Jeremiah 52:24
And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Jeremiah 52:24-25. And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest1 Chronicles 6:14, he was the father of Ezra; Ezra 7:1. And Zephaniah the second priest — See note on Jeremiah 29:26; 2 Kings 25:18. And the three keepers of the door — These were not the ordinary porters, who were taken from among the Levites, but were priests who stood at the door to receive the offerings of the people, and thus were keepers of the sacred treasury, an office of high trust and consideration: see 2 Kings 12:9; 2 Kings 23:4. He took also out of the city a eunuch

An officer: so it is in the parallel place, 2 Kings 25:19, where, instead of seven men, we read five. Josephus agrees with the reading here. And the principal scribe of the host — The muster-master-general, as we style him, or secretary of war. And threescore men that were in the midst of the city — Of whom see note on 2 Kings 25:19.

52:24-30 The leaders of the Jews caused them to err; but now they are, in particular, made monuments of Divine justice. Here is an account of two earlier captivities. This people often were wonders both of judgment and mercy.On a side - The 96 were toward the four winds, 24 toward the north, 24 toward the east, and so on. Add one at each corner, and the whole 100 is made up. 24. Seraiah—different from the Seraiah (Jer 51:59), son of Neriah; probably son of Azariah (1Ch 6:14).

Zephaniah—son of Maaseiah (see on [1009]Jer 21:1; [1010]Jer 29:25).

See Poole "2 Kings 25:18", where we have the same words. This Seraiah was not he mentioned Jeremiah 51:59, but the son of Azariah, 1 Chronicles 6:14. By the

second priest, interpreters understand him that supplied the place of the high priest in case he were sick, &c., he that was sent by Zedekiah to the prophet, Jeremiah 21:1, and whom Jeremiah chose by his letters, Jeremiah 29:25, for not setting Jeremiah in the stocks. It is probable there were more keepers of the door, but the captain of the guard took only three of the principal.

And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest,.... That is, out of the temple, where he was ministering, or fled for safety; this is supposed to be the father of Ezra, 1 Chronicles 6:14;

and Zephaniah the second priest: or deputy priest: the "sagan" of the priests, as the Targum calls him, who was deputed to minister for the high priest, in case anything happened which hindered him from officiating; such an one there always was in later times on the day of atonement, as appears from the Misna (f); this man is thought to be the same with Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, Jeremiah 21:1;

and the three keepers of the door; that is, of the temple. The Targum calls them three "amarcalin"; who had, as Jarchi says, the keys of the court committed to them. The number seems better to agree with the "gizbarim" or treasurers; of whom, it is said, they never appoint less than three treasurers, and seven "amarcalin" (g).

(f) Yoma, c. 1. sect. 1.((g) Misn. Shekalim, c. 5. sect. 2.

And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah {k} the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:

(k) Which served in the high priests stead, if he had any necessary impediment.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. Seraiah the chief priest] probably identical with the ancestor of Ezra, mentioned Ezra 7:1.

Zephaniah] See on Jeremiah 21:1.

keepers of the door] Heb. threshold. See on Jeremiah 35:4.

24–27. Omitted in ch. 39, but cp. with it 2 Kings 25:18-21.

Jeremiah 52:24The account given regarding the arrest of the chief officers of the temple and of the city, and concerning their transportation to Riblah, where Nebuchadnezzar caused them to be executed, agrees with 2 Kings 25:18-21, except in some unimportant variations, which, however, do not alter the sense; the explanation has been already given in the commentary on that passage. In 2 Kings, the account of the appointment of Gedaliah as the governor of Judah, together with that of his assassination by Ishmael, which follows the narrative just referred to, is here omitted, because the matter has bee already more fully stated in the passage Jeremiah 40:7 on to Jeremiah 43:7, and had no close connection with the object of the present chapter. Instead of this, there follows here, in Jeremiah 52:28-30 (as a continuation of the remark made, Jeremiah 52:27, "Thus was Judah carried away captive out of his own land"), a calculation of the number of the Jews taken to Babylon at the three deportations: in the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, 3023 Jews; in the eighteenth year, 832 souls from Jerusalem; and in the twenty-third year, 745 souls, - in all, 4600 persons. The correctness of these data is vouched for by the exactness of the separate numbers, and the agreement of the sum with the individual items. In other respects, however, they present various difficulties. There is, first, the chronological discrepancy that the second deportation is here placed in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, in contradiction with Jeremiah 52:12, according to which, the deportation after the taking of Jerusalem occurred in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar; and 832 souls could not well be carried out of Jerusalem during the siege. This difference can be settled only by assuming that this list of deportations was derived from another source than the preceding notice regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, in which the years of Nebuchadnezzar's reign were reckoned in some other way than elsewhere in Jeremiah and in the books of Kings, probably from the date of the actual commencement of his reign, which followed a year after he first appeared in Judah, from which his reign is dated elsewhere; see Comm. on Daniel at Daniel 1:1. According to this mode of computation, the seventh year would correspond to the eighth of the common reckoning, and be the year in which Jehoiachin was carried away to Babylon, together with a large number of the people. But this does not agree with 3023, which is given as the number of those who were carried away; for, at that time, according to 2 Kings 24:14, 2 Kings 24:16, as many as 10,000 Jews, or, according to another view of these verses, even 18,000, were carried away to Babylon. This difference does not permit of being explained in any way. Ewald (History of the People of Israel, iii. p. 738) accordingly assumes that in Jeremiah 52:28, after שׁבע, the word עשׂרה has been omitted, as in 2 Chronicles 36:9, where the age of Jehoiachin is given; hence he thinks that, instead of "in the seventh," we must read "in the seventeenth year of Nebuchadnezzar." On such a view, the reference would be to a deportation which took place under Zedekiah, a year before the capture, or during the time of the siege of Jerusalem, and that, too, out of the country districts of Judah in contrast with Jerusalem, Jeremiah 52:29. This supposition is favoured not merely by the small number of those who are said to have been carried away, but also by the context of the narrative, inasmuch as, in what precedes, it is only the capture of Jerusalem and the deportation of the people in Zedekiah's time that is treated of. Ngelsbach has objected to this supposition, that it was not likely the great mass of the people would be carried away during the war, at a time when the approach of the Egyptian army (cf. Jeremiah 37:5) was an object of dread. But the objection does not weaken the supposition, since the former rests on two presuppositions that are quite erroneous: viz., first, that the deportation took place before the defeat of the auxiliary army from Egypt, where as it may have followed that event; and secondly, that the Chaldeans, by keeping the hostile Jews in the country, might have been able to get some assistance against the Egyptian army, whereas, by removing the hostile population of Judah, they would but diminish the number of the enemies with which they had to contend. We therefore regard this conjecture as highly probable, because it is the means of settling all difficulties, and because we can thereby account for the small number of those who were carried away in the deportations during and after the destruction of Jerusalem.

