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Jeremiah 52

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

(The parentheses represent poetic literary units)

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Fall of Jerusalem The Fall of Jerusalem Revisited Historical Appendix The Fall of Jerusalem The Destruction of Jerusalem and the Pardon of Jehoiachin
52:1-11 52:1-7 52:1-11 52:1-3a 52:1-3a
      52:3b-11 52:3b-11
  52:8-11      
  The Temple and City Plundered and Burned   The Destruction of the Temple  
52:12-16 52:12-16 52:12-16 52:12-16 52:12-14
        52:15-16
52:17-23 52:17-23 52:17-23 52:17-23 52:17-23
  The People Exiled To Babylon   The People of Judah Are Taken To Babylon  
52:24-27 52:24-27 52:24-27 52:24-27a 52:24-27
      52:27b-30  
52:28-30 52:28-30 52:28-30   52:28-30
  Jehoiachin Released From Prison      
52:31-34 52:31-34 52:31-34 52:31-34 52:31-34

READING CYCLE THREE (see introductory section)

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary,which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. There are three historical events discussed in this historical appendage.

1. the fall of the city of Jerusalem, vv. 1-11 (cf. 39:1-10)

2. the destruction of the city and its temple, vv. 12-23

3. a summary statement of the several deportations of Judeans to Babylon, vv. 23-34

 

B. This chapter contains the same basic information as II Kings 24:18-25:30. Comparing these two recordings of the same event shows modern readers something of scribal tendencies.

This same event is discussed in Jeremiah 39, however, this chapter is much closer to the II Kings account, which implies that it was added by an editor and not written by Jeremiah. The NASB Study Bible (p. 1143) says that Baruch may have been the author of this chapter and that both the author of Kings and this chapter may have used a common source.

C. All that Jeremiah said would happen, occurred. He was a true prophet (cf. Deuteronomy 13, 18).

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 52:1-11
1Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; and his mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 2He did evil in the sight of the Lord like all that Jehoiakim had done. 3For through the anger of the Lord this came about in Jerusalem and Judah until He cast them out from His presence. And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4Now it came about in the ninth year of his reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, camped against it and built a siege wall all around it. 5So the city was under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. 6On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. 7Then the city was broken into, and all the men of war fled and went forth from the city at night by way of the gate between the two walls which was by the king's garden, though the Chaldeans were all around the city. And they went by way of the Arabah. 8But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho, and all his army was scattered from him. 9Then they captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he passed sentence on him. 10 The king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and he also slaughtered all the princes of Judah in Riblah. 11Then he blinded the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him with bronze fetters and brought him to Babylon and put him in prison until the day of his death.

52:1-3 This information is also found in II Kgs. 24:18-20 and II Chr. 36:11-36. Zedekiah reigned from 597 b.c. - 586 b.c.

He succeeded Jehoiachin who was exiled by Nebuchadnezzar after only three months (cf. II Kgs. 24:8-17). At that time Nebuchadnezzar made his uncle, named Mattaniah, a puppet king of Judah in his place. The uncle was given the throne name "Zedekiah." He was the youngest of the children of Josiah to reign (i.e., Jehoahaz, exiled by Pharaoh Necho and Jehoiakim, cf. I Chr. 3:15). He was a spiritually weak and easily manipulated person, as the writings of Jeremiah clearly show.

52:1 "Hamutal" The meaning of the name is uncertain (BDB 327, KB 326). She was the wife of King Josiah and mother of

1. Jehoahaz - II Kgs. 23:31

2. Zedekiah - II Kgs. 24:18; here

 

52:2 "he did evil in the sight of the Lord" Jeremiah uses the word "evil" (BDB 948) more than any other OT author. This phrase became a standard evaluation of all the kings of Israel and most of the kings of Judah. Moses had given the covenant people a clear choice (i.e., good or evil, obedience or disobedience, prosperity or judgment, cf. Deut. 30:15). They said they would choose "good" (cf. Josh. 24:16-28) but they could not/did not.

