Where are now your prophets which prophesied to you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land?
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) Where are now your prophets . . .?—
The failure of the past predictions of the false prophets is urged on the king as a reason why he should not trust them in the present crisis. They had assured him (Jeremiah 28:3
) that within two years the city should be delivered, and the result had been that it had been besieged. The temporary departure of the Chaldæans had again raised their hopes, and they were now tempting the king with the assurance that the Egyptian army would make short work of them.
37:11-21 There are times when it is the wisdom of good men to retire, to enter into their chambers, and to shut the doors, Isa 26:20. Jeremiah was seized as a deserter, and committed to prison. But it is no new thing for the best friends of the church to be belied, as in the interests of her worst enemies. When thus falsely accused, we may deny the charge, and commit our cause to Him who judges righteously. Jeremiah obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful, and would not, to obtain mercy of man, be unfaithful to God or to his prince; he tells the king the whole truth. When Jeremiah delivered God's message, he spake with boldness; but when he made his own request, he spake submissively. A lion in God's cause must be a lamb in his own. And God gave Jeremiah favour in the eyes of the king. The Lord God can make even the cells of a prison become pastures to his people, and will raise up friends to provide for them, so that in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.Dungeon - literally, house of a cistern or pit, and evidently underground. In this cistern-like excavation were several cells or arched vaults, in one of which with little light and less ventilation Jeremiah remained a long time. 19. Where are now your prophets—The event has showed them to be liars; and, as surely as the king of Babylon has come already, notwithstanding their prophecy, so surely shall he return. You now see what kind of prophets they are, who fed you with hopes that the king of Babylon’s army should return no more to the siege of the city. I told you they would return, you had other prophets that told you they should not, judge now who were the true prophets. The devil in all ages had some that contradicted the true prophets of the Lord. Three hundred false prophets contradicted one Micaiah, as to Ahab’s going up to Ramoth-gilead, and prospering in that expedition. There were many that contradicted Isaiah and Jeremiah, and other true prophets, as to the king of Babylon’s coming to besiege Jerusalem, and his return again to the siege when he had risen up from it to meet the Egyptian army; and as to the length of time in which the Jews should be in captivity; yet, (to let us see men’s madness upon their lusts,) as there still have risen up in other generations false teachers and flatterers, so they have always found more favour than those that have dealt more faithfully in revealing God’s will. Where are now your prophets that prophesied unto you,.... Your false prophets, as the Targum; what is become of their prophecies? where is the truth of them, to which general credit has been given? where are they? let them appear and defend themselves, if they can, from the charge of lying, and of being false prophets? or where are they? tacitly suggesting the different circumstances of him and them; he, who was a true prophet, was laid in a prison; they, who were false prophets, were caressed in the palaces of the king and his nobles, and in favour with the people in general:
saying, the king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land? gave out that the king of Babylon would never invade the land of Judea, or besiege the city of Jerusalem, which proved false; and still they had the front to say, that when the siege was raised, he would never come again; whereas he was then returned to it, and was now besieging it; so that here were notorious falsehoods delivered out by them. Where are now your prophets which prophesied unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19
. Where now are your prophets which prophesied unto you
] Jeremiah in this v
. challenges the whole people through their king (“your … you”). For the reference to these prophets cp. Jeremiah 28:2-11
When he was entering the gate of Benjamin, where Jeriah the son of Shelemiah kept watch, the latter seized him, saying, "Thou desirest to go over to the Chaldeans" (נפל אל־, see on Jeremiah 21:9
). The gate of Benjamin (Jeremiah 38:7
; Jeremiah 14:10
) was the north gate of the city, through which ran the road to Benjamin and Ephraim; hence it was also called the gate of Ephraim, 2 Kings 14:13
; Nehemiah 8:16
. בּעל, "holder of the oversight," he who kept the watch, or commander of the watch at the gate. "The accusation was founded on the well-known views and opinions of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 21:9
); but it was mere sophistry, for the simple reason that the Chaldeans were no longer lying before the city" (Hitzig).
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