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Jeremiah 22:14-15

Context

22:14 He says, “I will build myself a large palace

with spacious upper rooms.”

He cuts windows in its walls,

panels it 1  with cedar, and paints its rooms red. 2 

22:15 Does it make you any more of a king

that you outstrip everyone else in 3  building with cedar?

Just think about your father.

He was content that he had food and drink. 4 

He did what was just and right. 5 

So things went well with him.

1 tc The MT should be emended to read חַלֹּנָיו וְסָפוֹן (khallonayv vÿsafon) instead of חַלֹּנָי וְסָפוּן (khallonay vÿsafon), i.e., the plural noun with third singular suffix rather than the first singular suffix and the infinitive absolute rather than the passive participle. The latter form then parallels the form for “paints” and functions in the same way (cf. GKC 345 §113.z for the infinitive with vav [ו] continuing a perfect). The errors in the MT involve reading the וְ once instead of twice (haplography) and reading the וּ (u) for the וֹ (o).

2 tn The word translated “red” only occurs here and in Ezek 23:14 where it refers to the pictures of the Babylonians on the wall of the temple. Evidently this was a favorite color for decoration. It is usually identified as vermilion, a mineral product from red ocher (cf. C. L. Wickwire, “Vermilion,” IDB 4:748).

3 tn For the use of this verb see Jer 12:5 where it is used of Jeremiah “competing” with horses. The form is a rare Tiphel (see GKC 153 §55.h).

4 tn Heb “Your father, did he not eat and drink and do justice and right.” The copulative vav in front of the verbs here (all Hebrew perfects) shows that these actions are all coordinate not sequential. The contrast drawn here between the actions of Jehoiakim and Josiah show that the phrase eating and drinking should be read in the light of the same contrasts in Eccl 2 which ends with the note of contentment in Eccl 2:24 (see also Eccl 3:13; 5:18 [5:17 HT]; 8:15). The question is, of course, rhetorical setting forth the positive role model against which Jehoiakim’s actions are to be condemned. The key terms here are “then things went well with him” which is repeated in the next verse after the reiteration of Josiah’s practice of justice.

5 sn The father referred to here is the godly king Josiah. He followed the requirements for kings set forth in 22:3 in contrast to his son who did not (22:13).



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