13:1 The Lord said to me, “Go and buy some linen shorts 1 and put them on. 2 Do not put them in water.” 3 13:2 So I bought the shorts as the Lord had told me to do 4 and put them on. 5 13:3 Then the Lord spoke to me again and said, 6 13:4 “Take the shorts that you bought and are wearing 7 and go at once 8 to Perath. 9 Bury the shorts there 10 in a crack in the rocks.” 13:5 So I went and buried them at Perath 11 as the Lord had ordered me to do. 13:6 Many days later the Lord said to me, “Go at once to Perath and get 12 the shorts I ordered you to bury there.” 13:7 So I went to Perath and dug up 13 the shorts from the place where I had buried them. I found 14 that they were ruined; they were good for nothing.
13:8 Then the Lord said to me, 15 13:9 “I, the Lord, say: 16 ‘This shows how 17 I will ruin the highly exalted position 18 in which Judah and Jerusalem 19 take pride. 13:10 These wicked people refuse to obey what I have said. 20 They follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts and pay allegiance 21 to other gods by worshiping and serving them. So 22 they will become just like these linen shorts which are good for nothing. 13:11 For,’ I say, 23 ‘just as shorts cling tightly to a person’s body, so I bound the whole nation of Israel and the whole nation of Judah 24 tightly 25 to me.’ I intended for them to be my special people and to bring me fame, honor, and praise. 26 But they would not obey me.
13:12 “So tell them, 27 ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, says, “Every wine jar is made to be filled with wine.”’ 28 And they will probably say to you, ‘Do you not think we know 29 that every wine jar is supposed to be filled with wine?’ 13:13 Then 30 tell them, ‘The Lord says, “I will soon fill all the people who live in this land with stupor. 31 I will also fill the kings from David’s dynasty, 32 the priests, the prophets, and the citizens of Jerusalem with stupor. 33 13:14 And I will smash them like wine bottles against one another, children and parents alike. 34 I will not show any pity, mercy, or compassion. Nothing will keep me from destroying them,’ 35 says the Lord.”
“Listen and pay attention! Do not be arrogant!
For the Lord has spoken.
Do it before he brings the darkness of disaster. 38
Do it before you stumble 39 into distress
like a traveler on the mountains at twilight. 40
Do it before he turns the light of deliverance you hope for
into the darkness and gloom of exile. 41
I will weep alone because of your arrogant pride.
I will weep bitterly and my eyes will overflow with tears 43
“Tell the king and the queen mother,
‘Surrender your thrones, 47
for your glorious crowns
No one will be able to go in or out of them. 51
All Judah will be carried off into exile.
They will be completely carried off into exile.’” 52
“Look up, Jerusalem, 54 and see
the enemy 55 that is coming from the north.
Where now is the flock of people that were entrusted to your care? 56
Where now are the ‘sheep’ that you take such pride in? 57
that you, yourself, had actually prepared as such? 60
Then anguish and agony will grip you
like that of a woman giving birth to a baby. 61
‘Why have these things happened to me?
Why have I been treated like a disgraced adulteress
whose skirt has been torn off and her limbs exposed?’ 63
It is because you have sinned so much. 64
13:23 But there is little hope for you ever doing good,
you who are so accustomed to doing evil.
Can an Ethiopian 65 change the color of his skin?
Can a leopard remove its spots? 66
‘That is why I will scatter your people 68 like chaff
that is blown away by a desert wind. 69
13:25 This is your fate,
the destiny to which I have appointed you,
because you have forgotten me
and have trusted in false gods.
13:26 So I will pull your skirt up over your face
and expose you to shame like a disgraced adulteress! 70
your shameless prostitution to, and your lustful pursuit of, other gods. 72
I have seen your disgusting acts of worship 73
on the hills throughout the countryside.
You are doomed to destruction! 74
How long will you continue to be unclean?’”
14:2 “The people of Judah are in mourning.
The people in her cities are pining away.
They lie on the ground expressing their sorrow. 78
14:3 The leading men of the cities send their servants for water.
They go to the cisterns, 81 but they do not find any water there.
They return with their containers 82 empty.
Disappointed and dismayed, they bury their faces in their hands. 83
because there has been no rain in the land.
The farmers, too, are dismayed
and bury their faces in their hands.
because there is no grass.
14:6 Wild donkeys stand on the hilltops
and pant for breath like jackals.
Their eyes are strained looking for food,
because there is none to be found.” 86
“O Lord, intervene for the honor of your name 88
even though our sins speak out against us. 89
Indeed, 90 we have turned away from you many times.
We have sinned against you.
14:8 You have been the object of Israel’s hopes.
You have saved them when they were in trouble.
Why have you become like a resident foreigner 91 in the land?
Why have you become like a traveler who only stops in to spend the night?
like a champion 93 who cannot save anyone?
You are indeed with us, 94
and we belong to you. 95
Do not abandon us!”
“They truly 97 love to go astray.
They cannot keep from running away from me. 98
So I am not pleased with them.
and punish them for their sins.”
14:11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for good to come to these people! 101 14:12 Even if they fast, I will not hear their cries for help. Even if they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. 102 Instead, I will kill them through wars, famines, and plagues.” 103
14:13 Then I said, “Oh, Lord God, 104 look! 105 The prophets are telling them that you said, 106 ‘You will not experience war or suffer famine. 107 I will give you lasting peace and prosperity in this land.’” 108
14:14 Then the Lord said to me, “Those prophets are prophesying lies while claiming my authority! 109 I did not send them. I did not commission them. 110 I did not speak to them. They are prophesying to these people false visions, worthless predictions, 111 and the delusions of their own mind. 14:15 I did not send those prophets, though they claim to be prophesying in my name. They may be saying, ‘No war or famine will happen in this land.’ But I, the Lord, say this about 112 them: ‘War and starvation will kill those prophets.’ 113 14:16 The people to whom they are prophesying will die through war and famine. Their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem 114 and there will be no one to bury them. This will happen to the men and their wives, their sons, and their daughters. 115 For I will pour out on them the destruction they deserve.” 116
‘My eyes overflow with tears
day and night without ceasing. 118
For my people, my dear children, 119 have suffered a crushing blow.
They have suffered a serious wound. 120
14:18 If I go out into the countryside,
I see those who have been killed in battle.
If I go into the city,
I see those who are sick because of starvation. 121
For both prophet and priest go about their own business
in the land without having any real understanding.’” 122
14:19 Then I said,
“Lord, 123 have you completely rejected the nation of Judah?
Do you despise 124 the city of Zion?
Why have you struck us with such force
that we are beyond recovery? 125
We hope for peace, but nothing good has come of it.
We hope for a time of relief from our troubles, but experience terror. 126
14:20 Lord, we confess that we have been wicked.
We confess that our ancestors have done wrong. 127
We have indeed 128 sinned against you.
Do not treat with disdain the place where your glorious throne sits. 131
Be mindful of your covenant with us. Do not break it! 132
Do the skies themselves send showers?
Is it not you, O Lord our God, who does this? 134
So we put our hopes in you 135
because you alone do all this.”
15:1 Then the Lord said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for 136 these people, I would not feel pity for them! 137 Get them away from me! Tell them to go away! 138 15:2 If they ask you, ‘Where should we go?’ tell them the Lord says this:
“Those who are destined to die of disease will go to death by disease.
Those who are destined to die in war will go to death in war.
Those who are destined to die of starvation will go to death by starvation.
Those who are destined to go into exile will go into exile.” 139
15:3 “I will punish them in four different ways: I will have war kill them. I will have dogs drag off their dead bodies. I will have birds and wild beasts devour and destroy their corpses. 140 15:4 I will make all the people in all the kingdoms of the world horrified at what has happened to them because of what Hezekiah’s son Manasseh, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem.” 141
“Who in the world 143 will have pity on you, Jerusalem?
