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Jeremiah 38:7

Context
An Ethiopian Official Rescues Jeremiah from the Cistern

38:7 An Ethiopian, Ebed Melech, 1  a court official in the royal palace, heard that Jeremiah had been put 2  in the cistern. While the king was holding court 3  at the Benjamin Gate,

Jeremiah 38:10

Context
38:10 Then the king gave Ebed Melech the Ethiopian the following order: “Take thirty 4  men with you from here and go pull the prophet Jeremiah out of the cistern before he dies.”

Jeremiah 38:12

Context
38:12 Ebed Melech 5  called down to Jeremiah, “Put these rags and worn-out clothes under your armpits to pad the ropes. 6  Jeremiah did as Ebed Melech instructed. 7 

1 sn This individual, Ebed Melech, is mentioned only here. Later he will be promised deliverance from destruction when the city falls because he had shown trust in God (see Jer 39:16-18).

2 tn Heb “Ebed Melech, the Cushite, a man, an eunuch/official, and he was [= who was; a circumstantial clause] in the house of the king, heard that they had put Jeremiah…” The passive construction “Jeremiah had been put” has been used to avoid the indefinite subject “they” or the addition of “the officials.” For the translation of סָרִיס (saris) as “official” here rather than “eunuch” see the translator’s note on 29:2 and see also the usage in 34:19. For the translation of “Cushite” as Ethiopian see the study note on 13:23.

3 tn Heb “And the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate.” This clause is circumstantial to the following clause; thus “while the king was…” Most commentators agree that the reference to sitting in the gate here likely refers to the same kind of judicial context that has been posited for 26:10 (see the translator’s note there for further references). Hence the translation uses “sitting” with the more technical “holding court” to better reflect the probable situation.

4 tc Some modern English versions (e.g., NRSV, REB, TEV) and commentaries read “three” on the basis that thirty men would not be necessary for the task (cf. J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 231). Though the difference in “three” and “thirty” involves minimal emendation (שְׁלֹשָׁה [shÿlosha] for שְׁלֹשִׁים [shÿloshim]) there is no textual or versional evidence for it except for one Hebrew ms. Perhaps the number was large to prevent the officials from hindering Ebed Melech from accomplishing the task.

5 tn Heb “Ebed Melech the Ethiopian.” The words “the Ethiopian” are unnecessary and are not repeated in the translation because he has already been identified as such in vv. 7, 10.

6 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.”

7 tn Or “Jeremiah did so.” The alternate translation is what the text reads literally.



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