The fate of Zedekiah. (1-11) The destruction of Jerusalem. (12-23) The captivities. (24-30) The advancement of Jehoiachin. (31-34)
Verses 1-11 This fruit of sin we should pray against above any thing; Cast me not away from thy presence, ( Psalms 51:11 ) . None are cast out of God's presence but those who by sin have first thrown themselves out. Zedekiah's flight was in vain, for there is no escaping the judgments of God; they come upon the sinner, and overtake him, let him flee where he will.
Verses 12-23 The Chaldean army made woful havoc. But nothing is so particularly related here, as the carrying away of the articles in the temple. The remembrance of their beauty and value shows us the more the evil of sin.
Verses 24-30 The leaders of the Jews caused them to err; but now they are, in particular, made monuments of Divine justice. Here is an account of two earlier captivities. This people often were wonders both of judgment and mercy.
Verses 31-34 ( 2 Kings. 25:27-30 ) Those under oppression will find it is not in vain for them to hope and quietly to wait for the salvation of the Lord. Our times are in God's hand, for the hearts of all we have to deal with are so. May we be enabled, more and more, to rest on the Rock of Ages, and to look forward with holy faith to that hour, when the Lord will bring again Zion, and overthrow all the enemies of the church.
Jeremiah 52:1-34 . WRITTEN BY SOME OTHER THAN JEREMIAH (PROBABLY EZRA) AS AN HISTORICAL SUPPLEMENT TO THE PREVIOUS PROPHECIES
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.
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 ( 2 Kings 23:26 2 Kings 23:27 ; compare Exodus 9:12 , 10:1 , Romans 9:18 ). That rebellion, being in violation of his oath "by God," was sure to bring down God's vengeance ( 2 Chronicles 36:13 , Ezekiel 17:15 Ezekiel 17:16 Ezekiel 17:18 ).
4. forts--rather, towers of wood [KIMCHI], for watching the movements of the besieged from the height and annoying them with missiles.
9. gave judgment upon him--as guilty of rebellion and perjury ( Jeremiah 52:3 ; compare Ezekiel 23:24 ).
11. Ezekiel 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 ( Judges 16:21 ).
12. tenth day--But in 2 Kings 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.
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.
15. poor of . . . people--added to the account in 2 Kings 25:11 . "The poor of the people" are of the city, as distinguished from "the poor of the land," that is, of the country.
17. brake--that they might be more portable. Fulfilling the prophecy ( Jeremiah 27:19 ). See 1 Kings 7:15 1 Kings 7:23 1 Kings 7:27 1 Kings 7:50 . 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."
18. ( Exodus 27:3 ).
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" ( Jeremiah 52:17 ).
20. bulls . . . under the bases--But the bulls were not "under the bases," but under the sea ( 1 Kings 7:25 1 Kings 7:27 1 Kings 7:38 ); 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, 1 Samuel 14:9 ), bases," or supports to the sea [BUXTORF]. So the Septuagint. 2 Kings 25:16 omits the "bulls," and has "and the bases"; so GROTIUS here reads "the bulls (which were) under (the sea) and the bases."
21. eighteen cubits--but in 2 Chronicles 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 2 Chronicles 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.
22. five cubits--so 1 Kings 7:16 . But 2 Kings 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 2 Kings 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.
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 1 Kings 7:20 they are two hundred on each chapiter, and four hundred on the two ( 2 Chronicles 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 1 Kings 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].
24. Seraiah--different from the Seraiah ( Jeremiah 51:59 ), son of Neriah; probably son of Azariah ( 1 Chronicles 6:14 ).
Zephaniah--son of Maaseiah
25. seven men--but in 2 Kings 25:19 it is "five." Perhaps two were less illustrious persons and are therefore omitted.
principal scribe of the host--( Isaiah 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.
28. seventh year--in 2 Kings 24:12 2 Kings 24:14 2 Kings 24:16 , 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 2 Kings 24:1-20 , ten thousand ( Jeremiah 52:14 ), and seven thousand men of might, and a thousand craftsmen ( Jeremiah 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 a thousand "craftsmen" were exclusive of the ten thousand, as appears, by comparing 2 Kings 24:14 with Jeremiah 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.
29. eighteenth year--when Jerusalem was taken. But in Jeremiah 52:15 , and 2 Kings 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.
30. Not recorded in Kings or Chronicles. Probably it took place during the commotions that followed the death of Gedaliah ( Jeremiah 41:18 , 2 Kings 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 ( Jeremiah 52:15 , Jeremiah 39:9 , 2 Kings 25:11 ).
31. ( 2 Kings 25:27-30 ).
five and twentieth day--but in 2 Kings 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 Jeremiah 38:17 with 2 Kings 24:12 ).
lifted up . . . head--(Compare Genesis 40:13 Genesis 40:20 , Psalms 3:3 , 27:6 ).
32. set his throne above--a mark of respect.
the kings--The Hebrew text reads (the other) kings." "The kings" is a Masoretic correction.
33. changed . . . garments--gave him garments suitable to a king.
did . . . eat bread before him--( 2 Samuel 9:13 ).
34. every day a portion--rather, "its portion," (compare 1 Kings 8:59 , Margin).