34:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah while King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was attacking Jerusalem 1 and the towns around it with a large army. This army consisted of troops from his own army and from the kingdoms and peoples of the lands under his dominion. 2 34:2 The Lord God of Israel told Jeremiah 3 to go and give King Zedekiah of Judah a message. He told Jeremiah 4 to tell him, “The Lord says, ‘I am going to 5 hand this city over to the king of Babylon and he will burn it down. 34:3 You yourself will not escape his clutches, but will certainly be captured and handed over to him. You must confront the king of Babylon face to face and answer to him personally. 6 Then you must go to Babylon. 34:4 However, listen to what I, the Lord, promise you, King Zedekiah of Judah. I, the Lord, promise that 7 you will not die in battle or be executed. 8 34:5 You will die a peaceful death. They will burn incense at your burial just as they did at the burial of your ancestors, the former kings who preceded you. 9 They will mourn for you, saying, “Poor, poor master!” 10 Indeed, you have my own word on this. 11 I, the Lord, affirm it!’” 12
34:6 The prophet Jeremiah told all this to King Zedekiah of Judah in Jerusalem. 34:7 He did this while the army of the king of Babylon was attacking Jerusalem and the cities of Lachish and Azekah. He was attacking these cities because they were the only fortified cities of Judah which were still holding out. 13
2 tn Heb “The word which came to Jeremiah from the
sn It is difficult to assign dates to passages which have no dating formulas but there is sufficient detail in this passage to show that this incident occurred sometime early in the siege of Jerusalem while Jeremiah was still free to come and go (see v. 2 and compare 37:4 and see the second study note on 32:2). The Babylonian forces blockaded Jerusalem and attacked the outlying cities, reducing them one by one until Jerusalem had no further help. According to v. 7 Azekah and Lachish in the western foothills still held out and there is evidence from some of the correspondence from Lachish at this period that help was being sought from Egypt.
3 tn Heb “told him”; the referent (Jeremiah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
4 tn Heb “told him”; the referent (Jeremiah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
5 tn Heb 34:1 “The word which came to Jeremiah from the
6 tn Heb “Your eyes will see the eyes of the king of Babylon and his mouth will speak with your mouth.” For this same idiom in reverse order see 32:4 and consult the translator’s note there for the obligatory nuance given to the verbs.
sn For the fulfillment of this see Jer 52:7-11.
7 tn Heb “However, hear the word of the
8 tn Heb “by the sword.”
sn The contrast is between death in battle or by execution and death in the normal course of life. Zedekiah was captured, had to witness the execution of his sons, had his eyes put out, and was taken to Babylon where he died after a lengthy imprisonment (Jer 52:10-11).
9 tn Heb “And like the burning [of incense] for your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so will they burn [incense] for you.” The sentence has been reversed for easier style and the technical use of the terms interpreted.
sn For the custom referred to compare 2 Chr 16:14; 21:19.
11 tn Heb “For [or Indeed] I myself have spoken [this] word.”
12 tn Heb “Oracle of the
13 tn Heb “And the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and against all the cities of Judah which were left, [namely] against Lachish and Azekah for they alone were left of the cities of Judah as fortified cities.” The intent of this sentence is to serve as a circumstantial sentence to v. 6 (= “while the army…”). That thought is picked up by “he did this while….” The long complex sentence in v. 7 has been broken down and qualifying material placed in the proper places to convey the same information in shorter English sentences in conformity with contemporary English style.