My lord the king
He addresses him as a courtier, with great reverence and submission, and yet with great boldness: these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the
meaning the princes, who might be present, and whom he pointed at, and mentioned by name; which showed great courage and faithfulness, as well as great zeal for, and attachment to, the prophet; to charge after this manner persons of such great authority so publicly, and to the king, whom the king himself stood in fear of: he first brings a general charge against them, that they had done wrong in everything they had done to the prophet; in their angry words to him; in smiting him, and putting him in prison in Jonathan's house; and particularly in their last instance of ill will to him: whom they have cast into the dungeon;
he does not say where, or describe the dungeon, because well known to the king, and what a miserable place it was; and tacitly suggests the cruelty and inhumanity of the princes: and he is like to die for hunger in the place where he is, for [there
is] no more bread in the city;
or very little; there was none to be had but with great difficulty, as Kimchi observes; and therefore though the king had ordered a piece of bread to be given him daily, as long as there was any in the city; yet it being almost all consumed, and the prophet being out or sight, and so out of mind, and altogether disregarded, must be in perishing circumstances, and near death; and must inevitably perish, unless some immediate care be taken of him. It may be rendered, "he will die" F20 or the sense is, bread being exceeding scarce in the city, notwithstanding the king's order, very little was given to Jeremiah, while he was in the court of the prison; so that he was half starved, and was a mere skeleton then, and would have died for hunger there; wherefore it was barbarous in the princes to cast such a man into a dungeon. It may be rendered, "he would have died for hunger in the place where he was, seeing there was no more bread in the city" F21; wherefore, if the princes had let him alone where he was, he would have died through famine; and therefore acted a very wicked part in hastening his death, by throwing him into a dungeon; this is Jarchi's sense, with which Abarbinel agrees.
F20 (tmyw) "morietur enim", Schmidt.
F21 "Qui moriturus fuerat in loco suo propter famem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.