Who will grieve over you?
Who will stop long enough 144
to inquire about how you are doing? 145
You keep turning your back on me.’ 147
I have grown tired of feeling sorry for you!” 150
“In every town in the land I will purge them
like straw blown away by the wind. 152
I will destroy my people.
I will kill off their children.
I will do so because they did not change their behavior. 153
than the grains of sand on the seashores.
At noontime I will bring a destroyer
against the mothers of their young men. 155
I will cause anguish 156 and terror
to fall suddenly upon them. 157
All the breath will go out of her. 159
Her pride and joy will be taken from her in the prime of their life.
It will seem as if the sun had set while it was still day. 160
She will suffer shame and humiliation. 161
I will cause any of them who are still left alive
to be killed in war by the onslaughts of their enemies,” 162
says the Lord.
“Oh, mother, how I regret 164 that you ever gave birth to me!
I am always starting arguments and quarrels with the people of this land. 165
I have not lent money to anyone and I have not borrowed from anyone.
Yet all of these people are treating me with contempt.” 166
15:11 The Lord said,
“Jerusalem, 167 I will surely send you away for your own good.
I will surely 168 bring the enemy upon you in a time of trouble and distress.
15:12 Can you people who are like iron and bronze
break that iron fist from the north? 169
15:13 I will give away your wealth and your treasures as plunder.
I will give it away free of charge for the sins you have committed throughout your land.
For my anger is like a fire that will burn against you.”
“Lord, you know how I suffer. 172
Take thought of me and care for me.
Pay back for me those who have been persecuting me.
Do not be so patient with them that you allow them to kill me.
Be mindful of how I have put up with their insults for your sake.
and they filled my heart with joy and happiness
because I belong to you. 174
15:17 I did not spend my time in the company of other people,
laughing and having a good time.
I stayed to myself because I felt obligated to you 175
and because I was filled with anger at what they had done.
15:18 Why must I continually suffer such painful anguish?
Why must I endure the sting of their insults like an incurable wound?
Will you let me down when I need you
like a brook one goes to for water, but that cannot be relied on?” 176
“You must repent of such words and thoughts!
If you do, I will restore you to the privilege of serving me. 178
If you say what is worthwhile instead of what is worthless,
I will again allow you to be my spokesman. 179
They must become as you have been.
You must not become like them. 180
15:20 I will make you as strong as a wall to these people,
a fortified wall of bronze.
They will attack you,
but they will not be able to overcome you.
For I will be with you to rescue you and deliver you,” 181
says the Lord.
15:21 “I will deliver you from the power of the wicked.
I will free you from the clutches of violent people.”
16:1 The Lord said to me, 16:2 “Do not get married and do not have children here in this land. 16:3 For I, the Lord, tell you what will happen to 182 the children who are born here in this land and to the men and women who are their mothers and fathers. 183 16:4 They will die of deadly diseases. No one will mourn for them. They will not be buried. Their dead bodies will lie like manure spread on the ground. They will be killed in war or die of starvation. Their corpses will be food for the birds and wild animals.
16:5 “Moreover I, the Lord, tell you: 184 ‘Do not go into a house where they are having a funeral meal. Do not go there to mourn and express your sorrow for them. For I have stopped showing them my good favor, 185 my love, and my compassion. I, the Lord, so affirm it! 186 16:6 Rich and poor alike will die in this land. They will not be buried or mourned. People will not cut their bodies or shave off their hair to show their grief for them. 187 16:7 No one will take any food to those who mourn for the dead to comfort them. No one will give them any wine to drink to console them for the loss of their father or mother.
16:8 “‘Do not go to a house where people are feasting and sit down to eat and drink with them either. 16:9 For I, the Lord God of Israel who rules over all, tell you what will happen. 188 I will put an end to the sounds of joy and gladness, to the glad celebration of brides and grooms in this land. You and the rest of the people will live to see this happen.’” 189
16:10 “When you tell these people about all this, 190 they will undoubtedly ask you, ‘Why has the Lord threatened us with such great disaster? What wrong have we done? What sin have we done to offend the Lord our God?’ 16:11 Then tell them that the Lord says, 191 ‘It is because your ancestors 192 rejected me and paid allegiance to 193 other gods. They have served them and worshiped them. But they have rejected me and not obeyed my law. 194 16:12 And you have acted even more wickedly than your ancestors! Each one of you has followed the stubborn inclinations of your own wicked heart and not obeyed me. 195 16:13 So I will throw you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your ancestors have ever known. There you must worship other gods day and night, for I will show you no mercy.’”
16:14 Yet 196 I, the Lord, say: 197 “A new time will certainly come. 198 People now affirm their oaths with ‘I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt.’ 16:15 But in that time they will affirm them with ‘I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the people of Israel from the land of the north and from all the other lands where he had banished them.’ At that time I will bring them back to the land I gave their ancestors.” 199
16:16 But for now I, the Lord, say: 200 “I will send many enemies who will catch these people like fishermen. After that I will send others who will hunt them out like hunters from all the mountains, all the hills, and the crevices in the rocks. 201 16:17 For I see everything they do. Their wicked ways are not hidden from me. Their sin is not hidden away where I cannot see it. 202 16:18 Before I restore them 203 I will punish them in full 204 for their sins and the wrongs they have done. For they have polluted my land with the lifeless statues of their disgusting idols. They have filled the land I have claimed as my own 205 with their detestable idols.” 206
“Lord, you give me strength and protect me.
You are the one I can run to for safety when I am in trouble. 208
Nations from all over the earth
will come to you and say,
‘Our ancestors had nothing but false gods –
worthless idols that could not help them at all. 209
16:20 Can people make their own gods?
No, what they make are not gods at all.” 210
“So I will now let this wicked people know –
I will let them know my mighty power in judgment.
Then they will know that my name is the Lord.” 212
1 tn The term here (אֵזוֹר, ’ezor) has been rendered in various ways: “girdle” (KJV, ASV), “waistband” (NASB), “waistcloth” (RSV), “sash” (NKJV), “belt” (NIV, NCV, NLT), and “loincloth” (NAB, NRSV, NJPS, REB). The latter is more accurate according to J. M. Myers, “Dress and Ornaments,” IDB 1:870, and W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:399. It was a short, skirt-like garment reaching from the waist to the knees and worn next to the body (cf. v. 9). The modern equivalent is “shorts” as in TEV/GNB, CEV.
sn The linen shorts (Heb “loincloth”) were representative of Israel and the wearing of them was to illustrate the
2 tn Heb “upon your loins.” The “loins” were the midriff of the body from the waist to the knees. For a further discussion including the figurative uses see, IDB, “Loins,” 3:149.
3 tn Or “Do not ever put them in water,” i.e., “Do not even wash them.”
sn The fact that the garment was not to be put in water is not explained. A possible explanation within the context is that it was to be worn continuously, not even taken off to wash it. That would illustrate that the close relationship that the
4 tn Heb “according to the word of the
5 tn Heb “upon your loins.” The “loins” were the midriff of the body from the waist to the knees. For a further discussion including the figurative uses see R. C. Dentan, “Loins,” IDB 3:149-50.
6 tn Heb “The word of the
8 tn Heb “Get up and go.” The first verb is not literal but is idiomatic for the initiation of an action.
