Jeremiah Chapter 52
Verses 1-34: This chapter is almost identical to (2 Kings 24:18 to 25:30), and it is a historical supplement detailing Jerusalem’s fall (as Chapter 39). It fittingly opens with her last king and his sin (597 to 586 B.C.). The purpose of this chapter is to show how accurate Jeremiah’s prophecies were concerning Jerusalem and Judah.
The final chapter in Jeremiah is an appendix that narrates the fall of Jerusalem (in 587 B.C.), and closely parallels the accounts (found in Chapter 39 and 2 Kings Chapters 24 and 25). The fall of Jerusalem had fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophecies of doom and validated him as a true prophet. This chapter reflects the ongoing nature of the exile that extended beyond Jeremiah’s ministry. Even the return to the land was in many ways a disappointment, and the full restoration of Israel will not come until the second coming of Jesus.
Jeremiah 52:1 “Zedekiah [was] one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name [was] Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.”
Whose name was Mattaniah; and who was set on the throne by the king of Babylon, in the place of his brother’s son Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:17).
“And he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem”: So that he was thirty two years of age when he was taken and carried captive into Babylon.
“And his mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah” (see 2 Kings 24:18). A different man from the author (compare 1:1; see the note on 39:1).
This is a recapping of the historical message of Jeremiah. We can understand a few of Zedekiah’s problems better, when we realize that he was such a youth when he began to reign. Even after his eleven years reign he was just 32 years old. We must not confuse the Jeremiah, grandfather of Zedekiah, with Jeremiah the penman of this book.
Jeremiah 52:2 “And he did [that which was] evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.”
Though we do not read of any idolatry he was guilty of; yet he was disobedient to the word of the LORD. And did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet of the LORD, that spoke in His name. And particularly, he rebelled against the king of Babylon, and violated the oath he made to him (2 Chron. 36:12).
“According to all that Jehoiakim had done”: An elder brother of his, who reigned after Josiah, and before Jehoiachin.
Notice the statement “according to all that Jehoiakim had done”. It seems Zedekiah patterned his actions on those of Jehoiachin. Perhaps this was because of his youth.
Jeremiah 52:3 “For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.”
Or, “besides the anger of the LORD that was in”, or “against Jerusalem and Judah”. For their many sins and transgressions committed against Him.
“Till he had cast them out from his presence”: Out of the land of Judea. Out of Jerusalem, and the temple, where were the symbols of his presence. So the Targum, “till he removed them from the land of the house of his Shekinah;” or majesty.
“That Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon”: Acted a very untrustworthy part, and broke a solemn covenant made with him by an oath, which was highly displeasing to God, and resented by him. The oath being made in his name, and by one that professed to worship him. This was an additional sin to those of the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem, which provoked the LORD to anger. According to our version, the sense is, that because of the anger of the LORD for the sins of the Jews, God suffered Zedekiah to rebel against the king of Babylon, that so he might be provoked to come against them, and take vengeance on them. Or for his former sins he suffered him to fall into this, to his own and his people’s ruin.
The one thing we must remember in this, is that it was God’s anger against Judah and Jerusalem that caused the king of Babylon to be able to defeat Judah.
Verses 4-11 (see note on 34:1). This narrative rehearses the account of the fall of Jerusalem. So crucial was this event that the Old Testament records it 4 times (see also 39:1-14; 2 Kings Chapter 25; 2 Chron. 36:11-21).
Jeremiah 52:4 “And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth [day] of the month, [that] Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about.”
“Ninth year … tenth month”: Of Zedekiah’s reign (for verses 4-6, see notes on 34:1 and 39:1-2).
“In the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month”: The month Tevet, which answers to part of December and part of January. Hence the fast of the tenth month, on account of the siege of Jerusalem (Zech. 8:19).
“That Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his army, against Jerusalem”: From whence it appears that he came in person with his army at first to Jerusalem. But, during the siege, or some part of it, retired to Riblah. Perhaps upon the news of the king of Egypt’s coming to the assistance of the Jews.
