Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) August 24
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Jeremiah 21:1--23:40

Context
The Lord Will Hand Jerusalem over to Enemies

21:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah 1  when King Zedekiah 2  sent to him Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. 3  Zedekiah sent them to Jeremiah to ask, 4  21:2 “Please ask the Lord to come and help us, 5  because King Nebuchadnezzar 6  of Babylon is attacking us. Maybe the Lord will perform one of his miracles as in times past and make him stop attacking us and leave.” 7  21:3 Jeremiah answered them, “Tell Zedekiah 21:4 that the Lord, the God of Israel, says, 8  ‘The forces at your disposal 9  are now outside the walls fighting against King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the Babylonians 10  who have you under siege. I will gather those forces back inside the city. 11  21:5 In anger, in fury, and in wrath I myself will fight against you with my mighty power and great strength! 12  21:6 I will kill everything living in Jerusalem, 13  people and animals alike! They will die from terrible diseases. 21:7 Then 14  I, the Lord, promise that 15  I will hand over King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, and any of the people who survive the war, starvation, and disease. I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and to their enemies who want to kill them. He will slaughter them with the sword. He will not show them any mercy, compassion, or pity.’

21:8 “But 16  tell the people of Jerusalem 17  that the Lord says, ‘I will give you a choice between two courses of action. One will result in life; the other will result in death. 18  21:9 Those who stay in this city will die in battle or of starvation or disease. Those who leave the city and surrender to the Babylonians who are besieging it will live. They will escape with their lives. 19  21:10 For I, the Lord, say that 20  I am determined not to deliver this city but to bring disaster on it. 21  It will be handed over to the king of Babylon and he will destroy it with fire.’” 22 

Warnings to the Royal Court

21:11 The Lord told me to say 23  to the royal court 24  of Judah,

“Listen to what the Lord says,

21:12 O royal family descended from David. 25 

The Lord says:

‘See to it that people each day 26  are judged fairly. 27 

Deliver those who have been robbed from those 28  who oppress them.

Otherwise, my wrath will blaze out against you.

It will burn like a fire that cannot be put out

because of the evil that you have done. 29 

21:13 Listen, you 30  who sit enthroned above the valley on a rocky plateau.

I am opposed to you,’ 31  says the Lord. 32 

‘You boast, “No one can swoop down on us.

No one can penetrate into our places of refuge.” 33 

21:14 But I will punish you as your deeds deserve,’

says the Lord. 34 

‘I will set fire to your palace;

it will burn up everything around it.’” 35 

22:1 The Lord told me, 36  “Go down 37  to the palace of the king of Judah. Give him a message from me there. 38  22:2 Say: ‘Listen, O king of Judah who follows in David’s succession. 39  You, your officials, and your subjects who pass through the gates of this palace must listen to what the Lord says. 40  22:3 The Lord says, “Do what is just and right. Deliver those who have been robbed from those 41  who oppress them. Do not exploit or mistreat foreigners who live in your land, children who have no fathers, or widows. 42  Do not kill innocent people 43  in this land. 22:4 If you are careful to 44  obey these commands, then the kings who follow in David’s succession and ride in chariots or on horses will continue to come through the gates of this palace, as will their officials and their subjects. 45  22:5 But, if you do not obey these commands, I solemnly swear 46  that this palace will become a pile of rubble. I, the Lord, affirm it!” 47 

22:6 “‘For the Lord says concerning the palace of the king of Judah,

“This place looks like a veritable forest of Gilead to me.

It is like the wooded heights of Lebanon in my eyes.

But I swear that I will make it like a wilderness

whose towns have all been deserted. 48 

22:7 I will send men against it to destroy it 49 

with their axes and hatchets.

They will hack up its fine cedar panels and columns

and throw them into the fire.

22:8 “‘People from other nations will pass by this city. They will ask one another, “Why has the Lord done such a thing to this great city?” 22:9 The answer will come back, “It is because they broke their covenant with the Lord their God and worshiped and served other gods.”

Judgment on Jehoahaz

22:10 “‘Do not weep for the king who was killed.

Do not grieve for him.

But weep mournfully for the king who has gone into exile.

For he will never return to see his native land again. 50 

22:11 “‘For the Lord has spoken about Shallum son of Josiah, who succeeded his father as king of Judah but was carried off into exile. He has said, “He will never return to this land. 51  22:12 For he will die in the country where they took him as a captive. He will never see this land again.” 52 

Judgment on Jehoiakim

22:13 “‘Sure to be judged 53  is the king who builds his palace using injustice

and treats people unfairly while adding its upper rooms. 54 

He makes his countrymen work for him for nothing.

He does not pay them for their labor.

22:14 He says, “I will build myself a large palace

with spacious upper rooms.”

He cuts windows in its walls,

panels it 55  with cedar, and paints its rooms red. 56 

22:15 Does it make you any more of a king

that you outstrip everyone else in 57  building with cedar?

Just think about your father.

He was content that he had food and drink. 58 

He did what was just and right. 59 

So things went well with him.

22:16 He upheld the cause of the poor and needy.

So things went well for Judah.’ 60 

The Lord says,

‘That is a good example of what it means to know me.’ 61 

22:17 But you are always thinking and looking

for ways to increase your wealth by dishonest means.

Your eyes and your heart are set

on killing some innocent person

and committing fraud and oppression. 62 

22:18 So 63  the Lord has this to say about Josiah’s son, King Jehoiakim of Judah:

People will not mourn for him, saying,

“This makes me sad, my brother!

This makes me sad, my sister!”

They will not mourn for him, saying,

“Poor, poor lord! Poor, poor majesty!” 64 

22:19 He will be left unburied just like a dead donkey.

His body will be dragged off and thrown outside the gates of Jerusalem.’” 65 

Warning to Jerusalem

22:20 People of Jerusalem, 66  go up to Lebanon and cry out in mourning.

Go to the land of Bashan and cry out loudly.

Cry out in mourning from the mountains of Moab. 67 

For your allies 68  have all been defeated.

22:21 While you were feeling secure I gave you warning. 69 

But you said, “I refuse to listen to you.”

That is the way you have acted from your earliest history onward. 70 

Indeed, you have never paid attention to me.

22:22 My judgment will carry off all your leaders like a storm wind! 71 

Your allies will go into captivity.

Then you will certainly 72  be disgraced and put to shame

because of all the wickedness you have done.

22:23 You may feel as secure as a bird

nesting in the cedars of Lebanon.

But oh how you 73  will groan 74  when the pains of judgment come on you.

They will be like those of a woman giving birth to a baby. 75 

Jeconiah Will Be Permanently Exiled

22:24 The Lord says, 76 

“As surely as I am the living God, you, Jeconiah, 77  king of Judah, son of Jehoiakim, will not be the earthly representative of my authority. Indeed, I will take that right away from you. 78  22:25 I will hand you over to those who want to take your life and of whom you are afraid. I will hand you over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his Babylonian 79  soldiers. 22:26 I will force you and your mother who gave you birth into exile. You will be exiled to 80  a country where neither of you were born, and you will both die there. 22:27 You will never come back to this land to which you will long to return!” 81 

22:28 This man, Jeconiah, will be like a broken pot someone threw away.

He will be like a clay vessel 82  that no one wants. 83 

Why will he and his children be forced into exile?

Why will they be thrown out into a country they know nothing about? 84 

22:29 O land of Judah, land of Judah, land of Judah! 85 

Listen to what the Lord has to say!

22:30 The Lord says,

“Enroll this man in the register as though he were childless. 86 

Enroll him as a man who will not enjoy success during his lifetime.

For none of his sons will succeed in occupying the throne of David

or ever succeed in ruling over Judah.”

New Leaders over a Regathered Remnant

23:1 The Lord says, 87  “The leaders of my people are sure to be judged. 88  They were supposed to watch over my people like shepherds watch over their sheep. But they are causing my people to be destroyed and scattered. 89  23:2 So the Lord God of Israel has this to say about the leaders who are ruling over his people: “You have caused my people 90  to be dispersed and driven into exile. You have not taken care of them. So I will punish you for the evil that you have done. 91  I, the Lord, affirm it! 92  23:3 Then I myself will regather those of my people 93  who are still alive from all the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their homeland. 94  They will greatly increase in number. 23:4 I will install rulers 95  over them who will care for them. Then they will no longer need to fear or be terrified. None of them will turn up missing. 96  I, the Lord, promise it! 97 

23:5 “I, the Lord, promise 98  that a new time will certainly come 99 

when I will raise up for them a righteous branch, 100  a descendant of David.

He will rule over them with wisdom and understanding 101 

and will do what is just and right in the land. 102 

23:6 Under his rule 103  Judah will enjoy safety 104 

and Israel will live in security. 105 

This is the name he will go by:

‘The Lord has provided us with justice.’ 106 

23:7 “So I, the Lord, say: 107  ‘A new time will certainly come. 108  People now affirm their oaths with “I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt.” 23:8 But at that time they will affirm them with “I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the descendants of the former nation of Israel 109  from the land of the north and from all the other lands where he had banished 110  them.” 111  At that time they will live in their own land.’”

Oracles Against the False Prophets 112 

23:9 Here is what the Lord says concerning the false prophets: 113 

My heart and my mind are deeply disturbed.

I tremble all over. 114 

I am like a drunk person,

like a person who has had too much wine, 115 

because of the way the Lord

and his holy word are being mistreated. 116 

23:10 For the land is full of people unfaithful to him. 117 

They live wicked lives and they misuse their power. 118 

So the land is dried up 119  because it is under his curse. 120 

The pastures in the wilderness are withered.

23:11 Moreover, 121  the Lord says, 122 

“Both the prophets and priests are godless.

I have even found them doing evil in my temple!

