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ftruments to execute his purposes, and he can make the most
unlikely successful. : 11 And it came to pass, that when the army of the . Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of 12 Pharaoh's army, Then Jeremiah went forth out of
Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to Anathoth, where his estate lay, to separate himself thence in the midst of the people; perceiving that he could do no good in
the city, he thought it best to retire with the people who were 13 going to look to their affairs in the country. And when he
was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the ward. (was there, whose name (was] Irijah, the son of She. lemiah, the son of Hananiah the false prophet, whose death Jeremiah had foretold, and he took Jeremiah the prophet, saying, Thou fallest away to the Chaldeans; thou art going to them in person, to encourage them, because +
thou hast foretold their taking the city, and hast exhorted the 14 king and people to submit. Then said Jeremiah, [It is] : false; I fall not away to the Chaldeans. But he heark
ened not to him : so Irijah took Jeremiah, and brought 15 him to the princes, to the chief officers of state. Where.
fore the princes were wroth with Jeremiah, and fmote him, that is, Scourged him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe: for they had made that
the prison. '16 When Jeremiah was entered into the dungeon, and
into the cabins, and Jeremiah had remained there 17 many days, till the fiege began again ; Then Zedekiah
the king sent, and took him out: and the king, asked him secretly in his house, for fear of the princes, and said, Is there (any) word from the Lord ? And sere.
miah said, There is : for, said he, thou shalt be deliver :.18 ed into the hand of the king of Babylon. Moreover
Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, What have I offend
ed against thee, or against thy servants, or against this 19 people, that ye have put me in prison? Where [are]
now your prophets which prophesied unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor
against this land? you see the siege is renewed and the city 20 in danger. Therefore hear now, I pray thee, O my . Nn3
lord the king: let my supplication, I pray thee, be accepted before thee; that thou cause me not to return
to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there." 21 Then Zedekiah the king commanded that they should
commit Jeremiah into the court of the prison, and that they should give him daily a piece of bread out of the bakers? street, until all the bread in the city were spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison, where he had more liberty and free air.
1 EE how absurd it is for persons to desire the prayers
of ministers, when they will not regard their exhortations. So Zedekiah did; and this is too common a · case in times of distress : men are then glad of the prayers of their friends and ministers, whom they before flighted; they are desirous to receive consolation from those, from whom they never would receive advice. But there is little réason to hope for any success from such prayers ; and ministers haye no consolation to administer to the disobedient'; for they must still say, as God says, There is no peace to the wicked.
2. The delay and suspension of divine judgments, too often harden finners in their evil ways. While the Chaldèans besieged Jerusaleịn, there were some signs of remorse among the people; when they retired, the Israelites grew bad again. This is often the case with finners; because fen, tence against an evil work is not speedily executed, when judgments are at a distance, they go on to do wickedly. When God afflicts them, they entertain some serious thoughts and good resolutions ; but when the affliction is gone, their goodness is gone too ; and they return to folly again. Thus
they It was a remarkable instance of the prophet's courage and faithfulness, that he delivered this message when he had a petition to present for himself, which would have been more likely to have succeeded had he delivered a more favourable one; especially to upbraid Zedekiah with his false prophets. When he spoke in God's name; he was bold as a lion; but when he petitioned for himself, nothing can be more modeft, decent; and refpe&ful than his requefi.
they deceive themselves. But the determination of God is peremptory, that except men repent, they all perijb.
