Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) August 23
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Jeremiah 17:1--20:18

Context

17:1 1 The sin of Judah is engraved with an iron chisel

on their stone-hard 2  hearts.

It is inscribed with a diamond 3  point

on the horns of their altars. 4 

17:2 Their children are always thinking about 5  their 6  altars

and their sacred poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah, 7 

set up beside the green trees on the high hills

17:3 and on the mountains and in the fields. 8 

I will give your wealth and all your treasures away as plunder.

I will give it away as the price 9  for the sins you have committed throughout your land.

17:4 You will lose your hold on the land 10 

which I gave to you as a permanent possession.

I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you know nothing about.

For you have made my anger burn like a fire that will never be put out.” 11 

Individuals Are Challenged to Put Their Trust in the Lord 12 

17:5 The Lord says,

“I will put a curse on people

who trust in mere human beings,

who depend on mere flesh and blood for their strength, 13 

and whose hearts 14  have turned away from the Lord.

17:6 They will be like a shrub 15  in the desert.

They will not experience good things even when they happen.

It will be as though they were growing in the desert,

in a salt land where no one can live.

17:7 My blessing is on those people who trust in me,

who put their confidence in me. 16 

17:8 They will be like a tree planted near a stream

whose roots spread out toward the water.

It has nothing to fear when the heat comes.

Its leaves are always green.

It has no need to be concerned in a year of drought.

It does not stop bearing fruit.

17:9 The human mind is more deceitful than anything else.

It is incurably bad. 17  Who can understand it?

17:10 I, the Lord, probe into people’s minds.

I examine people’s hearts. 18 

I deal with each person according to how he has behaved.

I give them what they deserve based on what they have done.

17:11 The person who gathers wealth by unjust means

is like the partridge that broods over eggs but does not hatch them. 19 

Before his life is half over he will lose his ill-gotten gains. 20 

At the end of his life it will be clear he was a fool.” 21 

Jeremiah Appeals to the Lord for Vindication

17:12 Then I said, 22 

Lord, from the very beginning

you have been seated on your glorious throne on high.

You are the place where we can find refuge.

17:13 You are the one in whom Israel may find hope. 23 

All who leave you will suffer shame.

Those who turn away from you 24  will be consigned to the nether world. 25 

For they have rejected you, the Lord, the fountain of life. 26 

17:14 Lord, grant me relief from my suffering

so that I may have some relief.

Rescue me from those who persecute me

so that I may be rescued. 27 

17:15 Listen to what they are saying to me. 28 

They are saying, “Where are the things the Lord threatens us with?

Come on! Let’s see them happen!” 29 

17:16 But I have not pestered you to bring disaster. 30 

I have not desired the time of irreparable devastation. 31 

You know that.

You are fully aware of every word that I have spoken. 32 

17:17 Do not cause me dismay! 33 

You are my source of safety in times of trouble.

17:18 May those who persecute me be disgraced.

Do not let me be disgraced.

May they be dismayed.

Do not let me be dismayed.

Bring days of disaster on them.

Bring on them the destruction they deserve.” 34 

Observance of the Sabbath Day Is a Key to the Future 35 

17:19 The Lord told me, “Go and stand in the People’s Gate 36  through which the kings of Judah enter and leave the city. Then go and stand in all the other gates of the city of Jerusalem. 37  17:20 As you stand in those places 38  announce, ‘Listen, all you people who pass through these gates. Listen, all you kings of Judah, all you people of Judah and all you citizens of Jerusalem. Listen to what the Lord says. 39  17:21 The Lord says, ‘Be very careful if you value your lives! 40  Do not carry any loads 41  in through 42  the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. 17:22 Do not carry any loads out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath day. 43  But observe the Sabbath day as a day set apart to the Lord, 44  as I commanded your ancestors. 45  17:23 Your ancestors, 46  however, did not listen to me or pay any attention to me. They stubbornly refused 47  to pay attention or to respond to any discipline.’ 17:24 The Lord says, 48  ‘You must make sure to obey me. You must not bring any loads through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day. You must set the Sabbath day apart to me. You must not do any work on that day. 17:25 If you do this, 49  then the kings and princes who follow in David’s succession 50  and ride in chariots or on horses will continue to enter through these gates, as well as their officials and the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. 51  This city will always be filled with people. 52  17:26 Then people will come here from the towns in Judah, from the villages surrounding Jerusalem, from the territory of Benjamin, from the western foothills, from the southern hill country, and from the southern part of Judah. They will come bringing offerings to the temple of the Lord: burnt offerings, sacrifices, grain offerings, and incense along with their thank offerings. 53  17:27 But you must obey me and set the Sabbath day apart to me. You must not carry any loads in through 54  the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. If you disobey, I will set the gates of Jerusalem on fire. It will burn down all the fortified dwellings in Jerusalem and no one will be able to put it out.’”

An Object Lesson from the Making of Pottery

18:1 The Lord said to Jeremiah: 55  18:2 “Go down at once 56  to the potter’s house. I will speak to you further there.” 57  18:3 So I went down to the potter’s house and found him working 58  at his wheel. 59  18:4 Now and then 60  there would be something wrong 61  with the pot he was molding from the clay 62  with his hands. So he would rework 63  the clay into another kind of pot as he saw fit. 64 

18:5 Then the Lord said to me, 65  18:6 “I, the Lord, say: 66  ‘O nation of Israel, can I not deal with you as this potter deals with the clay? 67  In my hands, you, O nation of Israel, are just like the clay in this potter’s hand.’ 18:7 There are times, Jeremiah, 68  when I threaten to uproot, tear down, and destroy a nation or kingdom. 69  18:8 But if that nation I threatened stops doing wrong, 70  I will cancel the destruction 71  I intended to do to it. 18:9 And there are times when I promise to build up and establish 72  a nation or kingdom. 18:10 But if that nation does what displeases me and does not obey me, then I will cancel the good I promised to do to it. 18:11 So now, tell the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem 73  this: The Lord says, ‘I am preparing to bring disaster on you! I am making plans to punish you. 74  So, every one of you, stop the evil things you have been doing. 75  Correct the way you have been living and do what is right.’ 76  18:12 But they just keep saying, ‘We do not care what you say! 77  We will do whatever we want to do! We will continue to behave wickedly and stubbornly!’” 78 

18:13 Therefore, the Lord says,

“Ask the people of other nations

whether they have heard of anything like this.

Israel should have been like a virgin.

But she has done something utterly revolting!

18:14 Does the snow ever completely vanish from the rocky slopes of Lebanon?

Do the cool waters from those distant mountains ever cease to flow? 79 

18:15 Yet my people have forgotten me

and offered sacrifices to worthless idols!

This makes them stumble along in the way they live

and leave the old reliable path of their fathers. 80 

They have left them to walk in bypaths,

in roads that are not smooth and level. 81 

18:16 So their land will become an object of horror. 82 

People will forever hiss out their scorn over it.

All who pass that way will be filled with horror

and will shake their heads in derision. 83 

18:17 I will scatter them before their enemies

like dust blowing in front of a burning east wind.

I will turn my back on them and not look favorably on them 84 

when disaster strikes them.”

Jeremiah Petitions the Lord to Punish Those Who Attack Him

18:18 Then some people 85  said, “Come on! Let us consider how to deal with Jeremiah! 86  There will still be priests to instruct us, wise men to give us advice, and prophets to declare God’s word. 87  Come on! Let’s bring charges against him and get rid of him! 88  Then we will not need to pay attention to anything he says.”

18:19 Then I said, 89 

Lord, pay attention to me.

Listen to what my enemies are saying. 90 

18:20 Should good be paid back with evil?

Yet they are virtually digging a pit to kill me. 91 

Just remember how I stood before you

pleading on their behalf 92 

to keep you from venting your anger on them. 93 

18:21 So let their children die of starvation.

