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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 4 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 39:9

9. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to him, with the rest of the people that remained.

9. Residuum vero populi qui superstites erant in urbe, et elapsos (hoc est, defectores,) qui defecerant ad ipsum (nempe, ad Nebuchadnezer,) et residuum populi qui relicti fuerant (qui fuerant superstites, idem nomen repetitur) transtulit Nabuzardan princeps interfectorum Babylonem.

The Prophet now relates also what happened to others, even those who remained in the city, and whom Nebuchadnezzar and his army had spared: he says that they were brought to Babylon. There were those who had fled and went over to the Chaldeans before the city was taken; for we have seen that so great was the despair of many, that they revolted, and those were they whom Zedekiah chiefly feared, lest he should be, as we have seen, an object of mockery to them, had he gone to the Chaldeans and made a willing surrender. Jeremiah now says that those also were led into Chaldea. Nebuchadnezzar might have removed them on this account, because he could not confide in traitors. He had found out their inconstancy, for they had revolted from their own real and legitimate king. As then they had. thus once violated their faith, he could not but regard them with suspicion, and therefore removed them, lest they should afterwards attempt something new, and create disturbance; or, it may be, that it was done according to their request, because they feared lest, after the departure of the Chal-deans, the common people should rage against them, as they had helped the enemies, and thus had become perfidious and ungrateful towards their own country. It might then be, that they themselves had made this request, and that it was granted them: they might then live quietly in a far country, but they could not be safe in Judea. However, whatever may have been the reason, Jeremiah tells us, that they were led with the rest into Babylon and Chaldea.

he afterwards names the head or general of the army, even Nebuzaradan, whom he calls the prince of the killers, or of the cooks. The Greek translators have rendered it archimageiron, the prince of the cooks, who at this day is called Grand Master in the courts of princes. But their opinion is more probable, who render the words, the prince of the killers. The verb tvch, thebech, means to slay, to kill, and to kill men as well as to slay beasts; and for this reason some have applied it to cookery. But as Nebuzaradan is mentioned here as the chief among military men, the probability is that he was the judge of all capital offenses in the army. Hence Jeremiah names him when he says that they were removed who remained in the city.

But there seems to be here an unnecessary repetition, as he mentions twice, the rest of the people which remained There is, however, a difference, for in the first clause he says, in the city He then means those who had been besieged, and whom Nebuchadnezzar had pardoned so as not to put them to death. The last clause embraces more, even all the inhabitants of the land; for there were many scattered abroad, on whom Nebuchadnezzar might have vented his rage, but he removed them as slaves into Chaldea. Then our Prophet speaks here of these two parties, for he says that there were some remaining in the city, and that others were remaining, even those who were found scattered through various parts of the country, and had not been besieged by the Chaldean army. He afterwards adds, --

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