who display great courage when mixing strong drinks.
5:23 They pronounce the guilty innocent for a payoff,
they ignore the just cause of the innocent. 3
and dry grass disintegrates in the flames,
so their root will rot,
and their flower will blow away like dust. 5
For they have rejected the law of the Lord who commands armies,
he lifts 9 his hand and strikes them.
The mountains shake,
and corpses lie like manure 10 in the middle of the streets.
Despite all this, his anger does not subside,
and his hand is ready to strike again. 11
he whistles for it to come from the far regions of the earth.
Look, they 13 come quickly and swiftly.
5:27 None tire or stumble,
they don’t stop to nap or sleep.
They don’t loosen their belts,
or unstrap their sandals to rest. 14
5:28 Their arrows are sharpened,
and all their bows are prepared. 15
The hooves of their horses are hard as flint, 16
and their chariot wheels are like a windstorm. 17
5:29 Their roar is like a lion’s;
they roar like young lions.
They growl and seize their prey;
they drag it away and no one can come to the rescue.
it will sound like sea waves crashing against rocks. 20
One will look out over the land and see the darkness of disaster,
clouds will turn the light into darkness. 21
1 tn The language used here is quite sarcastic and paves the way for the shocking description of the enemy army in vv. 25-30. The rich leaders of Judah are nothing but “party animals” who are totally incapable of withstanding real warriors.
3 tn Heb “and the just cause of the innocent ones they turn aside from him.”
sn In vv. 22-23 the prophet returns to themes with which he opened his speech. The accusatory elements of vv. 8, 11-12, 18-23 are arranged in a chiastic manner: (A) social injustice (8), (B) carousing (11-12a), (C) spiritual insensitivity (12b) // (C') spiritual insensitivity (18-21), (B') carousing (22), (A') social injustice (23).
4 tn Heb “a tongue of fire” (so NASB), referring to a tongue-shaped flame.
5 sn They are compared to a flowering plant that withers quickly in a hot, arid climate.
6 tn Heb “the word.”
8 tn Heb “the anger of the Lord rages.”
9 tn Or “extends”; KJV, ASV “he hath stretched forth.”
10 tn Or “garbage” (NCV, CEV, NLT); NAB, NASB, NIV “refuse.”
11 tn Heb “in all this his anger is not turned, and still his hand is outstretched.”
12 tc The Hebrew text has literally, “for nations from a distance.” The following verses use singular forms to describe this nation, so the final mem (ם) on לְגּוֹיִם (lÿgoyim) may be enclitic or dittographic. In the latter case one could read לְגוֹי מֵרָחוֹק (lÿgoy merakhoq, “for a nation from a distance”; see Deut 28:49; Joel 3:8). Another possibility is to emend the text from לַגּוֹיִם מֵרָחוֹק (laggoyim merakhoq) to לְגוֹי מִמֶּרְחָק (lÿgoy mimmerkhaq, “for a nation from a distant place”) a phrase which occurs in Jer 5:15. In this case an error of misdivision has occurred in MT, the mem of the prefixed preposition being accidentally taken as a plural ending on the preceding word.
14 tn Heb “and the belt on his waist is not opened, and the thong of his sandals is not torn in two.”
15 tn Heb “bent” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); NIV “are strung.”
16 tn Heb “regarded like flint.”
17 sn They are like a windstorm in their swift movement and in the way they kick up dust.
18 tn Or “in that day” (KJV).
19 tn Heb “over it”; the referent (the prey) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
20 tn Heb “like the growling of the sea.”
21 tn Heb “and one will gaze toward the land, and look, darkness of distress, and light will grow dark by its [the land’s?] clouds.”
sn The motif of light turning to darkness is ironic when compared to v. 20. There the sinners turn light (= moral/ethical good) to darkness (= moral/ethical evil). Now ironically the Lord will turn light (= the sinners’ sphere of existence and life) into darkness (= the judgment and death).