The Babylonian officials in Jerusalem (Jer 39:3-39:3)

“When Jerusalem was taken,

All the officials

Of the king of Babylon

Came into Jerusalem.

They sat in the middle gate.

There was

Nergal-sharezer,

Samgar-nebo,

Sarsechim the Rabsaris,

Nergal-sharezer the Rabmag,

With all the rest

Of the officers

Of the king of Babylon.”

On this same day that the Babylonian officials took over Jerusalem, they sat at the Middle Gate. Although these officials and generals were not named in 2 Kings, chapter 25, they are mentioned here. Nergal-sharezer was some kind of hero general. There was also someone with the same name that had the title Rabmag that indicates that he was chief of the Assyrian priests. Samgar-nebo may have been the famous cup bearer for the king or the name of some Babylonian deity.   Sarsechim was the Rabsaris, the chief of the eunuchs. These are the only people mentioned, but there were other officials there, after they had conquered the lower part of Jerusalem.

The officials meet in Jerusalem (Is 36:2-36:3)

“The king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh

With a great army,

From Lachish

To King Hezekiah at Jerusalem.

He stood by the conduit of the upper pool,

On the highway to Fuller’s Field.

There came out to them Eliakim,

Son of Hilkiah,

Who was in charge of the palace,

Shebnah the secretary,

With Joah son of Asaph,

The recorder.”

This is a lot like 2 Kings, chapter 18, except that there is no mention of the Tartan General Rabsaris here.   The king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh, who was his chief steward or cup bearer, from Lachish to Jerusalem with a big army. King Hezekiah sent out the man in charge of his palace, Eliakim, his secretary, Shebnah, and his recorder, Joah. They met at the upper pool near Fuller’s Field. This Fuller’s Field on the northwest side of Jerusalem must have been well known. A “fuller” is someone who works with cloth to get it the right color. Thus near a pool sounds about right. The names Eliakim and Joah refer to 4 other people in biblical literature, other than these two men. However, the name Shebnah only appears in this story.