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Jeremiah 40:1--44:30

Context
Jeremiah Is Set Free A Second Time

40:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah 1  after Nebuzaradan the captain of the royal guard had set him free at Ramah. 2  He had taken him there in chains 3  along with all the people from Jerusalem 4  and Judah who were being carried off to exile to Babylon. 40:2 The captain of the royal guard took Jeremiah aside and said to him, “The Lord your God threatened this place with this disaster. 40:3 Now he has brought it about. The Lord has done just as he threatened to do. This disaster has happened because you people sinned against the Lord and did not obey him. 5  40:4 But now, Jeremiah, today I will set you free 6  from the chains on your wrists. If you would like to come to Babylon with me, come along and I will take care of you. 7  But if you prefer not to come to Babylon with me, you are not required to do so. 8  You are free to go anywhere in the land you want to go. 9  Go wherever you choose.” 10  40:5 Before Jeremiah could turn to leave, the captain of the guard added, “Go back 11  to Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon appointed to govern 12  the towns of Judah. Go back and live with him 13  among the people. Or go wherever else you choose.” Then the captain of the guard gave Jeremiah some food and a present and let him go. 40:6 So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah 14  and lived there with him. He stayed there to live among the people who had been left in the land of Judah. 15 

A Small Judean Province is Established at Mizpah

40:7 Now some of the officers of the Judean army and their troops had been hiding in the countryside. They heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam to govern 16  the country. They also heard that he had been put in charge over the men, women, and children from the poorer classes of the land who had not been carried off into exile in Babylon. 17  40:8 So 18  all these officers and their troops came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. The officers who came were Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah son of the Maacathite. 19  40:9 Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, took an oath so as to give them and their troops some assurance of safety. 20  “Do not be afraid to submit to the Babylonians. 21  Settle down in the land and submit to the king of Babylon. Then things will go well for you. 40:10 I for my part will stay at Mizpah to represent you before the Babylonians 22  whenever they come to us. You for your part go ahead and harvest the wine, the dates, the figs, 23  and the olive oil, and store them in jars. Go ahead and settle down in the towns that you have taken over.” 24  40:11 Moreover, all the Judeans who were in Moab, Ammon, Edom, and all the other countries heard what had happened. They heard that the king of Babylon had allowed some people to stay in Judah and that he had appointed Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, to govern them. 40:12 So all these Judeans returned to the land of Judah from the places where they had been scattered. They came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. Thus they harvested a large amount of wine and dates and figs. 25 

Ishmael Murders Gedaliah and Carries the Judeans at Mizpah off as Captives

40:13 Johanan and all the officers of the troops that had been hiding in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. 40:14 They said to him, “Are you at all aware 26  that King Baalis of Ammon has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to kill you?” But Gedaliah son of Ahikam would not believe them. 40:15 Then Johanan son of Kareah spoke privately to Gedaliah there at Mizpah, “Let me go and kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah before anyone knows about it. Otherwise he will kill you 27  and all the Judeans who have rallied around you will be scattered. Then what remains of Judah will disappear.” 40:16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, “Do not do that 28  because what you are saying about Ishmael is not true.” 29 

41:1 But in the seventh month 30  Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama who was a member of the royal family and had been one of Zedekiah’s chief officers, came with ten of his men to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah. While they were eating a meal together with him there at Mizpah, 41:2 Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him stood up, pulled out their swords, and killed Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan. Thus Ishmael killed the man that the king of Babylon had appointed to govern the country. 41:3 Ishmael also killed all the Judeans 31  who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah and the Babylonian 32  soldiers who happened to be there. 33 

41:4 On the day after Gedaliah had been murdered, before anyone even knew about it, 41:5 eighty men arrived from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria. 34  They had shaved off their beards, torn their clothes, and cut themselves to show they were mourning. 35  They were carrying grain offerings and incense to present at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. 36  41:6 Ishmael son of Nethaniah went out from Mizpah to meet them. He was pretending to cry 37  as he walked along. When he met them, he said to them, “Come with me to meet Gedaliah son of Ahikam.” 38  41:7 But as soon as they were inside the city, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the men who were with him slaughtered them and threw their bodies 39  in a cistern. 41:8 But there were ten men among them who said 40  to Ishmael, “Do not kill us. For we will give you the stores of wheat, barley, olive oil, and honey we have hidden in a field. 41  So he spared their lives and did not kill 42  them along with the rest. 43  41:9 Now the cistern where Ishmael threw all the dead bodies of those he had killed was a large one 44  that King Asa had constructed as part of his defenses against King Baasha of Israel. 45  Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled it with dead bodies. 46  41:10 Then Ishmael took captive all the people who were still left alive in Mizpah. This included the royal princesses 47  and all the rest of the people in Mizpah that Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard, had put under the authority of Gedaliah son of Ahikam. Ishmael son of Nethaniah took all these people captive and set out to cross over to the Ammonites.

Johanan Rescues the People Ishmael Had Carried Off

41:11 Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers who were with him heard about all the atrocities 48  that Ishmael son of Nethaniah had committed. 41:12 So they took all their troops and went to fight against Ishmael son of Nethaniah. They caught up with him near the large pool 49  at Gibeon. 41:13 When all the people that Ishmael had taken captive saw 50  Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers with him, they were glad. 41:14 All those people that Ishmael had taken captive from Mizpah turned and went over to Johanan son of Kareah. 41:15 But Ishmael son of Nethaniah managed to escape from Johanan along with eight of his men, and he went on over to Ammon.

41:16 Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers who were with him led off all the people who had been left alive at Mizpah. They had rescued them from Ishmael son of Nethaniah after he killed Gedaliah son of Ahikam. They led off the men, women, children, soldiers, and court officials whom they had brought away from Gibeon. 41:17 They set out to go to Egypt to get away from the Babylonians, 51  but stopped at Geruth Kimham 52  near Bethlehem. 53  41:18 They were afraid of what the Babylonians might do 54  because Ishmael son of Nethaniah had killed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had appointed to govern the country.

The Survivors Ask the Lord for Advice but Refuse to Follow It

42:1 Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah 55  and all the people of every class, 56  went to the prophet Jeremiah. 42:2 They said to him, “Please grant our request 57  and pray to the Lord your God for all those of us who are still left alive here. 58  For, as you yourself can see, there are only a few of us left out of the many there were before. 59  42:3 Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.” 42:4 The prophet Jeremiah answered them, “Agreed! 60  I will indeed pray to the Lord your God as you have asked. I will tell you everything the Lord replies in response to you. 61  I will not keep anything back from you.” 42:5 They answered Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not do just as 62  the Lord sends you to tell us to do. 42:6 We will obey what the Lord our God to whom we are sending you tells us to do. It does not matter whether we like what he tells us or not. We will obey what he tells us to do so that things will go well for us.” 63 

42:7 Ten days later the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. 42:8 So Jeremiah summoned Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers who were with him and all the people of every class. 64  42:9 Then Jeremiah said to them, “You sent me to the Lord God of Israel to make your request known to him. Here is what he says to you: 65  42:10 ‘If you will just stay 66  in this land, I will build you up. I will not tear you down. I will firmly plant you. 67  I will not uproot you. For I am filled with sorrow because of the disaster that I have brought on you. 42:11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon whom you now fear. 68  Do not be afraid of him because I will be with you to save you and to rescue you from his power. I, the Lord, affirm it! 69  42:12 I will have compassion on you so that he in turn will have mercy on you and allow you to return to your land.’

42:13 “You must not disobey the Lord your God by saying, ‘We will not stay in this land.’ 42:14 You must not say, ‘No, we will not stay. Instead we will go and live in the land of Egypt where we will not face war, 70  or hear the enemy’s trumpet calls, 71  or starve for lack of food.’ 72  42:15 If you people who remain in Judah do that, then listen to what the Lord says. The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 73  says, ‘If you are so determined 74  to go to Egypt that you go and settle there, 42:16 the wars you fear will catch up with you there in the land of Egypt. The starvation you are worried about will follow you there to 75  Egypt. You will die there. 76  42:17 All the people who are determined to go and settle in Egypt will die from war, starvation, or disease. No one will survive or escape the disaster I will bring on them.’ 42:18 For 77  the Lord God of Israel who rules over all 78  says, ‘If you go to Egypt, I will pour out my wrath on you just as I poured out my anger and wrath on the citizens of Jerusalem. 79  You will become an object of horror and ridicule, an example of those who have been cursed and that people use in pronouncing a curse. 80  You will never see this place again.’ 81 

42:19 “The Lord has told you people who remain in Judah, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Be very sure of this: I warn you 82  here and now. 83  42:20 You are making a fatal mistake. 84  For you sent me to the Lord your God and asked me, ‘Pray to the Lord our God for us. Tell us what the Lord our God says and we will do it.’ 85  42:21 This day 86  I have told you what he said. 87  But you do not want to obey the Lord by doing what he sent me to tell you. 88  42:22 So now be very sure of this: You will die from war, starvation, or disease in the place where you want to go and live.”

