Jeremiah 38:12
And Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, Put now these old cast clouts and rotten rags under your armholes under the cords. And Jeremiah did so.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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?Old cast clouts ... - Rags of torn garments and rags of worn-out garments. 11. cast clouts—"torn clothes" [Henderson].

rotten rags—"worn-out garments." God can make the meanest things His instruments of goodness to His people (1Co 1:27-29).

under … armholes—"under the joints of thine hands," that is, where the fingers join the hand, the clothes being in order that the hands should not be cut by the cords [Maurer].

No text from Poole on this verse. And Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah,.... Being come to the dungeon, and at the mouth of it, he addressed him in a very humane and friendly manner, and directed him how to make use of the rags he let down for his ease and benefit:

put now these old cast clouts and rotten rags under thine arm holes under the cords; the cords were first put under his arm holes to draw him up with, and then these clouts and rags were put under the cords; lest they should cut into his flesh, at least hurt him, and give him pain, the whole weight of his body resting on them; and perhaps these parts had received some hurt when he was let down into the dungeon with cords, when they were not so careful of him; and therefore needed some soft rags the more to be put under them at this time; all which shows what an affection this man had for the prophet and holy tender he was of him:

and Jeremiah did so; he put the rags between the cords and his arm holes.

And Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now these old cast clouts and rotten rags under thine armholes under the cords. And Jeremiah did so.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
The princes (שׂרים) now cast Jeremiah into the pit of the king's son (בּן־מלך, see on Jeremiah 36:26) Malchiah, which was in the court of the prison, letting him down with ropes into the pit, in which there was no water, but mud; into this Jeremiah sank. The act is first mentioned in a general way in the words, "they cast him into the pit;" then the mode of proceeding is particularized in the words, "and they let him down," etc. On the expression הבּור מלכּיּהוּ, "the pit of Malchiah," cf. Ewald, 290, d: the article stands here before the nomen regens, because the nomen rectum, from being a proper name, cannot take it; and yet the pit must be pointed out as one well known and definite. That it was very deep, and that Jeremiah must have perished in it if he were not soon taken out again, is evident from the very fact that they were obliged to use ropes in letting him down, and still more so from the trouble caused in pulling him out (Jeremiah 38:10-12). That the princes did not at once put the prophet to death with the sword was not owing to any feeling of respect for the king, because the latter had not pronounced sentence of death on him, but because they sought to put the prophet to a final death, and yet at the same time wished to silence the voice of conscience with the excuse that they had not shed his blood.
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