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Jeremiah 44:28-29

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! 1  Then the Judean remnant who have come to live in the land of Egypt will know whose word proves true, 2  mine or theirs.’ 44:29 Moreover the Lord says, 3  ‘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. 4 

1 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.”

2 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).

3 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”

4 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.



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