43:1 Jeremiah finished telling all the people all these things the Lord their God had sent him to tell them. 89  43:2 Then Azariah 90  son of Hoshaiah, Johanan son of Kareah, and other arrogant men said to Jeremiah, “You are telling a lie! The Lord our God did not send you to tell us, ‘You must not go to Egypt and settle there.’ 43:3 But Baruch son of Neriah is stirring you up against us. 91  He wants to hand us over 92  to the Babylonians 93  so that they will kill us or carry us off into exile in Babylon.” 43:4 So Johanan son of Kareah, all the army officers, and all the rest of the people did not obey the Lord’s command to stay in the land. 43:5 Instead Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers led off all the Judean remnant who had come back to live in the land of Judah from all the nations where they had been scattered. 94  43:6 They also led off all the men, women, children, and royal princesses 95  that Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard, had left with Gedaliah, 96  the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan. This included the prophet Jeremiah and Baruch son of Neriah. 43:7 They went on to Egypt 97  because they refused to obey the Lord, and came to Tahpanhes. 98 

Jeremiah Predicts that Nebuchadnezzar Will Plunder Egypt and Its Gods

43:8 At Tahpanhes the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. 99  43:9 “Take some large stones 100  and bury them in the mortar of the clay pavement 101  at the entrance of Pharaoh’s residence 102  here in Tahpanhes. Do it while the people of Judah present there are watching. 103  43:10 Then tell them, 104  ‘The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 105  says, “I will bring 106  my servant 107  King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I will set his throne over these stones which I 108  have buried. He will pitch his royal tent 109  over them. 43:11 He will come and attack Egypt. Those who are destined to die of disease will die of disease. Those who are destined to be carried off into exile will be carried off into exile. Those who are destined to die in war will die in war. 110  43:12 He will set fire 111  to the temples of the gods of Egypt. He will burn their gods or carry them off as captives. 112  He will pick Egypt clean like a shepherd picks the lice from his clothing. 113  He will leave there unharmed. 114  43:13 He will demolish the sacred pillars in the temple of the sun 115  in Egypt and will burn down the temples of the gods of Egypt.”’”

The Lord Will Punish the Judean Exiles in Egypt for Their Idolatry

44:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah concerning 116  all the Judeans who were living in the land of Egypt, those in Migdol, Tahpanhes, Memphis, and in the region of southern Egypt. 117  44:2 “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 118  says, ‘You have seen all the disaster I brought on Jerusalem 119  and all the towns of Judah. Indeed, they now lie in ruins and are deserted. 120  44:3 This happened because of the wickedness the people living there did. 121  They made me angry 122  by worshiping and offering sacrifice to 123  other gods whom neither they nor you nor your ancestors 124  previously knew. 125  44:4 I sent my servants the prophets to you people over and over 126  again warning you not to do this disgusting thing I hate. 127  44:5 But the people of Jerusalem and Judah 128  would not listen or pay any attention. They would not stop the wickedness they were doing nor quit sacrificing to other gods. 129  44:6 So my anger and my wrath were poured out and burned like a fire through the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. That is why they have become the desolate ruins that they are today.’

44:7 “So now the Lord, the God who rules over all, the God of Israel, 130  asks, ‘Why will you do such great harm to yourselves? Why should every man, woman, child, and baby of yours be destroyed from the midst of Judah? Why should you leave yourselves without a remnant? 44:8 That is what will result from your making me angry by what you are doing. 131  You are making me angry by sacrificing to other gods here in the land of Egypt where you live. You will be destroyed for doing that! You will become an example used in curses 132  and an object of ridicule among all the nations of the earth. 133  44:9 Have you forgotten all the wicked things that have been done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem by your ancestors, by the kings of Judah and their 134  wives, by you and your wives? 44:10 To this day your people 135  have shown no contrition! They have not revered me nor followed the laws and statutes I commanded 136  you and your ancestors.’

44:11 “Because of this, the Lord God of Israel who rules over all says, ‘I am determined to bring disaster on you, 137  even to the point of destroying all the Judeans here. 138  44:12 I will see to it that all the Judean remnant that was determined to go 139  and live in the land of Egypt will be destroyed. Here in the land of Egypt they will fall in battle 140  or perish from starvation. People of every class 141  will die in war or from starvation. They will become an object of horror and ridicule, an example of those who have been cursed and that people use in pronouncing a curse. 142  44:13 I will punish those who live in the land of Egypt with war, starvation, and disease just as I punished Jerusalem. 44:14 None of the Judean remnant who have come to live in the land of Egypt will escape or survive to return to the land of Judah. Though they long to return and live there, none of them shall return except a few fugitives.’” 143 

44:15 Then all the men who were aware that their wives were sacrificing to other gods, as well as all their wives, answered Jeremiah. There was a great crowd of them representing all the people who lived in northern and southern Egypt. 144  They answered, 44:16 “We will not listen to what you claim the Lord has spoken to us! 145  44:17 Instead we will do everything we vowed we would do. 146  We will sacrifice and pour out drink offerings to the goddess called the Queen of Heaven 147  just as we and our ancestors, our kings, and our leaders previously did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and had no troubles. 148  44:18 But ever since we stopped sacrificing and pouring out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven, we have been in great need. Our people have died in wars or of starvation.” 149  44:19 The women added, 150  “We did indeed sacrifice and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven. But it was with the full knowledge and approval of our husbands that we made cakes in her image and poured out drink offerings to her.” 151 

44:20 Then Jeremiah replied to all the people, both men and women, who responded to him in this way. 152  44:21 “The Lord did indeed remember and call to mind what you did! He remembered the sacrifices you and your ancestors, your kings, your leaders, and all the rest of the people of the land offered to other gods 153  in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. 154  44:22 Finally the Lord could no longer endure your wicked deeds and the disgusting things you did. That is why your land has become the desolate, uninhabited ruin that it is today. That is why it has become a proverbial example used in curses. 155  44:23 You have sacrificed to other gods! You have sinned against the Lord! You have not obeyed the Lord! You have not followed his laws, his statutes, and his decrees! That is why this disaster that is evident to this day has happened to you.” 156 

44:24 Then Jeremiah spoke to all the people, particularly to all the women. 157  “Listen to what the Lord has to say all you people of Judah who are in Egypt. 44:25 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all says, ‘You women 158  have confirmed by your actions what you vowed with your lips! You said, “We will certainly carry out our vows to sacrifice and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven.” Well, then fulfill your vows! Carry them out!’ 159  44:26 But 160  listen to what the Lord has to say, all you people of Judah who are living in the land of Egypt. The Lord says, ‘I hereby swear by my own great name that none of the people of Judah who are living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke my name in their oaths! Never again will any of them use it in an oath saying, “As surely as the Lord God lives….” 161  44:27 I will indeed 162  see to it that disaster, not prosperity, happens to them. 163  All the people of Judah who are in the land of Egypt will die in war or from starvation until not one of them is left. 44:28 Some who survive in battle will return to the land of Judah from the land of Egypt. But they will be very few indeed! 164  Then the Judean remnant who have come to live in the land of Egypt will know whose word proves true, 165  mine or theirs.’ 44:29 Moreover the Lord says, 166  ‘I will make something happen to prove that I will punish you in this place. I will do it so that you will know that my threats to bring disaster on you will prove true. 167  44:30 I, the Lord, promise that 168  I will hand Pharaoh Hophra 169  king of Egypt over to his enemies who are seeking to kill him. I will do that just as surely as I handed King Zedekiah of Judah over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, his enemy who was seeking to kill him.’”