“And pitched against it”: Or encamped against it.
“And built forts against it round about”: Wooden towers, as Jarchi and Kimchi explain it. From whence they could shoot their arrows and cast their stones.
This is giving details about how all of this came about. There is an account of this very thing (in 2 Kings 24:18 through 25:30).
Jeremiah 52:5 “So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.”
The siege continued about eighteen months; from the tenth day of the tenth month, in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, to the ninth day of the fourth month, in the eleventh year of his reign; as follows.
Jeremiah 52:6 “And in the fourth month, in the ninth [day] of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land.”
The month Tammuz, which answers to part of June and part of July. Hence the fast of the fourth month, for the taking of the city (Zech. 8:19).
“The famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land”: For the common people. Though there might be some in the king’s palace, and in the houses of princes and noblemen, and officers of the army. Yet none for the soldiers, and the lessor sort of people. Who therefore were disheartened and enfeebled, that they could not defend the city, or hold out any longer. The famine had been before this time, but was now increased to a faithless degree, so that the people had no bread to eat (see Jer. 38:9).
We see from this, that the war was not the only punishment against them. God brought famine to them to cause them to surrender. You cannot fight a war and plant a crop at the same time, so the famine partially came because they could not plant. A hungry belly sometimes encourages a person to surrender.
Jeremiah 52:7 “Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which [was] by the king’s garden; (now the Chaldeans [were] by the city round about:) and they went by the way of the plain.”
Either its gates were broken open, one or another of them. Or a breach was made in the walls of it, through which the Chaldean army entered.
“And all the men of war fled”: The soldiers, with their officers, not being able to stand before the army of the king of Babylon.
“And went forth out of the city by night”: At which time, very probably, the attack was made, and the gates of the city forced open, or the walls broken down. Josephus says it was taken in the middle of the night.
“By the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden” (see Jer. 39:4).
“Now the Chaldeans were by the city round about”: As part of their army entered into it, the other part surrounded it. Or, however, were placed at the gates and avenues all around, that none might escape.
“And they went by the way of the plain”: That is, the men of war or soldiers that fled, together with King Zedekiah, his family and princes (see Jer. 39:4).
Jeremiah 52:8 “But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him.”
Not finding him in his palace, and being informed of his flight, and which way he took.
“And overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho … scattered from him”. And all his army was scattered from him. When they saw the enemy pursuing them, and near unto them, they left him, as Josephus says, and shifted for themselves.
This is a detailed description of how the king tried to flee from the besieged city, but was caught.
Jeremiah 52:9 “Then they took the king, and carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; where he gave judgment upon him.”
King Zedekiah, being left alone, excepting a few with him.
“And carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath”: Which is supposed to be Antioch in Syria.
“Where he gave judgment upon him”: Or “spake with him judgments”. Rebuked and reproached him for his deceitfulness and ingratitude. Expressed disagreement and reasoned with him upon this subject, exposing his sin. And then passed sentence upon him, which was executed (see Jer. 39:5).
Jeremiah 52:10 “And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah.”
Or, however, ordered them to be slain (see Jer. 39:6).
“He slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah”: Who, together with the king’s sons, were taken with him. Or, however, were taken in Jerusalem, and brought to Riblah; which of them is not certain, very probably the former.
One of the saddest things for a parent to see is the execution of his sons. This was the terrible punishment that Zedekiah had to endure. This would break his heart. Even those who are cruel to others, love their own flesh and blood. Nebuchadnezzar passed the judgement himself.
Jeremiah 52:11 “Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.”
After he had seen his children and princes executed, which must have been very terrible for him (see Jer. 39:7).
“And the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon”: In (Jer. 39:7); it is said, he bound him, “to carry him” there. Here it is affirmed he did carry him there. And it is added:
“And put him in prison till the day of his death”: From this place only, we learn that King Zedekiah was put into a prison, and died a prisoner.
