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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 4 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 38:11

11. So Ebedmelech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took thence old cast clouts and old rotten rags, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah.

11. Et sumpsit Ebedmelech homines illos in manum suam (hoc est, sub sua potestate,) et venit in domum regis, nempe in locum sub thesauris; et sumpsit illinc veteramenta tractorum, et veteramenta (ad verbum) corruptorum, et demisit ad Jeremiam in lacum per funes.

Here Jeremiah goes on with the history of his deliverance. The courage of Ebedmelech ought ever to be noticed by us, for he went immediately to the holy Prophet. And it is said, that he took from some hidden place old tatters, De vieux haillons, as we call them. It is properly a noun substantive. But if its harshness be displeasing, we may give this rendering, |old tatters which had been dragged, and old tatters which were rotten.| Yet some render the words thus, |Worn out clothes and rotten clothes.| But the former is more properly the meaning; for schv, sacheb, means to drag, and it may be rendered in French, Vieux haillons trainez, ou, qui avoyent traine Then we have slchym, salechim, corrupted or marred, usez; for slch, salech, means to salt; but it is a verb in Hophal, and in that form it means to corrupt. They were torn or rotten garments, des vieux haillons a demi pourris It is said then that Ebedmelech took these old, torn, and rotten garments, and which had been used. This ought to be carefully noticed; for it appears that Ebed-melech was afraid of the violence of the princes, not so much on his own account, but lest he should be hindered in effecting his purpose.

For if he had provided other things, he might have been apprehended; report might have been brought to the princes, who would have immediately assembled and put a stop to his efforts. There is then no doubt but that Ebedmelech, being very confident, prudently considered what might prevent him in his attempt of bringing help to the holy Prophet. Hence it was, that he stealthily took from a hidden place these worn-out and marred garments. This is one thing. Then we see the miserable state of the holy Prophet; he lay half buried in mud, and he was to be drawn out by ropes or cords, and to have these torn and worn-out garments under his arms. And we are afterwards expressly told for what purpose these clothes were sent down to him.

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