Add parallel Print Page Options

Jeremiah Is Charged with Treason and Put in a Cistern to Die

38 Now Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehucal[a] son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur[b] son of Malkijah had heard[c] the things that Jeremiah had been telling the people. They had heard him say, “The Lord says, ‘Those who stay in this city will die in battle or of starvation or disease.[d] Those who leave the city and surrender to the Babylonians[e] will live. They will escape with their lives.’”[f] They had also heard him say,[g] “The Lord says, ‘This city will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon. They will capture it.’”[h] So these officials said to the king, “This man must be put to death. For he is demoralizing[i] the soldiers who are left in the city as well as all the other people there by these things he is saying.[j] This[k] man is not seeking to help these people but is trying to harm them.”[l]

Read full chapter


  1. Jeremiah 38:1 tn The name is spelled “Jucal” in the Hebrew text here rather than “Jehucal” as in Jer 37:3. The translation uses the same spelling throughout so that the English reader can identify these as the same Jehucal was a member of the delegation sent to Jeremiah by Zedekiah in Jer 37:3.
  2. Jeremiah 38:1 sn Pashhur was a member of the delegation sent to Jeremiah in 21:2. For the relative sequence of these two delegations, see the study note on 21:1.
  3. Jeremiah 38:1 tn J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB], 226, 30) is probably correct in translating the verbs here as pluperfects and explaining that these words are prophecies Jeremiah uttered before his arrest, not prophecies of his delivered to the people by intermediaries he sent while confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse. For the use of the vav consecutive + imperfect to denote the pluperfect, see the discussion and examples in IBHS 552-53 §33.2.3a and see the usage in Exod 4:19. The words that are cited in v. 2 are those recorded in 21:9 on the occasion of the first delegation, and those in v. 3 are those recorded in 21:10; 34:2; 37:8; 32:28, all except the last delivered before Jeremiah was confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse.
  4. Jeremiah 38:2 tn Heb “by sword, by starvation, or by disease.”
  5. Jeremiah 38:2 tn Heb “those who go out to the Chaldeans.” For the rendering “Babylonians” for “Chaldeans,” see the study note on 21:4.
  6. Jeremiah 38:2 tn Heb “his life will be to him for spoil, and he will live.” For the meaning of this idiom see the study note on 21:9. The words “and he will live” have been left out of the translation because they are redundant after “will live” and “they will escape with their lives.”sn See Jer 21:9 for this prophecy.
  7. Jeremiah 38:3 tn The words “They had also heard him say” are not in the Hebrew text but are in the translation for clarity, to eliminate any confusion possible if no introduction preceded a literal translation: “Thus says the Lord.”
  8. Jeremiah 38:3 sn See Jer 21:10; 32:28; 34:2; 37:8 for this same prophecy. Jeremiah had repeatedly said this or words to the same effect.
  9. Jeremiah 38:4 tn Heb “weakening the hands of.” For this idiom see BDB 951 s.v. רָפָה Pi. and compare the usage in Isa 13:7 and Ezek 21:7 (21:12 HT).
  10. Jeremiah 38:4 tn Heb “by saying these things.”
  11. Jeremiah 38:4 tn The Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) has not been rendered here because it is introducing a causal clause parallel to the preceding one. The rendering “For” might be misunderstood as a grounds for the preceding statement. To render “And” or “Moreover” sounds a little odd here. If the particle must be represented, “Moreover” is perhaps the best translation.
  12. Jeremiah 38:4 tn Or “is not looking out for these people’s best interests but is really trying to do them harm”; Heb “is not seeking the welfare [or “well-being”; Hebrew shalom] of this people but [their] harm [more literally, evil].”

Bible Gateway Sponsors