Let them be cut down by the sword. 94 

Let their wives lose their husbands and children.

Let the older men die of disease 95 

and the younger men die by the sword in battle.

18:22 Let cries of terror be heard in their houses

when you send bands of raiders unexpectedly to plunder them. 96 

For they have virtually dug a pit to capture me

and have hidden traps for me to step into.

18:23 But you, Lord, know

all their plots to kill me.

Do not pardon their crimes!

Do not ignore their sins as though you had erased them! 97 

Let them be brought down in defeat before you!

Deal with them while you are still angry! 98 

An Object Lesson from a Broken Clay Jar

19:1 The Lord told Jeremiah, 99  “Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. 100  Take with you 101  some of the leaders of the people and some of the leaders 102  of the priests. 19:2 Go out to the part of the Hinnom Valley which is near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. 103  Announce there what I tell you. 104  19:3 Say, ‘Listen to what the Lord says, you kings of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! 105  The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 106  says, “I will bring a disaster on this place 107  that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it ring! 108  19:4 I will do so because these people 109  have rejected me and have defiled 110  this place. They have offered sacrifices in it to other gods which neither they nor their ancestors 111  nor the kings of Judah knew anything about. They have filled it with the blood of innocent children. 112  19:5 They have built places here 113  for worship of the god Baal so that they could sacrifice their children as burnt offerings to him in the fire. Such sacrifices 114  are something I never commanded them to make! They are something I never told them to do! Indeed, such a thing never even entered my mind! 19:6 So I, the Lord, say: 115  “The time will soon come that people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Hinnom Valley. But they will call this valley 116  the Valley of Slaughter! 19:7 In this place I will thwart 117  the plans of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. I will deliver them over to the power of their enemies who are seeking to kill them. They will die by the sword 118  at the hands of their enemies. 119  I will make their dead bodies food for the birds and wild beasts to eat. 19:8 I will make this city an object of horror, a thing to be hissed at. All who pass by it will be filled with horror and will hiss out their scorn 120  because of all the disasters that have happened to it. 121  19:9 I will reduce the people of this city to desperate straits during the siege imposed on it by their enemies who are seeking to kill them. I will make them so desperate that they will eat the flesh of their own sons and daughters and the flesh of one another.”’” 122 

19:10 The Lord continued, 123  “Now break the jar in front of those who have come here with you. 19:11 Tell them the Lord who rules over all says, 124  ‘I will do just as Jeremiah has done. 125  I will smash this nation and this city as though it were a potter’s vessel which is broken beyond repair. 126  The dead will be buried here in Topheth until there is no more room to bury them.’ 127  19:12 I, the Lord, say: 128  ‘That is how I will deal with this city and its citizens. I will make it like Topheth. 19:13 The houses in Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will be defiled by dead bodies 129  just like this place, Topheth. For they offered sacrifice to the stars 130  and poured out drink offerings to other gods on the roofs of those houses.’”

19:14 Then Jeremiah left Topheth where the Lord had sent him to give that prophecy. He went to the Lord’s temple and stood 131  in its courtyard and called out to all the people. 19:15 “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 132  says, ‘I will soon bring on this city and all the towns surrounding it 133  all the disaster I threatened to do to it. I will do so because they have stubbornly refused 134  to pay any attention to what I have said!’”

Jeremiah is Flogged and Put in A Cell

20:1 Now Pashhur son of Immer heard Jeremiah prophesy these things. He was the priest who was chief of security 135  in the Lord’s temple. 20:2 When he heard Jeremiah’s prophecy, he had the prophet flogged. 136  Then he put him in the stocks 137  which were at the Upper Gate of Benjamin in the Lord’s temple. 138  20:3 But the next day Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks. When he did, Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord’s name for you is not ‘Pashhur’ but ‘Terror is Everywhere.’ 139  20:4 For the Lord says, ‘I will make both you and your friends terrified of what will happen to you. 140  You will see all of them die by the swords of their enemies. 141  I will hand all the people of Judah over to the king of Babylon. He will carry some of them away into exile in Babylon and he will kill others of them with the sword. 20:5 I will hand over all the wealth of this city to their enemies. I will hand over to them all the fruits of the labor of the people of this city and all their prized possessions, as well as all the treasures of the kings of Judah. Their enemies will seize it all as plunder 142  and carry it off to Babylon. 20:6 You, Pashhur, and all your household 143  will go into exile in Babylon. You will die there and you will be buried there. The same thing will happen to all your friends to whom you have prophesied lies.’” 144 

Jeremiah Complains about the Reaction to His Ministry

20:7 Lord, you coerced me into being a prophet,

and I allowed you to do it.

You overcame my resistance and prevailed over me. 145 

Now I have become a constant laughingstock.

Everyone ridicules me.

20:8 For whenever I prophesy, 146  I must cry out, 147 

“Violence and destruction are coming!” 148 

This message from the Lord 149  has made me

an object of continual insults and derision.

20:9 Sometimes I think, “I will make no mention of his message.

I will not speak as his messenger 150  any more.”

But then 151  his message becomes like a fire

locked up inside of me, burning in my heart and soul. 152 

I grow weary of trying to hold it in;

I cannot contain it.

20:10 I 153  hear many whispering words of intrigue against me.

Those who would cause me terror are everywhere! 154 

They are saying, “Come on, let’s publicly denounce him!” 155 

All my so-called friends 156  are just watching for

something that would lead to my downfall. 157 

They say, “Perhaps he can be enticed into slipping up,

so we can prevail over 158  him and get our revenge on him.

20:11 But the Lord is with me to help me like an awe-inspiring warrior. 159 

Therefore those who persecute me will fail and will not prevail over me.

They will be thoroughly disgraced because they did not succeed.

Their disgrace will never be forgotten.

20:12 O Lord who rules over all, 160  you test and prove the righteous.

You see into people’s hearts and minds. 161 

Pay them back for what they have done

because I trust you to vindicate my cause.

20:13 Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord!

For he rescues the oppressed from the clutches of evildoers. 162 

20:14 Cursed be the day I was born!

May that day not be blessed when my mother gave birth to me. 163 

20:15 Cursed be the man

who made my father very glad

when he brought him the news

that a baby boy had been born to him! 164 

20:16 May that man be like the cities 165 

that the Lord destroyed without showing any mercy.

May he hear a cry of distress in the morning

and a battle cry at noon.

20:17 For he did not kill me before I came from the womb,

making my pregnant mother’s womb my grave forever. 166 

20:18 Why did I ever come forth from my mother’s womb?

All I experience is trouble and grief,

and I spend my days in shame. 167 

1 tn The chapter division which was not a part of the original text but was added in the middle ages obscures the fact that there is no new speech here. The division may have resulted from the faulty identification of the “them” in the preceding verse. See the translator’s note on that verse.

2 tn The adjective “stone-hard” is not in the Hebrew text. It is implicit in the metaphor and is supplied in the translation for clarity. Cf. Ezek 11:19; 36:26; and Job 19:24 for the figure.

3 tn Heb “adamant.” The word “diamond” is an accommodation to modern times. There is no evidence that diamond was known in ancient times. This hard stone (perhaps emery) became metaphorical for hardness; see Ezek 3:9 and Zech 7:12. For discussion see W. E. Staples, “Adamant,” IDB 1:45.

4 tn This verse has been restructured for the sake of the English poetry: Heb “The sin of Judah is engraved [or written] with an iron pen, inscribed with a point of a diamond [or adamant] upon the tablet of their hearts and on the horns of their altars.”

sn There is biting sarcasm involved in the use of the figures here. The law was inscribed on the tablets of stone by the “finger” of God (Exod 31:18; 32:16). Later under the new covenant it would be written on their hearts (Jer 31:33). Blood was to be applied to the horns of the altar in offering the sin offering (cf., e.g., Lev 4:7, 18, 25, 20) and on the bronze altar to cleanse it from sin on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:18). Here their sins are engraved (permanently written, cf. Job 19:24) on their hearts (i.e., control their thoughts and actions) and on their altars (permanently polluting them).

