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A Commentary, Critical, Practical, and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments, by Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset and David Brown [1882] at

Jeremiah Chapter 34

Jeremiah 34:1

jer 34:1


Jerusalem and . . . all the cities thereof--(see on Jer 19:15). It was amazing blindness in the king, that, in such a desperate position, he should reject admonition.

Jeremiah 34:3

jer 34:3

(Jer 32:4).

Jeremiah 34:4

jer 34:4

Mitigation of Zedekiah's punishment.

Jeremiah 34:5

jer 34:5

the burnings of thy fathers--Thy funeral shall be honored with the same burning of aromatic spices as there was at the funerals of thy fathers (Ch2 16:14; Ch2 21:19). The honors here mentioned were denied to Jehoiakim (Jer 22:18).

Ah, lord!--The Hebrews in their chronology (Sederolam) mention the wailing used over him, "Alas! King Zedekiah is dead, drinking the dregs (that is, paying the penalty for the sins) of former ages."

Jeremiah 34:7

jer 34:7

these . . . retained--alone (compare Ch2 11:5, Ch2 11:9).

Jeremiah 34:8

jer 34:8

By the law a Hebrew, after having been a bond-servant for six years, on the seventh was to be let go free (Exo 21:22; Deu 15:12).

Zedekiah made a covenant--with solemn ceremonial in the temple (Jer 34:15, Jer 34:18-19).

them--bond-servants (Jer 34:9).

Jeremiah 34:9

jer 34:9

none . . . serve himself of a Jew-- (Lev 25:39-46).

Jeremiah 34:11

jer 34:11

During the interruption of the siege by Pharaoh-hophra (compare Jer 34:21-22, with Jer 37:5-10), the Jews reduced their servants to bondage again.

Jeremiah 34:13

jer 34:13

The last year of Zedekiah was the sabbatical year. How just the retribution, that they who, against God's law and their own covenant, enslaved their brethren, should be doomed to bondage themselves: and that the bond-servants should enjoy the sabbatical freedom at the hands of the foe (Jer 52:16) which their own countrymen denied them!

Jeremiah 34:14

jer 34:14

At the end of seven years--that is, not on the eighth year, but within the limit of the seventh year, not later than the end of the seventh year (Exo 21:2; Exo 23:10; Deu 15:12). So "at the end of three years" (Deu 14:28; Kg2 18:10), and "after three days, I will rise again" (Mat 27:63), that is, on the third day (compare Mat 27:64).

Jeremiah 34:15

jer 34:15

in the house . . . called by my name--the usual place of making such covenants (Kg2 23:3; compare Kg1 8:31; Neh 10:29).

Jeremiah 34:16

jer 34:16

polluted my name--by violating your oath (Exo 20:7).

Jeremiah 34:17

jer 34:17

not . . . proclaiming liberty--Though the Jews had ostensibly emancipated their bond-servants, they virtually did not do so by revoking the liberty which they had granted. God looks not to outward appearances, but to the sincere intention.

I proclaim a liberty--retribution answering to the offense (Mat 7:2; Mat 18:32-33; Gal 6:7; Jam 2:13). The Jews who would not give liberty to their brethren shall themselves receive "a liberty" calamitous to them. God will manumit them from His happy and safe service (Psa 121:3), which is real "liberty" (Psa 119:45; Joh 8:36; Co2 3:17), only to pass under the terrible bondage of other taskmasters, the "sword," &c.

to be removed--The Hebrew expresses agitation (see on Jer 15:4). Compare Deu 28:25, Deu 28:48, Deu 28:64-65, as to the restless agitation of the Jews in their ceaseless removals from place to place in their dispersion.

Jeremiah 34:18

jer 34:18

passed between the parts thereof--The contracting parties in the "covenant" (not here the law in general, but their covenant made before God in His house to emancipate their slaves, Jer 34:8-9) passed through the parts of the animal cut in two, implying that they prayed so to be cut in sunder (Mat 24:51; Greek, "cut in two") if they should break the covenant (Gen 15:10, Gen 15:17).

Jeremiah 34:20

jer 34:20

I will even give--resuming the sentence begun, but not completed (Jer 34:18), "I will give," &c.

seek their life--implacably: satisfied with nothing short of their blood; not content with booty.

dead bodies--The breakers of the covenant shall be cut in pieces, as the calf between whose parts they passed.

Jeremiah 34:21

jer 34:21

gone up--that is, raised the siege in order to meet Pharaoh-hophra (Jer 37:7-10). The departure of the Chaldeans was a kind of manumission of the Jews; but as their manumission of their bond-servants was recalled, so God revoked His manumission of them from the Chaldeans.

Jeremiah 34:22

jer 34:22

I will command--Nebuchadnezzar, impelled unconsciously by a divine instigation, returned on the withdrawal of the Egyptians.

By the obedience of the Rechabites to their father, Jeremiah condemns the disobedience of the Jews to God their Father. The Holy Spirit has arranged Jeremiah's prophecies by the moral rather than the chronological connection. From the history of an event fifteen years before, the Jews, who had brought back their manumitted servants into bondage, are taught how much God loves and rewards obedience, and hates and punishes disobedience.

Next: Jeremiah Chapter 35