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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jeremiah 21:1

 

 

The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur the son of Malchijah, and Zephaniah the priest, the son of Maaseiah, saying,

Adam Clarke Commentary

The word which came unto Jeremiah - The chapters in the remaining parts of this prophecy seem strangely interchanged. This subject has been mentioned in the introduction, and some tables given; and to these the critical reader is requested to refer. The discourse here was delivered about the ninth year or the reign of Zedekiah. This chapter, observes Dr. Blayney, contains the first of those prophecies which were delivered by Jeremiah, subsequent to the revolt of Zedekiah, and the breaking out of the war thereupon; and which are continued on to the taking of Jerusalem, related in chap. 29, in the following order: Jeremiah 21:1-14, 34, 37, 32, 33, 38, 39.

Pashur the son of Melchiah - There can be little doubt that this Pashur was a different person from him who was called the son of Immur in the preceding chapter.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/jeremiah-21.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

By sending this embassy Zedekiah acknowledged that Jeremiah held the same position in the kingdom which Isaiah had held under Hezekiah 2 Kings 19:2. Pashur and Zephaniah belonged to the party who were for resisting Nebuchadnezzar by force of arms.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/jeremiah-21.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

II. JUDGMENTS AGAINST ISRAEL AND MESSIANIC PROPHECIES (JER. 21-29)

A. COMMENTS ABOUT THE KINGS OF ISRAEL (JER. 21-24)

JEREMIAH 21

ZEDEKIAH IN THE SECOND SIEGE OF JERUSALEM

The major difference to be found in this second major division of Jeremiah is the fact of so many of the episodes recorded being specifically connected with names and dates. In this sub-division (Jeremiah 21-24), Frost suggested that a good title of it would be "Comments on the Kings."[1] It is generally agreed by scholars that the date was very near the onset of Nebuchadnezzar's final siege of Jerusalem in 588 B.C.[2]

There is a skip of twenty years between Jeremiah 20 and Jeremiah 21, and a great deal had happened. Jehoiachim, a protege of Egypt, came to the throne and reigned eleven years, wavering between the necessity of paying tribute to Nebuchadnezzar and rebelling against Babylon, contrary to Jeremiah's advice. Following his death Jehoiachin came to the throne for a brief three-months; but, in the meanwhile, Nebuchadnezzar had finally and completely defeated Egypt; so he carried Jehoiachin to Babylon, along with many of the captive nobility, including Daniel and others; at that same time Nebuchadnezzar placed Zedekiah, a king of his own choice, on the throne of Israel. The new king was an uncle of Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah was the name given him by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:17). Of course, he swore fealty and perpetual loyalty to Nebuchadnezzar. These events took place about the year 597 B.C.

Jehoiachim's death was inglorious (2 Kings 24:6; Jeremiah 22:18,19). His son, Jehoiachin's three month reign ended when he surrendered the city to Nebuchadnezzar on the 9th of Adar, 597 B.C.[3]

Zedekiah defaulted on his promises to Nebuchadnezzar, and did evil in God's sight, according to all the evil that Jehoiachim had done; some ten years later, we come to the events of this chapter. Some eleven years after coming to the throne Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar who moved to destroy Jerusalem: At first, he mopped up the cities surrounding Jerusalem, and it was during this early phase of the siege that the events of this chapter happened.

Zedekiah ignored Jeremiah's prophetic warning and held out against the Babylonians for a year and a half, enduring the horrors of a terrible siege. But, on the ninth day of Ab in 588 B.C., Zedekiah and his nobles tried to flee the city but were captured on the plains of Jericho. He was terribly punished by Nebuchadnezzar.[4]

The account of Zedekiah's punishment is recorded in 2 Kings 25:1-7. "They slew his sons before his eyes and then put out his eyes and carried him to Babylon in chains."

Jeremiah 21:1-2

ZEDEKIAH'S DELEGATION TO JEREMIAH

"The word which came unto Jeremiah from Jehovah, when king Zedekiah sent unto him Pashhur the son of Malchijah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, saying, Inquire, I pray thee, of Jehovah for us; for Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon maketh war against us: peradventure Jehovah will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, that he may go up from us."

