Jeremiah 38:9 MEANING

Jeremiah 38:9
(9) These men have done evil. . . .--It is noticeable that some MSS. of the LXX., following apparently a different text, represent the Eunuch as assuming that the king himself had given the order, "Thou hast done evil in all that thou hast done."

He is like to die for hunger.--Literally, and he dies . . . painting vividly what would be the certain issue if no help were sent. It lies in the nature of the case that those who had thrown the prophet into the pit were not likely to continue the supply of his daily rations (Jeremiah 37:21), and the scarcity that prevailed in the besieged city made it all but impossible that his friends, even if they could gain access to him, should help him out of their own resources. Ebed-melech had obviously no power to help him without the king's sanction.

Verse 9. - For there is no more bread in the city. It would almost seem as if the little remaining bread had been brought together by command of the magistrates, and that it was given out in rations by them (comp. Jeremiah 37:21).

38:1-13 Jeremiah went on in his plain preaching. The princes went on in their malice. It is common for wicked people to look upon God's faithful ministers as enemies, because they show what enemies the wicked are to themselves while impenitent. Jeremiah was put into a dungeon. Many of God's faithful witnesses have been privately made away in prisons. Ebed-melech was an Ethiopian; yet he spoke to the king faithfully, These men have done ill in all they have done to Jeremiah. See how God can raise up friends for his people in distress. Orders were given for the prophet's release, and Ebed-melech saw him drawn up. Let this encourage us to appear boldly for God. Special notice is taken of his tenderness for Jeremiah. What do we behold in the different characters then, but the same we behold in the different characters now, that the Lord's children are conformed to his example, and the children of Satan to their master?My lord the king,.... He addresses him as a courtier, with great reverence and submission, and yet with great boldness:

these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet; meaning the princes, who might be present, and whom he pointed at, and mentioned by name; which showed great courage and faithfulness, as well as great zeal for, and attachment to, the prophet; to charge after this manner persons of such great authority so publicly, and to the king, whom the king himself stood in fear of: he first brings a general charge against them, that they had done wrong in everything they had done to the prophet; in their angry words to him; in smiting him, and putting him in prison in Jonathan's house; and particularly in their last instance of ill will to him:

whom they have cast into the dungeon; he does not say where, or describe the dungeon, because well known to the king, and what a miserable place it was; and tacitly suggests the cruelty and inhumanity of the princes:

and he is like to die for hunger in the place where he is, for there is no more bread in the city; or very little; there was none to be had but with great difficulty, as Kimchi observes; and therefore though the king had ordered a piece of bread to be given him daily, as long as there was any in the city; yet it being almost all consumed, and the prophet being out or sight, and so out of mind, and altogether disregarded, must be in perishing circumstances, and near death; and must inevitably perish, unless some immediate care be taken of him. It may be rendered, "he will die" (t), &c. or the sense is, bread being exceeding scarce in the city, notwithstanding the king's order, very little was given to Jeremiah, while he was in the court of the prison; so that he was half starved, and was a mere skeleton then, and would have died for hunger there; wherefore it was barbarous in the princes to cast such a man into a dungeon. It may be rendered, "he would have died for hunger in the place where he was, seeing there was no more bread in the city" (u); wherefore, if the princes had let him alone where he was, he would have died through famine; and therefore acted a very wicked part in hastening his death, by throwing him into a dungeon; this is Jarchi's sense, with which Abarbinel agrees.

(t) "morietur enim", Schmidt. (u) "Qui moriturus fuerat in loco suo propter famem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

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