1 tn Heb “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord.” This phrase regularly introduces the Lord’s directions to Jeremiah which immediately follow (cf. 7:1; 11:1; 18:1; 30:1; 34:1; 35:1). In 21:1; 44:1 it introduces a word of the Lord that Jeremiah communicates to others. However, no directions to Jeremiah follow here nor does any oracle that Jeremiah passes on to the people. Some commentators explain this as a heading parallel to that in 1:1-3 (which refers to messages and incidents in the life of Jeremiah up to the fall of Jerusalem) introducing the oracles that Jeremiah delivered after the fall of Jerusalem. However, no oracles follow until 42:9. It is possible that the intervening material supply background material for the oracle that is introduced in 42:7. An analogy to this structure but in a much shorter form may be found in 34:8-12. Another possible explanation is that the words of the captain of the guard in vv. 2-3 are to be seen as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah. In this case, it is a rather ironical confirmation of what Jeremiah had been saying all along. If it is thought strange that a pagan soldier would have said these words, it should be remembered that foreign soldiers knew through their intelligence sources what kings and prophets were saying (cf. Isa 36:7), and it is not unusual for God to speak through pagan prophets (cf. Balaam’s oracles, e.g. Num 23:7-10) or even a dumb animal (e.g., Balaam’s donkey [Num 22:28, 30]). Given the penchant for the use of irony in the book of Jeremiah, this is the most likely explanation. For further discussion on this view see G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 (WBC), 235-36.

2 sn Some commentators see the account of Jeremiah’s release here in 40:1-6 as an alternate and contradictory account to that of Jeremiah’s release in 39:11-14. However, most commentators see them as complementary and sequential. Jeremiah had been released from the courtyard of the guardhouse on orders of the military tribunal there shortly after Nebuzaradan got to Jerusalem and passed on Nebuchadnezzar’s orders to them. He had been released to the custody of Gedaliah who was to take him back to the governor’s residence and look after him there. However, Jeremiah remained in Jerusalem among the people there. He was mistakenly rounded up with them and led off as a prisoner to be deported with the rest of the exiles. However, when he got to Ramah which was a staging area for deportees, Nebuzaradan recognized him among the prisoners and released him a second time.

3 tn Heb “when he took him and he was in chains.” The subject is probably Nebuzaradan or the indefinite third singular (GKC 460 §144.d). The Kethib of the word for בָּאזִקִּים (baziqqim) is to be explained as a secondary formation with prosthetic א (aleph) from the normal word for “fetter” (זֵק, zeq) according to HALOT 27 s.v. אֲזִקִּים (see GKC 70 §19.m and 235-36 §85.b for the phenomenon).

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

5 tn Heb “Because you [masc. pl.] sinned against the Lord and did not hearken to his voice [a common idiom for “obey him”], this thing has happened to you [masc. pl.].”

6 tn The verb here is an example of the perfect of resolve where the speaker announces his intention to do something according to IBHS 488-89 §30.5.1d. The word “Jeremiah” is supplied in the translation to avoid the possible misunderstanding that the you is still plural.

7 tn Or “look out for you.” See 39:12 and the translator’s note there.

8 tn Or “Stay here”; Heb “Forbear.” The imperative is used in a permissive sense; “you may forbear.” See GKC 324 §110.b and compare usage in Gen 50:6.

9 tn Heb “See all the land [or the whole land] is before you.” For this idiom see BDB 817 s.v. פָּנֶה II.4.a(f) and compare the usage in Gen 20:15; 47:6.

10 tn Heb “Unto the good and the right in your eyes to go, go there.”

11 tc Or “Before Jeremiah could answer, the captain of the guard added.” Or “But if you remain, then go back.” The meaning of the first part of v. 5 is uncertain. The text is either very cryptic here or is corrupt, perhaps beyond restoration. The Hebrew text reads, “and he was not yet turning and return to Gedaliah” (וְעוֹדֶנּוּ לֹא־יָשׁוּב וְשֻׁבָה אֶל־גְּדַלְיָה) which is very cryptic. The Greek version lacks everything in v. 4 after “I will look out for you” and begins v. 5 with “But if not, run, return to Gedaliah” (= וְאִם לֹא רוּץ וְשֻׁבָה אֶל־גְּדַלְיָה). The Latin version reads the same as the Hebrew in v. 4 but reads “and don’t come with me but stay with Gedaliah” (= a possible Hebrew text of וְעִמָּדִי לֹא תָּשׁוּב וְשֵׁבָה אֶת־גְּדַלְיָה). The Syriac version reads “But if you are remaining then return to Gedaliah” (reading a possible Hebrew text of יֹשֵׁב וְשֻׁבָה אֶל־גְּדַלְיָה וְעוֹדְךָ לֻא with an abnormal writing of a conditional particle normally written לוּ [lu] and normally introducing conditions assumed to be untrue or reading וְעוֹדְךָ לְיֹשֵׁב וְשֻׁבָה אֶל־גְּדַלְיָה with an emphatic לְ [lÿ, see IBHS 211-12 §11.2.10i] and an informally introduced condition). NRSV does not explain the Hebrew base for its reading but accepts the Syriac as the original. It does appear to be the most likely alternative if the Hebrew is not accepted. However, the fact that none of the versions agree and all appear to be smoother than the Hebrew text suggests that they were dealing with an awkward original that they were trying to smooth out. Hence it is perhaps best to retain the Hebrew and make the best sense possible out of it. The most common reading of the Hebrew text as it stands is “and while he was not yet turning [= but before he was able to turn (to go)] [Nebuzaradan continued], ‘Go back to Gedaliah.’” (The imperfect in this case is an imperfect of capability [see IBHS 507 §31.4c, examples 2, 4, 5].) That is the reading that is adopted here. REB and TEV appear to accept a minor emendation of the verb “turn to leave” (יָשׁוּב, yashuv, a Qal imperfect) to “answer” (יָשִׁיב, yashiv, a Hiphil imperfect with an elided object [see BDB 999 s.v. שׁוּב Hiph.3 and compare 2 Chr 10:16]). All of this shows that the meaning of the text at this point is very uncertain.

12 tn Heb “set him over/ made him overseer over.” See BDB 823-24 s.v. פָּקִיד Hiph.1 and compare usage in Gen 39:4-5.

13 tn Heb “Go back to Gedaliah…and live with him among the people.” The long Hebrew sentence has been restructured to better conform with contemporary English style.

14 sn Mizpah. It is generally agreed that this is the Mizpah that was on the border between Benjamin and Judah. It was located approximately eight miles north of Jerusalem and had been an important military and religious center from the time of the judges on (cf., e.g., Judg 20:1-3; 1 Sam 7:5-14; 1 Sam 10:17; 1 Kgs 15:22). It was not far from Ramah which was approximately four miles north of Jerusalem.

15 tn Heb “So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah…and lived with him among the people who had been left in the land.” The long Hebrew sentence has been divided in two to better conform with contemporary English style.

16 tn Heb “set him over/ made him overseer over.” See BDB 823-24 s.v. פָּקִיד Hiph.1 and compare usage in Gen 39:4-5.

17 sn Compare Jer 39:10.

18 tn Verse 6 consists of a very long conditional clause whose main clause is found in v. 7. The text reads literally “When all the officers of the forces who were in the countryside heard, they and their men, that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah…over the land and that he had committed to him men, women, and children, even from the poorest of the land from those who had not been carried off into exile to Babylon, they came.” The sentence has been broken up to better conform with contemporary English style. The phrase “the forces who were in the countryside” has been translated to reflect the probable situation, i.e., they had escaped and were hiding in the hills surrounding Jerusalem waiting for the Babylonians to leave (cf. Judg 6:2).

19 sn The name of these officers is given here because some of them become important to the plot of the subsequent narrative, in particular, Ishmael and Johanan. Ishmael was a member of the royal family (41:1). He formed an alliance with the king of Ammon, assassinated Gedaliah, killed the soldiers stationed at Mizpah and many of Gedaliah’s followers, and attempted to carry off the rest of the people left at Mizpah to Ammon (40:13; 41:1-3, 10). Johanan was the leading officer who sought to stop Ishmael from killing Gedaliah (40:13-16) and who rescued the Jews that Ishmael was trying to carry off to Ammon (41:11-15). He along with another man named Jezaniah and these other officers were the leaders of the Jews who asked for Jeremiah’s advice about what they should do after Ishmael had killed Gedaliah (43:1-7).

20 tn The words “so as to give them some assurance of safety” are not in the text but are generally understood by all commentators. This would be a case of substitution of cause for effect, the oath, put for the effect, the assurance of safety (NJPS translates directly “reassured them”).

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

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

23 tn Heb “summer fruit.” “Summer fruit” is meaningless to most modern readers; dates and figs are what is involved.

24 tn This plus “Things will go well with you” is in essence the substance of the oath. The pronouns are emphatic, “And I, behold I will stay…and you, you may gather.” The imperatives in the second half of the verse are more a form of permission than of command or advice (cf. NJPS, REB, TEV and compare the usage in 40:4 and the references in the translator’s note there).

