Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) August 18
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Jeremiah 1:1--2:37

Context
The Superscription

1:1 The following is a record of what Jeremiah son of Hilkiah prophesied. 1  He was one of the priests who lived at Anathoth in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. 1:2 The Lord 2  began to speak to him 3  in the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amon ruled over Judah. 1:3 The Lord also spoke to him when Jehoiakim son of Josiah ruled over Judah, and he continued to speak to him until the fifth month of the eleventh year 4  that Zedekiah son of Josiah ruled over Judah. That was when the people of Jerusalem 5  were taken into exile. 6 

Jeremiah’s Call and Commission

1:4 The Lord said to me,

1:5 “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb 7  I chose you. 8 

Before you were born I set you apart.

I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.”

1:6 I answered, “Oh, Lord God, 9  I really 10  do not know how to speak well enough for that, 11  for I am too young.” 12  1:7 The Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ But go 13  to whomever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 1:8 Do not be afraid of those to whom I send you, 14  for I will be with you to protect 15  you,” says the Lord. 1:9 Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I will most assuredly give you the words you are to speak for me. 16  1:10 Know for certain that 17  I hereby give you the authority to announce to nations and kingdoms that they will be 18  uprooted and torn down, destroyed and demolished, rebuilt and firmly planted.” 19 

Visions Confirming Jeremiah’s Call and Commission

1:11 Later the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I answered, “I see a branch of an almond tree.” 1:12 Then the Lord said, “You have observed correctly. This means 20  I am watching to make sure my threats are carried out.” 21 

1:13 The Lord again asked me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a pot of boiling water; it is tipped toward us from the north.” 22  1:14 Then the Lord said, “This means 23  destruction will break out from the north on all who live in the land. 1:15 For I will soon summon all the peoples of the kingdoms of the north,” says the Lord. “They will come and their kings will set up their thrones 24  near the entrances of the gates of Jerusalem. 25  They will attack all the walls surrounding it, and all the towns in Judah. 26  1:16 In this way 27  I will pass sentence 28  on the people of Jerusalem and Judah 29  because of all their wickedness. For they rejected me and offered sacrifices to other gods, worshiping what they made with their own hands.” 30 

1:17 “But you, Jeremiah, 31  get yourself ready! 32  Go and tell these people everything I instruct you to say. Do not be terrified of them, or I will give you good reason to be terrified of them. 33  1:18 I, the Lord, 34  hereby promise to make you 35  as strong as a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall. You will be able to stand up against all who live in 36  the land, including the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and all the people of the land. 1:19 They will attack you but they will not be able to overcome you, for I will be with you to rescue you,” says the Lord.

The Lord Recalls Israel’s Earlier Faithfulness

2:1 The Lord spoke to me. He said: 2:2 “Go and declare in the hearing of the people of Jerusalem: 37  ‘This is what the Lord says: “I have fond memories of you, 38  how devoted you were to me in your early years. 39  I remember how you loved me like a new bride; you followed me through the wilderness, through a land that had never been planted. 2:3 Israel was set apart to the Lord; they were like the first fruits of a harvest to him. 40  All who tried to devour them were punished; disaster came upon them,” says the Lord.’”

The Lord Reminds Them of the Unfaithfulness of Their Ancestors

2:4 Now listen to what the Lord has to say, you descendants 41  of Jacob,

all you family groups from the nation 42  of Israel.

2:5 This is what the Lord says:

“What fault could your ancestors 43  have possibly found in me

that they strayed so far from me? 44 

They paid allegiance to 45  worthless idols, and so became worthless to me. 46 

2:6 They did not ask:

‘Where is the Lord who delivered us out of Egypt,

who brought us through the wilderness,

through a land of desert sands and rift valleys,

through a land of drought and deep darkness, 47 

through a land in which no one travels,

and where no one lives?’ 48 

2:7 I brought you 49  into a fertile land

so you could enjoy 50  its fruits and its rich bounty.

But when you entered my land, you defiled it; 51 

you made the land I call my own 52  loathsome to me.

2:8 Your priests 53  did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’ 54 

Those responsible for teaching my law 55  did not really know me. 56 

Your rulers rebelled against me.

Your prophets prophesied in the name of the god Baal. 57 

They all worshiped idols that could not help them. 58 

The Lord Charges Contemporary Israel with Spiritual Adultery

2:9 “So, once more I will state my case 59  against you,” says the Lord.

“I will also state it against your children and grandchildren. 60 

2:10 Go west 61  across the sea to the coasts of Cyprus 62  and see.

Send someone east to Kedar 63  and have them look carefully.

See if such a thing as this has ever happened:

2:11 Has a nation ever changed its gods

(even though they are not really gods at all)?

