XXV Jerusalem is taken, ver. 1-4. Zedekiah taken and sentenced, ver. 5-7. Nebuzaradan burns the city, breaks down the walls, and carries away the spoils, with most of the people, ver. 3-17. The chief officers are put to death, ver. 18-21. The very remnant of the people is scattered, ver. 22-26. Jehoiachin is countenanced, after thirty seven years imprisonment, ver. 27-30.
Verse 1. Came - To chastise Zedekiah for his rebellion and perjury. Built - To keep all supplies of men or provisions from entering into the city: and that from thence they might shoot darts, or arrows, or stones.
Verse 3. The people - For the common people, but only for the great men. Now they eat their own children for want of food, Lam. iv, 3, &c. Jer. in this extremity, earnestly persuaded the king to surrender; but his heart was hardened to his destruction.
Verse 6. Riblah - Where Nebuchadnezzar staid, that he might both supply the besiegers with men, and military provisions, as their occasions required; and have an eye to Chaldea, to prevent or suppress any commotions which might happen there in his absence. They - The king's officers appointed thereunto, examined his cause, and passed the following sentence against him.
Verse 7. Slew, &c. - Tho' they were but children, that this spectacle, the last he was to behold, might leave a remaining impression of grief and horror upon his spirit. And in slaying his sons they in effect declared, that the kingdom was no more, and that he nor any of his breed were fit to be trusted: therefore not fit to live. Babylon - Thus two prophecies were fulfilled, which seemed contrary one to the other, that he should go to Babylon, Jer. xxxii, 5, xxxiv, 3, and that he should never see Babylon: which seeming contradiction, because Zedekiah the false prophet could not reconcile, he concluded both were false, and it seems Zedekiah the king might stumble at this difficulty.
Verse 8. Months, &c. - So the Chaldeans did not put all to fire and sword, as soon as they had taken the city: but about a month after, orders were sent, to compleat the destruction of it. This spaceGod gave them to repent after all the foregoing days of his patience. But in vain; they still hardened their hearts: and therefore execution is awarded to the utmost.
Verse 9. Burnt the house of the Lord - One of the apocryphal writers tells us, that Jeremiah got the ark out of the temple, and conveyed it to a cave in mount Nebo, 2Macc ii, 4, 5. But this is like the other tales of that author, who has no regard either to truth or probability. For Jeremiah was at this time a close prisoner. By the burning of the temple God would shew, how little he cares for the outward pomp of his worship, when the life and power of religion are gone. About four hundred and thirty years the temple of Solomon had stood. And it is observed by Josephus, that the second temple was burnt by the Romans, the same month, and the same day of the month, that the first temple was burnt by the Chaldeans.
Verse 11. People - Whom neither the sword nor famine had destroyed, who were eight hundred and thirty two persons, Jer. lii, 29, being members and traders of that city: for it is likely, there were very many more of the country people fled thither, who were left with others of their brethren to manure the land. Multitude - Of the inhabitants of the country.
Verse 12. Left of the poor - So while the rich were prisoners in a strange land, the poor had liberty and peace in their own country! Thus providence sometimes humbles the proud, and favours them of low degree.
Verse 21. Out of the land - This compleated their calamity, about eight hundred and sixty years after they were put in possession of it by Joshua.
Verse 22. Gedaliah - A righteous and good man, and a friend to the prophet Jeremiah.
Verse 24. Swear - Assured them by his promise and oath, that they should be kept from the evils which they feared. This he might safely swear, because he had not only the king of Babylon's promise but also God's promise deliver'd by Jeremiah. And it might seem, a fair prospect was opening again. But how soon was the scene changed! This hopeful settlement is quickly dashed in pieces, not by the Chaldeans, but by some of themselves.
Verse 25. Came - Moved with envy to see so mean a person advanced into their place. Ten men - Ten captains or officers, and under each of them many soldiers.
Verse 26. Egypt - And here they probably mixt with the Egyptians by degrees, and were heard of no more as Israelites.
Verse 27. Seven and twentieth - Or, on the twenty fifthday, as it is, Jer. lii, 31. For then the decree was made, which was executed upon the twenty seventh day.
Verse 30. All the days of his life - Let none say, they shall never see good again, because they have long seen little but evil. The most afflicted know not what blessed turn providence may yet give to their affairs.