23:27 How long will they go on plotting 1 to make my people forget who I am 2 through the dreams they tell one another? That is just as bad as what their ancestors 3 did when they forgot who I am by worshiping the god Baal. 4 23:28 Let the prophet who has had a dream go ahead and tell his dream. Let the person who has received my message report that message faithfully. What is like straw cannot compare to what is like grain! 5 I, the Lord, affirm it! 6 23:29 My message is like a fire that purges dross! 7 It is like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces! 8 I, the Lord, so affirm it! 9 23:30 So I, the Lord, affirm 10 that I am opposed to those prophets who steal messages from one another that they claim are from me. 11 23:31 I, the Lord, affirm 12 that I am opposed to those prophets who are using their own tongues to declare, ‘The Lord declares….’ 13 23:32 I, the Lord, affirm 14 that I am opposed to those prophets who dream up lies and report them. They are misleading my people with their reckless lies. 15 I did not send them. I did not commission them. They are not helping these people at all. 16 I, the Lord, affirm it!” 17
1 tn The relation of the words to one another in v. 26 and the beginning of v. 27 has created difficulties for translators and commentators. The proper solution is reflected in the NJPS. Verses 26-27 read somewhat literally, “How long is there in the hearts of the prophets who are prophesying the lie and [in the hearts of] the prophets of the delusions of their [own] heart the plotting to cause my people to forget my name…” Most commentaries complain that the text is corrupt, that there is no subject for “is there.” However, the long construct qualification “in the hearts of” has led to the lack of observation that the proper subject is “the plotting to make my people forget.” There are no exact parallels but Jer 14:22; Neh 5:5 follow the same structure. The “How long” precedes the other means of asking a question for the purpose of emphasis (cf. BDB 210 s.v. הֲ 1.b and compare for example the usage in 2 Sam 7:7). There has also been a failure to see that “the prophets of the delusion of…” is a parallel construct noun after “heart of.” Stripping the syntax down to its barest minimum and translating literally, the sentence would read “How long will the plotting…continue in the hearts of the prophets who…and [in hearts of] the prophets of…” The sentence has been restructured in the translation to conform to contemporary English style but attempt has been made to maintain the same subordinations.
2 tn Heb “my name.”
sn In the OT, the “name” reflected the person’s character (cf. Gen 27:36; 1 Sam 25:25) or his reputation (Gen 11:4; 2 Sam 8:13). To speak in someone’s name was to act as his representative or carry his authority (1 Sam 25:9; 1 Kgs 21:8). To call someone’s name over something was to claim it for one’s own (2 Sam 12:28). Hence, here to forget the name is equivalent to forgetting who he was in his essential character (cf. Exod 3:13-15; 6:3; 34:5-7). By preaching lies they had obliterated part of his essential character and caused people to forget who he really was.
4 tn Heb “through Baal.” This is an elliptical expression for the worship of Baal. See 11:17; 12:16; 19:5 for other references to their relation to Baal. There is a deliberate paralleling in the syntax here between “through their dreams” and “through Baal.”
5 tn Heb “What to the straw with [in comparison with] the grain?” This idiom represents an emphatic repudiation or denial of relationship. See, for example, the usage in 2 Sam 16:10 and note BDB 553 s.v. מָה 1.d(c).
6 tn Heb “Oracle of the
7 tn Heb “Is not my message like a fire?” The rhetorical question expects a positive answer that is made explicit in the translation. The words “that purges dross” are not in the text but are implicit to the metaphor. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.
8 tn Heb “Is it not like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” See preceding note.
9 tn Heb “Oracle of the
10 tn Heb “Oracle of the
11 tn Heb “who are stealing my words from one another.” However, context shows that it is their own word which they claim is from the
12 tn Heb “Oracle of the
13 tn The word “The
sn Jer 23:30-33 are filled with biting sarcasm. The verses all begin with “Behold I am against the prophets who…” and go on to describe their reprehensible behavior. They “steal” one another’s messages which the
14 tn Heb “Oracle of the
15 tn Heb “with their lies and their recklessness.” This is an example of hendiadys where two nouns (in this case a concrete and an abstract one) are joined by “and” but one is intended to be the adjectival modifier of the other.
16 sn In the light of what has been said this is a rhetorical understatement; they are not only “not helping,” they are leading them to their doom (cf. vv. 19-22). This figure of speech is known as litotes.
17 tn Heb “Oracle of the