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Jeremiah 14:19-22

Context

14:19 Then I said,

Lord, 1  have you completely rejected the nation of Judah?

Do you despise 2  the city of Zion?

Why have you struck us with such force

that we are beyond recovery? 3 

We hope for peace, but nothing good has come of it.

We hope for a time of relief from our troubles, but experience terror. 4 

14:20 Lord, we confess that we have been wicked.

We confess that our ancestors have done wrong. 5 

We have indeed 6  sinned against you.

14:21 For the honor of your name, 7  do not treat Jerusalem 8  with contempt.

Do not treat with disdain the place where your glorious throne sits. 9 

Be mindful of your covenant with us. Do not break it! 10 

14:22 Do any of the worthless idols 11  of the nations cause rain to fall?

Do the skies themselves send showers?

Is it not you, O Lord our God, who does this? 12 

So we put our hopes in you 13 

because you alone do all this.”

1 tn The words, “Then I said, ‘Lord” are not in the Hebrew text. It is obvious from the context that the Lord is addressee. The question of the identity of the speaker is the same as that raised in vv. 7-9 and the arguments set forth there are applicable here as well. Jeremiah is here identifying with the people and doing what they refuse to do, i.e., confess their sins and express their trust in him.

2 tn Heb “does your soul despise.” Here as in many places the word “soul” stands as part for whole for the person himself emphasizing emotional and volitional aspects of the person. However, in contemporary English one does not regularly speak of the “soul” in contexts such as this but of the person.

sn There is probably a subtle allusion to the curses called down on the nation for failure to keep their covenant with God. The word used here is somewhat rare (גָּעַל, gaal). It is used of Israel’s rejection of God’s stipulations and of God’s response to their rejection of him and his stipulations in Lev 26:11, 15, 30, 43-44. That the allusion is intended is probable when account is taken of the last line of v. 21.

3 tn Heb “Why have you struck us and there is no healing for us.” The statement involves poetic exaggeration (hyperbole) for rhetorical effect.

4 tn Heb “[We hope] for a time of healing but behold terror.”

sn The last two lines of this verse are repeated word for word from 8:15. There they are spoken by the people.

5 tn Heb “We acknowledge our wickedness [and] the iniquity of our [fore]fathers.” For the use of the word “know” to mean “confess,” “acknowledge” cf. BDB 394 s.v. יָדַע, Qal.1.f and compare the usage in Jer 3:13.

sn For a longer example of an individual identifying with the nation and confessing their sins and the sins of their forefathers see Ps 106.

6 tn This is another example of the intensive use of כִּי (ki). See BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.e.

7 tn Heb “For the sake of your name.”

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

9 tn English versions quite commonly supply “us” as an object for the verb in the first line. This is probably wrong. The Hebrew text reads: “Do not treat with contempt for the sake of your name; do not treat with disdain your glorious throne.” This is case of poetic parallelism where the object is left hanging until the second line. For an example of this see Prov 13:1 in the original and consult E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 103-4. There has also been some disagreement whether “your glorious throne” refers to the temple (as in 17:12) or Jerusalem (as in 3:17). From the beginning of the prayer in v. 19 where a similar kind of verb has been used with respect to Zion/Jerusalem it would appear that the contextual referent is Jerusalem. The absence of an object from the first line makes it possible to retain part of the metaphor in the translation and still convey some meaning.

sn The place of God’s glorious throne was first of all the ark of the covenant where God was said to be enthroned between the cherubim, then the temple that housed it, then the city itself. See 2 Kgs 19:14-15 in the context of Sennacherib’s attack on Jerusalem.

10 tn Heb “Remember, do not break your covenant with us.”

11 tn The word הֶבֶל (hevel), often translated “vanities”, is a common pejorative epithet for idols or false gods. See already in 8:19 and 10:8.

12 tn Heb “Is it not you, O Lord our God?” The words “who does” are supplied in the translation for English style.

13 tn The rhetorical negatives are balanced by a rhetorical positive.



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