Zedekiah evidently expected Jehovah to lift the siege against Jerusalem by some tremendous miracle similar to that in which God destroyed 185,000 soldiers of Sennacherib's army and lifted the siege against Jerusalem in the days of Isaiah. The ancient Jews never learned the lesson that God's promises are all conditional, even those of his everlasting love and blessing. They were the ancient practitioners of salvation by faith only. Sure, they believed all right; but they did not propose to do any of the things God commanded.

Notice how the status of Jeremiah has changed. Ten years earlier, those terrible warnings Jeremiah had been prophesying throughout his ministry had begun to be fulfilled; and now, he receives an honored delegation from the king himself requesting his prayers upon their behalf. Characteristically, they paid no attention whatever to his warning, his prophetic advice, and to his instruction as to how some life could be saved.

In the second siege and destruction of Jerusalem, not even the temple was spared; and even the sacred golden vessels were carried away to Babylon as booty.

"Pashhur the son of Malchijah ..." (Jeremiah 21:1) This was not the same as the Pashhur of the previous chapter. One was the son of Immer, and the other the son of Malchijah.

Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah ..." (Jeremiah 21:1). This man was the successor of Jehoida the priest (Jeremiah 29:25-26; 37:3 and Jeremiah 52:24). "He ranked second to the High Priest, was slain by Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah; and both he and Pashhur opposed Jeremiah's views."[5] They were probably the ones who persuaded Zedekiah to go on with his resistance rather than surrender the city as Jeremiah had advocated.

It should be noted that there is a similar account of the warning that Jerusalem will fall in Jeremiah 37:3-10; but, "These are not a doublet. It deals with a temporary raising of the siege by the Egyptians, only to be resumed later on with greater intensity. Here we have the siege in its initial phases."[6]

These first two verses reveal Jeremiah in a new role. He now stands much higher in the opinion of the people. "The strong confirmation of his preaching by the captivity of 597 B.C. has made him a national figure whom the king now consults in the hour of crisis."[7]

Many scholars make a big to-do about what they claim is the correct way to spell Nebuchadnezzar, most of them favoring Nebuchadrezzar. There is no doubt that the correct spelling from the Babylonian viewpoint is the latter method; but our viewpoint is by no means the Babylonian viewpoint; and, as the Dean of Canterbury put it, "The common method of spelling it, Nebuchadnezzar, became finally the current form among the Jews. Jeremiah used it in Jeremiah 34:1 and Jeremiah 39:5; and even Daniel used it."[8] Therefore, we shall stay with the common spelling, since our viewpoint is more that of the people of God than it is that of the ancient Babylonians. No well-informed person should find any difficulty with this. All of us are familiar with the variations in spelling as we move from one racial culture to another. Pablo and Paul; Juan and John, or Johannes; Matthew and Mateo; Mark and Marcos; James and Santiago; etc. are examples. Jeremiah himself used the spellings interchangeably. In Jeremiah's writings, "The Jewish spelling is used ten times, and the Babylonian spelling is used twenty-six times."[9]

It is significant that in this petition for Jeremiah to pray for God's intervention on behalf of Zedekiah and the citizens of Jerusalem, "There was no suggestion of repentance or humiliation for the gross sins of the whole nation that had brought upon them the horrible destruction then impending."[10] The message was simply, "Look God, we're in trouble; save us!"