But my people have exchanged me, their glorious God, 64 

for a god that cannot help them at all! 65 

2:12 Be amazed at this, O heavens! 66 

Be shocked and utterly dumbfounded,”

says the Lord.

2:13 “Do so because my people have committed a double wrong:

they have rejected me,

the fountain of life-giving water, 67 

and they have dug cisterns for themselves,

cracked cisterns which cannot even hold water.”

Israel’s Reliance on Foreign Alliances (not on God)

2:14 “Israel is not a slave, is he?

He was not born into slavery, was he? 68 

If not, why then is he being carried off?

2:15 Like lions his enemies roar victoriously over him;

they raise their voices in triumph. 69 

They have laid his land waste;

his cities have been burned down and deserted. 70 

2:16 Even the soldiers 71  from Memphis and Tahpanhes

have cracked your skulls, people of Israel. 72 

2:17 You have brought all this on yourself, Israel, 73 

by deserting the Lord your God when he was leading you along the right path. 74 

2:18 What good will it do you 75  then 76  to go down to Egypt

to seek help from the Egyptians? 77 

What good will it do you 78  to go over to Assyria

to seek help from the Assyrians? 79 

2:19 Your own wickedness will bring about your punishment.

Your unfaithful acts will bring down discipline on you. 80 

Know, then, and realize how utterly harmful 81 

it was for you to reject me, the Lord your God, 82 

to show no respect for me,” 83 

says the Lord God who rules over all. 84 

The Lord Expresses His Exasperation at Judah’s Persistent Idolatry

2:20 “Indeed, 85  long ago you threw off my authority

and refused to be subject to me. 86 

You said, ‘I will not serve you.’ 87 

Instead, you gave yourself to other gods on every high hill

and under every green tree,

like a prostitute sprawls out before her lovers. 88 

2:21 I planted you in the land

like a special vine of the very best stock.

Why in the world have you turned into something like a wild vine

that produces rotten, foul-smelling grapes? 89 

2:22 You can try to wash away your guilt with a strong detergent.

You can use as much soap as you want.

But the stain of your guilt is still there for me to see,” 90 

says the Lord God. 91 

2:23 “How can you say, ‘I have not made myself unclean.

I have not paid allegiance to 92  the gods called Baal.’

Just look at the way you have behaved in the Valley of Hinnom! 93 

Think about the things you have done there!

You are like a flighty, young female camel

that rushes here and there, crisscrossing its path. 94 

2:24 You are like a wild female donkey brought up in the wilderness.

In her lust she sniffs the wind to get the scent of a male. 95 

No one can hold her back when she is in heat.

None of the males need wear themselves out chasing after her.

At mating time she is easy to find. 96 

2:25 Do not chase after other gods until your shoes wear out

and your throats become dry. 97 

But you say, ‘It is useless for you to try and stop me

because I love those foreign gods 98  and want to pursue them!’

2:26 Just as a thief has to suffer dishonor when he is caught,

so the people of Israel 99  will suffer dishonor for what they have done. 100 

So will their kings and officials,

their priests and their prophets.

2:27 They say to a wooden idol, 101  ‘You are my father.’

They say to a stone image, ‘You gave birth to me.’ 102 

Yes, they have turned away from me instead of turning to me. 103 

Yet when they are in trouble, they say, ‘Come and save us!’

2:28 But where are the gods you made for yourselves?

Let them save you when you are in trouble.

The sad fact is that 104  you have as many gods

as you have towns, Judah.

2:29 “Why do you try to refute me? 105 

All of you have rebelled against me,”

says the Lord.

2:30 “It did no good for me to punish your people.

They did not respond to such correction.

You slaughtered your prophets

like a voracious lion.” 106 

2:31 You people of this generation,

listen to what the Lord says.

“Have I been like a wilderness to you, Israel?

Have I been like a dark and dangerous land to you? 107 

Why then do you 108  say, ‘We are free to wander. 109 

We will not come to you any more?’

2:32 Does a young woman forget to put on her jewels?

Does a bride forget to put on her bridal attire?

But my people have forgotten me

for more days than can even be counted.

2:33 “My, how good you have become

at chasing after your lovers! 110 

Why, you could even teach prostitutes a thing or two! 111 

2:34 Even your clothes are stained with

the lifeblood of the poor who had not done anything wrong;

you did not catch them breaking into your homes. 112 

Yet, in spite of all these things you have done, 113 

2:35 you say, ‘I have not done anything wrong,

so the Lord cannot really be angry with me any more.’

But, watch out! 114  I will bring down judgment on you

because you say, ‘I have not committed any sin.’

