Jeremiah 39:3

3 Then all 1the officials of the king of Babylon came 2and sat in the middle gate: Nergal-sar-ezer, Samgar-nebu, Sar-sekim 3the Rab-saris, Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag, with all the rest of the officers of the king of Babylon.

Jeremiah 39:3 Meaning and Commentary

Jeremiah 39:3

And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in
Into the city: a breach being made in the walls to take possession of it: and sat in the middle gate;
according to Jarchi, this was a gate of the temple; the gate Nicanor, the eastern gate, which was between the gate of the court of the women and the gate of the temple; who observes, that their Rabbins say, the middle gate was the gate in which the wise men made their decrees and constitutions: so that, in "the place of judgment, wickedness was there"; as in ( Ecclesiastes 3:16 ) ; and Josephus F7 says, that the city was taken in the middle of the night, when the enemies' generals went into the temple; but rather, according to Kimchi, it was one of the gates of the city of Jerusalem; according to Abarbinel, Jerusalem had three walls, and this was the gate of the middle wall; but others take it to be the gate in the middle wall, between the upper and lower city; perhaps it is the same called the second gate, ( Zephaniah 1:10 ) ; and might be the chief and principal gate where these princes placed their seats in triumph as victors, and so fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah, ( Jeremiah 1:15 ) ; though they might have another reason for it, their own safety; here they sat till the city was well searched and cleared, lest there should be any ambush laid for them, and cut them off as they entered. The names of some of them were as follow: [even] Nergalsharezer:
according to Kimchi, these are two names of two distinct persons; but generally thought to be one name of the same person; so Josephus, who calls him Nergelearus. The first part of the name "Nergal" was the name of an idol with the Cushites, ( 2 Kings 17:30 ) ; and it was usual with the Heathens to give the names of their idols to their kings, princes, and great men. The other part, "Sharezer", is a name of one of Sennacherib's sons; and seems to be an Assyrian name, ( Isaiah 37:38 ) . The next is called Samgarnebo;
though, according to Hillerus F8, this is a surname of the former, to distinguish him from another Nergalsharezer after mentioned, taken from his office: this name signifying the "strict keeper of Nebo", the temple of the idol Nebo; see ( Isaiah 46:1 ) . The next is Sarsechim Rabsaris;
for these are not two names of different persons, but of the same person. The first is his proper name, which signifies the "prince of the Scythians"; the other his name of office, and signifies the "chief eunuch", or the "chief of the eunuchs". The last name is Nergalsharezer Rabmag;
these names belong to the same person, who is called from his office "Rabmag", the "chief magician", or the "chief of the magicians", to distinguish him from the other Nergalsharezer before mentioned: these, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon,
entered the city and took it.


F7 Antiqu. l. 10. c. 8. sect. 2.
F8 Onomastic. Sacr. p. 608.

Jeremiah 39:3 In-Context

1 In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and besieged it.
2 In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city.
3 Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came and sat in the middle gate: Nergal-sar-ezer, Samgar-nebu, Sar-sekim the Rab-saris, Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag, with all the rest of the officers of the king of Babylon.
4 When Zedekiah king of Judah and all the soldiers saw them, they fled, going out of the city at night by way of the king's garden through the gate between the two walls; and they went toward the Arabah.
5 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. And when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, at Riblah, in the land of Hamath; and he passed sentence on him.

Cross References 3

  • 1. Jeremiah 38:17, 18, 22
  • 2. [Jeremiah 1:15]
  • 3. ver. 13; 2 Kings 18:17
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