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Jeremiah 11:12-13

Context
11:12 Then those living in the towns of Judah and in Jerusalem will 1  go and cry out for help to the gods to whom they have been sacrificing. However, those gods will by no means 2  be able to save them when disaster strikes them. 11:13 This is in spite of the fact that 3  the people of Judah have as many gods as they have towns 4  and the citizens of Jerusalem have set up as many altars to sacrifice to that disgusting god, Baal, as they have streets in the city!’ 5 

1 tn Heb “Then the towns of Judah and those living in Jerusalem will…”

2 tn The Hebrew construction is emphatic involving the use of an infinitive of the verb before the verb itself (Heb “saving they will not save”). For this construction to give emphasis to an antithesis, cf. GKC 343 §113.p.

3 tn This is again an attempt to render the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) contextually. The nuance is a little hard to establish due to the nature of the rhetoric of the passage which utilizes the figure of apostrophe where the Lord turns from talking about Judah to addressing her directly, probably in condemnatory tones. Something like “the very idea that you should…” might best represent the mood. The כִּי is probably asseverative or intensive (cf. BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.e).

4 sn Cf. Jer 2:28.

5 tn Heb “For [or Indeed] the number of your [sing.] cities are your [sing.] gods, Judah, and the number of the streets of Jerusalem [or perhaps (your) streets, Jerusalem] you [plur.] have set up altars to the shameful thing, altars to sacrifice to Baal.” This passage involves a figure of speech where the speaker turns from describing something about someone to addressing him/her directly (a figure called apostrophe). This figure is not common in contemporary English literature or conversation and translating literally would lead to confusion on the part of some readers. Hence, the translation retains the third person in keeping with the rest of the context. The shift from singular “your cities” to plural “you have set up” is interpreted contextually to refer to a shift in addressing Judah to addressing the citizens of Jerusalem whose streets are being talked about. The appositional clause, “altars to sacrifice to Baal” has been collapsed with the preceding clause to better identify what the shameful thing is and to eliminate a complex construction. The length of this sentence runs contrary to the usual practice of breaking up long complex sentences in Hebrew into shorter equivalent ones in English. However, breaking up this sentence and possibly losing the connecting link with the preceding used to introduce it might lead to misunderstanding.



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