Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian
Being affected with the case of the prophet; and repenting of the leave he had given the princes to do with him as they pleased, gave orders as follows: saying, take from hence thirty men with thee;
from the place where the king was, the gate of Benjamin; where very probably at this time was a garrison of soldiers, thirty of which were ordered to be taken; or these were to be taken out of the king's bodyguard, he had here with him. Josephus F23 calls them thirty of the king's servants, such as were about the king's person, or belonged to his household; and so the Syriac version of ( Jeremiah 38:11 ) says that Ebedmelech took with him men of the king's household; but why thirty of them, when three or four might be thought sufficient to take up a single man out of a dungeon? Abarbinel thinks the dungeon was very deep, and Jeremiah, ah old man, could not be got out but with great labour and difficulty. Jarchi and Kimchi say, the men were so weakened with the famine, that so many were necessary to draw out one man; but the true reason seems rather to be, that should the princes, whom the king might suspect, or any other, attempt to hinder this order being put in execution, there might be a sufficient force to assist in it, and repel those that might oppose it: and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon before he die;
the king speaks honourably of Jeremiah, giving him his title as a prophet, and expresses great concern for him; and orders them to hasten the taking him up, lest he should die before, which he suggests would give him great concern.
F23 Antiqu. l. 10. c. 7. sect. 5.