1. did not seek YHWH - II Kgs. 11:6; II Chr. 12:14

2. did not keep the covenant - Deut. 31:29

3. made and worshiped pagan gods - Deut. 4:25; Jdgs. 2:11; 3:7,12; 4:1; 6:1; 10:6; 13:1; I Kgs. 14:22; 15:26,34; 16:19,25,30; 22:52; II Kgs. 3:2; 8:18,27; 13:2,11; 14:24; 15:9,18,24,28; 17:2,17; 21:2,16,20: 23:32,37; 24:9,10.

4. all disobedience is viewed as "doing evil" (cf. I Sam. 15:19) but obedience brings acceptance (cf. II Chr 19:3)

 

52:3 YHWH is the God of love and acceptance. He wants all humans made in His image to know Him but when His overtures of covenant revelation are rejected or compromised, wrath is the response.

In this text it is expressed by the powerful phrase "He cast them out from His presence" (cf. 7:15; II Kgs. 13:23; 17:20; 24:20; Ps. 51:11).

"His presence" is literally "face to face." This is what we as humans were created for! Fellowship with our creator is "the" basic need of mankind." YHWH wants to cast away our sins (cf. Isa. 38:17; Micah 7:19), not us!

▣ "Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon" The absence of YHWH's presence caused him to make poor choices!

52:4 The date of the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem is very specific (as is the fall of the city, vv. 5-7).

52:7 "the city was broken into" Although it does not state specifically how, the implication is that the siege machines broke down a gate or a piece of the outer wall.

A siege machine was a portable "A frame" with ropes, suspending a large log. This was placed next to the outer wall where it repeatedly rammed the building blocks.

▣ "between the two walls" Many ancient cities had double outer walls (i.e., Jericho). The space between them was designed to be a "killing zone," but here this space provided a way of escape when the wall was breached in another part of the city.

▣ "the Arabah" This refers to the Jordan Rift Valley, which extends from the area of the Sea of Galilee to the Gulf of Aqaba (cf. II Sam. 4:7). It was lower than the surrounding area and had dense forest and vegetation. South of the Dead Sea (cf. Deut. 2:8) it would be the large wilderness depression going south/southwest.

52:8-11 This is a summary of what happened to Judah's royalty.

1. Zedekiah was captured as he fled the city, v. 8

2. Zedekiah was brought north to Nebuchadnezzar's camp in Riblah in the land of Hamath, for a face-to-face meeting, v. 9

3. Nebuchadnezzar killed Zedekiah's sons before his eyes, v. 10

4. he also killed Zedekiah's officials and generals (lit. "princes"), v. 10

5. he blinded Zedekiah, v.11

6. he exiled him and put him in prison until his death in Babylon, v. 11

 

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 52:12-16
12Now on the tenth day of the fifth month, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, who was in the service of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 13He burned the house of the Lord, the king's house and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every large house he burned with fire. 14So all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down all the walls around Jerusalem. 15Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away into exile some of the poorest of the people, the rest of the people who were left in the city, the deserters who had deserted to the king of Babylon and the rest of the artisans. 16But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and plowmen.

52:12 As the date of the siege and the fall of Jerusalem are specified, so too, the date when Nebuchadnezzar's military official arrived in Jerusalem to oversee its destruction.

1. burned the temple, v. 13

2. burned the palace, v. 13

3. burned all large houses, v. 13

4. broke down the whole outer wall, v. 14

5. exiled even more people

6. left a few people, v. 15

a. defectors from the Babylonian military

b. the remaining craftsmen

The parallel in II Kgs. 25:8 has "the seventh day," not the "tenth day." R. K. Harrison, Tyndale OT Commentary Series, p. 190, speculates the difference is between the day Nebuzaradan came to Jerusalem and the day the destruction started. This follows a rabbinical tradition (B. Ta'anit 29a). The NASB Study Bible, (p. 1143) asserts that one of the two dates (i.e., "seven" or "ten") is a copyist error.

