The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Jeremiah 38

Jer 38:1

Jer 38: "The throne of David under the wicked rule of Zedekiah is about to be given into the hand of the Babylonians. The message of salvation is delivered to the nation: 'Safety lies in flight.' Though in the court of the prison of the king's house, evidently Jeremiah was able to continue his message of warning (vv 1-3). He is accused of sedition and flung into the pit of water (vv 4-6). The pit is a symbol of the grave, and thus there is in type the accusations against the Lord Jesus, his trial, and crucifixion. Jeremiah is rescued from the pit by a friend, Ebedmelech, a despised Ethiopian, who demonstrates a more spiritual attitude than revealed by the Jews at that time. But if Jeremiah sank into the pit literally, Zedekiah the king sank into the pit figuratively. He had a final interview with Jeremiah (vv 14-16), was given sound advice to capitulate (vv 17,18), and confesses to weakness (v 19). The final address of the faithful Jeremiah urges the people to obedience (vv 20-23). But his voice is to no avail, as he remained until the day that Jerusalem was taken (vv 24-28). In this the iniquity of his people was laid upon him, and be bore the sins of the many" (GEM).

Jer 38:5

Cp Pilate's washing of his hands: Mat 27:24.

Jer 38:6

JEREMIAH SANK DOWN INTO THE MUD: "While the performance of our part is necessary, the accomplishment of final results is all of God, who can prosper or frustrate the devices of men or leave them altogether to their own ineffectual ways. Nevertheless, the experience of both Moses and Joshua shows that if God gives men opportunities, He expects them to discern and enterprisingly use them. There is a time to stand still and see the salvation of God, but it is not when He proposes to work by us. All the promises of God presuppose active, diligent, courageous, and caretaking cooperation on the part of those to whom they are made. Where we are in circumstances which makes this exercise on our part impossible (as when Jeremiah was in the pit in the court of the prison, sunk to the armpits in mire) -- prayer and waiting is the not unavailing alternative" (WP 333).

Jeremiah sank into mire physically, but was delivered, while Zedekiah was sunk in mire spiritually (cp v 22), with no escape!

Jer 38:8

Ebed-melech spoke to the king, although he was afraid (Jer 39:17).

Jer 38:14

THE THIRD ENTRANCE TO THE TEMPLE: Some inner, secluded part of temple.

Jer 38:19

I AM AFRAID OF THE JEWS: Of whom are we afraid?

Jer 38:28

KJV reads: "So Jeremiah abode in the court of the prison until the day that Jerusalem was taken: and he was there when Jerusalem was taken." But was he? The last part might be read, as NIV: "This is how Jerusalem was taken", ie an intro to Jer 39. Or even, poss, "In the day when Jerusalem was captured... this is how..."

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