Jeremiah 37:10
For though you had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire.
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37:1-10 Numbers witness the fatal effects of other men's sins, yet heedlessly step into their places, and follow the same destructive course. When in distress, we ought to desire the prayers of ministers and Christian friends. And it is common for those to desire to be prayed for, who will not be advised; yet sinners are often hardened by a pause in judgments. But if God help us not, no creature can. Whatever instruments God has determined to use, they shall do the work, though they seem unlikely.Jeremiah's answer here is even more unfavorable than that which is given in Jeremiah 21:4-7. So hopeless is resistance that the disabled men among the Chaldaeans would alone suffice to capture the city and burn it to the ground. 10. yet … they—Even a few wounded men would suffice for your destruction. The substance of the answer returned by the prophet to the king is this: That whereas they pleased themselves with fancies that the Babylonian army now withdrawn to meet with the army of the Egyptians would return no more to the siege, it was a dream; he assures them from God they should return, besiege the city, and take it, and burn it; and therefore they did but deceive themselves to think otherwise; though they were gone, yet it was but for a very short time. He further assures them that the potency or impotency of the Chaldeans was inconsiderable; for if their whole army were made up of wounded men, or if they could prevail so far as to wound all their soldiers, or thrust them through, (as the word is translated, Jeremiah 51:4) yet they should do the work. When God is resolved upon an effect, the instruments are very little to be regarded. It is not the arm of flesh, but the power of God, which is in that case alone to be considered. For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you,.... Supposing the whole army of the Chaldeans had been vanquished and slain by the Egyptians, the confederates of the Jews; or should they be slain by them in a second siege of them, excepting a few next mentioned:

and there remained but wounded men among them; and supposing that those of them that were left, that were not slain, were everyone of them wounded men, and so disabled for fighting, as might be thought:

yet should they rise up every man in his tent; where he was smitten, and lay wounded; or where he was carried to be cured of his wounds; such should rise up like persons from the dead almost, and fight with such strength and spirit, that they should soon take the city, though in such a condition:

and burn this city with fire; this being a thing determined by the Lord, and nothing should hinder it; for it matters not what the instruments are; though ever so impotent and disabled, they shall do the work allotted to them. Wherefore all the hopes of the Jews, founded upon the departure of the Chaldean army, were vain ones.

For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire.
10. wounded] mg. Heb. thrust through. Cp. Lamentations 4:9 with note.

every man in his tent] Co. suggests that these words should be connected with “wounded men,” meaning “If there be but one survivor in each tent out of its several occupants.” The LXX, however, read in his place, i.e. where he lies on the field of battle.Verse 10. - Even if the Jews had defeated the whole Chaldean army, and there remained but a group of sorely wounded men, these in their weakness would be enabled to carry out God's sure purpose. But wounded men hardly brings out the force of the Hebrew; the word rendered "men" is emphatic, and expresses paucity of numbers, and that rendered "wounded" is, literally, pierced through. The account of what befell Jeremiah and what he did during the last siege of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, until the taking of the city, is introduced, Jeremiah 37:1 and Jeremiah 37:2, with the general remark that Zedekiah - whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had made king in the land of Judah in place of Coniah (on which name see on Jeremiah 22:24) - when he became king, did not listen to the words of the Lord through Jeremiah, neither himself, nor his servants (officers), nor the people of the land (the population of Judah). Then follows, Jeremiah 37:3-10, a declaration of the prophet regarding the issue of the siege, which he sent to the king by the messengers who were to beseech him for his intercession with the Lord. Jeremiah 37:3-5. The occasion of this declaration was the following: Zedekiah sent to Jeremiah two of his chief officers, Jehucal the son of Shelemiah (see on Jeremiah 38:1), and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest (see Jeremiah 21:1 and Jeremiah 29:25), with this charge: "Pray now for us to Jahveh our God." This message was sent to Jeremiah while he still went in and out among the people, and had not yet been put in prison (כּליא, Jeremiah 37:4 and Jeremiah 52:31, an unusual form for כּלא, Jeremiah 37:15 and Jeremiah 37:18, for which the Qeri would have us in both instances read כּלוּא); the army of Pharaoh (Hophra, Jeremiah 44:30), too, had marched out of Egypt to oppose the Chaldeans; and the latter, when they heard the report of them (שׁמעם, the news of their approach), had withdrawn from Jerusalem (עלה מעל, see on Jeremiah 21:2), viz., in order to repulse the Egyptians. Both of these circumstances are mentioned for the purpose of giving a clear view of the state of things: (a) Jeremiah's freedom to go in and out, not to prepare us for his imprisonment afterwards, but to explain the reason why the king sent two chief officers of the realm to him, whereas, after his imprisonment, he caused him to be brought (cf. Jeremiah 37:17 with Jeremiah 38:14); and (b) the approach of the Egyptians joined with the raising of the siege, because this event seemed to afford some hope that the city would be saved. - This occurrence, consequently, falls within a later period than that mentioned in Jeremiah 21:1-14.
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