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Jeremiah 23:30-32

Context
23:30 So I, the Lord, affirm 1  that I am opposed to those prophets who steal messages from one another that they claim are from me. 2  23:31 I, the Lord, affirm 3  that I am opposed to those prophets who are using their own tongues to declare, ‘The Lord declares….’ 4  23:32 I, the Lord, affirm 5  that I am opposed to those prophets who dream up lies and report them. They are misleading my people with their reckless lies. 6  I did not send them. I did not commission them. They are not helping these people at all. 7  I, the Lord, affirm it!” 8 

1 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

2 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 Lord (cf. next verse).

3 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

4 tn The word “The Lord” is not actually in the text but is implicit in the idiom. It is generally supplied in all the English versions.

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 Lord sarcastically calls “my words” (The passage shows that they are not; compare Marc Anthony’s use of “noble” to describe the ignoble men who killed Caesar). Here the use of the idiom translated “to use their own tongue” is really the idiom that refers to taking something in preparation for action, i.e., “they take their tongue” and “declare.” The verb “declare” is only used here and is derived from the idiom “oracle of “ which is almost universally used in the idiom “oracle of the Lord” which occurs 176 times in Jeremiah. I.e., it is their tongue that is “declaring not his mouth (v. 16). Moreover in the report of what they “declare” the Lord has left out the qualifying “of the Lord” to suggest the delusive nature of their message, i.e. they mislead people into believing that their message is from the Lord. Elsewhere in the discussion of the issue of false prophecy the Lord will use the full formula (Ezek 13:6-7). How ironic that their “Oracle of…” is punctuated by the triple “Oracle of the Lord” (vv. 30, 31, 32; translated here “I, the Lord, affirm that…).

5 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

6 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.

7 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.

8 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”



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