5 tn It is difficult to convey in good English style the connection between this verse and the preceding. The text does not have a finite verb but a temporal preposition with an infinitive: Heb “while their children remember their altars…” It is also difficult to translate the verb “literally.” (i.e., what does “remember” their altars mean?). Hence it has been rendered “always think about.” Another possibility would be “have their altars…on their minds.”

sn There is possibly a sarcastic irony involved here as well. The Israelites were to remember the Lord and what he had done and were to commemorate certain days, e.g., the Passover and the Sabbath which recalled their deliverance. Instead they resorted to the pagan altars and kept them in mind.

6 tc This reading follows many Hebrew mss and ancient versions. Many other Hebrew mss read “your” [masc. pl.].

7 sn Sacred poles dedicated to…Asherah. A leading deity of the Canaanite pantheon was Asherah, wife/sister of El and goddess of fertility. She was commonly worshiped at shrines in or near groves of evergreen trees, or, failing that, at places marked by wooden poles (Hebrew אֲשֵׁרִים [’asherim], plural). They were to be burned or cut down (Deut 7:5; 12:3; 16:21; Judg 6:25, 28, 30; 2 Kgs 18:4).

8 tc This reading follows some of the ancient versions. The MT reads, “hills. My mountain in the open field [alluding to Jerusalem] and your wealth…I will give.” The vocalization of the noun plus pronoun and the unusual form of the expression to allude to Jerusalem calls into question the originality of the MT. The MT reads הֲרָרִי (harari) which combines the suffix for a singular noun with a pointing of the noun in the plural, a form which would be without parallel (compare the forms in Ps 30:8 for the singular noun with suffix and Deut 8:9 for the plural noun with suffix). Likewise, Jerusalem was not “in the open field.” For a similar expression compare Jer 13:27.

9 tc Or “I will give away your wealth, all your treasures, and your places of worship…” The translation follows the emendation suggested in the footnote in BHS, reading בִּמְחִיר (bimkhir) in place of בָּמֹתֶיךָ (bamotekha). The forms are graphically very close and one could explain the origin of either from the other. The parallel in 15:13-14 reads לֹא בִּמְחִיר (lobimkhir). The text here may be a deliberate play on that one. The emended text makes decidedly better sense contextually than the MT unless some sardonic reference to their idolatry is intended.

10 tc Or “Through your own fault you will lose the land…” As W. McKane (Jeremiah [ICC], 1:386) notes the ancient versions do not appear to be reading וּבְךָ (uvÿkha) as in the MT but possibly לְבַדְּךָ (lÿvaddÿkha; see BHS fn). The translation follows the suggestion in BHS fn that יָדְךָ (yadÿkha, literally “your hand”) be read for MT וּבְךָ. This has the advantage of fitting the idiom of this verb with “hand” in Deut 15:2 (see also v. 3 there). The Hebrew text thus reads “You will release your hand from your heritage.”

11 tc A few Hebrew mss and two Greek mss read “a fire is kindled in my anger” (reading קָדְחָה, qodkha) as in 15:14 in place of “you have kindled a fire in my anger” (reading קָדַחְתֶּם, qadakhtem) in the majority of Hebrew mss and versions. The variant may be explained on the basis of harmonization with the parallel passage.

tn Heb “you have started a fire in my anger which will burn forever.”

12 sn Verses 5-11 are a collection of wisdom-like sayings (cf. Ps 1) which set forth the theme of the two ways and their consequences. It has as its background the blessings and the curses of Deut 28 and the challenge to faith in Deut 29-30 which climaxes in Deut 30:15-20. The nation is sinful and God is weary of showing them patience. However, there is hope for individuals within the nation if they will trust in him.

13 tn Heb “who make flesh their arm.” The “arm” is the symbol of strength and the flesh is the symbol of mortal man in relation to the omnipotent God. The translation “mere flesh and blood” reflects this.

14 sn In the psychology of ancient Hebrew thought the heart was the center not only of the emotions but of the thoughts and motivations. It was also the seat of moral conduct (cf. its placement in the middle of the discussion of moral conduct in Prov 4:20-27, i.e., in v. 23).

15 tn This word occurs only here and in Jer 48:6. It has been identified as a kind of juniper, which is a short shrub with minute leaves that look like scales. For a picture and more discussion see Fauna and Flora of the Bible, 131.

16 tn Heb “Blessed is the person who trusts in the Lord, and whose confidence is in the Lord.” However, because this is a statement of the Lord and the translation chooses to show that the blessing comes from him, the first person is substituted for the divine name.

17 tn Or “incurably deceitful”; Heb “It is incurable.” For the word “deceitful” compare the usage of the verb in Gen 27:36 and a related noun in 2 Kgs 10:19. For the adjective “incurable” compare the usage in Jer 15:18. It is most commonly used with reference to wounds or of pain. In Jer 17:16 it is used metaphorically for a “woeful day” (i.e., day of irreparable devastation).

sn The background for this verse is Deut 29:18-19 (29:17-18 HT) and Deut 30:17.

18 tn The term rendered “mind” here and in the previous verse is actually the Hebrew word for “heart.” However, in combination with the word rendered “heart” in the next line, which is the Hebrew for “kidneys,” it is best rendered “mind” because the “heart” was considered the center of intellect, conscience, and will and the “kidneys” the center of emotions.

sn For an earlier reference to this motif see Jer 11:20. For a later reference see Jer 20:12. See also Ps 17:2-3.

19 tn The meaning of this line is somewhat uncertain. The word translated “broods over” occurs only here and Isa 34:15. It is often defined on the basis of an Aramaic cognate which means “to gather” with an extended meaning of “to gather together under her to hatch.” Many commentators go back to a Rabbinic explanation that the partridge steals the eggs of other birds and hatches them out only to see the birds depart when they recognize that she is not the mother. Modern studies question the validity of this zoologically. Moreover, W. L. Holladay contests the validity on the basis of the wording “and she does hatch them” (Heb “bring them to birth”). See W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:498, and see also P. C. Craigie, P. H. Kelley, J. F. Drinkard, Jeremiah 1-25 (WBC), 229. The point of the comparison is that the rich gather their wealth but they do not get to see the fruits of it.

20 tn The Hebrew text merely says “it.” But the antecedent might be ambiguous in English so the reference to wealth gained by unjust means is here reiterated for clarity.

21 tn Heb “he will be [= prove to be] a fool.”

22 tn The words, “Then I said” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation for clarity to show the shift in speaker.

sn The Lord is no longer threatening judgment but is being addressed. For a similar doxological interruption compare Jer 16:19-20.

23 tn Heb “O glorious throne, O high place from the beginning, O hope of Israel, O Lord.” Commentators and translators generally understand these four lines (which are three in the Hebrew original) as two predications, one eulogizing the temple and the other eulogizing God. However, that does not fit the context very well and does not take into account the nature of Jeremiah’s doxology in Jeremiah 16:19-20 (and compare also 10:6-7). There the doxology is context motivated, focused on God, and calls on relevant attributes in the form of metaphorical epithets. That fits nicely here as well. For the relevant parallel passages see the study note.

sn As King and Judge seated on his heavenly throne on high the Lord metes out justice. For examples of this motif see Jer 25:30; Ps 11:4; 9:4, 7 (9:5, 8 HT). As the place of sanctuary he offers refuge for those who are fleeing for safety. Ezek 11:16 and Isa 18:1-4 are examples of passages using that motif. Finally, the Lord has been referred to earlier as the object of Israel’s hope (Jer 14:8). All of these are relevant to the choices that the Lord has placed before them, trust or turn away, and the threat that as all-knowing Judge he will reward people according to their behavior.

