The oracle of deliverance for Ebed-Melech, the cushite

An exegetical-theological study of Jer 38,1-13 and 39,15-18

by Deusdedit Musinguzi (Author)
©2020 Thesis 310 Pages


This book examines the oracle of deliverance that Yhwh communicated to Ebed-melech, the Cushite (Jer 39,15-18). In order to comprehend this analeptically presented promise, however, the research also scrutinizes two other related events in Jeremiah’s mission in the context of Jer 37–39: i) the unpleasant incident in which the Jerusalem officials maliciously threw the Lord’s messenger into the muddy cistern (Jer 38,1–6) and ii) Ebed-melech’s benevolent intervention to rescue the prophet from the water reservoir (Jer 38,7-13). In this monograph, the author uses the historical-critical method and rhetorical & narrative analyses.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • Citability of the eBook
  • Preface
  • Foreward
  • Acknowledgment
  • Table of contents
  • Signs and abbreviations
  • Journals, series and abbreviated titles
  • Grammatical and other special abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • 1. Theme and scope of the study
  • 2. Status quaestionis
  • 3. Uniqueness and limits
  • 4. Content and outline
  • 5. Methodology
  • 6. Choice between MT and LXX
  • Chapter I Contexts and characters (Jer 37–39)
  • 1. Historical context
  • 1.1 Babylonian siege
  • 1.1.1 Limited historical and scriptural evidence
  • 1.1.2 Jerusalem’s actual fall and obliteration
  • 1.1.3 Tenable conclusion
  • 1.2 Internal discrepancies
  • 1.3 Social atmosphere
  • 2. Literary context
  • 2.1 Proposed structure
  • 2.2 Extensive sequence
  • 2.2.1 Zedekiah’s reign and Jeremiah’s detention (Jer 37,1–21): Plot one
  • 2.2.2 Jeremiah’s rescue and meeting with Zedekiah (Jer 38,1–28): Plot two
  • 2.2.3 Jerusalem falls but some people survive (Jer 39,1–18): Plot three
  • 2.3 Apparent repetitions
  • 3. Characters
  • 3.1 God
  • 3.2 Jeremiah
  • 3.3 Zedekiah
  • 3.4 Nebuchadnezzar
  • 3.5 Zedekiah’s officials
  • 3.6 Nebuchadnezzar’s officials
  • 3.7 Ebed-melech
  • 3.7.1 Name and its implications
  • 3.7.2 Nationality and social status
  • 3.7.3 His words and deed
  • 3.7.4 God’s approbation
  • 3.8 Ebed-melech’s aides
  • Excursus 1: Cush and the Cushites
  • Chapter II Jeremiah in and out of the cistern (Jer 38,1–13)
  • 1. Immediate context (Jer 38,1–28)
  • 2. Narrative structure (Jer 38,1–13)
  • 3. Jeremiah thrown into the cistern (Jer 38,1–6): Scene I
  • 3.1 Delimitation of the text
  • 3.2 Text-criticism and translation20
  • 3.3 Rhetoric analysis
  • 3.3.1 The passage in its entirety (Jer 38,1–6)
  • 3.3.2 Relationship between parts of the passage
  • 3.3.3 Assessment of individual parts of the passage
  • 3.4 Narrative analysis
  • 3.4.1 Officials heard Jeremiah’s oracle (vv.1–3)
  • Characters
  • Setting
  • Cause of conflict
  • 3.4.2 Officials requested to kill Jeremiah (v.4)
