Now when Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs which was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon…
I. THE EXAMPLE OF EBED-MELECH SHOULD BE FOLLOWED BY THOSE WHO WISH TO SHOW REAL KINDNESS TO THE POOR. When "poverty cometh as an armed man" (Proverbs 6:11), blighting hope, and bringing wretchedness in his train, a heart must be harder than stone, which is not moved with compassion. To show kindness to the needy, at the right time, and in the best way, should be the study of those who would be followers of Jesus. Experience has shown that it is generally far better to put people in the way of getting employment, than to make them feel their dependence by directly relieving their wants.
II. A LESSON FOR THOSE WHO ARE ANXIOUS TO RESCUE PERISHING SINNERS FROM GOING DOWN TO THE PIT. Harsh words are quite out of place, even to the most depraved; and we can hardly claim to be disciples of Him who will not "break the bruised reed," nor "quench the smoking flax" (Isaiah 42:3), if we venture to speak them. It is far better to lower the silken cords of Divine love, and the soft cushions of the promises, and to address words of encouragement to those who are groping in darkness. "He that winneth souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30). The word "winneth" is the important one. It suggests something besides labour and painstaking. Winning implies gentleness, and a sincere interest in the souls of others. No one will be made better by scolding, or sarcasm; but he who will imitate Ebed-melech, in his thoughtful tenderness, will be successful in his work.
III. THE EXAMPLE OF EBED-MELECH DESERVES TO BE REMEMBERED BY THOSE WHO WOULD BRING OTHERS INTO THE FOLD OF CHRIST'S CHURCH. Very little is ever accomplished for the Master by harsh and uncharitable controversy.
(J. N. Norton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs which was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon; the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin;