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Jeremiah 13:1-27

Context
An Object Lesson from Ruined Linen Shorts

13:1 The Lord said to me, “Go and buy some linen shorts 1  and put them on. 2  Do not put them in water.” 3  13:2 So I bought the shorts as the Lord had told me to do 4  and put them on. 5  13:3 Then the Lord spoke to me again and said, 6  13:4 “Take the shorts that you bought and are wearing 7  and go at once 8  to Perath. 9  Bury the shorts there 10  in a crack in the rocks.” 13:5 So I went and buried them at Perath 11  as the Lord had ordered me to do. 13:6 Many days later the Lord said to me, “Go at once to Perath and get 12  the shorts I ordered you to bury there.” 13:7 So I went to Perath and dug up 13  the shorts from the place where I had buried them. I found 14  that they were ruined; they were good for nothing.

13:8 Then the Lord said to me, 15  13:9 “I, the Lord, say: 16  ‘This shows how 17  I will ruin the highly exalted position 18  in which Judah and Jerusalem 19  take pride. 13:10 These wicked people refuse to obey what I have said. 20  They follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts and pay allegiance 21  to other gods by worshiping and serving them. So 22  they will become just like these linen shorts which are good for nothing. 13:11 For,’ I say, 23  ‘just as shorts cling tightly to a person’s body, so I bound the whole nation of Israel and the whole nation of Judah 24  tightly 25  to me.’ I intended for them to be my special people and to bring me fame, honor, and praise. 26  But they would not obey me.

13:12 “So tell them, 27  ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, says, “Every wine jar is made to be filled with wine.”’ 28  And they will probably say to you, ‘Do you not think we know 29  that every wine jar is supposed to be filled with wine?’ 13:13 Then 30  tell them, ‘The Lord says, “I will soon fill all the people who live in this land with stupor. 31  I will also fill the kings from David’s dynasty, 32  the priests, the prophets, and the citizens of Jerusalem with stupor. 33  13:14 And I will smash them like wine bottles against one another, children and parents alike. 34  I will not show any pity, mercy, or compassion. Nothing will keep me from destroying them,’ 35  says the Lord.”

13:15 Then I said to the people of Judah, 36 

“Listen and pay attention! Do not be arrogant!

For the Lord has spoken.

13:16 Show the Lord your God the respect that is due him. 37 

Do it before he brings the darkness of disaster. 38 

Do it before you stumble 39  into distress

like a traveler on the mountains at twilight. 40 

Do it before he turns the light of deliverance you hope for

into the darkness and gloom of exile. 41 

13:17 But if you will not pay attention to this warning, 42 

I will weep alone because of your arrogant pride.

I will weep bitterly and my eyes will overflow with tears 43 

because you, the Lord’s flock, 44  will be carried 45  into exile.”

13:18 The Lord told me, 46 

“Tell the king and the queen mother,

‘Surrender your thrones, 47 

for your glorious crowns

will be removed 48  from your heads. 49 

13:19 The gates of the towns in southern Judah will be shut tight. 50 

No one will be able to go in or out of them. 51 

All Judah will be carried off into exile.

They will be completely carried off into exile.’” 52 

13:20 Then I said, 53 

“Look up, Jerusalem, 54  and see

the enemy 55  that is coming from the north.

Where now is the flock of people that were entrusted to your care? 56 

Where now are the ‘sheep’ that you take such pride in? 57 

13:21 What will you say 58  when the Lord 59  appoints as rulers over you those allies

that you, yourself, had actually prepared as such? 60 

Then anguish and agony will grip you

like that of a woman giving birth to a baby. 61 

13:22 You will probably ask yourself, 62 

‘Why have these things happened to me?

Why have I been treated like a disgraced adulteress

whose skirt has been torn off and her limbs exposed?’ 63 

It is because you have sinned so much. 64 

13:23 But there is little hope for you ever doing good,

you who are so accustomed to doing evil.

Can an Ethiopian 65  change the color of his skin?

Can a leopard remove its spots? 66 

13:24 “The Lord says, 67 

‘That is why I will scatter your people 68  like chaff

that is blown away by a desert wind. 69 

13:25 This is your fate,

the destiny to which I have appointed you,

because you have forgotten me

and have trusted in false gods.

