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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 4 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 38:24

24. Then said Zedekiah unto Jeremiah, Let no man know of these words, and thou shalt not die.

24. Et dixit Zedechias ad Jeremias, Vir nesciat (hoc est, nemo sciat) de sermonibus istis, et non morieris (hoc est, ne moriaris.)

Here is seen the miserable condition of the king. Had he no faith in the answer of Jeremiah, he would not have thus feared. But he acknowledged that what he had heard from the mouth of the Prophet was true. In the meanwhile he delayed and extended time as far as he could, and chose rather to spend his life in trembling than to be immediately freed from all care and anxiety. This was by no means to act like a king; for had he any courage, he would not have waited to the last hour. We indeed know that men of courage boldly meet death, when they see no hope of honor remaining. Zedekiah had lost his authority; he held indeed the title of a king, but he was without power; for he was compelled servilely to obey his counselors; and now he feared his own shadow, and yet protracted time, as I have said, as much as he could; and on this account he requested the Prophet, that this conversation might remain as buried.

By saying, thou shalt not die, he did not threaten the Prophet, but intimated that silence would not be less a benefit to Jeremiah than to himself: |Thou wilt rouse the fury of all against thyself, if thou speakest of this interview, for no one can bear to hear anything of the ruin of the city: if then thou consultest thine own benefit, say not a word of this, and let it not come to the people nor to my counselors.| Under the color of an advice then he said to Jeremiah, |See lest thou die He therefore did not speak threateningly.

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