Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) August 20
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Jeremiah 6:1--8:22

Context
The Destruction of Jerusalem Depicted

6:1 “Run for safety, people of Benjamin!

Get out of Jerusalem! 1 

Sound the trumpet 2  in Tekoa!

Light the signal fires at Beth Hakkerem!

For disaster lurks 3  out of the north;

it will bring great destruction. 4 

6:2 I will destroy 5  Daughter Zion, 6 

who is as delicate and defenseless as a young maiden. 7 

6:3 Kings will come against it with their armies. 8 

They will encamp in siege all around it. 9 

Each of them will devastate the portion assigned to him. 10 

6:4 They will say, 11  ‘Prepare to do battle 12  against it!

Come on! Let’s attack it at noon!’

But later they will say, 13  ‘Oh, oh! Too bad! 14 

The day is almost over

and the shadows of evening are getting long.

6:5 So come on, let’s go ahead and attack it by night

and destroy all its fortified buildings.’

6:6 All of this is because 15  the Lord who rules over all 16  has said:

‘Cut down the trees around Jerusalem

and build up a siege ramp against its walls. 17 

This is the city which is to be punished. 18 

Nothing but oppression happens in it. 19 

6:7 As a well continually pours out fresh water

so it continually pours out wicked deeds. 20 

Sounds of violence and destruction echo throughout it. 21 

All I see are sick and wounded people.’ 22 

6:8 So 23  take warning, Jerusalem,

or I will abandon you in disgust 24 

and make you desolate,

a place where no one can live.”

6:9 This is what the Lord who rules over all 25  said to me: 26 

“Those who remain in Israel will be

like the grapes thoroughly gleaned 27  from a vine.

So go over them again, as though you were a grape harvester

passing your hand over the branches one last time.” 28 

6:10 I answered, 29 

“Who would listen

if I spoke to them and warned them? 30 

Their ears are so closed 31 

that they cannot hear!

Indeed, 32  what the Lord says is offensive to them.

They do not like it at all. 33 

6:11 I am as full of anger as you are, Lord, 34 

I am tired of trying to hold it in.”

The Lord answered, 35 

“Vent it, then, 36  on the children who play in the street

and on the young men who are gathered together.

Husbands and wives are to be included, 37 

as well as the old and those who are advanced in years.

6:12 Their houses will be turned over to others

as will their fields and their wives.

For I will unleash my power 38 

against those who live in this land,”

says the Lord.

6:13 “That is because, from the least important to the most important of them,

all of them are greedy for dishonest gain.

Prophets and priests alike,

all of them practice deceit.

6:14 They offer only superficial help

for the harm my people have suffered. 39 

They say, ‘Everything will be all right!’

But everything is not all right! 40 

6:15 Are they ashamed because they have done such shameful things?

No, they are not at all ashamed.

They do not even know how to blush!

So they will die, just like others have died. 41 

They will be brought to ruin when I punish them,”

says the Lord.

6:16 The Lord said to his people: 42 

“You are standing at the crossroads. So consider your path. 43 

Ask where the old, reliable paths 44  are.

Ask where the path is that leads to blessing 45  and follow it.

If you do, you will find rest for your souls.”

But they said, “We will not follow it!”

6:17 The Lord said, 46 

“I appointed prophets as watchmen to warn you, 47  saying:

‘Pay attention to the warning sound of the trumpet!’” 48 

But they said, “We will not pay attention!”

6:18 So the Lord said, 49 

“Hear, you nations!

Be witnesses and take note of what will happen to these people. 50 

6:19 Hear this, you peoples of the earth: 51 

‘Take note! 52  I am about to bring disaster on these people.

It will come as punishment for their scheming. 53 

For they have paid no attention to what I have said, 54 

and they have rejected my law.

6:20 I take no delight 55  when they offer up to me 56 

frankincense that comes from Sheba

or sweet-smelling cane imported from a faraway land.

I cannot accept the burnt offerings they bring me.

I get no pleasure from the sacrifices they offer to me.’ 57 

6:21 So, this is what the Lord says:

‘I will assuredly 58  make these people stumble to their doom. 59 

Parents and children will stumble and fall to their destruction. 60 

Friends and neighbors will die.’

6:22 “This is what the Lord says:

‘Beware! An army 61  is coming from a land in the north.

A mighty nation is stirring into action in faraway parts of the earth.

6:23 Its soldiers are armed with bows and spears.

They are cruel and show no mercy.

They sound like the roaring sea

as they ride forth on their horses.

Lined up in formation like men going into battle

to attack you, Daughter Zion.’” 62 

6:24 The people cry out, 63  “We have heard reports about them!

We have become helpless with fear! 64 

Anguish grips us,

agony like that of a woman giving birth to a baby!

6:25 Do not go out into the countryside.

Do not travel on the roads.

For the enemy is there with sword in hand. 65 

They are spreading terror everywhere.” 66 

6:26 So I said, 67  “Oh, my dear people, 68  put on sackcloth

and roll in ashes.

Mourn with painful sobs

as though you had lost your only child.

For any moment now 69  that destructive army 70 

will come against us.”

6:27 The Lord said to me, 71 

“I have made you like a metal assayer

to test my people like ore. 72 

You are to observe them

and evaluate how they behave.” 73 

6:28 I reported, 74 

“All of them are the most stubborn of rebels! 75 

They are as hard as bronze or iron.

They go about telling lies.

They all deal corruptly.

6:29 The fiery bellows of judgment burn fiercely.

But there is too much dross to be removed. 76 

The process of refining them has proved useless. 77 

The wicked have not been purged.

6:30 They are regarded as ‘rejected silver’ 78 

because the Lord rejects them.”

Faulty Religion and Unethical Behavior Will Lead to Judgment

7:1 The Lord said to Jeremiah: 79  7:2 “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s temple and proclaim 80  this message: ‘Listen, all you people of Judah who have passed through these gates to worship the Lord. 81  Hear what the Lord has to say. 7:3 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 82  says: Change the way you have been living and do what is right. 83  If you do, I will allow you to continue to live in this land. 84  7:4 Stop putting your confidence in the false belief that says, 85  “We are safe! 86  The temple of the Lord is here! The temple of the Lord is here! The temple of the Lord is here!” 87  7:5 You must change 88  the way you have been living and do what is right. You must treat one another fairly. 89  7:6 Stop oppressing foreigners who live in your land, children who have lost their fathers, and women who have lost their husbands. 90  Stop killing innocent people 91  in this land. Stop paying allegiance to 92  other gods. That will only bring about your ruin. 93  7:7 If you stop doing these things, 94  I will allow you to continue to live in this land 95  which I gave to your ancestors as a lasting possession. 96 

7:8 “‘But just look at you! 97  You are putting your confidence in a false belief 98  that will not deliver you. 99  7:9 You steal. 100  You murder. You commit adultery. You lie when you swear on oath. You sacrifice to the god Baal. You pay allegiance to 101  other gods whom you have not previously known. 7:10 Then you come and stand in my presence in this temple I have claimed as my own 102  and say, “We are safe!” You think you are so safe that you go on doing all those hateful sins! 103  7:11 Do you think this temple I have claimed as my own 104  is to be a hideout for robbers? 105  You had better take note! 106  I have seen for myself what you have done! says the Lord. 7:12 So, go to the place in Shiloh where I allowed myself to be worshiped 107  in the early days. See what I did to it 108  because of the wicked things my people Israel did. 7:13 You also have done all these things, says the Lord, and I have spoken to you over and over again. 109  But you have not listened! You have refused to respond when I called you to repent! 110  7:14 So I will destroy this temple which I have claimed as my own, 111  this temple that you are trusting to protect you. I will destroy this place that I gave to you and your ancestors, 112  just like I destroyed Shiloh. 113  7:15 And I will drive you out of my sight just like I drove out your relatives, the people of Israel.’” 114 