23:12 So the paths they follow will be dark and slippery.

They will stumble and fall headlong.

For I will bring disaster on them.

A day of reckoning is coming for them.” 123 

The Lord affirms it! 124 

23:13 The Lord says, 125  “I saw the prophets of Samaria 126 

doing something that was disgusting. 127 

They prophesied in the name of the god Baal

and led my people Israel astray. 128 

23:14 But I see the prophets of Jerusalem 129 

doing something just as shocking.

They are unfaithful to me

and continually prophesy lies. 130 

So they give encouragement to people who are doing evil,

with the result that they do not stop their evildoing. 131 

I consider all of them as bad as the people of Sodom,

and the citizens of Jerusalem as bad as the people of Gomorrah. 132 

23:15 So then I, the Lord who rules over all, 133 

have something to say concerning the prophets of Jerusalem: 134 

‘I will make these prophets eat the bitter food of suffering

and drink the poison water of judgment. 135 

For the prophets of Jerusalem are the reason 136 

that ungodliness 137  has spread throughout the land.’”

23:16 The Lord who rules over all 138  says to the people of Jerusalem: 139 

“Do not listen to what

those prophets are saying to you.

They are filling you with false hopes.

They are reporting visions of their own imaginations,

not something the Lord has given them to say. 140 

23:17 They continually say 141  to those who reject what the Lord has said, 142 

‘Things will go well for you!’ 143 

They say to all those who follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts,

‘Nothing bad will happen to you!’

23:18 Yet which of them has ever stood in the Lord’s inner circle 144 

so they 145  could see and hear what he has to say? 146 

Which of them have ever paid attention or listened to what he has said?

23:19 But just watch! 147  The wrath of the Lord

will come like a storm! 148 

Like a raging storm it will rage down 149 

on the heads of those who are wicked.

23:20 The anger of the Lord will not turn back

until he has fully carried out his intended purposes. 150 

In days to come 151 

you people will come to understand this clearly. 152 

23:21 I did not send those prophets.

Yet they were in a hurry to give their message. 153 

I did not tell them anything.

Yet they prophesied anyway.

23:22 But if they had stood in my inner circle, 154 

they would have proclaimed my message to my people.

They would have caused my people to turn from their wicked ways

and stop doing the evil things they are doing.

23:23 Do you people think 155  that I am some local deity

and not the transcendent God?” 156  the Lord asks. 157 

23:24 “Do you really think anyone can hide himself

where I cannot see him?” the Lord asks. 158 

“Do you not know that I am everywhere?” 159 

the Lord asks. 160 

23:25 The Lord says, 161  “I have heard what those prophets who are prophesying lies in my name are saying. They are saying, ‘I have had a dream! I have had a dream!’ 162  23:26 Those prophets are just prophesying lies. They are prophesying the delusions of their own minds. 163  23:27 How long will they go on plotting 164  to make my people forget who I am 165  through the dreams they tell one another? That is just as bad as what their ancestors 166  did when they forgot who I am by worshiping the god Baal. 167  23:28 Let the prophet who has had a dream go ahead and tell his dream. Let the person who has received my message report that message faithfully. What is like straw cannot compare to what is like grain! 168  I, the Lord, affirm it! 169  23:29 My message is like a fire that purges dross! 170  It is like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces! 171  I, the Lord, so affirm it! 172  23:30 So I, the Lord, affirm 173  that I am opposed to those prophets who steal messages from one another that they claim are from me. 174  23:31 I, the Lord, affirm 175  that I am opposed to those prophets who are using their own tongues to declare, ‘The Lord declares….’ 176  23:32 I, the Lord, affirm 177  that I am opposed to those prophets who dream up lies and report them. They are misleading my people with their reckless lies. 178  I did not send them. I did not commission them. They are not helping these people at all. 179  I, the Lord, affirm it!” 180 

23:33 The Lord said to me, “Jeremiah, 181  when one of these people, or a prophet, or a priest asks you, ‘What burdensome message 182  do you have from the Lord?’ Tell them, ‘You are the burden, 183  and I will cast you away. 184  I, the Lord, affirm it! 185  23:34 I will punish any prophet, priest, or other person who says “The Lord’s message is burdensome.” 186  I will punish both that person and his whole family.’” 187 

23:35 So I, Jeremiah, tell you, 188  “Each of you people should say to his friend or his relative, ‘How did the Lord answer? Or what did the Lord say?’ 189  23:36 You must no longer say that the Lord’s message is burdensome. 190  For what is ‘burdensome’ 191  really pertains to what a person himself says. 192  You are misrepresenting 193  the words of our God, the living God, the Lord who rules over all. 194  23:37 Each of you should merely ask the prophet, ‘What answer did the Lord give you? Or what did the Lord say?’ 195  23:38 But just suppose you continue to say, ‘The message of the Lord is burdensome.’ Here is what the Lord says will happen: ‘I sent word to you that you must not say, “The Lord’s message is burdensome.” But you used the words “The Lord’s message is burdensome” anyway. 23:39 So 196  I will carry you far off 197  and throw you away. I will send both you and the city I gave to you and to your ancestors out of my sight. 198  23:40 I will bring on you lasting shame and lasting disgrace which will never be forgotten!’”

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

2 sn Zedekiah was the last king of Judah. He ruled from 597 b.c. when he was placed on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kgs 24:17) until the fall of Jerusalem in 587/6 b.c. He acquiesced to some of his anti-Babylonian counselors, rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, and sought help from the Egyptians (Ezek 17:12-15). This brought Nebuchadnezzar against the city in 588 b.c. This is the first of two delegations to Jeremiah. The later one was sent after Nebuchadnezzar withdrew to take care of the Egyptian threat (cf. Jer 37:1-9).

3 sn The Pashhur son of Malkijah referred to here is not the same as the Pashhur referred to in 20:1-6 who was the son of Immer. This Pashhur is referred to later in 38:1. The Zephaniah referred to here was the chief of security referred to later in Jer 29:25-26. He appears to have been favorably disposed toward Jeremiah.

4 tn Heb “sent to him…Maaseiah, saying,….”

5 tn The verb used here is often used of seeking information through a prophet (e.g., 2 Kgs 1:16; 8:8) and hence many translate “inquire of the Lord for us.” However, it is obvious from the following that they were not seeking information but help. The word is also used for that in Pss 34:4 (34:5 HT); 77:2 (77:3 HT).

6 tn The dominant spelling of this name is actually Nebuchadrezzar which is closer to his Babylonian name Nebu kudduri uzzur. An alternate spelling which is found 6 times in the book of Jeremiah and 17 times elsewhere is Nebuchadnezzar which is the form of the name that is usually used in English versions.

sn Nebuchadnezzar was the second and greatest king of Babylon. He is known in the Bible both for his two conquests of Jerusalem in 597 b.c. (2 Kgs 24:10-17) and 587 b.c. (2 Kgs 25:1-7) and for his having built Babylon the Great (Dan 4:28-30).

7 tn Heb “Perhaps the Lord will do according to his miracles that he may go up from against us.”

sn The miracles that they may have had in mind would have included the Exodus, the conquest of Jericho, the deliverance of Jehoshaphat (2 Chr 20:1-30), etc., but predominant in their minds was probably the deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib in the times of Hezekiah (Isa 37:33-38).

8 tn Heb “Tell Zedekiah, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel.’” Using the indirect quote eliminates one level of embedded quotation and makes it easier for the reader to follow.

9 tn Heb “the weapons which are in your hand.” Weapons stands here by substitution for the soldiers who wield them.

10 sn The Babylonians (Heb “the Chaldeans”). The Chaldeans were a group of people in the country south of Babylon from which Nebuchadnezzar came. The Chaldean dynasty his father established became the name by which the Babylonians are regularly referred to in the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah’s contemporary Ezekiel uses both terms.

11 tn The structure of the Hebrew sentence of this verse is long and complex and has led to a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding. There are two primary points of confusion: 1) the relation of the phrase “outside the walls,” and 2) the antecedent of “them” in the last clause of the verse that reads in Hebrew: “I will gather them back into the midst of the city.” Most take the phrase “outside the walls” with “the Babylonians….” Some take it with “turn back/bring back” to mean “from outside….” However, the preposition “from” is part of the idiom for “outside….” The phrase goes with “fighting” as J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB], 215) notes and as NJPS suggests. The antecedent of “them” has sometimes been taken mistakenly to refer to the Babylonians. It refers rather to “the forces at your disposal” which is literally “the weapons which are in your hands.” This latter phrase is a figure involving substitution (called metonymy) as Bright also correctly notes. The whole sentence reads in Hebrew: “I will bring back the weapons of war which are in your hand with which you are fighting Nebuchadrezzar the King of Babylon and the Chaldeans who are besieging you outside your wall and I will gather them into the midst of the city.” The sentence has been restructured to better reflect the proper relationships and to make the sentence conform more to contemporary English style.

12 tn Heb “with outstretched hand and with strong arm.” These are, of course, figurative of God’s power and might. He does not literally have hands and arms.

sn The phrases in this order are unique but a very similar phrase “by strong hand and outstretched arm” are found several times with reference to God’s mighty power unleashed against Egypt at the exodus (cf., Deut 4:34; 5:15; 26:8; Jer 32:21; Ps 136:12). Instead of being directed at Israel’s enemies it will now be directed against her.

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

14 tn Heb “And afterward.”

15 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”

16 tn Heb “And/But unto this people you shall say…” “But” is suggested here by the unusual word order which offsets what they are to say to Zedekiah (v. 3).

17 tn Heb “these people.”

18 tn Heb “Behold I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death.”

