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Jeremiah 13:17

Context

13:17 But if you will not pay attention to this warning, 1 

I will weep alone because of your arrogant pride.

I will weep bitterly and my eyes will overflow with tears 2 

because you, the Lord’s flock, 3  will be carried 4  into exile.”

Jeremiah 13:20

Context

13:20 Then I said, 5 

“Look up, Jerusalem, 6  and see

the enemy 7  that is coming from the north.

Where now is the flock of people that were entrusted to your care? 8 

Where now are the ‘sheep’ that you take such pride in? 9 

1 tn Heb “If you will not listen to it.” For the use of the feminine singular pronoun to refer to the idea(s) expressed in the preceding verse(s), see GKC 440-41 §135.p.

2 tn Heb “Tearing [my eye] will tear and my eye will run down [= flow] with tears.”

sn The depth of Jeremiah’s sorrow for the sad plight of his people, if they refuse to repent, is emphasized by the triple repetition of the word “tears” twice in an emphatic verbal expression (Hebrew infinitive before finite verb) and once in the noun.

3 tn Heb “because the Lord’s flock will…” The pronoun “you” is supplied in the translation to avoid the shift in English from the second person address at the beginning to the third person affirmation at the end. It also helps explain the metaphor of the people of Israel as God’s flock for some readers who may be unfamiliar with that metaphor.

4 tn The verb is once again in the form of “as good as done” (the Hebrew prophetic perfect).

5 tn The words “Then I said” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation to show the shift in speaker from vv. 18-19 where the Lord is speaking to Jeremiah.

6 tn The word “Jerusalem” is not in the Hebrew text. It is added in the Greek text and is generally considered to be the object of address because of the second feminine singular verbs here and throughout the following verses. The translation follows the consonantal text (Kethib) and the Greek text in reading the second feminine singular here. The verbs and pronouns in vv. 20-22 are all second feminine singular with the exception of the suffix on the word “eyes” which is not reflected in the translation here (“Look up” = “Lift up your eyes”) and the verb and pronoun in v. 23. The text may reflect the same kind of alternation between singular and plural that takes place in Isa 7 where the pronouns refer to Ahaz as an individual and his entourage, the contemporary ruling class (cf., e.g., Isa 7:4-5 [singular], 9 [plural], 11 [singular], 13-14 [plural]). Here the connection with the preceding may suggest that it is initially the ruling house (the king and the queen mother), then Jerusalem personified as a woman in her role as a shepherdess (i.e., leader). However, from elsewhere in the book the leadership has included the kings, the priests, the prophets, and the citizens as well (cf., e.g., 13:13). In v. 27 Jerusalem is explicitly addressed. It may be asking too much of some readers who are not familiar with biblical metaphors to understand an extended metaphor like this. If it is helpful to them, they may substitute plural referents for “I” and “me.”

7 tn The word “enemy” is not in the text but is implicit. It supplied in the translation for clarity.

sn On the phrase the enemy that is coming from the north see Jer 1:14-15; 4:6; 6:1, 22; 10:22.

8 tn Heb “the flock that was given to you.”

9 tn Heb “the sheep of your pride.” The word “of your people” and the quotes around “sheep” are intended to carry over the metaphor in such a way that readers unfamiliar with the metaphor will understand it.



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