An even more severe punishment than death, is the loss of your eyes. He could not see, so they had to lead him. He was in chains, and in prison until he died in Babylon.
Jeremiah 52:12 “Now in the fifth month, in the tenth [day] of the month, which [was] the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard, [which] served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem,”
“Tenth day”: The parallel phrase (in 2 Kings 25:8 reads), “seventh day”. Nebuzar-adan (verse 12),” captain of the guard”, started from Riblah on the seventh day and arrived in Jerusalem on the tenth day.
“Nineteenth year” (586 B.C.).
Jeremiah 52:13 “And burned the house of the LORD, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great [men], burned he with fire:”
The burning of the temple one month after the capture of Jerusalem presented a grave theological crisis for the people of Judah (Psalms chapters 74, 79, 80, 137). The LORD gave assurance to the prophet Ezekiel of His presence with His people in exile in Babylon (Ezek. Chapters 1 to 3). The post-exilic prophets Haggai and Zechariah stressed that rebuilding the temple was essential to restoring the relationship between God and Israel. Ezekiel promised a future temple in the Millennium where God’s presence would return to His people (Ezek. Chapters 40 to 48).
The actual burning of the temple and the houses in Jerusalem were carried out by Nebuzar-adan. He burned all the important buildings. The city of Jerusalem was left in rubble.
Jeremiah 52:14 “And all the army of the Chaldeans, that [were] with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about.”
Which he brought with him from Riblah, or were left at Jerusalem by those that pursued after Zedekiah when the city was taken. Which the captain of the guard now had the command of.
“Broke down all the walls of Jerusalem round about (see Jer. 39:8).
They were not satisfied with just burning everything up. They destroyed the wall as well. It would not burn, because it was made of stone.
Jeremiah 52:15 “Then Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard carried away captive [certain] of the poor of the people, and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude.”
That is, of the city, as distinct from the poor of the land of Judea he left, afterwards observed.
“And the residue of the people that remained in the city”: That died not by the sword or famine, and fled not with Zedekiah. Or “even the residue of the people”; and so are the same with the poor people in the former clause. Though Kimchi explains it thus, “some of the poor of the people he carried captive, and some of them he left:”
“And those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon”: That fell off from the Jews, and surrendered to the king of Babylon during the siege. Or that voluntarily came in, and put themselves into the hands of the captain of the guard.
“And the rest of the multitude”: Of the people, both in city and country.
Jeremiah 52:16 “But Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard left [certain] of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen.”
Of the land of Judea, who lived in the country, and had not been concerned in defending the city against the Chaldeans.
“For vinedressers, and for husbandmen”: To look after the vineyards and fields, and dress and manure them, that the king of Babylon might receive some advantage by the conquest he had made (Jer. 39:10).
A very few of the poor people were carried away captive instead of being killed. Some were even left in the land of Judah to take care of the vineyards and fields. God will always save a remnant of His people.
Jeremiah 52:17 “Also the pillars of brass that [were] in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brazen sea that [was] in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans brake, and carried all the brass of them to Babylon.”
The two pillars in the temple, called Jachin and Boaz, which were made of cast brass (1 Kings 7:15).
“And the bases”: Which were in number ten, and which were also made of cast brass, and were all of one measure and size. And on which the ten lavers of brass were set, five on the right side and five on the left side of the house (1 Kings 7:37).
“And the brazen sea that was in the house of the LORD”: Called the molten sea. A sea, because of the large quantity of water it held. And brazen, because it was made of brass (1 Kings 7:23).
“The Chaldeans broke, and carried all the brass of them to Babylon”: They broke them to pieces, that they might carry them more easily. This account is given, and which is continued in some following verses. Partly to show the accomplishment of the prophecy of Jeremiah (Jer. 27:19). And partly to show that what was left in the temple, at the former captivities of Jehoiakim and Jeconiah, was now completely carried off.
