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Jeremiah 38:22-23

Context
38:22 All the women who are left in the royal palace of Judah will be led out to the officers of the king of Babylon. They will taunt you saying, 1 

‘Your trusted friends misled you;

they have gotten the best of you.

Now that your feet are stuck in the mud,

they have turned their backs on you.’ 2 

38:23 “All your wives and your children will be turned over to the Babylonians. 3  You yourself will not escape from them but will be captured by the 4  king of Babylon. This city will be burned down.” 5 

1 tn Heb “And they will say.” The words “taunt you” are supplied in the translation to give the flavor of the words that follow.

2 tn Heb “The men of your friendship incited you and prevailed over you. Your feet are sunk in the mud. They turned backward.” The term “men of your friendship” (cf. BDB 1023 s.v. שָׁלוֹם 5.a) is used to refer to Jeremiah’s “so-called friends” in 20:10, to the trusted friend who deserted the psalmist in Ps 41:10, and to the allies of Edom in Obad 7. According to most commentators it refers here to the false prophets and counselors who urged the king to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar. The verb translated “misled” is a verb that often refers to inciting or instigating someone to do something, often with negative connotations (so BDB 694 s.v. סוּת Hiph.2). It is generally translated “deceive” or “mislead” in 2 Kgs 18:32; 2 Chr 32:11, 15. Here it refers to the fact that his pro-Egyptian counselors induced him to rebel. They have proven too powerful for him and prevailed on him (יָכֹל לְ, yakhol lÿ; see BDB 408 s.v. יָכֹל 2.b) to follow a policy which will prove detrimental to him, his family, and the city. The phrase “your feet are sunk in the mud” is figurative for being entangled in great difficulties (so BDB 371 s.v. טָבַע Hoph and compare the usage in the highly figurative description of trouble in Ps 69:2 [69:3 HT]).

sn The taunt song here refers to the fact that Zedekiah had been incited into rebellion by pro-Egyptian nobles in his court who prevailed on him to seek aid from the new Egyptian Pharaoh in 589 b.c. and withhold tribute from Nebuchadnezzar. This led to the downfall of the city which is depicted in Jeremiah’s vision from the standpoint of its effects on the king himself and his family.

3 tn Heb “Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for explanation.

4 tn Heb “you yourself will not escape from their hand but will be seized by [caught in] the hand of the king of Babylon.” Neither use of “hand” is natural to the English idiom.

5 tc This translation follows the reading of the Greek version and a few Hebrew mss. The majority of the Hebrew mss read “and you will burn down this city.” This reading is accepted by the majority of modern commentaries and English versions. Few of the commentaries, however, bother to explain the fact that the particle אֶת (’et), which normally marks the accusative object, is functioning here as the subject. For this point of grammar see BDB 85 s.v. I אֵת 1.b. Or this may be another case where אֵת introduces a new subject (see BDB 85 s.v. אֵת 3.α and see usage in 27:8; 36:22).



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