Jeremiah 42:1-22 (49:1-22, LXX)

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“All the princes [leaders or captains] of the forces,” including Johanan the son of Kareah and Jezaniah [Jaazaniah (2 Kings 25:23)] the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from the least [the most insignificant] to the greatest [the most prominent or influential], approached Jeremiah. (42:1 [49:1, LXX]; see the Notes section)

The people said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Let our supplication come before you [literally, before your face] and pray for us to YHWH your God.” When petitioning Jeremiah to pray for them, they acknowledged their plight of having been reduced from many to few in number, as the “eyes” of Jeremiah could see. In their request to Jeremiah, the people referred to YHWH as “your God.” This suggests that they were not fully devoted to YHWH but recognized that YHWH was the God to whom Jeremiah was exclusively devoted. Evidence to this effect is the acknowledgment of the people after they fled to Egypt that they had condoned or engaged in idolatrous practices. (42:2 [49:2, LXX]; 44:15-19)

Through Jeremiah, the people desired to receive a message from YHWH that would make known to them the way in which they should walk or the course they should take and what they should do. (42:3 [49:3, LXX]) Jeremiah responded that he would pray to YHWH according to the “words” of their request. He also assured them that he would not hold back from making known to them everything that YHWH would reveal to him. Whereas the people had referred to YHWH as the God of Jeremiah (“your God”), he indicated that YHWH was also their God, saying to them “YHWH your God.” (42:4 [49:4, LXX])

The people solemnly declared that they would act according to the “word” or message that YHWH would send to them through Jeremiah. They made their solemn declaration in God’s name, saying, “May YHWH be a true and faithful witness against us.” (42:5 [49:5, LXX]) With repetition, the people expressed themselves emphatically to the effect that whether it would be “good” (or favorable) or “evil” (or unfavorable), they would obey YHWH. They said, “We will listen to to the voice of YHWH our God to whom we are sending you that it may go well for us when we listen to the voice of YHWH our God.” Possibly because they made their oath-bound promise in God’s name, they referred to YHWH as their God. (42:6 [49:6, LXX])

Jeremiah did not receive a message from YHWH immediately after praying for the people. It was “ten days” later that the “word of YHWH came to Jeremiah.” (42:7 [49:7, LXX])

After receiving the message from YHWH in answer to his prayer for the people, Jeremiah “summoned Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces who were with him, and all the people, from the least [the most insignificant] to the greatest [the most prominent or influential]” (42:8 [49:8, LXX]), and said to them, “Thus says YHWH, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your supplication before him [literally, before his face].” (42:9 [49:9, LXX]; see the Notes section.)

Jeremiah told the people that, if they remained in the land, YHWH promised to build them up and not to tear them down, to plant them and not to uproot them, for he would “repent” of the “evil” (cause “rest over the evils” [LXX]) that he did to them. Instead of continuing to punish them, he would extend mercy to them, restoring them to his favor. (42:10 [49:10, LXX]) YHWH admonished the people not to be afraid, and this is expressed emphatically through repetition. “Do not be afraid before [literally, before the face of] the king of Babylon [Nebuchadnezzar], of whom you are afraid. Do not fear him, says YHWH, for I am with you to save you and to deliver you from his hand” or power. With the sure aid of their God YHWH in his role as savior and deliverer from calamity, the people had no valid reason for giving in to fear. There would be no reprisal from Nebuchadnezzar for the assassination of his appointed governor Gedaliah. (42:11 [49:11, LXX])

YHWH would grant mercy to the people, causing the king of Babylon to have mercy on them and not to punish them for the slaying of Gedaliah and the Chaldeans who were with him. They would not experience the king’s wrath for the treacherous act of murder that Ishmael committed. King Nebuchadnezzar, however, did not let those in Babylonian exile return to their own land, but Cyrus, the conqueror of Babylon, who reigned over the former empire of Babylon, did make the return possible. Therefore, Cyrus fulfilled the words, “He will return you to your land.” The Septuagint quotes God as saying what he would do. “And I will grant mercy to you, and I will be merciful to you, and I will return you to your land.” (42:12 [49:12, LXX]; see the Notes section.)

If the people were determined not to remain in the land, refusing to listen to or obey the “voice of YHWH” their God, there would be serious consequences. In the Septuagint, their choice is expressed in an emphatic manner with two words for “not,” and the phrase in which these words appear may be translated, “By no means will we settle [or stay] in this land.” (42:13 [49:13, LXX]) If the people opted to go to Egypt and to disregard what YHWH had revealed to them through Jeremiah, they would say, “No, but we will go to the land of Mizraim [Egypt (LXX)], where we will not see war, and not hear the sound of a shophar [a ram’s-horn trumpet]” sounding an alarm or signaling to engage in battle, “and not hunger for bread. And there we will dwell.” (42:14 [49:14, LXX]; see the Notes section.)