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/jeremiah-21.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The word which came unto Jeremiah from the Lord,.... This prophecy stands out of its proper place, being made in the times of Zedekiah, and when Jerusalem was besieged by the king of Babylon; whereas, after this, there are prophecies which were delivered in the times of Jehoiakim and Jeconiah, who both reigned before Zedekiah; see Jeremiah 22:11, &c.

when King Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur the son of Melchiah; this was another Pashur from him that is spoken of in the preceding chapter, and is called "Magormissabib"; he was the son of Immer; this of Melchiah; he was of the sixteenth course of the priesthood; this of the "fifth":

and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest; who was of the "twenty fourth" course; see 1 Chronicles 24:9; in Jeremiah 52:24, he is called the "second priest"; he was "sagan", or deputy to the high priest: they were both priests; wherefore the Syriac version renders it in the plural number, "priests". It may be observed, that the foregoing chapter is concluded with the prophet's cursing the day of his birth; and the last clause of it expresses the "shame" he imagined his days would be consumed in; and the next account we have is of an honour done him by the king, in sending two priests to him, with a message from him; whereby he tacitly owned him to be a true prophet of the Lord; as indeed he must now be convinced by facts that he was. Princes and people, who slight the ministers of God in time of prosperity, send to them, and are desirous of their assistance in times of distress:

saying; as follows:


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/jeremiah-21.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Jeremiah 21:1-14. Zedekiah consults Jeremiah what is to be the event of the war: God‘s answer.

Written probably when, after having repulsed the Egyptians who brought succors to the Jews (Jeremiah 37:5-8; 2 Kings 24:7), the Chaldees were a second time advancing against Jerusalem, but were not yet closely besieging it (Jeremiah 21:4, Jeremiah 21:13) [Rosenmuller]. This chapter probably ought to be placed between the thirty-seventh and thirty-eight chapters; since what the “princes,” in Jeremiah 38:2, represent Jeremiah as having said, is exactly what we find in Jeremiah 21:9. Moreover, the same persons as here (Jeremiah 21:1) are mentioned in Jeremiah 37:3; Jeremiah 38:1, namely, Pashur and Zephaniah. What is here more fully related is there simply referred to in the historical narrative. Compare Jeremiah 52:24; 2 Kings 25:18 [Maurer].

Zedekiah — a prince having some reverence for sacred things, for which reason he sends an honorable embassy to Jeremiah; but not having moral courage to obey his better impulses.

Pashur — son of Melchiah, of the fifth order of priests, distinct from Pashur, son of Immer (Jeremiah 20:1), of the sixteenth order (1 Chronicles 24:9, 1 Chronicles 24:14).

Zephaniah — of the twenty-fourth order. They are designated, not by their father, but by their family (1 Chronicles 24:18).


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/jeremiah-21.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

The Taking of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. - Jeremiah 21:1 and Jeremiah 21:2. The heading specifying the occasion for the following prediction. "The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah when King Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur the son of Malchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying: Inquire now of Jahveh for us, for Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon maketh war against us; if so be that the Lord will deal with us according to all His wondrous works, that he may go up from us." The fighting of Nebuchadrezzar is in Jeremiah 21:4 stated to be the besieging of the city. From this it appears that the siege had begun ere the king sent the two men to the prophet. Pashur the son of Malchiah is held by Hitz., Graf, Nהg. , etc., to be a distinguished priest of the class of Malchiah. But this is without sufficient reason; for he is not called a priest, as is the case with Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, and with Pashur the son of Immer (Jeremiah 21:1). Nor is anything proved by the circumstance that Pashur and Malchiah occur in several places as the names of priests, e.g., 1 Chronicles 9:12; for both names are also used of persons not priests, e.g., Malchiah, Ezra 10:25, Ezra 10:31, and Pashur, Jeremiah 38:1, where this son of Gedaliah is certainly a laic. From this passage, where Pashur ben Malchiah appears again, it is clear that the four men there named, who accused Jeremiah for his speech, were government authorities or court officials, since in Jeremiah 38:4 they are called שׂרים . Ros. is therefore right in saying of the Pashur under consideration: videtur unus ex principibus sive aulicis fuisse , cf. Jeremiah 38:4. Only Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah is called priest; and he, acc. to Jeremiah 29:25; Jeremiah 37:3; Jeremiah 52:24, held a high position in the priesthood. Inquire for us of Jahveh, i.e., ask for a revelation for us, as 2 Kings 22:13, cf. Genesis 25:22. It is not: pray for His help on our behalf, which is expressed by התפּלּל בּעדנוּ , Jeremiah 37:3, cf. Jeremiah 52:2. In the request for a revelation the element of intercession is certainly not excluded, but it is not directly expressed. But it is on this that the king founds his hope: Peradventure Jahveh will do with us ( אותנוּ for אתּנוּ ) according to all His wondrous works, i.e., in the miraculous manner in which He has so often saved us, e.g., under Hezekiah, and also, during the blockade of the city by Sennacherib, had recourse to the prophet Isaiah and besought his intercession with the Lord, 2 Kings 19:2., Isaiah 37:2. That he (Nebuch.) may go up from us. עלה , to march against a city in order to besiege it or take it, but with מעל , to withdraw from it, cf. Jeremiah 37:5; 1 Kings 15:19. As to the name Nebuchadrezzar, which corresponds more exactly than the Aramaic-Jewish Nebuchadnezzar with the Nebucadurriusur of the inscriptions ( נבו כדר אצר , i.e., Nebo coronam servat ), see Comm. on Daniel at Daniel 1:1.


