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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 4 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 38:18

18. But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand.

18. Si vero non egressus fucris ad proceres regis Babylonis, tradetur urbs ista in manum Chaldaeorum, et exurent eam igni, et tu non evades e manu ipsorum.

The Prophet gave to the king the hope of pardon; not that he promised impunity, but that the king might at least hope that God would be merciful to him, if he anticipated his extreme vengeance. But as hypocrites are not easily moved when God allures them by the sweetness of his promises, hence a threatening is added, |Except thou deliverest thyself up,| says the Prophet, |to the. Chaldeans, thou shalt not escape, and the city shall be taken and burnt by the Chaldeans.|

Zedekiah might have had hope in part, and thus have found the mercy which God offered to him. As he had profited nothing in this respect, it was necessary, in another way, to arouse him, by setting before him the destruction of the city, and his own death. But he was not prevailed upon either by fear or by hope, to obey the advice of the Prophet. We hence see, that though he did not avowedly despise God, he was yet neither cold nor hot, but wished to be wholly spared. Hence then it was, that he rejected the favor offered to him by the Prophet. However his excuse follows --

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