Jeremiah 42

 

וַיִּגְּשׁוּ כָּל־שָׂרֵי הַחֲיָלִים וְיוֹחָנָן בֶּן־קָרֵחַ וִיזַנְיָה בֶּן־הוֹשַׁעְיָה וְכָל־הָעָם מִקָּטֹן וְעַד־גָּדוֹל׃   42:1

Jere. 42:1   Then all the chiefs of the forces approached, and Johanan son of Kareah, and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from the least and up to the greatest,

וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל־יִרְמְיָהוּ הַנָּבִיא תִּפָּל־נָא תְחִנָּתֵנוּ לְפָנֶיךָ וְהִתְפַּלֵּל בַּעֲדֵנוּ אֶל־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּעַד   42:2                כָּל־הַשְּׁאֵרִית הַזֹּאת כִּי־נִשְׁאַרְנוּ מְעַט מֵהַרְבֵּה כַּאֲשֶׁר עֵינֶיךָ רֹאֹות אֹתָנוּ׃

Jere. 42:2   and said to Jeremiah, the prophet, “Offer, we pray you, our supplication before you, and pray on our behalf to the Lord, your God, on behalf of this whole remnant, for we remain a few out of many, as your eyes are regarding us,

וְיַגֶּד־לָנוּ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶת־הַדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר נֵלֶךְ־בָּהּ וְאֶת־הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר נַעֲשֶׂה׃   42:3

Jere. 42:3   that the Lord, your God, would make known to us the path by which we should traverse and the thing that we should do.”

וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם יִרְמְיָהוּ הַנָּבִיא שָׁמַעְתִּי הִנְנִי מִתְפַּלֵּל אֶל־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם כְּדִבְרֵיכֶם וְהָיָה כָּל־הַדָּבָר   42:4   אֲשֶׁר־יַעֲנֶה יְהוָה אֶתְכֶם אַגִּיד לָכֶם לֹא־אֶמְנַע םִכֶּם דָּבָר׃

Jere. 42:4   And Jeremiah, the prophet said to them, “I hear; behold, I will be praying to the Lord, your God, according to your words, and it shall be, the entire word that the Lord will answer you, I will say to you; I will not withhold from you anything.”

וְהֵמָּה אָמְרוּ אֶל־יִרְמְיָהוּ יְהִי יְהוָה בָּנוּ לְעֵד אֱמֶת וְנֶאֱמָן אִם־לֹא כְּכָל־הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁלָחֲךָ יְהוָה   42:5 אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֵלֵינוּ כֵּן נַעֲשֶׂה׃

Jere. 42:5   And they said to Jeremiah, “Let the Lord be for a true and faithful Witness with us if according to the whole word that the Lord, your God, will send you about us, we do not so.”

אִם־טֹוב וְאִם־רָע בְּקֹול יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ אֲשֶׁר (אֲנוּ) [אֲנַחְנוּ] שֹׁלְחִים אֹתְךָ אֵלָיו נִשְׁמָע לְמַעַן   42:6         אֲשֶׁר יִיטַב־לָנוּ כִּי נִשְׁמַע בְּקֹול יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ׃

Jere. 42:6   “Whether pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the Lord, our God, to Whom we are sending you, so that it may be good for us that we would listen to the voice of the Lord, our God.”

The error appearing in the parentheses is rather peculiar.  What was Jeremiah (or the scribe) thinking of?  The word is indeed a Hebrew first-person plural pronoun meaning we, and can be thought of as a contraction of the longer pronoun, but it doesn’t appear anywhere else in the Hebrew Scriptures, perhaps implying that it was not used in biblical times.  The normal form for the word is in the brackets.  However, one can draw a possible analogy with the two words for the first-person singular pronoun, I.  They are ynIa and ykinOa', where the first pronoun can be thought of as the contraction of the second pronoun.  And both forms of this singular pronoun do appear in the Hebrew Scriptures.  In fact, the shorter version appears almost two and a half times as often as the longer.  So did Jeremiah (or the scribe) undergo a lapse into fantasy, imagining the contraction of the plural form and using it here?  I can’t think of a better reason for its showing up here, other than it was acceptable in the time of Jeremiah.

