21. 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.
21. Et praecepit rex Zedechias, et posuerunt Jeremiam in atrio custodiae, et dederunt ei frustum panis quotidie e platea pistorum, usque dum consumptus esset totus panis ex urbe; et habitavit Jeremias in atrio custodiae.
The Prophet tells us, that God regarded the miseries to which he had been unjustly exposed: and the king no doubt became humane towards Jeremiah, because God turned his heart towards what was just and right. We said, indeed, yesterday, that the king was not in disposition cruel or sanguinary; yet he would not have been so easily eritreated by the Prophet, had he not been influenced by the hidden working of God's Spirit. We hence see how God favors his servants and has regard for their infirmity when necessary. We yet see also that the Prophet was not so kindly dealt with as to be allowed to return free to his own house, but that he was removed to another prison, where his condition was more tolerable. He was then in the court of the prison
He says, that a crust of bread was given to him daily, or every day. The word kkr, kekar, is by some rendered |mass,| or lump, and means sometimes a large loaf; but it is probable, that during so much scarcity the Prophet had but a scanty living. He had then a crust or piece of bread every day We see how mean was his food; but God often tries his servants in this way, withholding from them all the delicacies of this world. It is added, from the street of the bakers; by these words is meant, I think, that it was coarse bread, not made of fine flour, such as rich men did eat, for their mouths could not endure what was rough and course. Then God's holy Prophet was content with the common bread. The king and his counsellors had their own bakers; but it is said that bread was brought to the Prophet from a common place, the street of the bakers And the bread then sold during such a scarcity was no doubt black bread. We hence see what kind of bread it was, because it was sold for the common use of the people.
Thus the Prophet shews, that though some relaxation was allowed him, he was still confined in prison, and also that no meat nor any delicacies were given him, but a crust of bread only. He however commemorates the favor of God, inasmuch as in so great a scarcity he was not without bread. He had, then, his daily bread until all provisions failed.
And hence we learn, that God often so provides for his servants, that he appears to have forsaken them; and yet he then especially takes care of them and supplies them with what is needful for their support. Had Jeremiah been at home, he might have been at any time stoned by the people; for there were not wanting those disposed to stir up famished men against him. He might then have been every moment in danger of his life at home. But now in prison, he was safe, and no one could do him any harm. Besides, had he been at home, many might have robbed him, so as to leave him nothing to preserve life; but in prison he had his daily allowance. Thus, then, God often conducts his servants in a manner that is wonderful and beyond what we can conceive, and in the meantime acts as the head of a family, in supplying their wants. In short, the Prophet here intimates that he was cared for by God, so that during the famine and scarcity among the whole people, his bread was yet given to him, when he could not have begged it. When he could not have procured bread for himself either by labor, or by industry, or by begging, or by money, he shews that God took care of him so as to feed him during that distress.
He however adds, that he was in the court of the prison, in order to shew that God tried his patience, for a prison was a place of degradation. The Prophet was exposed to the reproaches of all; and then the princes might have often threatened him with danger, and might have also transferred him to another place, as we shall hereafter see. Therefore, in a measure only did God bring aid to his Prophet, for it was not his pleasure wholly to deliver him, and yet he suffered him not to be reduced to extremities. Now follows --