38:17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “The Lord, the God who rules over all, the God of Israel, 1 says, ‘You must surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon. If you do, your life will be spared 2 and this city will not be burned down. Indeed, you and your whole family will be spared. 38:18 But if you do not surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, this city will be handed over to the Babylonians 3 and they will burn it down. You yourself will not escape from them.’” 4
2 tn Heb “Your life/soul will live.” The quote is a long condition-consequence sentence with compound consequential clauses. It reads, “If you will only go out to the officers of the king of Babylon, your soul [= you yourself; BDB 660 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 4.a] will live and this city will not be burned with fire and you and your household will live.” The sentence has been broken down and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style. The infinitive absolute in the condition emphasizes the one condition, i.e., going out or surrendering (cf. Joüon 2:423 §123.g, and compare usage in Exod 15:26). For the idiom “go out to” = “surrender to” see the full idiom in 21:9 “go out and fall over to” which is condensed in 38:2 to “go out to.” The expression here is the same as in 38:2.
4 tn Heb “will not escape from their hand.”
sn Zedekiah held out this hope of escape until the end and attempted to do so but was unsuccessful (cf. 39:4-5).