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Jeremiah 38:6

Context
38:6 So the officials 1  took Jeremiah and put him in the cistern 2  of Malkijah, one of the royal princes, 3  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. 4 

Jeremiah 38:22

Context
38:22 All the women who are left in the royal palace of Judah will be led out to the officers of the king of Babylon. They will taunt you saying, 5 

‘Your trusted friends misled you;

they have gotten the best of you.

Now that your feet are stuck in the mud,

they have turned their backs on you.’ 6 

1 tn Heb “they.”

2 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.

3 tn Heb “the son of the king.” See the translator’s note on Jer 36:26 for the rendering here.

4 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.

5 tn Heb “And they will say.” The words “taunt you” are supplied in the translation to give the flavor of the words that follow.

6 tn Heb “The men of your friendship incited you and prevailed over you. Your feet are sunk in the mud. They turned backward.” The term “men of your friendship” (cf. BDB 1023 s.v. שָׁלוֹם 5.a) is used to refer to Jeremiah’s “so-called friends” in 20:10, to the trusted friend who deserted the psalmist in Ps 41:10, and to the allies of Edom in Obad 7. According to most commentators it refers here to the false prophets and counselors who urged the king to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar. The verb translated “misled” is a verb that often refers to inciting or instigating someone to do something, often with negative connotations (so BDB 694 s.v. סוּת Hiph.2). It is generally translated “deceive” or “mislead” in 2 Kgs 18:32; 2 Chr 32:11, 15. Here it refers to the fact that his pro-Egyptian counselors induced him to rebel. They have proven too powerful for him and prevailed on him (יָכֹל לְ, yakhol lÿ; see BDB 408 s.v. יָכֹל 2.b) to follow a policy which will prove detrimental to him, his family, and the city. The phrase “your feet are sunk in the mud” is figurative for being entangled in great difficulties (so BDB 371 s.v. טָבַע Hoph and compare the usage in the highly figurative description of trouble in Ps 69:2 [69:3 HT]).

sn The taunt song here refers to the fact that Zedekiah had been incited into rebellion by pro-Egyptian nobles in his court who prevailed on him to seek aid from the new Egyptian Pharaoh in 589 b.c. and withhold tribute from Nebuchadnezzar. This led to the downfall of the city which is depicted in Jeremiah’s vision from the standpoint of its effects on the king himself and his family.



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