Jeremiah 38:1
Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur the son of Malchiah, heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken unto all the people, saying,
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(1) Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan . . .—Of the four princes of Judah who are named here, Jucal or Jehucal has been mentioned in Jeremiah 37:3, and would appear, from the frequent occurrence of the name Shelomiah in 1Chronicles 26:1-2; 1Chronicles 26:9; 1Chronicles 26:14, to have been a Levite; Pashur is named in Jeremiah 21:1. Of the other two nothing is known, but the name Shephatiah appears in three or four instances in the royal house of Judah, beginning with a son of David (2Samuel 3:4; 2Chronicles 21:2; Ezra 2:4; Nehemiah 7:9),·and may, perhaps, indicate a connexion with it, like that of Jerahmeel in Jeremiah 36:26. Gedaliah, the son of Pashur (possibly of the man of that name who is mentioned last in the list), must be distinguished from Jeremiah’s protector, the son of Ahikam (Jeremiah 26:24; Jeremiah 40:5). They all belonged obviously to the party of the prophet’s enemies.

Jeremiah 38:1. Then Shephaliah, &c. — Here are four of the great men, counsellors or chief officers to Zedekiah, named, of whom we have no further mention in holy writ; nor do they deserve to have much inquiry made after them. Some of them were sent by Zedekiah to Jeremiah to inquire concerning the event of the siege, Jeremiah 37:3; Jeremiah 21:1-9. “The answer which Jeremiah returned by them to the king, he afterward published to the people; which was the occasion of the new troubles recorded in this chapter.” — Lowth. The fact seems to have been, that, as he was now removed into a little freer air than he had been in, his friends, or such as had a desire to see him, came to him, and being inquisitive concerning the issue of the siege, he could not but tell them what he knew of the mind of God, and advise them the best way he could for their safety. Some of them, it is likely, went to these princes, and informed them of what they had heard from the prophet.

38:1-13 Jeremiah went on in his plain preaching. The princes went on in their malice. It is common for wicked people to look upon God's faithful ministers as enemies, because they show what enemies the wicked are to themselves while impenitent. Jeremiah was put into a dungeon. Many of God's faithful witnesses have been privately made away in prisons. Ebed-melech was an Ethiopian; yet he spoke to the king faithfully, These men have done ill in all they have done to Jeremiah. See how God can raise up friends for his people in distress. Orders were given for the prophet's release, and Ebed-melech saw him drawn up. Let this encourage us to appear boldly for God. Special notice is taken of his tenderness for Jeremiah. What do we behold in the different characters then, but the same we behold in the different characters now, that the Lord's children are conformed to his example, and the children of Satan to their master?Had spoken - Spake; or, was speaking. CHAPTER 38

Jer 38:1-28. Jeremiah Predicts the Capture of Jerusalem, for Which He Is Cast into a Dungeon, but Is Transferred to the Prison Court on the Intercession of Ebed-melech, and Has a Secret Interview with Zedekiah.

All this was subsequent to his imprisonment in Jonathan's house, and his release on his interview with Zedekiah. The latter occurred before the return of the Chaldeans to the siege; the similar events in this chapter occurred after it.

1. Jucal—Jehucal (Jer 37:3).

Pashur—(Jer 21:1; compare Jer 21:9 with Jer 38:2). The deputation in Jer 21:1, to whom Jeremiah gave this reply, if not identical with the hearers of Jeremiah (Jer 38:1), must have been sent just before the latter "heard" him speaking the same words. Zephaniah is not mentioned here as in Jer 21:1, but is so in Jer 37:3. Jucal is mentioned here and in the previous deputation (Jer 37:3), but not in Jer 21:1. Shephatiah and Gedaliah here do not occur either in Jer 21:1 or Jer 37:3. The identity of his words in both cases is natural, when uttered, at a very short interval, and one of the hearers (Pashur) being present on both occasions.

unto all the people—They had free access to him in the court of the prison (Jer 32:12).Jeremiah prophesieth; is by the princes, with the king’s permission, cast into a dungeon; but is by Ebed-melech, with the king’s consent, taken out again, Jeremiah 38:1-13. He hath a secret conference with the king, in which he counselleth him by yielding to save his life, Jeremiah 38:14-23. By the king’s command he concealeth the conference from the princes, Jeremiah 38:24-27. He abideth in prison till Jerusalem is taken, Jeremiah 38:28.

Vers. 1. Here are four of the great men, counsellors, or great officers to Zedekiah, named, of whom we have no further mention in holy writ, nor are they worthy of much inquiry after. Jeremiah being now removed into a little freer air, where his friends, or such as had a desire to see him, came to him, and it is very likely were inquisitive to know what God would do with the city, he could not but tell them what he knew of the mind of God in the case, and advise them the best he could. Some of them go to these princes, and inform them of what they had heard from the prophet.

Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashur,.... Of these two persons we nowhere else read. Some think that Pashur, whose son Gedaliah was, is the same as is mentioned Jeremiah 20:1; which is not likely, since he was a priest, and this son a prince:

and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur the son of Malchiah; these had been sent by the king to Jeremiah, to inquire of the Lord, and to pray for him and his people, Jeremiah 21:1; all four were princes, prime ministers of state, of great power and authority, and to whom the king could deny nothing, or withstand, Jeremiah 38:4; these

heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken to all the people; that is, to as many of them as came to the court of the prison to visit him; some out of good will, and some out of ill will; and others out of curiosity; being desirous to know by the prophet how things would go with them; and by which means what he said was spread all over the city, and came to the ears of the above princes; and no doubt there were persons enough officious enough to carry these things to them:

saying; as follows:

Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur the son of {a} Malchiah, heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken to all the people, saying,

(a) For Zedekiah had sent these to Jeremiah to enquire at the Lord for the state of the country how when Nebuchadnezzar came, as in Jer 21:1.

1. And Shephatiah] The removal of Jeremiah from prison to the court of the guard had facilitated the publication of his message, as we see from this v. Hence the princes take alarm and apply to the king for permission to put him to death.

Gedaliah] He was probably a son of the Pashhur who put Jeremiah in the stocks (ch. Jeremiah 20:1 f.).

Jucal] the Jehucal of ch. Jeremiah 37:3.

Pashhur the son of Malchijah] the same who is mentioned ch. Jeremiah 21:1.

Verse 1. - Two Pashurs appear to be mentioned here: one probably the same who put Jeremiah in the stocks (Jeremiah 20:1, 2); the other a member of the first of Zedekiah's two embassies to the prophet (Jeremiah 21:1). On Jucal, see Jeremiah 37:3. Had spoken; rather, kept speaking. Jeremiah 38:1Jeremiah is cast into a miry pit, but drawn out again by Ebedmelech the Cushite. Jeremiah 38:1-6. Being confined in the court of the guard attached to the royal palace, Jeremiah had opportunities of conversing with the soldiers stationed there and the people of Judah who came thither (cf. Jeremiah 38:1 with Jeremiah 32:8, Jeremiah 32:12), and of declaring, in opposition to them, his conviction (which he had indeed expressed from the beginning of the siege) that all resistance to the Chaldeans would be fruitless, and only bring destruction (cf. Jeremiah 21:9.). On this account, the princes who were of a hostile disposition towards him were so embittered, that they resolved on his death, and obtain from the king permission to cast him into a deep pit with mire at the bottom. In v. 1 four of these princes are named, two of whom, Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur the son of Malchiah, are known, from Jeremiah 37:3 and Jeremiah 21:1, as confidants of the king; the other two, Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashur, are not mentioned elsewhere. Gedaliah was probably a son of the Pashur who had once put Jeremiah in the stocks (Jeremiah 20:1-2). The words of the prophet, Jeremiah 38:2, Jeremiah 38:3, are substantially the same as he had already uttered at the beginning of the siege, Jeremiah 21:9 (יחיה as in Jeremiah 21:9). Jeremiah 38:4. The princes said to the king, "Let this man, we beseech thee, be put to death for the construction, see on Jeremiah 35:14; for therefore i.e., because no one puts him out of existence - על־כּן as in Jeremiah 29:28 he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking words like these to them; for this man does not seek the welfare of this people, but their ill." מרפּא for מרפּא, to cause the hands of any one to be relaxed, i.e., to make him dispirited; cf. Ezra 4:4; Isaiah 35:3. דּרשׁ with ל htiw , as Job 10:6; Deuteronomy 12:30; 1 Chronicles 22:19, etc., elsewhere with the accusatival את; cf. Jeremiah 29:7 et passim. On this point cf. Jeremiah 29:7. The allegation which the princes made against Jeremiah was possibly correct. The constancy with which Jeremiah declared that resistance was useless, since, in accordance with the divine decree, Jerusalem was to be taken and burnt by the Chaldeans, could not but make the soldiers and the people unwilling any longer to sacrifice their lives in defending the city. Nevertheless the complaint was unjust, because Jeremiah was not expressing his own personal opinion, but was declaring the word of the Lord, and that, too, not from any want of patriotism or through personal cowardice, but in the conviction, derived from the divine revelation, that it was only by voluntary submission that the fate of the besieged could be mitigated; hence he acted from a deep feeling of love to the people, and in order to avert complete destruction from them. The courage of the people which he sought to weaken was not a heroic courage founded on genuine trust in God, but carnal obstinacy, which could not but lead to ruin.
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