2:36 Why do you constantly go about

changing your political allegiances? 115 

You will get no help from Egypt

just as you got no help from Assyria. 116 

2:37 Moreover, you will come away from Egypt

with your hands covering your faces in sorrow and shame 117 

because the Lord will not allow your reliance on them to be successful

and you will not gain any help from them. 118 

1 tn Or “This is a record of what Jeremiah prophesied and did”; Heb “The words [or affairs] of Jeremiah.” The phrase could refer to either the messages of Jeremiah recorded in the book or to both his messages and the biographical (and autobiographical) narratives recorded about him in the book. Since the phrase is intended to serve as the title or superscription for the whole book and recurs again in 51:64 at the end of the book before the final appendix, it might refer to the latter. The expression “The words of [someone]” is a standard introductory formula (Deut 29:1[28:69]; 2 Sam 23:1; Amos 1:1; Eccl 1:1; Neh 1:1).

2 sn The translation reflects the ancient Jewish tradition of substituting the word for “Lord” for the proper name for Israel’s God which is now generally agreed to have been Yahweh. Jewish scribes wrote the consonants YHWH but substituted the vowels for the word “Lord.” The practice of calling him “Lord” rather than using his proper name is also reflected in the Greek translation which is the oldest translation of the Hebrew Bible. The meaning of the name Yahweh occurs in Exod 3:13-14 where God identifies himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and tells Moses that his name is “I am” (אֶהְיֶה, ’ehyeh). However, he instructs the Israelites to refer to him as YHWH (“Yahweh” = “He is”); see further Exod 34:5-6.

3 tn Heb “to whom the word of the Lord came.” The present translation is more in keeping with contemporary English idiom. The idea of “began to speak” comes from the context where the conclusion of his speaking is signaled by the phrases “until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah” and “until the people of Jerusalem were taken into exile” in v. 3.

4 sn This would have been August, 586 b.c. according to modern reckoning.

5 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

6 tn Heb “and it [the word of the Lord] came in the days of Jehoiakim…until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah…until the carrying away captive of Jerusalem in the fifth month.”

7 tn Heb “the womb.” The words “your mother’s” are implicit and are supplied in the translation for clarity.

8 tn Heb “I knew you.” The parallelism here with “set you apart” and “appointed you” make clear that Jeremiah is speaking of his foreordination to be a prophet. For this same nuance of the Hebrew verb see Gen 18:19; Amos 3:2.

9 tn Heb “Lord Yahweh.”

sn The translation follows the ancient Jewish tradition of substituting the Hebrew word for “God” for the proper name Yahweh in this compound name. See the study note on v. 2 for the substitution of “Lord” in a similar kind of situation.

10 tn Heb “Behold, I do not know how to speak.” The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, commonly rendered “behold”) often introduces a speech and calls special attention to a specific word or the statement as a whole (see IBHS 675-78 §40.2.1).

11 tn The words “well enough for that” are implicit and are supplied in the translation for clarity. Jeremiah is not claiming an absolute inability to speak.

12 tn Heb “I am a boy/youth.” The Hebrew word can refer to an infant (Exod 2:6), a young boy (1 Sam 2:11), a teenager (Gen 21:12), or a young man (2 Sam 18:5). The translation is deliberately ambiguous since it is unclear how old Jeremiah was when he was called to begin prophesying.

13 tn Or “For you must go and say.” The Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) is likely adversative here after a negative statement (cf. BDB 474 s.v. כִּי 3.e). The Lord is probably not giving a rationale for the denial of Jeremiah’s objection but redirecting his focus, i.e., “do not say…but go…and say.”

14 tn Heb “be afraid of them.” The antecedent is the “whomever” in v. 7.

15 tn Heb “rescue.”

16 tn Heb “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.” This is an example of the Hebrew “scheduling” perfect or the “prophetic” perfect where a future event is viewed as so certain it is spoken of as past. The Hebrew particle rendered here “assuredly” (Heb הִנֵּה, hinneh) underlines the certitude of the promise for the future. See the translator’s note on v. 6.

sn The passage is reminiscent of Deut 18:18 which refers to the Lord’s promise of future revelation through a line of prophets who, like Moses, would speak God’s word.

17 tn Heb “See!” The Hebrew imperative of the verb used here (רָאָה, raah) functions the same as the particle in v. 9. See the translator’s note there.

18 tn Heb “I appoint you today over nations and kingdoms to uproot….” The phrase refers to the Lord giving Jeremiah authority as a prophet to declare what he, the Lord, will do; it does not mean that Jeremiah himself will do these things. The expression involves a figure of speech where the subject of a declaration is stated instead of the declaration about it. Compare a similar use of the same figure in Gen 41:13.

