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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Jeremiah 38

 

 

Verses 1-28

Jeremiah 38:7. Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, the king’s chamberlain. It seems to have been a new name given him on his promotion to office; but God gave him long life for preserving the life of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 38:26. I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan’s house. A good man is not bound to tell the whole truth to his enemies. When Samuel anointed David, he said that he went to Bethlehem to sacrifice to the Lord. 1 Kings 16.

REFLECTIONS.

How clear, how strong was the revelation of God to the prophet! Jehovah, the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel declared, and Jeremiah staked his life to say it, that if the king would go out to Nebuchadnezzar, he and the princes, and the city would yet be saved. Mercy rejected at the point of death!

God can raise up friends for his people where they least expect it. Who would have thought of Jeremiah’s finding a friend at court, and that an Ethiopian proselyte, while the Israelites persecuted him. This friend acted with great zeal and courage, dealt plainly with the king, and ventured his place and his head to save the prophet. Thus can God, at any time and in any place, raise up friends to his servants, and deliver them out of their troubles.

How absurd and impious is it to disobey God, from a fear of being mocked or bantered by men. How meanly and ridiculously did Zedekiah act, in being more afraid of the jests of a few of his subjects, than of the displeasure of the Almighty. This fear goes a great way with many persons now, especially with the young. They are disposed to do their duty, and to be firm in it, but they are afraid their acquaintance should laugh at them. These fears are often groundless; and there is, as in the case of Zedekiah, a secret reverence for those who are good, in such as will not imitate them. How weak and childish a spirit is that which cannot bear to be laughed at, rather than give up faith and a good conscience. Such, as the prophet tells Zedekiah, will be worse laughed at hereafter. Wicked men and devils will severely mock them for loving the praise of men more than the praise of God. Amidst our greatest zeal for God and religion, we ought prudently to consult our own welfare. While we are harmless as doves, as to giving offence, and bold as lions in the cause of God, we ought to be wise as serpents. This affair was prudently concerted between the king and the prophet; there was no lie nor equivocation. He spoke the truth, but not the whole truth; and this he was not obliged to tell. It is wrong to expose ourselves to danger, when no good can be answered by it. We should walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 38:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/jeremiah-38.html. 1835.

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