13:26 So I will pull your skirt up over your face

and expose you to shame like a disgraced adulteress! 70 

13:27 People of Jerusalem, 71  I have seen your adulterous worship,

your shameless prostitution to, and your lustful pursuit of, other gods. 72 

I have seen your disgusting acts of worship 73 

on the hills throughout the countryside.

You are doomed to destruction! 74 

How long will you continue to be unclean?’”

Jeremiah 19:1-15

Context
An Object Lesson from a Broken Clay Jar

19:1 The Lord told Jeremiah, 75  “Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. 76  Take with you 77  some of the leaders of the people and some of the leaders 78  of the priests. 19:2 Go out to the part of the Hinnom Valley which is near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. 79  Announce there what I tell you. 80  19:3 Say, ‘Listen to what the Lord says, you kings of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! 81  The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 82  says, “I will bring a disaster on this place 83  that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it ring! 84  19:4 I will do so because these people 85  have rejected me and have defiled 86  this place. They have offered sacrifices in it to other gods which neither they nor their ancestors 87  nor the kings of Judah knew anything about. They have filled it with the blood of innocent children. 88  19:5 They have built places here 89  for worship of the god Baal so that they could sacrifice their children as burnt offerings to him in the fire. Such sacrifices 90  are something I never commanded them to make! They are something I never told them to do! Indeed, such a thing never even entered my mind! 19:6 So I, the Lord, say: 91  “The time will soon come that people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Hinnom Valley. But they will call this valley 92  the Valley of Slaughter! 19:7 In this place I will thwart 93  the plans of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. I will deliver them over to the power of their enemies who are seeking to kill them. They will die by the sword 94  at the hands of their enemies. 95  I will make their dead bodies food for the birds and wild beasts to eat. 19:8 I will make this city an object of horror, a thing to be hissed at. All who pass by it will be filled with horror and will hiss out their scorn 96  because of all the disasters that have happened to it. 97  19:9 I will reduce the people of this city to desperate straits during the siege imposed on it by their enemies who are seeking to kill them. I will make them so desperate that they will eat the flesh of their own sons and daughters and the flesh of one another.”’” 98 

19:10 The Lord continued, 99  “Now break the jar in front of those who have come here with you. 19:11 Tell them the Lord who rules over all says, 100  ‘I will do just as Jeremiah has done. 101  I will smash this nation and this city as though it were a potter’s vessel which is broken beyond repair. 102  The dead will be buried here in Topheth until there is no more room to bury them.’ 103  19:12 I, the Lord, say: 104  ‘That is how I will deal with this city and its citizens. I will make it like Topheth. 19:13 The houses in Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will be defiled by dead bodies 105  just like this place, Topheth. For they offered sacrifice to the stars 106  and poured out drink offerings to other gods on the roofs of those houses.’”

19:14 Then Jeremiah left Topheth where the Lord had sent him to give that prophecy. He went to the Lord’s temple and stood 107  in its courtyard and called out to all the people. 19:15 “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 108  says, ‘I will soon bring on this city and all the towns surrounding it 109  all the disaster I threatened to do to it. I will do so because they have stubbornly refused 110  to pay any attention to what I have said!’”

1 tn The term here (אֵזוֹר, ’ezor) has been rendered in various ways: “girdle” (KJV, ASV), “waistband” (NASB), “waistcloth” (RSV), “sash” (NKJV), “belt” (NIV, NCV, NLT), and “loincloth” (NAB, NRSV, NJPS, REB). The latter is more accurate according to J. M. Myers, “Dress and Ornaments,” IDB 1:870, and W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:399. It was a short, skirt-like garment reaching from the waist to the knees and worn next to the body (cf. v. 9). The modern equivalent is “shorts” as in TEV/GNB, CEV.

sn The linen shorts (Heb “loincloth”) were representative of Israel and the wearing of them was to illustrate the Lord’s close relation to his people (v. 11). Since the priests’ garments were to be made wholly of linen (cf. Exod 28; Ezek 44:17-18), the fact that the shorts were to be made of linen probably was to symbolize the nature of Israel’s calling: they were to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exod 19:5-6). Just as the linen garments of the priest were to give him special honor and glory (Exod 28:40), so the linen garment was to be a source of praise and glory to the Lord (v. 11).

