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19 “The Lord has told you people who remain in Judah, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Be very sure of this: I warn you[a] here and now.[b] 20 You are making a fatal mistake.[c] For you sent me to the Lord your God and asked me, ‘Pray to the Lord our God for us. Tell us what the Lord our God says, and we will do it.’[d] 21 This day[e] I have told you what he said.[f] But you do not want to obey the Lord your God by doing what he sent me to tell you.[g] 22 So now be very sure of this: You will die from war, starvation, or disease in the place where you want to go and live.”

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  1. Jeremiah 42:19 tn Heb “Know for certain that I warn you…” The idea of “for certain” is intended to reflect the emphatic use of the infinitive absolute before the volitive use of the imperfect (see IBHS 587-88 §35.3.1h and 509 §31.5b). The substitution “of this:” for “that” has been made to shorten the sentence in conformity with contemporary English style.
  2. Jeremiah 42:19 tn Heb “today.”
  3. Jeremiah 42:20 tn Heb “you are erring at the cost of your own lives” (BDB 1073 s.v. תָּעָה Hiph.3 and HALOT 1626 s.v. תָּעָה Hif 4; cf. BDB 90 s.v. בְּ 3 and see parallels in 1 Kgs 2:23 and 2 Sam 23:17 for the nuance of “at the cost of your lives”). This fits the context better than “you are deceiving yourselves” (KBL 1035 s.v. תָּעָה Hif 4). The reading here follows the Qere הִתְעֵיתֶם (hitʿetem) rather than the Kethib, which has a metathesis of י (yod) and ת (tav), i.e., הִתְעֵתֶים. The Greek text presupposes הֲרֵעֹתֶם (hareʿotem, “you have done evil”), but that reading is generally rejected as secondary.
  4. Jeremiah 42:20 tn Heb “And according to all that the Lord our God says, thus declare to us, and we will act.” The restructuring of the sentence is intended to better reflect contemporary English style.
  5. Jeremiah 42:21 tn Or “Today.”
  6. Jeremiah 42:21 tn The words “what he said” are not in the text but are implicit and seem necessary for clarity.
  7. Jeremiah 42:21 tn Heb “But you have not hearkened to the voice of [idiomatic for “obeyed”; see BDB 1034 s.v. שָׁמַע Qal.1.m] the Lord your God, namely [cf. BDB 252 s.v. וְ 1.b] in regard to [cf. BDB 514 s.v. לְ 5.f(c)] all about which he has sent me to you.” Because they have not yet expressed their refusal or their actual disobedience, several commentaries, sensing this apparent discrepancy, suggest that 42:19-22 are to be transposed after 43:1-3 (see, e.g., BHS note 18a; W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 2:275; J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 252, 256, 258). However, there is no textual evidence for the transposition and little reason to suspect an early scribal error (in spite of Holladay’s suggestion). It is possible that Jeremiah here anticipates this answer in 43:1-3 through the response on their faces (so Bright, 256; F. B. Huey, Jeremiah, Lamentations [NAC], 361). G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, and T. G. Smothers (Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 249) also call attention to the stated intention in 41:17 and the fact that the strong warning in 42:15-17 seems to imply that a negative response is expected). The use of the perfect here is perhaps to be related to the perfect expressing resolve or determination (see IBHS 489 §30.5.1d). It seems conceivable that these two verses are part of a conditional sentence that has no formal introduction, i.e., “And if you will not obey…then you should know for certain that…” For examples of this kind of conditional statement with two clauses introduced by vav (ו), see Joüon 2:628-29 §167.b, and compare Jer 18:4 and Judg 6:13.

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