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Jeremiah 21:8-9

Context

21:8 “But 1  tell the people of Jerusalem 2  that the Lord says, ‘I will give you a choice between two courses of action. One will result in life; the other will result in death. 3  21:9 Those who stay in this city will die in battle or of starvation or disease. Those who leave the city and surrender to the Babylonians who are besieging it will live. They will escape with their lives. 4 

1 tn Heb “And/But unto this people you shall say…” “But” is suggested here by the unusual word order which offsets what they are to say to Zedekiah (v. 3).

2 tn Heb “these people.”

3 tn Heb “Behold I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death.”

4 tn Heb “his life will be to him for spoil.”

sn Spoil was what was carried off by the victor (see, e.g., Judg 5:30). Those who surrendered to the Babylonians would lose their property, their freedom, and their citizenship but would at least escape with their lives. Jeremiah was branded a traitor for this counsel (cf. 38:4) but it was the way of wisdom since the Lord was firmly determined to destroy the city (cf. v. 10).



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