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Jeremiah 10:16

Context

10:16 The Lord, who is the inheritance 1  of Jacob’s descendants, 2  is not like them.

He is the one who created everything.

And the people of Israel are those he claims as his own. 3 

He is known as the Lord who rules over all.” 4 

Jeremiah 51:19

Context

51:19 The Lord, who is the portion of the descendants of Jacob, is not like them.

For he is the one who created everything,

including the people of Israel whom he claims as his own. 5 

He is known as the Lord who rules over all. 6 

1 tn The words “The Lord who is” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation for clarity. For the significance of the words that follow them see the study note that follows.

sn The phrase the portion of Jacob’s descendants, which is applied to God here, has its background in the division of the land where each tribe received a portion of the land of Palestine except the tribe of Levi whose “portion” was the Lord. As the other tribes lived off what their portion of the land provided, the tribe of Levi lived off what the Lord provided, i.e., the tithes and offerings dedicated to him. Hence to have the Lord as one’s portion is to have him provide for all one’s needs (see Ps 16:5 in the context of vv. 2, 6 and Lam 3:24 in the context of vv. 22-23).

2 tn Heb “The Portion of Jacob.” “Descendants” is implied, and is supplied in the translation for clarity.

3 tn Heb “And Israel is the tribe of his possession.”

4 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies is his name.”

sn For this rendering of the name for God and its significance see 2:19 and the study note there.

5 tn Heb “For he is the former of all [things] and the tribe of his inheritance.” This is the major exception to the verbatim repetition of 10:12-16 in 51:15-19. The word “Israel” appears before “the tribe of his inheritance” in 10:16. It is also found in a number of Hebrew mss, in the Lucianic recension of the LXX (the Greek version), the Aramaic Targums, and the Latin Vulgate. Most English versions and many commentaries assume it here. However, it is easier to explain why the word is added in a few of the versions and some Hebrew than to explain why it was left out. It is probable that the word is not original here because the addressees are different and the function of this hymnic piece is slightly different (see the study note on the next line for details). Here it makes good sense to understand that the Lord is being called the creator of the special tribe of people he claims as his own property (see the study note on the first line of 10:16).

6 sn With the major exception discussed in the translator’s note on the preceding line vv. 15-19 are a verbatim repetition of 10:12-16 with a few minor variations in spelling. There the passage was at the end of a section in which the Lord was addressing the Judeans and trying to convince them that the worship of idols was vain – the idols were impotent but he is all powerful. Here the passage follows a solemn oath by the Lord who rules over all and is apparently directed to the Babylonians, emphasizing the power of the Lord to carry out his oath.



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