Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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JEREMIAS - Chapter 38

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Jeremias xxxviii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. And Phassur, the violent priest, chap. xx. 1. --- People, who might come to the entry of the prison.

Ver. 2. Safe. Hebrew, "a booty," chap. xxi. 9. --- Septuagint, "like a thing found." (Calmet) --- The Hebrew idiom implies that he shall most surely live. Voluntary offerings prevent eternal misery. (Worthington)

Ver. 5. Lawful. This is a compliment, or Sedecias complains indirectly that they had only left him the name of king. He grieved at the treatment of the prophet. (Calmet)

Ver. 6. Mire, up to the neck; so that he would soon have been smothered. (Josephus, Antiquities x. 10.)

Ver. 7. Eunuch. Officer over 30, ver. 10. (Haydock) --- He was afterwards rewarded, chap. xxxix. 15. (Calmet) --- God moves some to pity the distressed, till he recompense their patience. (Worthington)

Ver. 9. City. It was useless, therefore, to add the torment of the dungeon, since he must soon have perished. (Calmet)

Ver. 12. Arms. He was probably naked. (Sanctius)

Ver. 14. Third, or officers of the guard's gate, leading from the palace to the temple, 4 Kings xi. 19. (Calmet) --- Hebrew hashelishi; (Haydock) the third denotes also an officer of the army.

Ver. 17. King. He was at Reblatha. Though an usurper, he had claims upon Sedecias, whom he had appointed ruler, on his swearing to be faithful and to pay tribute. The prophet's advice was just. (Calmet) --- Even conditional prophecies are certain, and the king would have been treated differently if he had complied. But on his refusal, great misery ensued. (Worthington)

Ver. 19. Jews. Traitors, whom Sedecias had perhaps treated ill. (Calmet)

Ver. 22. Say. At parting, bewailing thy blindness, which has entailed misery upon all. (Haydock) --- Of peace. That is, thy false friends, promising thee peace and happiness, and by their evil counsels involving thee in misery. (Challoner) --- Mire. He alludes to his own treatment, (Calmet) which he had received from these false counsellors or princes, ver. 4. (Haydock)

Ver. 26. There. This he had actually done, chap. xxxvii. 19. He perhaps renewed the petition, at this interview, to satisfy the king. (Haydock) --- We may conceal the truth, but must never speak what is false. (Calmet) --- "In a matter, says Puffendorf, which I am not obliged to declare to another, if I cannot with safety conceal the whole, I may fairly discover no more than a part." Who can require a privy counsellor to reveal the king's secret? Yet Paine accuses the prophet of duplicity! (Watson)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The prophet, at the instance of the great men, is cast into a filthy dungeon: his is drawn out by Abdemelech, and has another conference with the king.

1 Now *Saphatias, the son of Mathan, and Gedelias, the son of Phassur, and Juchal, the son of Selemias, and Phassur, the son of Melchias, heard the words that Jeremias spoke to all the people, saying:

2 Thus saith the Lord: *Whosoever shall remain in this city, shall die by the sword, and by famine, and by pestilence: but he that shall go forth to the Chaldeans, shall live, and his life shall be safe, and he shall live.

3 Thus saith the Lord: This city shall surely be delivered into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it.

4 And the princes said to the king: We beseech thee that this man may be put to death: for on purpose he weakeneth the hands of the men of war, that remain in this city, and the hands of the people, speaking to them according to these words: for this man seeketh not peace to this people, but evil.

5 And king Sedecias said: Behold he is in your hands: for it is not lawful for the king to deny you any thing.

6 Then they took Jeremias, and cast him into the dungeon of Melchias, the son of Amelech, which was in the entry of the prison: and they let down Jeremias by ropes into the dungeon, wherein there was no water, but mire. And Jeremias sunk into the mire.

7 Now Abdemelech, the Ethiopian, an eunuch that was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremias in the dungeon: but the king was sitting in the gate of Benjamin.

8 And Abdemelech went 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 against Jeremias, the prophet, casting him into the dungeon to die there with hunger, for there is no more bread in the city.

10 Then the king commanded Abdemelech, the Ethiopian, saying: Take from hence thirty men with thee, and draw up Jeremias, the prophet, out of the dungeon, before he die.

11 So Abdemelech, taking the men with him, went into the king's house that was under the storehouse; and he took from thence old rags, and old rotten things, and he let them down by cords to Jeremias, into the dungeon.

12 And Abdemelech, the Ethiopian, said to Jeremias: Put these old rags, and these rent and rotten things, under thy arms, and upon the cords: and Jeremias did so.

13 And they drew up Jeremias with the cords, and brought him forth out of the dungeon. And Jeremias remained in the entry of the prison.

14 And king Sedecias sent, and took Jeremias, the prophet, to him to the third gate, that was in the house of the Lord: and the king said to Jeremias: I will ask thee a thing; hide nothing from me.

15 Then Jeremias said to Sedecias: If I shall declare it to thee, wilt thou not put me to death? and if I give thee counsel, thou wilt not hearken to me.

16 Then king Sedecias swore to Jeremias, in private, saying: As the Lord liveth, that made us this soul, I will not put thee to death, nor will I deliver thee into the hands of these men that seek thy life.

17 And Jeremias said to Sedecias: Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: If thou wilt take a resolution and go out to the princes of the king of Babylon, thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burnt with fire; and thou shalt be safe, and thy house.

18 But if thou wilt not go out to the princes of the king of Babylon, this city shall be delivered into the hands of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire; and thou shalt not escape out of their hands.

19 And king Sedecias said to Jeremias: I am afraid, because of the Jews that are fled over to the Chaldeans: lest I should be delivered into their hands, and they should abuse me.

20 But Jeremias answered: They shall not deliver thee; hearken, I beseech thee, to the word of the Lord, which I speak to thee, and it shall be well with thee, and thy soul shall live.

21 But if thou wilt not go forth, this is the word which the Lord hath shewn me:

22 Behold, all the women that are left in the house of the king of Juda, shall be brought out to the princes of the king of Babylon: and they shall say: Thy men of peace have deceived thee, and have prevailed against thee, they have plunged thy feet in the mire, and in a slippery place, and they have departed from thee.

23 And all thy wives, and thy children, shall be brought out to the Chaldeans; and thou shalt not escape their hands, but thou shalt be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon; and he shall burn this city with fire.

24 Then Sedecias said to Jeremias: Let no man know these words, and thou shalt not die.

25 But if the princes shall hear that I have spoken with thee, and shall come to thee, and say to thee: Tell us what thou hast said to the king, hide it not from us, and we will not kill thee: and also what the king said to thee:

26 Thou shalt say to them: I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not command me to be carried back into the house of Jonathan, to die there.

27 So all the princes came to Jeremias, and asked him: and he spoke to them according to all the words that the king had commanded him: and they left him: for nothing had been heard.

28 But Jeremias remained in the entry of the prison, until the day that Jerusalem was taken: and it came to pass that Jerusalem was taken.



1: Year of the World 3415, Year before Christ 589.

2: Jeremias xxi. 9.