23:8 But at that time they will affirm them with “I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the descendants of the former nation of Israel 1 from the land of the north and from all the other lands where he had banished 2 them.” 3 At that time they will live in their own land.’”
My heart and my mind are deeply disturbed.
I tremble all over. 6
I am like a drunk person,
like a person who has had too much wine, 7
because of the way the Lord
and his holy word are being mistreated. 8
They live wicked lives and they misuse their power. 10
The pastures in the wilderness are withered.
“Both the prophets and priests are godless.
I have even found them doing evil in my temple!
23:12 So the paths they follow will be dark and slippery.
They will stumble and fall headlong.
For I will bring disaster on them.
A day of reckoning is coming for them.” 15
The Lord affirms it! 16
doing something that was disgusting. 19
They prophesied in the name of the god Baal
and led my people Israel astray. 20
doing something just as shocking.
They are unfaithful to me
and continually prophesy lies. 22
So they give encouragement to people who are doing evil,
with the result that they do not stop their evildoing. 23
I consider all of them as bad as the people of Sodom,
and the citizens of Jerusalem as bad as the people of Gomorrah. 24
have something to say concerning the prophets of Jerusalem: 26
‘I will make these prophets eat the bitter food of suffering
and drink the poison water of judgment. 27
For the prophets of Jerusalem are the reason 28
that ungodliness 29 has spread throughout the land.’”
“Do not listen to what
those prophets are saying to you.
They are filling you with false hopes.
They are reporting visions of their own imaginations,
not something the Lord has given them to say. 32
‘Things will go well for you!’ 35
They say to all those who follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts,
‘Nothing bad will happen to you!’
1 tn Heb “descendants of the house of Israel.”
2 tc It is probably preferable to read the third masculine singular plus suffix (הִדִּיחָם, hiddikham) here with the Greek version and the parallel passage in 16:15 rather than the first singular plus suffix in the MT (הִדַּחְתִּים, hiddakhtim). If this is not a case of mere graphic confusion, the MT could have arisen under the influence of the first person in v. 3. Though sudden shifts in person have been common in the book of Jeremiah, that is unlikely in a context reporting an oath.
3 tn This passage is the same as 16:14-15 with a few minor variations in Hebrew wording. The notes on that passage should be consulted for the rendering here. This passage has the Niphal of the verb “to say” rather than the impersonal use of the Qal. It adds the idea of “bringing out” to the idea of “bringing up out” and (Heb “who brought up and who brought out,” probably a case of hendiadys) before “the people [here “seed” rather than “children”] of Israel [here “house of Israel”] from the land of the north.” These are minor variations and do not affect the sense in any way. So the passage is rendered in much the same way.
sn This passage looks forward to a new and greater Exodus, one that so outstrips the earlier one that the earlier will not serve as the model of deliverance any longer. This same ideal was the subject of Isaiah’s earlier prophecies in Isa 11:11-12, 15-16; 43:16-21; 49:8-13; 51: 1-11.
4 sn Jeremiah has already had a good deal to say about the false prophets and their fate. See 2:8, 26; 5:13, 31; 14:13-15. Here he parallels the condemnation of the wicked prophets and their fate (23:9-40) with that of the wicked kings (21:11-22:30).
5 tn The word “false” is not in the text, but it is clear from the context that these are whom the sayings are directed against. The words “Here is what the
6 tn Heb “My heart is crushed within me. My bones tremble.” It has already been noted several times that the “heart” in ancient Hebrew psychology was the intellectual and volitional center of the person, the kidneys were the emotional center, and the bones the locus of strength and also the subject of joy, distress, and sorrow. Here Jeremiah is speaking of his distress of heart and mind in modern psychology, a distress that leads him to trembling of body which he compares to that of a drunken person staggering around under the influence of wine.
7 tn Heb “wine has passed over him.”
8 tn Heb “wine because of the
sn The way the
10 tn For the word translated “They live…lives” see usage in Jer 8:6. For the idea of “misusing” their power (Heb “their power is not right” i.e., used in the wrong way) see 2 Kgs 7:9; 17:9. In the original text this line (really two lines in the Hebrew poetry) are at the end of the verse. However, this places the antecedent too far away and could lead to confusion. The lines have been rearranged to avoid such confusion.