2 tn Heb “upon your loins.” The “loins” were the midriff of the body from the waist to the knees. For a further discussion including the figurative uses see, IDB, “Loins,” 3:149.

3 tn Or “Do not ever put them in water,” i.e., “Do not even wash them.”

sn The fact that the garment was not to be put in water is not explained. A possible explanation within the context is that it was to be worn continuously, not even taken off to wash it. That would illustrate that the close relationship that the Lord had with his people was continuous and indissoluble. Other explanations are that it was not to be gotten wet because (1) that would have begun the process of rotting (This assumes that the rotting was done by the water of the Euphrates. But it was buried in a crack in the rocks, not in the river itself); (2) that would have made it softer and easier to wear; or (3) that showed that the garment was new, clean, and fresh from the merchant. For this latter interpretation see J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah (NICOT), 64. For a fuller discussion of most of the issues connected with this acted out parable see W. McKane, Jeremiah (ICC), 1:285-92. However, the reason is not explained in the text and there is not enough evidence in the text to come to a firm conclusion, though the most likely possibility is that it was not to be taken off and washed but worn continuously.

4 tn Heb “according to the word of the Lord.”

5 tn Heb “upon your loins.” The “loins” were the midriff of the body from the waist to the knees. For a further discussion including the figurative uses see R. C. Dentan, “Loins,” IDB 3:149-50.

6 tn Heb “The word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying.”

7 tn Heb “which are upon your loins.” See further the notes on v. 1.

8 tn Heb “Get up and go.” The first verb is not literal but is idiomatic for the initiation of an action.

9 tn There has been a great deal of debate about whether the place referred to here is a place (Parah [= Perath] mentioned in Josh 18:23, modern Khirbet Farah, near a spring ’ain Farah) about three and a half miles from Anathoth which was Jeremiah’s home town or the Euphrates River. Elsewhere the word “Perath” always refers to the Euphrates but it is either preceded by the word “river of” or there is contextual indication that the Euphrates is being referred to. Because a journey to the Euphrates and back would involve a journey of more than 700 miles (1,100 km) and take some months, scholars both ancient and modern have questioned whether “Perath” refers to the Euphrates here and if it does whether a real journey was involved. Most of the attempts to identify the place with the Euphrates involve misguided assumptions that this action was a symbolic message to Israel about exile or the corrupting influence of Assyria and Babylon. However, unlike the other symbolic acts in Jeremiah (and in Isaiah and Ezekiel) the symbolism is not part of a message to the people but to Jeremiah; the message is explained to him (vv. 9-11) not the people. In keeping with some of the wordplays that are somewhat common in Jeremiah it is likely that the reference here is to a place, Parah, which was near Jeremiah’s hometown, but whose name would naturally suggest to Jeremiah later in the Lord’s explanation in vv. 9-11 Assyria-Babylon as a place connected with Judah’s corruption (see the notes on vv. 9-10). For further discussion the reader should consult the commentaries, especially W. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:396 and W. McKane, Jeremiah (ICC), 1:285-92 who take opposite positions on this issue.

10 sn The significance of this act is explained in vv. 9-10. See the notes there for explanation.

11 tc The translation reads בִּפְרָתָה (bifratah) with 4QJera as noted in W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:393 instead of בִּפְרָת (bifrat) in the MT.

12 tn Heb “Get from there.” The words “from there” are not necessary to the English sentence. They would lead to a redundancy later in the verse, i.e., “from there…bury there.”

13 tn Heb “dug and took.”

14 tn Heb “And behold.”

15 tn Heb “Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying.”

16 tn Heb “Thus says the Lord.”

17 tn In a sense this phrase which is literally “according to thus” or simply “thus” points both backward and forward: backward to the acted out parable and forward to the explanation which follows.

