Jeremiah 29:2

2. After that Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem;

2. Postquam egressus fuerat Jechaniah rex et domina (id est, regina, mater ejus,) et proceres, principes Jehudah et Jerusalem, et artifex et sculptor ex Jerusalem;


He mentions the time when the book was sent, even after the calamity which had happened, when King Jeconiah and his mother were driven into exile, and Zedekiah, his successor, was made governor in his place, as we shall presently see. It was then during these beginnings of a change that Jeremiah wrote. All things were then in such a ferment, that some feared more than what was necessary, and others entertained vain hopes, as the case usually is in a disordered state of things. It was then after this fresh calamity that Jeremiah wrote, as his words most especially shew. He might indeed, as in other instances, have mentioned the year; but as he plainly declares that this happened after the departure of Jeconiah, his purpose is sufficiently evident, even that he wished in due time to give some relief to their sorrow, who might have succumbed under it, had not God in a manner stretched forth his hand to them. For we know that fresh grief is difficult to be borne; and hence it is that it is called a bitter grief; for it was a grievous novelty, when they were violently and suddenly dragged out of their quiet nests. It was then Jeremiah's object at that time to give them some comfort; he also saw that those who were left in Judea were greatly disturbed and continually agitating new schemes; for Zedekiah's kingdom was not as yet established, and they despised him and were ever looking for their own king. As, then, things were thus in disorder at home, and as the miserable exiles especially, were at first very grievously afflicted, Jeremiah set before them a seasonable remedy. This then is the reason why he points out the time.

The mother of Jeconiah, we know, was led away with him into captivity; and she is called, hrybgh, egebire;1 for though she was not properly the queen, she yet ruled in connection with her son. Some render Myoyro, sarisim, eunuchs;2 but I prefer the word "chiefs;" and hence is added the word yrs, shari, princes, that is, the courtiers, who governed the people, not only in Jerusalem, but through the whole of Judea. He also adds the artificers and sculptors, 3 for Nebuchadnezzar had chosen the best of them; he had deprived the city of its nobles, that there might be none of authority among the Jews to venture on any new attempt; and then he had taken away those who were useful and ingenious, so that he left them no sculptors nor artificers. It now follows, --

1 Rendered "governess" or lady -- "domina," by the Vulg.; but "queen" by the Sept., the Syr., and the Targ. It was a title most commonly given to the queen-mother. -- Ed.

2 The Versions have "eunuchs," but the Targ., "princes." The word means an officer or an attendant on a sovereign. It is rendered "officer" in Genesis 37:36; and "chamberlain" in Esther 2:3. That such officers were often eunuchs there can be no doubt, but the word does not designate such a thing. -- Ed.

3 See note on Chapter 24:1