9 tn There has been a great deal of debate about whether the place referred to here is a place (Parah [= Perath] mentioned in Josh 18:23, modern Khirbet Farah, near a spring ’ain Farah) about three and a half miles from Anathoth which was Jeremiah’s home town or the Euphrates River. Elsewhere the word “Perath” always refers to the Euphrates but it is either preceded by the word “river of” or there is contextual indication that the Euphrates is being referred to. Because a journey to the Euphrates and back would involve a journey of more than 700 miles (1,100 km) and take some months, scholars both ancient and modern have questioned whether “Perath” refers to the Euphrates here and if it does whether a real journey was involved. Most of the attempts to identify the place with the Euphrates involve misguided assumptions that this action was a symbolic message to Israel about exile or the corrupting influence of Assyria and Babylon. However, unlike the other symbolic acts in Jeremiah (and in Isaiah and Ezekiel) the symbolism is not part of a message to the people but to Jeremiah; the message is explained to him (vv. 9-11) not the people. In keeping with some of the wordplays that are somewhat common in Jeremiah it is likely that the reference here is to a place, Parah, which was near Jeremiah’s hometown, but whose name would naturally suggest to Jeremiah later in the
11 tc The translation reads בִּפְרָתָה (bifratah) with 4QJera as noted in W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:393 instead of בִּפְרָת (bifrat) in the MT.
12 tn Heb “Get from there.” The words “from there” are not necessary to the English sentence. They would lead to a redundancy later in the verse, i.e., “from there…bury there.”
13 tn Heb “dug and took.”
14 tn Heb “And behold.”
15 tn Heb “Then the word of the
16 tn Heb “Thus says the
17 tn In a sense this phrase which is literally “according to thus” or simply “thus” points both backward and forward: backward to the acted out parable and forward to the explanation which follows.
18 tn Many of the English versions have erred in rendering this word “pride” or “arrogance” with the resultant implication that the
sn Scholars ancient and modern are divided over the significance of the statement I will ruin the highly exalted position in which Judah and Jerusalem take pride (Heb “I will ruin the pride of Judah and Jerusalem”). Some feel that it refers to the corrupting influence of Assyria and Babylon and others feel that it refers to the threat of Babylonian exile. However, F. B. Huey (Jeremiah, Lamentations [NAC], 144) is correct in observing that the Babylonian exile did not lead to the rottenness of Judah, the corrupting influence of the foreign nations did. In Jeremiah’s day these came through the age-old influences of the Canaanite worship of Baal but also the astral worship introduced by Ahaz and Manasseh. For an example of the corrupting influence of Assyria on Judah through Ahaz’s political alliances see 2 Kgs 16 and also compare the allegory in Ezek 23:14-21. It was while the “linen shorts” were off Jeremiah’s body and buried in the rocks that the linen shorts were ruined. So the
20 tn Heb “to listen to my words.”
22 tn The structure of this verse is a little unusual. It consists of a subject, “this wicked people” qualified by several “which” clauses preceding a conjunction and a form which would normally be taken as a third person imperative (a Hebrew jussive; וִיהִי, vihi). This construction, called casus pendens by Hebrew grammarians, lays focus on the subject, here calling attention to the nature of Israel’s corruption which makes it rotten and useless to God. See GKC 458 §143.d for other examples of this construction.
23 tn The words “I say” are “Oracle of the
24 tn Heb “all the house of Israel and all the house of Judah.”
25 tn It would be somewhat unnatural in English to render the play on the word translated here “cling tightly” and “bound tightly” in a literal way. They are from the same root word in Hebrew (דָּבַק, davaq), a word that emphasizes the closest of personal relationships and the loyalty connected with them. It is used, for example, of the relationship of a husband and a wife and the loyalty expected of them (cf. Gen 2:24; for other similar uses see Ruth 1:14; 2 Sam 20:2; Deut 11:22).
26 tn Heb “I bound them…in order that they might be to me for a people and for a name and for praise and for honor.” The sentence has been separated from the preceding and an equivalent idea expressed which is more in keeping with contemporary English style.
27 tn Heb “So you shall say this word [or message] to them.”
28 tn Heb “Every wine jar is supposed to be filled with wine.”
sn Some scholars understand this as a popular proverb like that in Jer 31:29 and Ezek 18:2. Instead this is probably a truism; the function of wine jars is to be filled with wine. This may relate to the preceding where the
29 tn This is an attempt to render a construction which involves an infinitive of a verb being added before the same verb in a question which expects a positive answer. There may, by the way, be a pun being passed back and forth here involving the sound play been “fool” (נָבָל, naval) and “wine bottle” (נֶבֶל, nebel).
30 tn The Greek version is likely right in interpreting the construction of two perfects preceded by the conjunction as contingent or consequential here, i.e., “and when they say…then say.” See GKC 494 §159.g. However, to render literally would create a long sentence. Hence, the words “will probably” have been supplied in v. 12 in the translation to set up the contingency/consequential sequence in the English sentences.
31 sn It is probably impossible to convey in a simple translation all the subtle nuances that are wrapped up in the words of this judgment speech. The word translated “stupor” here is literally “drunkenness” but the word has in the context an undoubted intended double reference. It refers first to the drunken like stupor of confusion on the part of leaders and citizens of the land which will cause them to clash with one another. But it also probably refers to the reeling under God’s wrath that results from this (cf. Jer 25:15-29, especially vv. 15-16). Moreover there is still the subtle little play on wine jars. The people are like the wine jars which were supposed to be filled with wine. They were to be a special people to bring glory to God but they had become corrupt. Hence, like wine jars they would be smashed against one another and broken to pieces (v. 14). All of this, both “fill them with the stupor of confusion” and “make them reel under God’s wrath,” cannot be conveyed in one translation.
32 tn Heb “who sit on David’s throne.”
33 tn In Hebrew this is all one long sentence with one verb governing compound objects. It is broken up here in conformity with English style.
34 tn Or “children along with their parents”; Heb “fathers and children together.”
35 tn Heb “I will not show…so as not to destroy them.”
36 tn The words “Then I said to the people of Judah” are not in the text but are implicit from the address in v. 15 and the content of v. 17. They are supplied in the translation for clarity to show the shift from the
38 tn The words “of disaster” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation to explain the significance of the metaphor to readers who may not be acquainted with the metaphorical use of light and darkness for salvation and joy and distress and sorrow respectively.
sn For the metaphorical use of these terms the reader should consult O. A. Piper, “Light, Light and Darkness,” IDB 3:130-32. For the association of darkness with the Day of the
39 tn Heb “your feet stumble.”
40 tn Heb “you stumble on the mountains at twilight.” The added words are again supplied in the translation to help explain the metaphor to the uninitiated reader.
41 tn Heb “and while you hope for light he will turn it into deep darkness and make [it] into gloom.” The meaning of the metaphor is again explained through the addition of the “of” phrases for readers who are unacquainted with the metaphorical use of these terms.
sn For the meaning and usage of the term “deep darkness” (צַלְמָוֶת, tsalmavet), see the notes on Jer 2:6. For the association of the term with exile see Isa 9:2 (9:1 HT). For the association of the word gloom with the Day of the
42 tn Heb “If you will not listen to it.” For the use of the feminine singular pronoun to refer to the idea(s) expressed in the preceding verse(s), see GKC 440-41 §135.p.
43 tn Heb “Tearing [my eye] will tear and my eye will run down [= flow] with tears.”
sn The depth of Jeremiah’s sorrow for the sad plight of his people, if they refuse to repent, is emphasized by the triple repetition of the word “tears” twice in an emphatic verbal expression (Hebrew infinitive before finite verb) and once in the noun.
44 tn Heb “because the
45 tn The verb is once again in the form of “as good as done” (the Hebrew prophetic perfect).
46 tn The words “The
47 tn Or “You will come down from your thrones”; Heb “Make low! Sit!” This is a case of a construction where two forms in the same case, mood, or tense are joined in such a way that one (usually the first) is intended as an adverbial or adjectival modifier of the other (a figure called hendiadys). This is also probably a case where the imperative is used to express a distinct assurance or promise. See GKC 324 §110.b and compare the usage in Isa 37:30 and Ps 110:2.
sn The king and queen mother are generally identified as Jehoiachin and his mother who were taken into captivity with many of the leading people of Jerusalem in 597
48 tn Heb “have come down.” The verb here and those in the following verses are further examples of the “as good as done” form of the Hebrew verb (the prophetic perfect).
