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mentioned in the Old Testament. In the New, the zealous professors. As they come from a great distance, Gospels offer the instance of John the Baptist, whose case and many of them die from the effects of that cruelty was similar to that of Jeremiah, the object being evidently which gives them their peculiar character, black eunuchs to prevent his communications to the people. His death are regarded as costly luxuries, which appear only in the in prison, although ordered by Herod, was a circumstance establishments of princes and great personages. Their which that king had neither contemplated nor desired. employment is about the king's female establishment, The Gospels also mention imprisonment for debt, of which they guard, serve, and superintend; and, except which we shall have due occasion to speak, only at pre- the monarch himself, they are the only individuals, not of sent observing that it was not a punishment for having the female sex, who ever have access to the presence of contracted debt, but a measure to compel payment, as is the women. They are usually in considerable numbers expressly declared in the passages where it is mentioned. in the royal harams, and their situations are various. The other cases of imprisonment which occur in the Acts Some of them enjoy household offices of much trust and of the Apostles, are nearly all foreign instances--being responsibility, and possess great influence from the peculiar cases in which the Romans imprisoned the Apostles. It advantages which they enjoy of access to the sovereign's is therefore the more remarkable that not one of these in- presence in his more private and relaxed hours. Their stances offers any new principle :—the Apostles were de- chief is a very important personage; and the reader of tained in prison till their respective cases could be inquired those old Arabian stories which relate to the caliphs of into and finally determined. In the single case of the im- Baghdad is aware that, after the monarch himself and his prisonment of Peter by Herod, we see also a case of con- grand vizier, no person is so frequently or so conspicuously finement not as itself a punishment, but as a detention for mentioned as the chief of the black eunuchs. Ebed-melech ulterior punishment, Herod • intending after Easter to was probably one of the superior eunuchs; and the inbring him forth unto the people.' (Acts xii. 4).-It there- fluence he possessed with the king appears very clearly fore seems that the conclusions stated at the head of this from the present narration. See the note and cut under

Esther iv. 4. note are correctly drawn from the facts recorded in Scripture: and we have dwelt on the subject in order to shew 14. The third entry:'-—The word rendered 'third' the light in which imprisonment was regarded by the may, as in the margin, he rendered 'principal' or 'chief.' Hebrews without at present inquiring into the causes

And the other word (xiao mabo) is a general word, dewhich rendered them, in common with other Oriental noting not merely a gate but an avenue, entrance, or any nations, indisposed to use confinement as a final punish- kind of approach to a palace. Here it is generally supment for any crime.

posed to point out the communication between Mount 7. The Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs which was in the

Zion and Mount Moriah, which was formed by Solomon, king's house.'-From this it seems that black eunuchs and which the queen of Sheba regarded with great ada were employed in the courts of the Hebrew kings, as they miration. It was by this way that the kings went from still are in those of the Eastern sovereigns. They are the palace to the temple. Probably Zedekiah called Jerebrought young, as slaves, from Africa, and, having been miah to a private apartment over one of the gates in this made eunuchs, are brought up in the religion of those to

line of approach. whom they are sold, and of which they are in general very

CHAPTER XXXIX.

garden, by the gate betwixt the two walls :

and he went out the 1 Jerusalem is taken. 4 Zedekiah is made blind, and

way

of the plain. sent to Babylon. 8 The city ruined, 9 the people

5 But the Chaldeans' army pursued after captivated. 11 Nebuchadrezzar's charge for the them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of good usage of Jeremiah. 15 God's promise to Ebed- Jericho: and when they had taken him, they melech.

brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of In the 'ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, Babylon 10 Riblah in the land of Hamath, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadrezzar where he 'gave judgment upon him. king of Babylon and all his army against

6 Then the king of Babylon slew the sons Jerusalem, and they besieged it.

of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes : also 2 And in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, Judah. the city was broken up.

7 Moreover he put out Zedekiah's eyes, 3 And all the princes of the king of Ba- and bound him with chains, to carry him to bylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, Babylon. even Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, Sarse- 8' 1 And the Chaldeans burned the king's chim, Rab-saris, Nergal-sharezer, Rab-mag, house, and the houses of the people, with fire, with all the residue of the princes of the king and brake down the walls of Jerusalem. of Babylon.