18 tn Many of the English versions have erred in rendering this word “pride” or “arrogance” with the resultant implication that the Lord is going to destroy Israel’s pride, i.e., humble them through the punishment of exile. However, BDB 144-45 s.v. גָּאוֹן 1 is more probably correct when they classify this passage among those that deal with the “‘majesty, excellence’ of nations, their wealth, power, magnificence of buildings….” The closest parallels to the usage here are in Zech 10:11 (parallel to scepter of Egypt); Ps 47:4 (47:5 HT; parallel to “our heritage” = “our land”); Isa 14:11; and Amos 8:7. The term is further defined in v. 11 where it refers to their special relationship and calling. To translate it “pride” or “arrogance” also ruins the wordplay on “ruin” (נִשְׁחַת [nishkhat] in v. 7 and אַשְׁחִית [’ashkhit] in v. 9).

sn Scholars ancient and modern are divided over the significance of the statement I will ruin the highly exalted position in which Judah and Jerusalem take pride (Heb “I will ruin the pride of Judah and Jerusalem”). Some feel that it refers to the corrupting influence of Assyria and Babylon and others feel that it refers to the threat of Babylonian exile. However, F. B. Huey (Jeremiah, Lamentations [NAC], 144) is correct in observing that the Babylonian exile did not lead to the rottenness of Judah, the corrupting influence of the foreign nations did. In Jeremiah’s day these came through the age-old influences of the Canaanite worship of Baal but also the astral worship introduced by Ahaz and Manasseh. For an example of the corrupting influence of Assyria on Judah through Ahaz’s political alliances see 2 Kgs 16 and also compare the allegory in Ezek 23:14-21. It was while the “linen shorts” were off Jeremiah’s body and buried in the rocks that the linen shorts were ruined. So the Lord “ruined” the privileged status that resulted from Israel’s close relationship to him (cf. v. 11). For the “problem” created by the Lord ruining Israel through corrupting influence compare the notes on Jer 4:10 and compare also passages like Isa 63:17 and Isa 6:10.

19 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

20 tn Heb “to listen to my words.”

21 tn Heb “and [they follow] after.” See the translator’s note at 2:5 for the idiom.

22 tn The structure of this verse is a little unusual. It consists of a subject, “this wicked people” qualified by several “which” clauses preceding a conjunction and a form which would normally be taken as a third person imperative (a Hebrew jussive; וִיהִי, vihi). This construction, called casus pendens by Hebrew grammarians, lays focus on the subject, here calling attention to the nature of Israel’s corruption which makes it rotten and useless to God. See GKC 458 §143.d for other examples of this construction.

23 tn The words “I say” are “Oracle of the Lord” in Hebrew, and are located at the end of this statement in the Hebrew text rather than the beginning. However, they are rendered in the first person and placed at the beginning for smoother English style.

24 tn Heb “all the house of Israel and all the house of Judah.”

25 tn It would be somewhat unnatural in English to render the play on the word translated here “cling tightly” and “bound tightly” in a literal way. They are from the same root word in Hebrew (דָּבַק, davaq), a word that emphasizes the closest of personal relationships and the loyalty connected with them. It is used, for example, of the relationship of a husband and a wife and the loyalty expected of them (cf. Gen 2:24; for other similar uses see Ruth 1:14; 2 Sam 20:2; Deut 11:22).

26 tn Heb “I bound them…in order that they might be to me for a people and for a name and for praise and for honor.” The sentence has been separated from the preceding and an equivalent idea expressed which is more in keeping with contemporary English style.

27 tn Heb “So you shall say this word [or message] to them.”

28 tn Heb “Every wine jar is supposed to be filled with wine.”

sn Some scholars understand this as a popular proverb like that in Jer 31:29 and Ezek 18:2. Instead this is probably a truism; the function of wine jars is to be filled with wine. This may relate to the preceding where the Lord has set forth his intention for Israel. It forms the basis for a ironic threat of judgment because they have failed to fulfill his purpose.

29 tn This is an attempt to render a construction which involves an infinitive of a verb being added before the same verb in a question which expects a positive answer. There may, by the way, be a pun being passed back and forth here involving the sound play been “fool” (נָבָל, naval) and “wine bottle” (נֶבֶל, nebel).

30 tn The Greek version is likely right in interpreting the construction of two perfects preceded by the conjunction as contingent or consequential here, i.e., “and when they say…then say.” See GKC 494 §159.g. However, to render literally would create a long sentence. Hence, the words “will probably” have been supplied in v. 12 in the translation to set up the contingency/consequential sequence in the English sentences.