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The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.

Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/jeremiah-21.html. 1854-1889.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Jeremiah relates how he received the king’s messengers, who sought from him an answer, whether he could bring any comfort in a state of things so perplexed and almost hopeless, he then says, that two had been sent to him; one was Pashur, not the priest mentioned in the last chapter, for he was the son of Immer but this was the son of Melchiah; and the other was Zephaniah the priest, the son of Maaseiah. But he shews that the king and his counsellors were disappointed of their hope, for they expected a favor-able answer, as though God would be propitious to Jerusalem; but the Prophet answered as he was commanded by God, that it was all over with the city, the kingdom, and the whole nation.

We shall also see from other passages that Zedekiah was not one of the worst; though he did not really fear God and was led away by false counsels, there was yet in him some regard for religion, so that he did not avowedly despise God as Epicureans do. Many such are found even at this day in the world, who think it enough to cherish a half-buried fear of God, and to retain some little regard for religion; but it is very fading, and disappears on even the least occasion. So it was with Zedekiah; he was as it were neutral, for he neither seriously worshipped God nor yet despised him.

Hence it was, that he sent messengers to Jeremiah. He knew that while God was displeased with them no safety could be hoped for; but he did not understand the way of appeasing God, nor had he any real desire to be reconciled to him; as the case is with hypocrites, who, though they wish God to be kind to them, yet when God’s mercy is offered to them, either openly reject it, or are unwilling to embrace it, because they cannot bear to surrender themselves to God. Such was the state of mind in which Zedekiah was; and hence it was, that he asked the Prophet to consult God. But we must also observe that this was an honorable message; and it hence more fully appears that Zedekiah was not one of those furious tyrants, who like the giants seek to fight with God. For by sending two messengers to the Prophet, and employing him as an advocate to seek some favor from God, he proved that religion was not wholly suppressed and extinguished in him.

And hence also it may be seen how bold and courageous was the Prophet; for he was not softened by the honor paid to him, but gave such answer as was calculated to exasperate the king, and to drive him into great rage. But we ought especially to notice, that they did not flatter the Prophet so as to induce him to give a false answer, but wished God to be consulted. It hence appears that they were convinced of Jeremiah’s integrity, that he would say nothing rashly or from himself, but would be a faithful interpreter and herald of heavenly oracles. And yet we see, and shall hereafter see in several passages, that the king was very incensed against God’s Prophet. But hypocrites, though they are forced to reverence God, are yet carried here and there, and maintain no consistency, especially when they perceive that God is against them; for they are not turned by threatenings. They cannot, therefore, but make tumult, and strive like refractory horses to shake off their rider. Such an instance we find in Zedekiah; for he acknowledged Jeremiah as God’s faithful servant; for he did not say, “Tell a lie for us, or in our favor but, inquire of God for us.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jeremiah-21.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

MAN PURPOSES, GOD DISPOSES

‘The word which came unto Jeremiah from the Lord.’

