Do not visit Gilgal!
Do not journey down 2 to Beer Sheba!
and Bethel will become a place where disaster abounds.” 5
5:6 Seek the Lord so you can live!
the fire 9 will consume
and no one will be able to quench it and save Bethel. 10
1 sn Ironically, Israel was to seek after the Lord, but not at Bethel (the name Bethel means “the house of God” in Hebrew).
2 tn Heb “cross over.”
sn To worship at Beer Sheba, northern worshipers had to journey down (i.e., cross the border) between Israel and Judah. Apparently, the popular religion of Israel for some included pilgrimage to holy sites in the South.
3 tn Heb “For Gilgal.” By metonymy the place name “Gilgal” is used instead of referring directly to the inhabitants. The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
4 tn In the Hebrew text the statement is emphasized by sound play. The name “Gilgal” sounds like the verb גָּלָה (galah, “to go into exile”), which occurs here in the infinitival + finite verb construction (גָּלֹה יִגְלֶה, galoh yigleh). The repetition of the “ג” (g) and “ל” (l) sounds draws attention to the announcement and suggests that Gilgal’s destiny is inherent in its very name.
sn That the people of Gilgal would be taken into exile is ironic, for Gilgal was Israel’s first campsite when the people entered the land under Joshua and the city became a symbol of Israel’s possession of the promised land.
5 tn Heb “disaster,” or “nothing”; NIV “Bethel will be reduced to nothing.”
sn Again there is irony. The name Bethel means “house of God” in Hebrew. How surprising and tragic that Bethel, the “house of God” where Jacob received the inheritance given to Abraham, would be overrun by disaster.
6 tn Heb “rush.” The verb depicts swift movement.
7 sn Here Joseph (= Ephraim and Manasseh), as the most prominent of the Israelite tribes, represents the entire northern kingdom.
8 tn Heb “house.”
9 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the fire mentioned in the previous line) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
10 tn Heb “to/for Bethel.” The translation assumes that the preposition indicates advantage, “on behalf of.” Another option is to take the preposition as vocative, “O Bethel.”