be taken out of prison, and treats him kindly for the remainder of his life, Jeremiah 52:31-34.
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.Zedekiah was one and twenty years old - See 2 Kings 24:18.
And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.And he did - evil - This and the following verse are the same as 2 Kings 24:19.
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.Through the anger of the Lord - Here is a king given to a people in God's anger, and taken away in his displeasure.
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.Ninth year - tenth month - Answering nearly to our January.
So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.So the city was besieged - It held out one year and six months.
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.And in the fourth month - See the notes on Jeremiah 39:1, etc. The fourth month answers nearly to our July.
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.
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.The army of the Chaldeans pursued - See on 2 Kings 25:5 (note).
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.King of Babylon to Riblah - See the note on Jeremiah 39:5.
And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah.
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.He put out the eyes of Zedekiah - See on Jeremiah 39:7 (note).
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,Now in the fifth month - Answering nearly to our August.
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:And burned the house of the Lord - Thus perished this magnificent structure, after it had stood four hundred and twenty-four years three months and eight days. It was built A.M. 2992, and destroyed A.M. 3416.
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.Those that fell away - The deserters to the Chaldeans during the siege.
But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen.The poor of the land - See on Jeremiah 39:1 (note).
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.Also the pillars - See on Jeremiah 27:19 (note).
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.In reference to these verses see the parallel texts Exodus 27:3 (note); 2 Kings 25:14-16 (note); 1 Kings 7:47 (note); 1 Kings 7:15 (note); 2 Chronicles 3:15 (note); 1 Kings 7:20 (note), and the notes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side; and all the pomegranates upon the network were an hundred round about.
And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:The second priest - See the note on 2 Kings 25:18.
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.Seven men - that were near the king's person - These were privy counsellors.
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:On these verses Dr. Blayney has some sensible remarks; I will extract the substance. These verses are not inserted in 2 Kings 25. Are we to conclude from these verses that the whole number of the Jews which Nebuchadnezzar, in all his expeditions, carried away, was no more than four thousand six hundred? This cannot be true; for he carried away more than twice that number at one time and this is expressly said to have been in the eighth year of his reign, 2 Kings 24:12-16. Before that time he had carried off a number of captives from Jerusalem, in the first year of his reign, among whom were Daniel and his companions, Daniel 1:3-6. These are confessedly not noticed here. And as the taking and burning of Jerusalem is in this very chapter said to have been in the fourth and fifth months of the nineteenth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, those who were carried into captivity at the date of those events cannot possibly be the same with those that are said to be carried away either in the eighteenth or twenty-third year of that prince. Nor, indeed, is it credible that the number carried away at the time that the city was taken, and the whole country reduced, could be so few as eight hundred and thirty-two, (see Jeremiah 52:29); supposing a mistake in the date of the year, which some are willing to do without sufficient grounds.
Here then we have three deportations, and those the most considerable ones, in the first, in the eighth, and nineteenth years of Nebuchadnezzar, sufficiently distinguished from those in the seventh, eighteenth, and twenty-third years. So that it seems most reasonable to conclude with Abp. Usher, in Chronologia Sacra, that by the latter three the historian meant to point out deportations of a minor kind, not elsewhere noticed in direct terms in Scripture.
The first of these, said to have been in the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, was one of those that had been picked up in several parts of Judah by the band of Chaldeans, Syrians, and others, whom the king of Babylon sent against the land previously to his own coming, 2 Kings 24:2.
That in the eighteenth year corresponds with the time when the Chaldean army broke off the siege before Jerusalem, and marched to meet the Egyptian army, at which time they might think it proper to send off the prisoners that were in camp, under a guard to Babylon.
And the last, in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, was when that monarch, being engaged in the siege of Tyre, sent off Nebuzaradan against the Moabites, Ammonites, and other neighboring nations, who at the same time carried away the gleanings of Jews that remained in their own land, amounting in all to no more than seven hundred and forty-five.
Josephus speaks of this expedition against the Moabites and Ammonites, which he places in the twenty-third year or Nebuchadnezzar; but mentions nothing done in the land of Israel at that time. Only he says that after the conquest of those nations, Nebuchadnezzar carried his victorious arms against Egypt, which he in some measure reduced, and carried the Jews whom he found there captives to Babylon. But the Egyptian expedition was not till the twenty-seventh year of Jehoiachin's captivity, i.e., the thirty-fifth of Nebuchadnezzar, as may be collected from Ezekiel 29:17; so that those who were carried away in the twenty-third year were not from Egypt, but were, as before observed, the few Jews that remained in the land of Judah.
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,In the twelfth month - Answering nearly to our twenty-fifth of April, A.M. 3442.
Lifted up the head of Jehoiachin - This phrase is taken from Genesis 40:13. It is founded on the observation that those who are in sorrow hold down their heads, and when they are comforted, or the cause of their sorrow removed, they lift up their heads. The Hebrew phrase, lift up the head, signifies to comfort, cheer, make happy.
And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon,Spake kindly - Conversed freely with him.
Set his throne - Gave him a more respectable seat than any of the captive princes, or better than even his own princes had, probably near his person.
And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life.And changed his prison garments - That is, Jehoiachin changed his own garments, that he might be suited in that respect to the state of his elevation. Kings also, in token of favor, gave caftans or robes to those whom they wish to honor.
And he did continually eat bread before him - Was a constant guest at the king's table.
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.And - there was a continual diet given him - This was probably a ration allowed by the king for the support of Jehoiachin's household. For other particulars, see the note on 2 Kings 25:30.
All the days of his life - I believe these words have been by mistake added from the preceding verse. There, they are proper; here, they are tautological. They are wanting in the Septuagint and in the Arabic.
The preceding words, עד יום מותו ad yom motho, "to the day of his death," are wanting in two of De Rossi's and one of Kennicott's MSS.
Coverdale ends thus: - All the days of his life until he died. This is better than the common Version.
Immediately after this verse my old MS. Bible adds the following words: And done is aftir that into caitifte is brougt Israel, and Jerusalem is bestroide, satte Jeremye the prophet weepund, and weiled with this lamentation Jerusalem; and with bitter inwit sighand and criand weilawai, seide. Then follows in red letters: Here beginneth the Lamentation of Jeremye, that is intitle Cenoth; with the sortynge out of Ebrue letters.
Aleph: How sitteth aloon the city, etc. See something of a similar kind from other authorities, at the beginning of Lamentations.
Number of verses in this Book, 1365.
Middle verse, Jeremiah 28:11.
Masoretic sections, 31.