19:1 The Lord told Jeremiah, 1 “Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. 2 Take with you 3 some of the leaders of the people and some of the leaders 4 of the priests. 19:2 Go out to the part of the Hinnom Valley which is near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. 5 Announce there what I tell you. 6 19:3 Say, ‘Listen to what the Lord says, you kings of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! 7 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 8 says, “I will bring a disaster on this place 9 that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it ring! 10 19:4 I will do so because these people 11 have rejected me and have defiled 12 this place. They have offered sacrifices in it to other gods which neither they nor their ancestors 13 nor the kings of Judah knew anything about. They have filled it with the blood of innocent children. 14 19:5 They have built places here 15 for worship of the god Baal so that they could sacrifice their children as burnt offerings to him in the fire. Such sacrifices 16 are something I never commanded them to make! They are something I never told them to do! Indeed, such a thing never even entered my mind! 19:6 So I, the Lord, say: 17 “The time will soon come that people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Hinnom Valley. But they will call this valley 18 the Valley of Slaughter! 19:7 In this place I will thwart 19 the plans of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. I will deliver them over to the power of their enemies who are seeking to kill them. They will die by the sword 20 at the hands of their enemies. 21 I will make their dead bodies food for the birds and wild beasts to eat. 19:8 I will make this city an object of horror, a thing to be hissed at. All who pass by it will be filled with horror and will hiss out their scorn 22 because of all the disasters that have happened to it. 23 19:9 I will reduce the people of this city to desperate straits during the siege imposed on it by their enemies who are seeking to kill them. I will make them so desperate that they will eat the flesh of their own sons and daughters and the flesh of one another.”’” 24
19:10 The Lord continued, 25 “Now break the jar in front of those who have come here with you. 19:11 Tell them the Lord who rules over all says, 26 ‘I will do just as Jeremiah has done. 27 I will smash this nation and this city as though it were a potter’s vessel which is broken beyond repair. 28 The dead will be buried here in Topheth until there is no more room to bury them.’ 29 19:12 I, the Lord, say: 30 ‘That is how I will deal with this city and its citizens. I will make it like Topheth. 19:13 The houses in Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will be defiled by dead bodies 31 just like this place, Topheth. For they offered sacrifice to the stars 32 and poured out drink offerings to other gods on the roofs of those houses.’”
19:14 Then Jeremiah left Topheth where the Lord had sent him to give that prophecy. He went to the Lord’s temple and stood 33 in its courtyard and called out to all the people. 19:15 “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 34 says, ‘I will soon bring on this city and all the towns surrounding it 35 all the disaster I threatened to do to it. I will do so because they have stubbornly refused 36 to pay any attention to what I have said!’”
27:2 The Lord told me, 37 “Make a yoke 38 out of leather straps and wooden crossbars and put it on your neck. 27:3 Use it to send messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, 39 and Sidon. 40 Send them through 41 the envoys who have come to Jerusalem 42 to King Zedekiah of Judah. 27:4 Charge them to give their masters a message from me. Tell them, ‘The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 43 says to give your masters this message. 44 27:5 “I made the earth and the people and animals on it by my mighty power and great strength, 45 and I give it to whomever I see fit. 46 27:6 I have at this time placed all these nations of yours under the power 47 of my servant, 48 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I have even made all the wild animals subject to him. 49 27:7 All nations must serve him and his son and grandson 50 until the time comes for his own nation to fall. 51 Then many nations and great kings will in turn subjugate Babylon. 52 27:8 But suppose a nation or a kingdom will not be subject to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Suppose it will not submit to the yoke of servitude to 53 him. I, the Lord, affirm that 54 I will punish that nation. I will use the king of Babylon to punish it 55 with war, 56 starvation, and disease until I have destroyed it. 57 27:9 So do not listen to your prophets or to those who claim to predict the future by divination, 58 by dreams, by consulting the dead, 59 or by practicing magic. They keep telling you, ‘You do not need to be 60 subject to the king of Babylon.’ 27:10 Do not listen to them, 61 because their prophecies are lies. 62 Listening to them will only cause you 63 to be taken far away from your native land. I will drive you out of your country and you will die in exile. 64 27:11 Things will go better for the nation that submits to the yoke of servitude to 65 the king of Babylon and is subject to him. I will leave that nation 66 in its native land. Its people can continue to farm it and live in it. I, the Lord, affirm it!”’” 67
1 tn The word “Jeremiah” is not in the text. Some Hebrew
2 tn Heb “an earthenware jar of the potter.”
sn The word translated “clay” here refers to a clay which has been baked or fired in a kiln. In Jer 18 the clay was still soft and pliable, capable of being formed into different kinds of vessels. Here the clay is set, just as Israel is set in its ways. The word for jar refers probably to a water jug or decanter and is onomatopoeic, baqbuq, referring to the gurgling sound made by pouring out the water.
3 tc The words “Take with you” follow the reading of the Syriac version and to a certain extent the reading of the Greek version (the latter does not have “with you”). The Hebrew text does not have these words but they are undoubtedly implicit.
