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Jeremiah 43:8-10

Context
Jeremiah Predicts that Nebuchadnezzar Will Plunder Egypt and Its Gods

43:8 At Tahpanhes the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. 1  43:9 “Take some large stones 2  and bury them in the mortar of the clay pavement 3  at the entrance of Pharaoh’s residence 4  here in Tahpanhes. Do it while the people of Judah present there are watching. 5  43:10 Then tell them, 6  ‘The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 7  says, “I will bring 8  my servant 9  King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I will set his throne over these stones which I 10  have buried. He will pitch his royal tent 11  over them.

1 tn Heb “The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah at Tahpanhes, saying.”

2 tn Heb “Take some large stones in your hands.”

3 tn The meaning of the expression “mortar of the clay pavement” is uncertain. The noun translated “mortar” occurs only here and the etymology is debated. Both BDB 572 s.v. מֶלֶט and KBL 529 s.v. מֶלֶט give the meaning “mortar.” The noun translated “clay pavement” is elsewhere used of a “brick mold.” Here BDB 527 s.v. מַלְבֵּן 2 gives “quadrangle” and KBL 527 s.v. מַלְבֵּן 2 gives “terrace of bricks.” HALOT 558 s.v. מֶלֶט and מַלְבֵּן 2 give “loamy soil” for both words, seeing the second noun as a dittography or gloss of the first (see also note c in BHS).

4 sn All the commentaries point out that this was not Pharaoh’s (main) palace but a governor’s residence or other government building that Pharaoh occupied when he was in Tahpanhes.

5 tn Heb “in Tahpanhes in the eyes of the men of Judah.”

6 sn This is another of those symbolic prophecies of Jeremiah which involved an action and an explanation. Compare Jer 19, 27.

7 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.” Compare 7:3 and see the study note on 2:19 for explanation of the translation and significance of this title.

8 tn Heb “send and take/fetch.”

9 sn See the study note on Jer 25:9 for the use of this epithet for foreign rulers. The term emphasizes God’s sovereignty over history.

10 tn The Greek version reads the verbs in this sentence as third person, “he will set,” and second person, “you have buried.” This fits the context better but it is difficult to explain how the Hebrew could have arisen from this smoother reading. The figure of substitution (metonymy of cause for effect) is probably involved: “I will have him set” and “I have had you bury.” The effect of these substitutions is to emphasize the sovereignty of God.

11 tn The meaning of this word is uncertain. The word here (שַׁפְרִירוֹ [shafriro] Qere, שַׁפְרוּרוֹ [shafruro] Kethib) occurs only here in the Hebrew Bible. According to the lexicons it refers to either the carpet for his throne or the canopy over it. See, e.g., HALOT 1510 s.v. שַׁפְרִיר.



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