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Jeremiah 37:5-8

Context
37:5 At that time the Babylonian forces 1  had temporarily given up their siege against Jerusalem. 2  They had had it under siege, but withdrew when they heard that the army of Pharaoh had set out from Egypt. 3 ) 37:6 The Lord gave the prophet Jeremiah a message for them. He told him to tell them, 4  37:7 “The Lord God of Israel says, ‘Give a message to the king of Judah who sent you to ask me to help him. 5  Tell him, “The army of Pharaoh that was on its way to help you will go back home to Egypt. 6  37:8 Then the Babylonian forces 7  will return. They will attack the city and will capture it and burn it down.

1 tn Heb “the Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for the rendering “Babylonian.” The word “forces” is supplied in the translation here for the sake of clarity.

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

3 tn Heb “And the army of Pharaoh had set out from Egypt and the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard a report about them and they went up from besieging them.” The sentence has been restructured and reworded to give greater emphasis to the most pertinent fact, i.e., that the siege had been temporarily lifted. The word “temporarily” is not in the text but is implicit from the rest of the context. It is supplied in the translation here to better show that the information in vv. 4-5 is all parenthetical, providing a background for the oracle that will follow. For the meaning “given up their siege against” (Heb “had taken themselves away from against”) see BDB 749 s.v. עָלָה Niph.1.c(2); 759 s.v. עַל IV.2.b.

sn The Pharaoh referred to here is Pharaoh Hophra who is named in Jer 44:30. He ruled from 589-570 b.c. Shortly after he began to rule, Zedekiah had been enticed by some of the officials in his court to appeal to him for aid. This act of rebellion quickly brought Nebuchadnezzar’s wrath and he invaded Judah, blockading Jerusalem and reducing the fortified cities of Judah one by one. According to Jer 39:1 the siege began in Zedekiah’s ninth year (589/88 b.c.) and lasted until his eleventh year when Jerusalem fell (587/86 b.c.). The army of Pharaoh likely came sometime during 588 b.c.

4 tn Heb “And the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying.”

5 tn Or “to ask me what will happen.” The dominant usage of the verb דָּרַשׁ (darash) is to “inquire” in the sense of gaining information about what will happen (cf., e.g., 1 Kgs 14:5; 2 Kgs 8:8; 22:7-8) but it is also used in the sense of “seeking help” from (cf., e.g., Isa 31:1; 2 Chr 16:12; 20:3). The latter nuance appears appropriate in Jer 20:2 where Zedekiah is hoping for some miraculous intervention. That nuance also appears appropriate here where Zedekiah has sent messengers to ask Jeremiah to intercede on their behalf. However, it is also possible that the intent of both verbs is to find out from God whether the Egyptian mission will succeed and more permanent relief from the siege will be had.

6 tn Heb “will go back to its land, Egypt.”

7 tn Heb “the Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for the rendering “Babylonian.” The word “forces” is supplied in the translation here for the sake of clarity.



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