Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
Jer 52:1-34. Written by Some Other than Jeremiah (Probably Ezra) AS AN Historical Supplement to the Previous Prophecies
(See on Jer 51:64). Jeremiah, having already (thirty-ninth and fortieth chapters) given the history in the proper place, was not likely to repeat it here. Its canonical authority as inspired is shown by its being in the Septuagint version. It contains the capture and burning of Jerusalem, &c., Zedekiah's punishment, and the better treatment of Jehoiachin under Evil-merodach, down to his death. These last events were probably subsequent to Jeremiah's time.
And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
3. through … anger of … Lord … Zedekiah rebelled—His "anger" against Jerusalem, determining Him to "cast out" His people "from His presence" heretofore manifested there, led Him to permit Zedekiah to rebel (2Ki 23:26, 27; compare Ex 9:12; 10:1; Ro 9:18). That rebellion, being in violation of his oath "by God," was sure to bring down God's vengeance (2Ch 36:13; Eze 17:15, 16, 18).
And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about.
4. forts—rather, towers of wood [Kimchi], for watching the movements of the besieged from the height and annoying them with missiles.
So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.
And in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land.
Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king's garden; (now the Chaldeans were by the city round about:) and they went by the way of the plain.
7. (See on Jer 39:4).
But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him.
Then they took the king, and carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; where he gave judgment upon him.
9. gave judgment upon him—as guilty of rebellion and perjury (Jer 52:3; compare Eze 23:24).
And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah.
Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.
11. Eze 12:13: "I will bring him to Babylon … yet shall he not see it."
prison—literally, "the house of visitations," or "punishments," that is, where there was penal work enforced on the prisoners, such as grinding. Hence the Septuagint renders it "the house of the mill." So Samson, after his eyes were put out, "ground" in the Philistine prison-house (Jud 16:21).
Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem,
12. tenth day—But in 2Ki 25:8, it is said "the seventh day." Nebuzara-dan started from Riblah on the "seventh" day and arrived in Jerusalem on the "tenth" day. Seeming discrepancies, when cleared up, confirm the genuineness of Scripture; for they show there was no collusion between the writers; as in all God's works there is latent harmony under outward varieties.
And burned the house of the LORD, and the king's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire:
13. all the houses … and all the houses of the great—the "and" defines what houses especially are meant, namely, the houses of the great men.
And all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about.
Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive certain of the poor of the people, and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude.
15. poor of … people—added to the account in 2Ki 25:11. "The poor of the people" are of the city, as distinguished from "the poor of the land," that is, of the country.
But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen.
Also the pillars of brass that were in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brasen sea that was in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans brake, and carried all the brass of them to Babylon.
17. brake—that they might be more portable. Fulfilling the prophecy (Jer 27:19). See 1Ki 7:15, 23, 27, 50. Nothing is so particularly related here as the carrying away of the articles in the temple. The remembrance of their beauty and preciousness heightens the bitterness of their loss and the evil of sin which caused it.
brass … brazen—rather "copper … of copper."
The caldrons also, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the bowls, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away.
18. (Ex 27:3).
And the basons, and the firepans, and the bowls, and the caldrons, and the candlesticks, and the spoons, and the cups; that which was of gold in gold, and that which was of silver in silver, took the captain of the guard away.
19. of gold in gold—implying that the articles were of solid gold and silver respectively, not of a different metal inside, or alloyed [Grotius]. Whole: not breaking them as was done to the "brass" (Jer 52:17).
The two pillars, one sea, and twelve brasen bulls that were under the bases, which king Solomon had made in the house of the LORD: the brass of all these vessels was without weight.
20. bulls … under the bases—But the bulls were not "under the bases," but under the sea (1Ki 7:25, 27, 38); the ten bases were not under the sea, but under the ten lavers. In English Version, "bases," therefore, must mean the lower parts of the sea under which the bulls were. Rather, translate, "the bulls were in the place of (that is, 'by way of'; so the Hebrew, 1Sa 14:9), bases," or supports to the sea [Buxtorf]. So the Septuagint. 2Ki 25:16 omits the "bulls," and has "and the bases"; so Grotius here reads "the bulls (which were) under (the sea) and the bases."
And concerning the pillars, the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits; and a fillet of twelve cubits did compass it; and the thickness thereof was four fingers: it was hollow.
21. eighteen cubits—but in 2Ch 3:15, it is "thirty-five cubits." The discrepancy is thus removed. Each pillar was eighteen common cubits. The two together, deducting the base, were thirty-five, as stated in 2Ch 3:15 [Grotius]. Other ways (for example, by reference to the difference between the common and the sacred cubit) are proposed: though we are not able positively to decide now which is the true way, at least those proposed do show that the discrepancies are not irreconcilable.
And a chapiter of brass was upon it; and the height of one chapiter was five cubits, with network and pomegranates upon the chapiters round about, all of brass. The second pillar also and the pomegranates were like unto these.
