“Lord, pay attention to me.
Listen to what my enemies are saying. 2
18:20 Should good be paid back with evil?
Yet they are virtually digging a pit to kill me. 3
Just remember how I stood before you
pleading on their behalf 4
to keep you from venting your anger on them. 5
18:21 So let their children die of starvation.
Let them be cut down by the sword. 6
Let their wives lose their husbands and children.
Let the older men die of disease 7
and the younger men die by the sword in battle.
18:22 Let cries of terror be heard in their houses
when you send bands of raiders unexpectedly to plunder them. 8
For they have virtually dug a pit to capture me
and have hidden traps for me to step into.
18:23 But you, Lord, know
all their plots to kill me.
Do not pardon their crimes!
Do not ignore their sins as though you had erased them! 9
Let them be brought down in defeat before you!
Deal with them while you are still angry! 10
1 tn The words “Then I said” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation for clarity to show that Jeremiah turns from description of the peoples’ plots to his address to God to deal with the plotters.
2 tn Heb “the voice of my adversaries.”
sn Jeremiah’s prayers against the unjust treatment of his enemies here and elsewhere (see 11:18-20; 12:1-4; 15:15-18; 17:14-18) have many of the elements of the prayers of the innocent in the book of Psalms: an invocation of the
3 tn Or “They are plotting to kill me”; Heb “They have dug a pit for my soul.” This is a common metaphor for plotting against someone. See BDB 500 s.v. כָּרָה Qal and for an example see Pss 7:16 (7:15 HT) in its context.
4 tn Heb “to speak good concerning them” going back to the concept of “good” being paid back with evil.
5 tn Heb “to turn back your anger from them.”
sn See Jer 14:7-9, 19-21 and 15:1-4 for the idea.
6 tn Heb “be poured out to the hand [= power] of the sword.” For this same expression see Ezek 35:5; Ps 63:10 (63:11 HT). Comparison with those two passages show that it involved death by violent means, perhaps death in battle.
7 tn Heb “be slain by death.” The commentaries are generally agreed that this refers to death by disease or plague as in 15:2. Hence, the reference is to the deadly trio of sword, starvation, and disease which were often connected with war. See the notes on 15:2.
9 sn Heb “Do not blot out their sins from before you.” For this anthropomorphic figure which looks at God’s actions as though connected with record books, i.e., a book of wrongdoings to be punished, and a book of life for those who are to live, see e.g., Exod 32:32, 33, Ps 51:1 (51:3 HT); 69:28 (69:29 HT).
10 tn Heb “in the time of your anger.”