Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
Jer. 52 is an historical appendix to the Book of Jeremiah, giving details of the capture of Babylon additional to those contained in Jer. 39: The last words of the foregoing chapter affirm that Jeremiah was not the author, and the view adopted by most commentators is, that this chapter is taken from the 2nd Book of Kings, but that the person who added it here had access to other valuable documents, and made several modifications in it, the principal being the substituation of the account of those led captive by Nebuchadnezzar Jer 52:28-30, for the narrative given in Kg2 25:22-26, where see the notes.
It - i. e., Zedekiah's evil doing.
Presence, that Zedekiah - Or, punctuate; "presence. And Zedekiah" etc.
Broken up ... the plain - Or, "broken into ... the Arabah" Deu 1:1.
Put him in prison ... - Not found in 2 Kings, for in the contemporaneous history what befell Zedekiah at Riblah would alone be known. It was no doubt added by the same hand which inserted the account of the deportations to Babylon.
Served - The word implies high office.
Houses of the great - Rather, every great house; i. e., the larger houses only.
Certain of the poor of the people, and - Omit (as in Kg2 25:11), being inserted through some confusion with Jer 52:16.
Multitude - Possibly workmen. The object of Nebuchadnezzar was to people Babylon, not with paupers, but with men of a better class, artisans and workmen, who would enrich it.
Husbandmen - Men who tilled little plots of ground with the mattock.
twelve brasen bulls that were under - Omitted in 2 Kings and in Jer 27:19. Probably rightly, for what is said here of their being under the bases is a mistake. The bases were under the ten lavers. The Septuagint makes sense by translating it: "the twelve brasen bulls under the sea."
The fillet means a measuring line; the pillars were 12 cubits, i. e., 18 feet, in circumference, and thus the diameter would be 5 feet 9 inches. As the brass was four fingers, i. e., scarcely four inches thick, the hollow center would be more than five feet in diameter.
On a side - The 96 were toward the four winds, 24 toward the north, 24 toward the east, and so on. Add one at each corner, and the whole 100 is made up.
An eunuch ... men of war - Or, who had charge of men of war. The King James Version makes him commander-in-chief; he was second in command, i. e., a lieutenant, possibly one among many others of equal rank.
Seventh year - The suggestion is now generally received, that the word ten has dropped out before seven, and that the deportations mentioned here are all connected with the final war against Zedekiah. The calculation of Nebuchadnezzars reign is different from that used elsewhere, showing that the writer had access to a document not known to the compiler of the Book of Kings. In each date there is a difference of one year. The Septuagint omits Jer 52:28-30.
The number of the exiles carried away is small compared with the 42,360 men who returned Ezr 2:64-65, leaving a large Jewish population behind at Babylon. But a continual drain of people from Judaea was going on, and the 10,000 carried away with Jehoiachin formed the nucleus and center, and gave tone to the whole (see Kg2 24:14). When they began to thrive in Babylon, large numbers would emigrate there of their own accord.
A comparison of this chapter with the parallel portion of 2 Kings shows that though not free from clerical errors and mistakes of copyists the body of the text is remarkably sound. Many of the differences between the two texts are abbreviations made purposely by the compiler of the Book of Kings; others are the result of negligence; and upon the whole the text of the Book of Kings is inferior to that of the Appendix to the Book of Jeremiah. Bearing in mind, however, that possibly they are not two transcripts of the same text, but the result of an independent use by two different writers of the same original authority, their complete agreement, except in trivial matters and mistakes easy of correction, is a satisfactory proof of the general trust-worthiness of the Masoretic Text in all more important particulars.