19 tn Heb “his life will be to him for spoil.”

sn Spoil was what was carried off by the victor (see, e.g., Judg 5:30). Those who surrendered to the Babylonians would lose their property, their freedom, and their citizenship but would at least escape with their lives. Jeremiah was branded a traitor for this counsel (cf. 38:4) but it was the way of wisdom since the Lord was firmly determined to destroy the city (cf. v. 10).

20 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”

21 tn Heb “I have set my face against this city for evil [i.e., disaster] and not for good [i.e., well-being].” For the use of the idiom “set one’s face against/toward” see, e.g., usage in 1 Kgs 2:15; 2 Kgs 2:17; Jer 42:15, 17 and note the interesting interplay of usage in Jer 44:11-12.

22 tn Heb “he will burn it with fire.”

23 tn The words “The Lord told me to say” are not in the text. They have been supplied in the translation for clarity. This text has been treated in two very different ways depending upon how one views the connection of the words “and to/concerning the household of the King of Judah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord:…’” with the preceding and following. Some treat the words that follow as a continuation of Jeremiah’s response to the delegation sent by Zedekiah (cf. vv. 3, 8). Others treat this as introducing a new set of oracles parallel to those in 23:9-40 which are introduced by the heading “to/concerning the prophets.” There are three reasons why this is the more probable connection: (1) the parallelism in expression with 23:9; (2) the other introductions in vv. 3, 8 use the preposition אֶל (’el) instead of לְ (lÿ) used here, and they have the formal introduction “you shall say…”; (3) the warning or challenge here would mitigate the judgment pronounced on the king and the city in vv. 4-7. Verses 8-9 are different. They are not a mitigation but an offer of escape for those who surrender. Hence, these words are a title “Now concerning the royal court.” (The vav [ו] that introduces this is disjunctive = “Now.”) However, since the imperative that follows is masculine plural and addressed to the royal house, something needs to be added to introduce it. Hence the translation supplies “The Lord told me to say” to avoid confusion or mistakenly connecting it with the preceding.

24 tn Heb “house” or “household.” It is clear from 22:1-6 that this involved the King, the royal family, and the court officials.

25 tn Heb “house of David.” This is essentially equivalent to the royal court in v. 11.

26 tn Heb “to the morning” = “morning by morning” or “each morning.” See Isa 33:2 and Amos 4:4 for parallel usage.

27 sn The kings of Israel and Judah were responsible for justice. See Pss 122:5. The king himself was the final court of appeals judging from the incident of David with the wise woman of Tekoa (2 Sam 14), Solomon and the two prostitutes (1 Kgs 3:16-28), and Absalom’s attempts to win the hearts of the people of Israel by interfering with due process (2 Sam 15:2-4). How the system was designed to operate may be seen from 2 Chr 19:4-11.

28 tn Heb “from the hand [or power] of.”

29 tn Heb “Lest my wrath go out like fire and burn with no one to put it out because of the evil of your deeds.”

30 tn Or “Listen, Jerusalem, you…”; Heb text of v. 21a-b reads, “Behold I am against you [fem. sg.], O inhabitant [fem. sg.] of the valley [and of] the rock of the plain, oracle of the Lord, who are saying [masc. pl.].” Verses 13-14 are generally treated as a separate oracle addressed to Jerusalem. The basis for this is (1) the appropriateness of the description here to the city of Jerusalem; (2) the rather similar reference to Jerusalem smugly living in her buildings made from cedars of Lebanon in 22:23; (3) the use of the second feminine singular pronoun “you” in other places in reference to Jerusalem (cf. clearly in 4:14; 6:8; 13:20; 15:5-6); (4) the use of the feminine singular participle to refer to personified Jerusalem in 10:17 as well as 20:23. However, the description in 21:13 is equally appropriate to the royal household that the Lord has been addressing; the palace stood on the Ophel or fill between the northern and southern hill just south of the temple and overlooked the Kidron valley. Moreover, the word “enthroned” is even more fitting to the royal household than to Jerusalem. The phrase “enthroned above the valley” is literally “inhabitant of the valley.” But since the literal is inappropriate for either Jerusalem or the royal palace, the phrase is regularly interpreted after the parallel phrase referring to the Lord “enthroned above the cherubim.” The royal house was “enthroned” more literally than Jerusalem was. Taking this to refer to the royal court rather than Jerusalem also introduces one less unintroduced entity by the shift in pronoun in vv. 11-14 as well as eliminating the introduction of an otherwise unintroduced oracle. The “you” of “you boast” is actually the masculine plural participle (Heb “who say”) that modifies the feminine singular participle “you who sit enthroned” and goes back to the masculine plural imperatives in v. 12 rather than introducing a new entity, the people of the city. The participle “you who sit enthroned” is to be interpreted as a collective referring to the royal court not a personification of the city of Jerusalem (cf. GKC 394 §122.s and see, e.g., Isa 12:6; Mic 1:11). Moreover, taking the referent to be the royal court makes the reference to the word translated “palace” much more natural. The word is literally “forest” and is often seen to be an allusion to the armory which was called the “Forest of Lebanon” (1 Kgs 7:2; 10:17; 10:21; Isa 22:8 and see also Ezek 17:3 in an allegory (17:2-18) which may have been contemporary with this oracle). Taking the oracle to refer to the royal court also makes this oracle more parallel with the one that follows where destruction of the palace leads also to the destruction of the city.

31 tn Heb “I am against you.”

32 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”

33 tn Heb “Who can swoop…Who can penetrate…?” The questions are rhetorical and expect a negative answer. They are rendered as negative affirmations for clarity.

sn What is being expressed here is the belief in the inviolability of Zion/Jerusalem carried to its extreme. Signal deliverances of Jerusalem such as those experienced under Jehoshaphat (2 Chr 20) and Hezekiah (Isa 37:36-37) in the context of promises to protect it (Isa 31:4-5; 37:33-35; 38:6) led to a belief that Zion was unconquerable. This belief found expression in several of Israel’s psalms (Pss 46, 48, 76) and led to the mistaken assumption that God would protect it regardless of how the people treated God or one another. Micah and Jeremiah both deny that (cf. Mic 3:8-12; Jer 21:13-14).

34 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”

35 tn Heb “I will set fire in its forest and it will devour its surroundings.” The pronouns are actually third feminine singular going back to the participle “you who sit enthroned above the valley.” However, this is another example of those rapid shifts in pronouns typical of the biblical Hebrew style which are uncommon in English. They have regularly been leveled to the same person throughout in the translation to avoid possible confusion for the English reader.

36 tn The word “me “ is not in the text. It is, however, implicit and is supplied in the translation for clarity.

37 sn The allusion here is to going down from the temple to the palace which was on a lower eminence. See 36:12 in its context.

38 tn Heb “And speak there this word:” The translation is intended to eliminate an awkward and lengthy sentence.

39 tn Heb “who sits on David’s throne.”

40 tn Heb “Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah who sits on the throne of David, you, and your officials and your people who pass through these gates.”

41 tn Heb “from the hand [or power] of.”

42 tn Heb “aliens, orphans, or widows” treating the terms as generic or collective. However, the term “alien” carries faulty connotations and the term “orphan” is not totally appropriate because the Hebrew term does not necessarily mean that both parents have died.

sn These were classes of people who had no one to look out for their rights. The laws of Israel, however, were careful to see that their rights were guarded (cf. Deut 10:18) and that provision was made for meeting their needs (cf. Deut 24:19-21). The Lord promised to protect them (cf. Ps 146:9) and a curse was called down on any who deprived them of justice (cf. Deut 27:19).

43 tn Heb “Do not shed innocent blood.”

sn Do not kill innocent people. For an example of one of the last kings who did this see Jer 36:20-23. Manasseh was notorious for having done this and the book of 2 Kgs attributes the ultimate destruction of Judah to this crime and his sin of worshiping false gods (2 Kgs 21:16; 24:4).

44 tn The translation here reflects the emphasizing infinitive absolute before the verb.

45 tn Heb “There will come through the gates of this city the kings…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. Compare 17:25 for the structure and wording of this sentence.

46 sn Heb “I swear by myself.” Oaths were guaranteed by invoking the name of a god or swearing by “his life.” See Jer 12:16; 44:26. Since the Lord is incomparably great, he could swear by no higher (see Heb 6:13-16) than to swear by himself or his own great name.

47 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

48 tn Heb “Gilead you are to me, the height of Lebanon, but I will surely make you a wilderness [with] cities uninhabited.” The points of comparison are made explicit in the translation for the sake of clarity. See the study note for further explanation. For the use of the preposition לְ (lamed) = “in my eyes/in my opinion” see BDB 513 s.v. לְ 5.a(d) and compare Jonah 3:3; Esth 10:3. For the use of the particles אִם לֹא (’im lo’) to introduce an emphatic oath see BDB 50 s.v. אִם 1.b(2).

sn Lebanon was well known for its cedars and the palace (and the temple) had used a good deal of such timber in its construction (see 1 Kgs 5:6, 8-10; 7:2-3). In this section several references are made to cedar (see vv. 7, 14, 15, 23) and allusion has also been made to the paneled and colonnade armory of the Forest of Lebanon (2:14). It appears to have been a source of pride and luxury, perhaps at the expense of justice. Gilead was also noted in antiquity for its forests as well as for its fertile pastures.

49 sn Heb “I will sanctify destroyers against it.” If this is not an attenuated use of the term “sanctify” the traditions of Israel’s holy wars are being turned against her. See also 6:4. In Israel’s early wars in the wilderness and in the conquest, the Lord fought for her against the enemies (cf., e.g., Josh 10:11, 14, 42; 24:7; Judg 5:20; 1 Sam 7:10). Now he is going to fight against them (21:5, 13) and use the enemy as his instruments of destruction. For a similar picture of destruction in the temple see the lament in Ps 74:3-7.

