Jeremiah 37

Jeremiah in Prison

1 Zedekiah son of Josiah was made king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he reigned in place of Jehoiachin[a] son of Jehoiakim.
2 Neither he nor his attendants nor the people of the land paid any attention to the words the LORD had spoken through Jeremiah the prophet.
3 King Zedekiah, however, sent Jehukal son of Shelemiah with the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah to Jeremiah the prophet with this message: “Please pray to the LORD our God for us.”
4 Now Jeremiah was free to come and go among the people, for he had not yet been put in prison.
5 Pharaoh’s army had marched out of Egypt, and when the Babylonians[b] who were besieging Jerusalem heard the report about them, they withdrew from Jerusalem.
6 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet:
7 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of me, ‘Pharaoh’s army, which has marched out to support you, will go back to its own land, to Egypt.
8 Then the Babylonians will return and attack this city; they will capture it and burn it down.’
9 “This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, ‘The Babylonians will surely leave us.’ They will not!
10 Even if you were to defeat the entire Babylonian[c] army that is attacking you and only wounded men were left in their tents, they would come out and burn this city down.”
11 After the Babylonian army had withdrawn from Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s army,
12 Jeremiah started to leave the city to go to the territory of Benjamin to get his share of the property among the people there.
13 But when he reached the Benjamin Gate, the captain of the guard, whose name was Irijah son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah, arrested him and said, “You are deserting to the Babylonians!”
14 “That’s not true!” Jeremiah said. “I am not deserting to the Babylonians.” But Irijah would not listen to him; instead, he arrested Jeremiah and brought him to the officials.
15 They were angry with Jeremiah and had him beaten and imprisoned in the house of Jonathan the secretary, which they had made into a prison.
16 Jeremiah was put into a vaulted cell in a dungeon, where he remained a long time.
17 Then King Zedekiah sent for him and had him brought to the palace, where he asked him privately, “Is there any word from the LORD?” “Yes,” Jeremiah replied, “you will be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon.”
18 Then Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “What crime have I committed against you or your attendants or this people, that you have put me in prison?
19 Where are your prophets who prophesied to you, ‘The king of Babylon will not attack you or this land’?
20 But now, my lord the king, please listen. Let me bring my petition before you: Do not send me back to the house of Jonathan the secretary, or I will die there.”
21 King Zedekiah then gave orders for Jeremiah to be placed in the courtyard of the guard and given a loaf of bread from the street of the bakers each day until all the bread in the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the courtyard 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 37

  • 1. S 2 Kings 24:17
  • 2. 1 Samuel 11:1; Ezekiel 17:13
  • 3. S 2 Kings 24:8,12; 2 Chronicles 36:10; Jeremiah 22:24
  • 4. S 2 Kings 24:19; 2 Chronicles 36:12,14
  • 5. ver 17; Jeremiah 38:14
  • 6. Jeremiah 38:1
  • 7. S 2 Kings 25:18; Jeremiah 29:25; Jeremiah 52:24
  • 8. S Exodus 8:28; S Numbers 21:7; 1 Samuel 12:19; 1 Kings 13:6; 2 Kings 19:4; Jeremiah 21:1-2; Jeremiah 42:2
  • 9. ver 15; Jeremiah 32:2
  • 10. S Genesis 15:18; Isaiah 31:1; Ezekiel 17:15
  • 11. Jeremiah 34:21
  • 12. S Isaiah 30:5; Jeremiah 34:11; 2 Kings 24:7
  • 13. S Genesis 25:22; S 2 Kings 22:18
  • 14. ver 5
  • 15. S 2 Kings 18:21; S Jeremiah 2:36; Lamentations 1:7; Lamentations 4:17
  • 16. Jeremiah 38:3
  • 17. Jeremiah 21:10; Jeremiah 34:22; Jeremiah 38:18; Jeremiah 39:8
  • 18. Jeremiah 29:8; S Mark 13:5
  • 19. Jeremiah 21:10
  • 20. ver 5
  • 21. S Jeremiah 32:9
  • 22. S Jeremiah 20:2
  • 23. Jeremiah 21:9
  • 24. Isaiah 58:6; Jeremiah 40:4
  • 25. S Jeremiah 20:2; Hebrews 11:36
  • 26. S 1 Kings 22:27
  • 27. ver 20; Jeremiah 38:26
  • 28. S ver 3
  • 29. S Genesis 25:22; Jeremiah 15:11
  • 30. Jeremiah 38:16
  • 31. S Jeremiah 21:7
  • 32. S 1 Samuel 26:18; John 10:32; Acts 25:8
  • 33. S Jeremiah 14:13; Ezekiel 13:2
  • 34. S ver 15
  • 35. S Leviticus 26:26; Isaiah 33:16; Jeremiah 38:9; Lamentations 1:11
  • 36. S 2 Kings 25:3; Jeremiah 52:6
  • 37. Jeremiah 32:2; Jeremiah 38:6,13,28; Jeremiah 39:13-14

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Hebrew "Koniah," a variant of "Jehoiachin"
  • [b]. Or "Chaldeans" ; also in verses 8, 9, 13 and 14
  • [c]. Or "Chaldean" ; also in verse 11

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

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