“Brass” symbolizes judgement, and God will not hold them blameless for desecrating the temple. They even broke the pieces of brass into smaller pieces to be able to carry it away. These beautiful things of the temple were no more.
Verses 18-19: “Took they away”: The conquerors plundered the magnificent Solomonic temple, and took the articles to Babylon. (1 Kings Chapters 6 to 8), describes these articles. Later, Belshazzar would use some of these at his immoral banquet, gloating over victory he wrongly attributed to his gods (Dan. chapter 5; compare Dan. 5:1-2).
Jeremiah 52:18 “The caldrons also, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the bowls, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away.”
Or “pots”, as it is rendered (2 Kings 25:14); which were made of bright brass (1 Kings 7:45). These were used to boil the flesh of the sacrifices.
“And the shovels”: Used to remove the ashes from off the altar of burnt offerings, and were of brass also. The Targum renders them “besoms”, whose handles perhaps were of brass.
“And the snuffers”: The Vulgate Latin translates it “psalteries”. And so Jarchi interprets it of musical instruments; some think “tongs” are meant.
“And the bowls”: Or “basins”. Either to drink out of, or to receive the blood of the sacrifice.
“And the spoons”: Ladles, cups, or dishes, vessels used about the sacrifices.
“And all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered”: That is, the priests in the temple.
“Took they away”: The Chaldeans took them away.
Jeremiah 52:19 “And the basins, and the firepans, and the bowls, and the caldrons, and the candlesticks, and the spoons, and the cups; [that] which [was] of gold [in] gold, and [that] which [was] of silver [in] silver, took the captain of the guard away.”
Or “bowls”; these are omitted (2 Kings 25:15); they were of gold (1 Kings 7:50).
“And the firepans”: Or “censers”. These were those of gold, which belonged to the golden altar (1 Kings 7:50).
“And the bowls”: Or “basins”. There were a hundred of them made of gold (2 Chron. 4:8).
“And the cauldrons”: or “pots”. These are not mentioned (2 Kings 25:15). What they should be, that were either of gold or silver, cannot be said.
“And the candlesticks”: Of which there were ten in number, made of pure gold, five on the right side, and five on the left, before the oracle (1 Kings 7:49).
“And the spoons”: Which were also of gold (1 Kings 7:50).
“And the cups”: The word is rendered “bowls”, to cover overall (Exodus 25:29). It was some kind of instrument or vessel used about the showbread table, made of pure gold. According to Jarchi, these were little golden forks, upon which they placed the showbread. According to the Mishnah, there were four of them.
“That which was of gold in gold, and that which was of silver in silver, took the captain of the guard away”: That is, everything that was of gold or silver he took away. The golden things by themselves, and the silver things by themselves, as some think.
To spoil the people is terrible, but to spoil the temple of God is much worse. These are speaking of the things of the temple. Remember, gold was used in the most holy place where the presence of God was. “Gold” symbolizes the pureness of God. “Silver” symbolizes redemption.
Jeremiah 52:20 “The two pillars, one sea, and twelve brazen bulls that [were] under the bases, which king Solomon had made in the house of the LORD: the brass of all these vessels was without weight.”
The two pillars of Jachin and Boaz before mentioned, and the molten or brazen sea, with the twelve bulls or oxen the sea stood upon (1 Kings 7:25).
“That were under the bases”: Or “by the bases”. As Jarchi; or rather, “that were instead of bases”. For the twelve oxen were the bases on which the molten sea stood.
“Which King Solomon had made in the house of the LORD”: This is mentioned to show that these were the selfsame pillars, sea, and oxen, and other vessels, that Solomon made, that were now carried away. For though Ahaz took down the sea from off the brazen oxen, and put it on a pavement of stones. Yet it seems not to have been destroyed; and might be restored to its proper place by Hezekiah, or some other prince.
