Jere. 37:1 Now Zedekiah son of Josiah became king instead of Coniah son of Jehoiakim, whom king Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, made king in the land of Judah.
Coniah has been mentioned before in Jere. 24:22, but only in passing. Apparently he was king of Judah for a short while between Jehoiakim and Zedekiah. This means that this chapter occurred some time after the last one (see Jere. 36:1).
וְלֹא שָׁמַע הוּא וַעֲבָדָיו וְעַם הָאָרֶץ אֶל־דִּבְרֵי יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר בְּיַד יִרְמְיָהוּ הַנָּבִיא׃ 37:2
Jere. 37:2 And he not did listen, or his servants, or the people of the land, to the words of the Lord that He declared by the hand of Jeremiah, the prophet.
וַיִּשְׁלַח הַמֶּלֶךְ צִדְקִיָּהוּ אֶת־יְהוּכַל בֶּן־שֶׁלֶמְיָה וְאֶת־צְפַנְיָהוּ בֶן־מַעֲשֵׂיָה הַכֹּהֵן אֶל־יִרְמְיָהוּ הַנָּבִיא 37:3 לֵאמֹר הִתְפַּלֶּל־נָא בַעֲדֵנוּ אֶל־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ׃
Jere. 37:3 And the king, Zedekiah, sent Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, the priest, to Jeremiah, the prophet, to say, “Pray now on our behalf to the Lord, our God.”
Had Zedekiah heard good things about Jeremiah? It’s hard to believe that he had not heard discouraging information about Jeremiah, who apparently had a poor reputation with many people. Maybe the events of this chapter happened before Jeremiah’s reputation had become widespread.
Jere. 37:4 Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the people, as they had not assigned him the prison.
The word in the parentheses is assumed to be part of an idiom, translated (with the previous word, meaning house) as prison. As such it is incorrectly spelled. The allegedly correct word, in the brackets, is spelled with a vav instead of a yad. However, that doesn’t end the story. This idiom appears in several other verses and is spelled differently from either of the two spellings found here. They are in 2Kin. 17:4, 2Kin. 25:27, Isai. 42:7, Isai. 42:22 (this last in plural form), and right here in Jere. 37:15 and 37:18, and they are all spelled without the yad or vav in the second word of the idiom. The idiom also appears once in 2Chronicles and there too is spelled without the yad or vav. Moreover, the “correction” appears only here and in Jere. 52:31, where it is also used to correct a repeat of the same spelling error as above. What’s going on here? Another mystery! [Return to Jere. 52:31]
וְחֵיל פַּרְעֹה יָצָא מִמִּצְרָיִם וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ הַכַּשְׂדִּים הַצָּרִים עַל־יְרוּשָׁלִַם אֶת־שִׁמְעָם וַיֵּעָלוּ מֵעַל יְרוּשָׁלִָם׃ 37:5
Jere. 37:5 And the army of Pharoah came forth from Egypt and the Chaldeans laying siege over Jerusalem heard the report of them, so they departed from Jerusalem.
וַיְהִי דְּבַר־יְהוָה אֶל־יִרְמְיָהוּ הַנָּבִיא לֵאמֹר׃ 37:6
Jere. 37:6 And the word of the Lord occurred to Jeremiah, the prophet, saying,
Jere. 37:7 “Thus says the Lord, God of Israel: Thus you shall say to the king of Judah who sent you to Me to consult Me: Behold, the army of Pharoah coming forth to you to help is turning back to its land of Egypt.”
The Lord had given earlier warning that Judah would be disappointed in the help they would receive from Egypt (see Jere. 2:36).
וְשָׁבוּ הַכַּשְׂדִּים וְנִלְחֲמוּ עַל־הָעִיר הַזֹּאת וּלְכָדֻהָ וּשְׂרָפֻהָ בָאֵשׁ׃ 37:8
Jere. 37:8 “And the Chaldeans shall return and fight against this city and take it and burn it with fire.”
כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה אַל־תַּשִּׁאוּ נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם לֵאמֹר הָלֹךְ יֵלְכוּ מֵעָלֵינוּ הַכַּשְׂדִּים כִּי־לֹא יֵלֵכוּ׃ 37:9
Jere. 37:9 “Thus says the Lord: Do not deceive yourselves saying, ‘Surely the Chaldeans shall depart from us,’ for they will not depart.”
כִּי אִם־הִכִּיתֶם כָּל־חֵיל כַּשְׂדִּים הַנִּלְחָמִים אִתְּכֶם וְנִשְׁאֲרוּ בָם אֲנָשִׁים מְדֻקָּרִים אִישׁ בְּאָהֳלֹו 37:10 ּ יָקוּמו וְשָׂרְפוּ אֶת־הָעִיר הַזֹּאת בָּאֵשׁ׃
Jere. 37:10 “For had you smitten the whole army of Chaldeans fighting with you, as wounded men remained among them, every one in his tent, they would rise up and burn this city with fire.
וְהָיָה בְּהֵעָלֹות חֵיל הַכַּשְׂדִּים מֵעַל יְרוּשָׁלִָם מִפְּנֵי חֵיל פַּרְעֹה׃ 37:11
Jere. 37:11 And it was at the breakup of the army of Chaldeans from Jerusalem because of the army of Pharoah,
וַיֵּצֵא יִרְמְיָהוּ מִירוּשָׁלִַם לָלֶכֶת אֶרֶץ בִּנְיָמִן לַחֲלִק מִשָּׁם בְּתֹוךְ הָעָם׃ 37:12
Jere. 37:12 that Jeremiah went forth from Jerusalem to go to the land of Benjamin to receive a portion from there in the midst of the people.
