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Jeremiah 23:1

Context
New Leaders over a Regathered Remnant

23:1 The Lord says, 1  “The leaders of my people are sure to be judged. 2  They were supposed to watch over my people like shepherds watch over their sheep. But they are causing my people to be destroyed and scattered. 3 

Jeremiah 48:1

Context
Judgment Against Moab

48:1 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 4  spoke about Moab. 5 

“Sure to be judged is Nebo! Indeed, 6  it will be destroyed!

Kiriathaim 7  will suffer disgrace. It will be captured!

Its fortress 8  will suffer disgrace. It will be torn down! 9 

1 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

2 sn Heb This particle once again introduces a judgment speech. The indictment is found in v. 1 and the announcement of judgment in v. 2. This leads into an oracle of deliverance in vv. 3-4. See also the note on the word “judged” in 22:13.

3 tn Heb “Woe to the shepherds who are killing and scattering the sheep of my pasture.” See the study note on 22:13 for the significance of “Sure to be judged” (Heb “Woe”) See the study note for the significance of the metaphor introduced here.

sn Verses 1-4 of ch. 23 are an extended metaphor in which the rulers are compared to shepherds and the people are compared to sheep. This metaphor has already been met with in 10:21 and is found elsewhere in the context of the Lord’s covenant with David (cf. 2 Sam 7:7-8; Ps 78:70-72). The sheep are God’s people and he is the ultimate shepherd who is personally concerned about their care (cf. Pss 23:1; 80:2). He has set rulers over them as his under-shepherds and they are responsible to him for the care of his sheep (see 22:3-4). They have been lax shepherds, allowing the sheep to be scattered and destroyed. So he will punish them. As the true shepherd of Israel he will regather his scattered flock and place new shepherds (rulers) over them. These verses lead to a promise of an ideal ruler set over an Israel which has experienced a new and better Exodus (vv. 6-8). For a more complete development of this metaphor with similar messianic and eschatological implications see Ezek 34. The metaphor has been interpreted in the translation but some of the flavor left in the simile.

4 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.” For this title see 7:3 and the study note on 2:19.

5 sn Moab was a country east of the Dead Sea whose boundaries varied greatly over time. Basically, it was the tableland between the Arnon River about halfway up the Dead Sea and the Zered River which is roughly at the southern tip of the Dead Sea. When the Israelites entered Palestine they were forbidden to take any of the Moabite territory but they did capture the kingdom of Sihon north of the Arnon which Sihon had taken from Moab. Several of the towns mentioned in the oracles of judgment against Moab here are in this territory north of the Arnon and were assigned to Reuben and Gad. Several are mentioned on the famous Moabite Stone which details how Mesha king of Moab recovered from Israel many of these cities during the reign of Joram (852-841 b.c.; cf. 2 Kgs 3:4-5). It is usually assumed that Moab submitted to Nebuchadnezzar after the battle of Carchemish and that they remained loyal to him throughout most of this period, though representatives were present at Jerusalem in 594 b.c. when plans for revolt were apparently being discussed (Jer 27:3). Moabite contingents were used by Nebuchadnezzar in 598 b.c. to harass Jehoiakim after he rebelled (2 Kgs 24:2) so they must have remained loyal at that time. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, Nebuchadnezzar conquered Moab in 582 b.c. and destroyed many of its cities.

6 tn Heb “Woe to Nebo for it is destroyed.” For the use of the Hebrew particle “Woe” (הוֹי, hoy) see the translator’s note on 22:13. The translation has taken this form because the phrase “Woe to” probably does not convey the proper meaning or significance to the modern reader. The verbs again are in the tense (Hebrew prophetic perfect) that views the action as if it were as good as done. The particle כִּי (ki) probably is causal but the asseverative works better in the modified translation.

7 sn Nebo and Kiriathaim were both north of the Arnon and were assigned to Reuben (Num 32:3, Josh 13:19). They are both mentioned on the Moabite Stone as having been recovered from Israel.

8 tn Or “Misgab.” The translation here follows the majority of commentaries and English versions. Only REB sees this as a place name, “Misgab,” which is otherwise unknown. The constant use of this word to refer to a fortress, the presence of the article on the front of it, and the lack of any reference to a place of this name anywhere else argues against it being a place name. However, the fact that the verbs that accompany it are feminine while the noun for “fortress” is masculine causes some pause.

9 tn For the meaning of the verb here see BDB 369 s.v. חָתַת Qal.1 and compare usage in Isa 7:8; 30:31.



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