Jeremiah 21:1

I. The King’s anxious question.—It was the last extremity of the siege when Zedekiah sent this message to Jeremiah. His people and he had postponed their compliance with the warnings and invitations of God’s love till the last possible hour, and now they were more eager for immunity from the consequences of their sins than to repent and to return to God. The answer was immediate, that matters must now be allowed to take their course. It was, however, added that even now all who dared to act in faith and go out to the besiegers would save their lives.

What a test of faith was here! It seemed as though it were worth while to risk everything and stay in the city rather than venture out to those terrible hosts that were gathered around. But there was no alternative. To stay in the city was certain death, to go forth into what seemed certain death would secure life.

Men may reach a certain point in wrong-doing, when the disasters their sins have courted are inevitable. As they have sown, they must reap. As they have set the rocks rolling, they must see the devastation wrought on their homes. And yet even then there is a way of escape. Dare to trust God: do what seems most foolish, most likely to land in still greater disaster, because He bids it; be guided by His word.

II. The prophet’s unwelcome answer.—It must have cost Jeremiah a great deal before his timid, sensitive nature could become the mouthpiece of such an unwelcome message to his king and people, in the hour of their dire extremity. But there is always a great need for such a ministry.

(1) To the unconverted.—Of what use are appeals to come to Jesus until the sinner sees the awful peril which he is incurring? Of what avail to extol the balm of Gilead until the sin-sick soul has heard the diagnosis of its fatal condition? The sailor will not take to the life-belt till he is sure his ship is doomed. One of the most important ministries of the servant of God is to destroy false confidence, pull down refuges of lies, and show the utter hopelessness of any efforts to win acceptance with God save through the finished work of Christ.

(2) To those who lack assurance.—When men say that they are believing in Christ, but lack assurance, it very often happens that they have not repaired certain past wrongs. At such times there is room for a deep searching and probing, which will reveal the hidden impediment to the gushing forth of the imprisoned brook.

(3) To those who seek the higher attainments of the Divine life.—As our obedience grows, our light will grow; and as our light grows, we shall see wrong things where before we deemed ourselves without offence. We should gratefully accept any ministry which ploughs up the fallow ground, disinters buried secrets, and leads us through the grave to the best life.

Illustration

‘King Zedekiah sends word to Jeremiah, that the Lord is to do according to all His miracles, that Nebuchadnezzar may withdraw. A demand rather cavalierly made in such evil circumstances. But the noble are so unfortunate! It is indeed as though it only depended on them to arrange matters with God; as if He were only waiting for them, as if it were a point of honour not to be over-hasty, but first to await a little extremity.… It is a very necessary observance for a servant of the Lord, that he try his superiors, whether there is any trace remaining in them of having been once baptized, well brought up and instructed in the fear of the Lord. If he observe anything of this kind, he must insist upon it, and especially not allow them to deal too familiarly with the Judge of all the earth, but plainly demonstrate to them their insufficiency and nothingness, if they measure themselves by Him. Though Zedekiah had spoken so superficially, Jeremiah answered him without hesitation, definitely and positively, and accustomed him to a different manner of dealing with the Lord.’


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Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". Church Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/jeremiah-21.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jeremiah 21:1 The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when king Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying,

Ver. 1. The word that came unto Jeremiah from the Lord.] This history is here set down out of course; (a) for Jerusalem was not besieged till Jeremiah 32:2, and Jehoiakim reigned Jeremiah 25:1 It was in the ninth year of Zedekiah that this present prophecy was uttered. [2 Kings 25:1-2] This Zedekiah was one of those semiperfectae virtutis homines, as Philo calleth some professors, cakes half-baked., [Hosea 7:8] no flat atheist, nor yet a pious prince. Of Galba the emperor, as also of our Richard III, it is recorded that they were bad men but good princes. We cannot say so much of Zedekiah; two things he is chiefly charged with: (1.) That he broke his oath and faith plelged to the King of Babylon; [Ezekiel 17:16] (2.) That he humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet, speaking from the mouth of the Lord. [2 Chronicles 36:12-13] Hitherto he had not: but now in his distress he seeketh to this prophet; yea, sendeth an embassy. Kings care not for soldiers, said a great commander, till their crowns hang on the one side of their heads. Sure it is that some of them slight God’s ministers till they cannot tell what to do without them, as here. Kingdoms have their cares, and thrones their thorns. Antigonus cried out of his diadem, O vilis pannus, O base rag, not worth taking up at a man’s feet. Julian complained of his own unhappiness in being made emperor. Dioclesian laid down the empire as weary of it. Thirty of the ancient kings of this our land, saith Capgrave, resigned their crowns; such were their cares, crosses, and emulations. Zedekiah now could gladly have done as much. But since that might not be, he sendeth to Jeremiah, whom in his prosperity he had slighted, and, to gratify his wicked counsellors, wrongfully imprisoned.

