Jeremiah 37:5
Then Pharaoh's army was come forth out of Egypt: and when the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they departed from Jerusalem.
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(5) Then Pharaoh’s army was come forth out of Egypt.—The despatch of the Egyptian army was the result of negotiations which Zedekiah had opened with Pharaoh-Hophra, with a view to resisting the power of Nebuchadnezzar (Ezekiel 17:15). Like the Egyptian armies in general, it was strong in chariots and horses (Ezekiel 17:15; Isaiah 31:1; Isaiah 36:9), and able to carry out the operations of a siege (Ezekiel 17:17). In Jeremiah 44:30 we have the full name of the Egyptian king.

37:1-10 Numbers witness the fatal effects of other men's sins, yet heedlessly step into their places, and follow the same destructive course. When in distress, we ought to desire the prayers of ministers and Christian friends. And it is common for those to desire to be prayed for, who will not be advised; yet sinners are often hardened by a pause in judgments. But if God help us not, no creature can. Whatever instruments God has determined to use, they shall do the work, though they seem unlikely.Then - And. Pharaoh-Hophra Jeremiah 44:30, the Apries of Herodotus, probably withdrew without giving Nebuchadnezzar battle. After a reign of 25 years, he was dethroned by Amasis, but allowed to inhabit his palace at Sais, where finally he was strangled. 5. After this temporary diversion, caused by Pharaoh in favor of Jerusalem, the Egyptians returned no more to its help (2Ki 24:7). Judea had the misfortune to lie between the two great contending powers, Babylon and Egypt, and so was exposed to the alternate inroads of the one or the other. Josiah, taking side with Assyria, fell in battle with Pharaoh-necho at Megiddo (2Ki 23:29). Zedekiah, seeking the Egyptian alliance in violation of his oath, was now about to be taken by Nebuchadnezzar (2Ch 36:13; Eze 17:15, 17). Zedekiah was set up by the king of Babylon, instead of Jehoiachin, whom the king of Babylon had carried into Babylon. Zedekiah (as is usual in those cases, and as it appeareth, Ezekiel 17:16) had taken an oath of allegiance to the king of Babylon, but brake it, and the covenant which he made with him, Jeremiah 37:16 and, Jeremiah 37:15,

rebelled against him, and sent his ambassador into Egypt for horses, and much people. Now the king of Egypt came in person no more after the great overthrow given him in Carchemish, by the river Euphrates, of which we read Jeremiah 46:2, which was thirteen or fourteen years before this; yet he sent an army at Zedekiah’s request to relieve him, at this time besieged by the armies of the king of Babylon. The Chaldeans that were in the siege of Jerusalem hearing of it, raised the siege for a time, during which time (probably) it was that Zedekiah sent to the prophet to pray for them.

Then Pharaoh's army was come forth out of Egypt,.... At the time the above message was sent to Jeremiah. Zedekiah, though he had took an oath of homage to the king of Babylon, rebelled against him, and entered into a league with the king of Egypt, to whom he sent for succours in his distress; and who, according to agreement, sent his army out of Egypt to break up the siege of Jerusalem; for though the king of Egypt came no more in person out of his land, after his defeat at Carchemish by Nebuchadnezzar, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, Jeremiah 46:2; yet he sent his army to the relief of Jerusalem:

and when the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem; which was in the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign that they first besieged it, and is the time here referred to, Jeremiah 39:1;

heard tidings of them; the Egyptian army, and of its coming out against them; the rumour of which might be spread by the Jews themselves, to intimidate them; or which might come to them by spies they had in all parts to give them intelligence of what was doing; and what they had was good and certain, and on which they acted:

they departed from Jerusalem: not through fear, but to meet the Egyptian army, and give them battle, before they could be joined by any considerable force of the Jews. It was at this time the covenant was broken about the manumission of servants, Jeremiah 34:10; which conduct ill agrees with their desire of the prophet's prayer.

Then Pharaoh's army had {e} come from Egypt: and when the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they departed from Jerusalem.

(e) To help the Jews.

5. when the Chaldeans … heard tidings of them, they brake up] We do not know whether the retreat on the part of the Egyptians which followed was due to a defeat from the Chaldaeans, or not. The former is at least suggested by Ezekiel 30:21. Pharaoh Hophra (called Apries by Herodotus) reigned b.c. 590–571. For his overthrow see ch. Jeremiah 44:30.

Verse 5. - Then Pharaoh's army, etc.; rather, And Pharaoh's army had, etc.; as a further description of the circumstances under which the embassy was sent. The withdrawal of the Chaldeans seemed to offer a gleam of hope. The Pharaoh referred to was the Hophra of the Jews, the Apries of Herodotus, the Uah-ab-ra of the monuments. His interference was useless; indeed, Hophra was one of the most unfortunate of the Egyptian kings (see Jeremiah 44:30). Jeremiah 37:5The account of what befell Jeremiah and what he did during the last siege of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, until the taking of the city, is introduced, Jeremiah 37:1 and Jeremiah 37:2, with the general remark that Zedekiah - whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had made king in the land of Judah in place of Coniah (on which name see on Jeremiah 22:24) - when he became king, did not listen to the words of the Lord through Jeremiah, neither himself, nor his servants (officers), nor the people of the land (the population of Judah). Then follows, Jeremiah 37:3-10, a declaration of the prophet regarding the issue of the siege, which he sent to the king by the messengers who were to beseech him for his intercession with the Lord. Jeremiah 37:3-5. The occasion of this declaration was the following: Zedekiah sent to Jeremiah two of his chief officers, Jehucal the son of Shelemiah (see on Jeremiah 38:1), and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest (see Jeremiah 21:1 and Jeremiah 29:25), with this charge: "Pray now for us to Jahveh our God." This message was sent to Jeremiah while he still went in and out among the people, and had not yet been put in prison (כּליא, Jeremiah 37:4 and Jeremiah 52:31, an unusual form for כּלא, Jeremiah 37:15 and Jeremiah 37:18, for which the Qeri would have us in both instances read כּלוּא); the army of Pharaoh (Hophra, Jeremiah 44:30), too, had marched out of Egypt to oppose the Chaldeans; and the latter, when they heard the report of them (שׁמעם, the news of their approach), had withdrawn from Jerusalem (עלה מעל, see on Jeremiah 21:2), viz., in order to repulse the Egyptians. Both of these circumstances are mentioned for the purpose of giving a clear view of the state of things: (a) Jeremiah's freedom to go in and out, not to prepare us for his imprisonment afterwards, but to explain the reason why the king sent two chief officers of the realm to him, whereas, after his imprisonment, he caused him to be brought (cf. Jeremiah 37:17 with Jeremiah 38:14); and (b) the approach of the Egyptians joined with the raising of the siege, because this event seemed to afford some hope that the city would be saved. - This occurrence, consequently, falls within a later period than that mentioned in Jeremiah 21:1-14.
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