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Jeremiah 22:1-6

Context

22:1 The Lord told me, 1  “Go down 2  to the palace of the king of Judah. Give him a message from me there. 3  22:2 Say: ‘Listen, O king of Judah who follows in David’s succession. 4  You, your officials, and your subjects who pass through the gates of this palace must listen to what the Lord says. 5  22:3 The Lord says, “Do what is just and right. Deliver those who have been robbed from those 6  who oppress them. Do not exploit or mistreat foreigners who live in your land, children who have no fathers, or widows. 7  Do not kill innocent people 8  in this land. 22:4 If you are careful to 9  obey these commands, then the kings who follow in David’s succession and ride in chariots or on horses will continue to come through the gates of this palace, as will their officials and their subjects. 10  22:5 But, if you do not obey these commands, I solemnly swear 11  that this palace will become a pile of rubble. I, the Lord, affirm it!” 12 

22:6 “‘For the Lord says concerning the palace of the king of Judah,

“This place looks like a veritable forest of Gilead to me.

It is like the wooded heights of Lebanon in my eyes.

But I swear that I will make it like a wilderness

whose towns have all been deserted. 13 

1 tn The word “me “ is not in the text. It is, however, implicit and is supplied in the translation for clarity.

2 sn The allusion here is to going down from the temple to the palace which was on a lower eminence. See 36:12 in its context.

3 tn Heb “And speak there this word:” The translation is intended to eliminate an awkward and lengthy sentence.

4 tn Heb “who sits on David’s throne.”

5 tn Heb “Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah who sits on the throne of David, you, and your officials and your people who pass through these gates.”

6 tn Heb “from the hand [or power] of.”

7 tn Heb “aliens, orphans, or widows” treating the terms as generic or collective. However, the term “alien” carries faulty connotations and the term “orphan” is not totally appropriate because the Hebrew term does not necessarily mean that both parents have died.

sn These were classes of people who had no one to look out for their rights. The laws of Israel, however, were careful to see that their rights were guarded (cf. Deut 10:18) and that provision was made for meeting their needs (cf. Deut 24:19-21). The Lord promised to protect them (cf. Ps 146:9) and a curse was called down on any who deprived them of justice (cf. Deut 27:19).

8 tn Heb “Do not shed innocent blood.”

sn Do not kill innocent people. For an example of one of the last kings who did this see Jer 36:20-23. Manasseh was notorious for having done this and the book of 2 Kgs attributes the ultimate destruction of Judah to this crime and his sin of worshiping false gods (2 Kgs 21:16; 24:4).

9 tn The translation here reflects the emphasizing infinitive absolute before the verb.

10 tn Heb “There will come through the gates of this city the kings…riding in chariots and on horses, they and their officials…” The structure of the original text is broken up here because of the long compound subject which would make the English sentence too long. Compare 17:25 for the structure and wording of this sentence.

11 sn Heb “I swear by myself.” Oaths were guaranteed by invoking the name of a god or swearing by “his life.” See Jer 12:16; 44:26. Since the Lord is incomparably great, he could swear by no higher (see Heb 6:13-16) than to swear by himself or his own great name.

12 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

13 tn Heb “Gilead you are to me, the height of Lebanon, but I will surely make you a wilderness [with] cities uninhabited.” The points of comparison are made explicit in the translation for the sake of clarity. See the study note for further explanation. For the use of the preposition לְ (lamed) = “in my eyes/in my opinion” see BDB 513 s.v. לְ 5.a(d) and compare Jonah 3:3; Esth 10:3. For the use of the particles אִם לֹא (’im lo’) to introduce an emphatic oath see BDB 50 s.v. אִם 1.b(2).

sn Lebanon was well known for its cedars and the palace (and the temple) had used a good deal of such timber in its construction (see 1 Kgs 5:6, 8-10; 7:2-3). In this section several references are made to cedar (see vv. 7, 14, 15, 23) and allusion has also been made to the paneled and colonnade armory of the Forest of Lebanon (2:14). It appears to have been a source of pride and luxury, perhaps at the expense of justice. Gilead was also noted in antiquity for its forests as well as for its fertile pastures.



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