38:11 So Ebed Melech took the men with him and went to a room under the treasure room in the palace. 1 He got some worn-out clothes and old rags 2 from there and let them down by ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern. 38:12 Ebed Melech 3 called down to Jeremiah, “Put these rags and worn-out clothes under your armpits to pad the ropes. 4 Jeremiah did as Ebed Melech instructed. 5
1 tn Heb “went into the palace in under the treasury.” Several of the commentaries (e.g., J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 227; J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 639, n. 6) emend the prepositional phrase “in under” (אֶל־תַּחַת, ’el-takhat) to the noun “wardrobe” plus the preposition “to” (אֶל־מֶלְתַחַת, ’el-meltakhat). This is a plausible emendation which would involve dropping out מֶל (mel) due to its similarity with the אֶל (’el) which precedes it. However, there is no textual or versional evidence for such a reading and the compound preposition is not in itself objectionable (cf. BDB 1066 s.v. תַּחַת III.1.a). The Greek version reads “the part underground” (representing a Hebrew Vorlage of אֶל תַּחַת הָאָרֶץ, ’el takhat ha’arets) in place of אֶל תַּחַת הָאוֹצָר (’el takhat ha’otsar). The translation follows the Hebrew text but adds the word “room” for the sake of English style.
2 tn Heb “worn-out clothes and worn-out rags.”
4 tn Heb “under the joints of your arms under the ropes.” The two uses of “under” have different orientations and are best reflected by “between your armpits and the ropes” or “under your armpits to pad the ropes.”
5 tn Or “Jeremiah did so.” The alternate translation is what the text reads literally.