24 tc The translation is based on an emendation suggested in W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:500, n. b-b. The emendation involves following the reading preferred by the Masoretes (the Qere) and understanding the preposition with the following word as a corruption of the suffix on it. Thus the present translation reads וּסוּרֶיךָ אֶרֶץ (usurekhaerets) instead of וּסוּרַי בָּאֶרֶץ (usuray baerets, “and those who leave me will be written in the earth”), a reading which is highly improbable since all the other pronouns are second singular.

25 tn Or “to the world of the dead.” An alternative interpretation is: “will be as though their names were written in the dust”; Heb “will be written in the dust.” The translation follows the nuance of “earth” listed in HALOT 88 s.v. אֶרֶץ 4 and found in Jonah 2:6 (2:7 HT); Job 10:21-22. For the nuance of “enrolling, registering among the number” for the verb translated here “consign” see BDB 507 s.v. כָּתַב Qal.3 and 508 s.v. Niph.2 and compare usage in Ezek 13:9 and Ps 69:28 (69:29 HT).

26 tn Heb “The fountain of living water.” For an earlier use of this metaphor and the explanation of it see Jer 2:13 and the notes there. There does not appear to be any way to retain this metaphor in the text without explaining it. In the earlier text the context would show that literal water was not involved. Here it might still be assumed that the Lord merely gives life-giving water.

27 tn The translation fills in the details of the metaphor from a preceding context (15:18) and from the following context (17:18). The literal translation “Heal me and I will be healed. Rescue me and I will be rescued.” does not make much sense if these details are not filled in. The metaphor is filled in for clarity for the average reader.

28 tn Heb “Behold, they are saying to me.”

29 tn Heb “Where is the word of the Lord. Let it come [or come to pass] please.”

30 tc Heb “I have not run after you for the sake of disaster.” The translation follows the suggestion of some ancient versions. The Hebrew text reads “I have not run from being a shepherd after you.” The translation follows two Greek versions (Aquila and Symmachus) and the Syriac in reading the word “evil” or “disaster” here in place of the word “shepherd” in the Hebrew text. The issue is mainly one of vocalization. The versions mentioned are reading a form מֵרָעָה (meraah) instead of מֵרֹעֶה (meroeh). There does not appear to be any clear case of a prophet being called a shepherd, especially in Jeremiah where it is invariably used of the wicked leaders/rulers of Judah, the leaders/rulers of the enemy that he brings to punish them, or the righteous ruler that he will bring in the future. Moreover, there are no cases where the preposition “after” is used with the verb “shepherd.” Parallelism also argues for the appropriateness of this reading; “disaster” parallels the “incurable day.” The thought also parallels the argument thus far. Other than 11:20; 12:3; 15:15 where he has prayed for vindication by the Lord punishing his persecutors as they deserve, he has invariably responded to the Lord’s word of disaster with laments and prayers for his people (see 4:19-21; 6:24; 8:18; 10:19-25; 14:7-9, 19-22).

31 tn Heb “the incurable day.” For the use of this word see the note on 17:9.

32 tn Heb “that which goes out of my lip is right in front of your face.”

33 tn Heb “do not be a source of dismay for me.” For this nuance of מְחִתָּה (mÿkhittah) rather than “terror” as many of the English versions have it see BDB 370 s.v. מְחִתָּה 1.b and the usage in Prov 21:15. Compare also the usage of the related verb which occurs in the next verse (see also BDB 369 s.v. חָתַת Qal.2).

34 tn Or “complete destruction.” See the translator’s note on 16:18.

sn Jeremiah now does what he says he has not wanted to do or been hasty to do. He is, however, seeking his own vindication and that of God whose threats they have belittled.

35 sn Observance of the Sabbath day (and the Sabbatical year) appears to have been a litmus test of the nation’s spirituality since it is mentioned in a number of passages besides this one (cf., e.g., Isa 56:2, 6; 58:13; Neh 13:15-18). Perhaps this is because the Sabbath day was the sign of the Mosaic covenant (Exod 31:13-17) just as the rainbow was the sign of the Noahic covenant (Gen 9:12, 13, 17) and circumcision was the sign of the Abrahamic covenant (Gen 17:11). This was not the only command they failed to obey, nor was their failure to obey this one the sole determining factor in the Lord’s decision to destroy Judah (cf. 7:23- 24; 11:7-8 in their contexts).

36 sn The identity and location of the People’s Gate is uncertain since it is mentioned nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible. Some identify it with the Benjamin Gate mentioned in Jer 37:13; 38:7 (cf. NAB), but there is no textual support for this in the Hebrew Bible or in any of the ancient versions.

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

38 tn The words “As you stand there” are not in the text but are implicit in the connection. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

39 tn Heb “Listen to the word of the Lord, kings of Judah…Jerusalem who enter through these gates.” This sentence has been restructured to avoid a long complex English sentence and to put “Listen to what the Lord says” closer to the content of what he says.

40 tn Heb “Be careful at the risk of your lives.” The expression with the preposition בְּ (bet) is unique. Elsewhere the verb “be careful” is used with the preposition לְ (lamed) in the sense of the reflexive. Hence the word “soul” cannot be simply reflexive here. BDB 1037 s.v. שָׁמַר Niph.1 understands this as a case where the preposition בְּ introduces the cost or price (cf. BDB 90 s.v. בּ III.3.a).

41 sn Comparison with Neh 13:15-18 suggests that these loads were merchandise or agricultural produce which were being brought in for sale. The loads that were carried out of the houses in the next verse were probably goods for barter.

42 tn Heb “carry loads on the Sabbath and bring [them] in through.” The two verbs “carry” and “bring in” are an example of hendiadys (see the note on “Be careful…by carrying”). This is supported by the next line where only “carry out” of the houses is mentioned.

43 tn Heb “Do not carry any loads out of your houses on the Sabbath day and do not do any work.” Translating literally might give the wrong impression that they were not to work at all. The phrase “on the Sabbath day” is, of course, intended to qualify both prohibitions.

44 tn Heb “But sanctify [or set apart as sacred] the Sabbath day.” The idea of setting it apart as something sacred to the Lord is implicit in the command. See the explicit statements of this in Exod 20:10; 31:5; 35:2; Lev 24:8. For some readers the idea of treating the Sabbath day as something sacred won’t mean much without spelling the qualification out specifically. Sabbath observance was not just a matter of not working.

45 tn Heb “fathers.”

46 tn Heb “They.” The antecedent is spelled out to avoid any possible confusion.

47 tn Heb “They hardened [or made stiff] their neck so as not to.”

48 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

49 tn Heb “If you will carefully obey me by not bringing…and by sanctifying…by not doing…, then kings will….” The structure of prohibitions and commands followed by a brief “if” clause has been used to break up a long condition and consequence relationship which is contrary to contemporary English style.

50 tn Heb “who sit [or are to sit] on David’s throne.”

51 tn Heb “There will come through the gates of this city the kings and princes…riding in chariots and on horses, they and their officials…” The structure of the original text is broken up here because of the long compound subject which would make the English sentence too long. The term “princes” is often omitted as a supposed double writing of the word that follows it and looks somewhat like it (the Hebrew reads here וְשָׂרִים יֹשְׁבִים, vÿsarim yoshÿvim) or the same word which occurs later in the verse and is translated “officials” (the word can refer to either). It is argued that “princes” are never said to sit on the throne of David (translated here “follow in the succession of David”). However, the word is in all texts and versions and the concept of sitting on the throne of someone is descriptive of both past, present, and future and is even used with the participle in a proleptic sense of “the one who is to sit on the throne” (cf. Exod 11:5; 12:29).

52 tn Heb “will be inhabited forever.”