“The brass of all these vessels was without weight”: There was no weight sufficient to weigh them. The weight of them could not very well be told. They were so heavy, that in Solomon’s time the weight of them was not taken. When they were placed in the temple, so neither when they were taken away (1 Kings 7:47).
Jeremiah 52:21 “And [concerning] the pillars, the height of one pillar [was] eighteen cubits; and a fillet of twelve cubits did compass it; and the thickness thereof [was] four fingers: [it was] hollow.”
As in (1 Kings 7:15); said to be thirty five cubits (2 Chron. 3:15). Of the reconciliation of which (see 2 Chron. 3:15).
“And a fillet of twelve cubits did compass it”: A thread or line of that measure encompassed each of the pillars (1 Kings 7:15).
“And the thickness thereof was four fingers”: Either of the pillar, or the fillet about it. That is, the brass of it was four fingers thick.
“It was hollow”: That is, the pillar was hollow.
These pillars were 27 feet long, if a cubit is 18 inches long. I believe it is speaking of the thickness of the metal as being as thick as 4 fingers. Even though it was hollow in the middle, it would be tremendously heavy. The brass would have been very valuable just for metal. The real value was the beautiful art work.
Jeremiah 52:22 “And a chapiter of brass [was] upon it; and the height of one chapiter [was] five cubits, with network and pomegranates upon the chapiters round about, all [of] brass. The second pillar also and the pomegranates [were] like unto these.”
“Five”: (2 Kings 25:17), reads “three”. There may have been two parts to the chapiters, the lower part of two cubits and the upper part, carved ornately, of 3 cubits. The lower may be omitted (in 2 Kings 25:17), as belonging to the shaft of the pillar.
“Chapiter” in the verse above means capitol of a column. This decorative top was 7 and 1/2 feet high. These beautiful pillars would be taken away also.
Jeremiah 52:23 “And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side; [and] all the pomegranates upon the network [were] a hundred round about.”
“On a side “: The 96 were toward the four winds, 24 toward the north, 24 toward the east, and so on. Add one at each corner, and the whole 100 is made up.
“And all the pomegranates upon the network were a hundred round about”: Four, standing upon the four angles, made the ninety six a hundred (in 1 Kings 7:20). They are said to be two hundred; and in (2 Chron. 4:13); are said to be four hundred upon the two wreaths. Which may be accounted for thus, there were two rows of them on each pillar. In every row were a hundred, which made two hundred in one pillar, and four hundred in both. These were the things in the temple carried away in the last captivity.
This verse just shows the beautiful designs that were on the pillars. Thousands of hours of work had gone into the making of these. Now they are gone.
Verses 24-27: Babylon executed some Judean leaders as an act of power, of resentment over the 18 month resistance (compare 52:4-6), and of intimidation to prevent future plots.
Jeremiah 52:24 “And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:”
That is, out of the temple, where he was ministering, or fled for safety. This is supposed to be the father of Ezra (1 Chron. 6:14).
“And Zephaniah the second priest”: Or deputy priest. The “sagan” (Sagan is Aramaic that refer to officials of the Babylonian rulers), of the priests, as the Targum calls him, who was appointed to minister for the High Priest, in case anything happened which hindered him from officiating. Such a one there always was in later times on the Day of Atonement, as appears from the Mishnah. This man is thought to be the same with Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest (Jer. 21:1).
“And the three keepers of the door”: That is, of the temple. The Targum calls them three “governors”; who had, as Jarchi says, the keys of the court committed to them. The number seems better to agree with the “gizbarim” or treasurers; of whom, it is said, they never appoint less than three treasurers, and seven “governors”.
This is not the same Seraiah as in the last lesson who was the brother of Baruch. Seraiah, the brother of Baruch, was secretary to Jeremiah, as was Baruch. These two, Seraiah and Zephaniah, were actually in charge of the temple. They were the High Priest and priest.
