Jeremiah 39:5
But the Chaldeans' army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(5) In the plains of Jericho.—Here again we have the distinctive word, the Araboth of the Jordan, the enlargement of the Jordan valley, three miles wide, near Jericho. The intention of the king was apparently to make his way to the ford near Jericho, cross the river, and escape to the open country of Gilead.

Riblah in the land of Hamath.—The city of Hamath stood on the Orontes, about half-way from its source, near Baalbek, to the bend which it makes at Jisr-hadid, and commanded the whole valley of the river to the defile of Daphne, below Antioch. It was a well-known city at the time of the Exodus (Numbers 13:21; Numbers 34:8), and in that of David was the capital of a kingdom, which became tributary to him and Solomon (2Samuel 8:10; 1Kings 4:21-24). Riblah (still retaining its name, Ribleh), also on the Orontes, and near its source, was a centre from which the great lines of traffic led by the Euphrates to Nineveh, by Palmyra to Babylon, by Lebanon and the coast to Palestine and Egypt, and through the Jordan valley to the Holy Land. It was, therefore, a natural post of observation for the Chaldæan king while his generals were carrying on the sieges of Tyre and Jerusalem. So when Pharaoh-necho was for a time, before the battle of Carchemish, master of the Assyrian territory, it was to Riblah that he summoned Jehoahaz, and there imprisoned him (2Kings 23:33). In this instance Zedekiah was brought before Nebuchadnezzar as a vassal prince who, having received his authority from the Chaldæan king (2Kings 24:17), had rebelled, and met with scant mercy.

39:1-10 Jerusalem was so strong, that the inhabitants believed the enemy could never enter it. But sin provoked God to withdraw his protection, and then it was as weak as other cities. Zedekiah had his eyes put out; so he was condemned to darkness who had shut his eyes against the clear light of God's word. Those who will not believe God's words, will be convinced by the event. Observe the wonderful changes of Providence, how uncertain are earthly possessions; and see the just dealings of Providence: but whether the Lord makes men poor or rich, nothing will profit them while they cleave to their sins.Compare the marginal reference. The differences between the two accounts are slight. 5. Riblah—north of Palestine (see Jer 1:14; Nu 34:11). Hamath is identified by commentators with Antioch, in Syria, on the Orontes, called Epiphania, from Antiochus Epiphanes.

gave judgment upon him—literally, "spake judgments with him," that is, brought him to trial as a common criminal, not as a king. He had violated his oath (Eze 17:13-19; 2Ch 36:13).

Thus God by his providence fulfilled his threatening by his prophet Ezekiel, Ezekiel 17:12. Riblah was upon the borders of Canaan, as appeareth from Numbers 34:11; it was in the land of Hamath, of which we read 2 Kings 17:24, being one of those provinces in the dominion of the king of Assyria, from whence he brought men to place them in the land of Israel after that he had conquered the ten tribes. It is not usual for princes upon conquests to sit in judgment upon princes conquered, but the reason of it in this case was because Zedekiah was a tributary to the king of Babylon, and so subject to his power, having made a covenant with him, and secured his allegiance by his oath to him, and then rebelled against him, as we read, Ezekiel 17:13-18.

But the Chaldean army pursued after them,.... Being informed of the flight of them, by those who surrendered to them, as Josephus says; or not finding the king, his family, nobles, and guards, at the palace, where they expected them; and, knowing which way they must take, pursued after them; not the whole army, only a part of it; for some must remain at Jerusalem to demolish the city, and take the spoil of it:

and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; not far from it, as Josephus says; and who also observes, that when his friends and generals saw the enemy near, they left him, and shifted for themselves, and only a few were with him when overtook:

and when they had taken him they brought him to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath: which is generally thought to be Antioch in Syria; whither he had retired from the siege of Jerusalem, having left it to his generals to refresh himself in this pleasant place, as it seems it was; or that he might be nearer his own kingdom, if any troubles should arise in it during his absence; however, here he was, and here the army brought Zedekiah to him, and those they took with him; which must be very agreeable to the king of Babylon to have this perfidious and ungrateful prince in his power:

where he gave judgment upon him: or passed sentence on him, which was to have his eyes put out: or, "spake judgments with him" (i); he severely chide him, and upbraided him for the injury he had done him; the perfidy he had been guilty of in breaking his oath and covenant. So Josephus says,

"after he came to him, Nebuchadnezzar began to call him a wicked man and a covenant breaker, unmindful of promises he had made to preserve the country for him; he reproached him with ingratitude, in receiving the kingdom from him he had taken from Jehoiakim, and given to him, who had used his power against the giver; but, says he, the great God that hates thy manners has put thee into our hands.''

(i) "et locutus est cum eo, vel ipso judicia", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius, Schmidt.

But the Chaldeans' army pursued them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to {c} Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him.

(c) Which is called Antioch in Syria.

5. the plains of Jericho] the W. side of the Arabah.

