T W a 1-4. Jeremiah. Accusation by princes. b 5. Zedekiah. Permission for imprisonment. c 6-. The dungeon. d -6. Sinking in the mire. W a 7-9. Jeremiah. Defense of Ebed-melech. b 10. Zedekiah. Command for release. c 11,12. The dungeon. d 13. Drawing out of the mire.
1 Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur (see 20:1) the son of Malchiah, heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken to all the people, saying,
2 'Thus says the LORD, 'He that remains in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goes forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his soul for a prey, and shall live.'
3 Thus says the LORD, 'This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon's army, which shall take it.' "
4 Therefore the princes said to the king, "We beseech you, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakens the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words to them: for this man seeks not the peace of this people, but the hurt."
5 Then Zedekiah the king said, "Behold, he is in your hand: for the king is not he that can do any thing against you."
6 Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the house of the pit of Malchiah the son of the king, that was in the court of the house of detention: and they let down Jeremiah with cords.
And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire. (To be preferred to the moral sinking of Zedekiah in v.22.)
7 Now when Ebedmelech the Ethiopian (see 39:16; and cp. Acts 8:27-38), one of the eunuchs which was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon; the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin;
8 Ebedmelech went forth out of the king's house, and spoke to the king saying,
9 "My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the house of the pit; and he is like to die for hunger in the place where he is: for there is no more bread in the city."
10 Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, "Take from here thirty men with you (the king knew the danger), and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the house of the pit, before he die."
11 So Ebedmelech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took there cast-off clothes patches and old rotten rags, and let them down by cords into the house of the pit to Jeremiah.
12 And Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, "Put now these cast-off clothes patches and rotten rags under your armpits under the cords." And Jeremiah did so.
13 So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the house of the pit: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison. (See 37:18.)
U A 14. Conference. B 15. Jeremiah. Stipulation with king. B 16. Jeremiah. King's agreement. A 17-27. Conference.
14 Then (this is the last picture of Zedekiah, and the house of Judah) Zedekiah the king sent, and took Jeremiah the prophet to him into the third entry (probably the innermost entrance, for secrecy.) that is in the house of the LORD: and the king said to Jeremiah, "I will ask you a thing; hide nothing from me."
15 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, "If I declare it to you, you will not surely put me to death? and if I give you counsel, will you not hearken to me?"
16 So Zedekiah the king swore secretly to Jeremiah, saying, "As the LORD lives, that made us this soul (I.e. May He Who gave us both our life, take mine away I take yours, or give you, &c.), I will not put you to death, neither will I give you into the hand of these men that seek your life."
A e 17,18. Alternatives. f 19. Fear of the People. Expressed. e 20-23. Alternatives. f 24-27. Fear of the princes. Implied.
17 Then said Jeremiah to Zedekiah, "Thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; 'If you will assuredly go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then your soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and you shall live, and your house:
18 But if you will not go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape out of their hand.' "
19 And Zedekiah the king said to Jeremiah, "I am apprehensive of the house of Judah that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me."
20 But Jeremiah said, "They shall not deliver you. Obey, I beseech you, the voice of the LORD, which I speak to you: so it shall be well to you, and you soul shall live.
21 But if you refuse to go forth, this is the word that the LORD has showed me:
22 And, behold, all the women that are left in the king of Judah's house shall be brought forth to the king of Babylon's princes (showing that Nebuchadnezzar himself was not there. Cp. 39:1), and those women shall say, 'Your friends have persuades you, and have prevailed against you: your feet are sunk in the mire (the moral sinking of Zedekiah far worse than Jeremiah's sinking), and they are turned away back.'
23 So they shall bring out all your wives and your sons to the Chaldeans: and you shall not escape out of their hand, but shall be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon: and you shall cause this city to be burned with fire."
24 Then said Zedekiah to Jeremiah, "Let no man know of these words, and you shall not die.
25 But if the princes hear that I have talked with you, and they come to you, and say to you, 'Declare to us now what you have said to the king, hide it not from us, and we will not put you to death; also what the king said to you:'
26 Then you shall say to them, 'I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan's house, to die there.' "
27 Then came all the princes to Jeremiah, and asked him: and he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they left off speaking with him; for the matter was not perceived.
28 So Jeremiah abode in the court of the house of detention until the day that Jerusalem was taken (see 37:16): and he was there when Jerusalem was taken.