“In all the squares there will be wailing,
in all the streets they will mourn the dead. 3
They will tell the field workers 4 to lament
and the professional mourners 5 to wail.
Why do you want the Lord’s day of judgment to come?
It will bring darkness, not light.
1 tn Heb “Therefore.” This logical connector relates back to the accusation of vv. 10-13, not to the parenthetical call to repentance in vv. 14-15. To indicate this clearly, the phrase “Because of Israel’s sins” is used in the translation.
2 tn Or “the Lord.” The Hebrew term translated “sovereign One” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).
3 tn Heb “they will say, ‘Ah! Ah!’” The Hebrew term הוֹ (ho, “ah, woe”) is an alternate form of הוֹי (hoy), a word used to mourn the dead and express outwardly one’s sorrow. See 1 Kgs 13:30; Jer 22:18; 34:5. This wordplay follows quickly, as v. 18 begins with הוֹי (“woe”).
4 tn Or “farmers” (NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT).
5 tn Heb “those who know lamentation.”
6 tn The term הוֹי (hoy, “woe”) was used when mourning the dead (see the note on the word “dead” in 5:16). The prophet here either engages in role playing and mourns the death of the nation in advance or sarcastically taunts those who hold to this misplaced belief.