Jeremiah 52:25 “He took also out of the city a eunuch, which had the charge of the men of war; and seven men of them that were near the king’s person, which were found in the city; and the principal scribe of the host, who mustered the people of the land; and threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the midst of the city.”
The master-master-general of the army.
“And seven men of them which were near the king’s person which were found in the city”: Or, “saw the face of the king”: or, “made to see his face”. These were ministers of state, who were always at court, and assisted in councils of state, and introduced persons into the king’s presence. In (2 Kings 25:19); they are said to be but “five”; but Josephus has seven, as here. Perhaps two of them were of less note, and so not reckoned, as Jarchi observes: some will have it, that the two scribes of the judges are left out. But others, more probably, Jeremiah and Baruch, who were first taken, and afterwards dismissed.
“And the principal scribe of the host, who mustered the people of the land”: Or the scribe of the prince of the army, as the Targum; the general’s secretary.
“And threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the midst of the city”: Persons of prime note, who, upon the invasion, took themselves from the country to the city of Jerusalem with their effects, and to defend it. Josephus calls them rulers or governors.
All of these might have been able to get the people to follow them. They took them because the people would surrender if they did not have leaders.
Jeremiah 52:26 “So Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah.”
Into the city, and made them captives.
“And brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah”: To know his mind concerning them. How they should be disposed of. And for him to pass sentence on them. As he had done on the king of Judah, his sons, and his princes, in the same place.
Riblah was the headquarters of the army of Babylon. This is where the king stayed and sent his men to battle. The king of Babylon spoken of here, is Nebuchadnezzar.
Jeremiah 52:27 “And the king of Babylon smote them, and put them to death in Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah was carried away captive out of his own land.”
Or ordered them to be smitten with the sword. To have their heads cut off, according to Josephus.
“And put them to death in Riblah in the land of Hamath”: These being such, no doubt, who obstinately defended the city, and persuaded the prince and people not to surrender the city into the hand of the Chaldeans. And therefore, were put to death in cold blood.
“Thus Judah was carried away captive out of his own land”: At different times, of which this was the completion. And of which a particular account is given. Even of the number of the captives at these several times (in Jer. 52:28).
This means that he killed the priest, High Priest, the eunuch, and the other men. He did not wait, until he got back to Babylon. He killed them at Riblah.
Verses 28-30: “Carried away”: The stages of deportation to Babylon are:
(1) In 605 B.C. under Jehoiakim which marked the beginning of the 70 years of exile;
(2) In 597 B.C. under Jehoiachin;
(3) In 586 B.C. under Zedekiah, and;
(4) A mopping up campaign in 582 to 581 B.C.
The number may include only males.
Jeremiah 52:28 “This [is] the people whom Nebuchadrezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year three thousand Jews and three and twenty:”
That is, of his reign. (In 2 Kings 24:12); it is said to be in the eighth year of his reign. It being at the latter end of the seventh, and the beginning of the eighth, as Kimchi observes; this was the captivity of Jeconiah. The number of the captives then were;
“Three thousand Jews, and three and twenty”: But in (2 Kings 24:14); they are said to be ten thousand. Which may be reconciled thus, there were three thousand twenty and three of the tribe of Judah, here called Jews. And the rest were of the tribe of Benjamin, and of the ten tribes that were mixed among them (see 2 Kings 24:16).
This probably is a misinterpretation, and this should say the seventeenth year. That is an unimportant point. The fact is, Nebuchadnezzar took 3023 Jews captive. This would be classified as a remnant.
Jeremiah 52:29 “In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons:”
Said to be the nineteenth (Jer. 52:12). It was at the end of the eighteenth, and the beginning of the nineteenth, as Kimchi. Or this was before the taking of the city, when he raised the siege, and departed to meet the king of Egypt, at which time he might carry captive many, as here said.
“He carried away captive from Jerusalem, eight hundred thirty and two persons”: Which is more likely to be then done than at the taking of the city. When it is very probable a greater number was carried captive, which are not here taken notice of.
