1. The word which came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, when king Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah niam the priest, saying,
1. Sermo qui datus fuit Jeremiae (factus fuit ad Jeremiam) a Jehova, cum misisset ad eum rex Zedekias Phassur filium Malchiah et Zephaniam filiam Maassiah sacerdotem (vel, sacerdotis) dicendo,
2. Enquire, I pray thee, of the Lord for us, (for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon maketh war against us,) if so be that the Lord will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, that he may go up from us.
2. Interroga (inquire) nunc pro nobis (aut, consule pro nobis) Jehovam; quia Nebuchadnezer rex Babylonis praeliatur contra nos, si faciat Jehova nobiscum secundum omnia mirabilia sua, et ascendat a notis.
3. Then said Jeremiah unto them, Thus shall ye say to Zedekiah;
3. Et dixit Jeremias illis, Sic dicetis Zedekiae,
4. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, wherewith ye fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans, which besiege you without the walls, and I will assemble them into the midst of this city.
4. Sic dicit Jehovah Deus Israel, Ecce ego reduco (alii vertunt, convertam; quidam minus apte, congregabo; bene vertetur, contraham, vel, prohibebo) onmia vasa (id est, instrumenta) bellica (belli) quae sunt in manibus vestris, quibus yes praeliamini (in ipsis, sed abundat) adversus regem Babylonis et Chaldaeos, qui obsident vos ab extra murum (hoc est, foris extra murum,) et colligam ipsos in medium urbis hujus.
Jeremiah relates how he received the king's messengers, who sought from him an answer, whether he could bring any comfort in a state of things so perplexed and almost hopeless, he then says, that two had been sent to him; one was Pashur, not the priest mentioned in the last chapter, for he was the son of Immer but this was the son of Melchiah; and the other was Zephaniah the priest, the son of Maaseiah. But he shews that the king and his counsellors were disappointed of their hope, for they expected a favor-able answer, as though God would be propitious to Jerusalem; but the Prophet answered as he was commanded by God, that it was all over with the city, the kingdom, and the whole nation.
We shall also see from other passages that Zedekiah was not one of the worst; though he did not really fear God and was led away by false counsels, there was yet in him some regard for religion, so that he did not avowedly despise God as Epicureans do. Many such are found even at this day in the world, who think it enough to cherish a half-buried fear of God, and to retain some little regard for religion; but it is very fading, and disappears on even the least occasion. So it was with Zedekiah; he was as it were neutral, for he neither seriously worshipped God nor yet despised him.
Hence it was, that he sent messengers to Jeremiah. He knew that while God was displeased with them no safety could be hoped for; but he did not understand the way of appeasing God, nor had he any real desire to be reconciled to him; as the case is with hypocrites, who, though they wish God to be kind to them, yet when God's mercy is offered to them, either openly reject it, or are unwilling to embrace it, because they cannot bear to surrender themselves to God. Such was the state of mind in which Zedekiah was; and hence it was, that he asked the Prophet to consult God. But we must also observe that this was an honorable message; and it hence more fully appears that Zedekiah was not one of those furious tyrants, who like the giants seek to fight with God. For by sending two messengers to the Prophet, and employing him as an advocate to seek some favor from God, he proved that religion was not wholly suppressed and extinguished in him.
And hence also it may be seen how bold and courageous was the Prophet; for he was not softened by the honor paid to him, but gave such answer as was calculated to exasperate the king, and to drive him into great rage. But we ought especially to notice, that they did not flatter the Prophet so as to induce him to give a false answer, but wished God to be consulted. It hence appears that they were convinced of Jeremiah's integrity, that he would say nothing rashly or from himself, but would be a faithful interpreter and herald of heavenly oracles. And yet we see, and shall hereafter see in several passages, that the king was very incensed against God's Prophet. But hypocrites, though they are forced to reverence God, are yet carried here and there, and maintain no consistency, especially when they perceive that God is against them; for they are not turned by threatenings. They cannot, therefore, but make tumult, and strive like refractory horses to shake off their rider. Such an instance we find in Zedekiah; for he acknowledged Jeremiah as God's faithful servant; for he did not say, "Tell a lie for us, or in our favor but,
He then adds,
He at last, adds,
Now follows the answer of Jeremiah,
He afterwards adds,
1 The "if" may better be rendered "it may be,"
2 The Syr. Renders the verb "ascend" as a Hiphil; and more consistently with the passage, "and drive him away from us." With the exception of the Arab., the Versions and the Targ. Render the first verb in the verse, not "inquire," but "ask," or "pray the Lord for us." Then the verse would be as follows: --
2. Pray now for us to Jehovah; for Nebuchadrezzar, the king of Babylon, is warring against us: it may be that Jehovah will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, and make him to depart from us.
3 The verb
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