The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, when king Zedekiah sent to him Pashur the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) The word which came unto Jeremiah . . .—There is obviously a great gap at this point in the collection of the prophet’s utterances, and we enter on a new body or group of prophecies which extends to the close of Jeremiah 33. Thus far we have had his ministry under Jehoiakim, the roll which was read before that king, and formed the first part of his work. Now we pass to the later stage, which forms what has been called the roll of Zedekiah. The judgment predicted in the previous roll had come nearer. The armies of Nebuchadnezzar were gathering round the city. The prophet was now honoured and consulted, and the king sent his chief minister, Pashur (not the priest who had been the prophet’s persecutor, as in the preceding chapter, but the head of the family or course of Melchiah), and Zephaniah, the “second priest,” or deputy of Jeremiah 52:24, to ask his intercession. We learn from their later history that they were in their hearts inclined to the policy of resistance, and ready to accuse Jeremiah of being a traitor (Jeremiah 38:1-4).Jeremiah 21:1. The word which came to Jeremiah, when King Zedekiah sent unto him — The occasion of Zedekiah’s sending the message here mentioned to Jeremiah, has, by some commentators, been confounded with that in chap. 37. “But I think,” says Blaney, “they are clearly and undeniably distinct one from the other. From the reply given to that in chapter 37., it is manifest that the Chaldeans, who had been besieging Jerusalem for some time had already raised the siege, and were gone to meet the Egyptian army, leaving the Jews in great hopes that they would never return again. But the terms of this message seem to imply, that the king of Babylon had but just commenced his hostilities against Judah, of which Zedekiah informs the prophet, as of a matter that might not yet have come to his certain knowledge; and desires him to intercede with God, that he would divert the storm by some such extraordinary interposition as he had been wont to manifest in favour of his people. The answer likewise takes no notice of any siege or operations past; but simply regards the future, which it is declared should end unhappily, because God would take an active part against the inhabitants of Judah, and would deliver both their city, and also the king and his people, into the hands of their merciless enemies. The time of this transaction, therefore, I conceive to be the ninth year of Zedekiah, previous to the siege of Jerusalem, which began in the tenth mouth of that year.”2 Kings 19:2. Pashur and Zephaniah belonged to the party who were for resisting Nebuchadnezzar by force of arms.
Jer 21:1-44. Zedekiah Consults Jeremiah What Is to Be the Event of the War: God's Answer.
Written probably when, after having repulsed the Egyptians who brought succors to the Jews (Jer 37:5-8; 2Ki 24:7), the Chaldees were a second time advancing against Jerusalem, but were not yet closely besieging it (Jer 21:4, 13) [Rosenmuller]. This chapter probably ought to be placed between the thirty-seventh and thirty-eight chapters; since what the "princes," in Jer 38:2, represent Jeremiah as having said, is exactly what we find in Jer 21:9. Moreover, the same persons as here (Jer 21:1) are mentioned in Jer 37:3; 38:1, namely, Pashur and Zephaniah. What is here more fully related is there simply referred to in the historical narrative. Compare Jer 52:24; 2Ki 25:18 [Maurer].
1. Zedekiah—a prince having some reverence for sacred things, for which reason he sends an honorable embassy to Jeremiah; but not having moral courage to obey his better impulses.
Pashur—son of Melchiah, of the fifth order of priests, distinct from Pashur, son of Immer (Jer 20:1), of the sixteenth order (1Ch 24:9, 14).
Zephaniah—of the twenty-fourth order. They are designated, not by their father, but by their family (1Ch 24:18).King Zedekiah in the siege sendeth to Jeremiah to inquire of the event, Jeremiah 21:1,2. He foretelleth a hard siege and miserable captivity, Jeremiah 21:3-7. He counselleth the people to fall to the Chaldeans, Jeremiah 21:8-10; and upbraideth the king’s house, Jeremiah 21:11-14.
when King Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur the son of Melchiah; this was another Pashur from him that is spoken of in the preceding chapter, and is called "Magormissabib"; he was the son of Immer; this of Melchiah; he was of the sixteenth course of the priesthood; this of the "fifth":
and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest; who was of the "twenty fourth" course; see 1 Chronicles 24:9; in Jeremiah 52:24, he is called the "second priest"; he was "sagan", or deputy to the high priest: they were both priests; wherefore the Syriac version renders it in the plural number, "priests". It may be observed, that the foregoing chapter is concluded with the prophet's cursing the day of his birth; and the last clause of it expresses the "shame" he imagined his days would be consumed in; and the next account we have is of an honour done him by the king, in sending two priests to him, with a message from him; whereby he tacitly owned him to be a true prophet of the Lord; as indeed he must now be convinced by facts that he was. Princes and people, who slight the ministers of God in time of prosperity, send to them, and are desirous of their assistance in times of distress:The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when king Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1. Pashhur the son of Malchijah] See on Jeremiah 20:1.