In the ANE there were two ways to calculate a king's reign: (1) from the first partial year, (2) from the annual coronation ceremony. Often these ways are mixed, as is done in v. 12 (1 above) and v. 19 (2 above).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 52:17-23
17Now the bronze pillars which belonged to the house of the Lord and the stands and the bronze sea, which were in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke in pieces and carried all their bronze to Babylon. 18They also took away the pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the basins, the pans and all the bronze vessels which were used in temple service. 19The captain of the guard also took away the bowls, the firepans, the basins, the pots, the lampstands, the pans and the drink offering bowls, what was fine gold and what was fine silver. 20The two pillars, the one sea, and the twelve bronze bulls that were under the sea, and the stands, which King Solomon had made for the house of the Lord-the bronze of all these vessels was beyond weight. 21As for the pillars, the height of each pillar was eighteen cubits, and it was twelve cubits in circumference and four fingers in thickness, and hollow. 22Now a capital of bronze was on it; and the height of each capital was five cubits, with network and pomegranates upon the capital all around, all of bronze. And the second pillar was like these, including pomegranates. 23There were ninety-six exposed pomegranates; all the pomegranates numbered a hundred on the network all around.

52:17-23 This is a list of the things taken to Babylon.

1. the bronze pillars of the temple

2. the stands (i.e., twelve bronze bulls, v. 20) and the bronze sea (cf. vv. 20-33)

3. pots, shovels, snuffers, basins, pans, and all other bronze vessels used in the temple

4. bowls, firepans, basins, pots, the lampstand, its spoons, libation bowls, all gold and silver items

Verses 17-18 list bronze items, while v. 19 lists gold and silver items. Verses 20-23 describe in detail the two bronze pillars (cf. I Kgs. 7:40-42).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 52:24-27
24Then the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest and Zephaniah the second priest, with the three officers of the temple. 25He also took from the city one official who was overseer of the men of war, and seven of the king's advisers who were found in the city, and the scribe of the commander of the army who mustered the people of the land, and sixty men of the people of the land who were found in the midst of the city. 26Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27Then the king of Babylon struck them down and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was led away into exile from its land.

52:24 As Zedekiah was forced to view the death of his "sons" and "princes," so now the temple leadership was forced to view the exile of the temple treasures and decorations.

1. Seraiah the high priest (see genealogy in I Chr. 6:1-15)

2. Zephaniah the second priest (cf. 29:24-32; 37:3)

 

52:25 Others were also brought to Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah.

1. the city official who was overseer of the Judean military

2. seven of Zedekiah's advisors

3. the scribe of the commander of enlistment for the Judean military

4. sixty citizens of Jerusalem (probably of the wealthy land owner class)

 

52:26-27 All of these mentioned above were killed at Riblah and all others were taken into exile.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 52:28-30
28These are the people whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away into exile: in the seventh year 3,023 Jews; 29in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar 832 persons from Jerusalem; 30in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried into exile 745 Jewish people; there were 4,600 persons in all.

52:28-30 These verses list the different groups, numbers, and the dates they were exiled. Remember the city of Jerusalem was partially captured in 605, 597, 586, and completely in 582 b.c. The current event was 586 b.c. Earlier events were 605 and 597 b.c. A later event was after the murder of Gedaliah (582 b.c.). This account may have been written before or after 582 b.c., but the "twenty-third year" of v. 30 fits 582 b.c., if one calculates from 605 b.c. The total number of people exiled in this list is 4,600.

These verses are absent in the LXX. The numbers differ with the Kings account. These historical records of Kings and Jeremiah are very similar but not exact. Both apparently used the same source (cf. Tyndale OT Series, p. 190). Possibly Jeremiah 52 lists only the adult males.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 52:31-34
31Now it came about in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth of the month, that Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, showed favor to Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison. 32Then he spoke kindly to him and set his throne above the thrones of the kings who were with him in Babylon. 33So Jehoiachin changed his prison clothes, and had his meals in the king's presence regularly all the days of his life. 34For his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king of Babylon, a daily portion all the days of his life until the day of his death.

52:31-34 This paragraph describes the later, favorable treatment of King Jehoiachin, who was exiled by Nebuchadnezzar after he had reigned only three months (he was considered the legitimate heir of Josiah), by Evil-merodack (or Amel-Marduk), who reigned from 562-560 b.c. (cf. II Kgs. 25:27-30). One wonders what theological purpose this last paragraph serves.

1. further historical detail

2. a sign of future hope of release from exile

3. a way to show YHWH still had a hand in Judah's destiny

4. ending the prophecy of Jeremiah in a positive way