[But] thou shall die in peace
Upon his bed, a natural death, and in good friendship with the king of Babylon; and, it may be, in peace with God; for before his death, some time in his captivity, he might be brought to true repentance for his sins: and with the burnings of thy fathers, the former kings which were
before thee: so shall they burn [odours] for thee.
The sense is, that he should have an honourable burial; and that sweet odours and spices should be burned for him, as were for the kings of Judah his predecessors, particularly Asa, ( 2 Chronicles 16:14 ) . Josephus says F2, that Nebuchadnezzar buried him in a royal manner; though this seems to refer to what the people of the Jews in Babylon would do in honour of him, by burning for him. The Rabbins say, as Jarchi, Kimchi, and Ben Melech observe, that they burned their beds and ministering vessels, or household goods F3, as was usual on such occasions. The Talmudist F4 a say, all this honour was done him for that single act of ordering Jeremiah to be taken out of the dungeon; for this was done honour to persons: so, when Gamaliel the elder died, Onkelos the proselyte burned for him seventy Tyrian pounds F5; not such a quantity of money, but goods that were worth so much; and this was a custom with the Heathens, who used to burn the bodies of the dead, to burn their garments with them, and their armour, and whatever were valuable and esteemed of by them life; and particularly odoriferous things, as frankincense, saffron, myrrh, spikenard, cassia, and cinnamon F6; and which seem to be meant here, by comparing the passage with the case of Asa before mentioned; for though the word "odours" is not in the text, it seems rightly enough supplied by us, as it is by other interpreters F7. The Vulgate Latin version very wrongly translates it, "and shall burn thee"; for it was not the manner of the Jews to burn the bodies of the dead, but to inter them in the earth; and so Tacitus F8 observes, it was the custom of the Jews not to burn, but after the manner of the Egyptians to bury in the earth nor does it appear to have been the custom of the Babylonians or Chaldeans, as should seem from the account that is given of the death and burial of the Babylonian monarch in ( Isaiah 14:4-11 ) ; and they will lament, [saying], Ah lord!
alas! our lord the king is dead. The form of lamentation said over him, as the Jews record F9, was,
``alas! King Zedekiah, who is dead, drank the dregs of all ages;''was punished for the sins of men in all generations past: for I have pronounced the word, saith the Lord;
both that which respects his captivity, and that which refers to his death; the manner of it, and his honourable interment, which shall be accomplished.
F2 Antiqu. Jud. l. 10. c. 8. sect. 7.
F3 Vid. T. Avoda Zara, fol. 11. 1.
F4 T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 28. 2.
F5 T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 11. 1.
F6 Vid. Kirehman. de Fuuer. Roman. l. 3. c. 5.
F7 "Sub. myropolae", Munster; "aromata odorata, sive res odoriferas", Vatablus; "ustiones odorum", Junius & Tremellius.
F8 Histor. l. 5. c. 5.
F9 Seder Olam Rabba, c. 28. p. 81.