22. five cubits—so 1Ki 7:16. But 2Ki 25:17 has "three cubits." There were two parts in the chapiter: the one lower and plain, of two cubits; the other, higher and curiously carved, of three cubits. The former is omitted in 2Ki 25:17, as belonging to the shaft of the pillar; the latter alone is there mentioned. Here the whole chapiter of five cubits is referred to.
And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side; and all the pomegranates upon the network were an hundred round about.
23. on a side—literally, (on the side) towards the air or wind, that is, the outside of the capitals of the pillars conspicuous to the eye, opposed to the four remaining pomegranates which were not seen from the outside. The pomegranates here are ninety-six; but in 1Ki 7:20 they are two hundred on each chapiter, and four hundred on the two (2Ch 4:13). It seems there were two rows of them, one above the other, and in each row a hundred. They are here said to be ninety-six, but immediately following one hundred, and so in 1Ki 7:20. Four seem to have been unseen to one looking from one point; and the ninety-six are only those that could be seen [Vatablus]; or, the four omitted here are those separating the four sides, one pomegranate at each point of separation (or at the four corners) between the four sides [Grotius].
And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:
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 Jer 21:1; Jer 29:25).
He took also out of the city an eunuch, which had the charge of the men of war; and seven men of them that were near the king's person, which were found in the city; and the principal scribe of the host, who mustered the people of the land; and threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the midst of the city.
25. seven men—but in 2Ki 25:19 it is "five." Perhaps two were less illustrious persons and are therefore omitted.
principal scribe of the host—(Isa 33:18). His office was to preside over the levy and enroll recruits. Rawlinson observes that the Assyrian records are free from the exaggerated expressions found in the Egyptian. A minute account was taken of the spoil. Two "scribes of the host" are seen in every bas-relief, writing down the various objects brought to them: the heads of the slain, the prisoners, cattle, sheep, &c.
So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah.
And the king of Babylon smote them, and put them to death in Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah was carried away captive out of his own land.
This is the people whom Nebuchadrezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year three thousand Jews and three and twenty:
28. seventh year—in 2Ki 24:12, 14, 16, it is said "the eighth year" of Nebuchadnezzar. No doubt it was in part about the end of the seventh year, in part about the beginning of the eighth. Also in 2Ki 24:1-20, ten thousand (Jer 52:14), and seven thousand men of might, and a thousand craftsmen (Jer 52:16), are said to have been carried away, But here three thousand twenty-three. Probably the latter three thousand twenty-three were of the tribe of Judah, the remaining seven thousand out of the ten thousand were of the other tribes, out of which many Israelites still had been left in the land. The thousand "craftsmen" were exclusive of the ten thousand, as appears, by comparing 2Ki 24:14 with Jer 52:16. Probably the three thousand twenty-three of Judah were first removed in the end of "the seventh year"; the seven thousand and a thousand craftsmen in the "eighth year." This was at the first captivity under Jehoiachin.
In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons:
29. eighteenth year—when Jerusalem was taken. But in Jer 52:15, and 2Ki 25:8, "the nineteenth year." Probably it was at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth [Lyra].
eight hundred and thirty and two—The most illustrious persons are meant, who no doubt were carried away first, at the end of the eighteenth year.
In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadrezzar Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons: all the persons were four thousand and six hundred.
30. Not recorded in Kings or Chronicles. Probably it took place during the commotions that followed the death of Gedaliah (Jer 41:18; 2Ki 25:26).
four thousand and six hundred—The exact sum-total of the numbers specified here, namely, three thousand twenty-three, eight hundred thirty-two, seven hundred forty-five, not including the general multitude and the women and children (Jer 52:15; Jer 39:9; 2Ki 25:11).
And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison,
31. (2Ki 25:27-30).
five and twentieth day—but in 2Ki 25:27, it is "the twenty-seventh day." Probably on the twenty-fifth the decree for his elevation was given, and the preparations for it made by releasing him from prison; and on the twenty-seventh day it was carried into effect.
Evil-merodach—son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar [Lyra]; and the Hebrew writers say that during Nebuchadnezzar's exclusion from men among beasts, Evil-merodach administered the government. When Nebuchadnezzar at the end of seven years was restored, hearing of his son's misconduct and that he had exulted in his father's calamity, he threw him into prison, where the latter met Jeconiah and contracted a friendship with him, whence arose the favor which subsequently he showed him. God, in his elevation, rewarded his having surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar (compare Jer 38:17 with 2Ki 24:12).
lifted up … head—(Compare Ge 40:13, 20; Ps 3:3; 27:6).
And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon,
32. set his throne above—a mark of respect.
the kings—The Hebrew text reads (the other) "kings." "The kings" is a Masoretic correction.
And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life.
33. changed … garments—gave him garments suitable to a king.
did … eat bread before him—(2Sa 9:13).
And for his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.
34. every day a portion—rather, "its portion," (compare 1Ki 8:59, Margin).