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Jeremiah 34:8 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— The word that came unto Jeremiah from Jehovah, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people that were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them;
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— [This is] the word that came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people which [were] at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them;
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were in Jerusalem to proclaim release to them:
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— [This is] the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who [were] at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty to them;
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— The word that came unto Jeremiah from Jehovah, after that king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people that were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them:
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— The word which came unto Jeremiah, from Yahweh,—after that King Zedekiah had solemnised a covenant with all the people who were in Jerusalem, proclaiming unto them, liberty:
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— The word that hath been unto Jeremiah from Jehovah, after the making by the king Zedekiah of a covenant with all the people who [are] in Jerusalem, to proclaim to them liberty,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— The word that came to Jeremias from the Lord, after that king Sedecias had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem making a proclamation:
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— This [is] the word that came vnto Ieremiah from the LORD, after that the king Zedekiah had made a couenant with all the people which [were] at Ierusalem to proclaime liberty vnto them,
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— The word that came from the Lord to Jeremiah{gr.Jeremias}, after king Zedekiah{gr.Sedekias} had concluded a covenant with the people, to proclaim a release;
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— [This is] the word that came unto Yirmeyah from Yahweh, after that the king Tzidqiyyah had made a covenant with all the people which [were] at Yerushalaim, to proclaim liberty unto them;

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
[This is] the word 1697
{1697} Prime
From H1696; a word; by implication a matter (as spoken of) or thing; adverbially a cause.
that x834
(0834) Complement
A primitive relative pronoun (of every gender and number); who, which, what, that; also (as adverb and conjunction) when, where, how, because, in order that, etc.
came x1961
(1961) Complement
A primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary).
unto x413
(0413) Complement
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
Yirmy יִרמְיָה 3414
{3414} Prime
From H7311 and H3050; Jah will rise; Jirmejah, the name of eight or nine Israelites.
from x4480
(4480) Complement
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
(0854) Complement
Probably from H0579; properly nearness (used only as a preposition or adverb), near; hence generally with, by, at, among, etc.
Yhw יָהוֶה, 3068
{3068} Prime
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
after y310
[0310] Standard
From H0309; properly the hind part; generally used as an adverb or conjugation, after (in various senses).
that x310
(0310) Complement
From H0309; properly the hind part; generally used as an adverb or conjugation, after (in various senses).
the king 4428
{4428} Prime
From H4427; a king.
Xikiyy צִדקִיָּה 6667
{6667} Prime
From H6664 and H3050; right of Jah; Tsidkijah, the name of six Israelites.
had made 3772
{3772} Prime
A primitive root; to cut (off, down or asunder); by implication to destroy or consume; specifically to covenant (that is, make an alliance or bargain, originally by cutting flesh and passing between the pieces).
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
a covenant 1285
{1285} Prime
From H1262 (in the sense of cutting (like H1254)); a compact (because made by passing between pieces of flesh).
with x854
(0854) Complement
Probably from H0579; properly nearness (used only as a preposition or adverb), near; hence generally with, by, at, among, etc.
all x3605
(3605) Complement
From H3634; properly the whole; hence all, any or every (in the singular only, but often in a plural sense).
the people 5971
{5971} Prime
From H6004; a people (as a congregated unit); specifically a tribe (as those of Israel); hence (collectively) troops or attendants; figuratively a flock.
which x834
(0834) Complement
A primitive relative pronoun (of every gender and number); who, which, what, that; also (as adverb and conjunction) when, where, how, because, in order that, etc.
[were] at Yrlaim יְרוּשָׁלִַם, 3389
{3389} Prime
A dual (in allusion to its two main hills (the true pointing, at least of the former reading, seems to be that of H3390)); probably from (the passive participle of) H3384 and H7999; founded peaceful; Jerushalaim or Jerushalem, the capital city of Palestine.
to proclaim 7121
{7121} Prime
A primitive root (rather identical with H7122 through the idea of accosting a person met); to call out to (that is, properly address by name, but used in a wide variety of applications).
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
liberty 1865
{1865} Prime
From an unused root (meaning to move rapidly); freedom; hence spontaneity of outflow, and so clear.
unto them;
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Jeremiah 34:8

_ _ By the law a Hebrew, after having been a bond-servant for six years, on the seventh was to be let go free (Exodus 21:22; Deuteronomy 15:12).

