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Jeremiah 39:16-18

39:16 “Go 1  and tell Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, ‘The Lord God of Israel who rules over all says, “I will carry out against this city what I promised. It will mean disaster and not good fortune for it. 2  When that disaster happens, you will be there to see it. 3  39:17 But I will rescue you when it happens. 4  I, the Lord, affirm it! 5  You will not be handed over to those whom you fear. 6  39:18 I will certainly save you. You will not fall victim to violence. 7  You will escape with your life 8  because you trust in me. I, the Lord, affirm it!”’” 9 

1 sn Even though Jeremiah was confined to the courtyard of the guardhouse, he was still free to entertain visitors (32:2, 8). Moreover, Ebed-Melech was an official attached to the royal court and would have had access to the courtyard of the guardhouse (38:7, 13). Jeremiah would not have had to leave the courtyard of the guardhouse to “go and tell” him something.

2 tn Heb “Behold, I will bring to pass my words against this city for evil/disaster and not for good/good fortune.” For the form of the verb מֵבִי ([mevi] Kethib, מֵבִיא [mevi’] Qere) see GKC 206-7 §74.k, where the same form is noted for the Kethib in 2 Sam 5:2; 1 Kgs 21:21; Jer 19:15 all of which occur before a word beginning with א. For the nuance “carry out” (or “bring to pass”) see BDB 99 s.v. בּוֹא Hiph.2.b.

3 tn Heb “And they [= my words for disaster] will come to pass [= happen] before you on that day [i.e., the day that I bring them to pass/carry them out].”

4 tn Heb “But I will rescue you on that day” (referring to the same day mentioned in the preceding verse).

5 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

6 sn Some commentators see this as a reference to the princes from whose clutches Ebed-Melech delivered Jeremiah (38:7-13). However, it is clear that in this context it refers to those that he would fear when the Lord brings about the threatened disaster, i.e., the Babylonians who are attacking the city.

7 sn Heb “you will not fall by the sword.” In the context this would include death in battle and execution as a prisoner of war.

8 tn Heb “your life will be to you for spoil.” For the meaning of this idiom see the study note on 21:9 and compare the usage in 21:9; 38:2; 45:4.

9 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

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