He sent unto him Pashur.] Not that Magormissabib, [Jeremiah 20:1] but another of his name, though not much better, as it afterwards appeared, when, seeing Jeremiah’s stoutness for the truth, he counselled the king to put him to death. [Jeremiah 38:4]

And Zephaniah, the son of Maaseiah.] Of whom see further, Jeremiah 29:25-29; Jeremiah 37:3.


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-21.html. 1865-1868.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

This Chapter refers to a period in the reign of Zedekiah. The King felt alarmed at the prospect of the king of Babylon's army, and sends to enquire of Jeremiah concerning the event. The Prophet sends back a heavy answer of evil tidings.


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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/jeremiah-21.html. 1828.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Jeremiah 21:1. The word which came unto Jeremiah Nebuchadrezzar having besieged Jerusalem a second time, under Zedekiah, the king sent to consult Jeremiah concerning the success of this war. This happened in the second year of the siege, in the year of the world 3415. There are some who think that the Pashur here mentioned was different from him who is spoken of in the preceding chapter.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/jeremiah-21.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

JEREMIAH CHAPTER 21

King Zedekiah in the siege sendeth to Jeremiah to inquire of the event, Jeremiah 21:1,2. He foretelleth a hard siege and miserable captivity, Jeremiah 21:3-7. He counselleth the people to fall to the Chaldeans, Jeremiah 21:8-10; and upbraideth the king’s house, Jeremiah 21:11-14.

God at sundry times, and in diver’s manners, spake in times past to the fathers by the prophets, Hebrews 1:1. The two principal were visions and dreams, Numbers 12:6. How the following word came to Jeremiah is not expressed, it is enough that he knew it came from the Lord. It is apparent some prophecies in this book are not put in the right order as they were delivered. Jer 25$, we have an account of the word of the Lord which came to Jeremiah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, who was the second son of Josiah, made king by Pharaoh-necho, pursuing his victory mentioned 2 Chronicles 35:22 upon the battle, in which Josiah was killed, as we read there. The people made Jehoahaz king, but he reigned but three months; and the conqueror carrying him away, made Eliakim his brother king, changing his name to Jehoiakim, who reigned eleven years, that is, seven after the word of the Lord, mentioned Jer 25, came to Jeremiah; after whom Jehoiachin his son reigned three months and ten days: Zedekiah was his uncle, the son of Josiah, he reigned eleven years. So that it is plain that Jeremiah’s prophecy mentioned Jer 25 was seven years and three months before this, besides the number of years that Zedekiah had reigned. But some think that Jer 23 Jer 24 Jer 25, doth but make a repetition to Zedekiah’s messengers of what he had before prophesied. This message was (as appeareth by the next verse) when Nebuchadrezzar was come up to make war against Jerusalem, Jeremiah 39:1. Jeremiah was at liberty when the word of the Lord at this time came to him, so as it was some time before the city was taken. The fatal siege held about a year and half, as appears by Jeremiah 39:1,2. The

Pashur mentioned here was another from him mentioned Jeremiah 20:1: he was the son of Immer, of the sixteenth course of the priests, and of a more rugged, ill temper; this was

the son of Melchiah, and so of the fifth course. See 1 Chronicles 24:9,14.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/jeremiah-21.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

THE KING’S QUESTION, Jeremiah 21:1-2.

