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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 4 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 39:11-12

11. Now Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying,

11. Praecepit autem Nabuchad-nezer rex Babylonis de Jeremia per manum Nabuzardan principis interfectorum, dicendo,

12. Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee.

12. Tolle ipsum et oculos tuos pone super eum, et ne facias ei quiequam mali; sed prout loquutus fuerit tecum fac cum eo.

The Prophet now sets forth the paternal care of God, which he had experienced in the preservation of his life and safety. The innocent, we know, are often killed in a tumult, and the storming of cities is turbulent, so that many things are done without any thought; nay, even the leaders are not able to moderate the excesses of the victorious. When, therefore, the Chaldeans burnt the palace, Jeremiah might have perished at the same time, being suffocated by the very smoke of the fire. We know what happened at the taking of Syracuse. Marcellus did not wish that Archimedes should perish, nay, he commanded that he should be preserved; for he wished to save that man on account of his singular industry and noble genius. However, while he was drawing circles on the ground, he was killed by a common soldier. If no one had come to Jeremiah, he might, as I have said, have been buried under the ruins of the palace, when the king's court was burnt down. But he says that he had been wonderfully preserved, for Nebuchadnezzar had given a command respecting him, that he might not be exposed to any trouble, but that Nebuzaradan as well as the whole army should secure his safety.

It is indeed probable that the king of Babylon had heard of Jeremiah; and though he was in prison, yet the Word of God, which he boldly proclaimed, was not bound. Then the report of this might have reached the king of Babylon: and hence it was, that he was disposed to preserve him; for he had given a faithful counsel to Zedekiah. But Nebuchadnezzar no doubt regarded only his own advantage; and hence we ought to bear in mind the wonderful goodness of God in preserving, as it were, by his own hand, the life of the Prophet; so that in extremities no one touched him, but he remained free and quiet, as we shall hereafter see. But we must put off the rest until to-morrow.

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