Jeremiah 38:13
So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.
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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?Old cast clouts ... - Rags of torn garments and rags of worn-out garments. 13. court of … prison—Ebed-melech prudently put him there to be out of the way of his enemies. The sense of these verses is obvious. Ebed-melech having received a commission from the king, presently puts it in execution, only because the dungeon was deep, and full of mire, and the prophet possibly not over-well clothed, he prudently takes some old clouts and rags, and lets them down with cords, that Jeremiah, to prevent the galling and macerating his flesh, might put them under the cords, by which they drew him up: thus he was restored to the court of the prison, where he was before this suggestion of the princes, and where he did abide until the city was taken. The rest of the chapter is spent in a private conference betwixt king Zedekiah and the prophet, after he was restored to the court of the prison. So they drew up Jeremiah with cords,.... The men that were with Ebedmelech, as many as were necessary; he overlooking, directing, and encouraging:

and he took him out of the dungeon; alive, according to the king's orders and design, and in spite of the prophet's enemies: the thing succeeded according to wish; the Lord ordering and prospering every step:

and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison; from whence he had been taken, and where he was replaced; Ebedmelech having no warrant to set him at entire liberty; nor would it have been prudent to have solicited that, which might too much have exasperated the princes; and besides, here, according to the king's order, bread was to be given him, as long as there was any in the city; so that it was the most fit and proper place for him to remain in; wherefore what Josephus (x) says, that he dismissed him, and set him free, is not true.

(x) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 10. c. 7. sect. 5.)

So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the {g} court of the prison.

(g) Where the king had set him before to be at more liberty, as in Jer 37:21.

13. court of the guard] See on Jeremiah 32:2.The deliverance of Jeremiah. Ebedmelech the Cushite, a eunuch, heard of what had happened to Jeremiah. אישׁ סריס .haimer signifies a eunuch: the אישׁ shows that סריס is here to be taken in its proper meaning, not in the metaphorical sense of an officer of the court. Since the king had many wives (Jeremiah 38:22.), the presence of a eunuch at the court, as overseer of the harem, cannot seem strange. The law of Moses, indeed, prohibited castration (Deuteronomy 23:2); but the man was a foreigner, and had been taken by the king into his service as one castrated. עבד מלך is a proper name (otherwise it must have been written המּלך); the name is a genuine Hebrew one, and probably may have been assumed when the man entered the service of Zedekiah. - On hearing of what had occurred, the Ethiopian went to the king, who was sitting in the gate of Benjamin, on the north wall of the city, which was probably the point most threatened by the besiegers, and said to him, Jeremiah 38:9, "My lord, O king, these men have acted wickedly in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the pit; and he is dying of hunger on the spot, for there is no more bread in the city." הרעוּ את־א, lit.,: "they have done wickedly what they have done." ויּמת cannot be translated, "and he died on the spot," for Ebedmelech wishes to save him before he dies of hunger. But neither does it stand for וימת, "so that he must die." The imperfect with Vav consecutive expresses the consequence of a preceding act, and usually stands in the narrative as a historic tense; but it may also declare what necessarily follows or will follow from what precedes; cf. Ewald, 342, a. Thus ויּמת stands here in the sense, "and so he is dying," i.e., "he must die of hunger." תּחתּיו, "on his spot," i.e., on the place where he is; cf. 2 Samuel 2:23. The reason, "for there is no longer any bread (הלחם with the article, the necessary bread) in the city," is not to be taken in the exact sense of the words, but merely expresses the greatest deficiency in provisions. As long as Jeremiah was in the court of the prison, he received, like the officers of the court, at the king's order, his ration of bread every day (Jeremiah 37:21). But after he had been cast into the pit, that royal ordinance no longer applied to him, so that he was given over to the tender mercies of others, from whom, in the prevailing scarcity of bread, he had not much to hope for.
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