49 tc The translation follows the common emendation of a word normally meaning “place at the head” (מַרְאֲשׁוֹת [mar’ashot] plus pronoun = מַרְאֲוֹשׁתֵיכֶם [mar’aoshtekhem]) to “from your heads” (מֵרָאשֵׁיכֶם, mera’shekhem) following the ancient versions. The meaning “tiara” is nowhere else attested for this word.
50 tn Heb “The towns of the Negev will be shut.”
51 tn Heb “There is no one to open them.” The translation is based on the parallel in Josh 6:1 where the very expression in the translation is used. Opening the city would have permitted entrance (of relief forces) as well as exit (of fugitives).
52 sn The statements are poetic exaggerations (hyperbole), as most commentaries note. Even in the exile of 587
54 tn The word “Jerusalem” is not in the Hebrew text. It is added in the Greek text and is generally considered to be the object of address because of the second feminine singular verbs here and throughout the following verses. The translation follows the consonantal text (Kethib) and the Greek text in reading the second feminine singular here. The verbs and pronouns in vv. 20-22 are all second feminine singular with the exception of the suffix on the word “eyes” which is not reflected in the translation here (“Look up” = “Lift up your eyes”) and the verb and pronoun in v. 23. The text may reflect the same kind of alternation between singular and plural that takes place in Isa 7 where the pronouns refer to Ahaz as an individual and his entourage, the contemporary ruling class (cf., e.g., Isa 7:4-5 [singular], 9 [plural], 11 [singular], 13-14 [plural]). Here the connection with the preceding may suggest that it is initially the ruling house (the king and the queen mother), then Jerusalem personified as a woman in her role as a shepherdess (i.e., leader). However, from elsewhere in the book the leadership has included the kings, the priests, the prophets, and the citizens as well (cf., e.g., 13:13). In v. 27 Jerusalem is explicitly addressed. It may be asking too much of some readers who are not familiar with biblical metaphors to understand an extended metaphor like this. If it is helpful to them, they may substitute plural referents for “I” and “me.”
55 tn The word “enemy” is not in the text but is implicit. It supplied in the translation for clarity.
sn On the phrase the enemy that is coming from the north see Jer 1:14-15; 4:6; 6:1, 22; 10:22.
56 tn Heb “the flock that was given to you.”
57 tn Heb “the sheep of your pride.” The word “of your people” and the quotes around “sheep” are intended to carry over the metaphor in such a way that readers unfamiliar with the metaphor will understand it.
58 tn Or perhaps more rhetorically equivalent, “Will you not be surprised?”
59 tn The words “The
60 tn Or “to be rulers.” The translation of these two lines is somewhat uncertain. The sentence structure of these two lines raises problems in translation. The Hebrew text reads: “What will you do when he appoints over you [or punishes you (see BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד Qal.B.2 for the former, Qal.A.3 for the latter)] and you, yourself, taught them over you friends [or chiefs (see BDB 48 s.v. I אַלּוּף 2 and Ps 55:13 for the former and BDB 49 s.v. II אַלּוּף and Exod 15:15 for the latter)] for a head.” The translation assumes that the clause “and you, yourself, taught them [= made them accustomed, i.e., “prepared”] [to be] over you” is parenthetical coming between the verb “appoint” and its object and object modifier (i.e., “appointed over you allies for rulers”). A quick check of other English versions will show how varied the translation of these lines has been. Most English versions seem to ignore the second “over you” after “you taught them.” Some rearrange the text to get what they think is a sensible meaning. For a fairly thorough treatment see W. McKane, Jeremiah (ICC), 1:308-10.
sn What is being alluded to here is the political policy of vacillating alliances through which Judah brought about her own downfall, allying herself first with Assyria, then Egypt, then Babylon, and then Egypt again. See 2 Kgs 23:29–24:7 for an example of this policy and the disastrous consequences.
61 tn Heb “Will not pain [here = mental anguish] take hold of you like a woman giving birth.” The question is rhetorical expecting a positive answer.
62 tn Heb “say in your heart.”
63 tn Heb “Your skirt has been uncovered and your heels have been treated with violence.” This is the generally accepted interpretation of these phrases. See, e.g., BDB 784 s.v. עָקֵב a and HALOT 329 s.v. I חָמַס Nif. The significance of the actions here are part of the metaphor (i.e., personification) of Jerusalem as an adulteress having left her husband and have been explained in the translation for the sake of readers unfamiliar with the metaphor.
64 tn The translation has been restructured to break up a long sentence involving a conditional clause and an elliptical consequential clause. It has also been restructured to define more clearly what “these things” are. The Hebrew text reads: “And if you say, ‘Why have these things happened to me?’ Because of the greatness of your iniquity your skirts [= what your skirt covers] have been uncovered and your heels have been treated with violence.”
65 tn This is a common proverb in English coming from this biblical passage. For cultures where it is not proverbial perhaps it would be better to translate “Can black people change the color of their skin?” Strictly speaking these are “Cushites” inhabitants of a region along the upper Nile south of Egypt. The Greek text is responsible for the identification with Ethiopia. The term in Greek is actually a epithet = “burnt face.”
66 tn Heb “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? [Then] you also will be able to do good who are accustomed to do evil.” The English sentence has been restructured and rephrased in an attempt to produce some of the same rhetorical force the Hebrew original has in this context.
67 tn The words, “The
68 tn Heb “them.” This is another example of the rapid shift in pronouns seen several times in the book of Jeremiah. The pronouns in the preceding and the following are second feminine singular. It might be argued that “them” goes back to the “flock”/“sheep” in v. 20, but the next verse refers the fate described here to “you” (feminine singular). This may be another example of the kind of metaphoric shifts in referents discussed in the notes on 13:20 above. Besides, it would sound a little odd in the translation to speak of scattering one person like chaff.
70 tn Heb “over your face and your shame will be seen.” The words “like a disgraced adulteress” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation to explain the metaphor. See the notes on 13:22.
71 tn Heb “Jerusalem.” This word has been pulled up from the end of the verse to help make the transition. The words “people of” have been supplied in the translation here to ease the difficulty mentioned earlier of sustaining the personification throughout.
72 tn Heb “[I have seen] your adulteries, your neighings, and your shameless prostitution.” The meanings of the metaphorical references have been incorporated in the translation for the sake of clarity for readers of all backgrounds.
sn The sentence is rhetorically loaded. It begins with three dangling objects of the verb all describing their adulterous relationship with the false gods under different figures and which are resumed later under the words “your disgusting acts.” The Hebrew sentence reads: “Your adulteries, your neighings, your shameful prostitution, upon the hills in the fields I have seen your disgusting acts.” This sentence drips with explosive disgust at their adulterous betrayal.
74 tn Heb “Woe to you!”
75 sn The form of Jer 14:1–15:9 is very striking rhetorically. It consists essentially of laments and responses to them. However, what makes it so striking is its deviation from normal form (cf. 2 Chr 20:5-17 for what would normally be expected). The descriptions of the lamentable situation come from the mouth of God not the people (cf.14:1-6, 17-18). The prophet utters the petitions with statements of trust (14:7-9, 19-22) and the
76 tn Heb “That which came [as] the word of the
78 tn Heb “Judah mourns, its gates pine away, they are in mourning on the ground.” There are several figures of speech involved here. The basic figure is that of personification where Judah and it cities are said to be in mourning. However, in the third line the figure is a little hard to sustain because “they” are in mourning on the ground. That presses the imagination of most moderns a little too far. Hence the personification has been interpreted “people of” throughout. The term “gates” here is used as part for whole for the “cities” themselves as in several other passages in the OT (cf. BDB 1045 s.v. שַׁעַר 2.b, c and see, e.g., Isa 14:31).