25 tn Heb “summer fruit.” “Summer fruit” is meaningless to most modern readers; dates and figs are what is involved.

26 tn The translation is intended to reflect the emphasizing infinitive absolute before the finite verb.

27 tn Heb “Why should he kill you?” However, this is one of those cases listed in BDB 554 s.v. מָה 4.d(b) where it introduces a question introducing rhetorically the reason why something should not be done. In cases like this BDB notes that it approximates the meaning “lest” and is translated in Greek by μήποτε (mhpote) or μή (mh) as the Greek version does here. Hence it is separated from the preceding and translated “otherwise” for the sake of English style.

28 tn Heb “this thing.”

29 tn Heb “is false” or “is a lie.”

30 sn It is not altogether clear whether this is in the same year that Jerusalem fell or not. The wall was breached in the fourth month (= early July; 39:2) and Nebuzaradan came and burned the palace, the temple, and many of the houses and tore down the wall in the fifth month (= early August; 52:12). That would have left time between the fifth month and the seventh month (October) to gather in the harvest of grapes, dates and figs, and olives (40:12). However, many commentators feel that too much activity takes place in too short a time for this to have been in the same year and posit that it happened the following year or even five years later when a further deportation took place, possibly in retaliation for the murder of Gedaliah and the Babylonian garrison at Mizpah (52:30). The assassination of Gedaliah had momentous consequences and was commemorated in one of the post exilic fast days lamenting the fall of Jerusalem (Zech 8:19).

31 sn All the Judeans. This can scarcely refer to all the Judeans who had rallied around Gedaliah at Mizpah because v. 10 later speaks of Ishmael carrying off “the rest of the people who were at Mizpah.” Probably what is meant is “all the Judeans and Babylonian soldiers” that were also at the meal. It is possible that this meal was intended to seal a covenant between Gedaliah and Ishmael of Ishmael’s allegiance to Gedaliah and his Babylonian overlords (cf. Gen 26:30-31; 31:53-54; Exod 24:11). In any case, this act of treachery and deceit was an extreme violation of the customs of hospitality practiced in the ancient Near East.

32 tn Heb “Chaldean.” See the study note on 21:4 for explanation. There are two cases of apposition with the repetition of the preposition or of the sign of the accusative in this verse, e.g., “who were with him, [namely] with Gedaliah” and “all the Chaldeans who happened to be there, [namely] the soldiers.”

33 tn Heb “were found there.” For this nuance of the verb see BDB 594 s.v. מָצָא Niph.2.c.

34 sn Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria were all cities in the northern kingdom of Israel with important religious and political histories. When Israel was destroyed in 722 b.c., some of the Israelites had been left behind and some of the Judeans had taken up residence in these northern cities. People residing there had participated in the reforms of Hezekiah (2 Chr 30:11) and Josiah (2 Chr 34:9) and were evidently still faithfully following the Jewish calendar. They would have been on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish New Year and the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev 23:34).

map For the location of Samaria see Map2 B1; Map4 D3; Map5 E2; Map6 A4; Map7 C1.

35 tn The words “to show they were mourning” are not in the text but are implicit in the acts. They are supplied in the translation for clarification for readers who may not be familiar with ancient mourning customs.

36 tn The words “in Jerusalem” are not in the text but are implicit. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

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

37 tn Heb “he was weeping/crying.” The translation is intended to better reflect the situation.

38 tn Heb “Come to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam.” The words that are supplied in the translation are implicit to the situation and are added for clarity.

39 tn The words “and threw their bodies” result from the significant use of the preposition אֶל (’el, so GKC 384 §119.gg and BDB 39 s.v. אֶל 1). Hence the suggestion in BHS (fn a) that the Syriac and two Greek mss are reading a different text is not really a textual issue but a translational one; the versions are supplying the words for stylistic purposes as has been done here.

40 tn Heb “But there were ten men found among them and they said.” However, for the use of “were found” = “be, happened to be” see BDB 594 s.v. מָצָא 2.c and compare the usage in 41:3.

41 tn This sentence is a good example of the elliptical nature of some of the causal connections in the Hebrew Bible. All the Hebrew says literally is “For we have hidden stores of wheat, barley, olive oil, and honey in a field.” However, it is obvious that they are using this as their bargaining chip to prevent Ishmael and his men from killing them. For the use of “for” (כִּי, ki) for such elliptical thoughts see BDB 473-74 s.v. כִּי 3.c.

42 tn Or “So he refrained from killing them”; Heb “he refrained and did not kill them.”

43 tn Heb “in the midst of their brothers/fellow countrymen.”

44 tc The translation here follows the reading of the Greek version. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain; some understand it to mean “because of Gedaliah [i.e., to cover up the affair with Gedaliah]” and others understand it to mean “alongside of Gedaliah.” The translation presupposes that the Hebrew text reads בּוֹר גָּדוֹל הוּא (bor gadol hu’) in place of בְּיַד־גְּדַלְיָהוּ הוּא (bÿyad-gÿdalyahu). The meaning of בְּיַד (bÿyad) does not fit any of the normal ones given for this expression and those who retain the Hebrew text normally explain it as an unparalleled use of “because” or “in the affair of” (so NJPS) or a rare use meaning “near, by the side of “ (see BDB 391 s.v. יָד 5.d where only Ps 141:6 and Zech 4:12 are cited. BDB themselves suggest reading with the Greek version as the present translation does [so BDB 391 s.v. יָד 5.c(3)]). For the syntax presupposed by the Greek text which has been followed consult IBHS 298 §16.3.3d and 133 §8.4.2b. The first clause is a classifying clause with normal order of subject-predicate-copulative pronoun and it is followed by a further qualifying relative clause.

45 sn It is generally agreed that the cistern referred to here is one of several that Asa dug for supplying water as part of the defense system constructed at Mizpah (cf. 1 Kgs 15:22; 2 Chr 16:6).

46 tn Or “with corpses”; Heb “with the slain.”

47 tn Heb “the daughters of the king.” Most commentators do not feel that this refers to the actual daughters of Zedekiah since they would have been too politically important to have escaped exile with their father. As noted in the translator’s note on 36:26 this need not refer to the actual daughters of the king but may refer to other royal daughters, i.e., the daughters of other royal princes.

48 tn Or “crimes,” or “evil things”; Heb “the evil.”

49 tn Heb “the many [or great] waters.” This is generally identified with the pool of Gibeon mentioned in 2 Sam 2:13.

50 tn Heb “all the people who were with Ishmael.” However, this does not refer to his own troops but to those he had taken with him from Mizpah, i.e., the captives. The phrase is specifically clarified in the next verse, i.e. “the people whom Ishmael had taken captive from Mizpah.” Hence the phrase is translated here according to sense, not according to the literal wording.

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

52 sn Geruth Kimham is nowhere else mentioned in the Bible and its precise location is unknown. Many commentators relate the second part of the name to the name of the son of David’s benefactor when he fled from Absalom (2 Sam 19:38-39) and see this as a reference to an estate that David assigned this son as reward for his father’s largess. Gibeon was about six miles northwest of Jerusalem and Benjamin is approximately the same distance southwest of it. Hence, the people mentioned here had not traveled all that far.

53 map For location see Map5 B1; Map7 E2; Map8 E2; Map10 B4.

54 tn Verses 16-18a are a long complex sentence in the Hebrew text with some rather awkward placement of qualifying terms. In the Hebrew text these verses read: “41:16 And he took, Johanan…and all the army officers with him, all the people who were left alive which he [Johanan] had taken back from Ishmael son of Nethaniah from Mizpah after he [Ishmael] had killed Gedaliah…men, men of war, and women and children and court officials which he [Johanan] had brought back from Gibeon 41:17 and they went and they stayed at Geruth Kimham…to go to enter Egypt 41:18 because of the Chaldean because they were afraid of them because Ishmael…” The sentence has been broken down and restructured to reflect all the relevant data in shorter sentences which better conform with contemporary English style. There are a couple of places where the text and syntax are debated. Many modern English versions and commentaries read “They led off/took control of/took all survivors of the people whom Ishmael…had taken captive [reading שָׁבָה ֹאתָם (shavahotam) in place of הֵשִׁיב מֵאֵת (heshiv meet), “whom he (Johanan) had taken back/rescued from Ishmael] from Mizpah after he had…” This is a decidedly smoother text but there is no manuscript or versional evidence for it and so it has been rejected here. Some commentators and English versions see the words “men of war” (“soldiers”) following the word “men” as appositional to that word and hence see only one category. However, there are no parallels to these words used in this kind of apposition. So the translation reflects two categories.

