38:1 Now Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehucal 1 son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur 2 son of Malkijah had heard 3 the things that Jeremiah had been telling the people. They had heard him say,
38:6 So the officials 4 took Jeremiah and put him in the cistern 5 of Malkijah, one of the royal princes, 6 that was in the courtyard of the guardhouse. There was no water in the cistern, only mud. So when they lowered Jeremiah into the cistern with ropes he sank in the mud. 7
1 tn The name is spelled “Jucal” in the Hebrew text here rather than “Jehucal” as in Jer 37:3. The translation uses the same spelling throughout so that the English reader can identify these as the same individual.
sn Jehucal was a member of the delegation sent to Jeremiah by Zedekiah in Jer 37:3.
3 tn J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB], 226, 30) is probably correct in translating the verbs here as pluperfects and in explaining that these words are prophecies that Jeremiah uttered before his arrest not prophecies that were being delivered to the people through intermediaries sent by Jeremiah who was confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse. For the use of the vav consecutive + imperfect to denote the pluperfect see the discussion and examples in IBHS 552-53 §33.2.3a and see the usage in Exod 4:19. The words that are cited in v. 2 are those recorded in 21:9 on the occasion of the first delegation and those in v. 3 are those recorded in 21:10; 34:2; 37:8; 32:28 all except the last delivered before Jeremiah was confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse.
4 tn Heb “they.”
5 sn A cistern was a pear-shaped pit with a narrow opening. Cisterns were cut or dug in the limestone rock and lined with plaster to prevent seepage. They were used to collect and store rain water or water carried up from a spring.
7 tn Heb “And they let Jeremiah down with ropes and in the cistern there was no water, only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud.” The clauses have been reordered and restructured to create a more natural and smoother order in English.