enraging me with their worthless gods; 3
so I will make them jealous with a people they do not recognize, 4
with a nation slow to learn 5 I will enrage them.
32:22 For a fire has been kindled by my anger,
and it burns to lowest Sheol; 6
it consumes the earth and its produce,
and ignites the foundations of the mountains.
I will use up my arrows on them.
32:24 They will be starved by famine,
eaten by plague, and bitterly stung; 8
I will send the teeth of wild animals against them,
along with the poison of creatures that crawl in the dust.
32:25 The sword will make people childless outside,
and terror will do so inside;
they will destroy 9 both the young man and the virgin,
the infant and the gray-haired man.
1 sn They have made me jealous. The “jealousy” of God is not a spirit of pettiness prompted by his insecurity, but righteous indignation caused by the disloyalty of his people to his covenant grace (see note on the word “God” in Deut 4:24). The jealousy of Israel, however (see next line), will be envy because of God’s lavish attention to another nation. This is an ironic wordplay. See H. Peels, NIDOTTE 3:938-39.
2 tn Heb “what is not a god,” or a “nondeity.”
3 tn Heb “their empty (things).” The Hebrew term used here to refer pejoratively to the false gods is הֶבֶל (hevel, “futile” or “futility”), used frequently in Ecclesiastes (e.g., Eccl 1:1, “Futile! Futile!” laments the Teacher, “Absolutely futile! Everything is futile!”).
5 tn Heb “a foolish nation” (so KJV, NAB, NRSV); NIV “a nation that has no understanding”; NLT “I will provoke their fury by blessing the foolish Gentiles.”
6 tn Or “to the lowest depths of the earth”; cf. NAB “to the depths of the nether world”; NIV “to the realm of death below”; NLT “to the depths of the grave.”
sn Sheol refers here not to hell and hell-fire – a much later concept – but to the innermost parts of the earth, as low down as one could get. The parallel with “the foundations of the mountains” makes this clear (cf. Pss 9:17; 16:10; 139:8; Isa 14:9, 15; Amos 9:2).
7 tn Heb “upon them.”
8 tn The Hebrew term קֶטֶב (qetev) is probably metaphorical here for the sting of a disease (HALOT 1091-92 s.v.).
9 tn A verb is omitted here in the Hebrew text; for purposes of English style one suitable to the context is supplied.