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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 4 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 39:7

7. Moreover he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon.

7. Et oculos Zedechiae excaecavit, et vinxit eum cathenis (in duali numero, duabus cathenis,) ut adduceret ipsum Babylonem.

Here was an accumulation of misery: the king had his eyes pulled out, after having been a spectator of the slaughter of his own sons! He then saw heaped together the dead bodies of his own offspring and of all his nobles. After that slaughter he was made blind. His life was, no doubt, prolonged to him, that he might die, as it were, by little and little, according to what a notorious tyrant has said. And thus Nebuchadnezzar intended to kill him a hundred and a thousand times, and not at once to put him to death, for death removes man from all the miseries of the present life. That Zedekiah remained alive, was then a much harder condition.

And this has been recorded that we may know, that as he had been so long obstinate against God, the punishment inflicted on him was long protracted; for he had not sinned through levity or want of thought, or some hidden impulse, but hardened himself against every truth and all counsels. It was therefore just that he should die by little and little, and not be killed at once. This was the reason why the king of Babylon pulled out his eyes.

The Prophet says in the last place, that he was bound with chains, and that he was in this miserable condition led into Babylon This reproach was an addition to his blindness: he was bound with chains as a criminal. It would have been better for him to have been taken immediately to the gallows, or to have been put to death in any way; but it was the design of Nebuchadnezzar, that he should lead a miserable life in this degraded state, and be a public example of what perfidy deserved. It follows, --

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