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Jeremiah 11:20

Context

11:20 So I said to the Lord, 1 

“O Lord who rules over all, 2  you are a just judge!

You examine people’s hearts and minds. 3 

I want to see you pay them back for what they have done

because I trust you to vindicate my cause.” 4 

Jeremiah 20:12

Context

20:12 O Lord who rules over all, 5  you test and prove the righteous.

You see into people’s hearts and minds. 6 

Pay them back for what they have done

because I trust you to vindicate my cause.

1 tn The words “So I said to the Lord” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity to show the shift in address.

2 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

sn For the significance of the term see the notes at 2:19 and 7:3.

3 tn HebLord of armies, just judge, tester of kidneys and heart.” The sentence has been broken up to avoid a long and complex English sentence. The translation is more in keeping with contemporary English style. In Hebrew thought the “kidneys” were thought of as the seat of the emotions and passions and the “heart” was viewed as the seat of intellect, conscience, and will. The “heart” and the “kidneys” are often used figuratively for the thoughts, emotions, motives, and drives that are thought to be seated in them.

4 tn Heb “Let me see your retribution [i.e., see you exact retribution] from them because I reveal my cause [i.e., plea for justice] to you.”

5 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

sn See the study note on 2:19 for explanation of this title for God.

6 tn HebLord of armies, the one who tests the righteous, who sees kidneys and heart.” The sentence has been broken up to avoid a long and complex English sentence. The translation is more in keeping with contemporary English style.

sn This verse is almost an exact duplication of the petition in one of Jeremiah’s earlier prayers and complaints. See Jer 11:20 and notes there for explanation of the Hebrew psychology underlying the use of “kidneys and heart” here. For the thoughts expressed here see Ps 17.



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