7:16 Then the Lord said, 115  “As for you, Jeremiah, 116  do not pray for these people! Do not cry out to me or petition me on their behalf! Do not plead with me to save them, 117  because I will not listen to you. 7:17 Do you see 118  what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 119  7:18 Children are gathering firewood, fathers are building fires with it, and women are mixing dough to bake cakes to offer to the goddess they call the Queen of Heaven. 120  They are also pouring out drink offerings to other gods. They seem to do all this just 121  to trouble me. 7:19 But I am not really the one being troubled!” 122  says the Lord. “Rather they are bringing trouble on themselves to their own shame! 123  7:20 So,” the Lord God 124  says, “my raging fury will be poured out on this land. 125  It will be poured out on human beings and animals, on trees and crops. 126  And it will burn like a fire which cannot be extinguished.”

7:21 The Lord said to the people of Judah, 127  “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 128  says: ‘You might as well go ahead and add the meat of your burnt offerings to that of the other sacrifices and eat it, too! 129  7:22 Consider this: 130  When I spoke to your ancestors after I brought them out of Egypt, I did not merely give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices. 7:23 I also explicitly commanded them: 131  “Obey me. If you do, I 132  will be your God and you will be my people. Live exactly the way I tell you 133  and things will go well with you.” 7:24 But they did not listen to me or pay any attention to me. They followed the stubborn inclinations of their own wicked hearts. They acted worse and worse instead of better. 134  7:25 From the time your ancestors departed the land of Egypt until now, 135  I sent my servants the prophets to you again and again, 136  day after day. 137  7:26 But your ancestors 138  did not listen to me nor pay attention to me. They became obstinate 139  and were more wicked than even their own forefathers.’”

7:27 Then the Lord said to me, 140  “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you. When you call out to them, they will not respond to you. 7:28 So tell them: ‘This is a nation that has not obeyed the Lord their God and has not accepted correction. Faithfulness is nowhere to be found in it. These people do not even profess it anymore. 141  7:29 So, mourn, 142  you people of this nation. 143  Cut off your hair and throw it away. Sing a song of mourning on the hilltops. For the Lord has decided to reject 144  and forsake this generation that has provoked his wrath!’” 145 

7:30 The Lord says, “I have rejected them because 146  the people of Judah have done what I consider evil. 147  They have set up their disgusting idols in the temple 148  which I have claimed for my own 149  and have defiled it. 7:31 They have also built places of worship 150  in a place called Topheth 151  in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that they can sacrifice their sons and daughters by fire. That is something I never commanded them to do! Indeed, it never even entered my mind to command such a thing! 152  7:32 So, watch out!” 153  says the Lord. “The time will soon come when people will no longer call those places Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom. But they will call that valley 154  the Valley of Slaughter and they will bury so many people in Topheth they will run out of room. 155  7:33 Then the dead bodies of these people will be left on the ground for the birds and wild animals to eat. 156  There will not be any survivors to scare them away. 7:34 I will put an end to the sounds of joy and gladness, or the glad celebration of brides and grooms throughout the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. For the whole land will become a desolate wasteland.”

8:1 The Lord says, “When that time comes, 157  the bones of the kings of Judah and its leaders, the bones of the priests and prophets and of all the other people who lived in Jerusalem will be dug up from their graves. 8:2 They will be spread out and exposed to the sun, the moon and the stars. 158  These are things they 159  adored and served, things to which they paid allegiance, 160  from which they sought guidance, and worshiped. The bones of these people 161  will never be regathered and reburied. They will be like manure used to fertilize the ground. 162  8:3 However, I will leave some of these wicked people alive and banish them to other places. But wherever these people who survive may go, they will wish they had died rather than lived,” 163  says the Lord who rules over all. 164 

Willful Disregard of God Will Lead to Destruction

8:4 The Lord said to me, 165 

“Tell them, ‘The Lord says,

Do people not get back up when they fall down?

Do they not turn around when they go the wrong way? 166 

8:5 Why, then, do these people of Jerusalem 167 

continually turn away from me in apostasy?

They hold fast to their deception. 168 

They refuse to turn back to me. 169 

8:6 I have listened to them very carefully, 170 

but they do not speak honestly.

None of them regrets the evil he has done.

None of them says, “I have done wrong!” 171 

All of them persist in their own wayward course 172 

like a horse charging recklessly into battle.

8:7 Even the stork knows

when it is time to move on. 173 

The turtledove, swallow, and crane 174 

recognize 175  the normal times for their migration.

But my people pay no attention

to 176  what I, the Lord, require of them. 177 

8:8 How can you say, “We are wise!

We have the law of the Lord”?

The truth is, 178  those who teach it 179  have used their writings

to make it say what it does not really mean. 180 

8:9 Your wise men will be put to shame.

They will be dumbfounded and be brought to judgment. 181 

Since they have rejected the word of the Lord,

what wisdom do they really have?

8:10 182 So I will give their wives to other men

and their fields to new owners.

For from the least important to the most important of them,

all of them are greedy for dishonest gain.

Prophets and priests alike,

all practice deceit.

8:11 They offer only superficial help

for the hurt my dear people 183  have suffered. 184 

They say, “Everything will be all right!”

But everything is not all right! 185 

8:12 Are they ashamed because they have done such disgusting things?

No, they are not at all ashamed!

They do not even know how to blush!

So they will die just like others have died. 186 

They will be brought to ruin when I punish them,

says the Lord.

8:13 I will take away their harvests, 187  says the Lord.

There will be no grapes on their vines.

There will be no figs on their fig trees.

Even the leaves on their trees will wither.

The crops that I gave them will be taken away.’” 188 

Jeremiah Laments over the Coming Destruction

8:14 The people say, 189 

“Why are we just sitting here?

Let us gather together inside the fortified cities. 190 

Let us at least die there fighting, 191 

since the Lord our God has condemned us to die.

He has condemned us to drink the poison waters of judgment 192 

because we have sinned against him. 193 

8:15 We hoped for good fortune, but nothing good has come of it.

We hoped for a time of relief, but instead we experience terror. 194 

8:16 The snorting of the enemy’s horses

is already being heard in the city of Dan.

The sound of the neighing of their stallions 195 

causes the whole land to tremble with fear.

They are coming to destroy the land and everything in it!

They are coming to destroy 196  the cities and everyone who lives in them!”

8:17 The Lord says, 197 

“Yes indeed, 198  I am sending an enemy against you

that will be like poisonous snakes which cannot be charmed away. 199 

And they will inflict fatal wounds on you.” 200 

8:18 Then I said, 201 

“There is no cure 202  for my grief!

I am sick at heart!

8:19 I hear my dear people 203  crying out 204 

throughout the length and breadth of the land. 205 

They are crying, ‘Is the Lord no longer in Zion?