55 sn Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah may have been the same as the Jezaniah son of the Maacathite mentioned in 40:8. The title “the Maacathite” would identify the locality from which his father came, i.e., a region in northern Transjordan east of Lake Huleh. Many think he is also the same man who is named “Azariah” in Jer 43:2 (the Greek version has Azariah both here and in 43:2). It was not uncommon for one man to have two names, e.g., Uzziah who was also named Azariah (compare 2 Kgs 14:21 with 2 Chr 26:1).

56 tn Or “without distinction,” or “All the people from the least important to the most important”; Heb “from the least to the greatest.” This is a figure of speech that uses polar opposites as an all-inclusive designation of everyone without exception (i.e., it included all the people from the least important or poorest to the most important or richest.)

57 tn Heb “please let our petition fall before you.” For the idiom here see 37:20 and the translator’s note there.

58 tn Heb “on behalf of us, [that is] on behalf of all this remnant.”

sn This refers to the small remnant of people who were left of those from Mizpah who had been taken captive by Ishmael after he had killed Gedaliah and who had been rescued from him at Gibeon. There were other Judeans still left in the land of Judah who had not been killed or deported by the Babylonians.

59 tn Heb “For we are left a few from the many as your eyes are seeing us.” The words “used to be” are not in the text but are implicit. These words are supplied in the translation for clarity and smoothness of English style.

60 tn Heb “I have heard” = “I agree.” For this nuance of the verb see BDB 1034 s.v. שָׁמַע Qal.1.j and compare the usage in Gen 37:27 and Judg 11:17 listed there.

61 tn Heb “all the word which the Lord will answer you.

62 tn Heb “do according to all the word which.”

63 tn Heb “Whether good or whether evil we will hearken to the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you in order that it may go well for us because/when we hearken to the voice of the Lord our God.” The phrase “whether good or whether evil” is an abbreviated form of the idiomatic expressions “to be good in the eyes of” = “to be pleasing to” (BDB 374 s.v. טוֹב 2.f and see 1 Kgs 21:2) and “to be bad in the eyes of” = “to be displeasing to” (BDB 948 s.v. רַע 3 and see Num 22:34). The longer Hebrew sentence has been broken down and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style.

64 tn Or “without distinction,” or “All the people from the least important to the most important”; Heb “from the least to the greatest.” This is a figure of speech that uses polar opposites as an all-inclusive designation of everyone without exception (i.e., it included all the people from the least important or poorest to the most important or richest.)

65 tn Heb “Thus says the Lord God of Israel to whom you sent me to present your petition before him, ‘…’” The sentence has been restructured to cut down on the length of the introduction leading in to the long quote.

sn Their “request” is that Jeremiah would tell them where to go and what to do (v. 3).

66 tn The word “just” is intended to reflect the infinitive absolute before the finite verb emphasizing here the condition rather than the verb root (see Joüon 2:423 §123.g, and compare the usage in Exod 15:26). The form looks like the infinitive absolute of the verb שׁוּב (shuv), but all the versions interpret it as though it is from יָשַׁב (yashav) which is the root of the verb that follows it. Either this is a textual error of the loss of a י (yod) or this is one of the cases that GKC 69 §19.i list as the possible loss of a weak consonant at the beginning of a word.

67 tn Or “I will firmly plant you in the land,” or “I will establish you.” This is part of the metaphor that has been used of God (re)establishing Israel in the land. See 24:6; 31:28; 32:41.

68 sn See Jer 41:18 for their reason for fear.

69 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”

70 tn Heb “see [or experience] war.”

71 tn Heb “hear the sound of the trumpet.” The trumpet was used to gather the troops and to sound the alarm for battle.

72 tn Jer 42:13-14 are a long complex condition (protasis) whose consequence (apodosis) does not begin until v. 15. The Hebrew text of vv. 13-14 reads: 42:13 “But if you say [or continue to say (the form is a participle)], ‘We will not stay in this land’ with the result that you do not obey [or “more literally, do not hearken to the voice of] the Lord your God, 42:14 saying, ‘No, but to the land of Egypt we will go where we…and there we will live,’ 42:15 now therefore hear the word of the Lord…” The sentence has been broken up and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style but an attempt has been made to maintain the contingencies and the qualifiers that are in the longer Hebrew original.

73 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.” See the study note on 2:19 for the translation and significance of this title.

74 tn Heb “set your face to.” See Jer 42:17; 44:11; Dan 11:17; 2 Kgs 12:17 (12:18 HT) for parallel usage.

75 tn Or “will follow you right into Egypt,” or “will dog your steps all the way to Egypt”; Heb “cling after.” This is the only case of this verb with this preposition in the Qal stem. However, it is used with this preposition several times in the Hiphil, all with the meaning of “to pursue closely.” See BDB 180 s.v. דָּבַק Hiph.2 and compare Judg 20:45; 1 Sam 14:22; 1 Chr 10:2.

76 tn The repetition of the adverb “there” in the translation of vv. 14, 16 is to draw attention to the rhetorical emphasis on the locale of Egypt in the original text of both v. 14 and v. 16. In v. 14 they say, “to the land of Egypt we will go…and there we will live.” In v. 16 God says, “wars…there will catch up with you…the hunger…there will follow after you…and there you will die.” God rhetorically denies their focus on Egypt as a place of safety and of relative prosperity. That can only be found in Judah under the protective presence of the Lord (vv. 10-12).

77 tn Or “Indeed.”

78 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.” See the study note on 2:19 for the translation and significance of this title.

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

80 tn See the study note on 24:9 and the usage in 29:22 for the meaning and significance of this last phrase.

81 tn Or “land.” The reference is, of course, to the land of Judah.

82 tn Heb “Know for certain that I warn you…” The idea of “for certain” is intended to reflect the emphatic use of the infinitive absolute before the volitive use of the imperfect (see IBHS 587-88 §35.3.1h and 509 §31.5b). The substitution “of this:” for “that” has been made to shorten the sentence in conformity with contemporary English style.

83 tn Heb “today.”

84 tn Heb “you are erring at the cost of your own lives” (BDB 1073 s.v. תָּעָה Hiph.3 and HALOT 1626 s.v. תָּעָה Hif 4, and cf. BDB 90 s.v. בְּ 3 and see parallels in 1 Kgs 2:23; 2 Sam 23:17 for the nuance of “at the cost of your lives”). This fits the context better than “you are deceiving yourselves” (KBL 1035 s.v. תָּעָה Hif 4). The reading here follows the Qere הִתְעֵיתֶם (hitetem) rather than the Kethib which has a metathesis of י (yod) and ת (tav), i.e., הִתְעֵתֶים. The Greek text presupposes הֲרֵעֹתֶם (hareotem, “you have done evil”), but that reading is generally rejected as secondary.

85 tn Heb “According to all which the Lord our God says so tell us and we will do.” The restructuring of the sentence is intended to better reflect contemporary English style.

86 tn Or “Today.”

87 tn The words “what he said” are not in the text but are implicit and seem necessary for clarity.

88 tn Heb “But you have not hearkened to the voice of [idiomatic for “obeyed” see BDB 1034 s.v. שָׁמַע Qal.1.m] the Lord your God, namely [cf. BDB 252 s.v. וְ 1.b] with respect [cf. BDB 514 s.v. לְ 5.f(c)] all which he has sent to us.” The verb is translated “don’t seem to want to obey” because they have not yet expressed their refusal or their actual disobedience. Several commentaries sensing this apparent discrepancy suggest that 42:19-22 are to be transposed after 43:1-3 (see, e.g., BHS note 18a, W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 2:275; J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 252, 256, 258). However, there is absolutely no textual evidence for the transposition and little reason to suspect an early scribal error (in spite of Holladay’s suggestion). It is possible that Jeremiah here anticipates this answer in 43:1-3 through the response on their faces (so Bright, 256; F. B. Huey, Jeremiah, Lamentations [NAC], 361). G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, and T. G. Smothers (Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 249) also call attention to the stated intention in 41:17 and the fact that the strong warning in 42:15-17 seems to imply that a negative response is expected). The use of the perfect here is perhaps to be related to the perfect expressing resolve or determination (see IBHS 489 §30.5.1d). It is also conceivable that these two verses are part of a conditional sentence which has no formal introduction. I.e., “And if you will not obey…then you should know for certain that…” For examples of this kind of conditional clause introduced by two vavs (ו) see Joüon 2:628-29 §167.b, and compare Jer 18:4; Judg 6:13. However, though this interpretation is within the possibilities of Hebrew grammar, I know of no translation or commentary that follows it. So it has not been followed in the translation or given as an alternate translation.