וַיְהִי מִקֵּץ עֲשֶׂרֶת יָמִים וַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהוָה אֶל־יִרְמְיָהוּ׃   42:7

Jere. 42:7   “And it was at the end of ten days that the word of the Lord occurred to Jeremiah.

We can’t tell from this verse or any others in this chapter whether Jeremiah waited ten days to pray to the Lord and then received an immediate answer, or whether he prayed right away and waited ten days for the Lord’s response.  I’m inclined to believe he prayed right away and had to wait.  The Lord works in His own time, not ours.

וַיִּקְרָא אֶל־יוֹחָנָן בֶּן־קָרֵחַ וְאֶל כָּל־שָׂרֵי הַחֲיָלִים אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ וּלְכָל־הָעָם לְמִקָּטֹן וְעַד־גָּדוֹל׃   42:8

Jere. 42:8   Then he called to Johanan son of Kareah, and to all the chiefs of the forces who were with him, and to all the people, to the smallest and up to the greatest,

וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר שְׁלַחְתֶּם אֹתִי אֵלָיו לְהַפִּיל תְּחִנַּתְכֶם לְפָנָיו׃   42:9

Jere. 42:9   and said to them, “Thus says the Lord, God of Israel, to Whom you sent me to offer your supplication before Him:

אִם־שֹׁוב תֵּשְׁבוּ בָּאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת וּבָנִיתִי אֶתְכֶם וְלֹא אֶהֱרֹס וְנָטַעְתִּי אֶתְכֶם וְלֹא אֶתֹּושׁ כִּי נִחַמְתִּי   42:10     אֶל־הָרָעָה אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתִי לָכֶם׃

Jere. 42:10   ‘If you will still remain in this land, then I will rebuild you and not pull down, and I will plant you and not root out, for I am ‘sorry’ concerning the evil that I have done to you.’”

אַל־תִּירְאוּ מִפְּנֵי מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל אֲשֶׁר־אַתֶּם יְרֵאִים מִפָּנָיו אַל־תִּירְאוּ מִמֶּנּוּ נְאֻם־יְהוָה כִּי־אִתְּכֶם אָנִי   42:11     לְהֹושִׁיעַ אֶתְכֶם וּלְהַצִּיל אֶתְכֶם מִיָּדֹו׃

Jere. 42:11   “You need not be afraid because of the king of Babylon before whom you are fearful; you need have no fear from him, declares the Lord, ‘for I am with you to save you and to rescue you from his hand,

וְאֶתֵּן לָכֶם רַחֲמִים וְרִחַם אֶתְכֶם וְהֵשִׁיב אֶתְכֶם אֶל־אַדְמַתְכֶם׃   42:12

Jere. 42:12   and I will grant compassion to you that he may love you and let you return to your own soil.’

וְאִם־אֹמְרִים אַתֶּם לֹא נֵשֵׁב בָּאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת לְבִלְתִּי שְׁמֹעַ בְּקֹול יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם׃   42:13

Jere. 42:13   ‘But if you are saying, ‘We will not remain in this land,’ so as not to listen to the voice of the Lord, your God,

לֵאמֹר לֹא כִּי אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם נָבֹוא אֲשֶׁר לֹא־נִרְאֶה מִלְחָמָה וְקֹול שֹׁופָר לֹא נִשְׁמָע וְלַלֶּחֶם   42:14                 לֹא־נִרְעָב וְשָׁם נֵשֵׁב׃

Jere. 42:14   saying, ‘No, but we will enter the land of Egypt where we shall see no war and hear no sound of the horn, and not hunger for bread, and there we shall stay,’

וְעַתָּה לָכֵן שִׁמְעוּ דְבַר־יְהוָה שְׁאֵרִית יְהוּדָה כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אִם־אַתֶּם שֹׂום   42:15 תְּשִׂמוּן פְּנֵיכֶם לָבֹא מִצְרַיִם וּבָאתֶם לָגוּר שָׁם׃

Jere. 42:15   ‘then now, therefore, hear the word of the Lord, remnant of Judah!  Thus says the Lord of hosts, God of Israel:  If you firmly set your faces to enter Egypt and go to remain there,

וְהָיְתָה הַחֶרֶב אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם יְרֵאִים מִמֶּנָּה שָׁם תַּשִּׂיג אֶתְכֶם בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם וְהָרָעָב אֲשֶׁר־אַתֶּם   42:16        דֹּאֲגִים מִמֶּנּוּ שָׁם יִדְבַּק אַחֲרֵיכֶם מִצְרַיִם וְשָׁם תָּמֻתוּ׃

Jere. 42:16   then it shall be, the sword by which you are frightened shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the hunger about which you are concerned there shall follow closely after you to Egypt, and there you shall die.’

