Jeremiah is sent to Gedaliah (Jer 39:13-39:14)

“So Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Nebu-shazban the Rabsaris,

Nergal-sharezer the Rabmag,

With all the chief officers

Of the king of Babylon

Sent for Jeremiah.

They took him

From the court of the guard.

They entrusted him

To Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam,

The son of Shaphan.

They brought him home.

So he stayed

With his own people.”

Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, and presumably the man in charge on the ground in Jerusalem, gathered the other Babylonian officials together. Two are named here. One is the same as mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, Nergal-sharezer the Rabmag, who was in charge of the Assyrian priests or religious element of Babylon. On the other hand, Nebu-shazban the Rabsaris has the same title as Sarsechim, Rabsaris, earlier in this chapter. The Rabsaris was in charge of the eunuchs, but the name is different here. Are they the same people with different names or two different people? Anyway, they take Jeremiah from the royal prison, presumably before they burn the royal palace down. They hand him over to Gedaliah. His father and grandfather, Ahikam and Shaphan had been loyal to the various prophets. Shaphan went back to the days of King Josiah (640-609 BCE) and his religious reform. Ahikam had protected Jeremiah during the reign of King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) as in chapter 26 of this book. His brother Gemariah had helped Jeremiah in chapter 36. Thus Ahikam’s son Gedaliah seemed like the right person to protect Jeremiah.

The future death of the people of Judah and Jerusalem (Jer 34:19-34:20)

“The officials of Judah,

The officials of Jerusalem,

The eunuchs,

The priests,

With all the people

Of the land,

Who passed between

The parts of the calf,

Shall be handed over

To their enemies.

They shall be handed over

To those who seek

Their lives.

Their corpses

Shall be food

For the birds

Of the air

As well as the wild animals

Of the earth.”

All the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the eunuchs and the priests, would be handed over to their enemies, who wanted to kill them. The same goes true also for all the people who were part of that agreement to free the Hebrew slaves, when they passed through the 2 parts of the calf. Thus they would all die. Their dead bodies would become the food for the birds of the air or the wild animals of the earth.

Queen Vashti refuses to come to the party (Esth 1:12-1:20)

“However, Queen Vashti refused to obey King Artaxerxes. She would not come with the eunuchs. This offended the king. He became furious. He said to his friends.

‘This is how Queen Vashti had answered me.

Give therefore your ruling and judgment on this matter.’

This was the king’s procedure to consult the sages who knew the law and custom. Arkesaeus, Sarathaeus, and Malesar were the governors of the Persians and the Medes. They were closest to the king as they sat beside him in the chief seats. They told him what must be done to Queen Vashti for not obeying the order that the king had sent her by the eunuchs. Then Muchaeus said to the king and the princes, as he had reported to them what the queen had said and how she had deified the king.

‘Queen Vashti has insulted not only the king,

But also the king’s governors and officials.

Just as she defiled King Artaxerxes,

So now she defiles the other ladies,

The wives of the Persian and Median governors,

On hearing what she said to the king,

They will likewise dare to insult their husbands.

King Artaxerxes commanded Queen Vashti

To be brought before him,

And she did not come.

If, therefore, it pleases the king,

Let him issue a royal decree,

Inscribed with the laws of the Medes and the Persians,

So that it may not be altered.

Queen Vashti may no longer come

Into the presence of King Artaxerxes.

Let the king give her royal rank to a woman better than she.

Let whatever law the king enacts be proclaimed to his kingdom.

Thus all women will give honor to their husbands,

Rich and poor alike.’”

There is a difference between the Hebrew and the Greek text. In the Hebrew text there are 7 princes of Persia and Media instead of 3 governors as here in the Greek text. The names are completely different. In both texts, Memucan, or as here Muchaeus, has a proposal for the king. However, in the Hebrew text, Memucan was one of the 7 princes. Here this Muchaeus just comes on the scene without any identification. The queen has defiled the king by not obeying. She has set a bad example for the wives of the other princes. He wants her dismissed. It is not clear why the king would want to get rid of his wife for just this one incident. There must have been other things going on.