53 tn Heb “There will come from the cities of Judah and from the environs of Jerusalem and from…those bringing…incense and those bringing thank offerings.” This sentence has been restructured from a long complex original to conform to contemporary English style.

54 tn Heb “carry loads on the Sabbath and bring [them] in through.” The translation treats the two verbs “carry” and “bring in” are an example of hendiadys (see the note on “through” in 17:21).

55 tn Heb “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying:” This same formula occurs ten other times in Jeremiah. It has already occurred at 7:1 and 11:1.

56 tn Heb “Get up and go down.” The first verb is not literal but is idiomatic for the initiation of an action. See 13:4, 6 for other occurrences of this idiom.

57 tn Heb “And I will cause you to hear my word there.”

58 tn Heb “And behold he was working.”

59 sn At his wheel (Heb “at the two stones”). The Hebrew expression is very descriptive of the construction of a potter’s wheel which consisted of two stones joined by a horizontal shaft. The potter rotated the wheel with his feet on the lower wheel and worked the clay with his hands on the upper. For a picture of a potter working at his wheel see I. Ben-Dor, “Potter’s Wheel,” IDB 3:846. See also the discussion regarding the making of pottery in J. L. Kelso, “Pottery,” IDB 3:846-53.

60 tn The verbs here denote repeated action. They are the Hebrew perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive. The text then reads somewhat literally, “Whenever the vessel he was molding…was ruined, he would remold…” For this construction see Joüon 2:393-94 §118.n and 2:628-29 §167.b, and compare the usage in Amos 4:7-8.

61 sn Something was wrong with the clay – either there was a lump in it, or it was too moist or not moist enough, or it had some other imperfection. In any case the vessel was “ruined” or “spoiled” or defective in the eyes of the potter. This same verb has been used of the linen shorts that were “ruined” and hence were “good for nothing” in Jer 13:7. The nature of the clay and how it responded to the potter’s hand determined the kind of vessel that he made of it. He did not throw the clay away. This is the basis for the application in vv. 7-10 to any nation and to the nation of Israel in particular vv. 10-17.

62 tn The usage of the preposition בְּ (bet) to introduce the material from which something is made in Exod 38:8 and 1 Kgs 15:22 should lay to rest the rather forced construction that some (like J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 121) put on the variant כַּחֹמֶר (kakhomer) found in a few Hebrew mss. Bright renders that phrase as an elliptical “as clay sometimes will.” The phrase is missing from the Greek version.

63 tn Heb “he would turn and work.” This is an example of hendiadys where one of the two verbs joined by “and” becomes the adverbial modifier of the other. The verb “turn” is very common in this construction (see BDB 998 s.v. שׁוּב Qal.8 for references).

64 tn Heb “as it was right in his eyes to do [or work it].” For this idiom see Judg 14:3, 7; 1 Sam 18:20, 26; 2 Sam 17:4.

65 tn Heb “Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying.”

66 tn This phrase (literally “Oracle of the Lord”) has been handled this way on several occasions when it occurs within first person addresses where the Lord is the speaker. See, e.g., 16:16; 17:24.

67 tn The words “deals with the clay” are not in the text. They are part of an elliptical comparison and are supplied in the translation here for clarity.

68 tn The word “Jeremiah” is not in the text but it is implicit from the introduction in v. 5 that he is being addressed. It is important to see how the rhetoric of this passage is structured. The words of vv. 7-10 lead up to the conclusion “So now” in v. 11 which in turns leads to the conclusion “Therefore” in v. 13. The tense of the verb in v. 12 is very important. It is a vav consecutive perfect indicating the future (cf. GKC 333 §112.p, r); their response is predictable. The words of vv. 7-10 are addressed to Jeremiah (v. 5) in fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to speak to him (v. 2) and furnish the basis for the Lord’s words of conditional threat to a people who show no promise of responding positively (vv. 11-12). Verse six then must be seen as another example of the figure of apostrophe (the turning aside from description about someone to addressing them directly; cf., e.g., Ps 6:8-9 (6:9-10 HT). Earlier examples of this figure have been seen in 6:20; 9:4; 11:13; 12:13; 15:6.

69 tn Heb “One moment I may speak about a nation or kingdom to…” So also in v. 9. The translation is structured this way to avoid an awkward English construction and to reflect the difference in disposition. The constructions are, however, the same.

70 tn Heb “turns from its wickedness.”

71 tn There is a good deal of debate about how the word translated here “revoke” should be translated. There is a good deal of reluctance to translate it “change my mind” because some see that as contradicting Num 23:19 and thus prefer “relent.” However, the English word “relent” suggests the softening of an attitude but not necessarily the change of course. It is clear that in many cases (including here) an actual change of course is in view (see, e.g., Amos 7:3, 6; Jonah 3:9; Jer 26:19; Exod 13:17; 32:14). Several of these passages deal with “conditional” prophecies where a change in behavior of the people or the mediation of a prophet involves the change in course of the threatened punishment (or the promised benefit). “Revoke” or “forgo” may be the best way to render this in contemporary English idiom.

sn There is a wordplay here involving the word “evil” (רָעָה, raah) which refers to both the crime and the punishment. This same play is carried further in Jonah 3:10-4:1 where Jonah becomes very displeased (Heb “it was very evil to Jonah with great evil”) when God forgoes bringing disaster (evil) on Nineveh because they have repented of their wickedness (evil).

72 sn Heb “plant.” The terms “uproot,” “tear down,” “destroy,” “build,” and “plant” are the two sides of the ministry Jeremiah was called to (cf. Jer 1:10).

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

74 sn Heb “I am forming disaster and making plans against you.” The word translated “forming” is the same as that for “potter,” so there is a wordplay taking the reader back to v. 5. They are in his hands like the clay in the hands of the potter. Since they have not been pliable he forms new plans. He still offers them opportunity to repent; but their response is predictable.

75 tn Heb “Turn, each one from his wicked way.” See v. 8.

76 tn Or “Make good your ways and your actions.” See the same expression in 7:3, 5.

77 tn Heb “It is useless!” See the same expression in a similar context in Jer 2:25.

78 tn Heb “We will follow our own plans and do each one according to the stubbornness of his own wicked heart.”

sn This has been the consistent pattern of their behavior. See 7:24; 9:13; 13:10; 16:12.

79 tn The precise translation of this verse is somewhat uncertain. Two phrases in this verse are the primary cause of discussion and the source of numerous emendations, none of which has gained consensus. The phrase which is rendered here “rocky slopes” is in Hebrew צוּר שָׂדַי (tsur saday), which would normally mean something like “rocky crag of the field” (see BDB 961 s.v. שָׂדַי 1.g). Numerous emendations have been proposed, most of which are listed in the footnotes of J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah (NICOT), 436. The present translation has chosen to follow the proposal of several scholars that the word here is related to the Akkadian word shadu meaning mountain. The other difficulty is the word translated “cease” which in the MT is literally “be uprooted” (יִנָּתְשׁוּ, yinnatshu). The word is usually emended to read יִנָּשְׁתוּ (yinnashtu, “are dried up”) as a case of transposed letters (cf., e.g., BDB 684 s.v. נָתַשׁ Niph). This is probably a case of an error in hearing and the word נָטַשׁ (natash) which is often parallel to עָזַב (’azav), translated here “vanish,” should be read in the sense that it has in 1 Sam 10:2. Whether one reads “are plucked up” and understands it figuratively of ceasing (“are dried” or “cease”), the sense is the same. For the sense of “distant” for the word זָרִים (zarim) see 2 Kgs 19:24.

sn Israel’s actions are contrary to nature. See the same kind of argumentation in Jer 2:11; 8:7.

80 sn Heb “the ancient path.” This has already been referred to in Jer 6:16. There is another “old way” but it is the path trod by the wicked (cf. Job 22:15).

