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Jeremiah 12:1-2

Context

12:1 Lord, you have always been fair

whenever I have complained to you. 1 

However, I would like to speak with you about the disposition of justice. 2 

Why are wicked people successful? 3 

Why do all dishonest people have such easy lives?

12:2 You plant them like trees and they put down their roots. 4 

They grow prosperous and are very fruitful. 5 

They always talk about you,

but they really care nothing about you. 6 

1 tn Or “Lord, you are fair when I present my case before you.”

2 tn Heb “judgments” or “matters of justice.” For the nuance of “complain to,” “fair,” “disposition of justice” assumed here, see BDB 936 s.v. רִיב Qal.4 (cf. Judg 21:22); BDB 843 s.v. צַדִּיק 1.d (cf. Ps 7:12; 11:7); BDB 1049 s.v. מִשְׁפָּט 1.f (cf. Isa 26:8; Ps 10:5; Ezek 7:27).

3 tn Heb “Why does the way [= course of life] of the wicked prosper?”

4 tn Heb “You planted them and they took root.”

5 tn Heb “they grow and produce fruit.” For the nuance “grow” for the verb which normally means “go, walk,” see BDB 232 s.v. חָלַךְ Qal.I.3 and compare Hos 14:7.

6 tn Heb “You are near in their mouths, but far from their kidneys.” The figure of substitution is being used here, “mouth” for “words” and “kidneys” for passions and affections. A contemporary equivalent might be, “your name is always on their lips, but their hearts are far from you.”



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