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The Lord Will Hand Jerusalem over to Enemies

21 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah[a] when King Zedekiah[b] sent to him Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah.[c] Zedekiah sent them to Jeremiah to ask,[d] “Please ask the Lord to come and help us,[e] because King Nebuchadnezzar[f] of Babylon is attacking us. Maybe the Lord will perform one of his miracles as in times past and make him stop attacking us and leave.”[g]

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  1. Jeremiah 21:1 tn Heb “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord.”
  2. Jeremiah 21:1 sn Zedekiah was the last king of Judah. He ruled from 597 b.c., when he was placed on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kgs 24:17), until the fall of Jerusalem in 587/6 b.c. He acquiesced to some of his anti-Babylonian counselors, rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, and sought help from the Egyptians (Ezek 17:12-15). This brought Nebuchadnezzar against the city in 588 b.c. This is the first of two delegations to Jeremiah. The later one was sent after Nebuchadnezzar withdrew to take care of the Egyptian threat (cf. Jer 37:1-9).
  3. Jeremiah 21:1 sn The Pashhur son of Malkijah referred to here is not the same as the Pashhur referred to in 20:1-6, who was the son of Immer. This Pashhur is referred to later in 38:1. The Zephaniah referred to here was the chief of security referred to later in Jer 29:25-26. He appears to have been favorably disposed toward Jeremiah.
  4. Jeremiah 21:1 tn Heb “sent to him…Maaseiah, saying,….”
  5. Jeremiah 21:2 tn The verb used here is often used of seeking information through a prophet (e.g., 2 Kgs 1:16; 8:8), and hence many translate, “inquire of the Lord for us.” However, it is obvious from the following that they were not seeking information but help. The word is also used for that in Pss 34:4 (34:5 HT); 77:2 (77:3 HT).
  6. Jeremiah 21:2 tn The dominant spelling of this name is actually Nebuchadrezzar, which is closer to his Babylonian name Nabû kuddurī uṣur. An alternate spelling, which is found 6 times in the book of Jeremiah and 17 times elsewhere, is Nebuchadnezzar, which is the form of the name that is usually used in English Nebuchadnezzar was the second and greatest king of Babylon in the Neo-Babylonian Empire (626-539 b.c.). He is known in the Bible both for his two conquests of Jerusalem in 597 b.c. (2 Kgs 24:10-17) and 587 b.c. (2 Kgs 25:1-7), and for his having built Babylon the Great (Dan 4:28-30).
  7. Jeremiah 21:2 tn Heb “Perhaps the Lord will do according to his miracles that he may go up from against us.”sn The miracles that they may have had in mind would have included the Exodus, the conquest of Jericho, the deliverance of Jehoshaphat (2 Chr 20:1-30), etc., but predominant in their minds was probably the deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib in the times of Hezekiah (Isa 37:33-38).

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