9 Then Nebuzar-adan the captain of the 4 T And it came to pass, that when Zede- guard carried away captive into Babylon the kiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the remnant of the people that remained in the men of war, then they fled, and went forth out city, and those that fell away, that fell to him, of the city by night, by the way of the king's with the rest of the people that remained. 1 2 Kings 25. 1. Chap. 52. 4.

? Heb. spake with him judgments. 8 Heb. with two brazen chains, or, fetters.

4 Or, chief marshal. 5 Heb. chief of the executioners, or, slaughtermen. And so verses 10, 11, &c.

10 But Nebuzar-adan the captain of the Shaphan, that he should carry him home : so guard left of the poor of the people, which he dwelt among the people. had nothing, in the land of Judah, and 15 | Now the word of the LORD came gave them vineyards and fields at the same unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the time.

court of the prison, saying, 11 Now Nebuchadrezzar king of Ba- 16 Go and speak to Ebed-melech the bylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah "to Ethiopian, saying Thus saith the Lord of Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard, hosts, the God of Israel ; Behold, I will bring saying,

my words upon this city for evil, and not for 12 Take him, and look well to him, and good; and they shall be accomplished in that do him no harm ; but do unto him even as he day before thee. shall say unto thee.

17 But I will deliver thee in that day, 13 So Nebuzar-adan the captain of the saith the LORD: and thou shalt not be given guard sent, and Nebushasban, Rab-saris, and into the hand of the men of whom thou art Nergal-sharezer, Rab-mag, and all the king afraid. of Babylon's princes ;

18 For I will surely deliver thee, and thou 14 Even they sent, and took Jeremiah out shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall of the court of the prison, and committed him be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of put thy trust in me, saith the LORD.

7 Heb. by the hand of.

6 Heb, in that day.

8 Heb. set thine eyes upon him.

Verse 3. The middle gate.'— This might be more definitely rendered the centre gate,' which would better express its supposed situation, which was probably in the heart of the city leading from the lower to the upper town. It would seem that the Babylonians, having taken the town by the north wall, hastened on to gain possession of this gate, the importance of which is indicated by the fact that Zedekiah filed from Mount Zion as soon as it had been won by the Babylonians. Some of the Rabbins make it to have been one of the temple gates; but this does not appear very likely under all the circumstances and indications,

4. Went forth out of the city by night.? - Josephus says the city was taken in the middle of the night. F'avoured by the darkness, the king escaped by the way here indicated, and which cannot be clearly understood, from the want of more distinct information than we possess concerning the plan of the ancient Jerusalem. The best idea we can ourselves form is this:-It is reasonable to suppose that the king and his family were staying in the

citadel of Zion, in the south-west part of the mount of that name, and in the valley below which the king's gardens are usually placed. "Between the two walls,' probably means between the wall of the citadel and the parallel portion of the city wall, which together formed on two sides a double wall around the citadel. We may therefore infer that the king went out of the citadel, between the two walls, and passed from the exterior wall by the way which led to the gardens, and which was perhaps a private subterraneous passage. The Jews, indeed, have a fable, that there was a subterraneous way extending from the king's abode to Jericho, and that by this Zedekiah endeavoured to escape; in which, say they, he would doubtless have succeeded, had not God prepared a hind, which, being pressed by pursuers from the Chaldæan army, fled for refuge in the cave in which this passage terminated. The king and his party were coming out at that moment, and were seized by the exulting Chaldæans who had entered in pursuit of the hind.

CHAPTER XL.

2 And the captain of the guard took Jere

miah, and said unto him, The LORD thy God 1 Jeremiah, being set free by Nebuzar-adan, goeth to hath pronounced this evil upon this place.

