If they ask you, ‘Where should we go?’ tell them the Lord says this: “Those who are destined to die of disease will go to death by disease. Those who are destined to die in war will go to death in war. Those who are destined to die of starvation will go to death by starvation. Those who are destined to go into exile will go into exile.” 1
|NET © Notes||
1 tn It is difficult to render the rhetorical force of this passage in meaningful English. The text answers the question “Where should we go?” with four brief staccato-like expressions with a play on the preposition “to”: Heb “Who to the death, to the death and who to the sword, to the sword and who to the starvation, to the starvation and who to the captivity, to the captivity.” The word “death” here is commonly understood to be a poetic substitute for “plague” because of the standard trio of sword, famine, and plague (see, e.g., 14:12 and the notes there). This is likely here and in 18:21. For further support see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:440. The nuance “starvation” rather than “famine” has been chosen in the translation because the referents here are all things that accompany war.