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Jeremiah 23:5-6

Context

23:5 “I, the Lord, promise 1  that a new time will certainly come 2 

when I will raise up for them a righteous branch, 3  a descendant of David.

He will rule over them with wisdom and understanding 4 

and will do what is just and right in the land. 5 

23:6 Under his rule 6  Judah will enjoy safety 7 

and Israel will live in security. 8 

This is the name he will go by:

‘The Lord has provided us with justice.’ 9 

1 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

2 tn Heb “Behold the days are coming.”

3 tn Heb “a righteous sprig to David” or “a righteous shoot” (NAB).

sn This passage and the parallel in Jer 33:15 are part of a growing number of prayers and prophecies regarding an ideal ruler to come forth from the Davidic line who will bring the justice, security, and well-being that the continuing line of Davidic rulers did not. Though there were periodic kings like Josiah who did fulfill the ideals set forth in Jer 22:3 (see Jer 22:15), by and large they were more like Jehoiakim who did not (see Jer 22:13). Hence the Lord brought to an end the Davidic rule. The potential for the ideal, however, remained because of God’s promise to David (2 Sam 7:16). The Davidic line became like a tree which was cut down, leaving only a stump. But from that stump God would bring forth a “shoot,” a “sprig” which would fulfill the ideals of kingship. See Isa 11:1-6 and Zech 3:8, 6:12 for this metaphor and compare Dan 4:14-15, 23, 26 for a different but related use of the metaphor.

4 tn Heb “he will reign as king and act wisely.” This is another example of the use of two verbs joined by “and” where one becomes the adverbial modifier of the other (hendiadys). For the nuance of the verb “act wisely” rather than “prosper” see Amos 5:13; Ps 2:10 (cf. BDB 968 s.v. שָׂכַל Hiph.5).

5 sn This has been the constant emphasis in this section. See 22:3 for the demand, 22:15 for its fulfillment, and 22:13 for its abuse. The ideal king would follow in the footsteps of his illustrious ancestor David (2 Sam 8:15) who set this forth as an ideal for his dynasty (2 Sam 23:3) and prayed for it to be true of his son Solomon (Ps 72:1-2).

6 tn Heb “In his days [= during the time he rules].”

7 tn Parallelism and context (cf. v. 4) suggest this nuance for the word often translated “be saved.” For this nuance elsewhere see Ps 119:117; Prov 28:18 for the verb (יָשַׁע [yasha’] in the Niphal); and Ps 12:6; Job 5:4, 11 for the related noun (יֶשַׁע, yesha’).

8 sn It should be noted that this brief oracle of deliverance implies the reunification of Israel and Judah under the future Davidic ruler. Jeremiah has already spoken about this reunification earlier in 3:18 and will have more to say about it in 30:3; 31:27, 31. This same ideal was espoused in the prophecies of Hosea (1:10-11 [2:1-2 HT]), Isaiah (11:1-4, 10-12), and Ezekiel (37:15-28) all of which have messianic and eschatological significance.

9 tn Heb “his name will be called ‘The Lord our righteousness’.”

sn The Hebrew word translated “justice” here is very broad in its usage, and it is hard to catch all the relevant nuances for this word in this context. It is used for “vindication” in legal contexts (see, e.g., Job 6:29), for “deliverance” or “salvation” in exilic contexts (see, e.g., Isa 58:8), and in the sense of ruling, judging with “justice” (see, e.g., Lev 19:15; Isa 32:1). Here it probably sums up the justice that the Lord provides through raising up this ruler as well as the safety, security, and well-being that result (see vv. 5-6a). In the NT this takes on soteriological connotations (see 1 Cor 1:31 in its context).



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