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Jeremiah 14:7-11

Context

14:7 Then I said, 1 

“O Lord, intervene for the honor of your name 2 

even though our sins speak out against us. 3 

Indeed, 4  we have turned away from you many times.

We have sinned against you.

14:8 You have been the object of Israel’s hopes.

You have saved them when they were in trouble.

Why have you become like a resident foreigner 5  in the land?

Why have you become like a traveler who only stops in to spend the night?

14:9 Why should you be like someone who is helpless, 6 

like a champion 7  who cannot save anyone?

You are indeed with us, 8 

and we belong to you. 9 

Do not abandon us!”

14:10 Then the Lord spoke about these people. 10 

“They truly 11  love to go astray.

They cannot keep from running away from me. 12 

So I am not pleased with them.

I will now call to mind 13  the wrongs they have done 14 

and punish them for their sins.”

Judgment for Believing the Misleading Lies of the False Prophets

14:11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for good to come to these people! 15 

Jeremiah 14:20-22

Context

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

We confess that our ancestors have done wrong. 16 

We have indeed 17  sinned against you.

14:21 For the honor of your name, 18  do not treat Jerusalem 19  with contempt.

Do not treat with disdain the place where your glorious throne sits. 20 

Be mindful of your covenant with us. Do not break it! 21 

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

Do the skies themselves send showers?

Is it not you, O Lord our God, who does this? 23 

So we put our hopes in you 24 

because you alone do all this.”

1 tn The words “Then I said” are not in the text. However, it cannot be a continuation of the Lord’s speech and the people have consistently refused to acknowledge their sin. The fact that the prayer here and in vv. 19-22 are followed by an address from God to Jeremiah regarding prayer (cf. 4:11 and the interchanges there between God and Jeremiah and 15:1) also argues that the speaker is Jeremiah. He is again identifying with his people (cf. 8:18-9:2). Here he takes up the petition part of the lament which often contains elements of confession of sin and statements of trust. In 14:1-6 God portrays to Jeremiah the people’s lamentable plight instead of their describing it to him. Here Jeremiah prays what they should pray. The people are strangely silent throughout.

2 tn Heb “Act for the sake of your name.” The usage of “act” in this absolute, unqualified sense cf. BDB 794 s.v. עָוֹשָׂה Qal.I.r and compare the usage, e.g., in 1 Kgs 8:32 and 39. For the nuance of “for the sake of your name” compare the usage in Isa 48:9 and Ezek 20:9, 14.

3 tn Or “bear witness against us,” or “can be used as evidence against us,” to keep the legal metaphor. Heb “testify against.”

4 tn The Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) can scarcely be causal here; it is either intensive (BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.e) or concessive (BDB 473 s.v. כִּי 2.c). The parallel usage in Gen 18:20 argues for the intensive force as does the fact that the concessive has already been expressed by אִם (’im).

5 tn It would be a mistake to translate this word as “stranger.” This word (גֵּר, ger) refers to a resident alien or resident foreigner who stays in a country not his own. He is accorded the privilege of protection through the common rights of hospitality but he does not have the rights of the native born or citizen. The simile here is particularly effective. The land was the Lord’s land; they were but resident foreigners and tenants on it (Lev 25:23). Jeremiah’s complaint here is particularly bold. For further information on the status of “resident foreigners” see IDB 4:397-99 s.v. “Sojourner.”

6 tn This is the only time this word occurs in the Hebrew Bible. The lexicons generally take it to mean “confused” or “surprised” (cf., e.g., BDB 187 s.v. דָּהַם). However, the word has been found in a letter from the seventh century in a passage where it must mean something like “be helpless”; see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:433, for discussion and bibliography of an article where this letter is dealt with.

7 tn Heb “mighty man, warrior.” For this nuance see 1 Sam 17:51 where it parallels a technical term used of Goliath used earlier in 17:4, 23.

8 tn Heb “in our midst.”

9 tn Heb “Your name is called upon us.” See Jer 7:10, 11, 14, 30 for this idiom with respect to the temple and see the notes on Jer 7:10.

10 tn Heb “Thus said the Lord concerning this people.”

sn The Lord answers indirectly, speaking neither to Jeremiah directly nor to the people. Instead of an oracle of deliverance which was hoped for (cf. 2 Chr 20:14-17; Pss 12:5 [12:6 HT]; 60:6-8 [60:8-10 HT]) there is an oracle of doom.

11 tn It is difficult to be certain how the particle כֵּן (ken, usually used for “thus, so”) is to be rendered here. BDB 485 s.v. כֵּן 1.b says that the force sometimes has to be elicited from the general context and points back to the line of v. 9. IHBS 666 §39.3.4e states that when there is no specific comparative clause preceding a general comparison is intended. They point to Judg 5:31 as a parallel. Ps 127:2 may also be an example if כִּי (ki) is not to be read (cf. BHS fn). “Truly” seemed the best way to render this idea in contemporary English.

12 tn Heb “They do not restrain their feet.” The idea of “away from me” is implicit in the context and is supplied in the translation for clarity.

13 tn Heb “remember.”

14 tn Heb “their iniquities.”

15 tn Heb “on behalf of these people for benefit.”

16 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.

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

18 tn Heb “For the sake of your name.”

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 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.

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

22 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.

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

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



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