Jeremiah 39

The Fall of Jerusalem

1 In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army and laid siege to it.
2 And on the ninth day of the fourth month of Zedekiah’s eleventh year, the city wall was broken through.
3 Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came and took seats in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer of Samgar, Nebo-Sarsekim a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officials of the king of Babylon.
4 When Zedekiah king of Judah and all the soldiers saw them, they fled; they left the city at night by way of the king’s garden, through the gate between the two walls, and headed toward the Arabah.[a]
5 But the Babylonian[b] army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. They captured him and took him to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced sentence on him.
6 There at Riblah the king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes and also killed all the nobles of Judah.
7 Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon.
8 The Babylonians[c] set fire to the royal palace and the houses of the people and broke down the walls of Jerusalem.
9 Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard carried into exile to Babylon the people who remained in the city, along with those who had gone over to him, and the rest of the people.
10 But Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard left behind in the land of Judah some of the poor people, who owned nothing; and at that time he gave them vineyards and fields.
11 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had given these orders about Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard:
12 “Take him and look after him; don’t harm him but do for him whatever he asks.”
13 So Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard, Nebushazban a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officers of the king of Babylon
14 sent and had Jeremiah taken out of the courtyard of the guard. They turned him over to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to take him back to his home. So he remained among his own people.
15 While Jeremiah had been confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the LORD came to him:
16 “Go and tell Ebed-Melek the Cushite, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I am about to fulfill my words against this city—words concerning disaster, not prosperity. At that time they will be fulfilled before your eyes.
17 But I will rescue you on that day, declares the LORD; you will not be given into the hands of those you fear.
18 I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you 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 35

  • 1. S Jeremiah 25:29
  • 2. S 2 Chronicles 36:11
  • 3. S 2 Kings 24:1; S Jeremiah 28:14
  • 4. S 2 Kings 25:1; Jeremiah 52:4; Ezekiel 4:3; Ezekiel 24:2
  • 5. Zechariah 8:19
  • 6. S 2 Kings 14:13
  • 7. Ezekiel 33:21
  • 8. ver 13; Jeremiah 21:4
  • 9. S Isaiah 22:11
  • 10. Ezekiel 12:12
  • 11. S Jeremiah 24:8; S Jeremiah 32:4
  • 12. S Jeremiah 21:7
  • 13. S Numbers 34:11; 2 Kings 23:33
  • 14. S Isaiah 34:12
  • 15. S Numbers 16:14; Ezekiel 12:13
  • 16. S Jeremiah 2:35; Jeremiah 32:5
  • 17. S Jeremiah 34:22; Jeremiah 38:18
  • 18. S Nehemiah 1:3; S Psalms 80:12; S Isaiah 22:5; Lamentations 2:8
  • 19. Jeremiah 21:9
  • 20. Jeremiah 40:1; Lamentations 1:5
  • 21. S Proverbs 16:7; Jeremiah 15:20-21; 1 Peter 3:13
  • 22. S ver 3
  • 23. S Nehemiah 3:25; Jeremiah 37:21; Jeremiah 38:28
  • 24. S 2 Kings 25:22
  • 25. S 2 Kings 22:12
  • 26. S 2 Kings 22:3
  • 27. Jeremiah 40:5
  • 28. Jeremiah 38:7
  • 29. Psalms 33:11; Isaiah 14:27; Isaiah 40:8; Jeremiah 44:28; Lamentations 2:17; S Matthew 1:22
  • 30. S Joshua 23:15; Jeremiah 21:10; Daniel 9:12
  • 31. Psalms 34:22; Psalms 41:1-2
  • 32. S 1 Samuel 17:47; Acts 16:31
  • 33. S Job 5:20; Jeremiah 45:5
  • 34. S Jeremiah 21:9; S Jeremiah 38:2
  • 35. S Jeremiah 17:7; Romans 10:11

Footnotes 3

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