Jeremiah chapter 37

Jeremiah’s message to king Zedekiah. Jeremiah is arrested and tortured and thrown in a dungeon. King Zedekiah asks Jeremiah a favor.





VERSE 1. Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned as king, instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah.

Zedekiah the son of Josiah. He had been placed on the throne as a vassal king by Nebuchadnezzar. And would be the last king of Judah.


VERSE 2. But neither he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land, listened to the LORD’s words, which he spoke by the prophet Jeremiah.

spoke by the prophet Jeremiah. Nobody is listening to Jeremiah.


VERSE 3. Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “Pray now to the LORD our God for us.”

Pray now to the LORD our God for us. Zedekiah had ignored and opposed Jeremiah. Now Zedekiah asks Jeremiah for a favor. This self-centered behavior is typical of people in positions of leadership, whether secular or church.


VERSE 4. Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the people; for they had not put him into prison.


VERSE 5. Pharaoh’s army had come out of Egypt; and when the Kasdim who were besieging Jerusalem heard news of them, they broke up from Jerusalem.

Pharaoh’s army. This army had been sent by Pharaoh Hophra.

they broke up from Jerusalem. Pharaoh’s army distracted the Chaldeans from their siege of Jerusalem.


VERSE 6. Then the LORD’s word came to the prophet Jeremiah, saying,


VERSE 7. “The LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘You shall tell the king of Judah, who sent you to me to inquire of me: “Behold, Pharaoh’s army, which has come out to help you, will return to Egypt into their own land.


VERSE 8. The Kasdim will come again, and fight against this city. They will take it and burn it with fire.” ’


VERSE 9. “The LORD says, ‘Don’t deceive yourselves, saying, “The Kasdim will surely depart from us;” for they will not depart.


VERSE 10. For though you had struck the whole army of the Kasdim who fight against you, and only wounded men remained among them, they would each rise up in his tent and burn this city with fire.’ ”




VERSE 11. When the army of the Kasdim had broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh’s army,


VERSE 12. then Jeremiah went out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to receive his portion there, in the middle of the people.


VERSE 13. When he was in Benjamin’s gate, a captain of the guard was there, whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are defecting to the Kasdim!”

You are defecting to the Kasdim! Captain Irijah was lying. Jeremiah was NOT deserting. He was NOT defecting.

It was a false accusation. Here, by means of one simple false accusation, Jeremiah is finally thrown into the dungeon and effectively silenced.


VERSE 14. Then Jeremiah said, “That is false! I am not defecting to the Kasdim.” But he didn’t listen to him; so Irijah seized Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes.


VERSE 15. The princes were angry with Jeremiah, and struck him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe; for they had made that the prison.

The princes … struck him. The princes had Jeremiah tortured.

put him in prison. Jeremiah is imprisoned.

in the house of Jonathan the scribe. The prison was located in the house of Jonathan the secretary.

In the next chapter, Jeremiah will be thrown into another dungeon. It will be a cistern, and Jeremiah will sink into the mud:

Jeremiah 38:6. Then they took Jeremiah and threw him into the dungeon of Malchijah the king’s son, that was in the court of the guard. They let down Jeremiah with cords. In the dungeon there was no water, but mire; and Jeremiah sank in the mire.


VERSE 16. When Jeremiah had come into the dungeon house, and into the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days,

the dungeon house. Jeremiah’s prison is called “the dungeon house.”  It was a vaulted cell in a dungeon. (Literally “in the house of the cistern, in the vaulted rooms”). This was probably a complex of large, underground cisterns that had been converted into a prison.

Jeremiah had remained there many days. Jeremiah’s incarceration in the dungeon was for “many days.”




VERSE 17. then Zedekiah the king sent, and had him brought out. The king asked him secretly in his house, “Is there any word from the LORD?” Jeremiah said, “There is.” He also said, “You will be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.”

HCSB translation. King Zedekiah later sent for him and received him, and in his house privately asked him, “Is there a word from the Lord?” “There is,” Jeremiah responded, and he continued, “You will be handed over to the king of Babylon.”

asked him secretly in his house. King Zedekiah:

  • Had ignored Jeremiah
  • Allowed Jeremiah to be arrested
  • Allowed Jeremiah to be tortured
  • Allowed Jeremiah to be throw into a dungeon
  • Allowed Jeremiah to be detained in the dungeon “for many days”

Now King Zedekiah asks Jeremiah for a favor!

You will be handed over. This is a great summary of the ministry of Jeremiah. The king asks a question. And Jeremiah replies with the TRUTH, no matter how unwanted it would be.


VERSE 18. Moreover Jeremiah said to king Zedekiah, “How have I sinned against you, against your servants, or against this people, that you have put me in prison?

How have I sinned. Jeremiah used this opportunity of this audience with Zedekiah to protest his innocence. He asks what crime he had committed.


VERSE 19. Now where are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you, nor against this land?’


VERSE 20. Now please hear, my lord the king: please let my supplication be presented before you, that you not cause me to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there.”


VERSE 21. Then Zedekiah the king commanded, and they committed Jeremiah into the court of the guard. They gave him daily a loaf of bread out of the bakers’ street, until all the bread in the city was gone. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.

they committed Jeremiah into the court of the guard. Jeremiah is transferred from his imprisonment in the dungeon to imprisonment in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace.


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.