Riblah] (Ribleh) between the mountain ranges of Lebanon and Hermon. It was a suitable halting-place for Nebuchadnezzar, as being on the high road between Babylon and Palestine and lying “on the banks of a mountain stream in the midst of a vast and fertile plain yielding the most abundant supplies of forage.” Robinson’s Bible Researches, III. 545.

gave judgement upon him] lit. spake judgements with him. See on ch. Jeremiah 1:16.

Jeremiah 39:5In Jeremiah 39:4-7 are narrated the flight of Zedekiah, his capture, and his condemnation, like what we find in Jeremiah 52:7-11 and 2 Kings 25:4-7. "When Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them (the Chaldean generals who had taken up their position at the mid-gate), they fled by night out of the city, by the way of the king's garden, by a gate between the walls, and he went out by the way to the Arabah. Jeremiah 39:5. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the steppes of Jericho, and captured him, and brought him to Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, to Riblah, in the land of Hamath; and he pronounced judgment on him." Hitzig and Graf consider that the connection of these events, made by כּאשׁר ראם, is awkward, and say that the king would not have waited till the Chaldean generals took up their position at the mid-gate, nor could he see these in the night-time; that, moreover, he would hardly have waited till the city was taken before he fled. These objections are utterly worthless. If the city of Zion, in which the royal palace stood, was separated from the lower city by a wall, then the king might still be quite at ease, with his men of war, in the upper city or city of Zion, so long as the enemy, who were pushing into the lower city from the north, remained at the separating wall, near the middle gate in it; and only when he saw that the city of Zion, too, could no longer be held, did he need to betake himself to flight with the men of war around him. In actual fact, then, he might have been able to see the Chaldean generals with his own eyes, although we need not press ראם so much as to extract this meaning from it. Even at this juncture, flight was still possible through the south gate, at the king's garden, between the two walls. Thenius, on 2 Kings 25:4, takes חמתים to mean a double wall, which at the southern end of Ophel closed up the ravine between Ophel and Zion. But a double wall must also have had two gates, and Thenius, indeed, has exhibited them in his plan of Jerusalem; but the text speaks of but one gate (שׁער). "The two walls" are rather the walls which ran along the eastern border of Zion and the western border of Ophel. The gate between these was situated in the wall which ran across the Tyropoean valley, and united the wall of Zion and that of Ophel; it was called the horse-gate (Nehemiah 3:28), and occupied the position of the modern "dung-gate" (Bab-el Moghribeh); see on Nehemiah 3:27-28. It was not the "gate of the fountain," as Thenius (Bcher der Kn. S. 456), Ngelsbach, and others imagine, founding on the supposed existence of the double wall at the south end of Ophel. Outside this gate, where the valley of the Tyropoeon joined with the valley of the Kidron, lay the king's garden, in the vicinity of the pool of Siloam; see on Nehemiah 3:15. The words 'ויּצא וגו introduce further details as to the king's flight. In spite of the preceding plurals ויּברחוּ , the sing. יצא is quite suitable here, since the narrator wishes to give further details with regard to the flight of the king alone, without bringing into consideration the warriors who fled along with him. Nor does the following אחריהם militate against this view; for the Chaldean warriors pursued the king and his followers, not to capture these followers, but the king. Escaped from the city, the king took the direction of the ערבה, the plain of the Jordan, in order to escape over Jordan to Gilead. But the pursuing enemy overtook him in the steppes of Jericho (see Comm. on Joshua on Joshua 4:13), and thus before he had crossed the Jordan; they led him, bound, to Riblah, before the king of Babylon. "Riblah in the land of Hamath" is still called Ribleh, a wretched village about 20 miles S.S.W. from Hums (Emesa) on the river el Ahsy (Orontes), in a large fertile plain in the northern portion of the Beka, on the great caravan-track which passes from Palestine through Damascus, Emesa, and Hamath to Thapsacus and Carchemish on the Euphrates; see Robinson's Bibl. Res. iii. 545, and on Comm. on Kings at 2 Kings 23:33. - On דּבּר משׁפּטים, to speak judgment, pronounce sentence of punishment, see on Jeremiah 1:16. Nebuchadnezzar caused the sons of Zedekiah and all the princes of Judah (חרים, nobles, lords, as in 27:30) to be slain before the eyes of the Jewish king; then he put out his eyes and bound him with brazen fetters, to carry him away to Babylon (לביא for להביא), where, according to Jeremiah 52:11, he remained in confinement till his death.
Jeremiah 39:5 Interlinear
Jeremiah 39:5 Parallel Texts

Jeremiah 39:5 NIV
Jeremiah 39:5 NLT
Jeremiah 39:5 ESV
Jeremiah 39:5 NASB
Jeremiah 39:5 KJV

Jeremiah 39:5 Bible Apps
Jeremiah 39:5 Parallel
Jeremiah 39:5 Biblia Paralela
Jeremiah 39:5 Chinese Bible
Jeremiah 39:5 French Bible
Jeremiah 39:5 German Bible

Bible Hub

Jeremiah 39:4
Top of Page
Top of Page