1. The word… from the Lord — The historical heading of the following prediction. For a better view of the historical setting of this whole passage, see chapters 37 and 38, between which this would fall.

When King Zedekiah sent — The embassy here mentioned was sent after the siege of the city had actually commenced. That in this time of extremity and peril the king should send distinguished men to consult Jeremiah, shows not only the consternation of the court, but also the recognition vouchsafed to this prophet of evil. Corrupt and wicked men oft-times have in their hearts a conviction deeper and purer than they express with their lips and lives; and under the pressure of a great danger or calamity it will reveal itself.

Pashur — Not the Pashur of the previous chapter, and not a priest, but probably a court official. His companion, Zephaniah, held a high position in the priesthood. See Jeremiah 29:25; Jeremiah 37:3; Jeremiah 52:24 : and in Jeremiah 38:1; Jeremiah 38:4, he is mentioned as attempting to persuade the king to put Jeremiah to death.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/jeremiah-21.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

This is a message that Yahweh gave Jeremiah after King Zedekiah sent messengers to him with a question. The messengers were Pashhur (cf. Jeremiah 38:1-13; 1 Chronicles 9:21; not the man in charge of preserving order in the temple courtyard mentioned in Jeremiah 20:1-6) and Zephaniah , a leading priest (cf. Jeremiah 29:25-26; Jeremiah 29:29; Jeremiah 37:3; Jeremiah 52:24; 2 Kings 25:18-21).


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/jeremiah-21.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Jeremiah 21:1. The word which came to Jeremiah, when King Zedekiah sent unto him — The occasion of Zedekiah’s sending the message here mentioned to Jeremiah, has, by some commentators, been confounded with that in chap. 37. “But I think,” says Blaney, “they are clearly and undeniably distinct one from the other. From the reply given to that in chapter 37., it is manifest that the Chaldeans, who had been besieging Jerusalem for some time had already raised the siege, and were gone to meet the Egyptian army, leaving the Jews in great hopes that they would never return again. But the terms of this message seem to imply, that the king of Babylon had but just commenced his hostilities against Judah, of which Zedekiah informs the prophet, as of a matter that might not yet have come to his certain knowledge; and desires him to intercede with God, that he would divert the storm by some such extraordinary interposition as he had been wont to manifest in favour of his people. The answer likewise takes no notice of any siege or operations past; but simply regards the future, which it is declared should end unhappily, because God would take an active part against the inhabitants of Judah, and would deliver both their city, and also the king and his people, into the hands of their merciless enemies. The time of this transaction, therefore, I conceive to be the ninth year of Zedekiah, previous to the siege of Jerusalem, which began in the tenth mouth of that year.”


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/jeremiah-21.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Sent, after Nabuchodonosor had returned from Egypt. (The year of the world 3415.) This consultation should be placed after chap. xxxvii. (Calmet) --- Phassur, specified above, and chap. xxxviii. 1., (Calmet) or a different person. (St. Jerome) (Piscator) --- Sophonias, the second priest, (chap. xxxvii. 3., and lii. 24.) of the 24th class, (1 Paralipomenon xxiv. 18.) who was slain at Reblatha. (Calmet) --- Jeremias threatens the great ones to chap. xxix. and is persecuted. He spoke this when Nabuchodonosor invaded the country. (Worthington)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/jeremiah-21.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Jeremiah"s Fourteenth Prophecy,, Jeremiah 21:1-10, and a new division of the book (see book comments for Jeremiah).

Note the reigns: Jer 21: Zedekiah (the last king of Judah). Jer 21: his three predecessors, Shallum (or Jehoahaz), Jehoiakim, and Coniah (or Jechoniah, or Jehoiachin). Jer 25, Jer 26, Jer 27, Jehoiakim. Jer 28, Zedekiah again, and the last days of Jerusalem. This order is logical, which is more important than chronological, for the severity of Jer 21 is shown to be justified by the chapters which follow. Compare Jeremiah 25:3-5, and see App-83.

