Jeremiah 37

Listen to Jeremiah 37

Jeremiah Warns Zedekiah

1 1Zedekiah the son of Josiah, 2whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah, reigned instead of 3Coniah the son of Jehoiakim.
2 4But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the LORD that he spoke through Jeremiah the prophet.
3 King Zedekiah sent 5Jehucal the son of 6Shelemiah, and 7Zephaniah the priest, the son of 8Maaseiah, to Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "Please 9pray for us to the LORD our God."
4 10Now Jeremiah was still going in and out among the people, 11for he had not yet been put in prison.
5 12The army of Pharaoh had come out of Egypt. And when 13the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news about them, 14they withdrew from Jerusalem.
6 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet:
7 "Thus says the LORD, God of Israel: Thus shall you say to the king of Judah who 15sent you to me to inquire of me, 'Behold, 16Pharaoh's army that came to help you is about to 17return to Egypt, to its own land.
8 And 18the Chaldeans shall come back and fight against this city. 19They shall capture it and burn it with fire.
9 Thus says the LORD, Do not deceive yourselves, saying, "The Chaldeans will surely go away from us," for they will not go away.
10 20For even if you should defeat the whole army of Chaldeans who are fighting against you, and there remained of them only wounded men, every man in his tent, they would rise up and 21burn this city with fire.'"

Jeremiah Imprisoned

11 Now when 22the Chaldean army had withdrawn from Jerusalem at the approach of Pharaoh's army,
12 Jeremiah set out from Jerusalem to go to 23the land of Benjamin 24to receive his portion there 25among the people.
13 When he was at 26the Benjamin Gate, a sentry there named Irijah the son of 27Shelemiah, son of Hananiah, seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying, 28"You are deserting to the Chaldeans."
14 And Jeremiah said, "It is a lie; I am not deserting to the Chaldeans." But Irijah would not listen to him, and seized Jeremiah and brought him to 29the officials.
15 And the officials were enraged at Jeremiah, and they beat him 30and imprisoned him in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for it had been made a prison.
16 31When Jeremiah had come to the dungeon cells and remained there many days,
17 King Zedekiah sent for him and received him. The king questioned him 32secretly in his house and said, "Is there any word from the LORD?" Jeremiah said, "There is." Then he said, 33"You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon."
18 Jeremiah also said to King Zedekiah, "What wrong have I done to you or your servants or this people, 34that you have put me in prison?
19 35Where are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, 'The king of Babylon will not come against you and against this land'?
20 Now hear, please, O my lord the king: 36let my humble plea come before you and 37do not send me back to the house of Jonathan the secretary, lest I die there."
21 So King Zedekiah gave orders, and they committed Jeremiah to 38the court of the guard. And a loaf of bread was given him daily from the bakers' street, 39until all the bread of the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in 40the court of the guard.

Jeremiah 37 Commentary

Chapter 37

The Chaldean army will return. (1-10) Jeremiah is imprisoned. (11-21)

Verses 1-10 Numbers witness the fatal effects of other men's sins, yet heedlessly step into their places, and follow the same destructive course. When in distress, we ought to desire the prayers of ministers and Christian friends. And it is common for those to desire to be prayed for, who will not be advised; yet sinners are often hardened by a pause in judgments. But if God help us not, no creature can. Whatever instruments God has determined to use, they shall do the work, though they seem unlikely.

Verses 11-21 There are times when it is the wisdom of good men to retire, to enter into their chambers, and to shut the doors, ( Isaiah 26:20 ) . Jeremiah was seized as a deserter, and committed to prison. But it is no new thing for the best friends of the church to be belied, as in the interests of her worst enemies. When thus falsely accused, we may deny the charge, and commit our cause to Him who judges righteously. Jeremiah obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful, and would not, to obtain mercy of man, be unfaithful to God or to his prince; he tells the king the whole truth. When Jeremiah delivered God's message, he spake with boldness; but when he made his own request, he spake submissively. A lion in God's cause must be a lamb in his own. And God gave Jeremiah favour in the eyes of the king. The Lord God can make even the cells of a prison become pastures to his people, and will raise up friends to provide for them, so that in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

Cross References 40

  • 1. 2 Kings 24:17; 2 Chronicles 36:10
  • 2. [Ezekiel 17:13]
  • 3. Jeremiah 22:24
  • 4. See 2 Chronicles 36:12-14
  • 5. [Jeremiah 38:1]
  • 6. ver. 13; Jeremiah 38:1
  • 7. See Jeremiah 21:1
  • 8. See Jeremiah 35:4
  • 9. [Jeremiah 21:2]
  • 10. [Numbers 27:17]
  • 11. [Jeremiah 32:2; Jeremiah 33:1]
  • 12. [Ezekiel 17:15]
  • 13. Jeremiah 32:2
  • 14. ver. 11; Jeremiah 34:21
  • 15. [Jeremiah 21:2]
  • 16. [Ezekiel 29:2, 6]
  • 17. [Jeremiah 46:17; 2 Kings 24:7; Lamentations 4:17]
  • 18. Jeremiah 34:22
  • 19. Jeremiah 34:22
  • 20. [Jeremiah 21:4]
  • 21. [See ver. 8 above]
  • 22. ver. 5
  • 23. Jeremiah 1:1; Jeremiah 32:8
  • 24. [Jeremiah 32:9]
  • 25. ver. 4; Jeremiah 39:14
  • 26. Jeremiah 38:7; Zechariah 14:10
  • 27. ver. 3; Jeremiah 38:1
  • 28. [Jeremiah 21:9; Jeremiah 38:19; Jeremiah 39:9; Jeremiah 52:15]
  • 29. Jeremiah 36:12
  • 30. [Hebrews 11:36]
  • 31. See Jeremiah 38:6-14
  • 32. Jeremiah 38:16
  • 33. See Jeremiah 21:7
  • 34. [See ver. 15 above]
  • 35. [Jeremiah 28:2, 11, 17]
  • 36. [Jeremiah 38:26]
  • 37. [Jeremiah 38:28]
  • 38. See Jeremiah 32:2
  • 39. Jeremiah 38:9; Jeremiah 52:6; Ezekiel 4:10, 16
  • 40. See Jeremiah 32:2

Chapter Summary


This chapter makes mention of the reign of Zedekiah, and what happened in it; of his message to Jeremiah, to pray for the kingdom; of the king of Babylonian's raising the siege of Jerusalem, on hearing the king of Egypt was coming to its relief; of the assurance the prophet gave that the Chaldean army would return again, and destroy the city; of the prophet's attempt to depart the city, his imprisonment, conversation with Zedekiah, and his clemency to him. A short account is given of Zedekiah, and of the disobedience of him and his people to the word of the Lord, Jer 37:1,2; of the message sent by him to the prophet to pray for them, Jer 37:3; the time, when Jeremiah was at liberty, and the siege of Jerusalem was raised, Jer 37:4,5; the prophet's answer to them from the Lord, assuring them the Chaldeans would return and burn the city, Jer 37:6-10; the prophet attempting to go out of the city is stopped, and charged as a deserter to the Chaldeans; is had before the princes, and beat and imprisoned, Jer 37:11-15; but the king sending for him out of prison, and having some private discourse with him, upon the prophet's expostulation and intercession, his confinement was mitigated, and bread allowed him, Jer 37:16-21.

Jeremiah 37 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.