Instruction from a wooden idol is worthless! 2
Every goldsmith will be disgraced by the idol he made.
For the image he forges is merely a sham. 4
There is no breath in any of those idols. 5
When the time comes to punish them, they will be destroyed.
1 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.”
2 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.”
3 tn Heb “Every man.” But in the context this is not a reference to all people without exception but to all idolaters. The referent is made explicit for the sake of clarity.
4 tn Or “nothing but a phony god”; Heb “a lie/falsehood.”
5 tn Heb “There is no breath in them.” The referent is made explicit so that no one will mistakenly take it to refer to the idolaters or goldsmiths.
6 tn Or “objects of mockery.”