12 tc The translation follows the majority of Hebrew
sn The curse is, of course, the covenant curse. See Deut 29:20-21 (29:19-20 HT) and for the specific curse see Deut 28:23-24. The curse is appropriate since their “adultery” lay in attributing their fertility to the god Baal (see Hos 2:9-13 (2:11-15 HT) and violating the covenant (see Hos 4:1-3).
13 tn The particle כִּי (ki) which begins this verse is parallel to the one at the beginning of the preceding verse. However, the connection is too distant to render it “for.” “Moreover” is intended to draw the parallel. The words “the
14 tn Heb “Oracle of the
16 tn Heb “Oracle of the
17 tn The words “The
20 tn Heb “by Baal.”
sn Prophesying in the name of the god Baal was a clear violation of Mosaic law and punishable by death (see Deut 13:1-5). For an example of the apostasy encouraged by prophets of Baal in the northern kingdom of Israel see 1 Kgs 18:16-40.
22 tn Or “they commit adultery and deal falsely.” The word “shocking” only occurs here and in 5:30 where it is found in the context of prophesying lies. This almost assures that the reference to “walking in lies” (Heb “in the lie”) is referring to false prophesy. Moreover the references to the prophets in 5:13 and in 14:13-15 are all in the context of false prophesy as are the following references in this chapter in 23:24, 26, 32 and in 28:15. This appears to be the theme of this section. This also makes it likely that the reference to adultery is not literal adultery, though two of the false prophets in Babylon were guilty of this (29:23). The reference to “encouraging those who do evil” that follows also makes more sense if they were preaching messages of comfort rather than messages of doom. The verbs here are infinitive absolutes in place of the finite verb, probably used to place greater emphasis on the action (cf. Hos 4:2 in a comparable judgment speech.)
23 tn Heb “So they strengthen the hands of those doing evil so that they do not turn back from their evil.” For the use of the figure “strengthen the hands” meaning “encourage” see Judg 9:24; Ezek 13:22 (and cf. BDB 304 s.v. חָזַק Piel.2). The vav consecutive on the front of the form gives the logical consequence equivalent to “so” in the translation.
24 tn Heb “All of them are to me like Sodom and its [Jerusalem’s] inhabitants like Gomorrah.”
sn The rhetoric of this passage is very forceful. Like Amos who focuses attention on the sins of the surrounding nations to bring out more forcefully the heinousness of Israel’s sin, God focuses attention on the sins of the prophets of Samaria to bring out the even worse sin of the prophets of Jerusalem. (The oracle is directed at them, not at the prophets of Samaria. See the announcement of judgment that follows.) The
25 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”
sn See the study note on 2:19 for explanation of this title.
26 tn Heb “Therefore, thus says the
27 tn Heb “I will feed this people wormwood and make them drink poison water.” For these same words of judgment on another group see 9:15 (9:14 HT). “Wormwood” and “poison water” are not to be understood literally here but are symbolic of judgment and suffering. See, e.g., BDB 542 s.v. לַעֲנָה.
28 tn The compound preposition מֵאֵת (me’et) expresses source or origin (see BDB 86 s.v. אֵת 4.c). Context shows that the origin is in their false prophesying which encourages people in their evil behavior.
29 sn A word that derives from this same Hebrew word is used in v. 11 at the beginning of the
30 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”
sn See the study note on 2:19 for explanation of this title.
31 tn The words “to the people of Jerusalem” are not in the Hebrew text but are supplied in the translation to reflect the masculine plural form of the imperative and the second masculine plural form of the pronoun. These words have been supplied in the translation for clarity.
32 tn Heb “They tell of a vision of their own heart [= mind] not from the mouth of the
33 tn The translation reflects an emphatic construction where the infinitive absolute follows a participle (cf. GKC 343 §113.r).
34 tc The translation follows the Greek version. The Hebrew text reads, “who reject me, ‘The