Regarding the third deportation, which was effected by Nebuzaradan (Jeremiah 52:30) in the twenty-third, or, according to another reckoning, in the twenty-fourth year of Nebuchadnezzar, i.e., in the fifth year after the destruction of Jerusalem, we have no other information; for the statement of Josephus, Antt. x. 9. 7, that Nebuchadnezzar made war upon the Ammonites and Moabites in that year, has not been placed beyond a doubt, and is probably a mere inference from this verse, taken in connection with the prophecies in Jeremiah 48 and 49. Yet there is nothing improbable in the statement, viewed by itself. For it must be borne in mind that, after the appointment of Gedaliah as governor, and the departure of the Chaldean hosts, many Jews, who had fled during the war, returned into the country. Hence, in spite of the fact that, after the murder of Gedaliah, a multitude of Jews, fearing the vengeance of the Chaldeans, fled to Egypt, many may have still remained in the country; and many other fugitives may not have returned till afterwards, and given occasion to the Chaldeans for removing other 745 disturbers of the peace to Babylon, four or five years after Jerusalem had been laid in ashes. This deportation may have taken place on the occasion of the subjugation of the Moabites, Ammonites, and Idumeans, or during the war with the Phoenicians, possibly because they had rendered assistance to these nations against the Chaldeans. These verses thus contain nothing to justify the assumption of M. von Niebuhr (Gesch. Assyr. und Babels, S. 58, note) and Ngelsbach, that they are a gloss. The paucity of those who were carried away is not to be attributed to a desire on the part of the writer of this inserted portion to represent the calamity as not so very terrible after all; nor is it due to the substitution of the number of the Levites for that of the entire people, - two wholly arbitrary assumptions: it is completely explained by a consideration of the historical circumstances. The best of the population of Judah had already been carried away, and Zedekiah and his counsellors must have said to themselves, when they rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, that the latter would not spare this time; thus they must have defended themselves to the utmost, as is shown by the very fact that the siege of Jerusalem lasted eighteen months. In this manner, war, pestilence, and famine carried off a great number of the population of Jerusalem; so that, of men who were able-bodied and fit for war, and who could be carried into exile, not more than 4600 fell into the hands of the Chaldeans. During the war, also, many had concealed themselves in inaccessible places, while the lowest of the people were left behind in the country to cultivate the fields. Still more strange might appear the circumstance that the sum-total of those who were carried away to Babylon, viz., 10,000 with Jehoiachin, and 4600 under Zedekiah, - 14, 600 in all, - is evidently disproportionate to the number of those who returned to Jerusalem and Judah under Zerubbabel, which number is given in Ezra 2:64 at 42, 360, exclusive of men and maid servants. For this reason, Graf is of opinion that still later deportations may have taken place, of which no mention is made anywhere. This assumption, however, has little probability. On the other hand, we must consider these points: (1.) In the accounts given of those who were carried away, only full-grown and independent persons of the male sex are reckoned, while, along with fathers, both their wives and their children went into exile. (2.) Even so early as the first capture of Jerusalem in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, a number of prisoners of war, perhaps not inconsiderable, came to Babylon; these might unite with the thousands of their brethren who were carried thither at a later period. (3.) When the exiles had settled down in Babylon, and there found not only a means of livelihood, but even in many instances, as is clear from several intimations, attained to opulence as citizens, many, even of those who had been left in the country, may have gone to Babylon, in the hope of finding there greater prosperity than in Judah, now laid waste and depopulated by war. (4.) From the time when the 10,000 were carried away with Jehoiachin, in the year 599 b.c., till the return under Zerubbabel, 536 b.c., 63 years, i.e., nearly two generations, had passed, during which the exiles might largely increase in numbers. If we take all these elements into consideration, then, in the simple fact that the number of those who returned amounts to nearly three times the numbers of those given as having been carried away under Jehoiachin and Zedekiah, we cannot find such a difficulty as entitles us to doubt the correctness of the numbers handed down to us.

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