Is her divine King 206  no longer there?’”

The Lord answers, 207 

“Why then do they provoke me to anger with their images,

with their worthless foreign idols?” 208 

8:20 “They cry, 209  ‘Harvest time has come and gone, and the summer is over, 210 

and still we have not been delivered.’

8:21 My heart is crushed because my dear people 211  are being crushed. 212 

I go about crying and grieving. I am overwhelmed with dismay. 213 

8:22 There is still medicinal ointment 214  available in Gilead!

There is still a physician there! 215 

Why then have my dear people 216 

not been restored to health? 217 

1 tn Heb “Flee for safety, people of Benjamin, out of the midst of Jerusalem.”

sn Compare and contrast Jer 4:6. There people in the outlying areas were warned to seek safety in the fortified city of Jerusalem. Here they are told to flee it because it was about to be destroyed.

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

2 tn Heb “ram’s horn,” but the modern equivalent is “trumpet” and is more readily understandable.

3 tn Heb “leans down” or “looks down.” This verb personifies destruction leaning/looking down from its window in the sky, ready to attack.

4 tn Heb “[It will be] a severe fracture.” The nation is pictured as a limb being fractured.

sn This passage is emotionally charged. There are two examples of assonance or wordplay in the verse: “sound” (Heb tiqu, “blow”), which has the same consonants as “Tekoa” (Heb uvitqoa’), and “signal fire,” which comes from the same root as “light” (Heb sÿu maset, “lift up”). There is also an example of personification where disaster is said to “lurk” (Heb “look down on”) out of the north. This gives a sense of urgency and concern for the coming destruction.

5 tn The verb here is another example of the Hebrew verb form that indicates the action is as good as done (a Hebrew prophetic perfect).

6 sn Jerusalem is personified as a young maiden who is helpless in the hands of her enemies.

7 tn Heb “The beautiful and delicate one I will destroy, the daughter of Zion. The English versions and commentaries are divided over the rendering of this verse because (1) there are two verbs with these same consonants, one meaning “to be like” and the other meaning “to be destroyed” (intransitive) or “to destroy” (transitive), and (2) the word rendered “beautiful” (נָוָה, navah) can be understood as a noun meaning “pasture” or as a defective writing of an adjective meaning “beautiful, comely” (נָאוָה, navah). Hence some render “Fair Zion, you are like a lovely pasture,” reading the verb form as an example of the old second feminine singular perfect. Although this may fit the imagery of the next verse, that rendering ignores the absence of a preposition (לְ or אֶל, lÿ or ’el, both of which can be translated “to”) that normally goes with the verb “be like” and drops the conjunction in front of the adjective “delicate.” The parallel usage of the verb in Hos 4:5 argues for the meaning “destroy.”

8 tn Heb “Shepherds and their flocks will come against it.” Rulers are often depicted as shepherds; see BDB 945 s.v. רָעָה 1.d(2) (cf. Jer 12:10). The translation of this verse attempts to clarify the point of this extended metaphor.

9 tn Heb “They will thrust [= pitch] tents around it.” The shepherd imagery has a surprisingly ominous tone. The beautiful pasture filled with shepherds grazing their sheep is in reality a city under siege from an attacking enemy.

10 tn Heb “They will graze each one his portion.” For the use of the verb “graze” to mean “strip” or “devastate” see BDB 945 s.v. רָעָה 2.c. For a similar use of the word normally meaning “hand” to mean portion compare 2 Sam 19:43 (19:44 HT).

sn There is a wordplay involving “sound…in Tekoa” mentioned in the study note on “destruction” in v. 1. The Hebrew verb “they will pitch” is from the same root as the word translated “sound” (taqÿu [תִּקְעוּ] here and tiqu [תִּקְעוּ] in v. 1).

11 tn These words are not in the text but are implicit in the connection. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

12 tn Heb “Sanctify war.” This is probably an idiom from early Israel’s holy wars in which religious rites were to precede the battle.

13 tn These words are not in the text but are supplied in the translation for clarity. Some commentaries and English versions see these not as the words of the enemy but as those of the Israelites expressing their fear that the enemy will launch a night attack against them and further destroy them. The connection with the next verse, however, fits better with them if they are the words of the enemy.

14 tn Heb “Woe to us!” For the usage of this phrase see the translator’s note on 4:13. The usage of this particle here is a little exaggerated. They have lost the most advantageous time for attack but they are scarcely in a hopeless or doomed situation. The equivalent in English slang is “Bad news!”

15 tn Heb “For.” The translation attempts to make the connection clearer.

16 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

sn For an explanation of the significance of this title see the study note on 2:19.

17 tn Heb “Cut down its trees and build up a siege ramp against Jerusalem.” The referent has been moved forward from the second line for clarity.

18 tn Or “must be punished.” The meaning of this line is uncertain. The LXX reads, “Woe, city of falsehood!” The MT presents two anomalies: a masculine singular verb with a feminine singular subject in a verbal stem (Hophal) that elsewhere does not have the meaning “is to be punished.” Hence many follow the Greek which presupposes הוֹי עִיר הַשֶּׁקֶר (hoyir hasheqer) instead of הִיא הָעִיר הָפְקַד (hihair hofqad). The Greek is the easier reading in light of the parallelism, and it would be hard to explain how the MT arose from it. KBL suggests reading a noun meaning “licentiousness” which occurs elsewhere only in Mishnaic Hebrew, hence “this is the city, the licentious one” (attributive apposition; cf. KBL 775 s.v. פֶּקֶר). Perhaps the Hophal perfect (הָפְקַד, hofÿqad) should be revocalized as a Niphal infinitive absolute (הִפָּקֹד, hippaqod); this would solve both anomalies in the MT since the Niphal is used in this nuance and the infinitive absolute can function in place of a finite verb (cf. GKC 346 §113.ee and ff). This, however, is mere speculation and is supported by no Hebrew ms.

19 tn Heb “All of it oppression in its midst.”

20 tc Heb “As a well makes cool/fresh its water, she makes cool/fresh her wickedness.” The translation follows the reading proposed by the Masoretes (Qere) which reads a rare form of the word “well” (בַּיִר [bayir] for בְּאֵר [bÿer]) in place of the form written in the text (Kethib, בּוֹר [bor]), which means “cistern.” The latter noun is masculine and the pronoun “its” is feminine. If indeed בַּיִר (bayir) is a byform of בְּאֵר (beer), which is feminine, it would agree in gender with the pronoun. It also forms a more appropriate comparison since cisterns do not hold fresh water.

21 tn Heb “Violence and destruction are heard in it.”

22 tn Heb “Sickness and wound are continually before my face.”

23 tn This word is not in the text but is supplied in the translation. Jeremiah uses a figure of speech (enallage) where the speaker turns from talking about someone to address him/her directly.

24 tn Heb “lest my soul [= I] becomes disgusted with you.”

sn The wordplay begun with “sound…in Tekoa” in v. 1 and continued with “they will pitch” in v. 3 is concluded here with “turn away” (וּבִתְקוֹעַ תִּקְעוּ [uvitqoatiqu] in v. 1, תָּקְעוּ [taqu] in v. 3 and תֵּקַע [teqa’] here).

25 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

sn For an explanation of the significance of this title see the study note on 2:19.