  • 3.4.3 Zedekiah’s response to the officials (v.5)
  • 3.4.4 The officials threw Jeremiah in the cistern (v.6a-e)
  • 3.4.5 Jeremiah sank in the mud in the cistern (v.6f)
  • 4. Jeremiah drawn out of the cistern (Jer 38,7–13): Scene II
  • 4.1 Delimitation of the text
  • 4.2 Text-criticism and translation
  • 4.3 Rhetoric analysis
  • 4.3.1 The passage in its entirety (Jer 38,7–13)
  • 4.3.2 Unifying elements for the passage
  • 4.3.3 Relationship within component parts
  • 4.3.4 Analysis of individual parts of the passage
  • 4.4 Narrative analysis
  • 4.4.1 Background information (v.7)
  • Characters
  • Motivation for Ebed-melech’s act
  • Setting
  • 4.4.2 Ebed-melech’s report to the king (vv.8–9)
  • Ebed-melech’s address to the king
  • The evil of the officials
  • Famine in the city
  • 4.4.3 The king’s command to Ebed-melech (v.10)
  • 4.4.4 Ebed-melech delivers Jeremiah (vv.11–13a-b)
  • 4.4.5 Jeremiah stayed in the court of the guard (v.13c)
  • 5. Exegetical issues
  • 5.1 Sword, famine and pestilence
  • 5.2 One’s life as booty
  • 5.3 Not seeking peace but evil
  • 5.4 Sitting in the gate
  • 5.5 Significance of thirty men
  • Excursus 2: Ebed-melech, the Cushite in Judah
  • Chapter III God’s promise of deliverance to Ebed-melech (Jer 39,15–18)
  • 1. Literary genre and form
  • 2. Specaific literary context (Jer 39,1–18)
  • 3. Judgment for Zedekiah (Jer 39,1–10): Scene I
  • 3.1 Delimitation of the text
  • 3.2 Text-criticism and translation
  • 3.3 Narrative analysis
  • 3.3.1 Final siege of Jerusalem (vv.1–3)
  • 3.3.2 Zedekiah’s attempted flight (v.4)
  • 3.3.3 The capture and judgment of Zedekiah (v.5)
  • 3.3.4 The fate of the people and the city (vv.6–9)
  • 3.3.5 Favor for the poor (v.10)
  • 3.4 Parallel texts
  • 4. The liberation of Jeremiah (Jer 39,11–14): Scene II
  • 4.1 Delimitation of the text
  • 4.2 Text-criticism and translation
  • 4.3 Narrative analysis
  • 4.3.1 Command to protect Jeremiah (vv.11–12)
  • 4.3.2 Officials prepare to free Jeremiah (v.13)
  • 4.3.3 Liberation of Jeremiah (v.14a-b)
  • 4.3.4 Jeremiah entrusted to Gedaliah (v.14c)
  • 4.3.5 Jeremiah among the people again (v.14d)
  • 4.4 Parallel text (Jer 40,1–6)
  • 4.4.1 Particular elements in Jer 40,1–6
  • 4.4.2 Similarities in Jer 39,11–14 and Jer 40,1–6
  • 4.4.3 Discrepancies in Jeremiah’s release story
  • 5. Salvation for Ebed-melech (Jer 39,15–18): Scene III
  • 5.1 Delimitation of the text
  • 5.2 Text-criticism and translation
  • 5.3 Rhetoric analysis
  • 5.3.1 The passage in its entirety
  • 5.3.2 Uniting elements of the text
  • 5.3.3 Analysis of particular parts
  • 5.3.4 Features of Ebed-melech’s oracle
  • Anachronistic placement
  • Judgment and salvation
  • God’s commitment and assurance
  • Content of the promise
  • Basis for the promised salvation
  • 6. Exegetical issues
  • 6.1 Flight to the wilderness
  • 6.2 Darkness and blindness
  • 6.3 Massive slaughter of humans