50 tn The word “king” is not in the original text of either the first or the third line. It is implicit in the connection and is supplied in the translation for clarity.

sn As the next verse makes clear, the king who will never return to see his native land is Shallum, also known as Jehoahaz (cf. 1 Chr 3:15; 2 Kgs 23:30, 33-34). He was made king by popular acclaim after the death of his father, Josiah, who was killed at Megiddo trying to stop Pharaoh Necho from going to the aid of the Assyrians. According to 2 Kgs 23:32 he was a wicked king. He was deposed by Necho and carried into exile where he died. The dead king alluded to is his father, Josiah, who was a godly king and was accordingly spared from seeing the destruction of his land (2 Kgs 22:20).

51 tn Heb “For thus said the Lord concerning Shallum son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of his father who went away from this place: He will not return there again.”

52 sn This prophecy was fulfilled according to 2 Kgs 23:34.

53 sn Heb “Woe.” This particle is used in laments for the dead (cf., e.g., 1 Kgs 13:30; Jer 34:5) and as an introductory particle in indictments against a person on whom judgment is pronounced (cf., e.g., Isa 5:8, 11; Jer 23:1). The indictment is found here in vv. 13-17 and the announcement of judgment in vv. 18-19.

54 tn Heb “Woe to the one who builds his house by unrighteousness and its upper rooms with injustice using his neighbor [= countryman] as a slave for nothing and not giving to him his wages.”

sn This was a clear violation of covenant law (cf. Deut 24:14-15) and a violation of the requirements set forth in Jer 22:3. The allusion is to Jehoiakim who is not mentioned until v. 18. He was placed on the throne by Pharaoh Necho and ruled from 609-598 b.c. He became a vassal of Nebuchadnezzar but rebelled against him, bringing about the siege of 597 b.c. in which his son and many of the Judean leaders were carried off to Babylon (2 Kgs 23:34–24:16). He was a wicked king according to the author of the book of Kings (2 Kgs 23:37). He had Uriah the prophet killed (Jer 26:23) and showed no regard for Jeremiah’s prophecies, destroying the scroll containing them (Jer 36:23) and ordering Jeremiah’s arrest (Jer 36:23).

55 tc The MT should be emended to read חַלֹּנָיו וְסָפוֹן (khallonayv vÿsafon) instead of חַלֹּנָי וְסָפוּן (khallonay vÿsafon), i.e., the plural noun with third singular suffix rather than the first singular suffix and the infinitive absolute rather than the passive participle. The latter form then parallels the form for “paints” and functions in the same way (cf. GKC 345 §113.z for the infinitive with vav [ו] continuing a perfect). The errors in the MT involve reading the וְ once instead of twice (haplography) and reading the וּ (u) for the וֹ (o).

56 tn The word translated “red” only occurs here and in Ezek 23:14 where it refers to the pictures of the Babylonians on the wall of the temple. Evidently this was a favorite color for decoration. It is usually identified as vermilion, a mineral product from red ocher (cf. C. L. Wickwire, “Vermilion,” IDB 4:748).

57 tn For the use of this verb see Jer 12:5 where it is used of Jeremiah “competing” with horses. The form is a rare Tiphel (see GKC 153 §55.h).

58 tn Heb “Your father, did he not eat and drink and do justice and right.” The copulative vav in front of the verbs here (all Hebrew perfects) shows that these actions are all coordinate not sequential. The contrast drawn here between the actions of Jehoiakim and Josiah show that the phrase eating and drinking should be read in the light of the same contrasts in Eccl 2 which ends with the note of contentment in Eccl 2:24 (see also Eccl 3:13; 5:18 [5:17 HT]; 8:15). The question is, of course, rhetorical setting forth the positive role model against which Jehoiakim’s actions are to be condemned. The key terms here are “then things went well with him” which is repeated in the next verse after the reiteration of Josiah’s practice of justice.

59 sn The father referred to here is the godly king Josiah. He followed the requirements for kings set forth in 22:3 in contrast to his son who did not (22:13).

60 tn The words “for Judah” are not in the text, but the absence of the preposition plus object as in the preceding verse suggests that this is a more general statement, i.e., “things went well for everyone.”

61 tn Heb “Is that not what it means to know me.” The question is rhetorical and expects a positive answer. It is translated in the light of the context.

sn Comparison of the usage of the words “know me” in their context in Jer 2:8; 9:3, 6, 24 and here will show that more than mere intellectual knowledge is involved. It involves also personal commitment to God and obedience to the demands of the agreements with him. The word “know” is used in ancient Near Eastern treaty contexts of submission to the will of the overlord. See further the notes on 9:3.

62 tn Heb “Your eyes and your heart do not exist except for dishonest gain and for innocent blood to shed [it] and for fraud and for oppression to do [them].” The sentence has been broken up to conform more to English style and the significance of “eyes” and “heart” explained before they are introduced into the translation.

63 sn This is the regular way of introducing the announcement of judgment after an indictment of crimes. See, e.g., Isa 5:13, 14; Jer 23:2.

64 tn The translation follows the majority of scholars who think that the address of brother and sister are the address of the mourners to one another, lamenting their loss. Some scholars feel that all four terms are parallel and represent the relation that the king had metaphorically to his subjects; i.e., he was not only Lord and Majesty to them but like a sister or a brother. In that case something like: “How sad it is for the one who was like a brother to us! How sad it is for the one who was like a sister to us.” This makes for poor poetry and is not very likely. The lover can call his bride sister in Song of Solomon (Song 4:9, 10) but there are no documented examples of a subject ever speaking of a king in this way in Israel or the ancient Near East.

65 sn A similar judgment against this ungodly king is pronounced by Jeremiah in 36:30. According to 2 Chr 36:6 he was bound over to be taken captive to Babylon but apparently died before he got there. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, Nebuchadnezzar ordered his body thrown outside the wall in fulfillment of this judgment. The Bible itself, however, does not tell us that.

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

66 tn The words “people of Jerusalem” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation to clarify the referent of the imperative. The imperative is feminine singular and it is generally agreed that personified Zion/Jerusalem is in view. The second feminine singular has commonly been applied to Jerusalem or the people of Judah throughout the book. The reference to allies (v. 20, 22) and to leaders (v. 22) make it very probable that this is the case here too.

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

67 tn Heb “from Abarim.” This was the mountain range in Moab from which Moses viewed the promised land (cf. Deut 32:49).

68 tn Heb “your lovers.” For the usage of this term to refer to allies see 30:14 and a semantically similar term in 4:30.

sn If the passages in this section are chronologically ordered, this refers to the help that Jehoiakim relied on when he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar.

69 tn Heb “I spoke to you in your security.” The reference is to the sending of the prophets. Compare this context with the context of 7:25. For the nuance “security” for this noun (שַׁלְוָה, shalvah) rather than “prosperity” as many translate see Pss 122:7; 30:6 and the related adjective (שָׁלֵו, shalev) in Jer 49:31; Job 16:2; 21:23.

70 tn Heb “from your youth.” Compare the usage in 2:2; 3:24 and compare a similar idea in 7:25.

71 tn Heb “A wind will shepherd away all your shepherds.” The figures have all been interpreted in the translation for the sake of clarity. For the use of the word “wind” as a metaphor or simile for God’s judgment (using the enemy forces) see 4:11-12; 13:24; 18:17. For the use of the word “shepherd” to refer to rulers/leaders 2:8; 10:21; and 23:1-4. For the use of the word “shepherd away” in the sense of carry off/drive away see BDB 945 s.v. רָעָה 2.d and compare Job 20:26. There is an obvious wordplay involved in two different senses of the word “shepherd,” one referring to their leaders and one referring to the loss of those leaders by the wind driving them off. There may even be a further play involving the word “wickedness” which comes from a word having the same consonants. If the oracles in this section are chronologically ordered this threat was fulfilled in 597 b.c. when many of the royal officials and nobles were carried away captive with Jehoiachin (see 2 Kgs 24:15) who is the subject of the next oracle.

72 tn The use of the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) is intensive here and probably also at the beginning of the last line of v. 21. (See BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.e.)

73 tn Heb “You who dwell in Lebanon, you who are nested in its cedars, how you….” The metaphor has been interpreted for the sake of clarity. The figure here has often been interpreted of the people of Jerusalem living in paneled houses or living in a city dominated by the temple and palace which were built from the cedars of Lebanon. Some even interpret this as a reference to the king who has been characterized as living in a cedar palace, in a veritable Lebanon (cf. vv. 6-7, 14 and see also the alternate interpretation of 21:13-14). However, the reference to “nesting in the cedars” and the earlier reference to “feeling secure” suggests that the figure is rather like that of Ezek 31:6 and Dan 4:12. See also Hab 2:9 where a related figure is used. The forms for “you who dwell” and “you who are nested” in the literal translation are feminine singular participles referring again to personified Jerusalem. (The written forms of these participles are to be explained as participles with a hireq campaginis according to GKC 253 §90.m. The use of the participle before the preposition is to be explained according to GKC 421 §130.a.)

74 tn The verb here should be identified as a Niphal perfect of the verb אָנַח (’anakh) with the א (aleph) left out (so BDB 336 s.v. חָנַן Niph and GKC 80 §23.f, n. 1). The form is already translated that way by the Greek, Latin, and Syriac versions.

75 sn This simile has already been used in Jer 4:31; 6:24 in conjunction with Zion/Jerusalem’s judgment.