31 sn It is probably impossible to convey in a simple translation all the subtle nuances that are wrapped up in the words of this judgment speech. The word translated “stupor” here is literally “drunkenness” but the word has in the context an undoubted intended double reference. It refers first to the drunken like stupor of confusion on the part of leaders and citizens of the land which will cause them to clash with one another. But it also probably refers to the reeling under God’s wrath that results from this (cf. Jer 25:15-29, especially vv. 15-16). Moreover there is still the subtle little play on wine jars. The people are like the wine jars which were supposed to be filled with wine. They were to be a special people to bring glory to God but they had become corrupt. Hence, like wine jars they would be smashed against one another and broken to pieces (v. 14). All of this, both “fill them with the stupor of confusion” and “make them reel under God’s wrath,” cannot be conveyed in one translation.

32 tn Heb “who sit on David’s throne.”

33 tn In Hebrew this is all one long sentence with one verb governing compound objects. It is broken up here in conformity with English style.

34 tn Or “children along with their parents”; Heb “fathers and children together.”

35 tn Heb “I will not show…so as not to destroy them.”

36 tn The words “Then I said to the people of Judah” are not in the text but are implicit from the address in v. 15 and the content of v. 17. They are supplied in the translation for clarity to show the shift from the Lord speaking to Jeremiah.

37 tn Heb “Give glory/respect to the Lord your God.” For this nuance of the word “glory” (כָּבוֹד, kavod), see BDB 459 s.v. כָּבוֹד 6.b and compare the usage in Mal 1:6 and Josh 7:19.

38 tn The words “of disaster” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation to explain the significance of the metaphor to readers who may not be acquainted with the metaphorical use of light and darkness for salvation and joy and distress and sorrow respectively.

sn For the metaphorical use of these terms the reader should consult O. A. Piper, “Light, Light and Darkness,” IDB 3:130-32. For the association of darkness with the Day of the Lord, the time when he will bring judgment, see, e.g., Amos 5:18-20. For the association of darkness with exile see Isa 9:1-2 (8:23-9:1 HT).

39 tn Heb “your feet stumble.”

40 tn Heb “you stumble on the mountains at twilight.” The added words are again supplied in the translation to help explain the metaphor to the uninitiated reader.

41 tn Heb “and while you hope for light he will turn it into deep darkness and make [it] into gloom.” The meaning of the metaphor is again explained through the addition of the “of” phrases for readers who are unacquainted with the metaphorical use of these terms.

sn For the meaning and usage of the term “deep darkness” (צַלְמָוֶת, tsalmavet), see the notes on Jer 2:6. For the association of the term with exile see Isa 9:2 (9:1 HT). For the association of the word gloom with the Day of the Lord see Isa 60:2; Joel 2:2; Zeph 1:15.

42 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.

43 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.

44 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.

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

46 tn The words “The Lord told me” are not in the text but are implicit in the shift from second plural pronouns in vv. 15-17 to second singular in the Hebrew text of this verse. These words are supplied in the translation for clarity.

47 tn Or “You will come down from your thrones”; Heb “Make low! Sit!” This is a case of a construction where two forms in the same case, mood, or tense are joined in such a way that one (usually the first) is intended as an adverbial or adjectival modifier of the other (a figure called hendiadys). This is also probably a case where the imperative is used to express a distinct assurance or promise. See GKC 324 §110.b and compare the usage in Isa 37:30 and Ps 110:2.

sn The king and queen mother are generally identified as Jehoiachin and his mother who were taken into captivity with many of the leading people of Jerusalem in 597 b.c. See Jer 22:26; 29:2; 2 Kgs 24:14-16.

48 tn Heb “have come down.” The verb here and those in the following verses are further examples of the “as good as done” form of the Hebrew verb (the prophetic perfect).

49 tc The translation follows the common emendation of a word normally meaning “place at the head” (מַרְאֲשׁוֹת [marashot] plus pronoun = מַרְאֲוֹשׁתֵיכֶם [maraoshtekhem]) to “from your heads” (מֵרָאשֵׁיכֶם, merashekhem) following the ancient versions. The meaning “tiara” is nowhere else attested for this word.

50 tn Heb “The towns of the Negev will be shut.”

51 tn Heb “There is no one to open them.” The translation is based on the parallel in Josh 6:1 where the very expression in the translation is used. Opening the city would have permitted entrance (of relief forces) as well as exit (of fugitives).

52 sn The statements are poetic exaggerations (hyperbole), as most commentaries note. Even in the exile of 587 b.c. not “all” of the people of Jerusalem or of Judah were exiled. Cf. the context of 2 Kgs 24:14-16 again.