  • 6.4 Meaning of «on that day»
  • 6.5 To deliver and to give into the hands
  • 6.5.1 וְהִצַּלְתִּיךָ «But I will deliver you» (Jer 39,17a)
  • 6.5.2 כִּי מַלֵּט אֲמַלֶּטְךָ «For I will surely deliver you» (Jer 39,18a)
  • 6.5.3 וְלֹא תִנָּתֵן בְּיַד «and you will not be given in the hand of» (Jer 39,17b)
  • 6.6 Trust in God or in mortal potency
  • 6.6.1 Trust as a hermeneutical key
  • 6.6.2 Subject of faith
  • 6.6.3 Object of confidence
  • Chapter IV Theological significance and socio-political implications
  • 1. Theological significance
  • 1.1 God’s commitment to his promises
  • 1.1.1 Declaration of deliverance
  • 1.1.2 Accomplishment of the oath
  • 1.2 Trust and deliverance
  • 1.2.1 Obedience and good deeds
  • In divine-human connection
  • In human affairs
  • 1.2.2 Salvation belongs to the Lord
  • 1.2.3 God’s channels of deliverance
  • Direct or indirect intervention
  • Appointed persons
  • Charismatic persons
  • 1.3 Judgment and redemption
  • 1.3.1 Way of life and way of death
  • 1.3.2 Ebed-melech and Zedekiah as models
  • Ebed-melech, the Cushite and eunuch
  • Zedekiah, king of Judah
  • 1.3.3 Identity of the remnants
  • 1.4 Universality of Jeremiah’s mission
  • 1.4.1 Prophet to the nations
  • 1.4.2 Universal Judgment
  • 1.4.3 Deliverance for a stranger
  • 1.5 Rejection of God’s messengers
  • 1.5.1 Persecution and reaction
  • 1.5.2 Implications of rejection
  • 1.5.3 Human solace for Jeremiah
  • 1.6 Jeremiah’s grief and Jesus’ passion
  • 1.6.1 Dishonored by compatriots
  • 1.6.2 False accusations
  • 1.6.3 Assistance from the lowly
  • 2. Social and political implications
  • 2.1 Origin and scope of authority
  • 2.1.1 Power comes from God
  • 2.1.2 Socio-political arrangement
  • 2.2 Contemporary prophets and prophetism
  • 2.2.1 Christians as prophets
  • 2.2.2 Divine messengers’ role
  • 2.3 Religion and politics
  • 2.3.1 Traits of true leaders
  • 2.3.2 Scope of leadership
  • 2.3.3 Dissent in administration
  • 2.4 Justice and peace today
  • 2.4.1 Collective responsibility
  • 2.4.2 Ebed-melech, the hero of fairness
  • 2.4.3 Spontaneous altruism
  • 2.5 Compassion for the vulnerable
  • 2.5.1 Thrust for kindness
  • 2.5.2 Ubuntu – Dynamic compassion
  • Conclusion
  • 2. Jeremiah’s symbolic life and actions
  • 2.1 Classical examples
  • 2.2 Incarceration and its implications
  • 2.3 The prophet’s cistern experience
  • 3. The potency of active faith
  • 3.1 Ebed-melech’s trust
  • 3.2 Jerusalem’s mistrust
  • 4. Divergent points of view
  • 4.1 Prophetic announcement
  • 4.2 Officials’ evaluation
  • 4.3 Ebed-melech’s and Zedekiah’s assessment
  • 4.4 Readers’ analysis vis-à-vis God’s interpretation
  • 5. Aliens and natives in God’s plan
  • 5.1 Ebed-melech and the anonymous widow
  • 5.2 Theme of the remnants
  • 5.3 Individual responsibility
  • Appendices
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Signs and abbreviations