19 sn These three pairs represent the twofold nature of Jeremiah’s prophecies, prophecies of judgment and restoration. For the further programmatic use of these pairs for Jeremiah’s ministry see 18:7-10 and 31:27-28.

20 tn This represents the Hebrew particle (כִּי, ki) that is normally rendered “for” or “because.” The particle here is meant to give the significance of the vision, not the rationale for the statement “you have observed correctly.”

21 tn Heb “watching over my word to do it.”

sn There is a play on the Hebrew word for “almond tree” (שָׁקֵד, shaqed), which blossoms in January/February and is the harbinger of spring, and the Hebrew word for “watching” (שֹׁקֵד, shoqed), which refers to someone watching over someone or something in preparation for action. The play on words announces the certainty and imminence of the Lord carrying out the covenant curses of Lev 26 and Deut 28 threatened by the earlier prophets.

22 tn Heb “a blown upon [= heated; boiling] pot and its face from the face of the north [= it is facing away from the north].”

23 tn There is nothing in the Hebrew text for these words but it is implicit in the connection. Once again the significance of the vision is spelled out. Compare the translator’s note on v. 12.

24 tn Heb “they will each set up.” The pronoun “they” refers back to the “kingdoms” in the preceding sentence. However, kingdoms do not sit on thrones; their kings do. This is an example of a figure of speech called metonymy where the kingdom is put for its king. For a similar use see 2 Chr 12:8.

25 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

26 tn Or “They will come and set up their thrones in the entrances of the gates of Jerusalem. They will destroy all the walls surrounding it and also destroy all the towns in Judah.” The text of v. 15b reads in Hebrew, “they will each set up his throne [near? in?] the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem and against all its walls…and against all the towns….” Commentators are divided over whether the passage refers to the kings setting up their thrones after victory in preparation for passing judgment on their defeated enemies in the city or whether it refers to setting up siege against it. There is no Hebrew preposition before the word for “the entrance” so that it could be “in” (which would imply victory) or “at/near” (which would imply siege), and the same verb + object (i.e., “they will set up their thrones”) governs all the locative statements. It is most often taken to refer to the aftermath of victory because of the supposed parallel in Jer 43:8-13 and the supposed fulfillment in Jer 39:3. Though this may fit well with the first part of the compound expression, it does not fit well with the latter part which is most naturally taken to refer to hostile attacks against Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah. The translation given in the text is intended to reflect the idea of an army setting up for siege. The alternate translation is intended to reflect the other view.

27 tn The Hebrew particle (the vav [ו] consecutive), which is often rendered in some English versions as “and” and in others is simply left untranslated, is rendered here epexegetically, reflecting a summary statement.

28 sn The Hebrew idiom (literally “I will speak my judgments against”) is found three other times in Jeremiah (4:12; 39:5; 52:9), where it is followed by the carrying out of the sentence. Here the carrying out of the sentence precedes in v. 15.

29 tn Heb “on them.” The antecedent goes back to Jerusalem and the cities of Judah (i.e., the people in them) in v. 15.

30 tn I.e., idols.

31 tn The name “Jeremiah” is not in the text. The use of the personal pronoun followed by the proper name is an attempt to reflect the correlative emphasis between Jeremiah’s responsibility noted here and the Lord’s promise noted in the next verse. The emphasis in the Hebrew text is marked by the presence of the subject pronouns at the beginning of each of the two verses.

32 tn Heb “gird up your loins.” For the literal use of this idiom to refer to preparation for action see 2 Kgs 4:29; 9:1. For the idiomatic use to refer to spiritual and emotional preparation as here, see Job 38:3, 40:7, and 1 Pet 1:13 in the NT.

33 tn Heb “I will make you terrified in front of them.” There is a play on words here involving two different forms of the same Hebrew verb and two different but related prepositional phrases, “from before/of,” a preposition introducing the object of a verb of fearing, and “before, in front of,” a preposition introducing a spatial location.

34 tn See the note on “Jeremiah” at the beginning of v. 17.

35 tn Heb “today I have made you.” The Hebrew verb form here emphasizes the certainty of a yet future act; the Lord is promising to protect Jeremiah from any future attacks which may result from his faithfully carrying out his commission. See a similar use of the same Hebrew verb tense in v. 9, and see the translator’s note there.

36 tn Heb “I make you a fortified city…against all the land….” The words “as strong as” and “so you will be able to stand against all the people of…” are given to clarify the meaning of the metaphor.

37 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

38 tn Heb “I remember to/for you.”

