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Jeremiah 1:1-3

Context
The Superscription

1:1 The following is a record of what Jeremiah son of Hilkiah prophesied. 1  He was one of the priests who lived at Anathoth in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. 1:2 The Lord 2  began to speak to him 3  in the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amon ruled over Judah. 1:3 The Lord also spoke to him when Jehoiakim son of Josiah ruled over Judah, and he continued to speak to him until the fifth month of the eleventh year 4  that Zedekiah son of Josiah ruled over Judah. That was when the people of Jerusalem 5  were taken into exile. 6 

1 tn Or “This is a record of what Jeremiah prophesied and did”; Heb “The words [or affairs] of Jeremiah.” The phrase could refer to either the messages of Jeremiah recorded in the book or to both his messages and the biographical (and autobiographical) narratives recorded about him in the book. Since the phrase is intended to serve as the title or superscription for the whole book and recurs again in 51:64 at the end of the book before the final appendix, it might refer to the latter. The expression “The words of [someone]” is a standard introductory formula (Deut 29:1[28:69]; 2 Sam 23:1; Amos 1:1; Eccl 1:1; Neh 1:1).

2 sn The translation reflects the ancient Jewish tradition of substituting the word for “Lord” for the proper name for Israel’s God which is now generally agreed to have been Yahweh. Jewish scribes wrote the consonants YHWH but substituted the vowels for the word “Lord.” The practice of calling him “Lord” rather than using his proper name is also reflected in the Greek translation which is the oldest translation of the Hebrew Bible. The meaning of the name Yahweh occurs in Exod 3:13-14 where God identifies himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and tells Moses that his name is “I am” (אֶהְיֶה, ’ehyeh). However, he instructs the Israelites to refer to him as YHWH (“Yahweh” = “He is”); see further Exod 34:5-6.

3 tn Heb “to whom the word of the Lord came.” The present translation is more in keeping with contemporary English idiom. The idea of “began to speak” comes from the context where the conclusion of his speaking is signaled by the phrases “until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah” and “until the people of Jerusalem were taken into exile” in v. 3.

4 sn This would have been August, 586 b.c. according to modern reckoning.

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

6 tn Heb “and it [the word of the Lord] came in the days of Jehoiakim…until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah…until the carrying away captive of Jerusalem in the fifth month.”



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