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Jeremiah 38:6-7

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 

An Ethiopian Official Rescues Jeremiah from the Cistern

38:7 An Ethiopian, Ebed Melech, 5  a court official in the royal palace, heard that Jeremiah had been put 6  in the cistern. While the king was holding court 7  at the Benjamin Gate,

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 sn This individual, Ebed Melech, is mentioned only here. Later he will be promised deliverance from destruction when the city falls because he had shown trust in God (see Jer 39:16-18).

6 tn Heb “Ebed Melech, the Cushite, a man, an eunuch/official, and he was [= who was; a circumstantial clause] in the house of the king, heard that they had put Jeremiah…” The passive construction “Jeremiah had been put” has been used to avoid the indefinite subject “they” or the addition of “the officials.” For the translation of סָרִיס (saris) as “official” here rather than “eunuch” see the translator’s note on 29:2 and see also the usage in 34:19. For the translation of “Cushite” as Ethiopian see the study note on 13:23.

7 tn Heb “And the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate.” This clause is circumstantial to the following clause; thus “while the king was…” Most commentators agree that the reference to sitting in the gate here likely refers to the same kind of judicial context that has been posited for 26:10 (see the translator’s note there for further references). Hence the translation uses “sitting” with the more technical “holding court” to better reflect the probable situation.



TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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