39 tn Heb “the loyal love of your youth.”

sn The Hebrew word translated “how devoted you were” (חֶסֶד, khesed) refers metaphorically to the devotion of a new bride to her husband. In typical Hebraic fashion, contemporary Israel is identified with early Israel after she first entered into covenant with (= married) the Lord. The reference to her earlier devotion is not absolute but relative. Compared to her unfaithfulness in worshiping other gods after she got into the land, the murmuring and complaining in the wilderness are ignored.

40 sn Heb “the first fruits of his harvest.” Many commentators see the figure here as having theological significance for the calling of the Gentiles. It is likely, however, that in this context the metaphor – here rendered as a simile – is intended to bring out the special relationship and inviolability that Israel had with God. As the first fruits were the special possession of the Lord, to be eaten only by the priests and off limits to the common people, so Israel was God’s special possession and was not to be “eaten” by the nations.

41 tn Heb “house.”

42 tn Heb “house.”

43 tn Heb “fathers.”

44 tn Or “I did not wrong your ancestors in any way. Yet they went far astray from me.” Both translations are an attempt to render the rhetorical question which demands a negative answer.

45 tn Heb “They went/followed after.” This idiom is found most often in Deuteronomy or covenant contexts. It refers to loyalty to God and to his covenant or his commandments (e.g., 1 Kgs 14:8; 2 Chr 34:31) with the metaphor of a path or way underlying it (e.g., Deut 11:28; 28:14). To “follow other gods” was to abandon this way and this loyalty (i.e., to “abandon” or “forget” God, Judg 2:12; Hos 2:13) and to follow the customs or religious traditions of the pagan nations (e.g., 2 Kgs 17:15). The classic text on “following” God or another god is 1 Kgs 18:18, 21 where Elijah taunts the people with “halting between two opinions” whether the Lord was the true God or Baal was. The idiom is often found followed by “to serve and to worship” or “they served and worshiped” such and such a god or entity (see, e.g., Jer 8:2; 11:10; 13:10; 16:11; 25:6; 35:15).

46 tn The words “to me” are not in the Hebrew text but are implicit from the context: Heb “they followed after the worthless thing/things and became worthless.” There is an obvious wordplay on the verb “became worthless” and the noun “worthless thing,” which is probably to be understood collectively and to refer to idols as it does in Jer 8:19; 10:8; 14:22; Jonah 2:8.

47 tn This word is erroneously rendered “shadow of death” in most older English versions; that translation is based on a faulty etymology. Contextual studies and comparative Semitic linguistics have demonstrated that the word is merely another word for darkness. It is confined to poetic texts and often carries connotations of danger and distress. It is associated in poetic texts with the darkness of a prison (Ps 107:10, 14), a mine (Job 28:3), and a ravine (Ps 23:4). Here it is associated with the darkness of the wasteland and ravines of the Sinai desert.

48 sn The context suggests that the question is related to a lament where the people turn to God in their troubles, asking him for help and reminding him of his past benefactions. See for example Isa 63:11-19 and Ps 44. It is an implicit prayer for his intervention, cf. 2 Kgs 2:14.

49 sn Note how contemporary Israel is again identified with her early ancestors. See the study note on 2:2.

50 tn Heb “eat.”

51 sn I.e., made it ceremonially unclean. See Lev 18:19-30; Num 35:34; Deut 21:23.

52 tn Heb “my inheritance.” Or “the land [i.e., inheritance] I gave you,” reading the pronoun as indicating source rather than possession. The parallelism and the common use in Jeremiah of the term to refer to the land or people as the Lord’s (e.g., 12:7, 8, 9; 16:18; 50:11) make the possessive use more likely here.

sn The land belonged to the Lord; it was given to the Israelites in trust (or usufruct) as their heritage. See Lev 25:23.

53 tn Heb “The priests…the ones who grasp my law…the shepherds…the prophets…they…”

54 sn See the study note on 2:6.

55 tn Heb “those who handle my law.”

sn The reference is likely to the priests and Levites who were responsible for teaching the law (so Jer 18:18; cf. Deut 33:10). According to Jer 8:8 it could possibly refer to the scribes who copied the law.

56 tn Or “were not committed to me.” The Hebrew verb rendered “know” refers to more than mere intellectual knowledge. It carries also the ideas of emotional and volitional commitment as well intimacy. See for example its use in contexts like Hos 4:1; 6:6.

57 tn Heb “by Baal.”

58 tn Heb “and they followed after those things [the word is plural] which do not profit.” The poetic structure of the verse, four lines in which a distinct subject appears at the beginning followed by a fifth line beginning with a prepositional phrase and no distinct subject, argues that this line is climactic and refers to all four classes enumerated in the preceding lines. See W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:88-89. There may be a play or pun in the Hebrew text on the name for the god Baal (בַּעַל, baal) and the verb “cannot help you” (Heb “do not profit”) which is spelled יַעַל (yaal).