79 tn The words “to me” are not in the text. They are implicit from the fact that the
81 tn Though the concept of “cisterns” is probably not familiar to some readers, it would be a mistake to translate this word as “well.” Wells have continual sources of water. Cisterns were pits dug in the ground and lined with plaster to hold rain water. The drought had exhausted all the water in the cisterns.
82 tn The word “containers” is a generic word in Hebrew = “vessels.” It would probably in this case involve water “jars” or “jugs.” But since in contemporary English one would normally associate those terms with smaller vessels, “containers” may be safer.
83 tn Heb “they cover their heads.” Some of the English versions have gone wrong here because of the “normal” use of the words translated here “disappointed” and “dismayed.” They are regularly translated “ashamed” and “disgraced, humiliated, dismayed” elsewhere (see e.g., Jer 22:22); they are somewhat synonymous terms which are often parallel or combined. The key here, however, is the expression “they cover their heads” which is used in 2 Sam 15:30 for the expression of grief. Moreover, the word translated here “disappointed” (בּוֹשׁ, bosh) is used that way several times. See for example Jer 12:13 and consult examples in BDB 101 s.v. בּוֹשׁ Qal.2. A very similar context with the same figure is found in Jer 2:36-37.
84 tn For the use of the verb “is cracked” here see BDB 369 s.v. חָתַת Qal.1 and compare the usage in Jer 51:56 where it refers to broken bows. The form is a relative clause without relative pronoun (cf., GKC 486-87 §155.f). The sentence as a whole is related to the preceding through a particle meaning “because of” or “on account of.” Hence the subject and verb have been repeated to make the connection.
85 tn Heb “she gives birth and abandons.”
86 tn Heb “their eyes are strained because there is no verdure.”
87 tn The words “Then I said” are not in the text. However, it cannot be a continuation of the
88 tn Heb “Act for the sake of your name.” The usage of “act” in this absolute, unqualified sense cf. BDB 794 s.v. עָוֹשָׂה Qal.I.r and compare the usage, e.g., in 1 Kgs 8:32 and 39. For the nuance of “for the sake of your name” compare the usage in Isa 48:9 and Ezek 20:9, 14.
89 tn Or “bear witness against us,” or “can be used as evidence against us,” to keep the legal metaphor. Heb “testify against.”
90 tn The Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) can scarcely be causal here; it is either intensive (BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.e) or concessive (BDB 473 s.v. כִּי 2.c). The parallel usage in Gen 18:20 argues for the intensive force as does the fact that the concessive has already been expressed by אִם (’im).
91 tn It would be a mistake to translate this word as “stranger.” This word (גֵּר, ger) refers to a resident alien or resident foreigner who stays in a country not his own. He is accorded the privilege of protection through the common rights of hospitality but he does not have the rights of the native born or citizen. The simile here is particularly effective. The land was the
92 tn This is the only time this word occurs in the Hebrew Bible. The lexicons generally take it to mean “confused” or “surprised” (cf., e.g., BDB 187 s.v. דָּהַם). However, the word has been found in a letter from the seventh century in a passage where it must mean something like “be helpless”; see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:433, for discussion and bibliography of an article where this letter is dealt with.
94 tn Heb “in our midst.”
96 tn Heb “Thus said the
97 tn It is difficult to be certain how the particle כֵּן (ken, usually used for “thus, so”) is to be rendered here. BDB 485 s.v. כֵּן 1.b says that the force sometimes has to be elicited from the general context and points back to the line of v. 9. IHBS 666 §39.3.4e states that when there is no specific comparative clause preceding a general comparison is intended. They point to Judg 5:31 as a parallel. Ps 127:2 may also be an example if כִּי (ki) is not to be read (cf. BHS fn). “Truly” seemed the best way to render this idea in contemporary English.
98 tn Heb “They do not restrain their feet.” The idea of “away from me” is implicit in the context and is supplied in the translation for clarity.
99 tn Heb “remember.”
100 tn Heb “their iniquities.”
101 tn Heb “on behalf of these people for benefit.”
103 tn Heb “through sword, starvation, and plague.”
sn These were penalties (curses) that were to be imposed on Israel for failure to keep her covenant with God (cf. Lev 26:23-26). These three occur together fourteen other times in the book of Jeremiah.
104 tn Heb “Lord Yahweh.” The translation follows the ancient Jewish tradition of substituting the Hebrew word for God for the proper name Yahweh.
106 tn The words “that you said” are not in the text but are implicit from the first person in the affirmation that follows. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.
107 tn Heb “You will not see sword and you will not have starvation [or hunger].”
108 tn Heb “I will give you unfailing peace in this place.” The translation opts for “peace and prosperity” here for the word שָׁלוֹם (shalom) because in the context it refers both to peace from war and security from famine and plague. The word translated “lasting” (אֱמֶת, ’emet) is a difficult to render here because it has broad uses: “truth, reliability, stability, steadfastness,” etc. “Guaranteed” or “lasting” seem to fit the context the best.
109 tn Heb “Falsehood those prophets are prophesying in my name.” In the OT, the “name” reflected the person’s character (cf. Gen 27:36; 1 Sam 25:25) or his reputation (Gen 11:4; 2 Sam 8:13). To speak in someone’s name was to act as his representative or carry his authority (1 Sam 25:9; 1 Kgs 21:8).
111 tn Heb “divination and worthlessness.” The noun “worthlessness” stands as a qualifying “of” phrase (= to an adjective; an attributive genitive in Hebrew) after a noun in Zech 11:17; Job 13:4. This is an example of hendiadys where two nouns are joined by “and” with one serving as the qualifier of the other.
sn The word translated “predictions” here is really the word “divination.” Divination was prohibited in Israel (cf. Deut 18:10, 14). The practice of divination involved various mechanical means to try to predict the future. The word was used here for its negative connotations in a statement that is rhetorically structured to emphasize the falseness of the promises of the false prophets. It would be unnatural to contemporary English style to try to capture this emphasis in English. In the Hebrew text the last sentence reads: “False vision, divination, and worthlessness and the deceitfulness of their heart they are prophesying to them.” For the emphasis in the preceding sentence see the note there.
112 tn Heb “Thus says the
113 tn Heb “Thus says the
sn The rhetoric of the passage is again sustained by an emphatic word order which contrasts what they say will not happen to the land, “war and famine,” with the punishment that the
115 tn Heb “And the people to whom they are prophesying will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem and there will not be anyone to bury them, they, their wives, and their sons and their daughters.” This sentence has been restructured to break up a long Hebrew sentence and to avoid some awkwardness due to differences in the ancient Hebrew and contemporary English styles.
116 tn Heb “their evil.” Hebrew words often include within them a polarity of cause and effect. Thus the word for “evil” includes both the concept of wickedness and the punishment for it. Other words that function this way are “iniquity” = “guilt [of iniquity]” = “punishment [for iniquity].” Context determines which nuance is proper.
117 tn The word “Jeremiah” is not in the text but the address is to a second person singular and is a continuation of 14:14 where the quote starts. The word is supplied in the translation for clarity.
