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Jeremiah 38:6

Context
38:6 So the officials 1  took Jeremiah and put him in the cistern 2  of Malkijah, one of the royal princes, 3  that was in the courtyard of the guardhouse. There was no water in the cistern, only mud. So when they lowered Jeremiah into the cistern with ropes he sank in the mud. 4 

Jeremiah 38:28

Context
38:28 So Jeremiah remained confined 5  in the courtyard of the guardhouse until the day Jerusalem 6  was captured.

The Fall of Jerusalem and Its Aftermath

The following events occurred when Jerusalem 7  was captured. 8 

1 tn Heb “they.”

2 sn A cistern was a pear-shaped pit with a narrow opening. Cisterns were cut or dug in the limestone rock and lined with plaster to prevent seepage. They were used to collect and store rain water or water carried up from a spring.

3 tn Heb “the son of the king.” See the translator’s note on Jer 36:26 for the rendering here.

4 tn Heb “And they let Jeremiah down with ropes and in the cistern there was no water, only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud.” The clauses have been reordered and restructured to create a more natural and smoother order in English.

5 tn Heb “And Jeremiah stayed/remained in the courtyard of the guardhouse…” The translation once again intends to reflect the situation. Jeremiah had a secret meeting with the king at the third entrance to the temple (v. 14). He was returned to the courtyard of the guardhouse (cf. v. 13) after the conversation with the king where the officials came to question him (v. 27). He was not sent back to the dungeon in Jonathan’s house as he feared, but was left confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse.

6 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

7 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

8 tc The precise meaning of this line and its relation to the context are somewhat uncertain. This line is missing from the Greek and Syriac versions and from a few Hebrew mss. Some English versions and commentaries omit it as a double writing of the final words of the preceding line (see, e.g., REB; W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 2:268). Others see it as misplaced from the beginning of 39:3 (see, e.g., NRSV, TEV, J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 245). The clause probably does belong syntactically with 39:3 (i.e., כַּאֲשֶׁר [kaasher] introduces a temporal clause which is resumed by the vav consecutive on וַיָּבֹאוּ (vayyavou; see BDB 455 s.v. כַּאֲשֶׁר 3), but it should not be moved there because there is no textual evidence for doing so. The intervening verses are to be interpreted as parenthetical, giving the background for the events that follow (see, e.g., the translation in D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 4:280). The chapter is not so much concerned with describing how Jerusalem fell as it is with contrasting the fate of Zedekiah who disregarded the word of the Lord with the fate of Jeremiah and that of Jeremiah’s benefactor Ebed Melech. The best way to treat the line without actually moving it before 39:3a is to treat it as a heading as has been done here.



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