59 tn Or “bring charges against you.”

sn The language used here is that of the law court. In international political contexts it was the language of a great king charging his subject with breach of covenant. See for examples in earlier prophets, Isa 1:2-20; Mic 6:1-8.

60 tn The words “your children and” are supplied in the translation to bring out the idea of corporate solidarity implicit in the passage.

sn The passage reflects the Hebrew concept of corporate solidarity: The actions of parents had consequences for their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Compare the usage in the ten commandments, Deut 5:10, and note the execution of the children of Dathan and Abiram, Deut 11:6, and of Achan, Josh 7:24-25.

61 tn Heb “For go west.”

62 tn Heb “pass over to the coasts of Kittim.” The words “west across the sea” in this line and “east of” in the next are implicit in the text and are supplied in the translation to give geographical orientation.

sn The Hebrew term translated Cyprus (“Kittim”) originally referred to the island of Cyprus but later was used for the lands in the west, including Macedonia (1 Macc 1:1; 8:5) and Rome (Dan 11:30). It is used here as part of a figure called merism to denote the lands in the west as opposed to Kedar which was in the east. The figure includes polar opposites to indicate totality, i.e., everywhere from west to east.

63 sn Kedar is the home of the Bedouin tribes in the Syro-Arabian desert. See Gen 25:18 and Jer 49:38. See also the previous note for the significance of the reference here.

64 tn Heb “have exchanged their glory [i.e., the God in whom they glory].” This is a case of a figure of speech where the attribute of a person or thing is put for the person or thing. Compare the common phrase in Isaiah, the Holy One of Israel, obviously referring to the Lord, the God of Israel.

65 tn Heb “what cannot profit.” The verb is singular and the allusion is likely to Baal. See the translator’s note on 2:8 for the likely pun or wordplay.

66 sn In earlier literature the heavens (and the earth) were called on to witness Israel’s commitment to the covenant (Deut 30:12) and were called to serve as witnesses to Israel’s fidelity or infidelity to it (Isa 1:2; Mic 6:1).

67 tn It is difficult to decide whether to translate “fresh, running water” which the Hebrew term for “living water” often refers to (e.g., Gen 26:19; Lev 14:5), or “life-giving water” which the idiom “fountain of life” as source of life and vitality often refers to (e.g., Ps 36:9; Prov 13:14; 14:27). The contrast with cisterns, which collected and held rain water, suggests “fresh, running water,” but the reality underlying the metaphor contrasts the Lord, the source of life, health, and vitality, with useless idols that cannot do anything.

68 tn Heb “Is Israel a slave? Or is he a house born slave?” The questions are rhetorical, expecting a negative answer.

sn The Lord is here contrasting Israel’s lofty status as the Lord’s bride and special possession, which he had earlier reminded her of (see 2:2-3), with her current status of servitude to Egypt and Assyria.

69 tn Heb “Lions shout over him, they give out [raise] their voices.”

sn The reference to lions is here a metaphor for the Assyrians (and later the Babylonians, see Jer 50:17). The statement about lions roaring over their prey implies that the prey has been vanquished.

70 tn Heb “without inhabitant.”

71 tn Heb “the sons of…”

72 tc The translation follows the reading of the Syriac version. The Hebrew text reads “have grazed [= “shaved” ?] your skulls [as a sign of disgracing them].” Note that the reference shifts from third person, “him,” to second person, “you,” which is common in Hebrew style. The words “people of Israel” have been supplied in the translation to help identify the referent and ease the switch. The reading presupposes יְרֹעוּךְ (yÿroukh) a Qal imperfect from the verb רָעַע (raa’; see BDB 949 s.v. II רָעַע Qal.1 and compare usage in Jer 15:2; Ps 2:9). The MT reads יִרְעוּךְ (yirukh), a Qal imperfect from the root רָעָה (raah; see BDB 945 s.v. I רָעָה Qal.2.b for usage). The use of the verb in the MT is unparalleled in the sense suggested, but the resultant figure, if “graze” can mean “shave,” is paralleled in Jer 47:5; 48:37; Isa 7:20. The reading of the variant is accepted on the basis that it is the rarer root; the scribe would have been more familiar with the root “graze” even though it is unparalleled in the figurative nuance implied here. The noun “head/skull” is functioning as an accusative of further specification (see GKC 372 §117.ll and compare usage in Gen 3:8), i.e., “they crack you on the skull” or “they shave you on the skull.” The verb is a prefixed form and in this context is either a preterite without vav (ו) consecutive or an iterative imperfect denoting repeated action. Some modern English versions render the verb in the future tense, “they will break [or shave] your skull.”

