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Jeremiah 44:14

Context
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.’” 1 

Jeremiah 44:28

Context
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! 2  Then the Judean remnant who have come to live in the land of Egypt will know whose word proves true, 3  mine or theirs.’

1 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.

2 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.”

3 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).



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