3. Søe the power of God over all creatures, v, 10. He is the supreme commander of all armies, and can do what he pleases with them. He is never at a loss for instruments; they may be weak and unlikely, but they shall execute his purposes. Whether we hope for nothing from them, or fear nothing from them, if God directs them they shall prosper. Without him, vain is the help of man: with him, sufficient is the power of the weakest. How much more reasonable then is it to fear him, than any human power ? -The principal reflection is,
4. How wretched is the state of a sinner, who is always contending with his own conscience. There is something strangely unaccountable in the conduct of Zedekiah. He had seen the death of his brother, and the captivity of his nephew and sister, exactly answering the divine prediction by Jeremiah. He began his reign with these awful objects in view; he saw God's judgments on others, and felt them himself; yet he continued unhumbled. Sometimes he was under strong convictions; then infatuated by his evil counsellors. Sometimes he desired Jeremiah's prayers; then he consented to put him in prison; then sent for him to know what the Lord faid; and yet rejected his commands. This is the case with many now: they show some reverence to God's ministers, and attend upon ordinances, yet continue unaffected and unfanctified: often uneasy in their own minds; sometimes full of alarms and fears, then settle in a false peace. The wicked are like the troubled fea, that cannot relt. If we defire to be easy and happy, let us reverence the word of God, hearken to the voice of his ministers; and keep a conscience void of offence toward Gød, and toward man.
reft. ltd of God, bevoid of offence
CHA P. XXXVIII.
melech's success in getting it mitigated, and his counsel to the
Nn4 . : I THEN.. I T HEN Shephatiah the fon of Mattan, and Ge.
I daliah the son of Pashur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur the son of Malchiah, heard the words that Jeremiah had spokèn, or, had used to speak
unto the people, and which he still repeated privately in the 2 court of the prison, unto all the people, saying, Thus
saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the peftilence:
but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live ; for 3 he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live. Thus
faith the Lord, This city shall surely be given into the
hand of the king of Babylon's army, which fhall take 4 it. Therefore the princes said unto the king, We be
feech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the
welfare of this people, but the hurt, by making the peo5 ple despair of success. Then Zedekiah the king faid,
Behold, he [is] in your hand : for the king [is] not [he that] can do (any) thing against you; his hands are so
weakened that he dares not oppose you, especially at this 6 critical time. Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him
into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, or, of the king, that (was] in the court of the prison : and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon (there was] no water, but mire: so Jeremiah
sunk in the mire. 7 Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, one of the
cunuchs which was in the king's house, one of his officers, who was a profelyte, heard that they had put Jeremiah
in the dungeon ; the king then sitting in the gate of 8 Benjamin, where he heard causes; Ebed-melech went
forth out of the king's house, and spake to the king 9 with great courage, saying, My lord the king, as the
hand of God is so awfuliy against us, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have caft into the dungeon; and he is like to die for hunger in the place where he is: for
[there Josephus says, up to his neck. .
(there is] no more bread in the city, and we are all in 10 danger of dying by famine as well as he. Then the king
commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee to asit, if any should
oppose thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of 11 the dungeon, before he die. So Ebed-melech took the
men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took thence old cast clouts, or clothes, and old rotten rags, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah, that the cords might not
hurt him; which they probably had done before, being let 12 down roughly. And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said
unto Jeremiah, Put now [these] old cast clouts, and
rotten rags under thine arm holes, under the cords. 13 And Jeremiah did so. So they drew up Jeremiah with
cords, and took him up out of the dungeon; and
Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison. 14 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took Jeremiah
the prophet unto him into the third entry that sis) in the house of the Lord; into a private room in the third gate between the king's house and the temple : and the king
Taid unto Jeremiah, I will ask thee a thing ; hide no15 thing from me. Then Jeremiah said unto Zedekiah,
If I declare [it] unto thee, wilt thou not surely put me to death ? and if I give thee counsel, wilt thou not hearken unto me? or, Wilt thou not put me to death,
tho' I give thee such counsel as thou wilt not like to hear. 16 So Zedekiah the king sware secretly unto Jeremiah,
saying, [As) the Lord liveth, that made us this soul, !
mising to take his advice, but only that he would not put hin 17 to death. Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus
faith the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; If thou wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of BabyJon's princes, and treat with them, then thy foul shall
live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and 18 thou shalt live, and thine house : But if thou wilt not
go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then shall