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Jeremiah 10:7-10

Context

10:7 Everyone should revere you, O King of all nations, 1 

because you deserve to be revered. 2 

For there is no one like you

among any of the wise people of the nations nor among any of their kings. 3 

10:8 The people of those nations 4  are both stupid and foolish.

Instruction from a wooden idol is worthless! 5 

10:9 Hammered-out silver is brought from Tarshish 6 

and gold is brought from Uphaz 7  to cover those idols. 8 

They are the handiwork of carpenters and goldsmiths. 9 

They are clothed in blue and purple clothes. 10 

They are all made by skillful workers. 11 

10:10 The Lord is the only true God.

He is the living God and the everlasting King.

When he shows his anger the earth shakes.

None of the nations can stand up to his fury.

1 tn Heb “Who should not revere you…?” The question is rhetorical and expects a negative answer.

2 tn Heb “For it is fitting to you.”

3 tn Heb “their royalty/dominion.” This is a case of substitution of the abstract for the concrete “royalty, royal power” for “kings” who exercise it.

4 tn Or “Those wise people and kings are…” It is unclear whether the subject is the “they” of the nations in the preceding verse, or the wise people and kings referred to. The text merely has “they.”

5 tn Heb “The instruction of vanities [worthless idols] is wood.” The meaning of this line is a little uncertain. Various proposals have been made to make sense, most of which involve radical emendation of the text. For some examples see J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah (NICOT), 323-24, fn 6. However, this is probably a case of the bold predication that discussed in GKC 452 §141.d, some examples of which may be seen in Ps 109:4 “I am prayer,” and Ps 120:7 “I am peace.”

6 tc Two Qumran scrolls of Jeremiah (4QJera and 4QJerb) reflect a Hebrew text that is very different than the traditional MT from which modern Bibles have been translated. The Hebrew text in these two manuscripts is similar to that from which LXX was translated. This is true both in small details and in major aspects where the LXX differs from MT. Most notably, 4QJera, 4QJerb and LXX present a version of Jeremiah about 13% shorter than the longer version found in MT. One example of this shorter text is Jer 10:3-11 in which MT and 4QJera both have all nine verses, while LXX and 4QJerb both lack vv. 6-8 and 10, which extol the greatness of God. In addition, the latter part of v. 9 is arranged differently in LXX and 4QJerb. The translation here follows MT which is supported by 4QJera.

7 tn This is a place of unknown location. It is mentioned again in Dan 10:5. Many emend the word to “Ophir” following the Syriac version and the Aramaic Targum. Ophir was famous for its gold (cf. 1 Kgs 9:28; Job 28:16).

8 tn The words “to cover those idols” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

9 tn The words “They are” are not in the text. The text reads merely, “the work of the carpenter and of the hands of the goldsmith.” The words are supplied in the translation for clarity.

10 tn Heb “Blue and purple their clothing.”

11 sn There is an ironic pun in this last line. The Hebrew word translated “skillful workers” is the same word that is translated “wise people” in v. 7. The artisans do their work skillfully but they are not “wise.”



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