Ebed-melech the Ethiopian (Jer 38:7-38:9)

“Ebed-melech

The Ethiopian,

A eunuch,

In the king’s house,

Heard

That they had put Jeremiah

Into the cistern.

The king happened

To be sitting

At the Benjamin Gate.

Ebed-melech left

The king’s house.

He spoke to the king.

‘My lord king!

These men have acted

Wickedly in all

That they did

To the prophet Jeremiah.

They have cast him

Into the cistern

To die there of hunger.

There is no bread

Left in the city.’”

Ebed-melech was an Ethiopian or Cushite eunuch in King Zedekiah’s house. Eunuchs normally controlled the harem for the king. Thus he was a foreign confidant of the king. When he heard about what happened to Jeremiah, he went to the king who was sitting at the Benjamin Gate on the north side of Jerusalem. He told the king that these officials had acted wickedly by casting the prophet Jeremiah into a well to starve him to death. He was not aware that the king had given his okay to these royal officials. Ebed-melech was afraid that Jeremiah would starve to death, since there was so little bread in the city of Jerusalem.

 

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