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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]

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  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.

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