Jeremiah 39:9
Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to him, with the rest of the people that remained.
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(9) Then Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard.—Here again the title in the Hebrew—Bab-tab-bachim—takes a form like that of Rab-saris and Rab-shaken, and means literally, “chief of the slaughterers” The title is given to Potiphar in Genesis 37:36, and probably answered to our “commander of the king’s body-guard.” The name has been interpreted as “the prince-lord, or the worshipper, of Nebo,” but the etymology of the last three syllables is uncertain, He does not appear as taking part with the other generals in the siege of Jerusalem, but comes on the capture of the city, arriving a month afterwards (Jeremiah 52:12) to direct, even in its minute details, the work of destruction (2Kings 25:9). The defenders and deserters were involved in the same doom of exile. It need scarcely be said that, as in the case of the conquests of Tiglath-pileser (2Kings 15:29), Shalmaneser (2Kings 17:6), Esar-haddon (2Kings 17:24), and Sennacherib (2Kings 18:32), this wholesale deportation was part of the systematic policy of the great Assyrian and Babylonian monarchs. So Darius carried off the Pæonians from Thrace (Herod. v. 14). To distribute the lands of the exiles thus dispossessed among “the poor of the people,” was, it was thought, likely to enlist their interests on the side of the conqueror; and, by keeping up the cultivation of the soil, secured the payment of tribute.

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. 9. remnant—excepting the poorest (Jer 39:10), who caused Nebuchadnezzar no apprehensions.

those … that fell to him—the deserters were distrusted; or they may have been removed at their own request, lest the people should vent their rage on them as traitors, after the departure of the Chaldeans.

rest … that remained—distinct from the previous "remnant"; there he means the remnant of those besieged in the city, whom Nebuchadnezzar spared; here, those scattered through various districts of the country which had not been besieged [Calvin].

This Nebuzar-adan was in that place which we call the provost-marshal, with them it was called

the captain of the guard; and here are two sorts of prisoners reckoned up whom he carried away:

1. Such as, after the armies were come into Judea, had yielded themselves.

2. Such as, when they took the city, remained in it, not being before consumed by the sword, famine, and pestilence; and so were taken upon the storming or surprisal of the city. Both sorts were carried away prisoners, although it is probable that the conqueror treated the former much more gently than he treated the latter, as is usual in those cases. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard,.... The Targum is,

"the captain of those that kill;''

of the soldiers, of the militia. Some render it, the captain of the "cooks"; others, of the "butchers" (l); but no doubt it was a military office he bore; he was captain of the forces that were left in Jerusalem, after the other part went in pursuit of the king and those with him; or the captain of a company, being sent by the king of Babylon to execute a commission of his: the same

carried away into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city; that were left of the pestilence, famine, and sword; and who were found in it when it was taken:

and those that fell away, that fell to him; that fell to the Chaldean army during the siege of the city; and those that betook themselves to Nebuzaradan, and voluntarily surrendered themselves to him afterwards:

with the rest of the people that remained; in other cities in the land of Judah.

(l) "praefectus coquorum"; so some in Vatablus; "magister laniorum", Pagninus, Montanus.

Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to him, with the rest of the people that remained.
9. Nebuzaradan] He did not, however, arrive (Jeremiah 52:12; 2 Kings 25:8) till a month later.

captain of the guard] Heb. chief of the executioners.

that fell away to him] i.e. that went over to the Chaldaeans, and so were under Nebuzaradan from such time as he appeared in command.Verse 9. - Nebuzar-adan; i.e. Nabu-zira-iddina, "Nebo gave a seed." "And it came to pass, when Jerusalem had been taken (in the ninth year of Zedekiah the king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadrezzar and all his army had come against Jerusalem and besieged it; in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth of the month, was the city broken into), then came all the princes of the king of Babylon and sat down at the middle gate, - Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim, chief chamberlain, Nergal-sharezer, chief magician, and all the rest of the princes of the king of Babylon." These three verses, to which the last clause of Jeremiah 38:28 belongs, form one period, broken up by a pretty long piece inserted in it, on the beginning and duration of the siege of Jerusalem; so that, after the introductory clause והיה כּאשׁר( equals ויהי as in Jeremiah 37:11), Jeremiah 38:28, the conclusion does not come till the word ויּבאוּ, Jeremiah 39:3. In the parenthesis, the length of the siege, as stated, substantially agrees with Jeremiah 52:4-7 and 2 Kings 25:1-4, only that in these passages the time when the siege began is further determined by the mention of the day of the month, לחדשׁ be בּעשׂור, which words are omitted here. The siege, then, lasted eighteen months, all but one day. After the besiegers had penetrated into the city through the breaches made in the wall, the princes, i.e., the chief generals, took up their position at "the gate of the midst." ישׁבוּ, "they sat down," i.e., took up a position, fixed their quarters. "The gate of the midst," which is mentioned only in this passage, is supposed, and perhaps rightly, to have been a gate in the wall which divided the city of Zion from the lower city; from this point, the two portions of the city, the upper and the lower city, could most easily be commanded.

