When the king of Babylon's army fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah: for these defended cities remained of the cities of Judah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Against Lachish, and against Azekah . . .—The two cities are named in this book for the first time. Lachish was one of the strongest towns of the Amorites in the time of Joshua (Joshua 10:3; Joshua 10:5), and was situated in the Shephelah, or lowland district (Joshua 15:39). It was restored or fortified by Rehoboam, as a defence against the northern kingdom (2Chronicles 11:9). Amaziah took refuge there on his flight from the conspiracy at Jerusalem (2 Chron. 14:19; 2Chronicles 25:27). It was taken by Sennacherib on his way from Assyria to Egypt, and made the monarch’s headquarters (2Chronicles 32:9; 2Kings 18:17). A slab at Kouyunjik (Layard’s Nineveh and Babylon, 149-152; Monuments of Nineveh, 2nd Series, Plates xxi, 24) represents the siege of Lakhisha by the armies of Sennacherib, and gives something like a ground-plan of the city. Its site has not been identified with certainty, but ruins still known as Um-lakis are found between Gaza and Eleutheropolis. It is mentioned here as being, next to Jerusalem, one of the strongest fortresses of the kingdom of Judah, which as yet had resisted the attack of Nebuchadnezzar’s armies. Azekah, less conspicuous in history, was also in the Shephelah region, and is named with other cities in Joshua 10:10-11; Joshua 15:35. The Philistines were encamped between it and Shochoh in the days of Saul (1Samuel 17:1). It also was fortified by Rehoboam (2Chronicles 11:9). Its site has not been ascertained, but Eusebius and Jerome speak of it as lying between Eleutheropolis and Jerusalem.Jeremiah 34:7. When the king of Babylon fought against Lachish and against Azekah — See 2 Kings 18:13; 2 Kings 19:8. These two cities were not far from Jerusalem, and had been fortified by Rehoboam, for the defence of his kingdom, 2 Chronicles 11:9. After that Zedekiah had made a covenant with the people to proclaim liberty, &c. — “By the law of Moses, (Exodus 21:2; Deuteronomy 15:12,) the Israelites were not allowed to detain their brethren of the Hebrew race in perpetual bondage, but were required to let them go free after having served six years. This law had, it seems, fallen into disuse; but King Zedekiah, upon the approach of the Chaldean army, whether from religious motives, or a political view to employ the men who were set free in the service of the war, engaged the people in a covenant to act conformably to the law; and they released their brethren accordingly. But no sooner were their fears abated, by the retreat of the Chaldeans, than, in defiance of every principle of religion, honour, and humanity, they imposed the yoke of servitude anew upon those unhappy persons. Archbishop Usher computes the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign to have been the sabbatical year, and supposes that, on this account, the covenant of general release was entered into at the beginning of that year. But the sabbatical year, which was every seventh year from that in which the Israelites entered into the possession of the land of Canaan, had nothing at all to do with the release of servants. In the year of sabbath they were only restrained from sowing their ground, and pruning their vineyards. But every seventh year, from the beginning of their service, the Hebrew bond-slaves were to be discharged. Six years were they to serve, and in the seventh they were to go out free. Only the fiftieth year, or year of jubilee, was also to be a time of general release, Leviticus 25:39-41. But, that the sabbatical year was so, I see not the least reason to conclude, but quite the contrary.” — Blaney.Jeremiah 32:3: the time it should seem was after that the king of Babylon had invaded the country, and, taken the greatest part of it; only three fortified places remained, which he was besieging, viz. Jerusalem, which was the chief city of that country, and Lachish, of the conquest of which we read Joshua 10:31, disposed of to the tribe of Judah. Joshua 15:39, and Azekah, which was a city of Judah, of which we read in the same chapters.
and against all the cities of Judah that were left; unconquered by him; when he invaded the land, he fought against, and took, and ravished all the cities that lay in his way; and it seems there were none that stood out against him but Jerusalem, now besieged by him, and two others, next mentioned:
against Lachish, and against Azekah; for these defenced cities remained of the cities of Judah; two cities that had been fortified by Rehoboam, 2 Chronicles 11:9; and were the only ones besides Jerusalem, which as yet had not fallen into the hands of the king of Babylon.When the king of Babylon's army fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah: for these defenced cities remained of the cities of Judah.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. all … that were left] The LXX give some support to the probability that this part of the v. is an interpolation, seeing that “all” resolves itself into two only.
Lachish] now Tell el-Ḥesy, about 35 miles S.W. of Jerusalem. Azekah has not been identified, but it was probably about 15 miles S.W. of Jerusalem. See Joshua 15:35; 1 Samuel 17:1.Jeremiah 32:1., and as giving, in its complete form, the prophecy to which Jeremiah 32:3. was referred, as the reason of the confinement of Jeremiah in the court of the prison. Certainly it is so far true that Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 34:2-5, expresses himself more fully regarding the fate of King Zedekiah at the fall of Jerusalem into the hands of the Chaldeans than in Jeremiah 32:3-5; Jeremiah 21:3., and Jeremiah 37:17; but we are not warranted in drawing the inference that this message forms a historical appendix or supplement to Jeremiah 32:3., and was the occasion or reason of Jeremiah's imprisonment. See, on the contrary, the remarks on Jeremiah 32:3. It is not given here as an appendix to explain the reason of the prophet's imprisonment, but as a prophecy from which we may see how King Zedekiah was forewarned, from the very beginning of the siege, of what its issue would be, that he might frame his conduct accordingly. Nor does it belong to the period when Nebuchadnezzar, after beating off the Egyptians who had come to the relief of the beleaguered city, had returned to the siege of Jerusalem, but to the earliest period of the siege, when Zedekiah might still cherish the hope of defeating and driving off the Chaldeans through the help of the Egyptians. - According to Jeremiah 34:1, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah when "Nebuchadnezzar and," i.e., with, "all his host, and all the kingdoms of the land of the dominion of his hand, and all the nations, were fighting against Jerusalem and all her towns." The words are multiplied to represent the strength of the Chaldean army, so as to deepen the impression of overpowering might, against which resistance is vain. The army consists of men drawn from all the kingdoms of the territory he rules, and of all nations. ארץ ממשׁלת means the same as ארץ ממשׁלתּו, Jeremiah 51:28, the territory over which his dominion, which includes many kingdoms, extends. The lxx have omitted "all the nations" as superfluous. See a like conglomeration of words in a similar description, Ezekiel 26:7. "All her towns" are the towns of Judah which belong to Jerusalem; see Jeremiah 19:15. According to Jeremiah 34:7, the strong towns not yet taken are meant, especially those strongly fortified, Lachish and Azekah in the plain (Joshua 15:39, Joshua 15:35), the former of which is shown still under the name Um Lakhis, while the latter is to be sought for in the vicinity of Socho; see on Joshua 10:3, Joshua 10:10, and 2 Chronicles 11:9. - Jeremiah is to say to the king:
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