5 King Tzidkiyahu replied, “He is in your hands; the king cannot oppose you in anything!”
va-YO-mer ha-ME-lekh tzid-ki-YA-hu hi-nay HU b’-yed-KHEM kee AYN ha-ME-lekh yu-KHAL et-KHEM da-VAR
ה וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ צִדְקִיָּהוּ הִנֵּה־הוּא בְּיֶדְכֶם כִּי־אֵין הַמֶּלֶךְ יוּכַל אֶתְכֶם דָּבָר׃
38:5 The king cannot oppose you in anything
Among the tragedies of Israel’s downfall is the reign of the final king of David’s dynasty, Tzidkiyahu. Unlike his predecessors who were genuinely wicked, Tzidkiyahu is good at heart, as suggested by his name Tzidkiyahu, which comes from the word tzedek (צדק), ‘righteousness.’ He secretly tries to support Yirmiyahu (see Jeremiah 37:21) and repeatedly inquires of the word of Hashem (21:2; 37:17; 38:14). However, Tzidkiyahu does not heed Yirmiyahu’s plea to submit to Babylonia, as he is weak and unable to oppose his officers. They desire to kill Yirmiyahu for preaching against Israel, and argue that his words weaken the resolve of the people to keep fighting. By listening to his officers instead of the prophet, his fate and that of the people are sealed. Had Tzidkiyahu repented and led the people to follow God’s word, they would have been able to avert the disaster and remain in Israel, God’s Land.