5. And he shall lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and there shall he be until I visit him, saith the Lord: though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper?
5. Et Babylonem abducet Zedechiam, et illic erit usque dum visitavero ipsum, dicit Jehova; quando proeliati fueritis adversus Chaldeos, no, prospere vobis cedet?
He follows the same subject, Lead, he says, will King Nebuchadnezar Zedekiah captive; and he will remain in exile until I shall visit him. Some understand this time of visiting of his death, for it is certain that he died in Babylon; and as his condition was not improved like that of Jeconiah who was taken from the filth of a prison to the table of the king, this exposition at the first view seems probable, that is, that he was worn down to death by poverty and disgrace. It, however, seems that some alleviation was promised, if indeed a certain kind of death may be deemed a favor; for he was not slain with the sword; and though he was not restored to his own country, there is yet nothing improper in this way of speaking, that he would be in exile until he was visited, for nothing particular could be hence concluded; and we shall hereafter see that when dead he was buried honorably and with mourning. It is then no wonder that God points out here a time of favor, though Zedekiah was never restored to his own Country, and we know that his eyes were plucked out by King Nebuchadnezar, after having been tried and condemned. But this favor of God, however, is not here without reason mentioned, for Nebuchadnezar at length treated him more kindly, at least as far as his burial was concerned: Lead him, then he says, shall Nebuchadnezar into Babylon, and he shall be there until I shall visit him; that is, he shall remain an exile in a filthy prison, and there he shall pine away and be destitute of all help; he shall be then as one of the lowest, and shall, in short, drag on life ignominiously until the time of my visitation.
He lastly adds, When ye fight against the Chaldeans, ye shall not succeed. Here the Prophet meets those foolish notions which still filled the minds of the Jews, so that they did not submit to God nor humble themselves under his mighty hand; for there was yet a large number of men, and the city had strong fortifications. As then they saw that they were furnished with men and forces, they were still confident; and then they became hardened on account of the length of the time they had sustained the siege. When enemies make the first attack, fear fills the minds of all; but when the event disappoints them, then they who before trembled gather courage. So it was with the Jews; for when the city was first encompassed by the Chaldean army, the miserable inhabitants no doubt were greatly terrified; but when they saw their enemies stopped, and effecting nothing by their attacks, they then hardened their hearts more and more. For we must notice what I said yesterday, that they had been besieged probably six or eight months when this vision was given to Jeremiah. Hence it was that their confidence was greater. But the Prophet repels this folly by saying,
"Ye fight against the Chaldeans, but the issue will be unsuccessful; for God will lay you prostrate before your enemies, for with him ye carry on war."
The sum of this introduction is, that Jeremiah was then shut up in prison, and that the king continued in his contumacy, though God's hand pressed hard on him; and then the cause of this is set forth, even because he boldly threatened the king and the city, and deelard that God's vengeance was nigh them, so that the king would be led into exile and the city taken and plundered by their enemies. It now follows, --