118 tn Many of the English versions and commentaries render this an indirect or third person imperative, “Let my eyes overflow…” because of the particle אַל (’al) which introduces the phrase translated “without ceasing” (אַל־תִּדְמֶינָה, ’al-tidmenah). However, this is undoubtedly an example where the particle introduces an affirmation that something cannot be done (cf. GKC 322 §109.e). Clear examples of this are found in Pss 41:2 (41:3 HT); 50:3; Job 40:32 (41:8). God here is describing again a lamentable situation and giving his response to it. See 14:1-6 above.
sn Once again it is the
119 tn Heb “virgin daughter, my people.” The last noun here is appositional to the first two (genitive of apposition). Hence it is not ‘literally’ “virgin daughter of my people.”
sn This is a metaphor which occurs several times with regard to Israel, Judah, Zion, and even Sidon and Babylon. It is the poetic personification of the people, the city, or the land. Like other metaphors the quality of the comparison being alluded to must be elicited from the context. This is easy in Isa 23:12 (oppressed) and Isa 47:1 (soft and delicate) but not so easy in other places. From the nature of the context the suspicion here is that the protection the virgin was normally privileged to is being referred to and there is a reminder that the people are forfeiting it by their actions. Hence God laments for them.
120 tn This is a poetic personification. To translate with the plural “serious wounds” might mislead some into thinking of literal wounds.
sn Compare Jer 10:19 for a similar use of this metaphor.
121 tn The word “starvation” has been translated “famine” elsewhere in this passage. It is the word which refers to hunger. The “starvation” here may be war induced and not simply that which comes from famine per se. “Starvation” will cover both.
122 tn The meaning of these last two lines is somewhat uncertain. The meaning of these two lines is debated because of the uncertainty of the meaning of the verb rendered “go about their business” (סָחַר, sakhar) and the last phrase translated here “without any real understanding.” The verb in question most commonly occurs as a participle meaning “trader” or “merchant” (cf., e.g., Ezek 27:21, 36; Prov 31:14). It occurs as a finite verb elsewhere only in Gen 34:10, 21; 42:34 and there in a literal sense of “trading,” “doing business.” While the nuance is metaphorical here it need not extend to “journeying into” (cf., e.g., BDB 695 s.v. סָחַר Qal.1) and be seen as a reference to exile as is sometimes assumed. That seems at variance with the causal particle which introduces this clause, the tense of the verb, and the surrounding context. People are dying in the land (vv. 17-18a) not because prophet and priest have gone (the verb is the Hebrew perfect or past) into exile but because prophet and priest have no true knowledge of God or the situation. The clause translated here “without having any real understanding” (Heb “and they do not know”) is using the verb in the absolute sense indicated in BDB 394 s.v. יָדַע Qal.5 and illustrated in Isa 1:3; 56:10. For a more thorough discussion of the issues one may consult W. McKane, Jeremiah (ICC), 1:330-31.
123 tn The words, “Then I said, ‘
124 tn Heb “does your soul despise.” Here as in many places the word “soul” stands as part for whole for the person himself emphasizing emotional and volitional aspects of the person. However, in contemporary English one does not regularly speak of the “soul” in contexts such as this but of the person.
sn There is probably a subtle allusion to the curses called down on the nation for failure to keep their covenant with God. The word used here is somewhat rare (גָּעַל, ga’al). It is used of Israel’s rejection of God’s stipulations and of God’s response to their rejection of him and his stipulations in Lev 26:11, 15, 30, 43-44. That the allusion is intended is probable when account is taken of the last line of v. 21.
125 tn Heb “Why have you struck us and there is no healing for us.” The statement involves poetic exaggeration (hyperbole) for rhetorical effect.
126 tn Heb “[We hope] for a time of healing but behold terror.”
sn The last two lines of this verse are repeated word for word from 8:15. There they are spoken by the people.
127 tn Heb “We acknowledge our wickedness [and] the iniquity of our [fore]fathers.” For the use of the word “know” to mean “confess,” “acknowledge” cf. BDB 394 s.v. יָדַע, Qal.1.f and compare the usage in Jer 3:13.
sn For a longer example of an individual identifying with the nation and confessing their sins and the sins of their forefathers see Ps 106.
128 tn This is another example of the intensive use of כִּי (ki). See BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.e.
129 tn Heb “For the sake of your name.”
131 tn English versions quite commonly supply “us” as an object for the verb in the first line. This is probably wrong. The Hebrew text reads: “Do not treat with contempt for the sake of your name; do not treat with disdain your glorious throne.” This is case of poetic parallelism where the object is left hanging until the second line. For an example of this see Prov 13:1 in the original and consult E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 103-4. There has also been some disagreement whether “your glorious throne” refers to the temple (as in 17:12) or Jerusalem (as in 3:17). From the beginning of the prayer in v. 19 where a similar kind of verb has been used with respect to Zion/Jerusalem it would appear that the contextual referent is Jerusalem. The absence of an object from the first line makes it possible to retain part of the metaphor in the translation and still convey some meaning.
sn The place of God’s glorious throne was first of all the ark of the covenant where God was said to be enthroned between the cherubim, then the temple that housed it, then the city itself. See 2 Kgs 19:14-15 in the context of Sennacherib’s attack on Jerusalem.
132 tn Heb “Remember, do not break your covenant with us.”
134 tn Heb “Is it not you, O
135 tn The rhetorical negatives are balanced by a rhetorical positive.
sn Moses and Samuel were well-known for their successful intercession on behalf of Israel. See Ps 99:6-8 and see, e.g., Exod 32:11-14, 30-34; 1 Sam 7:5-9. The
138 tn Heb “Send them away from my presence and let them go away.”
139 tn It is difficult to render the rhetorical force of this passage in meaningful English. The text answers the question “Where should we go?” with four brief staccato-like expressions with a play on the preposition “to”: Heb “Who to the death, to the death and who to the sword, to the sword and who to the starvation, to the starvation and who to the captivity, to the captivity.” The word “death” here is commonly understood to be a poetic substitute for “plague” because of the standard trio of sword, famine, and plague (see, e.g., 14:12 and the notes there). This is likely here and in 18:21. For further support see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:440. The nuance “starvation” rather than “famine” has been chosen in the translation because the referents here are all things that accompany war.
140 tn The translation attempts to render in understandable English some rather unusual uses of terms here. The verb translated “punish” is often used that way (cf. BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד Qal.A.3 and compare usage in Jer 11:22, 13:21). However, here it is accompanied by a direct object and a preposition meaning “over” which is usually used in the sense of appointing someone over someone (cf. BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד Qal.B.1 and compare usage in Jer 51:27). Moreover the word translated “different ways” normally refers to “families,” “clans,” or “guilds” (cf. BDB 1046-47 s.v. מִשְׁפָּחָה for usage). Hence the four things mentioned are referred to figuratively as officers or agents into whose power the
141 tn The length of this sentence runs contrary to the normal policy followed in the translation of breaking up long sentences. However, there does not seem any way to break it up here without losing the connections.
142 tn The words “The
143 tn The words, “in the world” are not in the text but are the translator’s way of trying to indicate that this rhetorical question expects a negative answer.
144 tn Heb “turn aside.”
145 tn Or “about your well-being”; Heb “about your welfare” (שָׁלוֹם, shalom).
146 tn Heb “oracle of the
147 tn Heb “you are going backward.” This is the only occurrence of this adverb with this verb. It is often used with another verb meaning “turn backward” (= abandon; Heb סוּג [sug] in the Niphal). For examples see Jer 38:22; 46:5. The only other occurrence in Jeremiah has been in the unusual idiom in 7:24 where it was translated “they got worse and worse instead of better.” That is how J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB], 109) translates it here. However it is translated, it has connotations of apostasy.
149 tn There is a difference of opinion on how the verbs here and in the following verses are to be rendered, whether past or future. KJV, NASB, NIV for example render them as future. ASV, RSV, TEV render them as past. NJPS has past here and future in vv. 7-9. This is perhaps the best solution. The imperfect + vav consecutive here responds to the perfect in the first line. The imperfects + vav consecutives followed by perfects in vv. 7-9 and concluded by an imperfect in v. 9 pick up the perfects + vav (ו) consecutives in vv. 3-4. Verses 7-9 are further development of the theme in vv. 1-4. Verses 5-6 have been an apostrophe or a turning aside to address Jerusalem directly. For a somewhat similar alternation of the tenses see Isa 5:14-17 and consult GKC 329-30 §111.w. One could of course argue that the imperfects + vav consecutive in vv. 7-9 continue the imperfect + vav consecutive here. In this case, vv. 7-9 are not a continuation of the oracle of doom but another lament by God (cf. 14:1-6, 17-18).