73 tn Heb “Are you not bringing this on yourself.” The question is rhetorical and expects a positive answer.

74 tn Heb “at the time of leading you in the way.”

75 tn Heb “What to you to the way.”

76 tn The introductory particle וְעַתָּה (vÿattah, “and now”) carries a logical, not temporal, connotation here (cf. BDB 274 s.v. עַתָּה 2.b).

77 tn Heb “to drink water from the Shihor [a branch of the Nile].” The reference is to seeking help through political alliance with Egypt as opposed to trusting in God for help. This is an extension of the figure in 2:13.

78 tn Heb “What to you to the way.”

79 tn Heb “to drink water from the River [a common designation in biblical Hebrew for the Euphrates River].” This refers to seeking help through political alliance. See the preceding note.

80 tn Or “teach you a lesson”; Heb “rebuke/chide you.”

81 tn Heb “how evil and bitter.” The reference is to the consequences of their acts. This is a figure of speech (hendiadys) where two nouns or adjectives joined by “and” introduce a main concept modified by the other noun or adjective.

82 tn Heb “to leave the Lord your God.” The change in person is intended to ease the problem of the rapid transition, which is common in Hebrew style but not in English, from third to first person between this line and the next.

83 tn Heb “and no fear of me was on you.”

84 tn Heb “the Lord Yahweh, [the God of] hosts.” For the title Lord God see the study note on 1:6. For the title “who rules over all” see the following study note. The title “the Lord who rules over all” is a way of rendering the title “Yahweh of armies.” It is an abbreviation of a longer title “Yahweh the God of armies” which occurs five times in Jeremiah (see, e.g., 44:7). The abbreviated title occurs seventy-seven times in the book of Jeremiah. On thirty-two occasions it is further qualified by the title “the God of Israel,” showing his special relation to Israel. On six occasions it is preceded by the title “Lord” (see, e.g., 46:10) and twice it is preceded by the title “the King” (see, e.g., 51:17). Both titles emphasize his sovereignty. Twice it is said that he is the maker of all things (10:16; 51:19), and once it is said that he made the earth and the people and animals on it and gives them into the control of whomever he wishes (27:4-5). On two occasions it is emphasized that he also made the heavenly elements and controls the natural elements of wind, rain, thunder, and hail (31:35; 51:14-16). All this is consistent with usage elsewhere where the “armies” over which he has charge are identified as (1) the angels which surround his throne (Isa 6:3, 5; 1 Kgs 22:19) and which he sends to protect his servants (2 Kgs 6:17), (2) the natural forces of thunder, rain, and hail (Isa 29:6; Josh 10:11; Judg 5:4, 5) through which he sends the enemy into panic and “gums” up their chariot wheels, (3) the armies of Israel (1 Sam 17:45) which he leads into battle (Num 10:34-35; Josh 5:14, 15) and for whom he fights as a mighty warrior (Exod 15:3; Isa 42:13; Ps 24:8), and even (4) the armies of the nations which he musters against his disobedient people (Isa 13:14). This title is most commonly found in the messenger formula “Thus says…” introducing both oracles of judgment (on Israel [e.g., 9:7, 15] and on the nations [e.g. 46:19; 50:18]; and see in general 25:29-32). It emphasizes his sovereignty as the king and creator, the lord of creation and of history, and the just judge who sees and knows all (11:20; 20:12) and judges each person and nation according to their actions (Jer 32:18-19). In the first instance (in the most dominant usage) this will involve the punishment of his own people through the agency of the Babylonians (cf., e.g., 25:8-9). But it will also include the punishment of all nations, including Babylon itself (cf. Jer 25:17-26, 32-38), and will ultimately result in the restoration of his people and a new relation with them (30:8; 31:35-37).

85 tn Or “For.” The Hebrew particle (כִּי, ki) here introduces the evidence that they had no respect for him.

86 tn Heb “you broke your yoke…tore off your yoke ropes.” The metaphor is that of a recalcitrant ox or heifer which has broken free from its master.

87 tc The MT of this verse has two examples of the old second feminine singular perfect, שָׁבַרְתִּי (shavarti) and נִתַּקְתִּי (nittaqti), which the Masoretes mistook for first singulars leading to the proposal to read אֶעֱבוֹר (’eevor, “I will not transgress”) for אֶעֱבֹד (’eevod, “I will not serve”). The latter understanding of the forms is accepted in KJV but rejected by almost all modern English versions as being less appropriate to the context than the reading accepted in the translation given here.