76 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

77 tn Heb “Coniah.” This is the spelling of this king’s name here and in v. 28 and 37:1. Elsewhere in Jeremiah he is called Jeconiah (24:1; 27:20; 28:4; 29:2 [see also 1 Chr 3:16, 17; Esth 2:6]) and Jehoiachin (52:31, 33 [see also 2 Kgs 24:6, 8, 12, 15; 25:27, 29; 2 Chr 36:8, 9; Ezek 1:2]). For the sake of consistency the present translation uses the name Jeconiah throughout.

sn According to 2 Kgs 24:8-9 Jeconiah (= Jehoiachin) succeeded his father Jehoiakim and evidently followed in his anti-Babylon, anti-God stance. He surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar shortly after he became king and along with his mother, his family, his officials, and some of the leading men of Jerusalem and Judah was carried into exile in 597 b.c. According to Jer 28:4, 10, there were popular hopes that he would be restored from exile and returned to the throne. This oracle flatly denies that hope. Allusion has already been made to the loss of regal authority by this king and his mother in 13:18-19.

78 tn Heb “As surely as I live, Jeconiah, King of Judah, son of Jehoiakim will not be a signet ring on my right hand. Indeed I will tear you off from it [i.e., pull you off of my finger as a signet ring].” The signet ring was the king’s seal by which he verified all his legal and political transactions. To have the signet ring was to exercise authority in the king’s name. For examples of this see Gen 41:42, 43; 1 Kgs 21:8; Esth 3:10; 8:2. The figure has been interpreted in the translation for the sake of clarity. The particles כִּי אִם (kiim) that stand after the oath formula “As I live” introduce a negative statement according to the usage of Hebrew grammar (cf. BDB 474 s.v. כִּי אִם 1.a and BDB 50 s.v. אִם 1.b[2] and compare 2 Sam 3:35). The particle כִּי that stands in front of “I will tear you off” introduces a positive affirmation according to the same rules of Hebrew grammar (cf. BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.c and compare 1 Sam 14:39, 44). The Lord is swearing emphatically that Jeconiah will not be the earthly representative of his rule; i.e., not carry the authority of the signet ring bearer. As in several other places in Jeremiah there is a sudden shift from the third person to the second person which runs throughout vv. 24-27. The pronouns are leveled in the translation to the second person to avoid confusion. The figures are interpreted in the translation to convey the proper significance. See the study note for explanation.

sn According to the Davidic covenant the Davidic king sat on God’s throne over God’s kingdom, Israel (cf. 2 Chr 29:30; 28:5). As God’s representative he ruled in God’s stead and could even be addressed figuratively as God (cf. Ps 45:6 [45:7 HT]) and compare the same phenomenon for the earthly judges, Exod 22:7-8; Ps 82:1, 6). Jeconiah is being denied the right to function any longer as the Davidic king and any hopes of ever regaining that right in his lifetime or through the succession of his sons is also denied. This oracle is reversed by the later oracle of the prophet Haggai to his grandson Zerubbabel in Hag 2:20-23 and both Jeconiah and Zerubbabel are found in the genealogy of Christ in Matt 1:12-13.

79 tn Heb “the Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4.

80 tn Heb “I will hurl you and your mother…into another land where…” The verb used here is very forceful. It is the verb used for Saul throwing a spear at David (1 Sam 18:11) and for the Lord unleashing a violent storm on the sea (Jonah 1:4). It is used both here and in v. 28 for the forceful exile of Jeconiah and his mother.

81 tn Heb “And unto the land to which they lift up their souls to return there, there they will not return.” Once again there is a sudden shift in person from the second plural to the third plural. As before the translation levels the pronouns to avoid confusion. For the idiom “to lift up the soul to” = “to long/yearn to/for” see BDB 670 s.v. נָשָׂא 1.b(9).

82 tn The word translated “clay vessel” occurs only here. Its meaning, however, is assured on the basis of the parallelism and on the basis of the verb root which is used for shaping or fashioning in Job 10:8. The KJV renders it as “idol,” but that word, while having the same consonants, never appears in the singular. The word is missing in the Greek version but is translated “vessel” in the Latin version. The word “clay” is supplied in the translation to clarify what sort of vessel is meant; its inclusion is justified based on the context and the use of the same verb root in Job 10:8 to refer to shaping or fashioning, which would imply clay pots or vessels.

83 tn Heb “Is this man, Coniah, a despised, broken vessel or a vessel that no one wants?” The question is rhetorical expecting a positive answer in agreement with the preceding oracle.

sn For the image of the rejected, broken vessel see Jer 19:1-13 (where, however, the vessel is rejected first and then broken) and compare also the image of the linen shorts which are good for nothing in Jer 13 (see especially vv. 10-11).

84 sn The question “Why?” is a common rhetorical feature in the book of Jeremiah. See Jer 2:14, 31; 8:5, 19, 22; 12:1; 13:22; 14:19. In several cases like this one no answer is given, leaving a sense of exasperation and hopelessness with the sinfulness of the nation that calls forth such punishment from God.

85 tn There is no certain explanation for the triple repetition of the word “land” here. F. B. Huey (Jeremiah, Lamentations [NAC], 209) suggests the idea of exasperation, but exasperation at what? Their continued apostasy which made these exiles necessary? Or exasperation at their pitiful hopes of seeing Jeconiah restored? Perhaps “pitiful, pitiful, pitiful land of Judah” would convey some of the force of the repetition without being any more suggestive of why the land is so addressed.

86 tn Heb “Write this man childless.” For the explanation see the study note. The word translated “childless” has spawned some debate because Jeconiah was in fact not childless. There is record from both the Bible and ancient Near Eastern texts that he had children (see, e.g., 1 Chr 3:17). G. R. Driver, “Linguistic and Textual Problems: Jeremiah,” JQR 28 (1937-38): 115, has suggested that the word both here and in Lev 20:20-21 should be translated “stripped of honor.” While that would relieve some of the difficulties here, the word definitely means “childless” in Gen 15:2 and also in Sir 16:3 where it is contrasted with having godless children. The issue is not one of childlessness but of having “one of his sons” succeed to the Davidic throne. The term for “one of his sons” is literally “from his seed a man” and the word “seed” is the same one that is used to refer to his “children” who were forced into exile with him (v. 28).

sn The figure here is of registering a person on an official roll of citizens, etc. (cf. Num 11:26; 1 Chr 4:41; Ps 87:6). Here it probably refers to the “king list” of dynastic succession. While Jeconiah did have children (2 Chr 3:17) none of them ever returned to Judah or ruled over it. What is being denied here is his own succession and that of his immediate sons contrary to the popular hopes expressed in Jer 28:4. His grandson Zerubbabel did return to Judah, became governor (Hag 1:1; 2:2), and along with the high priest Joshua was responsible for rebuilding the second temple (e.g., Ezra 5:2).

87 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

88 sn Heb This particle once again introduces a judgment speech. The indictment is found in v. 1 and the announcement of judgment in v. 2. This leads into an oracle of deliverance in vv. 3-4. See also the note on the word “judged” in 22:13.

89 tn Heb “Woe to the shepherds who are killing and scattering the sheep of my pasture.” See the study note on 22:13 for the significance of “Sure to be judged” (Heb “Woe”) See the study note for the significance of the metaphor introduced here.

sn Verses 1-4 of ch. 23 are an extended metaphor in which the rulers are compared to shepherds and the people are compared to sheep. This metaphor has already been met with in 10:21 and is found elsewhere in the context of the Lord’s covenant with David (cf. 2 Sam 7:7-8; Ps 78:70-72). The sheep are God’s people and he is the ultimate shepherd who is personally concerned about their care (cf. Pss 23:1; 80:2). He has set rulers over them as his under-shepherds and they are responsible to him for the care of his sheep (see 22:3-4). They have been lax shepherds, allowing the sheep to be scattered and destroyed. So he will punish them. As the true shepherd of Israel he will regather his scattered flock and place new shepherds (rulers) over them. These verses lead to a promise of an ideal ruler set over an Israel which has experienced a new and better Exodus (vv. 6-8). For a more complete development of this metaphor with similar messianic and eschatological implications see Ezek 34. The metaphor has been interpreted in the translation but some of the flavor left in the simile.

90 tn Heb “about the shepherds who are shepherding my people. ‘You have caused my sheep….’” For the metaphor see the study note on the previous verse.

91 tn Heb “Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who should be shepherding my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away and you have not taken care of them. Behold I will visit upon you the evil of your deeds.” “Therefore” announces the judgment which does not come until “Behold.” It is interrupted by the messenger formula and a further indictment. The original has been broken up to conform more to contemporary English style, the metaphors have been interpreted for clarity and the connections between the indictments and the judgments have been carried by “So.”

92 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

93 tn Heb “my sheep.”

94 tn Heb “their fold.”

95 tn Heb “shepherds.”

96 tn There are various nuances of the word פָּקַד (paqad) represented in vv. 2, 4. See Ps 8:4 (8:5 HT) and Zech 10:3 for “care for/take care of” (cf. BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד Qal.A.1.a). See Exod 20:5; Amos 3:2; Jer 9:24; 11:22 for “punish” (cf. BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד Qal.A.3). See 1 Kgs 20:39 and 2 Kgs 10:19 for “be missing” (cf. BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד Niph.1).

sn There is an extended play on the Hebrew word פָּקַד which is a word with rather broad English equivalents. Here the word refers to the fault of the shepherds/rulers who have not “taken care” of the sheep/people (v. 2), the “punishment” for the evil they have done in not taking care of them (v. 2), and the fact that after the Lord assigns new shepherds/rulers over them they will be cared for in such a way that none of them “will turn up missing” (v. 4).

97 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

98 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

99 tn Heb “Behold the days are coming.”

