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Jeremiah 21:8-10 New English Translation (NET Bible)

“But[a] tell the people of Jerusalem[b] that the Lord says, ‘I will give you a choice between two courses of action. One will result in life; the other will result in death.[c] Those who stay in this city will die in battle or of starvation or disease. Those who leave the city and surrender to the Babylonians who are besieging it will live. They will escape with their lives.[d] 10 For I, the Lord, say that[e] I am determined not to deliver this city but to bring disaster on it.[f] It will be handed over to the king of Babylon and he will destroy it with fire.’”[g]


  1. Jeremiah 21:8 tn Heb “And/But unto this people you shall say…” “But” is suggested here by the unusual word order, which offsets what they are to say to Zedekiah (v. 3).
  2. Jeremiah 21:8 tn Heb “these people.”
  3. Jeremiah 21:8 tn Heb “Behold, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death.”
  4. Jeremiah 21:9 tn Heb “his life will be to him for spoil.”sn Spoil was what was carried off by the victor (see, e.g., Judg 5:30). Those who surrendered to the Babylonians would lose their property, their freedom, and their citizenship but would at least escape with their lives. Jeremiah was branded a traitor for this counsel (cf. 38:4), but it was the way of wisdom since the Lord was firmly determined to destroy the city (cf. v. 10).
  5. Jeremiah 21:10 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”
  6. Jeremiah 21:10 tn Heb “I have set my face against this city for evil [i.e., disaster] and not for good [i.e., well-being].” For the use of the idiom “set one’s face against/toward” see, e.g., 1 Kgs 2:15; 2 Kgs 2:17; Jer 42:15, 17, and note the interesting interplay of usage in Jer 44:11-12.
  7. Jeremiah 21:10 tn Heb “he will burn it with fire.”
New English Translation (NET)

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