Jeremiah 21:2
Inquire, I pray you, of the LORD for us; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon makes war against us; if so be that the LORD will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, that he may go up from us.
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(2) Nebuchadrezzar.—This form of the name, as might be expected in the writings of one who was personally brought into contact with the king and his officers, is more correct than that of Nebuchadnezzar, which we find elsewhere, and even in Jeremiah’s own writings (Jeremiah 34:1; Jeremiah 39:5).

The name has been variously interpreted by scholars as “Nebo protects against misfortune,” “Nebo protects the land-marks,” “Nebo protects the crown,” or “Fire, the shining God.”

If so be that the Lord will deal with us . . .—The messengers come to inquire of the prophet, and yet suggest the answer which he is expected to give. Jehovah is to show His wondrous works in the deliverance of the city. The history of Sennacherib’s army (2 Kings 19; Isaiah 37) was probably present to their minds. It was apparently an attempt on the part of the king and his counsellors, under the show of a devout reverence, to entice Jeremiah to change his tone and side with the policy of resistance to the Chaldæans. In Jeremiah 37:3 we have another like mission, coming apparently at a somewhat later date in the reign of Zedekiah

That he may go up from us.—i.e., in modern phraseology, that he may “raise the siege.”

Jeremiah 21:2. Inquire, I pray thee, of the Lord for us — As Zedekiah was not one of the best, so he was not one of the worst of the kings of Judah. Having some reverence for God, he sends the prophet to inquire of him. Or, as the word דרשׁ, signifies, to seek or apply to God by prayer and supplication: see Isaiah 55:6. If so be the Lord will deal with us, &c. —

If he will show his wonderful power, in giving us a total deliverance from the hands of our enemies, the Chaldeans. If they had attended to the predictions of the prophets they would not have made this inquiry of Jeremiah; for all the things which had happened to them already, had been predicted by the prophets. But perhaps they flattered themselves that all God’s threatenings would not be executed; or that they had been executed already, in great numbers of them being carried into captivity, first in the reign of Jehoiakim, and afterward in that of Jehoiachin.21:1-10 When the siege had begun, Zedekiah sent to ask of Jeremiah respecting the event. In times of distress and danger, men often seek those to counsel and pray for them, whom, at other times, they despise and oppose; but they only seek deliverance from punishment. When professors continue in disobedience, presuming upon outward privileges, let them be told that the Lord will prosper his open enemies against them. As the king and his princes would not surrender, the people are exhorted to do so. No sinner on earth is left without a Refuge, who really desires one; but the way of life is humbling, it requires self-denial, and exposes to difficulties.Nebuchadrezzar - A more correct way of spelling the name than Nebuchadnezzar.

According to all his wondrous works - The king and his envoys expected some such answer as Isaiah had given on a former occasion Isaiah 37:6.

2. Nebuchadrezzar—the more usual way of spelling the name in Jeremiah than Nebuchadnezzar. From Persiac roots, meaning either "Nebo, the chief of the gods," or, "Nebo, the god of fire." He was son of Nabopolassar, who committed the command of the army against Egypt, at Carchemish, and against Judea, to the crown prince.

according to all his wondrous works—Zedekiah hopes for God's special interposition, such as was vouchsafed to Hezekiah against Sennacherib (2Ki 19:35, 36).


go up from us—rise up from the siege which he sat down to lay (Jer 37:5, 11, Margin; Nu 16:24, 27; 1Ki 15:19, Margin).

Zedekiah, as he was none of the best, so he was none of the worst, of the kings of Judah; be had some convictions and impressions (possibly from his education) not worn off; and having some reverence of God, he sends to the prophet to inquire of the Lord, because the

king of Babylon was come up to make war against them. It is true, the greatest contemners of God and his faithful ministers will sometimes, in great straits, choose to send for them rather than those who in their prosperity pleased them. Hence we read of Saul, when he went to the witch at Endor, desiring that Samuel might be raised up. But in Zedekiah’s whole story we read no such eminent contempt of God, but a disobedience to the commands of God, proceeding rather from his easiness to be ruled by his corrupt court, than from a stubbornness in himself. By mentioning God’s former

wondrous works, possibly he may have a respect to God’s raising Sennacherib’s siege in the time of his grandfather Hezekiah. The remembering of God’s former wondrous works is of use to raise in us a hope and confidence in God for further deliverances, supposing ourselves under the same circumstances of obedience to God’s will; otherwise not, as we shall see in the case of Judah and its king at this time; therefore Zedekiah saith,

if so be. Guilt of sin hinders confidence and holy boldness in the best: but as the guilt is greater, so the hope or confidence of any is justly less. Inquire, I pray thee, of the Lord for us,.... Or, "seek the Lord now for us" (n); seek the Lord by prayer and supplication for me and my people, for this city and the inhabitants of it; entreat him that he would appear for us, and deliver us out of the hands of the enemy; for this they said in the name of the king that sent them, who knew that the prophet had an interest at the throne of grace, and was a favourite of heaven; and therefore desired him to be an intercessor for them:

for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon maketh war against us; the same that is elsewhere called Nebuchadnezzar, commonly called by the Greeks Nebuchodonosor; he was now come up to Jerusalem, and was besieging it, as had been predicted:

if so be the Lord will deal with us according to all his wondrous works; which he had done in times past for that nation; as by bringing them out of Egypt; driving out the Canaanites before them; delivering them out of the hands of their neighbours, time after time, when oppressed by them; and particularly by destroying the Assyrian army in Hezekiah's time, which was besieging the city of Jerusalem, and causing their king to depart and flee in haste; and their present case being similar to that, it is very likely that that was more especially in view:

that he may go up from us; namely, the king of Babylon; that he may rise up, and raise the siege, and depart into his own country, as Sennacherib did.