26 tn The words “to me” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation for clarity.

27 tn Heb “They will thoroughly glean those who are left in Israel like a vine.” That is, they will be carried off by judgment. It is not necessary to read the verb forms here as two imperatives or an infinitive absolute followed by an imperative as some English versions and commentaries do. This is an example of a third plural verb used impersonally and translated as a passive (cf. GKC 460 §144.g).

28 tn Heb “Pass your hand back over the branches like a grape harvester.” The translation is intended to clarify the metaphor that Jeremiah should try to rescue some from the coming destruction.

29 tn These words are not in the text but are supplied in the translation for clarity.

30 tn Or “To whom shall I speak? To whom shall I give warning? Who will listen?” Heb “Unto whom shall I speak and give warning that they may listen?”

31 tn Heb “are uncircumcised.”

32 tn Heb “Behold!”

33 tn Heb “They do not take pleasure in it.”

34 tn Heb “I am full of the wrath of the Lord.”

35 tn These words are not in the text but are implicit from the words that follow. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

36 tn Heb “Pour it out.”

37 tn Heb “are to be captured.”

38 tn Heb “I will reach out my hand.” This figure involves both comparing God to a person (anthropomorphism) and substitution (metonymy) where hand is put for the actions or exertions of the hand. A common use of “hand” is for the exertion of power or strength (cf. BDB 290 s.v. יָד 2 and 289-90 s.v. יָד 1.e(2); cf. Deut 34:12; Ps 78:42; Jer 16:21).

39 tn Heb “They heal [= bandage] the wound of my people lightly”; TEV “They act as if my people’s wounds were only scratches.”

40 tn Heb “They say, ‘Peace! Peace!’ and there is no peace!”

41 tn Heb “They will fall among the fallen.”

42 tn The words, “to his people” are not in the text but are implicit in the interchange of pronouns in the Hebrew of vv. 16-17. They are supplied in the translation here for clarity.

43 tn Heb “Stand at the crossroads and look.”

44 tn Heb “the ancient path,” i.e., the path the Lord set out in ancient times (cf. Deut 32:7).

45 tn Heb “the way of/to the good.”

46 tn These words are not in the text but are implicit in the interchange of pronouns in the Hebrew of vv. 16-17. They are supplied in the translation here for clarity.

47 tn Heb “I appointed watchmen over you.”

48 tn Heb “Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet.” The word “warning” is not in the Hebrew text, but is implied.

49 tn These words are not in the text but are implicit from the flow of the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

50 tn Heb “Know, congregation [or witness], what in [or against] them.” The meaning of this line is somewhat uncertain. The meaning of the noun of address in the second line (“witness,” rendered as an imperative in the translation, “Be witnesses”) is greatly debated. It is often taken as “congregation” but the lexicons and commentaries generally question the validity of reading that word since it is nowhere else applied to the nations. BDB 417 s.v. עֵדָה 3 says that the text is dubious. HALOT 747 s.v. I עֵדָה, 4 emends the text to דֵּעָה (deah). Several modern English versions (e.g., NIV, NCV, God’s Word) take it as the feminine singular noun “witness” (cf. BDB 729 s.v. II עֵדָה) and understand it as a collective. This solution is also proposed by J. A. Thompson (Jeremiah [NICOT], 259, n. 3) and appears to make the best sense in the context. The end of the line is very elliptical but is generally taken as either, “what I will do with/to them,” or “what is coming against them” (= “what will happen to them”) on the basis of the following context.

51 tn Heb “earth.”

52 tn Heb “Behold!”

53 tn Heb “disaster on these people, the fruit of their schemes.”

54 tn Heb “my word.”

55 tn Heb “To what purpose is it to me?” The question is rhetorical and expects a negative answer.

56 tn The words “when they offer up to me” are not in the text but are implicit from the following context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

57 tn Heb “Your burnt offerings are not acceptable and your sacrifices are not pleasing to me.” “The shift from “your” to “their” is an example of the figure of speech (apostrophe) where the speaker turns from talking about someone to addressing him/her directly. Though common in Hebrew style, it is not common in English. The shift to the third person in the translation is an accommodation to English style.

58 tn This is an attempt to render the Hebrew particle rendered “behold” joined to the first person pronoun.

59 tn Heb “I will put stumbling blocks in front of these people.” In this context the stumbling blocks are the invading armies.

60 tn The words “and fall to their destruction” are implicit in the metaphor and are supplied in the translation for clarity.

61 tn Heb “people.”

62 sn Jerualem is personified as a young maiden helpless before enemy attackers.

63 tn These words are not in the text, but, from the context, someone other than God is speaking and is speaking for and to the people (either Jeremiah or the people themselves). These words are supplied in the translation for clarity.

64 tn Or “We have lost our strength to do battle”; Heb “Our hands hang limp [or helpless at our sides].” According to BDB 951 s.v. רָפָה Qal.2, this idiom is used figuratively for losing heart or energy. The best example of its figurative use of loss of strength or the feeling of helplessness is in Ezek 21:12 where it appears in the context of the heart (courage) melting, the spirit sinking, and the knees becoming like water. For other examples compare 2 Sam 4:1; Zeph 3:16. In Neh 6:9 it is used literally of the builders “dropping their hands from the work” out of fear. The words “with fear” are supplied in the translation because they are implicit in the context.

65 tn Heb “For the enemy has a sword.”

66 tn Heb “Terror is all around!”

67 tn These words are not in the text but are implicit from the context.

68 tn Heb “daughter of my people.” For the translation given here see 4:11 and the translator’s note there.

69 tn Heb “suddenly.”

70 tn Heb “the destroyer.”

71 tn These words are not in the text but are supplied in the translation for clarity. Note “I have appointed you.” Compare Jer 1:18.

72 tn Heb “I have made you an assayer of my people, a tester [?].” The meaning of the words translated “assayer” (בָּחוֹן, bakhon) and “tester” (מִבְצָר, mivtsar) is uncertain. The word בָּחוֹן (bakhon) can mean “tower” (cf. BDB 103 s.v. בָּחוֹן; cf. Isa 23:13 for the only other use) or “assayer” (cf. BDB 103 s.v. בָּחוֹן). The latter would be the more expected nuance because of the other uses of nouns and verbs from this root. The word מִבְצָר (mivtsar) normally means “fortress” (cf. BDB 131 s.v. מִבְצָר), but most modern commentaries and lexicons deem that nuance inappropriate here. HALOT follows a proposal that the word is to be repointed to מְבַצֵּר (mÿvatser) and derived from a root בָּצַר (batsar) meaning “to test” (cf. HALOT 143 s.v. IV בָּצַר). That proposal makes the most sense in the context, but the root appears nowhere else in the OT.

73 tn Heb “test their way.”

74 tn These words are not in the text but are supplied in the translation for clarity. Some takes these words to be the continuation of the Lord’s commission of Jeremiah to the task of testing them. However, since this is the evaluation, the task appears to be complete. The words are better to be taken as Jeremiah’s report after he has completed the task.

75 tn Or “arch rebels,” or “hardened rebels.” Literally “rebels of rebels.”