וַיְהִי־הוּא בְּשַׁעַר בִּנְיָמִן וְשָׁם בַּעַל פְּקִדֻת וּשְׁמֹו יִרְאִיָּיה בֶּן־שֶׁלֶמְיָה בֶּן־חֲנַנְיָה וַיִּתְפֹּשׂ אֶת־יִרְמְיָהוּ 37:13 הַנָּבִיא לֵאמֹר אֶל־הַכַּשְׂדִּים אַתָּה נֹפֵל׃
Jere. 37:13 When he was at the gate of Benjamin, then there was a captain of the guard (and his name was Irijah son of Shelemiah son of Hananiah) and he seized Jeremiah, the prophet, saying, “You are giving up to the Chaldeans.”
וַיֹּאמֶר יִרְמְיָהוּ שֶׁקֶר אֵינֶנִּי נֹפֵל עַל־הַכַּשְׂדִּים וְלֹא שָׁמַע אֵלָיו וַיִּתְפֹּשׂ יִרְאִיָּיה בְּיִרְמְיָהוּ וַיְבִאֵהוּ 37:14 אֶל־הַשָּׂרִים׃
Jere. 37:14 But Jeremiah said, “Wrong! I am not giving up to the Chaldeans.” And he did not listen to him, and Irijah laid hold on Jeremiah and brought him to the princes.
וַיִּקְצְפוּ הַשָּׂרִים עַל־יִרְמְיָהוּ וְהִכּוּ אֹתֹו וְנָתְנוּ אֹותֹו בֵּית הָאֵסוּר בֵּית יְהֹונָתָן הַסֹּפֵר כִּי־אֹתֹו עָשׂוּ 37:15 לְבֵית הַכֶּלֶא׃
Jere. 37:15 And the princes were angered by Jeremiah and they smote him and put him in the prison house of the house of Jonathan, the scribe, for they had made it for a prison.
The Hebrew words translated as prison (the last two words in the verse) constitute the idiom that we found in v. 37:4 above. As noted there, the second word of the idiom is spelled differently, missing the yad or the vav.
כִּי בָא יִרְמְיָהוּ אֶל־בֵּית הַבֹּור וְאֶל־הַחֲנֻיֹות וַיֵּשֶׁב־שָׁם יִרְמְיָהוּ יָמִים רַבִּים׃ 37:16
Jere. 37:16 When Jeremiah came to the house dungeon and to the cell, and Jeremiah had remained there many days,
וַיִּשְׁלַח הַמֶּלֶךְ צִדְקִיָּהוּ וַיִּקָּחֵהוּ וַיִּשְׁאָלֵהוּ הַמֶּלֶךְ בְּבֵיתֹו בַּסֵּתֶר וַיֹּאמֶר הֲיֵשׁ דָּבָר מֵאֵת יְהוָה וַיֹּאמֶר 37:17 יִרְמְיָהוּ יֵשׁ וַיֹּאמֶר בְּיַד מֶלֶךְ־בָּבֶל תִּנָּתֵן׃
Jere. 37:17 then the king, Zedekiah, sent and got him, and the king asked him in his house in private and said, “Is there any word from the Lord?” And Jeremiah said, “There is. And he said you will be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.”
וַיֹּאמֶר יִרְמְיָהוּ אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ צִדְקִיָּהוּ מֶה חָטָאתִי לְךָ וְלַעֲבָדֶיךָ וְלָעָם הַזֶּה כִּי־נְתַתֶּם אֹותִי אֶל־בֵּית 37:18 הַכֶּלֶא׃
Jere. 37:18 Then Jeremiah said to the king, Zedekiah, “How have I sinned toward you or toward your servants or toward this people that you gave me over to the prison?”
And here again the Hebrew words translated as prison (the last two words in the verse) constitute the idiom that we found in v. 37:4 above. As noted there, the second word of the idiom is spelled differently, missing the yad or the vav.
וְאַיֹּו) [וְאַיֵּה] נְבִיאֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר־נִבְּאוּ לָכֶם לֵאמֹר לֹא־יָבֹא מֶלֶךְ־בָּבֶל עֲלֵיכֶם וְעַל הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת׃ 37:19
Jere. 37:19 “And where are your prophets who prophesied to you saying, ‘The king of Babylon shall not come against you or against this land?’”
The first word in this verse, before the left parenthesis, is misspelled. It should have a heh in place of the vav. The correction is in the brackets. Once again, please forgive the missing right parenthesis.
וְעַתָּה שְׁמַע־נָא אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ תִּפָּל־נָא תְחִנָּתִי לְפָנֶיךָ וְאַל־תְּשִׁבֵנִי בֵּית יְהֹונָתָן הַסֹּפֵר וְלֹא אָמוּת 37:20
Jere. 37:20 “And now I pray you, listen, O my lord, the king, I pray you, let my supplication be offered before you that you do not return me to the house of Jonathan, the scribe, that I will not die there.”
וַיְצַוֶּה הַמֶּלֶךְ צִדְקִיָּהוּ וַיַּפְקִדוּ אֶת־יִרְמְיָהוּ בַּחֲצַר הַמַּטָּרָה וְנָתֹן לֹו כִכַּר־לֶחֶם לַיֹּום מִחוּץ הָאֹפִים 37:21 עַד־תֹּם כָּל־הַלֶּחֶם מִן־הָעִיר וַיֵּשֶׁב יִרְמְיָהוּ בַּחֲצַר הַמַּטָּרָה׃
Jere. 37:21 Then the king, Zedekiah, commanded and they deposited Jeremiah in the enclosure of the guard, and he gave a loaf of bread to him each day from the street of bakeries until all the bread was consumed out of the city. Thus Jeremiah remained in the enclosure of the guard.