100 tn Heb “a righteous sprig to David” or “a righteous shoot” (NAB).

sn This passage and the parallel in Jer 33:15 are part of a growing number of prayers and prophecies regarding an ideal ruler to come forth from the Davidic line who will bring the justice, security, and well-being that the continuing line of Davidic rulers did not. Though there were periodic kings like Josiah who did fulfill the ideals set forth in Jer 22:3 (see Jer 22:15), by and large they were more like Jehoiakim who did not (see Jer 22:13). Hence the Lord brought to an end the Davidic rule. The potential for the ideal, however, remained because of God’s promise to David (2 Sam 7:16). The Davidic line became like a tree which was cut down, leaving only a stump. But from that stump God would bring forth a “shoot,” a “sprig” which would fulfill the ideals of kingship. See Isa 11:1-6 and Zech 3:8, 6:12 for this metaphor and compare Dan 4:14-15, 23, 26 for a different but related use of the metaphor.

101 tn Heb “he will reign as king and act wisely.” This is another example of the use of two verbs joined by “and” where one becomes the adverbial modifier of the other (hendiadys). For the nuance of the verb “act wisely” rather than “prosper” see Amos 5:13; Ps 2:10 (cf. BDB 968 s.v. שָׂכַל Hiph.5).

102 sn This has been the constant emphasis in this section. See 22:3 for the demand, 22:15 for its fulfillment, and 22:13 for its abuse. The ideal king would follow in the footsteps of his illustrious ancestor David (2 Sam 8:15) who set this forth as an ideal for his dynasty (2 Sam 23:3) and prayed for it to be true of his son Solomon (Ps 72:1-2).

103 tn Heb “In his days [= during the time he rules].”

104 tn Parallelism and context (cf. v. 4) suggest this nuance for the word often translated “be saved.” For this nuance elsewhere see Ps 119:117; Prov 28:18 for the verb (יָשַׁע [yasha’] in the Niphal); and Ps 12:6; Job 5:4, 11 for the related noun (יֶשַׁע, yesha’).

105 sn It should be noted that this brief oracle of deliverance implies the reunification of Israel and Judah under the future Davidic ruler. Jeremiah has already spoken about this reunification earlier in 3:18 and will have more to say about it in 30:3; 31:27, 31. This same ideal was espoused in the prophecies of Hosea (1:10-11 [2:1-2 HT]), Isaiah (11:1-4, 10-12), and Ezekiel (37:15-28) all of which have messianic and eschatological significance.

106 tn Heb “his name will be called ‘The Lord our righteousness’.”

sn The Hebrew word translated “justice” here is very broad in its usage, and it is hard to catch all the relevant nuances for this word in this context. It is used for “vindication” in legal contexts (see, e.g., Job 6:29), for “deliverance” or “salvation” in exilic contexts (see, e.g., Isa 58:8), and in the sense of ruling, judging with “justice” (see, e.g., Lev 19:15; Isa 32:1). Here it probably sums up the justice that the Lord provides through raising up this ruler as well as the safety, security, and well-being that result (see vv. 5-6a). In the NT this takes on soteriological connotations (see 1 Cor 1:31 in its context).

107 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

108 tn Heb “Behold the days are coming.”

109 tn Heb “descendants of the house of Israel.”

110 tc It is probably preferable to read the third masculine singular plus suffix (הִדִּיחָם, hiddikham) here with the Greek version and the parallel passage in 16:15 rather than the first singular plus suffix in the MT (הִדַּחְתִּים, hiddakhtim). If this is not a case of mere graphic confusion, the MT could have arisen under the influence of the first person in v. 3. Though sudden shifts in person have been common in the book of Jeremiah, that is unlikely in a context reporting an oath.

111 tn This passage is the same as 16:14-15 with a few minor variations in Hebrew wording. The notes on that passage should be consulted for the rendering here. This passage has the Niphal of the verb “to say” rather than the impersonal use of the Qal. It adds the idea of “bringing out” to the idea of “bringing up out” and (Heb “who brought up and who brought out,” probably a case of hendiadys) before “the people [here “seed” rather than “children”] of Israel [here “house of Israel”] from the land of the north.” These are minor variations and do not affect the sense in any way. So the passage is rendered in much the same way.

sn This passage looks forward to a new and greater Exodus, one that so outstrips the earlier one that the earlier will not serve as the model of deliverance any longer. This same ideal was the subject of Isaiah’s earlier prophecies in Isa 11:11-12, 15-16; 43:16-21; 49:8-13; 51: 1-11.

112 sn Jeremiah has already had a good deal to say about the false prophets and their fate. See 2:8, 26; 5:13, 31; 14:13-15. Here he parallels the condemnation of the wicked prophets and their fate (23:9-40) with that of the wicked kings (21:11-22:30).

113 tn The word “false” is not in the text, but it is clear from the context that these are whom the sayings are directed against. The words “Here is what the Lord says” are also not in the text. But comparison with 46:2; 48:1; 49:1, 7, 23, 28; and 21:11 will show that this is a heading. The words are supplied in the translation for clarity.

114 tn Heb “My heart is crushed within me. My bones tremble.” It has already been noted several times that the “heart” in ancient Hebrew psychology was the intellectual and volitional center of the person, the kidneys were the emotional center, and the bones the locus of strength and also the subject of joy, distress, and sorrow. Here Jeremiah is speaking of his distress of heart and mind in modern psychology, a distress that leads him to trembling of body which he compares to that of a drunken person staggering around under the influence of wine.

115 tn Heb “wine has passed over him.”

116 tn Heb “wine because of the Lord and because of his holy word.” The words that are supplied in the translation are implicit from the context and are added for clarity.

sn The way the Lord and his word are being treated is clarified in the verses that follow.

117 tn Heb “adulterers.” But spiritual adultery is clearly meant as also in 3:8-9; 9:2, and probably also 5:7.

118 tn For the word translated “They live…lives” see usage in Jer 8:6. For the idea of “misusing” their power (Heb “their power is not right” i.e., used in the wrong way) see 2 Kgs 7:9; 17:9. In the original text this line (really two lines in the Hebrew poetry) are at the end of the verse. However, this places the antecedent too far away and could lead to confusion. The lines have been rearranged to avoid such confusion.

119 tn For the use of this verb see 12:4 and the note there.

120 tc The translation follows the majority of Hebrew mss (מֵאָלָה, mealah) rather than the Greek and Syriac version and a few Hebrew mss which read “because of these” (מֵאֵלֶּה [meelleh], referring to the people unfaithful to him).

sn The curse is, of course, the covenant curse. See Deut 29:20-21 (29:19-20 HT) and for the specific curse see Deut 28:23-24. The curse is appropriate since their “adultery” lay in attributing their fertility to the god Baal (see Hos 2:9-13 (2:11-15 HT) and violating the covenant (see Hos 4:1-3).

121 tn The particle כִּי (ki) which begins this verse is parallel to the one at the beginning of the preceding verse. However, the connection is too distant to render it “for.” “Moreover” is intended to draw the parallel. The words “the Lord says” (Heb “Oracle of the Lord”) have been drawn up to the front to introduce the shift in speaker from Jeremiah, who describes his agitated state, to God, who describes the sins of the prophets and priests and his consequent judgment on them.

122 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

123 tn For the last two lines see 11:23 and the notes there.

124 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

125 tn The words “The Lord says” are not in the text, but it is clear from the content that he is the speaker. These words are supplied in the translation for clarity.

126 map For location see Map2 B1; Map4 D3; Map5 E2; Map6 A4; Map7 C1.

127 tn According to BDB 1074 s.v. תִּפְלָּה this word means “unseemly, unsavory.” The related adjective is used in Job 6:6 of the tastelessness of something that is unseasoned.

128 tn Heb “by Baal.”

sn Prophesying in the name of the god Baal was a clear violation of Mosaic law and punishable by death (see Deut 13:1-5). For an example of the apostasy encouraged by prophets of Baal in the northern kingdom of Israel see 1 Kgs 18:16-40.

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

130 tn Or “they commit adultery and deal falsely.” The word “shocking” only occurs here and in 5:30 where it is found in the context of prophesying lies. This almost assures that the reference to “walking in lies” (Heb “in the lie”) is referring to false prophesy. Moreover the references to the prophets in 5:13 and in 14:13-15 are all in the context of false prophesy as are the following references in this chapter in 23:24, 26, 32 and in 28:15. This appears to be the theme of this section. This also makes it likely that the reference to adultery is not literal adultery, though two of the false prophets in Babylon were guilty of this (29:23). The reference to “encouraging those who do evil” that follows also makes more sense if they were preaching messages of comfort rather than messages of doom. The verbs here are infinitive absolutes in place of the finite verb, probably used to place greater emphasis on the action (cf. Hos 4:2 in a comparable judgment speech.)

131 tn Heb “So they strengthen the hands of those doing evil so that they do not turn back from their evil.” For the use of the figure “strengthen the hands” meaning “encourage” see Judg 9:24; Ezek 13:22 (and cf. BDB 304 s.v. חָזַק Piel.2). The vav consecutive on the front of the form gives the logical consequence equivalent to “so” in the translation.

132 tn Heb “All of them are to me like Sodom and its [Jerusalem’s] inhabitants like Gomorrah.”

sn The rhetoric of this passage is very forceful. Like Amos who focuses attention on the sins of the surrounding nations to bring out more forcefully the heinousness of Israel’s sin, God focuses attention on the sins of the prophets of Samaria to bring out the even worse sin of the prophets of Jerusalem. (The oracle is directed at them, not at the prophets of Samaria. See the announcement of judgment that follows.) The Lord has already followed that tack with Judah in Jeremiah 2 (cf. 2:11). Moreover, he here compares the prophets and the evil-doing citizens of Jerusalem, whom they were encouraging through their false prophesy, to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah who were proverbial for their wickedness (Deut 32:32; Isa 1:10).