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

sent unto him. Contrast the mission of Hezekiah to Isaiah (2 Kings 19:2. Isaiah 37:2).

Pashur. Not the Pashur of Jeremiah 20:1. This prophecy is nineteen years later; the deportation in the reign of Jehoiachin had taken place, and a worse set of men were the rulers. This Pashur was a priest, if Melchiah is the same Melchiah as in 1 Chronicles 9:12.

Zephaniah, &c. He is mentioned again (Jeremiah 29:25; Jeremiah 37:3; Jeremiah 52:24). The Hebrew accents read "Zephaniah the priest, the son of Maaseiah."


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/jeremiah-21.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when king Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying,

Written probably when, after having repulsed the Egyptians who brought assistance to the Jews (Jeremiah 37:5-8; 2 Kings 24:7), the Chaldees were a second time advancing against Jerusalem, but were not yet closely besieging it (Jeremiah 21:4; Jeremiah 21:13). (Rosenmuller.) This chapter, in point of time, stands between Jeremiah 37:1-21; Jeremiah 38:1-28; since what the "princes," in Jeremiah 38:2, represent Jeremiah as having said is exactly what we find in Jeremiah 21:9. Moreover, the same persons as here (Jeremiah 21:1) are mentioned in Jeremiah 37:3; Jeremiah 38:1 - namely, Pashur and Zephaniah. What is here more fully related is there simply referred to in the historical narrative. (Compare Jeremiah 52:24; 2 Kings 25:18, where "Zephaniah the second priest" is mentioned as put to death by Nebuchadnezzar, along with "Seraiah, the chief priest," after the capture of the city.)

Zedekiah - a prince having some reverence for sacred things, for which reason he sends an honourable embassy to Jeremiah; but not having moral courage to obey his better impulses.

Pashur - son of Melchiah, of the 5th order of priests, distinct from Pashur, son of Immer (Jeremiah 20:1), of the 16th order (1 Chronicles 24:9; 1 Chronicles 24:14).

Zephaniah - of the twenty-fourth order. They are designated, not by their father, but by their family (1 Chronicles 24:18).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/jeremiah-21.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

XXI.

(1) The word which came unto Jeremiah . . .—There is obviously a great gap at this point in the collection of the prophet’s utterances, and we enter on a new body or group of prophecies which extends to the close of Jeremiah 33. Thus far we have had his ministry under Jehoiakim, the roll which was read before that king, and formed the first part of his work. Now we pass to the later stage, which forms what has been called the roll of Zedekiah. The judgment predicted in the previous roll had come nearer. The armies of Nebuchadnezzar were gathering round the city. The prophet was now honoured and consulted, and the king sent his chief minister, Pashur (not the priest who had been the prophet’s persecutor, as in the preceding chapter, but the head of the family or course of Melchiah), and Zephaniah, the “second priest,” or deputy of Jeremiah 52:24, to ask his intercession. We learn from their later history that they were in their hearts inclined to the policy of resistance, and ready to accuse Jeremiah of being a traitor (Jeremiah 38:1-4).


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/jeremiah-21.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, when king Zedekiah sent unto him Pashur the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying,
A. M. cir. 3415. B.C. cir. 589. The word. This discourse was delivered about the ninth year of the reign of Zedekiah. This chapter, observes Dr. Blayney, contains the first of those prophecies which were delivered by Jeremiah subsequent to the revolt of Zedekiah, and the breaking out of the war thereupon; and which are continued on to the taking of Jerusalem, related in ch. 39, in the following order: ch. 21; 34; 32; 33; 38; 39
when
32:1-3; 37:1; 52:1-3; 2 Kings 24:17,18; 1 Chronicles 3:15; 2 Chronicles 36:10-13
Pashur
38:1; 1 Chronicles 9:12; Nehemiah 11:12
Zephaniah
29:25; 37:3; 52:24; 2 Kings 25:18-21

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/jeremiah-21.html.

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