(n) "interroga nunc pro nobis", Vatablus: Pagninus; "inquire nunc", Montanus.

{a} Enquire, I pray thee, of the LORD for us; for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon maketh war against us; it may be that the LORD will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, that he may go up from us.

(a) Not that the king was touched with repentance of his sins and so sought God, as did Hezekiah when he sent for Isaiah, 2Ki 19:1, Isa 37:2 but because the prophet might pray to God to take this present plague away, as Pharaoh sought Moses Ex 9:28.

2. Nebuchadrezzar] This is a nearer approach than Nebuchadnezzar to the correct spelling of the word and is always found in the MT. of this Book except in chs. 27–29 (where see introd. note). Nabukudurri-uzur (“O Nebo, defend the landmark”) presents perhaps the nearest sound in English writing.

his wondrous works] perhaps referring to the event recorded in 2 Kings 19:35.

go up] raise the siege. Cp. Jeremiah 34:21.Verse 2. - Nebuchadrezzar. This form predominates in Jeremiah and Daniel, and is the only form found in Ezekiel. It is, in fact, the correct way of spelling the name, which is in Babylonian Nabu-kudura-ucur, i.e. "Nebo, protect [or perhaps, 'has made'] the crown." According to all his wondrous works; e.g., the destruction of Sennacherib, which must have occurred in the first instance to the minds of devout Jews. The day of his birth cursed. - Jeremiah 20:14. "Cursed be the day wherein I was born! The day my mother bare me, let it not be blessed! Jeremiah 20:15. Cursed be the man that brought the good tidings to my father, saying: A man-child is born to thee, who made him very glad. Jeremiah 20:16. Let that man be as the cities which Jahveh overthrew without repenting; let him hear crying in the morning and a war-cry at noon-tide, Jeremiah 20:17. Because he slew me not from the womb, and so my mother should have been my grave, and her womb should have been always great. Jeremiah 20:18. Wherefore am I come forth out of the womb to see hardship and sorrow, and that my days should wear away in shame?"

Inasmuch as the foregoing lamentation had ended in assured hope of deliverance, and in the praise rendered to God therefor, it seems surprising that now there should follow curses on the day of his birth, without any hint to show that at the end this temptation, too, had been overcome. For this reason Ew. wishes to rearrange the two parts of the complaint, setting Jeremiah 20:14-18 before Jeremiah 20:7-12. This transposition he holds to be so unquestionably certain, that he speaks of the order ad numbering of the verses in the text as an example, clear as it is remarkable, of displacement. But against this hypothesis we have to consider the improbability that, if individual copyists had omitted the second portion (Jeremiah 20:14-18) or written it on the margin, others should have introduced it into an unsuitable place. Copyists did not go to work with the biblical text in such an arbitrary and clumsy fashion. Nor is the position occupied by the piece in question so incomprehensible as Ew. imagines. The cursing of the day of his birth, or of his life, after the preceding exaltation to hopeful assurance is not psychologically inconceivable. It may well be understood, if we but think of the two parts of the lamentation as not following one another in the prophet's soul in such immediate succession as they do in the text; if we regard them as spiritual struggles, separated by an interval of time, through which the prophet must successively pass. In vanquishing the temptation that arose from the plots of his enemies against his life, Jeremiah had a strong support in the promise which the Lord gave him at his call, that those who strove against him should not prevail against him; and the deliverance out of the hand of Pashur which he had just experience, must have given him an actual proof that the Lord was fulfilling His promise. The feeling of this might fill the trembling heart with strength to conquer his temptation, and to elevate himself again, in the joyful confidence of faith, to the praising of the Lord, who delivers the soul of the poor from the hand of the ungodly. But the power of the temptation was not finally vanquished by the renewal of his confidence that the Lord will defend him against all his foes. The unsuccess of his mission might stir up sore struggles in his soul, and not only rob him of all heart to continue his labours, but excite bitter discontent with a life full or hardship and sorrow - a discontent which found vent in his cursing the day of his birth.

The curse uttered in Jeremiah 20:14-18 against the day of his birth, while it reminds us of the verses, Jeremiah 3:3., in which Job curses the day of his conception and of his birth, is markedly distinguished in form and substance from that dreadful utterance of Job's. Job's words are much more violent and passionate, and are turned directly against God, who has given life to him, to a man whose way is hid, whom God hath hedged round. Jeremiah, on the other hand, curses first the day of his birth (Jeremiah 20:14), then the man that brought his father the joyful news of the birth of a son (Jeremiah 20:15-17), because his life is passing away in hardship, trials, sorrow, and shame, without expressly blaming God as the author of that life.

Jeremiah 20:14

The day on which I was born, let it be cursed and not blessed, sc. because life has never been a blessing to me. Job wishes that the day of his birth and the night of his conception may perish, be annihilated.

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