This is probably the very next year, when he took 832 more captives.
Jeremiah 52:30 “In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadrezzar Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons: all the persons [were] four thousand and six hundred.”
In this year of his reign, the Jews say. Tyre was delivered into his hands; and he carried off the Jews in Moab, Ammon, and the neighboring nations, to the numbers mentioned. Though some think these were the poor people of the land he took from there, after the murder of Gedaliah, and in revenge of that.
“Nebuzar-adan captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons”: All which being put together make the following sum.
“All the persons were four thousand and six hundred”: This is the sum total of the three mentioned captivities.
Five years later, the army of Nebuchadnezzar had carried away an additional 745 persons captive. Making the total captives taken 4600.
Verses 31-34: The release of Jehoiachin” (a captive since 597 B.C.), he appears here (in 561 B.C.), after Nebuchadnezzar’s death when Evil-merodach ruled Babylon. Though detained, the former king was kindly freed to enjoy previously denied privileges. The LORD did not forget the Davidic line even in exile.
Jehoiachin’s release from prison in Babylon occurred( in 560 B.C.), and a Babylonian text from this time records that Jehoiachin and his son received rations from the king. In a small way, this act of favor toward the deported king of Judah offers a glimmer of hope that God is not through with the house of David.
Jeremiah 52:31 “And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth [day] of the month, [that] Evil-merodach king of Babylon in the [first] year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison,”
He was eighteen years of age when he was carried captive; so that he must be now fifty five years old (see 2 Kings 24:8).
“In the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month. In the month Adar, which answers to part of February, and part of March (in 2 Kings 25:27); the favor shown by the king of Babylon to Jeconiah, after related, is said to be in the twenty seventh day of the month. It might have been determined and notified on the twenty fifth, but not executed till the twenty seventh. Or it might be begun to be put in execution on the twenty fifth, and not finished till the twenty seventh.
The Jews, in their chronicle, say that Nebuchadnezzar died on the twenty fifth, and was buried. That, on the twenty sixth, Evil-merodach took him out of his grave, and dragged him about, to abolish his decrees, and to confirm what is said of him in (Isa. 14:19). And on the twenty seventh he brought Jeconiah out of prison. But this is no reconciliation at all; the former is best.
“That Evil-merodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign”: Who succeeded Nebuchadnezzar, having reigned forty three years. This king is called by Ptolemy, “Iloarudamus”; by Abydenus, “Evil-maluruch”; by Josephus, “Abilamarodach”; but by Berosus as here: his proper name was “Merodach”. A name of one of the Chaldean idols (Jer. 50:2). “Evil” was a nickname, which signifies “foolish”; he was called “foolish Merodach”, on account of his ill conduct, or bad life. As soon as he came to the throne, he;
“Lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison”: That is, he changed his condition for the better. He raised him out of a low estate to a more honorable one. He brought him out of a state of imprisonment and misery into a state of liberty and honor. What was the reason of this is not easy to say. The Jews have a tradition, that Nebuchadnezzar, after seven years of madness, coming to himself, and going back to his kingdom, and understanding that his son Evil-merodach had been guilty of mal-administration during that time.
And particularly that he rejoiced at his madness, cast him into prison, where he contracted a friendship with Jeconiah. And when he came to the throne, upon the death of his father, released him. But others think that Jeconiah being a comely young man, when he was brought a captive to Babylon. And about the age of this prince, he took a liking to him, and, pitying his case, showed him this favor, as soon as he had an opportunity.
Jehoiachin was in captivity 36 years. The 37th year of the captivity, he was released. “Evil-merodach” is a name that shows that this evil king of Babylon worshipped the false god Merodach. The statement “lifted up the head”, means they took him out of chains and bondage.
Jeremiah 52:32 “And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that [were] with him in Babylon,”
Formed a friendship with him, and treated him with great respect. Or, “spake good things to him”. Comforted him in his captive state, and promised him many favors. And was as good as his word.
