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Jeremiah 42:14-16

Context
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, 1  or hear the enemy’s trumpet calls, 2  or starve for lack of food.’ 3  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 4  says, ‘If you are so determined 5  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 6  Egypt. You will die there. 7 

1 tn Heb “see [or experience] war.”

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

3 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.

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

5 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.

6 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.

7 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).



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