With regard to the names of the Babylonian princes, it is remarkable (1) that the name Nergal-sharezer occurs twice, the first time without any designation, the second time with the official title of chief magician; (2) that the name Samgar-nebo has the name of God (Nebo or Nebu) in the second half, whereas in all other compounds of this kind that are known to us, Nebu forms the first portion of the name, as in Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan, Nebushasban (Jeremiah 39:13), Naboned, Nabonassar, Nabopolassar, etc.; (3) from this name, too, is omitted the title of office, while we find one with the following name. Moreover (4) in Jeremiah 39:13, where the Babylonian grandees are again spoken of, instead of the four names, only three are given, but every one of them with a title of office; and only the third of these, Nergal-sharezer, the chief magician, is identical with the one who is named last in Jeremiah 39:3; while Nebushasban is mentioned instead of the Sarsechim of Jeremiah 39:3 as רב־סריס, chief of the eunuchs (high chamberlain); and in place of Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, we find Nebuzaradan as the commander of the body-guards (רב טבּחים). On these four grounds, Hitzig infers that Jeremiah 39:3, in the passage before us, has been corrupted, and that it contained originally only the names of three persons, with their official titles. Moreover, he supposes that סמגּר is formed from the Persian jâm and the derivation-syllable kr, Pers. war, and means "he who has or holds the cup," the cup-bearer; thus corresponding to רב שׁקה ot gnidnop, Rab-shakeh, "chief cup-bearer," 2 Kings 18:17; Isaiah 36:2. He also considers שׂרסכים a Hebraizing form of רב סריס; סכה or שׂכה, "to cut," by transposition from חצה, Arab. chtṣy, from which comes chatṣiyun, "a eunuch," equals סכי, plur. סכים; hence שׂרסכים equals רב סריס, of which the former has been a marginal gloss, afterwards received into the text. This complicated combination, however, by which Hitzig certainly makes out two official titles, though he retains no more than the divine name Nebu as that of Rabsaris, is founded upon two very hazardous conjectures. Nor do these conjectures gain much support from the renewal of the attempt, made about fifty years since by the late P. von Bohlen, to explain from the Neo-Persian the names of persons and titles occurring in the Assyrian and Old-Babylonian languages, an attempt which has long since been looked upon as scientifically unwarranted. Strange as it may seem that the two persons first named are not further specified by the addition of an official title, yet the supposition that the persons named in Isaiah 36:3 are identical with those mentioned in Isaiah 36:13 is erroneous, since it stands in contradiction with Jeremiah 52:12, which even Hitzig recognises as historically reliable. According to Jeremiah 52:12, Nebuzaradan, who is the first mentioned in Jeremiah 39:13, was not present at the taking of Jerusalem, and did not reach the city till four weeks afterwards; he was ordered by Nebuchadnezzar to superintend arrangements for the destruction of Jerusalem, and also to make arrangements for the transportation of the captives to Babylon, and for the administration of the country now being laid waste. But in Jeremiah 39:3 are named the generals who, when the city had bee taken by storm, took up their position within it. - Nor do the other difficulties, mentioned above, compel us to make such harsh conjectures. If Nergal-sharezer be the name of a person, compounded of two words, the divine name, Nergal (2 Kings 17:30), and Sharezer, probably dominator tuebitur (see Delitzsch on Isaiah 37:38), then Samgar-Nebu-Sarsechim may possibly be a proper name compounded of three words. So long as we are unable with certainty to explain the words סמגּר and שׂרסכים out of the Assyrian, we can form no decisive judgment regarding them. But not even does the hypothesis of Hitzig account for the occurrence twice over of the name Nergal-sharezer. The Nergal-sharezer mentioned in the first passage was, no doubt, the commander-in-chief of the besieging army; but it could hardly be maintained, with anything like convincing power, that this officer could not bear the same name as that of the chief magician. And if it be conceded that there are really errors in the strange words סמגּר־נבוּ and שׂרסכים, we are as yet without the necessary means of correcting them, and obtaining the proper text.

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