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Jeremiah 14:7-9

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!”

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.



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