Jeremiah 14:7-9

14:7 Then I said,

“O Lord, intervene for the honor of your name

even though our sins speak out against us.

Indeed, 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 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,

like a champion who cannot save anyone?

You are indeed with us,

and we belong to you.

Do not abandon us!”

Jeremiah 14:19-21

14:19 Then I said,

Lord, 10  have you completely rejected the nation of Judah?

Do you despise 11  the city of Zion?

Why have you struck us with such force

that we are beyond recovery? 12 

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

We hope for a time of relief from our troubles, but experience terror. 13 

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

We confess that our ancestors have done wrong. 14 

We have indeed 15  sinned against you.

14:21 For the honor of your name, 16  do not treat Jerusalem 17  with contempt.

Do not treat with disdain the place where your glorious throne sits. 18 

Be mindful of your covenant with us. Do not break it! 19 

Jeremiah 15:1-4

15:1 Then the Lord said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for 20  these people, I would not feel pity for them! 21  Get them away from me! Tell them to go away! 22  15:2 If they ask you, ‘Where should we go?’ tell them the Lord says this:

“Those who are destined to die of disease will go to death by disease.

Those who are destined to die in war will go to death in war.

Those who are destined to die of starvation will go to death by starvation.

Those who are destined to go into exile will go into exile.” 23 

15:3 “I will punish them in four different ways: I will have war kill them. I will have dogs drag off their dead bodies. I will have birds and wild beasts devour and destroy their corpses. 24  15:4 I will make all the people in all the kingdoms of the world horrified at what has happened to them because of what Hezekiah’s son Manasseh, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem.” 25 


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.

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.

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

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).

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.”

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.

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.

tn Heb “in our midst.”

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 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.

11 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.

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

13 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.

14 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.

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

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

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

18 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.

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

20 tn The words “pleading for” have been supplied in the translation to explain the idiom (a metonymy). For parallel usage see BDB 763 s.v. עָמַד Qal.1.a and compare usage in Gen 19:27, Deut 4:10.

sn Moses and Samuel were well-known for their successful intercession on behalf of Israel. See Ps 99:6-8 and see, e.g., Exod 32:11-14, 30-34; 1 Sam 7:5-9. The Lord is here rejecting Jeremiah’s intercession on behalf of the people (14:19-22).

21 tn Heb “my soul would not be toward them.” For the usage of “soul” presupposed here see BDB 660 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 6 in the light of the complaints and petitions in Jeremiah’s prayer in 14:19, 21.

22 tn Heb “Send them away from my presence and let them go away.”

23 tn It is difficult to render the rhetorical force of this passage in meaningful English. The text answers the question “Where should we go?” with four brief staccato-like expressions with a play on the preposition “to”: Heb “Who to the death, to the death and who to the sword, to the sword and who to the starvation, to the starvation and who to the captivity, to the captivity.” The word “death” here is commonly understood to be a poetic substitute for “plague” because of the standard trio of sword, famine, and plague (see, e.g., 14:12 and the notes there). This is likely here and in 18:21. For further support see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:440. The nuance “starvation” rather than “famine” has been chosen in the translation because the referents here are all things that accompany war.

24 tn The translation attempts to render in understandable English some rather unusual uses of terms here. The verb translated “punish” is often used that way (cf. BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד Qal.A.3 and compare usage in Jer 11:22, 13:21). However, here it is accompanied by a direct object and a preposition meaning “over” which is usually used in the sense of appointing someone over someone (cf. BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד Qal.B.1 and compare usage in Jer 51:27). Moreover the word translated “different ways” normally refers to “families,” “clans,” or “guilds” (cf. BDB 1046-47 s.v. מִשְׁפָּחָה for usage). Hence the four things mentioned are referred to figuratively as officers or agents into whose power the Lord consigns them. The Hebrew text reads: “I will appoint over them four guilds, the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, the birds of the skies and the beasts of the earth to devour and to destroy.”

25 tn The length of this sentence runs contrary to the normal policy followed in the translation of breaking up long sentences. However, there does not seem any way to break it up here without losing the connections.

sn For similar statements see 2 Kgs 23:26; 24:3-4 and for a description of what Manasseh did see 2 Kgs 21:1-16. Manasseh was the leader, but they willingly followed (cf. 2 Kgs 21:9).