81 sn Heb “ways that are not built up.” This refers to the built-up highways. See Isa 40:4 for the figure. The terms “way,” “by-paths,” “roads” are, of course, being used here in the sense of moral behavior or action.

82 tn There may be a deliberate double meaning involved here. The word translated here “an object of horror” refers both to destruction (cf. 2:15; 4:17) and the horror or dismay that accompanies it (cf. 5:30; 8:21). The fact that there is no conjunction or preposition in front of the noun “hissing” that follows this suggests that the reaction is in view here, not the cause.

83 tn Heb “an object of lasting hissing. All who pass that way will be appalled and shake their head.”

sn The actions of “shaking of the head” and “hissing” were obviously gestures of scorn and derision. See Lam 2:15-16.

84 tc Heb “I will show them [my] back and not [my] face.” This reading follows the suggestion of some of the versions and some of the Masoretes. The MT reads “I will look on their back and not on their faces.”

sn To “turn the back” is universally recognized as a symbol of rejection. The turning of the face toward one is the subject of the beautiful Aaronic blessing in Num 6:24-26.

85 tn Heb “They.” The referent is unidentified; “some people” has been used in the translation.

86 tn Heb “Let us make plans against Jeremiah.” See 18:18 where this has sinister overtones as it does here.

87 tn Heb “Instruction will not perish from priest, counsel from the wise, word from the prophet.”

sn These are the three channels through whom God spoke to his people in the OT. See Jer 8:8-10 and Ezek 7:26.

88 tn Heb “Let us smite him with our tongues.” It is clear from the context that this involved plots to kill him.

89 tn The words “Then I said” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation for clarity to show that Jeremiah turns from description of the peoples’ plots to his address to God to deal with the plotters.

90 tn Heb “the voice of my adversaries.”

sn Jeremiah’s prayers against the unjust treatment of his enemies here and elsewhere (see 11:18-20; 12:1-4; 15:15-18; 17:14-18) have many of the elements of the prayers of the innocent in the book of Psalms: an invocation of the Lord as just judge, a lament about unjust attacks, an appeal to innocence, and a cry for vindication which often calls for the Lord to pay back in kind those who unjustly attack the petitioner. See for examples Pss 5, 7, 17, 54 among many others.

91 tn Or “They are plotting to kill me”; Heb “They have dug a pit for my soul.” This is a common metaphor for plotting against someone. See BDB 500 s.v. כָּרָה Qal and for an example see Pss 7:16 (7:15 HT) in its context.

92 tn Heb “to speak good concerning them” going back to the concept of “good” being paid back with evil.

93 tn Heb “to turn back your anger from them.”

sn See Jer 14:7-9, 19-21 and 15:1-4 for the idea.

94 tn Heb “be poured out to the hand [= power] of the sword.” For this same expression see Ezek 35:5; Ps 63:10 (63:11 HT). Comparison with those two passages show that it involved death by violent means, perhaps death in battle.

95 tn Heb “be slain by death.” The commentaries are generally agreed that this refers to death by disease or plague as in 15:2. Hence, the reference is to the deadly trio of sword, starvation, and disease which were often connected with war. See the notes on 15:2.

96 tn Heb “when you bring marauders in against them.” For the use of the noun translated here “bands of raiders to plunder them” see 1 Sam 30:3, 15, 23 and BDB 151 s.v. גְּדוּד 1.

97 sn Heb “Do not blot out their sins from before you.” For this anthropomorphic figure which looks at God’s actions as though connected with record books, i.e., a book of wrongdoings to be punished, and a book of life for those who are to live, see e.g., Exod 32:32, 33, Ps 51:1 (51:3 HT); 69:28 (69:29 HT).

98 tn Heb “in the time of your anger.”

99 tn The word “Jeremiah” is not in the text. Some Hebrew mss and some of the versions have “to me.” This section, 19:1–20:6 appears to be one of the biographical sections of the book of Jeremiah where incidents in his life are reported in third person. See clearly 9:14 and 20:1-3. The mss and versions do not represent a more original text but are translational or interpretive attempts to fill in a text which had no referent. They are like the translational addition that has been supplied on the basis of contextual indicators.

100 tn Heb “an earthenware jar of the potter.”

sn The word translated “clay” here refers to a clay which has been baked or fired in a kiln. In Jer 18 the clay was still soft and pliable, capable of being formed into different kinds of vessels. Here the clay is set, just as Israel is set in its ways. The word for jar refers probably to a water jug or decanter and is onomatopoeic, baqbuq, referring to the gurgling sound made by pouring out the water.

101 tc The words “Take with you” follow the reading of the Syriac version and to a certain extent the reading of the Greek version (the latter does not have “with you”). The Hebrew text does not have these words but they are undoubtedly implicit.

102 tn Heb “elders” both here and before “of the people.”

sn The civil and religious leaders are referred to here. They were to be witnesses of the symbolic act and of the message that Jeremiah proclaimed to the leaders of Jerusalem and its citizens (see v. 3).

103 sn The exact location of the Potsherd Gate is unknown since it is nowhere else mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. It is sometimes identified with the Dung Gate mentioned in Neh 2:13; 3:13-14; 12:31 on the basis of the Jerusalem Targum. It is probably called “Potsherd Gate” because that is where the potter threw out the broken pieces of pottery which were no longer of use to him. The Valley of Ben Hinnom has already been mentioned in 7:31-32 in connection with the illicit religious practices, including child sacrifice, which took place there. The Valley of Ben Hinnom (or sometimes Valley of Hinnom) runs along the west and south sides of Jerusalem.

104 tn Heb “the words that I will speak to you.”

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

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

sn See the study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for explanation of this title.

107 sn Careful comparison of the use of this term throughout this passage and comparison with 7:31-33 which is parallel to several verses in this passage will show that the reference is to the Valley of Ben Hinnom which will become a Valley of Slaughter (see v. 6 and 7:32).

108 tn Heb “which everyone who hears it [or about it] his ears will ring.” This is proverbial for a tremendous disaster. See 1 Sam 3:11; 2 Kgs 21:12 for similar prophecies.

109 tn The text merely has “they.” But since a reference is made later to “they” and “their ancestors,” the referent must be to the people that the leaders of the people and leaders of the priests represent.

110 sn Heb “have made this city foreign.” The verb here is one that is built off of the noun and adjective which relate to foreign nations. Comparison may be made to Jer 2:21 where the adjective refers to the strange, wild vine as opposed to the choice vine the Lord planted and to 5:19 and 8:19 where the noun is used of worshiping foreign gods. Israel through its false worship has “denationalized” itself in its relation to God.

111 tn Heb “fathers.”

112 tn Heb “the blood of innocent ones.” This must be a reference to child sacrifice as explained in the next verse. Some have seen a reference to the sins of social injustice alluded to in 2 Kgs 21:16 and 24:4 but those are connected with the city itself. Hence the word children is supplied in the translation to make the referent explicit.

113 tn The word “here” is not in the text. However, it is implicit from the rest of the context. It is supplied in the translation for clarity.

114 tn The words “such sacrifices” are not in the text. The text merely says “to burn their children in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal which I did not command.” The command obviously refers not to the qualification “to Baal” but to burning the children in the fire as burnt offerings. The words are supplied in the translation to avoid a possible confusion that the reference is to sacrifices to Baal. Likewise the words should not be translated so literally that they leave the impression that God never said anything about sacrificing their children to other gods. The fact is he did. See Lev 18:21; Deut 12:30; 18:10.

115 tn This phrase (Heb “Oracle of the Lord”) has been handled this way on several occasions when it occurs within first person addresses where the Lord is the speaker. See, e.g., 16:16; 17:24; 18:6.

116 tn Heb “it will no longer be called to this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom but the Valley of Slaughter.”

sn See Jer 7:31-32 for an almost word for word repetition of vv. 5-6.

