Jeremiah 37:18
Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison?
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(18) What have I offended against thee . . .?—The cruelty of his treatment draws from the prophet an indignant protest. Of what crime had he been guilty, but that of speaking the word which the Lord had given him to speak, and was this a crime in the eyes of any true Israelite? No act of treachery or desertion could be proved against him.

Jeremiah 37:18-21. Moreover Jeremiah said, What have I offended against thee — What law have I broken? What injury have I done to thee, or thy people, or government, that ye have put me in prison — Have put me into the pit or dungeon, as a malefactor of the worst kind? Where are now your prophets — That is, your false prophets? Surely the event has now convinced you, how much they have deceived you: for you see the siege renewed, and the city in imminent danger of being taken. Here we see Jeremiah’s confinement in the dungeon had not broken his spirit, or diminished either his zeal or courage in delivering God’s message: he still speaks with the greatest boldness, and as one having authority. No doubt he would have been willing, had God called him to it, to seal his testimony with his blood: nevertheless, having so fair an opportunity to obtain relief, he thought it his duty to embrace it, and therefore, with great humility and submissiveness, and in a most respectful manner, presents his supplication, not indeed for an entire deliverance from restraint, which, however, it would not have been unreasonable to ask, but for a less cruel treatment. Then Zedekiah commanded that they should commit Jeremiah into the court of the prison — A more agreeable place of confinement; and that they should give him daily a piece of bread, &c. — Namely, out of the public stock, (for the prison was within the precincts of the court,) in order that he might not die for want. Until all the bread of the city was spent

Till the famine forced the city to surrender, Jeremiah 52:6. This was the king’s first order, but afterward it was reversed, by the importunity of the princes and great men, Jeremiah 38:6, when Jeremiah was again thrown into the dungeon. Though after that he was released from that place, and returned to his former confinement, ibid. Jeremiah 38:28.

37:11-21 There are times when it is the wisdom of good men to retire, to enter into their chambers, and to shut the doors, Isa 26:20. Jeremiah was seized as a deserter, and committed to prison. But it is no new thing for the best friends of the church to be belied, as in the interests of her worst enemies. When thus falsely accused, we may deny the charge, and commit our cause to Him who judges righteously. Jeremiah obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful, and would not, to obtain mercy of man, be unfaithful to God or to his prince; he tells the king the whole truth. When Jeremiah delivered God's message, he spake with boldness; but when he made his own request, he spake submissively. A lion in God's cause must be a lamb in his own. And God gave Jeremiah favour in the eyes of the king. The Lord God can make even the cells of a prison become pastures to his people, and will raise up friends to provide for them, so that in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.Dungeon - literally, house of a cistern or pit, and evidently underground. In this cistern-like excavation were several cells or arched vaults, in one of which with little light and less ventilation Jeremiah remained a long time. 18. What—In what respect have I offended? That is, What have I done worthy of bonds? I have faithfully heretofore revealed to you the mind and will of God; if this hath offended you, I am not to be blamed, I could not but execute God’s commands.

Moreover, Jeremiah said unto King Zedekiah,.... Having this opportunity with him alone, and perhaps observing the king was melted and softened with what he had said; however, finding liberty in his own mind, he enlarges his discourse, and freely expostulates with him in the following manner:

what have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison? or, "what have I sinned?" have I been guilty of treason against thee, O king? or of scandal and defamation of any of thy nobles and courtiers? have I done any injury to any of the king's subjects? has there been any falsehood in my prophecies? has not everything appeared to be true that I have spoken, concerning the coming of the Chaldeans to invade the land, and besiege the city? and concerning the return of the Chaldean army when broken up? why then should I be cast into prison, and detained there? is it not a clear case that what I have said comes from the Lord? and therefore ought not to be used in this manner.

Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison?
Jeremiah 37:18Examination of the prophet by the king, and alleviation of his confinement. - Jeremiah 37:16. "When Jeremiah had got into the dungeon and into the vaults, and had sat there many days, then Zedekiah the king sent and fetched him, and questioned him in his own house (palace) secretly," etc. Jeremiah 37:16 is by most interpreters joined with the foregoing, but the words כּי בּא do not properly permit of this. For if we take the verse as a further confirmation of ויּקצפוּ השׂרים, "the princes vented their wrath on Jeremiah, beat him," etc., "for Jeremiah came...," then it must be acknowledged that the account would be very long and lumbering. כּי בּא is too widely separated from יקצפוּ. But the passages, 1 Samuel 2:21, where כּי פּקד is supposed to stand for ויּפקד, and Isaiah 39:1, where ויּשׁמע is thought to have arisen out of כּי, 2 Kings 20:12, are not very strong proofs, since there, as here, no error in writing is marked. The Vulgate has itaque ingressus; many therefore would change כּי into כּן; but this also is quite arbitrary. Accordingly, with Rosenmller, we connect Jeremiah 37:16 with the following, and take כּי as a temporal particle; in this, the most we miss is ו copulative, or ויהי. In the preceding sentence the prison of the prophet is somewhat minutely described, in order to prepare us for the request that follows in Jeremiah 37:20. Jeremiah was in a בּית־בּור, "house of a pit," cf. Exodus 12:29, i.e., a subterranean prison, and in החניּות. This word only occurs here; but in the kindred dialects it means vaults, stalls, shops; hence it possibly signifies here subterranean prison-cells, so that אל־החניּות more exactly determines what בּית־הבּור is. This meaning of the word is, at any rate, more certain than that given by Eb. Scheid in Rosenmller, who renders חניות by flexa, curvata; then, supplying ligna, he thinks of the stocks to which the prisoners were fastened. - The king questioned him בּסּתר, "in secret," namely, through fear of his ministers and court-officers, who were prejudiced against the prophet, perhaps also in the hope of receiving in a private interview a message from God of more favourable import. To the question of the king, "Is there any word from Jahveh?" Jeremiah replies in the affirmative; but the word of God is this, "Thou shalt be given into the hand of the king of Babylon," just as Jeremiah had previously announced to him; cf. Jeremiah 32:4; Jeremiah 34:3. - Jeremiah took this opportunity of complaining about his imprisonment, saying, Jeremiah 37:18, "In what have I sinned against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison? Jeremiah 37:19. And where are your prophets, who prophesied to you, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land?" Jeremiah appeals to his perfect innocence (Jeremiah 37:18), and to the confirmation of his prediction by its event. The interview with the king took place when the Chaldeans, after driving the Egyptians out of the country, had recommenced the siege of Jerusalem, and, as is evident from Jeremiah 37:21, were pressing the city very hard. The Kethib איו is to be read איּו, formed from איּה with the suffix וׁ; the idea of the suffix has gradually become obscured, so that it stands here before a noun in the plural. The Qeri requires איּה. The question, Where are your prophets? means, Let these prophets come forward and vindicate their lying prophecies. Not what these men had prophesied, but what Jeremiah had declared had come to pass; his imprisonment, accordingly, was unjust. - Besides thus appealing to his innocence, Jeremiah, Jeremiah 37:20, entreats the king, "Let my supplication come before thee, and do not send me back into the house of Jonathan the scribe, that I may not die there." For 'תּפּל־נא ת see on Jeremiah 36:7. The king granted this request. "He commanded, and they put Jeremiah into the court of the watch [of the royal palace, see on Jeremiah 32:2], and gave him a loaf of bread daily out of the bakers' street, till all the bread in the city was consumed;" cf. Jeremiah 52:6. The king did not give him his liberty, because Jeremiah held to his views, that were so distasteful to the king (see on Jeremiah 32:3). "So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard."
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