150 sn It is difficult to be sure what intertextual connections are intended by the author in his use of vocabulary. The Hebrew word translated “grown tired” is not very common. It has been used twice before. In 9:5-6b where it refers to the people being unable to repent and in 6:11 where it refers to Jeremiah being tired or unable to hold back his anger because of that inability. Now God too has worn out his patience with them (cf. Isa 7:13).
151 tn The words “The
152 tn Heb “I have winnowed them with a winnowing fork in the gates of the land.” The word “gates” is here being used figuratively for the cities, the part for the whole. See 14:2 and the notes there.
sn Like straw blown away by the wind. A figurative use of the process of winnowing is referred to here. Winnowing was the process whereby a mixture of grain and straw was thrown up into the wind to separate the grain from the straw and the husks. The best description of the major steps in threshing and winnowing grain in the Bible is seen in another figurative passage in Isa 41:15-16.
153 tn Or “did not repent of their wicked ways”; Heb “They did not turn back from their ways.” There is no casual particle here (either כִּי [ki], which is more formally casual, or וְ [vÿ], which sometimes introduces casual circumstantial clauses). The causal idea is furnished by the connection of ideas. If the verbs throughout this section are treated as pasts and this section seen as a lament, then the clause could be sequential: “but they still did not turn…”
154 tn Heb “to me.” BDB 513 s.v. ל 5.a(d) compares the usage of the preposition “to” here to that in Jonah 3:3, “Nineveh was a very great city to God [in God’s estimation].” The NEB/REB interpret as though it were the agent after a passive verb, “I have made widows more numerous.” Most English versions ignore it. The present translation follows BDB though the emphasis on God’s agency has been strong in the passage.
155 tn The translation of this line is a little uncertain because of the double prepositional phrase which is not represented in this translation or most of the others. The Hebrew text reads: “I will bring in to them, against mother of young men, a destroyer at noon time.” Many commentaries delete the phrase with the Greek text. If the preposition read “against” like the following one this would be a case of apposition of nearer definition. There is some evidence of that in the Targum and the Syriac according to BHS. Both nouns “mothers” and “young men” are translated as plural here though they are singular; they are treated by most as collectives. It would be tempting to translate these two lines “In broad daylight I have brought destroyers against the mothers of her fallen young men.” But this may be too interpretive. In the light of 6:4, noontime was a good time to attack. NJPS has “I will bring against them – young men and mothers together – ….” In this case “mother” and “young men” would be a case of asyndetic coordination.
156 tn This word is used only here and in Hos 11:9. It is related to the root meaning “to rouse” (so BDB 735 s.v. I עִיר). Here it refers to the excitement or agitation caused by terror. In Hos 11:9 it refers to the excitement or arousal of anger.
157 tn The “them” in the Hebrew text is feminine referring to the mothers.
158 tn Heb “who gave birth to seven.”
159 tn The meaning of this line is debated. Some understand this line to mean “she has breathed out her life” (cf., e.g., BDB 656 s.v. נָפַח and 656 s.v. ֶנפֶשׁ 1.c). However, as several commentaries have noted (e.g., W. McKane, Jeremiah [ICC], 1:341; J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 109) it makes little sense to talk about her suffering shame and embarrassment if she has breathed her last. Both the Greek and Latin versions understand “soul” not as the object but as the subject and the idea being one of fainting under despair. This idea seems likely in light of the parallelism. Bright suggests the phrase means either “she gasped out her breath” or “her throat gasped.” The former is more likely. One might also render “she fainted dead away,” but that idiom might not be familiar to all readers.
160 tn Heb “Her sun went down while it was still day.”
sn The sun was the source of light and hence has associations with life, prosperity, health, and blessing. The premature setting of the sun which brought these seems apropos as metaphor for the loss of her children which were not only a source of joy, help, and honor. Two references where “sun” is used figuratively, Ps 84:11 (84:12 HT) and Mal 4:2, may be helpful here.
162 tn Heb “I will deliver those of them that survive to the sword before their enemies.” The referent of “them” is ambiguous. Does it refer to the children of the widow (nearer context) or the people themselves (more remote context, v. 7)? Perhaps it was meant to include both. Verse seven spoke of the destruction of the people and the killing off of the children.
163 tn The words “I said” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation for clarity to mark a shift in the speaker.
165 tn Heb “A man of strife and a man of contention with all the land.” The “of” relationship (Hebrew and Greek genitive) can convey either subjective or objective relationships, i.e., he instigates strife and contention or he is the object of it. A study of usage elsewhere, e.g., Isa 41:11; Job 31:35; Prov 12:19; 25:24; 26:21; 27:15, is convincing that it is subjective. In his role as God’s covenant messenger charging people with wrong doing he has instigated counterarguments and stirred about strife and contention against him.
166 tc The translation follows the almost universally agreed upon correction of the MT. Instead of reading כֻּלֹּה מְקַלְלַונִי (kulloh mÿqallavni, “all of him is cursing me”) as the Masoretes proposed (Qere) one should read קִלְלוּנִי (qilluni) with the written text (Kethib) and redivide and repoint with the suggestion in BHS כֻּלְּהֶם (qullÿhem, “all of them are cursing me”).
167 tn The word “Jerusalem” is not in the text. It is supplied in the translation for clarity to identify the referent of “you.” A comparison of three or four English versions will show how difficult this verse is to interpret. The primary difficulty is with the meaning of the verb rendered here as “I will surely send you out [שֵׁרִותִךָ, sherivtikha].” The text and the meaning of the word are debated (for a rather full discussion see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 1:446-47, n. b-b). Tied up with that is the meaning of the verb in the second line and the identification of who the speaker and addressee are. One of two approaches are usually followed. Some follow the Greek version which has Jeremiah speaking and supporting his complaint that he has been faithful. In this case the word “said” is left out, the difficult verb is taken to mean “I have served you” (שֵׁרַתִּיךָ [sheratikha] from שָׁרַת [sharat; BDB 1058 s.v. שָׁרַת]) and the parallel verb means “I have made intercession for my enemies.” The second tack is to suppose that God is speaking and is promising Jeremiah deliverance from his detractors. In this case the troublesome word is taken to mean “deliver” (cf. BDB 1056 s.v. I שָׁרָה), “strengthen” (see BDB’s discussion) or read as a noun “remnant” (שֵׁרִיתְךָ = שְׁאֵרִיתְךָ [sheritekha = shÿ’eritekha]; again see BDB’s discussion). In this case the parallel verb is taken to mean “I will cause your enemies to entreat you,” a meaning it has nowhere else. Both of these approaches are probably wrong. The Greek text is the only evidence for leaving out “said.” The problem with making Jeremiah the addressee is twofold. First, the word “enemy” is never used in the book of Jeremiah’s foes, always of political enemies. Second, and more troublesome, one must assume a shift in the addressee between v. 11 and vv.13-14 or assume that the whole is addressed. The latter would be odd if he is promised deliverance from his detractors only to be delivered to captivity. If, however, one assumes that the whole is addressed to Jerusalem, there is no such problem. A check of earlier chapters will show that the second masculine pronoun is used for Judah/Jerusalem in 2:28-29; 4:1-2; 5:17-18; 11:13. In 2:28-28 and 4:1-2 the same shift from second singular to second plural takes place as does here in vv. 13-14. Moreover, vv. 13-14 continue much of the same vocabulary and is addressed to Jerusalem. The approach followed here is similar to that taken in REB except “for good” is taken in the way it is always used rather to mean “utterly.” The nuance suggested by BDB 1056 s.v. I שָׁרָה is assumed and the meaning of the parallel verb is assumed to be similar to that in Isa 53:6 (see BDB 803 s.v. פָּגַע Hiph.1). The MT is retained with demonstrable meanings. For the concept of “for good” see Jer 24:5-6. This assumes that the ultimate goal of God’s discipline is here announced.