_ _ Zedekiah made a covenant — with solemn ceremonial in the temple (Jeremiah 34:15, Jeremiah 34:18, Jeremiah 34:19).

_ _ them — bond-servants (Jeremiah 34:9).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Jeremiah 34:8-22

_ _ We have here another prophecy upon a particular occasion, the history of which we must take notice of, as necessary to give light to the prophecy.

_ _ I. When Jerusalem was closely besieged by the Chaldean army the princes and people agreed upon a reformation in one instance, and that was concerning their servants.

_ _ 1. The law of God was very express, that those of their own nation should not be held in servitude above seven years, but, after they had served one apprenticeship, they should be discharged and have their liberty; yea, though they had sold themselves into servitude for the payment of their debts, or though they were sold by the judges for the punishment of their crimes. This difference was put between their brethren and strangers, that those of other nations taken in war, or bought with money, might be held in perpetual slavery, they and theirs; but their brethren must serve but for seven years at the longest. This God calls the covenant that he had made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt, Jeremiah 34:13, Jeremiah 34:14. This was the first of the judicial laws which God gave them (Exodus 21:2), and there was good reason for this law. (1.) God had put honour upon that nation, and he would have them thus to preserve the honour of it themselves and to put a difference between it and other nations. (2.) God had brought them out of slavery in Egypt, and he would have them thus to express their grateful sense of that favour, by letting those go to whom their houses were houses of bondage, as Egypt had been to their forefathers. That deliverance is therefore mentioned here (Jeremiah 34:13) as the ground of that law. Note, God's compassions towards us should engage our compassions towards our brethren; we must release as we are released, forgive as we are forgiven, and relieve as we are relieved. And this is called a covenant; for our performance of the duty required is the condition of the continuance of the favours God has bestowed.

_ _ 2. This law they and their fathers had broken. Their worldly profit swayed more with them than God's command or covenant. When their servants had lived seven years with them they understood their business, and how to apply themselves to it, better than they did when they first came to them, and therefore they would then by no means part with them, though God himself by his law had made them free: Your fathers hearkened not to me in this matter (Jeremiah 34:14), so that from the days of their fathers they had been in this trespass; and they thought they might do it because their fathers did it, and their servants had by disuse lost the benefit of the provision God made for them; whereas against an express law, especially against an express law of God, no custom, usage, nor prescription, is to be admitted in plea. For this sin of theirs, and their fathers, God now brought them into servitude, and justly.

_ _ 3. When they were besieged, and closely shut in, by the army of the Chaldeans, they, being told of their fault in this matter, immediately reformed, and let go all their servants that were entitled to their freedom by the law of God, as Pharaoh, who, when the plague was upon him, consented to let the people go, and bound themselves in a covenant to do so. (1.) The prophets faithfully admonished them concerning their sin. From them they heard that they should let their Hebrew servants go free, Jeremiah 34:10. They might have read it themselves in the book of the law, but did not, or did not heed it, therefore the prophets told them what the law was. See what need there is of the preaching of the word; people must hear the word preached because they will not make the use they ought to make of the word written. (2.) All orders and degrees of men concurred in this reformation. The king, and the princes, and all the people, agreed to let go their servants, whatever loss or damage they might sustain by so doing. When the king and princes led in this good work the people could not for shame but follow. The example and influence of great men would go very far towards extirpating the most inveterate corruptions. (3.) They bound themselves by a solemn oath and covenant that they would do this, whereby they engaged themselves to God and one another. Note, What God has bound us to by his precept, it is good for us to bind ourselves to by our promise. This covenant was very solemn: it was made in a sacred place, made before me, in the house which is called by my name (Jeremiah 34:15), in the special presence of God, the tokens of which, in the temple, ought to strike an awe upon them and make them very sincere in their appeals to him. It was ratified by a significant sign; they cut a calf in two, and passed between the parts thereof (Jeremiah 34:18, Jeremiah 34:19) with this dreadful imprecation, “Let us be in like manner cut asunder if we do not perform what we now promise.” This calf was probably offered up in sacrifice to God, who was thereby made a party to the covenant. When God covenanted with Abraham, for the ratification of it, a smoking furnace and a burning lamp passed between the pieces of the sacrifice, in allusion to this federal rite, Genesis 15:17. Note, In order that we may effectually oblige ourselves to our duty, it is good to alarm ourselves with the apprehensions of the terror of the wrath and curse to which we expose ourselves if we live in the contempt of it, that wrath which will cut sinners asunder (Matthew 24:51), and sensible signs may be of use to make the impressions of it deep and durable, as here. (4.) They conformed themselves herein to the command of God and their covenant with him; they did let their servants go, though at this time, when the city was besieged, they could very ill spare them. Thus they did right in God's sight, Jeremiah 34:15. Though it was their trouble that drove them to it, yet he was well pleased with it; and if they had persevered in this act of mercy to the poor, to their poor servants, it might have been a lengthening of their tranquillity, Daniel 4:27.