117 sn There is perhaps a two-fold wordplay in the use of this word. One involves the sound play with the word for “jar,” which has been explained as a water decanter. The word here is בַקֹּתִי (vaqqoti). The word for jar in v. 1 is בַקְבֻּק (vaqbuq). There may also be a play on the literal use of this word to refer to the laying waste or destruction of a land (see Isa 24:3; Nah 2:3). Many modern commentaries think that at this point Jeremiah emptied out the contents of the jar, symbolizing the “emptying” out of their plans.

118 sn This refers to the fact that they will die in battle. The sword would be only one of the weapons that strikes them down. It is one of the trio of “sword,” “starvation,” and “disease” which were the concomitants of war referred to so often in the book of Jeremiah. Starvation is referred to in v. 9.

119 tn Heb “I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and in the hand of those who seek their soul [= life].” In this context the two are meant as obvious qualifications of one entity, not two. Some rearrangement of the qualifiers had to be made in the English translation to convey this.

120 sn See 18:16 and the study note there.

121 tn Heb “all its smitings.” This word has been used several times for the metaphorical “wounds” that Israel has suffered as a result of the blows from its enemies. See, e.g., 14:17. It is used in the Hebrew Bible of scourging, both literally and metaphorically (cf. Deut 25:3; Isa 10:26), and of slaughter and defeat (1 Sam 4:10; Josh 10:20). Here it refers to the results of the crushing blows at the hands of her enemies which has made her the object of scorn.

122 tn This verse has been restructured to try to bring out the proper thought and subordinations reflected in the verse without making the sentence too long and complex in English: Heb “I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters. And they will eat one another’s flesh in the siege and in the straits which their enemies who are seeking their lives reduce them to.” This also shows the agency through which God’s causation was effected, i.e., the siege.

sn Cannibalism is one of the penalties for disobedience to their covenant with the Lord effected through the Mosaic covenant. See Deut 28:53, 55, 57. For examples of this being carried out see 2 Kgs 6:28-29; Lam 4:10.

123 tn The words “And the Lord continued” are not in the text. However, they are necessary to take us clearly back to the flow of the narrative begun in vv. 1-2 and interrupted by the long speech in vv. 3-9.

124 tn Heb “Thus says Yahweh of armies.” For this title see the study note on 2:19. The translation attempts to avoid the confusion of embedding quotes within quotes by reducing this one to an indirect quote.

125 tn The adverb “Thus” or “Like this” normally points back to something previously mentioned. See, e.g., Exod 29:35; Num 11:15; 15:11; Deut 25:9.

126 tn Heb “Like this I will break this people and this city, just as one breaks the vessel of a potter which is not able to be repaired.”

127 sn See Jer 7:22-23 for parallels.

128 tn This phrase (Heb “Oracle of the Lord”) has been handled this way on several occasions when it occurs within first person addresses where the Lord is the speaker. See, e.g., 16:16; 17:24; 18:6.

129 tn The words “by dead bodies” is not in the text but is implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

130 tn Heb “the host of heaven.”

131 tn Heb “And Jeremiah entered from Topheth where the Lord had sent him to prophesy and he stood in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple.”

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

sn See the study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for explanation of this title.

133 tn Heb “all its towns.”

134 tn Heb “They hardened [or made stiff] their neck so as not to.”

135 tn Heb “chief overseer/officer.” The translation follows the suggestion of P. C. Craigie, P. H. Kelley, J. F. Drinkard, Jeremiah 1-25 (WBC), 267, based on the parallel passage in 29:26-27 where this official appears to have been in charge of maintaining order in the temple.

sn Judging from a comparison of this passage with Jer 29:26-27 and that passage in turn with 2 Kgs 25:18, Pashhur held an office second in rank only to the high priest. He was in charge of keeping order in the temple and took offense at what he heard Jeremiah saying.

136 tn Heb “And Pashhur son of Immer, the priest and he [= who] was chief overseer [or officer] in the house of the Lord heard Jeremiah prophesying these words/things 20:2 and Pashhur had the prophet Jeremiah flogged.” This verse and the previous one has been restructured in the translation to better conform with contemporary English style.

137 tn The meaning of this word is uncertain. It occurs only here, in 29:26 where it is followed by a parallel word that occurs only there and is generally translated “collar,” and in 2 Chr 16:10 where it is preceded by the word “house of.” It is most often translated “stocks” and explained as an instrument of confinement for keeping prisoners in a crooked position (from its relation to a root meaning “to turn.” See BDB 246 s.v. מַהְפֶּכֶת and KBL 500 s.v. מַהְפֶּכֶת for definition and discussion.) For a full discussion including the interpretation of the ancient versions see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:542-43.

138 sn A comparison of Ezek 8:3 and 9:2 in their contexts will show that this probably refers to the northern gate to the inner court of the temple. It is called Upper because it was on higher ground above the gate in the outer court. It is qualified by “in the Lord’s temple” to distinguish it from the Benjamin Gate in the city wall (cf. 37:13; 38:7). Like the Benjamin Gate in the city wall it faced north toward the territory of the tribe of Benjamin.

139 tn This name is translated rather than transliterated to aid the reader in understanding this name and connect it clearly with the explanation that follows in the next verse. For a rather complete discussion on the significance of this name and an attempt to explain it as a pun on the name “Pashhur” see J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah (NICOT), 455, n. 35.

sn The name Pashhur is essentially a curse pronounced by Jeremiah invoking the Lord’s authority. The same phrase occurs in Jer 6:25; 46:5; 49:29 which are all in the context of war. In ancient Israelite culture the change in name denoted a change in status or destiny. See, for example, the shift from Jacob (“He grabs the heel” and “Cheater” or “Deceiver,” Gen 25:26; 27:36) to Israel (“He perseveres with God,” Gen 32:28).

140 tn Heb “I will make you an object of terror to both you and your friends.”

141 tn Heb “And they will fall by the sword of their enemies and [with] your eyes seeing [it].”

142 tn Heb “Take them [the goods, etc.] as plunder and seize them.”

143 tn Heb “all who live in your house.” This included his family and his servants.

144 sn As a member of the priesthood and the protector of order in the temple, Pashhur was undoubtedly one of those who promulgated the deceptive belief that the Lord’s presence in the temple was a guarantee of Judah’s safety (cf. 7:4, 8). Judging from the fact that two other men held the same office after the leading men in the city were carried into exile in 597 b.c. (see Jer 29:25-26 and compare 29:1-2 for the date and 2 Kgs 24:12-16 for the facts), this prophecy was probably fulfilled in 597. For a similar kind of oracle of judgment see Amos 7:10-17.

145 tn The translation is admittedly interpretive but so is every other translation that tries to capture the nuance of the verb rendered here “coerced.” Here the Hebrew text reads: “You [ – ]ed me and I let myself be [ – ]ed. You overpowered me and prevailed.” The value one assigns to [ – ] is in every case interpretive based on what one thinks the context is referring to. The word is rendered “deceived” or “tricked” by several English versions (see, e.g., KJV, NASB, TEV, ICV) as though God had misled him. It is rendered “enticed” by some (see, e.g., NRSV, NJPS) as though God had tempted him with false hopes. Some go so far as to accuse Jeremiah of accusing God of metaphorically “raping” him. It is true that the word is used of “seducing” a virgin in Exod 22:15 and that it is used in several places to refer to “deceiving” someone with false words (Prov 24:28; Ps 78:36). It is also true that it is used of “coaxing” someone to reveal something he does not want to (Judg 14:15; 16:5) and of “enticing” someone to do something on the basis of false hopes (1 Kgs 22:20-22; Prov 1:10). However, it does not always have negative connotations or associations. In Hos 2:14 (2:16 HT) God “charms” or “woos” Israel, his estranged ‘wife,’ into the wilderness where he hopes to win her back to himself. What Jeremiah is alluding to here is crucial for translating and interpreting the word. There is no indication in this passage that Jeremiah is accusing God of misleading him or raising false hopes; God informed him at the outset that he would encounter opposition (1:17-19). Rather, he is alluding to his call to be a prophet, a call which he initially resisted but was persuaded to undertake because of God’s persistence (Jer 1:7-10). The best single word to translate ‘…’ with is thus “persuaded” or “coerced.” The translation spells out the allusion explicitly so the reader is not left wondering about what is being alluded to when Jeremiah speaks of being “coerced.” The translation “I let you do it” is a way of rendering the Niphal of the same verb which must be tolerative rather than passive since the normal passive for the Piel would be the Pual (See IBHS 389-90 §23.4g for discussion and examples.). The translation “you overcame my resistance” is based on allusion to the same context (1:7-10) and the parallel use of חָזַק (khazaq) as a transitive verb with a direct object in 1 Kgs 16:22.