וְיִהְיוּ כָל־הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר־שָׂמוּ אֶת־פְּנֵיהֶם לָבֹוא מִצְרַיִם לָגוּר שָׁם יָמוּתוּ בַּחֶרֶב בָּרָעָב וּבַדָּבֶר   42:17      וְלֹא־יִהְיֶה לָהֶם שָׂרִיד וּפָלִיט מִפְּנֵי הָרָעָה אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי מֵבִיא עֲלֵיהֶם׃

Jere. 42:17   ‘So it shall be, all the men who set their faces to enter Egypt to remain there shall die by the sword, by famine, or by pestilence, and there shall not be a survivor or an escapee for them as a result of the evil that I am bringing upon them.’”

כִּי כֹה אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כַּאֲשֶׁר נִתַּךְ אַפִּי וַחֲמָתִי עַל־יֹשְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם כֵּן תִּתַּךְ   42:18          חֲמָתִי עֲלֵיכֶם בְּבֹאֲכֶם מִצְרָיִם וִהְיִיתֶם לְאָלָה וּלְשַׁמָּה וְלִקְלָלָה וּלְחֶרְפָּה וְלֹא־תִרְאוּ עֹוד אֶת־הַמָּקֹום     הַזֶּה׃

Jere. 42:18   “For thus says the Lord of hosts, God of Israel:  ‘As My ‘anger’ has poured out, and My ‘rage,’ upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so My ‘rage’ shall pour out upon you on your entry into Egypt that you will be for a loathing, and for a horror, and for a curse, and for a reproach, and you shall not see this place again.’”

דִּבֶּר יְהוָה עֲלֵיכֶם שְׁאֵרִית יְהוּדָה אַל־תָּבֹאוּ מִצְרָיִם יָדֹעַ תֵּדְעוּ כִּי־הַעִידֹתִי בָכֶם הַיֹּום׃   42:19

Jere. 42:19   “The Lord has spoken concerning you, remnant of Judah.  Do not go into Egypt!  Surely know that I have given warning to you today.”

כִּי (הִתְעֵתֶים) [הִתְעֵיתֶמ] בְּנַפְשֹׁותֵיכֶם כִּי־אַתֶּם שְׁלַחְתֶּם אֹתִי אֶל־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם לֵאמֹר   42:20             הִתְפַּלֵּל בַּעֲדֵנוּ אֶל־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ וּכְכֹל אֲשֶׁר יֹאמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ כֵּן הַגֶּד־לָנוּ וְעָשִׂינוּ׃

Jere. 42:20   “For you have been deceitful to your own souls that you have sent me to the Lord, your God, saying, ‘Pray on our behalf to the Lord, our God, and according to all that the Lord, our God, will say, honestly say to us, that we may do,’

The error in this verse in the parentheses is caused by a displaced yad.  The correction appears in the brackets.

וָאַגִּד לָכֶם הַיֹּום וְלֹא שְׁמַעְתֶּם בְּקֹול יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וּלְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־שְׁלָחַנִי אֲלֵיכֶם׃   42:21

Jere. 42:21   so I have declared to you today, but you have not listened to the voice of the Lord, your God, or to anything that He sent me in regard to you.”

וְעַתָּה יָדֹעַ תֵּדְעוּ כִּי בַּחֶרֶב בָּרָעָב וּבַדֶּבֶר תָּמוּתוּ בַּמָּקֹום אֲשֶׁר חֲפַצְתֶּם לָבֹוא לָגוּר שָׁם׃   42:22

Jere. 42:22   “Then now surely know that by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence you shall die in the place where you desire to go to stay.”

Was there something left out of this chapter?  Did the remnant who came to Jeremiah in vss. 42:1 and 2 above decide to go to Egypt anyway?  Or does Jeremiah know that they will decide to go?  See the next chapter for the continuation of this episode.

 

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