_ _ II. When there was some hope that the siege was raised and the danger over they repented of their repentance, undid the good they had done, and forced the servants they had released into their respective services again. 1. The king of Babylon's army had now gone up from them, Jeremiah 34:21. Pharaoh was bringing an army of Egyptians to oppose the progress of the king of Babylon's victories, upon the tidings of which the Chaldeans raised the siege for a time, as we find, Jeremiah 37:5. They departed from Jerusalem. See how ready God was to put a stop to his judgments, upon the first instance of reformation, so slow is he to anger and so swift to show mercy. As soon as ever they let their servants go free God let them go free. 2. When they began to think themselves safe from the besiegers they made their servants come back into subjection to them, Jeremiah 34:11, and again Jeremiah 34:16. This was a great abuse to their servants, to whom servitude would be more irksome, after they had had some taste of the pleasures of liberty. It was a great shame to themselves that they could not keep in a good mind when they were in it. But it was especially an affront to God; in doing this they polluted his name, Jeremiah 34:16. It was a contempt of the command he had given them, as if that were of no force at all, but they might either keep it or break it as they thought fit. It was a contempt of the covenant they had made with him, and of that wrath which they had imprecated upon themselves in case they should break that covenant. It was jesting with God almighty, as if he could be imposed upon by fallacious promises, which, when they had gained their point, they would look upon themselves no longer obliged by. it was lying to God with their mouths and flattering him with their tongues. It was likewise a contempt of the judgments of God and setting them at defiance; as if, when once the course of them was stopped a little and interrupted, they would never proceed again and the judgment would never be revived; whereas reprieves are so far from being pardons that if they be abused thus, and sinners take encouragement from them to return to sin, they are but preparatives for heavier strokes of divine vengeance.