89 tn This sentence contains an emphasis that is impossible to translate into idiomatic English that would not sound redundant. In Hebrew the sentence reads: “When Jeremiah finished [the temporal subordination is left out here because it would make the sentence too long] telling all the people all the words [or all the things] which the Lord their God had sent him [to say] to them, namely all these words,…” The last phrase has been left out of the translation as already having been included. Though they have been left out of the translation, attention is called to their presence here.

90 sn See the study note on 42:1 for the possible identification of this man with Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah and Jezaniah the son of the Maacathite.

91 tn Or “is inciting you against us.”

92 tn Heb “in order to give us into the hands of the Chaldeans.” The substitution “he wants to” as the equivalent of the purpose clause has been chosen to shorten the sentence to better conform with contemporary English style.

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

94 sn These are the people who are referred to in Jer 40:11-12.

95 tn Heb “the daughters of the king.” See the translator’s note on 41:10.

96 sn This refers to the group mentioned in Jer 40:7 and 41:10. The two groups together constituted all the people who were at Mizpah when Gedaliah was murdered, had been taken captive by Ishmael, had been rescued by Johanan and the other army officers, and had consulted Jeremiah at Geruth Chimham.

97 sn This had been their intention all along (41:17). Though they consulted the Lord and promised to do what he told them whether they agreed with it or not (42:5-6), it is clear that they had no intention of doing so. Jeremiah could see that (42:19-22). They refused to believe that the Lord had really said what Jeremiah told them (43:4) and feared reprisal from the Babylonians more than any potential destruction from the Lord (43:3).

98 sn Tahpanhes was an important fortress city on the northern border of Egypt in the northeastern Nile delta. It is generally equated with the Greek city of Daphne. It has already been mentioned in 2:16 in conjunction with Memphis (the Hebrew name is “Noph”) as a source of soldiers who did violence to the Israelites in the past.

99 tn Heb “The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah at Tahpanhes, saying.”

100 tn Heb “Take some large stones in your hands.”

101 tn The meaning of the expression “mortar of the clay pavement” is uncertain. The noun translated “mortar” occurs only here and the etymology is debated. Both BDB 572 s.v. מֶלֶט and KBL 529 s.v. מֶלֶט give the meaning “mortar.” The noun translated “clay pavement” is elsewhere used of a “brick mold.” Here BDB 527 s.v. מַלְבֵּן 2 gives “quadrangle” and KBL 527 s.v. מַלְבֵּן 2 gives “terrace of bricks.” HALOT 558 s.v. מֶלֶט and מַלְבֵּן 2 give “loamy soil” for both words, seeing the second noun as a dittography or gloss of the first (see also note c in BHS).

102 sn All the commentaries point out that this was not Pharaoh’s (main) palace but a governor’s residence or other government building that Pharaoh occupied when he was in Tahpanhes.

103 tn Heb “in Tahpanhes in the eyes of the men of Judah.”

104 sn This is another of those symbolic prophecies of Jeremiah which involved an action and an explanation. Compare Jer 19, 27.

105 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.” Compare 7:3 and see the study note on 2:19 for explanation of the translation and significance of this title.

106 tn Heb “send and take/fetch.”

107 sn See the study note on Jer 25:9 for the use of this epithet for foreign rulers. The term emphasizes God’s sovereignty over history.

108 tn The Greek version reads the verbs in this sentence as third person, “he will set,” and second person, “you have buried.” This fits the context better but it is difficult to explain how the Hebrew could have arisen from this smoother reading. The figure of substitution (metonymy of cause for effect) is probably involved: “I will have him set” and “I have had you bury.” The effect of these substitutions is to emphasize the sovereignty of God.

109 tn The meaning of this word is uncertain. The word here (שַׁפְרִירוֹ [shafriro] Qere, שַׁפְרוּרוֹ [shafruro] Kethib) occurs only here in the Hebrew Bible. According to the lexicons it refers to either the carpet for his throne or the canopy over it. See, e.g., HALOT 1510 s.v. שַׁפְרִיר.

110 tn As in 15:2 the Hebrew is very brief and staccato-like: “those to death to death, and those to captivity to captivity, and those to the sword to the sword.” As in 15:2 most commentaries and English versions assume that the word “death” refers to death by disease. See the translator’s note on 15:2 and compare also 18:21 where the sword is distinctly connected with “war” or “battle” and is distinct from “killed by death [i.e., disease].”

111 tc The translation follows the Greek, Syriac, and Latin versions. The Hebrew text reads: “I will set fire to.” While it would be possible to explain the first person subject here in the same way as in the two verbs in v. 12b, the corruption of the Hebrew text is easy to explain here as a metathesis of two letters, י (yod) and ת (tav). The Hebrew reads הִצַּתִּי (hitsatti) and the versions presuppose הִצִּית (hitsit).

112 tn Heb “burn them or carry them off as captives.” Some of the commentaries and English versions make a distinction between the objects of the verbs, i.e., burn the temples and carry off the gods. However, the burning down of the temples is referred to later in v. 13.

sn It was typical in the ancient Near East for the images of the gods of vanquished nations to be carried off and displayed in triumphal procession on the return from battle to show the superiority of the victor’s gods over those of the vanquished (cf., e.g., Isa 46:1-2).

113 tn Or “he will take over Egypt as easily as a shepherd wraps his cloak around him.” The translation follows the interpretation of HALOT 769 s.v. II ָעטָה Qal, the Greek translation, and a number of the modern commentaries (e.g., J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 671). The only other passage where that translation is suggested for this verb is Isa 22:17 according to HAL. The alternate translation follows the more normal meaning of עָטָה (’atah; cf. BDB 741 s.v. I עָטָה Qal which explains “so completely will it be in his power”). The fact that the subject is “a shepherd” lends more credence to the former view though there may be a deliberate double meaning playing on the homonyms (cf. W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 2:302).

114 tn Heb “in peace/wholeness/well-being/safety [shalom].”

115 sn It is generally agreed that the temple of the sun was located in Heliopolis, which is elsewhere referred to as On (cf. Gen 41:45). It was the center for the worship of Amon-Re, the Egyptian sun god, and was famous for its obelisks (conical shaped pillars) dedicated to that god. It was located about 6 miles (10 km) northeast of modern-day Cairo.

116 tn Heb “The word came to Jeremiah concerning.” Though the phrase “from the Lord” is missing from this formula which occurs elsewhere at 7:1; 11:1; 18:1; 21:1; 30:1; 32:1; 34:1, 8; 35:1; 40:1, it is clearly implied from the words that follow. As in these other passages, the more active form has been chosen for the translation to better conform with contemporary English style.

117 sn The first three cities, Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis, are located in Northern or Lower Egypt. Memphis (Heb “Noph”) was located south of Heliopolis (which was referred to earlier as “the temple of the sun”) and was about fourteen miles (23 km) south of Cairo. For the identification and location of Tahpanhes see the study note on Jer 43:7. The location of Migdol has been debated but is tentatively identified with a border fortress about twenty-five miles (42 km) east-northeast of Tahpanhes. The “region of southern Egypt” is literally “the land of Pathros,” the long Nile valley extending north and south between Cairo and Aswan (biblical Syene). For further information see the discussion in G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 (WBC), 262-63. Reference here is to Judean exiles who had fled earlier as well as to those from Mizpah who were led into Egypt by Johanan and the other arrogant men (43:3, 5).

118 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.” Compare 7:3 and see the study note on 2:19 for explanation and translation of this title.

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

120 tn Heb “Behold, they are in ruins this day and there is no one living in them.”

121 tn Heb “they.” The referent must be supplied from the preceding, i.e., Jerusalem and all the towns of Judah. “They” are those who have experienced the disaster and are distinct from those being addressed and their ancestors (44:3b).

122 tn Heb “thus making me angry.” However, this is a good place to break the sentence to create a shorter sentence that is more in keeping with contemporary English style.

123 tn Heb “by going to offer sacrifice in serving/worshiping.” The second לְ (lamed) + infinitive is epexegetical of the first (cf. IBHS 608-9 §36.2.3e).

124 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 9, 10, 17, 21).

125 sn Compare Jer 19:4 for the same thought and see also 7:9.

126 tn See 7:13 for an explanation of this idiom and compare 7:25; 25:4; 26:5; 29:19; 35:15 for similar references to the persistent warnings of the prophets.