“And set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon”: These kings were either petty kings over the several provinces that belonged to the Chaldean monarchy, that were occasionally at Babylon. Or rather the kings Nebuchadnezzar had conquered, and taken captive, as Jehoiachin. Such as the kings of Moab, Ammon, Edom, etc. These, notwithstanding they were captives, had thrones of state, partly in consideration of their former dignity. And partly for the glory of the Babylonish monarch. Now Jehoiachin’s throne was higher and more grand and stately than the rest, to show the particular respect the king of Babylon had for him.
This evil king sets up Jehoiachin as a subordinate ruler to him.
Jeremiah 52:33 “And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life.”
Which were filthy, and of an ill smell. And put on him raiment more comfortable, as well as more honorable, and suitable to his dignity. And more fit to appear in, in the presence of the king and his court.
“And he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life”. Either at the same table with the king; or near him, in his sight and in the same apartment. Though the former seems more likely. And this he did as long as he lived, either Evil-merodach, or rather Jeconiah. Though perhaps they both died much about the same time. All this was done about the year of the world 3444, and about five hundred sixty years before Christ, according to Bishop Usher and Mr. Bedford.
He is now like a prince in the house of this evil Babylonian king. He is no longer dressed like a captive, or being fed like a captive.
Jeremiah 52:34 “And [for] his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.”
This seems to design not food only, and for himself, which he had daily at the king’s table, but all necessary provisions for himself, his family, and his servants.
“Every day a portion, until the day of his death. All the days of his life, that is, of Jeconiah’s. How long he lived after this is not known. He was now fifty five years of age, and cannot be thought to have lived a great while after, having been imprisoned so many years. And it is certain he did not live to the return from the captivity. Of the death of Zedekiah, we have no account, only that he died in prison. The Jews say he died at this very time, when Jeconiah was advanced. The account here given of Jeconiah has led some to conclude that this chapter was not written by Jeremiah. Since it cannot be well thought he should live so long as to the death of this prince. And, besides, had given an account of the destruction of Jerusalem in the thirty ninth chapter, which he would hardly repeat. Though that he might do, partly for the sake of new circumstances here added.
This is just saying, that the king of Babylon fed Jehoiachin (also known as Jeconiah and Coniah), the same food he ate for the rest of his life. It is interesting that the total captivity of Judah by Babylon was 70 years. Jehoiachin was in captivity just 36 years.
Jeremiah Chapter 52 Questions
- How old was Zedekiah when he began to reign?
- How long did he reign?
- What was his mother’s name?
- Was the Jeremiah, of verse 1, the penman of the book of Jeremiah?
- Who did he pattern his reign after?
- Who did Zedekiah rebel against?
- In what year of Zedekiah’s reign did Nebuchadnezzar come against Jerusalem?
- Where, in the Bible, is there another account of this very thing?
- How long was the battle for Jerusalem fought?
- Why was there famine?
- How did Zedekiah try to escape?
- Who took him?
- Where did they take Zedekiah?
- Who judged him?
- What happened to his sons?
- What did Nebuchadnezzar do to Zedekiah?
- Who did the actual burning of the temple?
- What happened to the walls of Jerusalem?
- What happened to the poor, who did not die in battle?
- What were the pillars of the temple made of?
- What does “brass” symbolize?
- Name some of the things taken from the temple.
- What does “gold” symbolize?
- What does “silver” symbolize?
- How long were the pillars?
- How thick was the metal used in the pillars?
- What was a “chapiter”?
- What was the decoration on the chapiter?
- Who is Seraiah of verse 24?
- Who else did they take, besides Seraiah?
- What happened to them?
- How many people did Nebuchadnezzar take captive the 17th year?
- How many did he take captive the 18th year?
- How many did he take captive the 23rd year?
- How many years was Jehoiachin held captive?
- What happened to him at the end of this time?
- Why was the king named “Evil-merodach”?
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