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Jeremiah 22:6-7

Context

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. 1 

22:7 I will send men against it to destroy it 2 

with their axes and hatchets.

They will hack up its fine cedar panels and columns

and throw them into the fire.

Jeremiah 22:14

Context

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

with spacious upper rooms.”

He cuts windows in its walls,

panels it 3  with cedar, and paints its rooms red. 4 

1 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.

2 sn Heb “I will sanctify destroyers against it.” If this is not an attenuated use of the term “sanctify” the traditions of Israel’s holy wars are being turned against her. See also 6:4. In Israel’s early wars in the wilderness and in the conquest, the Lord fought for her against the enemies (cf., e.g., Josh 10:11, 14, 42; 24:7; Judg 5:20; 1 Sam 7:10). Now he is going to fight against them (21:5, 13) and use the enemy as his instruments of destruction. For a similar picture of destruction in the temple see the lament in Ps 74:3-7.

3 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).

4 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).



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