127 tn Heb “sent…over again, saying, ‘Do not do this terrible thing that I hate.’” The indirect quote has been used to shorten the sentence and eliminate one level of embedded quotes.

sn This refers to the worship of other gods mentioned in the previous verse.

128 tn There appears to be a deliberate shift in the pronouns used in vv. 2-5. “You” refers to the people living in Egypt who are being addressed (v. 2) and to the people of present and past generations to whom the Lord persistently sent the prophets (v. 4). “They” refers to the people of Jerusalem and the towns of Judah who have suffered disaster (v. 2) because of the wickedness of sacrificing to other gods (vv. 3, 5). The referents have been explicitly identified in the translation for the sake of clarity.

129 tn Heb “They did not listen or incline their ear [= pay attention] by turning from their wickedness by not sacrificing to other gods.” The לְ (lamed) + the negative + the infinitive is again epexegetical. The sentence has been restructured and more idiomatic English expressions have been used to better conform with contemporary English style but an attempt has been made to retain the basic relationships of subordination.

130 tn Heb “Yahweh, the God of armies, the God of Israel.” Compare 35:17; 38:17 and for the title “God of armies” see the study note on 2:19.

131 tn Heb “the works of your hands.” Here the phrase is qualified by the epexegetical לְ (lamed) + infinitive, לְקַטֵּר (lÿqatter, “by sacrificing [to other gods]”). For further discussion on the use of this phrase see the translator’s note on 25:6.

132 tn Heb “a curse.” For the meaning of this phrase see the translator’s note on 24:9 and see the usage in 24:9; 25:18; 26:6; 29:22.

133 tn Verses 7b-8 are all one long, complex sentence governed by the interrogative “Why.” The Hebrew text reads: “Why are you doing great harm to your souls [= “yourselves” (cf. BDB 660 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 4.b[6])] so as to cut off [= destroy] from yourselves man and woman, child and baby [the terms are collective singulars and are to be interpreted as plurals] from the midst of Judah so as not to leave to yourselves a remnant by making me angry with the works of your hands by sacrificing to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have come to live so as to cut off [an example of result rather than purpose after the particle לְמַעַן (lÿmaan; see the translator’s note on 25:7)] yourselves and so that you may become a curse and an object of ridicule among all the nations of the earth.” The sentence has been broken down and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style. An attempt has been made to retain an equivalent for all the subordinations and qualifying phrases.

sn What is being threatened is not the total destruction of a remnant of Judah. Jeremiah recognizes those who have been carried off to Babylon as well as other places as seeds for a new beginning (e.g., 24:5-6; 29:14; 30:3). But he denies here that any of those who have gone to Egypt and are continuing to practice idolatry will be among them. All of them will be cut off (i.e., destroyed) from the midst of Judah so that not a remnant of them will be left.

134 tn Heb “his.” This should not be viewed as a textual error but as a distributive singular use of the suffix, i.e., the wives of each of the kings of Judah (cf. GKC 464 §145.l and compare the usage in Isa 2:8; Hos 4:8).

135 tn Heb “they” but as H. Freedman (Jeremiah [SoBB], 284) notes the third person is used here to include the people just referred to as well as the current addressees. Hence “your people” or “the people of Judah.” It is possible that the third person again reflects the rhetorical distancing that was referred to earlier in 35:16 (see the translator’s note there for explanation) in which case one might translate “you have shown,” and “you have not revered.”

136 tn Heb “to set before.” According to BDB 817 s.v. פָּנֶה II.4.b(g) this refers to “propounding to someone for acceptance or choice.” This is clearly the usage in Deut 30:15, 19; Jer 21:8 and is likely the case here. However, to translate literally would not be good English idiom and “proposed to” might not be correctly understood, so the basic translation of נָתַן (natan) has been used here.

137 tn Heb “Behold I am setting my face against you for evil/disaster.” For the meaning of the idiom “to set the face to/against” see the translator’s note on 42:15 and compare the references listed there.

138 tn Heb “and to destroy all Judah.” However, this statement must be understood within the rhetoric of the passage (see vv. 7-8 and the study note on v. 8) and within the broader context of the Lord’s promises to restore the remnant who are in Babylon and those scattered in other lands (23:3; 24:5-6; 29:14; 30:3; 32:27). In this context “all Judah” must refer to all the Judeans living in Egypt whom Jeremiah is now addressing. This involves the figure of synecdoche where all does not extend to all individuals but to all that are further specified or implied (see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 616-18, and the comments in H. Freedman, Jeremiah [SoBB], 285). The “and” in front of “to destroy” is to be understood as an example of the epexegetical use of the conjunction ו (vav; see BDB 252 s.v. וַ 1.b and compare the translation of J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 260).

139 tn Heb “they set their face to go.” Compare 44:11 and 42:14 and see the translator’s note at 42:15.

140 tn Heb “fall by the sword.”

141 tn Or “All of them without distinction,” or “All of them from the least important to the most important”; Heb “From the least to the greatest.” See the translator’s note on 42:1 for the meaning of this idiom.

142 tn See the study note on 24:9 and the usage in 29:22 for the meaning and significance of this last phrase.

sn See Jer 42:18 for parallel usage.

143 tn Heb “There shall not be an escapee or a survivor to the remnant of Judah who came to sojourn there in the land of Egypt even to return to the land of Judah which they are lifting up their souls [= “longing/desiring” (BDB 672 s.v. נָשָׂא Piel.2)] to return to live there; for none shall return except fugitives.” The long, complex Hebrew original has been broken up and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style. Another possible structure would be “None of the Judean remnant who have come to live in the land of Egypt will escape or survive. None of them will escape or survive to return to the land of Judah where they long to return to live. Indeed (emphatic use of כִּי [ki]; cf. BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.e) none of them shall return except a few fugitives.” This verse is a good example of rhetorical hyperbole where a universal negative does not apply to absolutely all the particulars. Though the Lord denies at the outset that any will escape or survive the punishment of vv. 12-13 to return to Judah, he says at the end that a few fugitives will return (the two words for fugitive are from the same root and mean the same thing). (E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 618-19, might classify this as a synecdoche of genus where a universal negative does not deny particularity.) That this last statement is not a gloss or an afterthought is supported by what is said later in v. 28.

144 tn The translation is very interpretive at several key points: Heb “Then all the men who were aware that their wives were sacrificing to other gods and all their wives who were standing by, a great crowd/congregation, and all the people who were living in the land of Egypt in Pathros answered, saying.” It is proper to assume that the phrase “a great crowd” is appositional to “all the men…and their wives….” It is also probably proper to assume that the phrase “who were standing by” is unnecessary to the English translation. What is interpretive is the assumption that the “and all the people who were living in Egypt in Pathros” is explicative of “the great crowd” and that the phrase “in Pathros” is conjunctive and not appositional. Several commentaries and English versions (e.g., J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 678-79, n. 2; NJPS) assume that the phrase is descriptive of a second group, i.e., all the Jews from Pathros in Egypt (i.e., southern Egypt [see the study note on 44:1]). Those who follow this interpretation generally see this as a gloss (see Thompson, 678, n. 2, and also W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 2:279, n. 15b). It is probably better to assume that the phrase is explicative and that “all” is used in the same rhetorical way that it has been used within the chapter, i.e., “all” = representatives of all. Likewise the phrase “in Pathros” should be assumed to be conjunctive as in the Syriac translation and as suggested by BHS fn c since Jeremiah’s answer in vv. 24, 26 is directed to all the Judeans living in Egypt.

145 tn Heb “the word [or message] you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord.” For an explanation of the rendering of “in the name of the Lord” see the study notes on 10:25 and 23:27.

146 tn Heb “that went out of our mouth.” I.e., everything we said, promised, or vowed.

147 tn Heb “sacrifice to the Queen of Heaven and pour out drink offerings to her.” The expressions have been combined to simplify and shorten the sentence. The same combination also occurs in vv. 18, 19.

sn See the translator’s note and the study note on 7:18 for the problem of translation and identification of the term translated here “the goddess called the Queen of Heaven.”

148 tn Heb “saw [or experienced] no disaster/trouble/harm.”

