New American Standard Bible
The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were in Jerusalem to proclaim release to them:
King James Bible
This is the word that came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people which were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them;
Darby Bible Translation
The word that came unto Jeremiah from Jehovah, after that king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people that were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them:
World English Bible
The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty to them;
Young's Literal Translation
The word that hath been unto Jeremiah from Jehovah, after the making by the king Zedekiah of a covenant with all the people who are in Jerusalem, to proclaim to them liberty,
Jeremiah 34:8 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
It is usual with commentators to say that, the laws dealing with the emancipation of the Hebrew slaves, as also that of the land resting during the sabbatical year, were not observed. The narrative teaches us the exact contrary. The manumission of the slaves on the present occasion was the spontaneous act of Zedekiah and the people. They knew of the law, and acknowledged its obligation. The observance of it was, no doubt, lax: the majority let their own selfish interests prevail; but the minority made might give way to right, and Zedekiah supported their efforts though only in a weak way.
Early in January, in the ninth year of Zedekiah, the Chaldaean army approached Jerusalem. The people made a covenant with the king, who appears as the abettor of the measure, to let their slaves go free. Possibly patriotism had its share in this: and as Jerusalem was strongly fortified, all classes possibly hoped that if the slaves were manumitted, they too would labor with a more hearty good-will in resisting the enemy. In the summer of the same year the Egyptians advanced to the rescue, and Nebuchadnezzar withdrew to meet their attack. The Jews with a strange levity, which sets them before us in a most despicable light, at once forced the manumitted slaves back into bondage. With noble indignation Jeremiah rebukes them for their treachery, assures them that the Chaldaean army will return, and warns them of the certainty of the punishment which they so richly merited.
As the Chaldaean army swept over the country the wealthier classes would all flee to Jerusalem, taking with them their households. And as the Mosaic Law was probably more carefully kept there than in the country, the presence in these families of slaves who had grown grey in service may have given offence to the stricter classes at the capital.
To proclaim liberty unto them - The words are those of the proclamation of the year of jubile to the people, whereupon it became their duty to set their slaves free.
"If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment.
'You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family.
'If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave's service.
2 Kings 11:17
Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they would be the LORD'S people, also between the king and the people.
2 Kings 23:2
The king went up to the house of the LORD and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests and the prophets and all the people, both small and great; and he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD.
2 Kings 23:3
The king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people entered into the covenant.
Now there was a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brothers.
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