Gedaliah. 7 The dispersed Jews repair unto him. 3 Now the LORD hath brought it, and done 13 Johanan revealing Ishmael's conspiracy is not believed.

according as he hath said : because ye have

sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed The word that came to Jeremiah from the his voice, therefore this thing is come upon LORD, after that Nebuzar-adan the captain of you. the guard had let him go from Ramah, when 4 And now, behold, I loose thee this day he had taken him being bound in 'chains from the chains which were upon thine hand. among all that were carried away captive of If it seem good unto thee to come with me Jerusalem and Judah, which were carried into Babylon, come; and I will look well away captive unto Babylon.

unto thee: but if it seem ill unto thee to i Or, manacies. ! Heb. I will set mine eye upon thee.

415

come with me into Babylon, forbear: behold, | Mizpah, 'to serve the Chaldeans, which will all the land is before thee : whither it seemeth come unto us : but ye, gather ye wine, and good and convenient for thee to go, thither go. summer fruits, and oil, and put them in your

5 Now while he was not yet gone back, he vessels, and dwell in your cities that ye have said, Go back also to Gedaliah the son of taken. Ahikam the son of Shaphan, whom the king 11 Likewise when all the Jews that were of Babylon hath made governor over the cities in Moab, and among the Ammonites, and in of Judah, and dwell with him among the Edom, and that were in all the countries, people: or go wheresoever it seemeth con- heard that the king of Babylon had left a venient unto thee to go. So the captain of remnant of Judah, and that he had set over the guard gave him victuals and a reward, them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of and let him go.

Shaphan; 6 Then went Jeremiah unto Gedaliah the 12 Even all the Jews returned out of all son of Ahikam to Mizpah ; and dwelt with places whither they were driven, and came to him among the people that were left in the the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, unto Mizpah, land.

and gathered wine and summer fruits very 7. Now when all the captains of the forces much. which were in the fields, even they and their 13 Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, men, heard that the king of Babylon had and all the captains of the forces that were in made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, in the land, and had committed unto him 14 And said unto hiin, Dost thou certainly men, and women, and children, and of the know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites poor

of the land, of them that were not car- hath sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah 'to ried away captive to Babylon;

slay thee? But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam 8 Then they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, believed them not. even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Jo- 15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spake hanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, and to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying, Let Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, and the sons me go, I pray thee, and I will slay Ishmael of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah the the son of Nethaniah, and no man shall know son of a Maachathite, they and their men. it: wherefore should he slay thee, that all the

9 And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the Jews which are gathered unto thee should be son of Shapban sware unto them and to their scattered, and the remnant in Judah perish ? men, saying, Fear not to serve the Chaldeans : 16 But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said dwell in the land, and serve the king of Ba- unto Johanan the son of Kareah, Thou shalt bylon, and it shall be well with you.

not do this thing: for thou speakest falsely of 10 As for me, behold, I will dwell at Ishmael. 3 Heb, to stand before.

• Heb. to strike thee in soul.

sure.

CHAP. XL.—The brief and sad history in this and the it appears likely that Ishmael was no other than the tool following chapter is too clearly told to require elucidation of the king of Ammon. He may have encouraged Ishor remark. The only difficuliy is to assign an adequate mael in such expectations and feelings as we have stated, motive for the odious conduct of Ishmael. But as we while his own object may well have been to prevent, by learn, from ch. xli. 1, that he was of the royal family, it the murder of Gedaliah, that restoration of the remnant is probable that his first movement arose from jealousy at of the Hebrews to a condition of comparative prosperity the promotion of a person not of that family to be the and comfort, which the wise and prudent conduct of this governor of the land. He probably thought that he had generous and unsuspecting man seemed calculated to enhimself a better claim to that distinction than Gedaliah;

The ancient enmity of the Ammonites to the and perhaps calculated that, were that person put out of Hebrews, as well as the jealousy of adjoining states, may the way, he might find means to establish himself in his sufficiently account for any aversion with which they may place. That nothing of the kind followed, may be owing have regarded the prospect of restored comfort to their to having been led by circumstances to go further than ruined neighbours. We learn also, from v. 11, that many he intended. The slaughter of the Chaldeans perhaps Jews, who had during the troubles retired to dwell among arose from their attempt to defend or avenge Gedaliah; the Ammonites, returned home when they heard of the but this additional atrocity was one which it could not be prospect of peace and safety under Gedaliah ; and it is expected that the king of Babylon would overlook or fail very possible that the loss of these refugees proved a very w avenge; and hence he seems to have had no remaining disagreeable circumstance to king Baalis and his people. object but to do all the mischief in his power. After all,

