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Jeremiah 39:13-15

Context
39:13 So Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard, Nebushazban, who was a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer, who was a high official, 1  and all the other officers of the king of Babylon 39:14 sent and had Jeremiah brought from the courtyard of the guardhouse. They turned him over to Gedaliah, 2  the son of Ahikam and the grandson of Shaphan, to take him home with him. 3  But Jeremiah stayed among the people. 4 

Ebed Melech Is Promised Deliverance because of His Faith

39:15 5 Now the Lord had spoken to Jeremiah while he was still confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse, 6 

1 tn See the translator’s notes on 39:3, 9 for the names and titles here.

2 sn Gedaliah. This is the first reference to this individual whom Nebuchadnezzar appointed governor over the people who were left to live in Judah (cf. 40:5; 2 Kgs 25:22). His father was the man who spoke up for Jeremiah when he was accused of being a false prophet by some of the priests and prophets (26:24). His grandfather was the royal secretary under Josiah who brought the discovery of the book of the law to Josiah’s attention, read it to him, and was involved in helping Josiah institute his reforms (2 Kgs 22:8-10).

3 tn The meaning of the last phrase is uncertain. An alternate translation is “to take him home with him.” The text reads literally “to bring him into the house.” However, it is unclear whether “the house” refers to Jeremiah’s house or to Gedaliah’s. The fact that Nebuzaradan later offers Jeremiah the option of going back to Gedaliah (40:5) suggests that the house is here Gedaliah’s where Jeremiah would be looked out for in accord with Nebuchadnezzar’s command (v. 12).

4 tn Many translate this last clause as a conclusion or summary remark, “So Jeremiah stayed…” However, it is better to translate it as an adversative because it probably refers to the fact that rather than staying with Gedaliah in the governor’s residence Jeremiah stayed among the people. That is how he wound up being led off as a prisoner to Ramah. See further the study note on 40:1. According to IBHS 550 §33.2.1d the vav (ו) consecutive can have either of these values (see examples 11 and 12 for the adversative or contrastive nuance).

5 sn Jer 39:15-18. This incident is out of chronological order (see Jer 38:7-13). It is placed here either due to a desire not to interrupt the sequential ordering of events centering on Jeremiah’s imprisonment and his release (38:1439:14) or to contrast God’s care and concern for the faithful (Ebed-Melech who, though a foreigner, trusted in God) with his harsh treatment of the faithless (Zedekiah who, though informed of God’s will, was too weak-willed in the face of opposition by his courtiers to carry it out).

6 tn Heb “Now the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah while he…saying.” The form of this clause is disjunctive showing that it does not follow the preceding events in either chronological or logical sequence. For a discussion of the form and function of such disjunctive clauses see IBHS 650-52 §39.2.3. This example most closely fits the description and function of example 12, Ruth 4:18, 21-22 on p. 652.



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