133 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

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

134 tn Heb “Therefore, thus says the Lord…concerning the prophets.” The person is shifted to better conform with English style and the word “of Jerusalem” is supplied in the translation to avoid the possible misunderstanding that the judgment applies to the prophets of Samaria who had already been judged long before.

135 tn Heb “I will feed this people wormwood and make them drink poison water.” For these same words of judgment on another group see 9:15 (9:14 HT). “Wormwood” and “poison water” are not to be understood literally here but are symbolic of judgment and suffering. See, e.g., BDB 542 s.v. לַעֲנָה.

136 tn The compound preposition מֵאֵת (meet) expresses source or origin (see BDB 86 s.v. אֵת 4.c). Context shows that the origin is in their false prophesying which encourages people in their evil behavior.

137 sn A word that derives from this same Hebrew word is used in v. 11 at the beginning of the Lord’s criticism of the prophet and priest. This is a common rhetorical device for bracketing material that belongs together. The criticism has, however, focused on the false prophets and the judgment due them.

138 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

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

139 tn The words “to the people of Jerusalem” are not in the Hebrew text but are supplied in the translation to reflect the masculine plural form of the imperative and the second masculine plural form of the pronoun. These words have been supplied in the translation for clarity.

140 tn Heb “They tell of a vision of their own heart [= mind] not from the mouth of the Lord.”

141 tn The translation reflects an emphatic construction where the infinitive absolute follows a participle (cf. GKC 343 §113.r).

142 tc The translation follows the Greek version. The Hebrew text reads, “who reject me, ‘The Lord has spoken, “Things…”’” The Greek version is to be preferred here because of (1) the parallelism of the lines “reject what the Lord has said” // “follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts;” (2) the preceding context which speaks of “visions of their own imaginations not of what the Lord has given them;” (3) the following context which denies that they have ever had access to the Lord’s secrets; (4) the general contexts earlier regarding false prophecy where rejection of the Lord’s word is in view (6:14 [see there v. 10]; 8:11 [see there v. 9]); (5) the meter of the poetic lines (the Hebrew meter is 3/5/4/3; the meter presupposed by the translation is 5/3/4/3 with the 3’s being their words). The difference is one of vocalization of the same consonants. The vocalization of the MT is יְהוָה מְנַאֲצַי דִּבֶּר [mÿnaatsay dibber yÿhvah]; the Hebrew Vorlage behind the Greek would be vocalized as מְנַאֲצֵי דְּבַר יְהוָה (mÿnaatsey dÿvar yÿhvah).

143 tn Heb “You will have peace.” But see the note on 14:13. See also 6:14 and 8:11.

144 tn Or “has been the Lord’s confidant.”

sn The Lord’s inner circle refers to the council of angels (Ps 89:7 [89:8 HT]; 1 Kgs 22:19-22; Job 1-2; Job 15:8) where God made known his counsel/plans (Amos 3:7). They and those they prophesied to will find out soon enough what the purposes of his heart are, and they are not “peace” (see v. 20). By their failure to announce the impending doom they were not turning the people away from their wicked course (vv. 21-22).

145 tn The form here is a jussive with a vav of subordination introducing a purpose after a question (cf. GKC 322 §109.f).

146 tc Heb “his word.” In the second instance (“what he has said” at the end of the verse) the translation follows the suggestion of the Masoretes (Qere) and many Hebrew mss rather than the consonantal text (Kethib) of the Leningrad Codex.

147 tn Heb “Behold!”

148 tn The syntax of this line has generally been misunderstood, sometimes to the point that some want to delete the word wrath. Both here and in 30:23 where these same words occur the word “anger” stands not as an accusative of attendant circumstance but an apposition, giving the intended referent to the figure. Comparison should be made with Jer 25:15 where “this wrath” is appositional to “the cup of wine” (cf. GKC 425 §131.k).

149 tn The translation is deliberate, intending to reflect the repetition of the Hebrew root which is “swirl/swirling.”

150 tn Heb “until he has done and until he has carried out the purposes of his heart.”

151 tn Heb “in the latter days.” However, as BDB 31 s.v. אַחֲרִית b suggests, the meaning of this idiom must be determined from the context. Sometimes it has remote, even eschatological, reference and other times it has more immediate reference as it does here and in Jer 30:23 where it refers to the coming days of Babylonian conquest and exile.

152 tn The translation is intended to reflect a Hebrew construction where a noun functions as the object of a verb from the same root word (the Hebrew cognate accusative).

153 tn Heb “Yet they ran.”

sn The image is that of a messenger bearing news from the king. See 2 Sam 18:19-24; Jer 51:31; Isa 40:9; 52:7; Hab 2:2 (the tablet/scroll bore the message the runner was to read to the intended recipients of his message). Their message has been given in v. 17 (see notes there for cross references).

154 tn Or “had been my confidant.” See the note on v. 18.

155 tn The words “Do you people think” at the beginning of this verse and “Do you really think” at the beginning of the next verse are not in the text but are a way of trying to convey the nature of the rhetorical questions which expect a negative answer. They are also a way of trying to show that the verses are still connected with the preceding discussion addressed to the people (cf. 23:16, 20).

156 tn Heb “Am I a god nearby and not a god far off?” The question is sometimes translated as though there is an alternative being given in v. 23, one that covers both the ideas of immanence and transcendence (i.e., “Am I only a god nearby and not also a god far off?”). However, the hey interrogative (הַ) at the beginning of this verse and the particle (אִם, ’im) at the beginning of the next show that the linkage is between the question in v. 23 and that in v. 24a. According to BDB 210 s.v. הֲ 1.d both questions in this case expect a negative answer.

sn The thought that is expressed here must be viewed against the background of ancient Near Eastern thought where gods were connected with different realms, e.g., Baal, the god of wind, rain, and fertility, Mot, the god of drought, infertility, and death, Yam, the god of the sea and of chaos. Moreover, Baal was worshiped in local manifestations as the Baal of Peor, Baal of Gad, etc. Hence, Baal is sometimes spoken of in the singular and sometimes in the plural. The Lord is the one true God (Deut 6:4). Moreover, he is the maker of heaven and earth (Gen 14:12; 2 Kgs 19:15; Ps 115:15), sees into the hearts of all men (Ps 33:13-15), and judges men according to what they do (Ezek 7:3, 7, 27). There is no hiding from him (Job 34:22; Ps 139:7-12) and no escape from his judgment (Amos 9:2-4). God has already spoken to the people and their leaders through Jeremiah along these lines (Jer 16:17; 21:14). Lurking behind the thoughts expressed here is probably Deut 29:19-21 where God warns that one “bad apple” who thinks he can get away with sinning against the covenant can lead to the destruction of all. The false prophets were the “bad apples” that were encouraging the corruption of the whole nation by their words promoting a false sense of security unconnected with loyalty to God and obedience to his covenant. The first question deals with the issue of God’s transcendence, the second with his omniscience, and the third with his omnipresence.

157 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

158 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

159 tn The words “Don’t you know” are not in the text. They are a way of conveying the idea that the question which reads literally “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” expects a positive answer. They follow the pattern used at the beginning of the previous two questions and continue that thought. The words are supplied in the translation for clarity.

160 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

161 tn The words, “The Lord says” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation for clarity to show that the Lord continues speaking.

162 sn To have had a dream was not an illegitimate means of receiving divine revelation. God had revealed himself in the past to his servants through dreams (e.g., Jacob [Gen 31:10-11] and Joseph [Gen 37:6, 7, 9]) and God promised to reveal himself through dreams (Num 12:6; Joel 2:28 [3:1 HT]). What was illegitimate was to use the dream to lead people away from the Lord (Deut 13:1-5 [13:2-6 HT]). That was what the prophets were doing through their dreams which were “lies” and “the delusions of their own minds.” Through them they were making people forget who the Lord really was which was just like what their ancestors had done through worshiping Baal.

163 sn See the parallel passage in Jer 14:13-15.

164 tn The relation of the words to one another in v. 26 and the beginning of v. 27 has created difficulties for translators and commentators. The proper solution is reflected in the NJPS. Verses 26-27 read somewhat literally, “How long is there in the hearts of the prophets who are prophesying the lie and [in the hearts of] the prophets of the delusions of their [own] heart the plotting to cause my people to forget my name…” Most commentaries complain that the text is corrupt, that there is no subject for “is there.” However, the long construct qualification “in the hearts of” has led to the lack of observation that the proper subject is “the plotting to make my people forget.” There are no exact parallels but Jer 14:22; Neh 5:5 follow the same structure. The “How long” precedes the other means of asking a question for the purpose of emphasis (cf. BDB 210 s.v. הֲ 1.b and compare for example the usage in 2 Sam 7:7). There has also been a failure to see that “the prophets of the delusion of…” is a parallel construct noun after “heart of.” Stripping the syntax down to its barest minimum and translating literally, the sentence would read “How long will the plotting…continue in the hearts of the prophets who…and [in hearts of] the prophets of…” The sentence has been restructured in the translation to conform to contemporary English style but attempt has been made to maintain the same subordinations.

165 tn Heb “my name.”

sn 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). To call someone’s name over something was to claim it for one’s own (2 Sam 12:28). Hence, here to forget the name is equivalent to forgetting who he was in his essential character (cf. Exod 3:13-15; 6:3; 34:5-7). By preaching lies they had obliterated part of his essential character and caused people to forget who he really was.

166 tn Heb “fathers” (also in v. 39).

167 tn Heb “through Baal.” This is an elliptical expression for the worship of Baal. See 11:17; 12:16; 19:5 for other references to their relation to Baal. There is a deliberate paralleling in the syntax here between “through their dreams” and “through Baal.”