76 tn Heb “The bellows blow fiercely; the lead is consumed by the fire.” The translation tries to clarify a metaphor involving ancient metallurgy. In the ancient refining process lead was added as a flux to remove impurities from silver ore in the process of oxidizing the lead. Jeremiah says that the lead has been used up and the impurities have not been removed. The translation is based on the recognition of an otherwise unused verb root meaning “blow” (נָחַר [nakhar]; cf. BDB 1123 s.v. I חָרַר and HALOT 651 s.v. נָחַר) and the Masoretes’ suggestion that the consonants מאשׁתם be read מֵאֵשׁ תַּם (meesh tam) rather than as מֵאֶשָּׁתָם (meeshatam, “from their fire”) from an otherwise unattested noun אֶשָּׁה (’eshah).

77 tn Heb “The refiner refines them in vain.”

78 tn This translation is intended to reflect the wordplay in the Hebrew text where the same root word is repeated in the two lines.

79 tn Heb “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord.”

80 tn Heb “Proclaim there…” The adverb is unnecessary in English style.

81 sn That is, all those who have passed through the gates of the outer court and are standing in the courtyard of the temple.

82 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God Israel.”

sn Compare the use of similar titles in 2:19; 5:14; 6:6 and see the explanation in the study note at 2:19. In this instance the title appears to emphasize the Lord as the heavenly King who drags his disobedient vassals into court (and threatens them with judgment).

83 tn Or “Make good your ways and your actions.” J. Bright’s translation (“Reform the whole pattern of your conduct”; Jeremiah [AB], 52) is excellent.

84 tn Heb “place” but this might be misunderstood to refer to the temple.

85 tn Heb “Stop trusting in lying words which say.”

86 tn The words “We are safe!” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation for clarity.

87 tn Heb “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these (i.e., these buildings).” Elsewhere triple repetition seems to mark a kind of emphasis (cf. Isa 6:3; Jer 22:29; Ezek 21:27 [32 HT]). The triple repetition that follows seems to be Jeremiah’s way of mocking the (false) sense of security that people had in the invincibility of Jerusalem because God dwelt in the temple. They appeared to be treating the temple as some kind of magical charm. A similar feeling had grown up around the ark in the time of the judges (cf. 1 Sam 3:3) and the temple and city of Jerusalem in Micah’s day (cf. Mic 3:11). It is reflected also in some of the Psalms (cf., e.g., Ps 46, especially v. 5).

88 tn The infinitive absolute precedes the finite verb for emphasis.

89 tn Heb “you must do justice between a person and his fellow/neighbor.” The infinitive absolute precedes the finite verb for emphasis.

90 tn Heb “Stop oppressing foreigner, orphan, and widow.”

91 tn Heb “Stop shedding innocent blood.”

92 tn Heb “going/following after.” See the translator’s note at 2:5 for an explanation of the idiom involved here.

93 tn Heb “going after other gods to your ruin.”

94 tn The translation uses imperatives in vv. 5-6 followed by the phrase, “If you do all this,” to avoid the long and complex sentence structure of the Hebrew sentence which has a series of conditional clauses in vv. 5-6 followed by a main clause in v. 7.

95 tn Heb “live in this place, in this land.”

96 tn Heb “gave to your fathers [with reference to] from ancient times even unto forever.”

97 tn Heb “Behold!”

98 tn Heb “You are trusting in lying words.” See the similar phrase in v. 4 and the note there.

99 tn Heb “not profit [you].”

100 tn Heb “Will you steal…then say, ‘We are safe’?” Verses 9-10 are one long sentence in the Hebrew text.

101 tn Heb “You go/follow after.” See the translator’s note at 2:5 for an explanation of the idiom involved here.

102 tn Heb “over which my name is called.” For this nuance of this idiom cf. BDB 896 s.v. קָרָא Niph.2.d(4) and see the usage in 2 Sam 12:28.

103 tn Or “‘We are safe!’ – safe, you think, to go on doing all those hateful things.” Verses 9-10 are all one long sentence in the Hebrew text. It has been broken up for English stylistic reasons. Somewhat literally it reads “Will you steal…then come and stand…and say, ‘We are safe’ so as to/in order to do…” The Hebrew of v. 9 has a series of infinitives which emphasize the bare action of the verb without the idea of time or agent. The effect is to place a kind of staccato like emphasis on the multitude of their sins all of which are violations of one of the Ten Commandments. The final clause in v. 8 expresses purpose or result (probably result) through another infinitive. This long sentence is introduced by a marker (ה interrogative in Hebrew) introducing a rhetorical question in which God expresses his incredulity that they could do these sins, come into the temple and claim the safety of his protection, and then go right back out and commit the same sins. J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB], 52) catches the force nicely: “What? You think you can steal, murder…and then come and stand…and say, ‘We are safe…’ just so that you can go right on…”

104 tn Heb “over which my name is called.” For this nuance of this idiom cf. BDB 896 s.v. קָרָא Niph.2.d(4) and see the usage in 2 Sam 12:28.

105 tn Heb “Is this house…a den/cave of robbers in your eyes?”

106 tn Heb “Behold!”

107 tn Heb “where I caused my name to dwell.” The translation does not adequately represent the theology of the Lord’s deliberate identification with a place where he chose to manifest his presence and desired to be worshiped (cf. Exod 20:25; Deut 16:2, 6, 11).

108 sn The place in Shiloh…see what I did to it. This refers to the destruction of Shiloh by the Philistines circa 1050 b.c. (cf. Ps 78:60). The destruction of Shiloh is pertinent to the argument. The presence of the tabernacle and ark of the covenant did not prevent Shiloh from being destroyed when Israel sinned. The people of Israel used the ark as a magic charm but it did not prevent them from being defeated or the ark being captured (1 Sam 4:3, 11, 21-22).

109 tn This reflects a Hebrew idiom (e.g., 7:25; 11:7; 25:3, 4), i.e., an infinitive of a verb meaning “to do something early [or eagerly]” followed by an infinitive of another verb of action. Cf. HALOT 1384 s.v. שָׁכַם Hiph.2.

110 tn Heb “I called to you and you did not answer.” The words “to repent” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation for clarity.

111 tn Heb “over which my name is called.” For this nuance of this idiom cf. BDB 896 s.v. קָרָא Niph.2.d(4) and see the usage in 2 Sam 12:28.

112 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 22, 25, 26).

113 tn Heb “I will do to this house which I…in which you put…and to this place which…as I did to Shiloh.”

114 tn Heb “the descendants of Ephraim.” However, Ephraim here stands (as it often does) for all the northern tribes of Israel.

115 tn The words “Then the Lord said” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation for clarity.

116 tn Heb “As for you.” The personal name Jeremiah is supplied in the translation for clarity.

117 tn The words “to save them” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

118 tn Or “Just look at…” The question is rhetorical and expects a positive answer.

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

120 tn The form for “queen” is unusual. It is pointed (מְלֶכֶת [mÿlekhet] instead of מַלְכַּת [malkat]) as though the Masoretes wanted to read the word for “work” (מְלֶאכֶת [mÿlekhet]), i.e., the “hosts of,” a word that several Hebrew mss read and an understanding the LXX reflects. The other ancient and modern versions generally, however, accept it as a biform for the word “queen.”

sn The Queen of Heaven is probably a reference to the goddess known as Ishtar in Mesopotamia, Anat in Canaan, Ashtoreth in Israel. She was the goddess of love and fertility. For further discussion, see G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 (WBC), 266-68.