4 tn Heb “elders” both here and before “of the people.”
sn The civil and religious leaders are referred to here. They were to be witnesses of the symbolic act and of the message that Jeremiah proclaimed to the leaders of Jerusalem and its citizens (see v. 3).
5 sn The exact location of the Potsherd Gate is unknown since it is nowhere else mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. It is sometimes identified with the Dung Gate mentioned in Neh 2:13; 3:13-14; 12:31 on the basis of the Jerusalem Targum. It is probably called “Potsherd Gate” because that is where the potter threw out the broken pieces of pottery which were no longer of use to him. The Valley of Ben Hinnom has already been mentioned in 7:31-32 in connection with the illicit religious practices, including child sacrifice, which took place there. The Valley of Ben Hinnom (or sometimes Valley of Hinnom) runs along the west and south sides of Jerusalem.
6 tn Heb “the words that I will speak to you.”
8 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.”
sn See the study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for explanation of this title.
9 sn Careful comparison of the use of this term throughout this passage and comparison with 7:31-33 which is parallel to several verses in this passage will show that the reference is to the Valley of Ben Hinnom which will become a Valley of Slaughter (see v. 6 and 7:32).
11 tn The text merely has “they.” But since a reference is made later to “they” and “their ancestors,” the referent must be to the people that the leaders of the people and leaders of the priests represent.
12 sn Heb “have made this city foreign.” The verb here is one that is built off of the noun and adjective which relate to foreign nations. Comparison may be made to Jer 2:21 where the adjective refers to the strange, wild vine as opposed to the choice vine the
13 tn Heb “fathers.”
14 tn Heb “the blood of innocent ones.” This must be a reference to child sacrifice as explained in the next verse. Some have seen a reference to the sins of social injustice alluded to in 2 Kgs 21:16 and 24:4 but those are connected with the city itself. Hence the word children is supplied in the translation to make the referent explicit.
15 tn The word “here” is not in the text. However, it is implicit from the rest of the context. It is supplied in the translation for clarity.
16 tn The words “such sacrifices” are not in the text. The text merely says “to burn their children in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal which I did not command.” The command obviously refers not to the qualification “to Baal” but to burning the children in the fire as burnt offerings. The words are supplied in the translation to avoid a possible confusion that the reference is to sacrifices to Baal. Likewise the words should not be translated so literally that they leave the impression that God never said anything about sacrificing their children to other gods. The fact is he did. See Lev 18:21; Deut 12:30; 18:10.
18 tn Heb “it will no longer be called to this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom but the Valley of Slaughter.”
19 sn There is perhaps a two-fold wordplay in the use of this word. One involves the sound play with the word for “jar,” which has been explained as a water decanter. The word here is בַקֹּתִי (vaqqoti). The word for jar in v. 1 is בַקְבֻּק (vaqbuq). There may also be a play on the literal use of this word to refer to the laying waste or destruction of a land (see Isa 24:3; Nah 2:3). Many modern commentaries think that at this point Jeremiah emptied out the contents of the jar, symbolizing the “emptying” out of their plans.
20 sn This refers to the fact that they will die in battle. The sword would be only one of the weapons that strikes them down. It is one of the trio of “sword,” “starvation,” and “disease” which were the concomitants of war referred to so often in the book of Jeremiah. Starvation is referred to in v. 9.
21 tn Heb “I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and in the hand of those who seek their soul [= life].” In this context the two are meant as obvious qualifications of one entity, not two. Some rearrangement of the qualifiers had to be made in the English translation to convey this.
23 tn Heb “all its smitings.” This word has been used several times for the metaphorical “wounds” that Israel has suffered as a result of the blows from its enemies. See, e.g., 14:17. It is used in the Hebrew Bible of scourging, both literally and metaphorically (cf. Deut 25:3; Isa 10:26), and of slaughter and defeat (1 Sam 4:10; Josh 10:20). Here it refers to the results of the crushing blows at the hands of her enemies which has made her the object of scorn.
24 tn This verse has been restructured to try to bring out the proper thought and subordinations reflected in the verse without making the sentence too long and complex in English: Heb “I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters. And they will eat one another’s flesh in the siege and in the straits which their enemies who are seeking their lives reduce them to.” This also shows the agency through which God’s causation was effected, i.e., the siege.
sn Cannibalism is one of the penalties for disobedience to their covenant with the
25 tn The words “And the
26 tn Heb “Thus says Yahweh of armies.” For this title see the study note on 2:19. The translation attempts to avoid the confusion of embedding quotes within quotes by reducing this one to an indirect quote.
28 tn Heb “Like this I will break this people and this city, just as one breaks the vessel of a potter which is not able to be repaired.”
31 tn The words “by dead bodies” is not in the text but is implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.
32 tn Heb “the host of heaven.”
33 tn Heb “And Jeremiah entered from Topheth where the
34 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.”
sn See the study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for explanation of this title.
35 tn Heb “all its towns.”
36 tn Heb “They hardened [or made stiff] their neck so as not to.”