168 tn Heb “What to the straw with [in comparison with] the grain?” This idiom represents an emphatic repudiation or denial of relationship. See, for example, the usage in 2 Sam 16:10 and note BDB 553 s.v. מָה 1.d(c).

169 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

170 tn Heb “Is not my message like a fire?” The rhetorical question expects a positive answer that is made explicit in the translation. The words “that purges dross” are not in the text but are implicit to the metaphor. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

171 tn Heb “Is it not like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” See preceding note.

172 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

173 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

174 tn Heb “who are stealing my words from one another.” However, context shows that it is their own word which they claim is from the Lord (cf. next verse).

175 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

176 tn The word “The Lord” is not actually in the text but is implicit in the idiom. It is generally supplied in all the English versions.

sn Jer 23:30-33 are filled with biting sarcasm. The verses all begin with “Behold I am against the prophets who…” and go on to describe their reprehensible behavior. They “steal” one another’s messages which the Lord sarcastically calls “my words” (The passage shows that they are not; compare Marc Anthony’s use of “noble” to describe the ignoble men who killed Caesar). Here the use of the idiom translated “to use their own tongue” is really the idiom that refers to taking something in preparation for action, i.e., “they take their tongue” and “declare.” The verb “declare” is only used here and is derived from the idiom “oracle of “ which is almost universally used in the idiom “oracle of the Lord” which occurs 176 times in Jeremiah. I.e., it is their tongue that is “declaring not his mouth (v. 16). Moreover in the report of what they “declare” the Lord has left out the qualifying “of the Lord” to suggest the delusive nature of their message, i.e. they mislead people into believing that their message is from the Lord. Elsewhere in the discussion of the issue of false prophecy the Lord will use the full formula (Ezek 13:6-7). How ironic that their “Oracle of…” is punctuated by the triple “Oracle of the Lord” (vv. 30, 31, 32; translated here “I, the Lord, affirm that…).

177 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

178 tn Heb “with their lies and their recklessness.” This is an example of hendiadys where two nouns (in this case a concrete and an abstract one) are joined by “and” but one is intended to be the adjectival modifier of the other.

179 sn In the light of what has been said this is a rhetorical understatement; they are not only “not helping,” they are leading them to their doom (cf. vv. 19-22). This figure of speech is known as litotes.

180 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

181 tn The words “The Lord said to me, ‘Jeremiah” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation for clarity to show the shift between the Lord addressing the people (second masculine plural) and the Lord addressing Jeremiah (second masculine singular).

182 tn The meaning of vv. 33-40 is debated. The translation given here follows the general direction of NRSV and REB rather than that of NIV and the related direction taken by NCV and God’s Word. The meaning of vv. 33-40 are debated because of (1) the ambiguity involved in the word מָשָּׂא (masa’), which can mean either “burden” (as something carried or weighing heavily on a person; see, e.g., Exod 23:5; Num 4:27; 2 Sam 15:33; Ps 38:4) or “oracle” (of doom; see, e. g., Isa 13:1; Nah 1:1); (the translation is debated due to etymological concerns), (2) the ambiguity of the line in v. 36 which has been rendered “For what is ‘burdensome’ really pertains rather to what a person himself says” (Heb “the burden is to the man his word”), and (3) the text in v. 33 of “you are the burden.” Many commentaries see a wordplay on the two words “burden” and “oracle” which are homonyms. However, from the contrasts that are drawn in the passage, it is doubtful whether the nuance of “oracle” ever is in view. The word is always used in the prophets of an oracle of doom or judgment; it is not merely revelation of God which one of the common people would have been uttering (contra NIV). Jeremiah never uses the word in that sense nor does anyone else in the book of Jeremiah.

sn What is in view here is the idea that the people consider Jeremiah’s views of loyalty to God and obedience to the covenant “burdensome.” I.e., what burdensome demands is the Lord asking you to impose on us (See Jer 17:21, 22, 24, 27 where this same word is used regarding Sabbath observance which they chafed at). The Lord answers back that it is not he who is being burdensome to them; they are burdensome to him (See 15:6: “I am weary” and compare Isa 1:14 where the verb rather than the noun is used).

183 tc The translation follows the Latin and Greek versions. The Hebrew text reads “What burden [i.e., burdensome message]?” The syntax of “what message?” is not in itself objectionable; the interrogative can function as an adjective (cf. BDB 552 s.v. מָה 1.a[a]). What is objectionable to virtually all the commentaries and lexicons is the unparalleled use of the accusative particle in front of the interrogative and the noun (see, e.g., BDB 672 s.v. III מָשָּׂא and GKC 365-66 §117.m, n. 3). The emendation only involves the redivision and revocalization of the same consonants: אֶת־מַה־מַשָּׂא (’et-mah-masa’) becomes אַתֶּם הַמָּשָּׂא (’atem hammasa’). This also makes a much more natural connection for the vav consecutive perfect that follows (cf. GKC 334 §112.x and compare Isa 6:7; Judg 13:3).

184 tn The meaning “cast you away” is questioned by some because the word is regularly used of “forsaking” or “abandoning” (see, e.g., Jer 7:29; 12:7; 15:6). However, it is clearly use of “casting down” or “throwing away” in Ezek 29:5; 32:4 and that meaning is virtually assured in v. 39 where the verb is combined with the phrase “from my presence” which is elsewhere used in rejection contexts with verbs like “send away,” “throw out,” or “remove” (see BDB 819 s.v. פָּנֶה II.8.a). This is another example of the bracketing effect of a key word and should be rendered the same in the two passages. Moreover, it fits in nicely with the play on “burden” here.

185 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

186 tn Heb “burden of the Lord.”

187 tn Heb “And the prophet or the priest or the people [common person] who says, ‘The burden of the Lord,” I will visit upon [= punish] that man and his house.” This is an example of the Hebrew construction call nominative absolute or casus pendens (cf. GKC 458 §143.d).

188 tn The words “So, I, Jeremiah tell you” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation for clarity to show that it is he who is addressing the people, not the Lord. See “our God” in v. 38 and “Here is what the Lord says…” which indicate the speaker is other than he.

189 tn This line is sometimes rendered as a description of what the people are doing (cf. NIV). However, repetition with some slight modification referring to the prophet in v. 37 followed by the same kind of prohibition that follows here shows that what is being contrasted is two views toward the Lord’s message, i.e., one of openness to receive what the Lord says through the prophet and one that already characterizes the Lord’s message as a burden. Allusion to the question that started the discussion in v. 33 should not be missed. The prophet alluded to is Jeremiah. He is being indirect in his reference to himself.

190 tn Heb “burden of the Lord.”

191 tn Heb “the burden.”

192 tn Heb “The burden is [or will be] to a man his word.” There is a good deal of ambiguity regarding how this line is to be rendered. For the major options and the issues involved W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:651-52 should be consulted. Most of them are excluded by the observation that מַשָּׂא probably does not mean “oracle” anywhere in this passage (see note on v. 33 regarding the use of this word). Hence it does not mean “every man’s word becomes his oracle” as in NIV or “for that ‘burden’ [= oracle] is what he entrusts to the man of his word” (W. McKane, Jeremiah [ICC], 1:600-601). The latter is also ruled out by the fact that the antecedent of “his” on “his word” is clearly the word “man” in front of it. This would be the only case where the phrase “man of his word” occurs. There is also no textual reason for repointing the noun with the article as the noun with the interrogative to read “For how can his word become a burden to anyone?” There are, of course, other options but this is sufficient to show that the translation has been chosen after looking at other alternatives.

193 tn Heb “turning.” See BDB 245 s.v. הָפַךְ Qal.1.c and Lev 13:55; Jer 13:33 “changing, altering.”

194 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

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

195 tn See the note on v. 35.

sn As noted in v. 35 the prophet is Jeremiah. The message is directed against the prophet, priest, or common people who have characterized his message as a “burden from the Lord.”

196 tn The translation of v. 38 and the first part of v. 39 represents the restructuring of a long and complex Hebrew sentence: Heb “But if you say, ‘The burden of the Lord,’ therefore this is what the Lord says, ‘Because you said this word, “The burden of the Lord,” even though I sent unto saying, “you shall not say, ‘The burden of the Lord,’ therefore…” The first “therefore” picks up the “if” (BDB 487 s.v. כֵּן 3.d) and the second answer the “because” (BDB 774 s.v. יַעַן 1).

197 tc The translation follows a few Hebrew mss and the major versions. The majority of Hebrew mss read “I will totally forget [or certainly forget] you.” In place of וְנָשִׁיתִי (vÿnashiti) a few Hebrew mss, LXX, Aquila, Symmachus, Syriac, and Vulgate read וְנָשָׂאתִי (vÿnasati). Instead of the infinitive absolute נָשׁאֹ (nasho’) a number of Hebrew mss, Aquila, Symmachus, Syriac, and Vulgate read נָשׂאֹ (naso’). For the confusion of III א and III ה verbs presupposed by the miswriting of the Hebrew text see GKC 216 §75.qq and compare the forms of נָבָא (nava’) in Jer 26:9 and 1 Sam 10:6. While the verb “forget” would not be totally inappropriate here it does not fit the concept of “throwing away from my presence” as well as “pick up” does. For the verb נָשָׂא (nasa’) meaning “carry you off” compare the usage in 1 Kgs 15:22; 18:12 (and see BDB 671 s.v. נָשָׂא 3.b). Many see the nuance “pick you up” carrying through on the wordplay in v. 33. While that may be appropriate for the repetition of the verb “throw away” (נָטַשׁ, natash) that follows, it does not seem as appropriate for the use of the infinitive absolute that follows the verb which expresses some kind of forcefulness (see GKC 343 §113.q).

198 tn Heb “throw you and the city that I gave you and your fathers out of my presence.” The English sentences have been broken down to conform to contemporary English style.



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