For those attending the Jeremiah Bookstudy this week, there is an interesting footnote of page 52. Below it is reproduced:
*** jr chap. 4 p. 52 Guard Against a Treacherous Heart ***
Some consider Jeremiah’s destination to be nearby instead of at the Euphrates. Why? “The sole object of this criticism,” states one scholar, “is to save the prophet the labour of two supposed journeys from Jerusalem to the Euphrates.”
The footnote makes the conclusion seem very straightforward. Jeremiah took the linen garment to the Euphrates. But this is far from an honest evaluation. Below is a reproduction of a couple of paragraphs from the Bible Knowledge Commentary, Vol I p.1146.
Some scholars have felt that verses 1-7 describe a vision Jeremiah had. But nothing in the text indicates that the event did not actually occur. In fact verse 2 says that Jeremiah actually carried out the assignment.
After wearing the belt for a time, God told him to take it to Perath and hide it . . . in a crevice in the rocks. Perath (p e rat) is usually translated "Euphrates" (cf. Jer. 51:63); many have felt that Jeremiah walked to the Euphrates River, a round-trip journey of about 700 miles, to bury the sash. However, another possibility is that Jeremiah traveled to the village of Parah (parah) about three miles northeast of Anathoth in the tribe of Benjamin (cf. Josh 18:21, 23). A deep wadi in this area, known today as 'Ain Farah, fits the description of a place with crevices and rocks. In Hebrew the spelling for "to Parah" and "to Euphrates" are identical (both are p e ratah; cf Jer 13:4-7). By using the location so close to home the people were able to observe Jeremiah's symbolic actions, and the similarity of name would remind the nation of the army from the Euphrates that was coming to destroy them.
The NICOT and NAC commentaries have similar writeups (although more lengthy, which is why I opted to copy this one).
It should be noted that in Jeremiah 13, where the NWT has "Euphrates," the NIV has "Perath."
Here is the source of the quote in the Jeremiah book. It dates to 1883. If you read the entire note, towards the end there is an interesting comment about the fact that Jeremiah would have had to go someplace along the Euphrates other than Babylonia in order to find "clefts" and "rocks" (if in fact he actually went there rather than Parath).