38:1 Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur the son of a Malchiah, heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken to all the people, saying,
38:2 Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for b a prize, and shall live.
(a) For Zedekiah had sent these to Jeremiah to enquire at the Lord for the state of the country how when Nebuchadnezzar came, as in ( Jeremiah 21:1 ).
38:4 Therefore the princes said to the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war c that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words to them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the harm.
(b) Read ( Jeremiah 21:9 Jeremiah 45:5 ).
(c) Thus we see how the wicked when they cannot abide to hear the truth of Gods word, seek to put the ministers to death, as transgressors of policies. 38:5 Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he [is] in your hand: for the king [is] not [he that] can do [any] d thing against you.
(d) In which he grievously offended in that not only would he not hear the truth spoken by the prophet, but also gave him to the lusts of the wicked to be cruelly treated. 38:7 Now when Ebedmelech the Cushite, one of the eunuchs who was in the kings house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon; the king then sitting in the e gate of Benjamin;
(e) To hear matters and give sentence. 38:9 My lord the king, f these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is certain to die from hunger in the place where he is: for [there is] no more bread in the city.
(f) By this is declared that the prophet found more favour at this strangers hands, than he did by all them of his country, which was to their great condemnation. 38:13 So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the g court of the prison.
38:17 Then said Jeremiah to Zedekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; If thou wilt assuredly go forth to the king of Babylons h princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thy house:
(g) Where the king had set him before to be at more liberty, as in ( Jeremiah 37:21 ).
(h) And yield yourself to them. 38:19 And Zedekiah the king said to Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that have fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they i mock me.
(i) Which declares that he more feared the reproach of men than the threatenings of God. 38:22 And, behold, all the women that are k left in the king of Judahs house [shall be] brought forth to the king of Babylons princes, and those [women] shall say, Thy friends have set thee on, and have prevailed against thee: thy feet are sunk in the mire, [and] they are turned away back.
(k) When Jeconiah and his mother with others were carried away, these women of the kings house were left: who will be taken, says the prophet and tell the king of Babel how Zedekiah has been seduced by his familiar friends and false prophets who have left him in the mire. 38:26 Then thou shalt say to them, I l presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Jonathans house, to die there.
(l) In this appears the infirmity of the prophet, who dissembled to save his life even though it was not to the denial of his doctrine or to the hurt of any.