121 tn Heb “to provoke me.” There is debate among grammarians and lexicographers about the nuance of the Hebrew particle לְמַעַן (lÿmaan). Some say it always denotes purpose, while others say it may denote either purpose or result, depending on the context. For example, BDB 775 s.v. לְמַעַן note 1 says that it always denotes purpose, never result, but that sometimes what is really a result is represented ironically as though it were a purpose. That explanation fits nicely here in the light of the context of the next verse. The translation is intended to reflect some of that ironic sarcasm.

122 tn Heb “Is it I whom they provoke?” The rhetorical question expects a negative answer which is made explicit in the translation.

123 tn Heb “Is it not themselves to their own shame?” The rhetorical question expects a positive answer which is made explicit in the translation.

124 tn Heb “Lord Yahweh.” The translation follows the ancient Jewish tradition of substituting the Hebrew word for God for the proper name Yahweh.

125 tn Heb “this place.” Some see this as a reference to the temple but the context has been talking about what goes on in the towns of Judah and Jerusalem and the words that follow, meant as a further explanation, are applied to the whole land.

126 tn Heb “the trees of/in the field and the fruit of/in the ground.”

127 tn The words “The Lord said to the people of Judah” are not in the text but are implicit in the shift in addressee between vv. 16-20 and vv. 21-26.

128 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.”

sn See the study notes on 2:19 and 7:3.

129 tn Heb “Add your burnt offerings to your [other] sacrifices and eat the meat!” See the following sn for explanation. This is an example of the rhetorical use of the imperative for a sarcastic challenge. Cf. GKC 324 §110.a; cf. Amos 4:4, “Go to Bethel and sin!”

sn All of the burnt offering, including the meat, was to be consumed on the altar (e.g., Lev 1:6-9). The meat of the other sacrifices could be eaten by the priest who offered the sacrifice and the person who brought it (e.g., Lev 7:16-18, 32). Since, however, the people of Judah were making a mockery of the sacrificial system by offering sacrifices while disobeying the law, the Lord rejected the sacrifices (cf. 6:20). Since they were violating the moral law they might as well go ahead and violate the cultic law by eating the meat dedicated to God because he rejected it anyway.

130 tn Heb “For” but this introduces a long explanation about the relative importance of sacrifice and obedience.

131 tn Verses 22-23a read in Hebrew, “I did not speak with your ancestors and I did not command them when I brought them out of Egypt about words/matters concerning burnt offering and sacrifice, but I commanded them this word:” Some modern commentators have explained this passage as an evidence for the lateness of the Pentateuchal instruction regarding sacrifice or a denial that sacrifice was practiced during the period of the wilderness wandering. However, it is better explained as an example of what R. de Vaux calls a dialectical negative, i.e., “not so much this as that” or “not this without that” (Ancient Israel, 454-56). For other examples of this same argument see Isa 1:10-17; Hos 6:4-6; Amos 5:21-25.

132 tn Heb “Obey me and I will be.” The translation is equivalent syntactically but brings out the emphasis in the command.

133 tn Heb “Walk in all the way that I command you.”

134 tn Or “They went backward and not forward”; Heb “They were to the backward and not to the forward.” The two phrases used here appear nowhere else in the Bible and the latter preposition plus adverb elsewhere is used temporally meaning “formerly” or “previously.” The translation follows the proposal of J. Bright, Jeremiah (AB), 57. Another option is “they turned their backs to me, not their faces,” understanding the line as a variant of a line in 2:27.

135 tn Heb “from the day your ancestors…until this very day.” However, “day” here is idiomatic for “the present time.”

136 tn On the Hebrew idiom see the note at 7:13.

137 tc There is some textual debate about the legitimacy of this expression here. The text reads merely “day” (יוֹם, yom). BHS suggests the word is to be deleted as a dittography of the plural ending of the preceding word. The word is in the Greek and Latin, and the Syriac represents the typical idiom “day after day” as though the noun were repeated. Either יוֹם has dropped out by haplography or a ם (mem) has been left out, i.e., reading יוֹמָם (yomam, “daily”).

138 tn Or “But your predecessors…”; Heb “But they….” There is a confusing interchange in the pronouns in vv. 25-26 which has led to some leveling in the ancient versions and the modern English versions. What is involved here are four levels of referents, the “you” of the present generation (vv. 21-22a), the ancestors who were delivered from Egypt (i.e., the “they” of vv. 22b-24), the “you” of v. 25 which involves all the Israelites from the Exodus to the time of speaking, and the “they” of v. 26 which cannot be the ancestors of vv. 22-24 (since they cannot be more wicked than themselves) but must be an indefinite entity which is a part of the “you” of v. 25, i.e., the more immediate ancestors of the present generation. If this is kept in mind, there is no need to level the pronouns to “they” and “them” or to “you” and “your” as some of the ancient versions and modern English versions have done.

139 tn Heb “hardened [or made stiff] their neck.”

140 tn The words, “Then the Lord said to me” are not in the text but are implicit in the shift from the second and third person plural pronouns in vv. 21-26 and the second singular in this verse. The words are supplied in the translation for clarity.

141 tn Heb “Faithfulness has vanished. It is cut off from their lips.”

sn For the need for faithfulness see 5:1, 3.

142 tn The word “mourn” is not in the text. It is supplied in the translation for clarity to explain the significance of the words “Cut your hair and throw it away.”

sn Cf. Mic 1:16; Job 1:20 for other examples of this practice which was involved in mourning.

143 tn The words, “you people of this nation” are not in the text. Many English versions supply, “Jerusalem.” The address shifts from second masculine singular addressing Jeremiah (vv. 27-28a) to second feminine singular. It causes less disruption in the flow of the context to see the nation as a whole addressed here as a feminine singular entity (as, e.g., in 2:19, 23; 3:2, 3; 6:26) than to introduce a new entity, Jerusalem.

144 tn The verbs here are the Hebrew scheduling perfects. For this use of the perfect see GKC 312 §106.m.

145 tn Heb “the generation of his wrath.”

146 tn The words “I have rejected them” are not in the Hebrew text, which merely says “because.” These words are supplied in the translation to show more clearly the connection to the preceding.

147 tn Heb “have done the evil in my eyes.”

148 sn Compare, e.g., 2 Kgs 21:3, 5, 7; 23:4, 6; Ezek 8:3, 5, 10-12, 16. Manasseh had desecrated the temple by building altars, cult symbols, and idols in it. Josiah had purged the temple of these pagan elements. But it is obvious from both Jeremiah and Ezekiel that they had been replaced shortly after Josiah’s death. They were a primary cause of Judah’s guilt and punishment (see beside this passage, 19:5; 32:34-35).

149 tn Heb “the house which is called by my name.” Cf. 7:10, 11, 14 and see the translator’s note 7:10 for the explanation for this rendering.

150 tn Heb “high places.”

sn These places of worship were essentially open air shrines often located on hills or wooded heights. They were generally connected with pagan worship and equipped with altars of sacrifice and of incense and cult objects such as wooden poles and stone pillars which were symbols of the god and/or goddess worshiped at the sight. The Israelites were commanded to tear down these Canaanite places of worship (Num 33:52) but they did not do so, often taking over the site for the worship of Yahweh but even then incorporating some of the pagan cult objects and ritual into their worship of Yahweh (1 Kgs 12:31, 32; 14:23). The prophets were especially opposed to these places and to this kind of syncretism (Hos 10:8; Amos 7:9) and to the pagan worship that was often practiced at them (Jer 7:31; 19:5; 32:35).