416

CHAPTER XLI.

the king had made for fear of Baasha king of

Israel : and Ishmael the son of Nethaniah 1 Ishmael, treacherously killing Gedaliah and others,

filled it with them that were slain. purposeth with the residue to flee unto the Ammonites. 10 Then Ishmael carried away captive all 11 Johanan recovereth the captives, and mindeth to the residue of the people that were in Mizpah, flee into Egypt.

even the king's daughters, and all the people Now it came to pass in the seventh month, that remained in Mizpah, whom Nebuzarthat Ishmael the son of Nethaniah the son of adan the captain of the guard had committed Elishama, of the seed royal, and the princes to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam : and Ishmael of the king, even ten men with him, came the son of Nethaniah carried them away unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah; captive, and departed to go over to the Amand there they did eat bread together in monites. Mizpah.

11 But when Jobanan the son of Ka2 Then arose Ishmael the son of Netha- real, and all the captains of the forces that niah, and the ten men that were with him, were with him, heard of all the evil that and smote Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had done, son of Shaphan with the sword, and slew him, 12 Then they took all the men, and went whom the king of Babylon had made governor to fight with Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, over the land.

and found him by the great waters that are in 3 Ishmael also slew all the Jews that were Gibeon. with him, even with Gedaliah, at Mizpah, and 13 Now it came to pass, that when all the the Chaldeans that were found there, and the people which were with Ishmael saw Johanan men of war.

the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the 4 And it came to pass the second day after forces that were with him, then they were glad. he had slain Gedaliah, and no man knew it, 14 So all the people that Ishmael had

5 That there came certain from Shechem, carried away captive from Mizpah cast about from Shiloh, and from Samaria, even fourscore and returned, and went unto Johanan the son men, having their beards shaven, and their of Kareah. clothes rent, and having cut themselves, with 15 But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah esofferings and incense in their hand, to bring caped from Johanan with eight men, and went them to the house of the Lord.

to the Ammonites. 6 And Ishmael the son of Nethaniah went 16 Then took Johanan the son of Kareal, forth from Mizpah to meet them, 'weeping and all the captains of the forces that were all along as he went: and it came to pass, as with him, all the remnant of the people whom he met them, he said unto them, Come to he had recovered from Ishmael the son of Gedaliah the son of Ahikam.

Nethaniah, from Mizpah, after that he had 7 And it was so, when they came into the slain Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, even mighty midst of the city, that Ishmael the son of men of war, and the women, and the children, Nethaniah slew them, and cast them into the and the eunuchs, whom he had brought again midst of the pit, he, and the men that were from Gibeon : with him.

17 And they departed, and dwelt in the 8 But ten men were found among them habitation of Chimham, which is by Beththat said unto Ishmael, Slay us not: for we lehem, to go to enter into Egypt, have treasures in the field, of wheat, and of 18 Because of the Chaldeans: for they barley, and of oil, and of honey. So he for- were afraid of them, because Ishmael the son bare, and slew them not among their brethren. of Nethaniah had slain Gedaliah the son of

9 Now the pit wherein Ishmael had cast Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon made all the dead bodies of the men, whom he had

governor in the land. slain because of Gedaliah, was it which Asa

| Heb. in going and weeping. 2 Or, near Gedaliah. 3 Heb. by the hand, or, by the side of Gedaliah.

Verse 5. Having their beards shaven,' etc.- It will be recollected that the transactions recorded in this and the preceding chapter took place not more than two months after the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. As the marks here enumerated were tokens of the most intense mourning, and as all the men were thus mourners, it is highly probable that they had put themselves into this VOL. III.

2 A

condition on account of the ruin of their nation, and the desolation of their city with its "holy and beautiful house.'

