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Jeremiah 22:3

Context
22:3 The Lord says, “Do what is just and right. Deliver those who have been robbed from those 1  who oppress them. Do not exploit or mistreat foreigners who live in your land, children who have no fathers, or widows. 2  Do not kill innocent people 3  in this land.

Jeremiah 22:16-17

Context

22:16 He upheld the cause of the poor and needy.

So things went well for Judah.’ 4 

The Lord says,

‘That is a good example of what it means to know me.’ 5 

22:17 But you are always thinking and looking

for ways to increase your wealth by dishonest means.

Your eyes and your heart are set

on killing some innocent person

and committing fraud and oppression. 6 

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

2 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).

3 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).

4 tn The words “for Judah” are not in the text, but the absence of the preposition plus object as in the preceding verse suggests that this is a more general statement, i.e., “things went well for everyone.”

5 tn Heb “Is that not what it means to know me.” The question is rhetorical and expects a positive answer. It is translated in the light of the context.

sn Comparison of the usage of the words “know me” in their context in Jer 2:8; 9:3, 6, 24 and here will show that more than mere intellectual knowledge is involved. It involves also personal commitment to God and obedience to the demands of the agreements with him. The word “know” is used in ancient Near Eastern treaty contexts of submission to the will of the overlord. See further the notes on 9:3.

6 tn Heb “Your eyes and your heart do not exist except for dishonest gain and for innocent blood to shed [it] and for fraud and for oppression to do [them].” The sentence has been broken up to conform more to English style and the significance of “eyes” and “heart” explained before they are introduced into the translation.



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