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Jeremiah 38:16

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

As the Lord liveth, that made us this soul - He is the living God, and he is the Author of that life which each of us possesses; and as sure as he lives, and we live by him, I will not put thee to death, nor give thee into the hands of those men who seek thy life. A very solemn oath; and the first instance on record of the profane custom of swearing by the soul.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

That made us this soul - This very unusual addition to the formula of an oath 1 Samuel 20:3 was intended to strengthen it. By acknowledging that his soul was God‘s workmanship Zedekiah also implied his belief in God‘s power over it.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Jeremiah was not forward to repeat the warnings, which seemed only to endanger his own life, and to add to the king's guilt, but asked whether he feared to do the will of God. The less men fear God, the more they fear men; often they dare not act according to their own judgments and consciences.
Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 455-7

At this Zedekiah commanded that they “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.” Verse 21. PK 455.1

The king dared not openly manifest any faith in Jeremiah. Though his fear drove him to seek information of him privately, yet he was too weak to brave the disapprobation of his princes and of the people by submitting to the will of God as declared by the prophet. PK 455.2

From the court of the prison Jeremiah continued to advise submission to the Babylonian rule. To offer resistance would be to invite sure death. The message of the Lord to Judah was: “He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live.” Plain and positive were the words spoken. In the name of the Lord the prophet boldly declared, “This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon's army, which shall take it.” Jeremiah 38:2, 3. PK 455.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 182-4

“Moreover Jeremiah said unto King Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this 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? Therefore hear now, I pray thee, O my 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. 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.” 4T 182.1

The wicked king dared not openly manifest any faith in Jeremiah, but his fear drove him to seek information of him. Yet he was too weak to brave the disapprobation of his nobles and of the people by submitting to the will of God as declared by the prophet. At last men in authority who were enraged because Jeremiah persisted in prophesying evil went to the king and told him that as long as the prophet lived he would not cease to predict calamity. They urged that he was an enemy to the nation and that his words had weakened the hands of the people and brought misfortune upon them, and they wanted him put to death. 4T 182.2

The cowardly king knew these charges were false; but in order to propitiate those who occupied high and influential positions in the nation, he feigned to believe their falsehoods and gave Jeremiah into their hands to do with him as they pleased. Accordingly the prophet was taken and cast “into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, 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.” But God raised up friends for him who besought the king in his behalf and had him again removed to the court of the prison. 4T 182.3

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