Jeremiah 39

Listen to Jeremiah 39

The Fall of Jerusalem

1 1In 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 2the officials of the king of Babylon came 3and sat in the middle gate: Nergal-sar-ezer, Samgar-nebu, Sar-sekim 4the 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 5the Arabah.
5 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in 6the plains of Jericho. And when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, at 7Riblah, in the land of Hamath; 8and he passed sentence on him.
6 The king of Babylon 9slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah at 10Riblah before his eyes, and the king of Babylon 11slaughtered all the nobles of Judah.
7 12He put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him in chains to take him to Babylon.
8 13The Chaldeans burned the king's house and the house of the people, 14and broke down the walls of Jerusalem.
9 Then 15Nebuzaradan, the 16captain of the guard, carried into exile to Babylon the rest of the people who were left in the city, 17those who had deserted to him, and the people who remained.
10 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, 18left in the land of Judah some of the poor people who owned nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time.

The Lord Delivers Jeremiah

11 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave command concerning Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, saying,
12 19"Take him, look after him well, and do him no harm, but deal with him as he tells you."
13 So 20Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, Nebushazban the Rab-saris, Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag, 21and all the chief officers of the king of Babylon
14 sent and took Jeremiah from 22the court of the guard. They entrusted him to 23Gedaliah the son of 24Ahikam, son of 25Shaphan, that he should take him home. So 26he lived among the people.
15 The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah 27while he was shut up in the court of the guard:
16 "Go, and say to 28Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: 29Behold, I will fulfill my words against this city for harm and 30not for good, and they shall be accomplished before you on that day.
17 But I will deliver you on that day, declares the LORD, and you shall not be given into the hand of the men 31of whom you are afraid.
18 For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but you shall have your 32life as a prize of war, 33because you have put your trust in me, declares the LORD.'"

Jeremiah 39 Commentary

Chapter 39

The taking of Jerusalem. (1-10) Jeremiah used well. (11-14) Promises of safety to Ebed-melech. (15-18)

Verses 1-10 Jerusalem was so strong, that the inhabitants believed the enemy could never enter it. But sin provoked God to withdraw his protection, and then it was as weak as other cities. Zedekiah had his eyes put out; so he was condemned to darkness who had shut his eyes against the clear light of God's word. Those who will not believe God's words, will be convinced by the event. Observe the wonderful changes of Providence, how uncertain are earthly possessions; and see the just dealings of Providence: but whether the Lord makes men poor or rich, nothing will profit them while they cleave to their sins.

Verses 11-14 The servants of God alone are prepared for all events; and they are delivered and comforted, while the wicked suffer. They often meet with more kindness from the profane, than from hypocritical professors of godliness. The Lord will raise them up friends, do them good, and perform all his promises.

Verses 15-18 Here is a message to assure Ebed-melech of a recompence for his great kindness to Jeremiah. Because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the Lord. God recompenses men's services according to their principles. Those who trust God in the way of duty, as this good man did, will find that their hope shall not fail in times of the greatest danger.

Cross References 33

  • 1. For ver. 1-10, see Jeremiah 52:4-16; 2 Kings 25:1-12
  • 2. Jeremiah 38:17, 18, 22
  • 3. [Jeremiah 1:15]
  • 4. ver. 13; 2 Kings 18:17
  • 5. See Deuteronomy 1:1
  • 6. Joshua 5:10
  • 7. See 2 Kings 23:33
  • 8. [Ezekiel 17:15]
  • 9. Jeremiah 52:10
  • 10. [See ver. 5 above]
  • 11. Jeremiah 52:10
  • 12. [Jeremiah 32:4; Ezekiel 12:13]
  • 13. See Jeremiah 21:10
  • 14. Nehemiah 1:3; [Psalms 80:12; Isaiah 5:5]
  • 15. Jeremiah 40:1; Jeremiah 52:12; 2 Kings 25:8
  • 16. Genesis 37:36
  • 17. See Jeremiah 37:13
  • 18. Jeremiah 40:7; 2 Kings 25:12
  • 19. Jeremiah 40:4
  • 20. [ver. 3]
  • 21. [ver. 3]
  • 22. Jeremiah 38:28; See Jeremiah 32:2
  • 23. Jeremiah 43:6; See Jeremiah 40:5-9, 11-16; Jeremiah 41:1-4, 6; 2 Kings 25:22-25
  • 24. 2 Kings 22:12
  • 25. 2 Kings 22:3
  • 26. Jeremiah 37:12
  • 27. Jeremiah 36:5; Jeremiah 38:13
  • 28. See Jeremiah 38:7
  • 29. Daniel 9:12
  • 30. Jeremiah 21:10; [Jeremiah 14:11]
  • 31. Jeremiah 22:25
  • 32. Jeremiah 21:9; Jeremiah 45:5
  • 33. Psalms 25:2; Psalms 37:40

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of the taking of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, according to the several prophecies of Jeremiah concerning it. The time of taking it, and by whom, after a siege of eighteen months, Jer 39:1-3; several things relating to King Zedekiah; his flight; the taking of him; the bringing him to the king of Babylon, and his sentence on him; the execution of that sentence, slaying his sons and nobles, putting out his eyes, and carrying him in chains to Babylon, Jer 39:4-7; the destruction of the city is described, by burning the houses in it, breaking down its walls, carrying the people captive, all, except a few poor persons left in the land, Jer 39:8-10; the preservation of Jeremiah, according to the king of Babylon's orders by his princes; and the committing him to the care of Gedaliah, the governor of the poor Jews, Jer 39:11-14; and the chapter is concluded with a promise of the protection of Ebedmelech, made by the Lord before the taking of the city, while the prophet was in prison; and which, no doubt, had its accomplishment, Jer 39:15-18.

Jeremiah 39 Commentaries

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