Journals, series and abbreviated titles

ACODE-PDS Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment – Policy Dialogue Series
AFER African Ecclesial Review
A.JPAS Africology. The Journal of Pan African Studies
AJT Asian Journal of Theology
AFS American Folklore Society
AKM Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes
AM-TBBB Athenäums Monografien – Theologie Bonner Biblische Beiträge
AnBib Analecta Biblica
AnBib.S. Analecta Biblica. Studia
AncB Anchor Bible
ANE Ancient Near East
AOTC Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries
AT Antico Testamento
ATD Das Alte Testament Deutsch
ATR Anglican Theological Review
AUSS Andrews University Seminary Studies
BA Biblical Archaeologist
BAR British Archaeological Reports
BASOR Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
BBR Bulletin for Biblical Research
BC Biblioteca Cristiana
BevTh Beiträge zur evangelischen Theologie
Bibi Biblioteca biblica
BibInt Biblical Interpretation
BiLiSe Bible and Literature Series
BIS Biblical Interpretation Series
BN Biblische Notizen
BSac Bibliotheca Sacra
BST The Bible Speaks Today
BTB Biblical Theology Bulletin
BWANT Beiträge zu Wissenschaft vom Altem und Neuen Testament
BZ Biblische Zeitschrift
BZAW Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentlische Wissenschaft
CBC Cambridge Bible Commentary
CBQ The Catholic Biblical Quarterly
CCC The Crossway Classic Commentaries
CBI The Century Bible Illustrated
CHANE Culture and History of the Ancient Near East
CHCB Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible
CMAA Cambridge Monographs in African Archeology
COT Commentary on the Old Testament
DCLY Deuteronomical and Cognate Literature Yearbook
EAT Estudios del Antiguo Testamento
EBC The Expositor’s Bible Commentary
EdF Erträge der Forschung
AJET Africa Journal of Evangelical Theology
EpwCom Epworth Commentaries
ET The Expository Times
ETL Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
EvQ The Evangelical Quarterly
EvTh Evangelische Theologie
FRLANT Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments
Fs. Festschrift
GKC Kautzsch E. – Cowley S. A.E. (eds.) Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, Oxford 19104
GSAT Guide Sprituali all’Antico Testamento
HAT Handbuch zum Alten Testament
HBM Hebrew Bible Monographs
HOS Handbook of Oriental Studies
HSM Harvard Semitic Monographs
HKAT Hand Kommentar zum AltenTestament
HThKAT Herders Theologischer Kommentar zum Alten Testament
HTR Harvard Theological Review
HTS Hervormde Teologiese Studies
ICC International Critical Commentary
ICJ International Congregational Journal
IntB Interpreter’s Bible
Interp. Interpretation. A Journal of Bible and Theology
ISBL Indiana Studies in Biblical Literature
ISHR International Studies in the History of Rhetoric
JBL Journal of Biblical Literature
JBQ Jewish Bible Quarterly
JCAS Journal of Contemporary African Studies
JESOT Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament
JETS Journal of the Evangelical Theology Society
JITC Journal of the Inter denominational Theological Center
JL.Sp Janua Linguarum. Serie practica
JME Journal of Moral Education
Joüon – Muraoka Joüon P. – Muraoka T., A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew, SB 27 Rome 20062, reprint 2009
JQR The Jewish Quarterly Review
JRA Journal of Religion in Africa
JRT Journal of Religious Thought
JTS The Journal of Theological Studies
JTSA Journal of Theology for Southern Africa
JSOT Journal for the Study of the Old Testament
JSOT.S Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. Supplement Series
KHC Kurzer Hand-Kommentar zum Alten Testament
KJV King James Version
LJK Lust-Eynikel-Hauspie: J. Lust – E. Eynikel – K. Hauspie, Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint, Revised Edition, Leuven 1996
LA Liber Annuus
LHB Library of Hebrew Bible
MHUC Monographs of the Hebrew Union College
NAC The New American Commentary
NBE Nueva Biblia Española
NColBC – OT New Collegeville Bible Commentary – Old Testament
NEB Die Neue Echter Bibel: Kommentar zum Alten Testament mit der Einheitsübersetzung
NRSV New Revised Standard Version
NSBTh New Studies in Biblical Theology
OBT Overtures to Biblical Theology
OTE Old Testament Essays
OTG Old Testament Guides
OTL Old Testament Library
OTS Old Testament Studies
OTSt Oudtestamentische Studiën
OTSSA Old Testament Society in South Africa
OTWSA Ou Testamentiese Werkgemeenskap von Suid Afrika
PEQ Palestine Exploration Quarterly
RAHLFS Septuaginta edidit Alfred Rahlfs, edition altera, 2006.
RB Revue Biblique
RFIA The Review of Faith & International Affairs
SAJP South African Journal of Philosophy
SARS South African Review of Sociology
SB Subsidia Biblica
SBLAIL Society of Biblical Literature. Ancient Israel and its Literature
SBLDS Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series
SBT Studies in Biblical Theology
SCJ Stone-Campbell Journal
SEÅ Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok
SHBC Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary
Siphrut Literature and Theology of the Hebrew Scriptures
SOTSM The Society for Old Testament Study Monographs
StRh Studia Rhetorica
Tel Aviv Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University
THAT Theologisches Handwörterbuch zum Alten Testament
TR Theological Review of the Near East School of Theology
ThWAT/TWAT Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Alten Testament
ThWNT Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament
ThWOT Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
ThZ Theologische Zeitschrift
TOP Tangaza Occasional Papers
TOTC Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries
USQR Union Seminary Quarterly Review
VT.S Vetus Testamentum Supplements
WBC Word Biblical Commentary
WBCo. Westminister Bible Companion
WBG Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft
WC Westminster Commentaries
WMANT Monographien zum Alten und Neuen Testament
WUNT Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament
ZAW Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft
ZBK.AT Zürcher Bibelkommentare. Altes Testament

Grammatical and other special abbreviations


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2020 (October)
Prophecy disobedience damnation trust salvation
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 310 pp., 2 fig. b/w.

Biographical notes

Deusdedit Musinguzi (Author)

Deusdedit Musinguzi (1977) holds bachelor’s degree in philosophy & social studies and master’s in religious & theological studies – Makerere University, Kampala; bachelor’s in theological studies – Pontifical Urban University; master’s in biblical exegesis – Pontifical Biblical Institute; and doctorate in biblical theology – Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.


Title: The oracle of deliverance for Ebed-Melech, the cushite
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312 pages