88 tn Heb “you sprawled as a prostitute on….” The translation reflects the meaning of the metaphor.

89 tc Heb “I planted you as a choice vine, all of it true seed. How then have you turned into a putrid thing to me, a strange [or wild] vine.” The question expresses surprise and consternation. The translation is based on a redivision of the Hebrew words סוּרֵי הַגֶּפֶן (sure haggefen) into סוֹרִיָּה גֶּפֶן (soriyyah gefen) and the recognition of a hapax legomenon סוֹרִיָּה (soriyyah) meaning “putrid, stinking thing.” See HALOT 707 s.v. סוֹרִי.

90 tn Heb “Even if you wash with natron/lye, and use much soap, your sin is a stain before me.”

91 tn Heb “Lord Yahweh.” For an explanation of this title see the study notes on 1:6.

92 tn Heb “I have not gone/followed after.” See the translator’s note on 2:5 for the meaning and usage of this idiom.

93 tn Heb “Look at your way in the valley.” The valley is an obvious reference to the Valley of Hinnom where Baal and Molech were worshiped and child sacrifice was practiced.

94 sn The metaphor is intended to depict Israel’s lack of clear direction and purpose without the Lord’s control.

95 tn The words “to get the scent of a male” are implicit and are supplied in the translation for clarification.

96 sn The metaphor is intended to depict Israel’s irrepressible desire to worship other gods.

97 tn Heb “Refrain your feet from being bare and your throat from being dry/thirsty.”

98 tn Heb “It is useless! No!” For this idiom, see Jer 18:12; NEB “No; I am desperate.”

99 tn Heb “house of Israel.”

100 tn The words “for what they have done” are implicit in the comparison and are supplied in the translation for clarification.

101 tn Heb “wood…stone…”

102 sn The reference to wood and stone is, of course, a pejorative reference to idols made by human hands. See the next verse where reference is made to “the gods you have made.”

103 tn Heb “they have turned [their] backs to me, not [their] faces.”

104 tn This is an attempt to render the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki, “for, indeed”) contextually.

105 sn This is still part of the Lord’s case against Israel. See 2:9 for the use of the same Hebrew verb. The Lord here denies their counter claims that they do not deserve to be punished.

106 tn Heb “Your sword devoured your prophets like a destroying lion.” However, the reference to the sword in this and many similar idioms is merely idiomatic for death by violent means.

107 tn Heb “a land of the darkness of Yah [= thick or deep darkness].” The idea of danger is an added connotation of the word in this context.

108 tn Heb “my people.”

109 tn Or more freely, “free to do as we please.” There is some debate about the meaning of this verb (רוּד, rud) because its usage is rare and its meaning is debated in the few passages where it does occur. The key to its meaning may rest in the emended text (reading וְרַדְתִּי [vÿradti] for וְיָרַדְתִּי [vÿyaradti]) in Judg 11:37 where it refers to the roaming of Jephthah’s daughter on the mountains of Israel.

110 tn Heb “How good you have made your ways to seek love.”

111 tn Heb “so that even the wicked women you teach your ways.”

112 tn The words “for example” are implicit and are supplied in the translation for clarification. This is only one example of why their death was not legitimate.

sn Killing a thief caught in the act of breaking and entering into a person’s home was pardonable under the law of Moses, cf. Exod 22:2.

113 tn KJV and ASV read this line with 2:34. The ASV makes little sense and the KJV again erroneously reads the archaic second person feminine singular perfect as first person common singular. All the modern English versions and commentaries take this line with 2:35.

114 tn This is an attempt to render the Hebrew particle often translated “behold” (הִנֵּה, hinneh) in a meaningful way in this context. See further the translator’s note on the word “really” in 1:6.

115 tn Heb “changing your way.” The translation follows the identification of the Hebrew verb here as a defective writing of a form (תֵּזְלִי [tezÿli] instead of תֵּאזְלִי [tezÿli]) from a verb meaning “go/go about” (אָזַל [’azal]; cf. BDB 23 s.v. אָזַל). Most modern English versions, commentaries, and lexicons read it from a root meaning “to treat cheaply [or lightly]” (תָּזֵלִּי [tazelli] from the root זָלַל (zalal); cf. HALOT 261 s.v. זָלַל); hence, “Why do you consider it such a small matter to…”

116 tn Heb “You will be ashamed/disappointed by Egypt, just as you were ashamed/ disappointed by Assyria.”

117 tn Heb “with your hands on your head.” For the picture here see 2 Sam 13:19.

118 tn Heb “The Lord has rejected those you trust in; you will not prosper by/from them.”



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