The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah
This word is no other than the above prophecy concerning the destruction of Babylon, contained in this and the preceding chapter; or rather the order the prophet gave this prince to take a copy of it with him to Babylon, and there read it, and their cast it into the river Euphrates, with a stone bound it. Of this Seraiah we read nowhere else: he is further described as the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the
king of Judah into Babylon, in the fourth year of his reign;
the Jews say F9 that Zedekiah, in the fourth year of his reign, went to Babylon, to reconcile himself to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and took Seraiah with him, and returned and came to his kingdom in Jerusalem; but we have no account in Scripture of any such journey he took. The Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "when he went from Zedekiah"; as this particle is sometimes F11 elsewhere rendered, ( Genesis 4:1 ) ( 2 Kings 23:35 ) ; and so the Targum explains it,
``when he went on an embassy of Zedekiah;''and Abarbinel, by the command of the king; it seems he was ambassador from the king of Judah to the king of Babylon upon some business or another; and Jeremiah took this opportunity of sending a copy of the above prophecy by him, for the ends before mentioned: this was in the fourth year of Zedekiah's reign, seven years before the destruction of Jerusalem, and sixty years before the taking of Babylon; so long before was it prophesied of. The Syriac version wrongly reads it "in the eleventh year"; the year of Jerusalem's destruction; supposing that Seraiah's going with Zedekiah to Babylon was his going with him into captivity: and [this] Seraiah [was] a quiet prince;
one of a peaceable disposition, that did not love war, or persecution of good men; and so a fit person for Zedekiah to send upon an embassy of peace; and for Jeremiah to employ in such service as he did; for, had he been a hot and haughty prince, he would have despised his orders and commands. Some render it, "prince of Menuchah" F12; taking it to be the proper name of a place of which he was governor; thought to be the same with Manahath, ( 1 Chronicles 8:6 ) . The Targum and Septuagint version call him "the prince of gifts": one by whom such were introduced into the king's presence that brought treasure, gifts, or presents to him, as Jarchi interprets it; according to Kimchi, he was the king's familiar favourite, with whom he used to converse and delight himself when he was at rest and at leisure from business. Some take him to be the lord of the bedchamber, or lord chamberlain; and others lord chief justice of peace. The first sense seems most agreeable.
F9 Seder Olam Rabba, c. 25. p. 72, 73.
F11 Vid. L'Empereur, Not. in Mosis Kimchii, (odoiporia) , p. 254, 255. & Noldii Concordant. Ebr, p. 114. No. 577.
F12 (hxwnm rv) "princeps Menuchae", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.