37 tn There is some disjunction in the narrative of this chapter. The introduction in v. 1 presents this as a third person narrative. But the rest of the passage reports the narrative in first person. Thus the text reads here “Thus the
38 sn The yoke is a common biblical symbol of political servitude (see, e.g., Deut 28:48; 1 Kgs 12:4, 9, 10). From the context of 1 Kgs 12 it is clear that it applied to taxation and the provision of conscript labor. In international political contexts it involved the payment of heavy tribute which was often conscripted from the citizens (see, e.g., 2 Kgs 15:19-20; 23:34-35) and the furnishing of military contingents for the sovereign’s armies (see, e.g., 2 Kgs 24:2). Jeremiah’s message here combines both a symbolic action (the wearing of a yoke) and words of explanation as in Jer 19:1-13. (See Isa 20:1-6 for an example outside of Jeremiah.) The casting off of the yoke has been used earlier in Jer 2:20, 5:5 to refer to Israel’s failure to remain spiritually “subject” or faithful to God.
40 sn The nations of Edom, Moab, and Ammon were east of Judah. They were sometimes allies and sometimes enemies. The nations of Tyre and Sidon were on the sea coast north and west of Judah. They are best known for their maritime trade during the reign of Solomon. They were more commonly allies of Israel and Judah than enemies.
41 tn Heb “send by means of them” [i.e., the straps and crossbars made into a yoke] to…through.” The text is broken up in conformity with contemporary English style. Many English versions ignore the suffix on the end of “send” and find some support for this on the basis of its absence in the Lucianic Greek text. However, it is probably functioning metonymically here for the message which they see symbolized before them and is now explained clearly to them.
43 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.”
sn See study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for the significance of this title.
44 tn Heb “Give them a charge to their masters saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel, “Thus you shall say unto your masters…”’” The sentence is broken up in conformity with contemporary English style.
47 tn Heb “have given…into the hand of.”
49 tn Heb “I have given…to him to serve him.” The verb “give” in this syntactical situation is functioning like the Hiphil stem, i.e., as a causative. See Dan 1:9 for parallel usage. For the usage of “serve” meaning “be subject to” compare 2 Sam 22:44 and BDB 713 s.v. עָבַד 3.
sn This statement is rhetorical, emphasizing the totality of Nebuchadnezzar’s dominion. Neither here nor in Dan 2:38 is it to be understood literally.
50 sn This is a figure that emphasizes that they will serve for a long time but not for an unlimited duration. The kingdom of Babylon lasted a relatively short time by ancient standards. It lasted from 605
51 tn Heb “until the time of his land, even his, comes.” The independent pronoun is placed here for emphasis on the possessive pronoun. The word “time” is used by substitution for the things that are done in it (compare in the NT John 2:4; 7:30; 8:20 “his hour had not yet come”).
sn See Jer 25:12-14, 16.
52 tn Heb “him.” This is a good example of the figure of substitution where the person is put for his descendants or the nation or subject he rules. (See Gen 28:13-14 for another good example and Acts 22:7 in the NT.)
54 tn Heb “oracle of the
55 tn Heb “The nation and/or the kingdom which will not serve him, Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and which will not put its neck in the yoke of the king of Babylon, by sword, starvation, and disease I will punish [or more literally, “visit upon”] that nation, oracle of the
56 tn Heb “with/by the sword.”
57 tc The verb translated “destroy” (תָּמַם, tamam) is usually intransitive in the stem of the verb used here. It is found in a transitive sense elsewhere only in Ps 64:7. BDB 1070 s.v. תָּמַם 7 emends both texts. In this case they recommend תִּתִּי (titi): “until I give them into his hand.” That reading is suggested by the texts of the Syriac and Targumic translations (see BHS fn c). The Greek translation supports reading the verb “destroy” but treats it as though it were intransitive “until they are destroyed by his hand” (reading תֻּמָּם [tummam]). The MT here is accepted as the more difficult reading and support is seen in the transitive use of the verb in Ps 64:7.
tn Heb “I will punish that nation until I have destroyed them [i.e., its people] by his hand.” “Hand” here refers to agency. Hence, “I will use him.”
58 sn Various means of divination are alluded to in the OT. For example, Ezek 21:26-27 alludes to throwing down arrows to see which way they fall and consulting the shape of the liver of slaughtered animals. Gen 44:5 alludes to reading the future through pouring liquid in a cup. The means alluded to in this verse were all classified as pagan and prohibited as illegitimate in Deut 18:10-14. The
61 tn The words “Don’t listen to them” have been repeated from v. 9a to pick up the causal connection between v. 9a and v. 10 that is formally introduced by a causal particle in v. 10 in the original text.
62 tn Heb “they are prophesying a lie.”
63 tn Heb “lies will result in your being taken far…” (לְמַעַן [lÿma’an] + infinitive). This is a rather clear case of the particle לְמַעַן introducing result (contra BDB 775 s.v. מַעַן note 1. There is no irony in this statement; it is a bold prediction).
64 tn The words “out of your country” are not in the text but are implicit in the meaning of the verb. The words “in exile” are also not in the text but are implicit in the context. These words have been supplied in the translation for clarity.
66 tn The words “Things will go better for” are not in the text. They are supplied contextually as a means of breaking up the awkward syntax of the original which reads “The nation which brings its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and subjects itself to him, I will leave it…”
67 tn Heb “oracle of the