151 tn Heb “the high places of [or in] Topheth.”

sn The noun Topheth is generally explained as an artificial formation of a word related to the Aramaic word for “cooking stove” combined with the vowels for the word for “shame.” Hence, Jewish piety viewed it as a very shameful act, one that was contrary to the law (see Lev 18:21; 20:2-6). Child sacrifice was practiced during the reigns of the wicked kings Ahaz and Manasseh and apparently during Jeremiah’s day (cf. 2 Kgs 16:3; 21:6; Jer 32:35).

152 tn Heb “It never entered my heart.” The words “to command such a thing” do not appear in the Hebrew but are added for the sake of clarity.

153 tn Heb “Therefore, behold!”

154 tn Heb “it will no longer be said ‘Topheth’ or ‘the Valley of Ben Hinnom’ but ‘the valley of slaughter.’

155 tn Heb “And they will bury in Topheth so there is not room.”

156 tn Heb “Their dead bodies will be food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth.”

157 tn Heb “At that time.”

158 tc MT, 4QJera and LXX read “the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven,” but 4QJerc reads “the sun and all the stars.”

tn Heb “the host of heaven.”

159 tn Heb “the sun, moon, and host of heaven which they…”

160 tn Heb “followed after.” See the translator’s note at 2:5 for the idiom.

161 tn Heb “they will not” but the referent is far enough removed that it might be ambiguous.

162 tn Heb “like dung/manure on the surface of the ground.”

163 tn Heb “Death will be chosen rather than life by the remnant who are left from this wicked family in all the places where I have banished them.” The sentence is broken up and restructured to avoid possible confusion because of the complexity of the English to some modern readers. There appears to be an extra “those who are left” that was inadvertently copied from the preceding line. It is missing from one Hebrew ms and from the Greek and Syriac versions and is probably not a part of the original text.

164 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

sn For the significance of this title see the notes at 2:19 and 7:3.

165 tn The words “the Lord said to me” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation to make clear who is speaking and who is being addressed.

166 sn There is a play on two different nuances of the same Hebrew word that means “turn” and “return,” “turn away” and “turn back.”

167 tc The text is quite commonly emended, changing שׁוֹבְבָה הָעָם (shovÿvah haam) to שׁוֹבָב הָעָם (shovav haam) and omitting יְרוּשָׁלַםִ (yÿrushalaim); this is due to the anomaly of a feminine singular verb with a masculine singular subject and the fact that the word “Jerusalem” is absent from one Hebrew ms and the LXX. However, it is possible that this is a case where the noun “Jerusalem” is a defining apposition to the word “these people,” an apposition which GKC 425 §131.k calls “permutation.” In this case the verb could be attracted to the appositional noun and there would be no reason to emend the text. The MT is undoubtedly the harder reading and is for that reason to be preferred.

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

168 tn Or “to their allegiance to false gods,” or “to their false professions of loyalty”; Heb “to deceit.” Either “to their mistaken beliefs” or “to their allegiance to false gods” would fit the preceding context. The former is more comprehensive than the latter and was chosen for that reason.

169 sn There is a continuing play on the same root word used in the preceding verse. Here the words “turn away from me,” “apostasy,” and “turn back to me” are all forms from the root that was translated “go the wrong way” and “turn around” in v. 4. The intended effect is to contrast Judah’s recalcitrant apostasy with the usual tendency to try and correct one’s mistakes.

170 tn Heb “I have paid attention and I have listened.” This is another case of two concepts being joined by “and” where one expresses the main idea and the other acts as an adverbial or adjectival modifier (a figure called hendiadys).

171 tn Heb “What have I done?” The addition of the word “wrong” is implicit in the context and is supplied in the translation for clarity. The rhetorical question does not function as a denial of wrongdoing, but rather as contrite shock at one’s own wrongdoing. It is translated as a declaration for the sake of clarity.

172 tn Heb “each one of them turns aside into their own running course.”

sn The wordplay begun in v. 4 is continued here. The word translated “turns aside” in the literal translation and “wayward” in the translation is from the same root as “go the wrong way,” “turn around,” “turn away from me,” “apostasy,” “turn back to me.” What God hoped for were confessions of repentance and change of behavior; what he got was denial of wrongdoing and continued turning away from him.

173 tn Heb “its appointed time.” The translation is contextually motivated to avoid lack of clarity.

174 tn There is debate in the commentaries and lexicons about the identification of some of these birds, particularly regarding the identification of the “swallow” which is more likely the “swift” and the “crane” which some identify with the “thrush.” For a discussion see the Bible encyclopedias and the UBS handbook Fauna and Flora of the Bible. The identity of the individual birds makes little difference to the point being made and “swallow” is more easily identifiable to the average reader than the “swift.”

175 tn Heb “keep.” Ironically birds, which do not think, obey the laws of nature, but Israel does not obey the laws of God.

176 tn Heb “do not know.” But here as elsewhere the word “know” is more than an intellectual matter. It is intended here to summarize both “know” and “follow” (Heb “observe”) in the preceding lines.

177 tn Heb “the ordinance/requirement of the Lord.”

178 tn Heb “Surely, behold!”

179 tn Heb “the scribes.”

180 tn Heb “The lying pen of the scribes have made [it] into a lie.” The translation is an attempt to make the most common interpretation of this passage understandable for the average reader. This is, however, a difficult passage whose interpretation is greatly debated and whose syntax is capable of other interpretations. The interpretation of the NJPS, “Assuredly, for naught has the pen labored, for naught the scribes,” surely deserves consideration within the context; i.e. it hasn’t done any good for the scribes to produce a reliable copy of the law, which the people have refused to follow. That interpretation has the advantage of explaining the absence of an object for the verb “make” or “labored” but creates a very unbalanced poetic couplet.

181 tn Heb “be trapped.” However, the word “trapped” generally carries with it the connotation of divine judgment. See BDB 540 s.v. לָכַד Niph.2, and compare usage in Jer 6:11 for support. The verbs in the first two lines are again the form of the Hebrew verb that emphasizes that the action is as good as done (Hebrew prophetic perfects).

182 sn See Jer 6:12-15 for parallels to 8:10-12. The words of Jeremiah to the people may have been repeated on more than one occasion or have been found appropriate to more than one of his collection of messages in written and edited form. See Jer 36:4 and Jer 36:28 for reference to at least two of these collections.

183 tn Heb “daughter of my people.” For the translation given here see 4:11 and the note on the phrase “dear people” there.

184 tn Heb “They heal the wound of my people lightly.”

185 tn Heb “They say, ‘Peace! Peace!’ and there is no peace!”

186 tn Heb “They will fall among the fallen.”