146 tn Heb “speak,” but the speaking is in the context of speaking as a prophet.

147 tn Heb “I cry out, I proclaim.”

148 tn Heb “Violence and destruction.”

sn The words “Violence and destruction…” are a synopsis of his messages of judgment. Jeremiah is lamenting that his ministry up to this point has been one of judgment and has brought him nothing but ridicule because the Lord has not carried out his threats. He appears in the eyes of the people to be a false prophet.

149 tn Heb “the word of the Lord.” For the use of כִּיכִּי (kiki) here in the sense of “for…and” see KBL 432 s.v. כּי 10.

150 tn Heb “speak in his name.” This idiom occurs in passages where someone functions as the messenger under the authority of another. See Exod 5:23; Deut 18:19, 29:20; Jer 14:14. The antecedent in the first line is quite commonly misidentified as being “him,” i.e., the Lord. Comparison, however, with the rest of the context, especially the consequential clause “then it becomes” (וְהָיָה, vÿhayah), and Jer 23:36 shows that it is “the word of the Lord.”

151 tn The English sentence has again been restructured for the sake of English style. The Hebrew construction involves two vav consecutive perfects in a condition and consequence relation, “If I say to myself…then it [his word] becomes.” See GKC 337 §112.kk for the construction.

152 sn Heb “It is in my heart like a burning fire, shut up in my bones.” In addition to standing as part for the whole, the “bones” for the person (e.g., Ps 35:10), the bones were associated with fear (e.g., Job 4:14) and with pain (e.g., Job 33:19, Ps 102:3 [102:4 HT]) and joy or sorrow (e.g., Ps 51:8 [51:10 HT]). As has been mentioned several times, the heart was connected with intellectual and volitional concerns.

153 tn It would be difficult to render accurately the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) that introduces this verse without lengthening the English line unduly. It probably means something like “This is true even though I…,” i.e., the particle is concessive (cf. BDB s.v. כִּי 2.c). No other nuance seems appropriate. The particle is left out of the translation, but its presence is acknowledged here.

154 tn The phrase translated “Those who would cause me terror are everywhere” has already occurred in 6:25 in the context of the terror caused by the enemy from the north and in 20:3 in reference to the curse pronounced on Pashhur who would experience it first hand. Some have seen the phrase here not as Jeremiah’s ejaculation of terror but of his assailant’s taunts of his message or even their taunting nickname for him. But comparison of this passage with the first two lines of Ps 31:13 (31:14 HT) which are word for word the same as these two will show that it refers to the terror inspired by the plots of his enemies to do away with him. It is also clear from the context of that passage and the following context here that the “whispering of many” (the literal translation of “many whispering words of intrigue against me) refers to intrigues to take vengeance on him and do away with him.

155 tn Heb “Denounce and let us denounce him.” The verb which is translated “denounce” (נָגַד, nagad) does not take an accusative object of person as it does here very often. When it does it usually means to inform someone. The only relevant passage appears to be Job 17:5 where it means something like “denounce.” What is probably involved here are the attempts to portray Jeremiah as a traitor (Jer 26:10) and a false prophet (see his conflict with Hananiah in Jer 28).

156 tn Heb “the men of my peace [who are concerned about my welfare].” For this phrase compare Ps 41:9 (41:10 HT); Jer 38:22. It is generally agreed that irony is being invoked here, hence “so-called” is supplied in the translation to bring out the irony.

157 tn Heb “watching my stumbling [for me to stumble].” Metaphorically they were watching for some slip-up that would lead to his downfall. Compare the use in Pss 35:15 and 38:17 (38:18 HT).

158 tn All the text says literally is “Perhaps he can be enticed so that we can prevail over him.” However the word “enticed” needs some qualification. As W. McKane (Jeremiah [ICC], 1:479) notes it should probably be read in the context of the “stumbling” (= “something that would lead to my downfall”). Hence “slipping up” has been supplied as an object. It is vague enough to avoid specifics as the original text does but suggests some reference to “something that would lead to my downfall.”

sn There is an interesting ironical play on words here with the earlier use of these same Hebrew words in v. 7 to refer to the Lord coercing him into being his spokesman and overcoming his resistance. Jeremiah is lamenting that it was God’s call to speak his word which he could not (and still cannot) resist that has led ironically to his predicament, which is a source of terror to him.

159 sn This line has some interesting ties with Jer 15:20-21 where Jeremiah is assured by God that he is indeed with him as he promised him when he called him (1:8, 19) and will deliver him from the clutches of wicked and violent people. The word translated here “awe-inspiring” is the same as the word “violent people” there. Jeremiah is confident that his “awe-inspiring” warrior will overcome “violent people.” The statement of confidence here is, by the way, a common element in the psalms of petition in the Psalter. The common elements of that type of psalm are all here: invocation (v. 7), lament (vv. 7-10), confession of trust/confidence in being heard (v. 11), petition (v. 12), thanksgiving or praise (v. 13). For some examples of this type of psalm see Pss 3, 7, 26.

160 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

sn See the study note on 2:19 for explanation of this title for God.

161 tn HebLord of armies, the one who tests the righteous, who sees kidneys and heart.” The sentence has been broken up to avoid a long and complex English sentence. The translation is more in keeping with contemporary English style.

sn This verse is almost an exact duplication of the petition in one of Jeremiah’s earlier prayers and complaints. See Jer 11:20 and notes there for explanation of the Hebrew psychology underlying the use of “kidneys and heart” here. For the thoughts expressed here see Ps 17.

162 sn While it may be a little confusing to modern readers to see the fluctuation in moods and the shifts in addressee in a prayer and complaint like this, it was not at all unusual for Israel where these were often offered in the temple in the conscious presence of God before fellow worshipers. For another example of these same shifts see Ps 22 which is a prayer of David in a time of deep distress.

163 sn From the heights of exaltation, Jeremiah returns to the depths of despair. For similar mood swings in the psalms of lament compare Ps 102. Verses 14-18 are similar in tone and mood to Job 3:1-10. They are very forceful rhetorical ways of Job and Jeremiah expressing the wish that they had never been born.

164 tn Heb “Cursed be the man who brought my father the news saying, ‘A son, a male, has been born to you,’ making glad his joy.” This verse has been restructured for English stylistic purposes.

sn The birth of a child was an occasion of great joy. This was especially true if the child was a boy because it meant the continuance of the family line and the right of retention of the family property. See Ruth 4:10, 13-17.

165 sn The cities alluded to are Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the Jordan plain which had become proverbial for their wickedness and for the destruction that the Lord brought on them because of it. See Isa 1:9-10; 13:19; Jer 23:14; 49:18.

166 tn Heb “because he did not kill me from the womb so my mother might be to me for my grave and her womb eternally pregnant.” The sentence structure has been modified and the word “womb” moved from the last line to the next to the last line for English stylistic purposes and greater clarity.

167 tn Heb “Why did I come forth from the womb to see [= so that I might see] trouble and grief and that my days might be consumed in shame.”



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