53 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.

54 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.”

55 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.

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

57 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.

58 tn Or perhaps more rhetorically equivalent, “Will you not be surprised?”

59 tn The words “The Lord” are not in the text. Some commentators make the enemy the subject, but they are spoken of as “them.”

60 tn Or “to be rulers.” The translation of these two lines is somewhat uncertain. The sentence structure of these two lines raises problems in translation. The Hebrew text reads: “What will you do when he appoints over you [or punishes you (see BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד Qal.B.2 for the former, Qal.A.3 for the latter)] and you, yourself, taught them over you friends [or chiefs (see BDB 48 s.v. I אַלּוּף 2 and Ps 55:13 for the former and BDB 49 s.v. II אַלּוּף and Exod 15:15 for the latter)] for a head.” The translation assumes that the clause “and you, yourself, taught them [= made them accustomed, i.e., “prepared”] [to be] over you” is parenthetical coming between the verb “appoint” and its object and object modifier (i.e., “appointed over you allies for rulers”). A quick check of other English versions will show how varied the translation of these lines has been. Most English versions seem to ignore the second “over you” after “you taught them.” Some rearrange the text to get what they think is a sensible meaning. For a fairly thorough treatment see W. McKane, Jeremiah (ICC), 1:308-10.

sn What is being alluded to here is the political policy of vacillating alliances through which Judah brought about her own downfall, allying herself first with Assyria, then Egypt, then Babylon, and then Egypt again. See 2 Kgs 23:2924:7 for an example of this policy and the disastrous consequences.

61 tn Heb “Will not pain [here = mental anguish] take hold of you like a woman giving birth.” The question is rhetorical expecting a positive answer.

62 tn Heb “say in your heart.”

63 tn Heb “Your skirt has been uncovered and your heels have been treated with violence.” This is the generally accepted interpretation of these phrases. See, e.g., BDB 784 s.v. עָקֵב a and HALOT 329 s.v. I חָמַס Nif. The significance of the actions here are part of the metaphor (i.e., personification) of Jerusalem as an adulteress having left her husband and have been explained in the translation for the sake of readers unfamiliar with the metaphor.

sn The actions here were part of the treatment of an adulteress by her husband, intended to shame her. See Hos 2:3, 10 (2:5, 12 HT); Isa 47:4.

64 tn The translation has been restructured to break up a long sentence involving a conditional clause and an elliptical consequential clause. It has also been restructured to define more clearly what “these things” are. The Hebrew text reads: “And if you say, ‘Why have these things happened to me?’ Because of the greatness of your iniquity your skirts [= what your skirt covers] have been uncovered and your heels have been treated with violence.”

65 tn This is a common proverb in English coming from this biblical passage. For cultures where it is not proverbial perhaps it would be better to translate “Can black people change the color of their skin?” Strictly speaking these are “Cushites” inhabitants of a region along the upper Nile south of Egypt. The Greek text is responsible for the identification with Ethiopia. The term in Greek is actually a epithet = “burnt face.”

66 tn Heb “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? [Then] you also will be able to do good who are accustomed to do evil.” The English sentence has been restructured and rephrased in an attempt to produce some of the same rhetorical force the Hebrew original has in this context.

67 tn The words, “The Lord says” are not in the text at this point. The words “an oracle of the Lord” does, however, occur in the middle of the next verse and it is obvious the Lord is the speaker. The words have been moved up from the next verse to enhance clarity.

68 tn Heb “them.” This is another example of the rapid shift in pronouns seen several times in the book of Jeremiah. The pronouns in the preceding and the following are second feminine singular. It might be argued that “them” goes back to the “flock”/“sheep” in v. 20, but the next verse refers the fate described here to “you” (feminine singular). This may be another example of the kind of metaphoric shifts in referents discussed in the notes on 13:20 above. Besides, it would sound a little odd in the translation to speak of scattering one person like chaff.

69 sn Compare the threat using the same metaphor in Jer 4:11-12.

70 tn Heb “over your face and your shame will be seen.” The words “like a disgraced adulteress” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation to explain the metaphor. See the notes on 13:22.

71 tn Heb “Jerusalem.” This word has been pulled up from the end of the verse to help make the transition. The words “people of” have been supplied in the translation here to ease the difficulty mentioned earlier of sustaining the personification throughout.

