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Jeremiah 15:5-6

Context

15:5 The Lord cried out, 1 

“Who in the world 2  will have pity on you, Jerusalem?

Who will grieve over you?

Who will stop long enough 3 

to inquire about how you are doing? 4 

15:6 I, the Lord, say: 5  ‘You people have deserted me!

You keep turning your back on me.’ 6 

So I have unleashed my power against you 7  and have begun to destroy you. 8 

I have grown tired of feeling sorry for you!” 9 

1 tn The words “The Lord cried out” are not in the text. However, they are necessary to show the shift in address between speaking to Jeremiah in vv. 1-4 about the people and addressing Jerusalem in vv. 5-6 and the shift back to the address to Jeremiah in vv. 7-9. The words “oracle of the Lord” are, moreover, found at the beginning of v. 6.

2 tn The words, “in the world” are not in the text but are the translator’s way of trying to indicate that this rhetorical question expects a negative answer.

3 tn Heb “turn aside.”

4 tn Or “about your well-being”; Heb “about your welfare” (שָׁלוֹם, shalom).

5 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.” In the original text this phrase is found between “you have deserted me” and “you keep turning your back on me.” It is put at the beginning and converted to first person for sake of English style and clarity.

6 tn Heb “you are going backward.” This is the only occurrence of this adverb with this verb. It is often used with another verb meaning “turn backward” (= abandon; Heb סוּג [sug] in the Niphal). For examples see Jer 38:22; 46:5. The only other occurrence in Jeremiah has been in the unusual idiom in 7:24 where it was translated “they got worse and worse instead of better.” That is how J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB], 109) translates it here. However it is translated, it has connotations of apostasy.

7 tn Heb “stretched out my hand against you.” For this idiom see notes on 6:12.

8 tn There is a difference of opinion on how the verbs here and in the following verses are to be rendered, whether past or future. KJV, NASB, NIV for example render them as future. ASV, RSV, TEV render them as past. NJPS has past here and future in vv. 7-9. This is perhaps the best solution. The imperfect + vav consecutive here responds to the perfect in the first line. The imperfects + vav consecutives followed by perfects in vv. 7-9 and concluded by an imperfect in v. 9 pick up the perfects + vav (ו) consecutives in vv. 3-4. Verses 7-9 are further development of the theme in vv. 1-4. Verses 5-6 have been an apostrophe or a turning aside to address Jerusalem directly. For a somewhat similar alternation of the tenses see Isa 5:14-17 and consult GKC 329-30 §111.w. One could of course argue that the imperfects + vav consecutive in vv. 7-9 continue the imperfect + vav consecutive here. In this case, vv. 7-9 are not a continuation of the oracle of doom but another lament by God (cf. 14:1-6, 17-18).

9 sn It is difficult to be sure what intertextual connections are intended by the author in his use of vocabulary. The Hebrew word translated “grown tired” is not very common. It has been used twice before. In 9:5-6b where it refers to the people being unable to repent and in 6:11 where it refers to Jeremiah being tired or unable to hold back his anger because of that inability. Now God too has worn out his patience with them (cf. Isa 7:13).



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