149 tn Heb “we have been consumed/destroyed by sword or by starvation.” The “we” cannot be taken literally here since they are still alive.

sn What is being contrasted here is the relative peace and prosperity under the reign of Manasseh, who promoted all kinds of pagan cults including the worship of astral deities (2 Kgs 21:2-9), and the disasters that befell Judah after the reforms of Josiah, which included the removal of all the cult images and altars from Jerusalem and Judah (2 Kgs 23:4-15). The disasters included the death of Josiah himself at the battle of Megiddo, the deportation of his son Jehoahaz to Egypt, the death of Jehoiakim, the deportation of Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) and many other Judeans in 597 b.c., the death by war, starvation, and disease of many Judeans during the siege of Jerusalem in 588-86 b.c., and the captivity of many of those who survived. Instead of seeing these as punishments for their disobedience to the Lord as Jeremiah had preached to them, they saw these as consequences of their failure to continue the worship of the foreign gods.

150 tc The words “And the women added” are not in the Hebrew text. They are, however, implicit in what is said. They are found in the Syriac version and in one recension of the Greek version. W. L. Holladay (Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 2:279, n. 19a) suggests that these words are missing from the Hebrew text because of haplography, i.e., that the scribe left out וַהַנָּשִׁים אָמְרוּ כִי (vahannashimomru khi) because his eye jumped from the ו at the beginning to the כִּי (ki) that introduced the temporal clause and left out everything in between. It is, however, just as likely, given the fact that there are several other examples of quotes which have not been formally introduced in the book of Jeremiah, that the words were not there and are supplied by these two ancient versions as a translator’s clarification.

151 tn Or “When we sacrificed and poured out drink offering to the Queen of Heaven and made cakes in her image, wasn’t it with the knowledge and approval of our husbands?” Heb “When we sacrificed to the Queen of Heaven and poured out drink offerings [for the use of לְ (lamed) + the infinitive construct to carry on the tense of the preceding verb see BDB 518 s.v. לְ 7.b(h)] to her, did we make cakes to make an image of her and pour out drink offerings apart from [i.e., “without the knowledge and consent of,” so BDB 116 s.v. בִּלְעֲדֵי b(a)] our husbands?” The question expects a positive answer and has been rendered as an affirmation in the translation. The long, complex Hebrew sentence has again been broken in two and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style.

sn According to Jer 7:18-19 it was not only with the full knowledge and approval of their husbands but also with their active participation. Most of the commentaries call attention to the fact that what is being alluded to here is that a woman’s vow had to have her husband’s conscious approval to have any validity (cf. Num 30:7-16 and see the reference to the vow in v. 17).

152 tn Heb “And Jeremiah said to all the people, to the men and to the women, namely to all the people who answered him a word.” The appositional phrases have been combined to eliminate what would be redundant to a modern reader.

153 tn The words “to other gods” are not in the text but are implicit from the context (cf. v. 17). They are supplied in the translation for clarity. It was not the act of sacrifice that was wrong but the recipient.

154 tn Heb “The sacrifices which you sacrificed in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your leaders and the people of the land, did not the Lord remember them and [did they not] come into his mind?” The question is again rhetorical and expects a positive answer. So it is rendered here as an affirmative statement for the sake of clarity and simplicity. An attempt has been made to shorten the long Hebrew sentence to better conform with contemporary English style.

155 tn Heb “And/Then the Lord could no longer endure because of the evil of your deeds [and] because of the detestable things that you did and [or so] your land became a desolation and a waste and an occasion of a curse without inhabitant as this day.” The sentence has been broken up and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style, but an attempt has been made to preserve the causal and consequential connections.

156 tn Heb “Because you have sacrificed and you have sinned against the Lord and you have not listened to the voice of the Lord and in his laws, in his statutes, and in his decrees you have not walked, therefore this disaster has happened to you as this day.” The text has been broken down and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style.

157 tn Heb “and to all the women.” The “and” (ו, vav) is to be explained here according to BDB 252 s.v. וַ 1.a. The focus of the address that follows is on the women. See the translator’s note on the next verse.

158 tn Or “You and your wives.” The text and referent here is uncertain because of the confusing picture that the alternation of pronouns presents in this verse. Three of the main verbs are second feminine plurals and one of them is second masculine plural. All the pronominal suffixes on the nouns are second masculine plurals. The Hebrew text reads: “You [masc. pl.] and your [masc. pl.] wives have spoken [2nd fem. pl.; תְּדַבֵּרְנָה, tÿdabberÿnah] with your [masc. pl.] mouth and you have fulfilled [masc. pl.; מִלֵּאתֶם, milletem] with your [masc. pl.] hands, saying, ‘We [common gender] will certainly carry out….’ Indeed fulfill [2nd fem. pl.; תָּקִימְנָה, taqimnah] your [masc. pl.] vows and indeed carry out [2nd fem. pl.; תַעֲשֶׂינָה, taasenah] your [masc. pl.] vows.” Older commentaries, such as K&D 22:165, explain the feminine verbs as a matter of the women being the principle subject. Most all modern commentaries (e.g., J. A. Thompson, J. Bright, W. L. Holladay, and G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers) follow the reading of the Greek version which reads “you women” (= אַתֵּנָה הַנָּשִּׁים, [’attenah hannashim]) in place of “you and your wives” (אַתֶּם וּנְשֵׁיכֶם, ’attem unÿshekhem) in the Hebrew. None of them, however, explain the use of the 2nd masc. plurals here. This is possibly a case where the masculine forms are used in the place of the feminine due to the dislike of Hebrew to use the feminine plural forms (cf. GKC 459 §144.a and 466 §145.t). This seems all the more probable when 2nd fem. pl. verbs are qualified by nouns with 2nd masc. pl. suffixes. The translation here follows this interpretation of the masc. pl. forms and reads “you women” with the Greek version in place of “you and your wives” and sees the referents throughout as the women.

159 tn Heb “Carry out your vows!”

sn The commands here are, of course, sarcastic and not meant to be taken literally.

160 tn Heb “Therefore.” This particle quite often introduces the announcement of judgment after an indictment or accusation of a crime. That is its function here after the statement of cause in vv. 24-25. However, it would not sound right after the immediately preceding ironical or sarcastic commands to go ahead and fulfill their vows. “But” is a better transition unless one wants to paraphrase “Therefore, since you are so determined to do that….”

161 tn Heb “Behold I swear by…that my name will no more be pronounced in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt saying, ‘As the Lord Yahweh lives.’” The sentence has been broken up and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style and the significance of pronouncing the name has been interpreted for the sake of readers who might not be familiar with this biblical idiom.

sn They will no longer be able to invoke his name in an oath because they will all be put to death (v. 27; cf. vv. 11-14).

162 tn Heb “Behold I.” For the use of this particle see the translator’s note on 1:6. Here it announces the reality of a fact.

163 tn Heb “Behold, I am watching over them for evil/disaster/harm not for good/prosperity/ blessing.” See a parallel usage in 31:28.

164 tn Heb “The survivors of the sword will return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah few in number [more literally, “men of number”; for the idiom see BDB 709 s.v. מִסְפָּר 1.a].” The term “survivors of the sword” may be intended to represent both those who survive death in war or death by starvation or disease, a synecdoche of species for all three genera.

sn This statement shows that the preceding “none,” “never again,” “all” in vv. 26-27 are rhetorical hyperbole. Not all but almost all; very few would survive. The following statement implies that the reason that they are left alive is to bear witness to the fact that the Lord’s threats were indeed carried out. See vv. 11-14 for a parallel use of “all” and “none” qualified by a “few.”

165 tn Heb “will stand,” i.e., in the sense of being fulfilled, proving to be true, or succeeding (see BDB 878 s.v. קוּם 7.g).

166 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”

167 tn Heb “This will be to you the sign, oracle of the Lord, that I will punish you in this place in order that you may know that my threats against you for evil/disaster/harm will certainly stand [see the translator’s note on the preceding verse for the meaning of this word here].” The word “sign” refers to an event that is a pre-omen or portent of something that will happen later (see BDB 16 s.v. אוֹת 2 and compare usage in 1 Sam 14:10; 2 Kgs 19:29). The best way to carry that idea across in this context seems to be “I will make something happen to prove [or portend].” Another possibility would be “I will give you a pre-omen that,” but many readers would probably not be familiar with “omen/pre-omen.” Again the sentence has been broken in two and restructured to better conform with English style.

168 tn Heb “Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold I will hand…’” The first person and indirect quote have been chosen because the Lord is already identified as the speaker and the indirect quote eliminates an extra level of embedded quotes.

169 sn Hophra ruled over Egypt from 589-570 b.c. He was the Pharaoh who incited Zedekiah to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar and whose army proved ineffective in providing any long-term relief to Jerusalem when it was under siege (see Jer 37 and especially the study note on 37:5). He was assassinated following a power struggle with a court official who had earlier saved him from a rebellion of his own troops and had ruled as co-regent with him.



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