- To the house of the Lord.'— As we do not read that any altar or sanctuary had been erected at Mizpah, and as we do read in Ezra (ch. iii. 2, 3, etc.) that the return captives did offer their sacrifices and oblations upon the site of the temple before the temple itself was rebuilt, it

417

seems highly probable that these mourners were, for the which they dug and covered over so very dexterously that same purpose, on their way to the spot where the temple none but those who made them could find them out, or had stood, to mourn and worship God among its ruins. even discover that the earth had been moved.' (CommenThis is corroborated by the fact that, coming as they did taire Littéral.) This correctly describes a still-existing from towns to the north of Jerusalem, they might easily practice in the East; and it still often happens, in time of take Mizpah in their way to that city; and that this was war, that people are spared, and receive favourable treatthen the seat of government, might be an inducement for ment from the soldiers, on making known their treasures them to do so. Concerning Mizpah, see the note on Josh. hid in the field.' xviii. 21.

17. The habitation of Chimham.'—The aged Barzillai 8. ' Treasures in the field, of wheat...barley...oil... had a son called Chimham, for whom David undertook to honey.'-Calmet remarks on this text, “Treasures (ac- provide (see 2 Sam. xix. 37; 1 Kings ii. 7); and the Tarcording to the common phrase of Scripture) signify any. gum, followed by most commentators, concludes that the thing that is hid and kept in reserve, whether it be gold, king made him a grant of this spot, to which he gave his silver, corn, wine, oil, or any other thing. And it was a own name. As it was near Bethlehem, it might perhaps customary practice in the East for the people to bury have been part of David's private patrimony. their coru and other provisions in deep pits or caverns,

he may

your God,

CHAPTER XLII.

were with him, and all the people from the 1 Johanan desireth Jeremiah to enquire of God, pro

least even to the greatest, mising obedience to his will. 7 Jeremiah assureth

9 And said unto them, Thus saith the him of safety in Judea, 13 and destruction in Egypt. LORD, the God of Israel, unto whom ye sent 19 He reproveth their hypocrisy, in requiring of the

me to present your supplication before him ; Lord that which they meant not to follow.

10 ff ye will still abide in this land, then THEN all the captains of the forces, and Jo- will I build you, and not pull you down, and hanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the I repent me of the evil that I have done unto least even unto the greatest, came near,

you. 2 And said unto Jeremiah the prophet, 11 Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of 'Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be whom ye are afraid ; be not afraid of him, accepted before thee, and pray for us unto saith the LORD: for I am with you to save the LORD thy God, even for all this remnant ; you, and to deliver you from his hand. (for we are left but a few of many, as thine 12 And I will shew mercies unto you, that eyes do behold us :)

have mercy upon you, and cause you 3 That the LORD thy God may shew us to return to your own land. the way wherein we may walk, and the thing 13 But if ye say, We will not dwell in that we may do.

this land, neither obey the voice of the LORD 4 Then Jeremiah the prophet_said unto them, I have heard you ; behold, I will pray 14 Saying, No; but we will go into the unto the LORD your God according to your land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, nor words; and it shall come to pass, that what- hear the sound of the trumpet, nor have soever thing the LORD shall answer you, I hunger of bread; and there will we dwell : will declare it unto you ; I will keep nothing 15 And now therefore hear the word of back from you.

the LORD, ye remnant of Judah, Thus saith 5 Then they said to Jeremiah, The Lord the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; If

ye be a true and faithful witness between us, if wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and we do not even according to all things for go to sojourn there ; the which the LORD thy God shall send thee 16 Then it shall come to pass, that the to us.

sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you 6 Whether it be good, or whether it be there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our whereof ye were afraid, 'shall follow close after God, to whom we send thee; that it may be you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die. well with us, when we obey the voice of the 17 "So shall it be with all the men that set LORD our God.

their faces to go into Egypt to sojourn there; 7 | And it came to pass after ten days, they shall die by the sword, by the famine, that the word of the LORD came unto Jere- and by the pestilence: and none of them shall miah.

remain or escape from the evil that I will 8 Then called he Johanan the son of Ka- bring upon them. reah, and all the captains of the forces which 18 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the i Or, let our supplication fall before thee.

2 Heb. shall cleave after you.

8 Heb. So shall all the men be,

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