New European Version: Old Testament

Deeper commentary on this chapter

Audio talks on this chapter:


Video presentations on this chapter:


Other material relevant to this chapter:


Hear this chapter read:



About | PDFs | Mobile formats | Word formats | Other languages | Contact Us | What is the Gospel? | Support the work | Carelinks Ministries | | The Real Christ | The Real Devil | "Bible Companion" Daily Bible reading plan

CHAPTER 38 Aug. 17 
Jeremiah Put into the Dungeon
Shephatiah the son of Mattan, Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, Jucal the son of Shelemiah and Pashhur the son of Malchijah heard the words that Jeremiah spoke to all the people saying, 2Thus says Yahweh, He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine and by the plague; but he who goes forth to the Chaldeans shall live, and his life shall be to him for a prey, and he shall live. 3Thus says Yahweh, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it. 4Then the princes said to the king, Please let this man be put to death; because he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words to them: for this man doesn’t seek the welfare of this people, but their hurt. 5Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand; for the king is not he who can do anything against you. 6Then they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon of Malchijah the king’s son, that was in the court of the guard: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. In the dungeon there was no water, but mud; and Jeremiah sank in the mud. 7Now when Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, a eunuch who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon (the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin), 8Ebedmelech went forth out of the king’s house and spoke to the king saying, 9My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is likely to die in the place where he is, because of the famine; for there is no more bread in the city. 10Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian saying, Take from here thirty men with you, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon before he dies.
Jeremiah Rescued
11So Ebedmelech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took from there rags and worn-out clothes and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. 12Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, Put now these rags and worn-out clothes under your armpits under the cords. Jeremiah did so. 13So they drew up Jeremiah with the cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.
Jeremiah's Last Conversation with Zedekiah
14Then Zedekiah the king sent and took Jeremiah the prophet to him into the third entry that is in the house of Yahweh: and the king said to Jeremiah, I will ask you something. Hide nothing from me. 15Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, If I declare it to you, will you not surely put me to death? And if I give you advice, you will not listen to me. 16So Zedekiah the king swore secretly to Jeremiah saying, As Yahweh lives, who made us this soul, I will not put you to death, neither will I give you into the hand of these men who seek your life. 17Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, Thus says Yahweh, the God of Armies, the God of Israel: If you will go forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, then your soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and you shall live, and your family. 18But if you will not go forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire and you shall not escape out of their hand. 19Zedekiah the king said to Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews who are fallen away to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand and they mock me. 20But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver you. Obey, I beg you, the voice of Yahweh, in that which I speak to you: so it shall be well with you, and your soul shall live. 21But if you refuse to go forth, this is the word that Yahweh has shown me: 22behold, all the women who are left in the king of Judah’s house shall be brought forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, and those women shall say, Your familiar friends have deceived you and have prevailed over you. Your feet are now sunk in the mud, and they now turn away from you. 23They shall bring out all your wives and your children to the Chaldeans; and you shall not escape out of their hand, but shall be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon: and you shall cause this city to be burned with fire. 24Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, Let no man know of these words, and you shall not die. 25But if the princes hear that I have talked with you, and they come to you and tell you, Declare to us now what you have said to the king; don’t hide it from us, and we will not put you to death; also what the king said to you: 26then you shall tell them, I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan’s house to die there. 27Then came all the princes to Jeremiah, and asked him; and he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they left off speaking with him; for the matter was not perceived. 28So Jeremiah stayed in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken.


38:7 Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, a eunuch- As a dark skinned foreigner who was well known to be a eunuch, he would likely have been despised within Jerusalem society. But it was exactly the despised who God loves to use as tools to save His people. And it’s exactly these types who have the empathy to be able to reach out to save those like Jeremiah. We too can be such people, if we meditate enough upon who we really are and the significance of our sins.
38:16 Who made us this soul- The fact we had our lives created by God means we should never taken another’s life apart from at His specific command. 
38:23 You shall cause this city to be burned with fire- God somehow arranged things within His purpose so that Zedekiah’s repentance would have enabled the salvation of all Israel. But his failure to repent, his fear of his image amongst men who were themselves condemned and on borrowed time, meant that judgment came on all His people. What this shows is that there are times and places where God is willing to save people for the sake of the spirituality of a third party, but if he or she fails in this, deliverance doesn’tnecessarily arise from another place, as it would have done in Esther’s time.
38:22 Your feet are now sunk in the mire- The emphasis would’ve been on “your feet”. Jeremiah witnessed to Zedekiah on the basis of bridge building. Jeremiah warned him that politically and spiritually, his feet were sunk in the mud - just after Jeremiah himself had sunk in the mud and been miraculously delivered from it (:6). We must build bridges into the real world in which the people who are our audience live and love, work and play, laugh and weep, struggle and suffer, grow old and die. We do this by revealing to them that we too are human, we’re not knights in shining armour; and we seek to relate our experiences to theirs, so that there is that point of ‘flash’ where we as it were catch each others’ eye, and are united by experience. It is from that point that we have won their trust and can proceed to credibly share the doctrinal content of the Gospel with them. The more real, the more credible.