Zephaniah] (see also on Jeremiah 20:1) mentioned again Jeremiah 29:25, Jeremiah 37:3, Jeremiah 52:24. Both he and Pashhur doubtless belonged to the party who were for refusing to recognise and submit to Nebuchadnezzar’s overwhelming power, and thus were politically hostile to Jeremiah. For the general situation cp. 2 Kings 19:1 (Isaiah 37:1 ff.).
the priest] These words belong to Zephaniah not Maaseiah. Cp. Jeremiah 22:2.Verse 1. - Pashur. A different Pashur from the one mentioned in Jeremiah 20:1. This one reappears in Jeremiah 38:1; he belonged to the fifteenth of the sacerdotal families, named after Melchiah (comp. 1 Chronicles 9:12). Zephaniah, mentioned again in Jeremiah 29:25; Jeremiah 37:3. He was of the priestly family or class of Maaseiah (comp. 1 Chronicles 24:18), and was next in rank to the high priest (Jeremiah 52:24). Jeremiah 20:10 gives the reason for the resolution, adopted but not carried out, of speaking no more in the name of the Lord. This was found in the reports that reached his ears of schemes against his life. The first clause is a verbal quotation from Psalm 31:14, a lament of David in the time of Saul's persecutions. דּבּה, base, backbiting slander. The phrase: Fear round about, indicates, in the form of a brief popular saying, the dangerous case in which the prophet was,
(Note: Hupfeld on Psalm 31:14 holds מגור מסּביב to be a proverbial expression for a harassed condition, full of terrors, since the phrase is frequently used by Jeremiah (besides the present Jeremiah 20:3, Jeremiah 20:4, and Jeremiah 20:15, it is at Jeremiah 6:25; Jeremiah 46:5; Jeremiah 49:29; Lamentations 2:22). The use made of it in v. 3 would in that case be easily understood. For we cannot infer, as Ng. would do, that Jeremiah must have formed the phrase himself, from the fact that, except in Psalm 31:14, it is nowhere found but in Jeremiah.)
which his adversaries prepare for him by their repeating: Report him, we will report him.
Report: here, report to the authorities as a dangerous man. Even those who are on friendly terms with him lie in wait for his fall. This phrase too is formed of phrases from the Psalms. On "am of my peace," cf. Psalm 41:10; on צלעי, Psalm 35:15; Psalm 38:18; and on שׁמר, watch, lie in wait for, Psalm 56:7; Psalm 71:10. "Peradventure" - so they said - "he may let himself be enticed," sc. to say something on which a capital charge may be founded (Graf). With "that we may prevail against him," cf. Jeremiah 1:19; Jeremiah 15:20. - At Jeremiah 20:11 the lament rises into confidence in the Lord, springing from the promise given to him by God at his call. אותי (for אתּי) יהוה recalls Jeremiah 1:19; Jeremiah 15:20.The designation of God as גּבּור is formed after Jeremiah 15:21. Because the Lord has promised to deliver him out of the hand of the עריצים, violent, he now calls him a hero using violence, and on this founds his assurance that his persecutors will accomplish nothing, but will come to a downfall, to shame, and be covered with never-dying, never-to-be-forgotten disgrace. Because they have dealt not wisely, i.e., foolishly, see on Jeremiah 10:21; not: because they did not prosper, which would give a weak, superfluous idea, since their not prospering lies already in בּושׁ, spe frustrari. This disgrace will befall the persecutors, because the Lord of hosts will, as Searcher of hearts, take the part of the righteous, and will take vengeance on their foes. This is the force of Jeremiah 20:12, which, with a few changes, is repeated from Jeremiah 11:20. - In this trustfulness his soul rises to a firm hope of deliverance, so that in Jeremiah 20:13 he can call on himself and all the godly to praise God, the Saviour of the poor. Cf. Psalm 31:8; Psalm 35:9-10, Psalm 35:28, etc.
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