If the resolve of the “remnant of Judah” (the people remaining from the former kingdom of Judah) was to go to Egypt, they were called upon to “hear” or listen to the “word of YHWH,” or the message he would convey through Jeremiah. That “word” or message warned them about the calamities that would befall them. “Thus says YHWH of hosts [the God with hosts of angels in his service], the God of Israel [thus says the Lord (LXX)], If you set your faces [or are determined] to enter Mizraim [Egypt (LXX)] and go to reside there” (42:15 [49:15, LXX]), then “the sword [of war] that you fear will overtake [find (LXX)] you there in the land of Mizraim [Egypt (LXX)], and the famine you fear will cling to you [not releasing you from its grip] in Mizraim [Egypt (LXX)], and there you will die.” They would experience the very calamities they had expected to escape by going to Egypt. (42:16 [49:16, LXX])

“All the men” or all the people (“all the men and all the foreigners” who “set their faces” [or were determined] “to go to Mizraim [Egypt (LXX)] to reside there” would die “by the sword [of war], by famine [resulting from military invasion and conquest], and by pestilence [the spread of infectious disease from lack of potable water and from the unsanitary conditions that war created].” They would have “no survivor and [no] remnant [or escapee] from the evil [or calamity] that I” (YHWH) would “bring upon them.” YHWH would allow the calamity to befall the people and, therefore, was quoted as saying that he would bring it upon them. (42:17 [49:17, LXX]; see the Notes section.) “For thus says YHWH of hosts [the God with hosts of angels in his service], the God of Israel,” “As my anger, even my wrath, was poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so will my wrath be poured out on you when you go to Mizraim [Egypt (LXX)], and you will become an execration and a horror and a curse and a taunt, and you will no more see this place [your own land].” The calamity that would befall them would be so great that people would be referring to them when expressing a malediction or a curse, and they themselves would have maledictions and curses directed against them. Their fate would give rise to a dreadful sense of horror among those who would come to know about it. The people would become an object of mockery on account of what had befallen them. The Septuagint rendering could be understood to indicate that that they would become like an “untrodden” land, a waste through which no one would pass. They would be under the hands or domination of others and become a “curse” and a “reproach.” (42:18 [49:18, LXX])

“To the remnant of Judah,” or to the remaining ones from the kingdom of Judah, YHWH had said that they should not go to Mizraim (“Egypt” [LXX]). He had warned them of the consequences for doing so and, therefore, could say to the people, “Know for a certainty [literally, to know, you will know] that I have warned [literally, testified (or solemnly affirmed) to] you this day.” In the Septuagint, their knowing relates to their knowing that they had not acted uprightly when requesting Jeremiah to pray for them. (42:19 [49:19, LXX]) The people had not been sincere when they sent him to pray for them. They promised to do whatever YHWH their God said, and they affirmed this. The people had asked Jeremiah to declare to them what YHWH revealed to him and then said, “And we will do it.” (42:20 [49:20, LXX])

Jeremiah did declare to them everything YHWH had revealed to him, but they did not heed the “voice of YHWH” their God in anything relating to his having sent Jeremiah to them. (42:21 [49:21, LXX]) “Therefore,” they should know for a certainty (literally, “to know, you will know”) that they would die “by the sword” of war, “by famine” stemming from military invasion and conquest, and by pestilence (the spread of infectious disease from the effects of military invasion and conquest). The people would die in the place (Egypt) to which it had been their desire to go to reside. (42:22 [49:22, LXX]; see the Notes section for verses 17 and 22.)


The Septuagint (in verse 1 of chapter 49) identifies “Jezaniah the son of Hoshaia” differently than does the Hebrew text in verse 1 of chapter 42. It calls him “Azarias the son of Maasaias,” which is also the name in verse 2 of chapter 50 (“Azariah the son of Hoshaia” in the Hebrew text [43:2]). In verse 8 of chapter 47, the Septuagint refers to Jezaniah the Maacathite (40:8, Hebrew text) as “Iezonias son of the Mochati [Moochati].” In the parallel passage of 4 Kings 25:23 (2 Kings 25:23), he is called the “son of the Machathi.” It appears that the Septuagint translator considered Azarias or Azariah as the same man as Jezaniah, but this still leaves a question about the name Maasaias that has no parallel in the Hebrew text. According to the Hebrew text, either Azariah the son of Hoshai is the same person as Jezaniah the son of Hoshaia or Azariah and Jezaniah are brothers.

The introduction to the words of YHWH is much shorter in the Septuagint text of verse 9 in chapter 49 than it is in the Hebrew text of verse 9 of chapter 42. These words may be rendered, “Thus said the Lord.”

In verse 12, a different vocalization of the Hebrew word for “return” makes it possible to translate the phrase in which it appears so as to apply to King Nebuchadnezzar. “And he will let you settle in the land.” This accounts for renderings such as the following: “I shall show you compassion, so that he too has compassion on you, and will let you stay on your own soil.” (REB),

In the Septuagint, the occurrences of the word “not” (49:14) are more emphatic than in the Hebrew text, with two words for not appearing each time. The emphatic sense can be preserved by translating “not, not” as “by no means.”

In verse 17 and 22 of chapter 49, the Septuagint does not include a reference to “pestilence.”

At beginning of verse 20, YHWH, according to the suggested reading of the Masoretic Text (qere), said regarding the people, “You caused yourselves to err in your souls.” This could mean that they deceived themselves when wanting Jeremiah to pray to YHWH for an answer to what they should do and declaring themselves willing to follow through accordingly. In reality, they only wanted an answer that supported their intention to go to Egypt. The rendering of the Vulgate supports this significance, for it reads, decepistis animas vestras (“you deceived your souls”). In the Septuagint (49:20), the focus is on wrongdoing. “You did evil in your souls,” acting wickedly within yourselves.