72 tn Heb “[I have seen] your adulteries, your neighings, and your shameless prostitution.” The meanings of the metaphorical references have been incorporated in the translation for the sake of clarity for readers of all backgrounds.

sn The sentence is rhetorically loaded. It begins with three dangling objects of the verb all describing their adulterous relationship with the false gods under different figures and which are resumed later under the words “your disgusting acts.” The Hebrew sentence reads: “Your adulteries, your neighings, your shameful prostitution, upon the hills in the fields I have seen your disgusting acts.” This sentence drips with explosive disgust at their adulterous betrayal.

73 tn Heb “your disgusting acts.” This word is almost always used of idolatry or of the idols themselves. See BDB 1055 s.v. שִׁקֻּוּץ and Deut 29:17 and Jer 4:1; 7:30.

74 tn Heb “Woe to you!”

sn See Jer 4:13, 31; 6:4; 10:19 for usage, and the notes on 4:13 and 10:19.

75 tn The word “Jeremiah” is not in the text. Some Hebrew mss and some of the versions have “to me.” This section, 19:1–20:6 appears to be one of the biographical sections of the book of Jeremiah where incidents in his life are reported in third person. See clearly 9:14 and 20:1-3. The mss and versions do not represent a more original text but are translational or interpretive attempts to fill in a text which had no referent. They are like the translational addition that has been supplied on the basis of contextual indicators.

76 tn Heb “an earthenware jar of the potter.”

sn The word translated “clay” here refers to a clay which has been baked or fired in a kiln. In Jer 18 the clay was still soft and pliable, capable of being formed into different kinds of vessels. Here the clay is set, just as Israel is set in its ways. The word for jar refers probably to a water jug or decanter and is onomatopoeic, baqbuq, referring to the gurgling sound made by pouring out the water.

77 tc The words “Take with you” follow the reading of the Syriac version and to a certain extent the reading of the Greek version (the latter does not have “with you”). The Hebrew text does not have these words but they are undoubtedly implicit.

78 tn Heb “elders” both here and before “of the people.”

sn The civil and religious leaders are referred to here. They were to be witnesses of the symbolic act and of the message that Jeremiah proclaimed to the leaders of Jerusalem and its citizens (see v. 3).

79 sn The exact location of the Potsherd Gate is unknown since it is nowhere else mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. It is sometimes identified with the Dung Gate mentioned in Neh 2:13; 3:13-14; 12:31 on the basis of the Jerusalem Targum. It is probably called “Potsherd Gate” because that is where the potter threw out the broken pieces of pottery which were no longer of use to him. The Valley of Ben Hinnom has already been mentioned in 7:31-32 in connection with the illicit religious practices, including child sacrifice, which took place there. The Valley of Ben Hinnom (or sometimes Valley of Hinnom) runs along the west and south sides of Jerusalem.

80 tn Heb “the words that I will speak to you.”

81 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

82 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.”

sn See the study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for explanation of this title.

83 sn Careful comparison of the use of this term throughout this passage and comparison with 7:31-33 which is parallel to several verses in this passage will show that the reference is to the Valley of Ben Hinnom which will become a Valley of Slaughter (see v. 6 and 7:32).

84 tn Heb “which everyone who hears it [or about it] his ears will ring.” This is proverbial for a tremendous disaster. See 1 Sam 3:11; 2 Kgs 21:12 for similar prophecies.

85 tn The text merely has “they.” But since a reference is made later to “they” and “their ancestors,” the referent must be to the people that the leaders of the people and leaders of the priests represent.

86 sn Heb “have made this city foreign.” The verb here is one that is built off of the noun and adjective which relate to foreign nations. Comparison may be made to Jer 2:21 where the adjective refers to the strange, wild vine as opposed to the choice vine the Lord planted and to 5:19 and 8:19 where the noun is used of worshiping foreign gods. Israel through its false worship has “denationalized” itself in its relation to God.

87 tn Heb “fathers.”

88 tn Heb “the blood of innocent ones.” This must be a reference to child sacrifice as explained in the next verse. Some have seen a reference to the sins of social injustice alluded to in 2 Kgs 21:16 and 24:4 but those are connected with the city itself. Hence the word children is supplied in the translation to make the referent explicit.