187 tn Or “I will completely destroy them.” The translation which is adopted is based on the revocalization of the MT which appears to mean literally “gathering I will sweep them away,” a rather improbable grammatical combination. It follows the suggestion found in HALOT 705 s.v. סוּף (Hiph) of reading אֹסֵף אֲסִיפָם (’ose, a first singular Qal imperfect of אָסַף [’asaf] followed by a noun אָסִיף [’asif] with possessive suffix) instead of the MT’s אָסֹף אֲסִיפֵם (’aspfasifem, a Qal infinitive absolute of אָסַף [’asaf] followed by the Hiphil imperfect of סוּף [suf] plus suffix). For parallel usage of the verb אָסַף (asaf) see BDB 62 s.v. אָסַף Qal.4, and for a similar form of the verb see Mic 4:6. The alternate translation follows the suggestion in BDB 692 s.v. סוּף Hiph: אָסֹף (’asof) is to be interpreted as a form of the Hiphil infinitive absolute (הָסֵף [hasef] would be expected) chosen for assonance with the following form. This suggestion would gain more credence if the MT is to be retained in Zeph 1:2 where parallel forms are found. However, that text too has been questioned on lexical and grammatical grounds. The translation adopted fits the following context better than the alternate one and is based on less questionable lexical and grammatical parallels. The Greek translation which reads “they shall gather their fruits” supports the translation chosen.

188 tn The meaning of this line is very uncertain. A possible alternate translation is: “They have broken the laws that I gave them.” The line reads rather literally “And I gave them they passed over them.” The translation adopted treats the first expression as a noun clause (cf. GKC 488-89 §155.n) which is the subject of the following verb, i.e., “the things I gave them [contextually, the grapes, etc.] passed over from them.” The alternate translation treats the expression as a dangling object (a Hebrew casus pendens) resumed by the pronoun “them” and understands “the things that I gave them” to be the law or some related entity which is often the object of this verb (see BDB 717 s.v. עָבַר Qal.1.i). Neither of these translations is without its weakness. The weakness of the translation which has been adopted is the unusual use it assigns to the object suffix of the verb translated “pass over.” The weakness of the alternate translation is the rather abrupt and opaque introduction of a new topic of reference (i.e., the laws) into the context. On the whole the latter weakness would appear to outweigh the former. This line is missing from the Greek version and J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB]) and J. A. Thompson (Jeremiah [NICOT]) despair of giving a translation. For other possible suggestions see, W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:285-86.

189 tn The words “The people say” are not in the text but are implicit in the shift of speakers between vv. 4-13 and vv. 14-16. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

190 tn Heb “Gather together and let us enter into the fortified cities.”

191 tn Heb “Let us die there.” The words “at least” and “fighting” are intended to bring out the contrast of passive surrender to death in the open country and active resistance to the death implicit in the context.

192 tn The words “of judgment” are not in the text but are intended to show that “poison water” is not literal but figurative of judgment at the hands of God through the agency of the enemy mentioned in v. 16.

193 tn Heb “against the Lord.” The switch is for the sake of smoothness in English.

194 tn Heb “[We hoped] for a time of healing but behold terror.”

195 tn Heb “his stallions.”

196 tn The words “They are coming to destroy” are not in the text. They are inserted to break up a long sentence in conformity with contemporary English style.

197 tn These words which are at the end of the Hebrew verse are brought forward to show at the outset the shift in speaker.

198 tn Heb “Indeed [or For] behold!” The translation is intended to convey some of the connection that is suggested by the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) at the beginning of the verse.

199 tn Heb “I am sending against you snakes, poisonous ones which cannot be charmed.” In the light of the context literal snakes are scarcely meant. So the metaphor is turned into a simile to prevent possible confusion. For a similar metaphorical use of animals for enemies see 5:6.

200 tn Heb “they will bite you.” There does not appear to be any way to avoid the possible confusion that literal snakes are meant here except to paraphrase. Possibly one could say “And they will attack you and ‘bite’ you,” but the enclosing of the word “bite” in quotations might lead to even further confusion.

201 tn The words, “Then I said” are not in the text but there is a general consensus that the words of vv. 18-19a are the words of Jeremiah. These words are supplied in the translation for clarity.

202 tn The meaning of this word is uncertain. The translation is based on the redivision and repointing of a word that occurs only here in the MT and whose pattern of formation is unparalleled in the Hebrew Bible. The MT reads מַבְלִיגִיתִי (mavligiti) which BDB provisionally derives from a verb root meaning “to gleam” or “to shine.” However, BDB notes that the text is dubious (cf. BDB 114 s.v. מַבְלִיגִית). The text is commonly emended to מִבְּלִי גְּהֹת (mibbÿli gÿhot) which is a Qal infinitive from a verb meaning “to heal” preceded by a compound negative “for lack of, to be at a loss for” (cf., e.g., HALOT 514 s.v. מַבְלִיגִית and 174 s.v. גּהה). This reading is supported by the Greek text which has an adjective meaning “incurable,” which is, however, connected with the preceding verse, i.e., “they will bite you incurably.”

203 tn Heb “daughter of my people.” For the translation given here see 4:11 and the note on the phrase “dear people” there.

204 tn Heb “Behold the voice of the crying of the daughter of my people.”

205 tn Heb “Land of distances, i.e., of wide extent.” For parallel usage cf. Isa 33:17.

206 tn Heb “her King” but this might be misunderstood by some to refer to the Davidic ruler even with the capitalization.

207 tn The words, “The Lord would answer” are not in the text but are implicit from the words that follow. They are supplied in the translation for clarity. Another option would be to add “And I can just hear the Lord reply.”

208 sn The people’s cry and the Lord’s interruption reflect the same argument that was set forth in the preceding chapter. They have misguided confidence that the Lord is with them regardless of their actions and he responds that their actions have provoked him to the point of judging them. See especially 7:4 and 7:30.

209 tn The words “They say” are not in the text; they are supplied in the translation to make clear that the lament of the people begun in v. 19b is continued here after the interruption of the Lord’s words in v. 19c.

210 tn Heb “Harvest time has passed, the summer is over.”

sn This appears to be a proverbial statement for “time marches on.” The people appear to be expressing their frustration that the Lord has not gone about his business of rescuing them as they expected. For a similar misguided feeling based on the offering of shallow repentance see Hos 6:1-3 (and note the Lord’s reply in 6:4-6).

211 tn Heb “daughter of my people.” For the translation given here see 4:11 and the note on the phrase “dear people” there.

212 tn Heb “Because of the crushing of the daughter of my people I am crushed.”

213 tn Heb “I go about in black [i.e., mourning clothes]. Dismay has seized me.”

214 tn Heb “balm.” The more familiar “ointment” has been used in the translation, supplemented with the adjective “medicinal.”

sn This medicinal ointment (Heb “balm”) consisted of the gum or resin from a tree that grows in Egypt and Palestine and was thought to have medicinal value (see also Jer 46:11).

215 tn Heb “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?” In this context the questions are rhetorical and expect a positive answer, which is made explicit in the translation.

sn The prophet means by this metaphor that there are still means available for healing the spiritual ills of his people, mainly repentance, obedience to the law, and sole allegiance to God, and still people available who will apply this medicine to them, namely prophets like himself.

216 tn Heb “daughter of my people.” For the translation given here see 4:11 and the note on the phrase “dear people” there.

217 tn Or more clearly, “restored to spiritual health”; Heb “Why then has healing not come to my dear people?”

sn Jeremiah is lamenting that though there is a remedy available for the recovery of his people they have not availed themselves of it.



TIP #07: Use the Discovery Box to further explore word(s) and verse(s). [ALL]
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