_ _ III. For this treacherous dealing with God they are here severely threatened. Be not deceived; God is not mocked. Those that think to put a cheat upon God by a dissembled repentance, a fallacious covenant, and a partial temporary reformation, will prove in the end to have put the greatest cheat upon their own souls; for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. it is here threatened, with an observable air of displeasure against them, 1. That, since they had not given liberty to their servants to go where they pleased, God would give all his judgments liberty to take their course against them without control (Jeremiah 34:17): You have not proclaimed liberty to your servants. Though they had done it (Jeremiah 34:10), yet they might truly be said not to have done it, because they did not stand to it, but undid it again; and factum non dicitur quod non perseveratthat is not said to be done which does not last. The righteousness that is forsaken and turned away from shall be forgotten, and not mentioned any more than if it had never been, Ezekiel 18:24. “Therefore I will proclaim a liberty for you; I will discharge you from my service, and put you out of my protection, which those forfeit that withdraw from their allegiance. You shall have liberty to choose which of these judgments you will be cut off by, sword, famine, or pestilence;” such a liberty as was offered to David, which put him into a great strait, 2 Samuel 24:14. Note, Those that will not be in subjection to the law of God put themselves into subjection to the wrath and curse of God. But this shows what liberty to sin really — it is but a liberty to the sorest judgments. 2. That, since they had brought their servants back into confinement in their houses, God would make them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth, where they should live in servitude, and, being strangers, could not expect the privileges of free-born subjects. 3. That, since they had broken the covenant which they ratified by a solemn imprecation, God would bring on them the evil which they imprecated upon themselves in case they should break it. out of their own mouth will he judge them, and so shall their doom be; the penalty of their bond shall be recovered, because they have not performed the condition; for so some read Jeremiah 34:18, “I will make the men which have transgressed my covenant as the calf which they cut in twain; I will divide them asunder as they divided it asunder.” 4. That, since they would not let go their servants out of the hands, God would deliver them into the hands of those that hated them, even the princes and nobles both of Judah and Jerusalem (of the country and of the city), the eunuchs (chamberlains, or great officers of the court), the priests, and all the people, Jeremiah 34:19. They had all dealt treacherously with God, and therefore shall all be involved in the common ruin without exception. They shall all be given unto the hand of their enemies, that seek, not their wealth only, or their service, but their life, and they shall have what they seek; but neither shall that content them: when they have their lives they shall leave their dead bodies unburied, a loathsome spectacle to all mankind and an easy prey to the fowls and beasts, a lasting mark of ignominy being hereby fastened on them, Jeremiah 34:20. 5. That, since they had emboldened themselves in returning to their sin, contrary to their covenant, by the retreat of the Chaldean army from them, God would therefore bring it upon them again: “They have now gone up from you, and your fright is over for the present, but I will command them to face about as they were; they shall return to this city, and take it and burn it,Jeremiah 34:22. Note, (1.) As confidence in God is a hopeful presage of approaching deliverance, so security in sin is a sad omen of approaching destruction. (2.) When judgments are removed from a people before they have done their work, leave them, but leave them unhumbled and unreformed, it is cum animo revertendiwith a design to return; they do but retreat to come on again with so much the greater force; for when God judges he will overcome. (3.) It is just with God to disappoint those expectations of mercy which his providence had given cause for when we disappoint those expectations of duty which our professions, pretensions, and fair promises, had given cause for. If we repent of the good we had purposed, God will repent of the good he had purposed. With the froward thou will show thyself froward.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Jeremiah 34:8

[This is] the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who [were] at Jerusalem, (d) to proclaim liberty to them;

(d) When the enemy was at hand and they saw themselves in danger, they would seem holy, and so began some kind of reformation: but soon after they uttered their hypocrisy.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

2 Kings 11:17 And Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they should be the LORD'S people; between the king also and the people.
2 Kings 23:2-3 And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD. ... And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all [their] heart and all [their] soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.
2 Chronicles 15:12-15 And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; ... And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about.
2 Chronicles 23:16 And Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be the LORD'S people.
2 Chronicles 29:10 Now [it is] in mine heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us.
2 Chronicles 34:30-33 And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the LORD. ... And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that [pertained] to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, [even] to serve the LORD their God. [And] all his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers.
Nehemiah 9:38 And because of all this we make a sure [covenant], and write [it]; and our princes, Levites, [and] priests, seal [unto it].
Nehemiah 10:1-27 Now those that sealed [were], Nehemiah, the Tirshatha, the son of Hachaliah, and Zidkijah, ... Malluch, Harim, Baanah.

to proclaim:

Jeremiah 34:14 At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear.
Jeremiah 34:17 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the LORD, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.
Exodus 21:2-4 If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. ... If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.
Exodus 23:10-11 And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: ... But the seventh [year] thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, [and] with thy oliveyard.
Leviticus 25:10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout [all] the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
Leviticus 25:39-46 And if thy brother [that dwelleth] by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: ... And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit [them for] a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.
Deuteronomy 15:12 [And] if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.
Nehemiah 5:1-13 And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. ... Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.
Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;
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Ex 21:2; 23:10. Lv 25:10, 39. Dt 15:12. 2K 11:17; 23:2. 2Ch 15:12; 23:16; 29:10; 34:30. Ne 5:1; 9:38; 10:1. Is 61:1. Jr 34:14, 17.

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