89 tn The word “here” is not in the text. However, it is implicit from the rest of the context. It is supplied in the translation for clarity.

90 tn The words “such sacrifices” are not in the text. The text merely says “to burn their children in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal which I did not command.” The command obviously refers not to the qualification “to Baal” but to burning the children in the fire as burnt offerings. The words are supplied in the translation to avoid a possible confusion that the reference is to sacrifices to Baal. Likewise the words should not be translated so literally that they leave the impression that God never said anything about sacrificing their children to other gods. The fact is he did. See Lev 18:21; Deut 12:30; 18:10.

91 tn This phrase (Heb “Oracle of the Lord”) has been handled this way on several occasions when it occurs within first person addresses where the Lord is the speaker. See, e.g., 16:16; 17:24; 18:6.

92 tn Heb “it will no longer be called to this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom but the Valley of Slaughter.”

sn See Jer 7:31-32 for an almost word for word repetition of vv. 5-6.

93 sn There is perhaps a two-fold wordplay in the use of this word. One involves the sound play with the word for “jar,” which has been explained as a water decanter. The word here is בַקֹּתִי (vaqqoti). The word for jar in v. 1 is בַקְבֻּק (vaqbuq). There may also be a play on the literal use of this word to refer to the laying waste or destruction of a land (see Isa 24:3; Nah 2:3). Many modern commentaries think that at this point Jeremiah emptied out the contents of the jar, symbolizing the “emptying” out of their plans.

94 sn This refers to the fact that they will die in battle. The sword would be only one of the weapons that strikes them down. It is one of the trio of “sword,” “starvation,” and “disease” which were the concomitants of war referred to so often in the book of Jeremiah. Starvation is referred to in v. 9.

95 tn Heb “I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and in the hand of those who seek their soul [= life].” In this context the two are meant as obvious qualifications of one entity, not two. Some rearrangement of the qualifiers had to be made in the English translation to convey this.

96 sn See 18:16 and the study note there.

97 tn Heb “all its smitings.” This word has been used several times for the metaphorical “wounds” that Israel has suffered as a result of the blows from its enemies. See, e.g., 14:17. It is used in the Hebrew Bible of scourging, both literally and metaphorically (cf. Deut 25:3; Isa 10:26), and of slaughter and defeat (1 Sam 4:10; Josh 10:20). Here it refers to the results of the crushing blows at the hands of her enemies which has made her the object of scorn.

98 tn This verse has been restructured to try to bring out the proper thought and subordinations reflected in the verse without making the sentence too long and complex in English: Heb “I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters. And they will eat one another’s flesh in the siege and in the straits which their enemies who are seeking their lives reduce them to.” This also shows the agency through which God’s causation was effected, i.e., the siege.

sn Cannibalism is one of the penalties for disobedience to their covenant with the Lord effected through the Mosaic covenant. See Deut 28:53, 55, 57. For examples of this being carried out see 2 Kgs 6:28-29; Lam 4:10.

99 tn The words “And the Lord continued” are not in the text. However, they are necessary to take us clearly back to the flow of the narrative begun in vv. 1-2 and interrupted by the long speech in vv. 3-9.

100 tn Heb “Thus says Yahweh of armies.” For this title see the study note on 2:19. The translation attempts to avoid the confusion of embedding quotes within quotes by reducing this one to an indirect quote.

101 tn The adverb “Thus” or “Like this” normally points back to something previously mentioned. See, e.g., Exod 29:35; Num 11:15; 15:11; Deut 25:9.

102 tn Heb “Like this I will break this people and this city, just as one breaks the vessel of a potter which is not able to be repaired.”

103 sn See Jer 7:22-23 for parallels.

104 tn This phrase (Heb “Oracle of the Lord”) has been handled this way on several occasions when it occurs within first person addresses where the Lord is the speaker. See, e.g., 16:16; 17:24; 18:6.

105 tn The words “by dead bodies” is not in the text but is implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

106 tn Heb “the host of heaven.”

107 tn Heb “And Jeremiah entered from Topheth where the Lord had sent him to prophesy and he stood in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple.”

108 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.”

sn See the study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for explanation of this title.

109 tn Heb “all its towns.”

110 tn Heb “They hardened [or made stiff] their neck so as not to.”



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