169 tn Or “Can iron and bronze break iron from the north?” The question is rhetorical and expects a negative answer. The translation and meaning of this verse are debated. See note for further details. The two main difficulties here involve the relation of words to one another and the obscure allusion to iron from the north. To translate “literally” is difficult since one does not know whether “iron” is subject of “break” or object of an impersonal verb. Likewise, the dangling “and bronze” fits poorly with either understanding. Options: “Can iron break iron from the north and bronze?” Or “Can one break iron, even iron from the north and bronze.” This last is commonly opted for by translators and interpreters, but why add “and bronze” at the end? And what does “iron from the north” refer to? A long history of interpretation relates it to the foe from the north (see already 1:14; 4:6; 6:1; 13:20). The translation follows the lead of NRSV and takes “and bronze” as a compound subject. I have no ready parallels for this syntax but the reference to “from the north” and the comparison to the stubbornness of the unrepentant people to bronze and iron in 6:28 suggests a possible figurative allusion. There is no evidence in the Bible that Israel knew about a special kind of steel like iron from the Black Sea mentioned in later Greek sources. The word “fist” is supplied in the translation to try to give some hint that it refers to a hostile force.
sn Compare Isa 10:5-6 for the idea here.
170 tc This reading follows the Greek and Syriac versions and several Hebrew
171 tn The words “I said” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation for clarity to mark the shift from the
172 tn The words “how I suffer” are not in the text but are implicit from the continuation. They are supplied in the translation for clarity. Jeremiah is not saying “you are all knowing.”
173 sn Heb “Your words were found and I ate them.” This along with Ezek 2:8–3:3 is a poetic picture of inspiration. The prophet accepted them, assimilated them, and made them such a part of himself that he spoke with complete assurance what he knew were God’s words.
174 tn Heb “Your name is called upon me.”
175 tn Heb “because of your hand.”
176 tn Heb “Will you be to me like a deceptive (brook), like waters which do not last [or are not reliable].”
sn Jeremiah is speaking of the stream beds or wadis which fill with water after the spring rains but often dry up in the summer time. A fuller picture is painted in Job 6:14-21. This contrasts with the earlier metaphor that God had used of himself in Jer 2:13.
177 tn Heb “So the
178 tn Heb “If you return [ = repent], I will restore [more literally, ‘cause you to return’] that you may stand before me.” For the idiom of “standing before” in the sense of serving see BDB 764 s.v. עָמַד Qal.1.e and compare the usage in 1 Kgs 10:8; 12:8; 17:1; Deut 10:8.
179 tn Heb “you shall be as my mouth.”
sn For the classic statement of the prophet as God’s “mouth/mouthpiece,” = “spokesman,” see Exod 4:15-16; 7:1-2.
180 tn Heb “They must turn/return to you and you must not turn/return to them.”
sn Once again the root “return” (שׁוּב, shuv) is being played on as in 3:1–4:4. See the threefold call to repentance in 3:12, 14, 22. The verb is used here four times “repent,” “restore,” and “become” twice. He is to serve as a model of repentance, not an imitator of their apostasy. In accusing God of being unreliable he was coming dangerously close to their kind of behavior.
182 tn Heb “For thus says the
183 tn Heb “Thus says the
184 tn Heb “For thus says the
185 tn Heb “my peace.” The Hebrew word שְׁלוֹמִי (shÿlomi) can be translated “peace, prosperity” or “well-being” (referring to wholeness or health of body and soul).
186 tn Heb “Oracle of the
189 tn Heb “before your eyes and in your days.” The pronouns are plural including others than Jeremiah.
190 tn Heb “all these words/things.”
sn The actions of the prophet would undoubtedly elicit questions about his behavior and he would have occasion to explain the reason.
191 tn These two sentences have been recast in English to break up a long Hebrew sentence and incorporate the oracular formula “says the
194 tn Heb “But me they have abandoned and my law they have not kept.” The objects are thrown forward to bring out the contrast which has rhetorical force. However, such a sentence in English would be highly unnatural.
196 tn The particle translated here “Yet” (לָכֵן, lakhen) is regularly translated “So” or “Therefore” and introduces a consequence. However, in a few cases it introduces a contrasting set of conditions. Compare its use in Judg 11:8; Jer 48:12; 49:2; 51:52; and Hos 2:14 (2:16 HT).
197 tn Heb “Oracle of the
198 tn Heb “Behold the days are coming.”
199 tn These two verses which constitute one long sentence with compound, complex subordinations has been broken up for sake of English style. It reads, “Therefore, behold the days are coming, says the
200 tn Heb “Oracle of the
201 tn Heb “Behold I am about to send for many fishermen and they will catch them. And after that I will send for many hunters and they will hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and from the cracks in the rocks.”
202 tn Heb “For my eyes are upon all their ways. They are not hidden from before me. And their sin is not hidden away from before my eyes.”
203 tn Heb “First.” Many English versions and commentaries delete this word because it is missing from the Greek version and is considered a gloss added by a postexilic editor who is said to be responsible also for vv. 14-16. This is not the place to resolve issues of authorship and date. It is the task of the translator to translate the “original” which in this case is the MT supported by the other versions. The word here refers to order in rank or order of events. Compare Gen 38:28; 1 Kgs 18:25. Here allusion is made to the restoration previously mentioned. First in order of events is the punishment of destruction and exile, then restoration.
204 tn Heb “double.” However, usage in Deut 15:18 and probably Isa 40:2 argues for “full compensation.” This is supported also by usage in a tablet from Alalakh in Syria. See P. C. Craigie, P. H. Kelley, J. F. Drinkard, Jeremiah 1-25 (WBC), 218, for bibliography.
205 tn Heb “my inheritance.”
206 tn Many of the English versions take “lifeless statues of their detestable idols” with “filled” as a compound object. This follows the Masoretic punctuation but violates usage. The verb “fill” never takes an object preceded by the preposition בְּ (bet).
207 tn The words “Then I said” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation to show the shift from God, who has been speaking to Jeremiah, to Jeremiah, who here addresses God.
sn The shift here is consistent with the interruptions that have taken place in chapters 14 and 15 and in Jeremiah’s response to God’s condemnation of the people of Judah’s idolatry in chapter 10 (note especially vv. 6-16).
208 tn Heb “O
209 tn Once again the translation has sacrificed some of the rhetorical force for the sake of clarity and English style: Heb “Only falsehood did our ancestors possess, vanity and [things in which?] there was no one profiting in them.”
sn This passage offers some rather forceful contrasts. The
211 tn The words “The
212 tn Or “So I will make known to those nations, I will make known to them at this time my power and my might. Then they will know that my name is the
tn There is a decided ambiguity in this text about the identity of the pronoun “them.” Is it his wicked people he has been predicting judgment upon or the nations that have come to recognize the folly of idolatry? The nearer antecedent would argue for that. However, usage of “hand” (translated here “power”) in 6:12; 15:6 and later 21:5 and especially the threatening motif of “at this time” (or “now”) in 10:18 suggest that the “So” goes back logically to vv. 16-18, following a grounds of judgment with the threatened consequence as it has in at least 16 out of 18 occurrences thus far. Moreover it makes decidedly more sense that the Jews will know that his name is the