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Jeremiah 1:6-10

Context

1:6 I answered, “Oh, Lord God, 1  I really 2  do not know how to speak well enough for that, 3  for I am too young.” 4  1:7 The Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ But go 5  to whomever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 1:8 Do not be afraid of those to whom I send you, 6  for I will be with you to protect 7  you,” says the Lord. 1:9 Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I will most assuredly give you the words you are to speak for me. 8  1:10 Know for certain that 9  I hereby give you the authority to announce to nations and kingdoms that they will be 10  uprooted and torn down, destroyed and demolished, rebuilt and firmly planted.” 11 

1 tn Heb “Lord Yahweh.”

sn The translation follows the ancient Jewish tradition of substituting the Hebrew word for “God” for the proper name Yahweh in this compound name. See the study note on v. 2 for the substitution of “Lord” in a similar kind of situation.

2 tn Heb “Behold, I do not know how to speak.” The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, commonly rendered “behold”) often introduces a speech and calls special attention to a specific word or the statement as a whole (see IBHS 675-78 §40.2.1).

3 tn The words “well enough for that” are implicit and are supplied in the translation for clarity. Jeremiah is not claiming an absolute inability to speak.

4 tn Heb “I am a boy/youth.” The Hebrew word can refer to an infant (Exod 2:6), a young boy (1 Sam 2:11), a teenager (Gen 21:12), or a young man (2 Sam 18:5). The translation is deliberately ambiguous since it is unclear how old Jeremiah was when he was called to begin prophesying.

5 tn Or “For you must go and say.” The Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) is likely adversative here after a negative statement (cf. BDB 474 s.v. כִּי 3.e). The Lord is probably not giving a rationale for the denial of Jeremiah’s objection but redirecting his focus, i.e., “do not say…but go…and say.”

6 tn Heb “be afraid of them.” The antecedent is the “whomever” in v. 7.

7 tn Heb “rescue.”

8 tn Heb “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.” This is an example of the Hebrew “scheduling” perfect or the “prophetic” perfect where a future event is viewed as so certain it is spoken of as past. The Hebrew particle rendered here “assuredly” (Heb הִנֵּה, hinneh) underlines the certitude of the promise for the future. See the translator’s note on v. 6.

sn The passage is reminiscent of Deut 18:18 which refers to the Lord’s promise of future revelation through a line of prophets who, like Moses, would speak God’s word.

9 tn Heb “See!” The Hebrew imperative of the verb used here (רָאָה, raah) functions the same as the particle in v. 9. See the translator’s note there.

10 tn Heb “I appoint you today over nations and kingdoms to uproot….” The phrase refers to the Lord giving Jeremiah authority as a prophet to declare what he, the Lord, will do; it does not mean that Jeremiah himself will do these things. The expression involves a figure of speech where the subject of a declaration is stated instead of the declaration about it. Compare a similar use of the same figure in Gen 41:13.

11 sn These three pairs represent the twofold nature of Jeremiah’s prophecies, prophecies of judgment and restoration. For the further programmatic use of these pairs for Jeremiah’s ministry see 18:7-10 and 31:27-28.



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