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 23:2 So the Lord God of Israel has this to say about the leaders who are ruling over his people: “You have caused my people 4 to be dispersed and driven into exile. You have not taken care of them. So I will punish you for the evil that you have done. 5 I, the Lord, affirm it! 6 23:3 Then I myself will regather those of my people 7 who are still alive from all the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their homeland. 8 They will greatly increase in number. 23:4 I will install rulers 9 over them who will care for them. Then they will no longer need to fear or be terrified. None of them will turn up missing. 10 I, the Lord, promise it! 11
when I will raise up for them a righteous branch, 14 a descendant of David.
He will rule over them with wisdom and understanding 15
and will do what is just and right in the land. 16
and Israel will live in security. 19
This is the name he will go by:
‘The Lord has provided us with justice.’ 20
23:7 “So I, the Lord, say: 21 ‘A new time will certainly come. 22 People now affirm their oaths with “I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt.” 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 23 from the land of the north and from all the other lands where he had banished 24 them.” 25 At that time they will live in their own land.’”
My heart and my mind are deeply disturbed.
I tremble all over. 28
I am like a drunk person,
like a person who has had too much wine, 29
because of the way the Lord
and his holy word are being mistreated. 30
They live wicked lives and they misuse their power. 32
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.” 37
The Lord affirms it! 38
doing something that was disgusting. 41
They prophesied in the name of the god Baal
and led my people Israel astray. 42
doing something just as shocking.
They are unfaithful to me
and continually prophesy lies. 44
So they give encouragement to people who are doing evil,
with the result that they do not stop their evildoing. 45
I consider all of them as bad as the people of Sodom,
and the citizens of Jerusalem as bad as the people of Gomorrah. 46
have something to say concerning the prophets of Jerusalem: 48
‘I will make these prophets eat the bitter food of suffering
and drink the poison water of judgment. 49
For the prophets of Jerusalem are the reason 50
that ungodliness 51 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. 54
‘Things will go well for you!’ 57
They say to all those who follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts,
‘Nothing bad will happen to you!’
Which of them have ever paid attention or listened to what he has said?
will come like a storm! 62
Like a raging storm it will rage down 63
on the heads of those who are wicked.
23:20 The anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he has fully carried out his intended purposes. 64
In days to come 65
you people will come to understand this clearly. 66
23:21 I did not send those prophets.
Yet they were in a hurry to give their message. 67
I did not tell them anything.
Yet they prophesied anyway.
they would have proclaimed my message to my people.
They would have caused my people to turn from their wicked ways
and stop doing the evil things they are doing.
23:24 “Do you really think anyone can hide himself
where I cannot see him?” the Lord asks. 72
“Do you not know that I am everywhere?” 73
the Lord asks. 74
23:25 The Lord says, 75 “I have heard what those prophets who are prophesying lies in my name are saying. They are saying, ‘I have had a dream! I have had a dream!’ 76 23:26 Those prophets are just prophesying lies. They are prophesying the delusions of their own minds. 77 23:27 How long will they go on plotting 78 to make my people forget who I am 79 through the dreams they tell one another? That is just as bad as what their ancestors 80 did when they forgot who I am by worshiping the god Baal. 81 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! 82 I, the Lord, affirm it! 83 23:29 My message is like a fire that purges dross! 84 It is like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces! 85 I, the Lord, so affirm it! 86 23:30 So I, the Lord, affirm 87 that I am opposed to those prophets who steal messages from one another that they claim are from me. 88 23:31 I, the Lord, affirm 89 that I am opposed to those prophets who are using their own tongues to declare, ‘The Lord declares….’ 90 23:32 I, the Lord, affirm 91 that I am opposed to those prophets who dream up lies and report them. They are misleading my people with their reckless lies. 92 I did not send them. I did not commission them. They are not helping these people at all. 93 I, the Lord, affirm it!” 94
23:33 The Lord said to me, “Jeremiah, 95 when one of these people, or a prophet, or a priest asks you, ‘What burdensome message 96 do you have from the Lord?’ Tell them, ‘You are the burden, 97 and I will cast you away. 98 I, the Lord, affirm it! 99 23:34 I will punish any prophet, priest, or other person who says “The Lord’s message is burdensome.” 100 I will punish both that person and his whole family.’” 101
23:35 So I, Jeremiah, tell you, 102 “Each of you people should say to his friend or his relative, ‘How did the Lord answer? Or what did the Lord say?’ 103 23:36 You must no longer say that the Lord’s message is burdensome. 104 For what is ‘burdensome’ 105 really pertains to what a person himself says. 106 You are misrepresenting 107 the words of our God, the living God, the Lord who rules over all. 108 23:37 Each of you should merely ask the prophet, ‘What answer did the Lord give you? Or what did the Lord say?’ 109 23:38 But just suppose you continue to say, ‘The message of the Lord is burdensome.’ Here is what the Lord says will happen: ‘I sent word to you that you must not say, “The Lord’s message is burdensome.” But you used the words “The Lord’s message is burdensome” anyway. 23:39 So 110 I will carry you far off 111 and throw you away. I will send both you and the city I gave to you and to your ancestors out of my sight. 112 23:40 I will bring on you lasting shame and lasting disgrace which will never be forgotten!’”
Look around and see for yourselves.
Search through its public squares.
See if any of you can find a single person
who deals honestly and tries to be truthful. 116
But even when you punish these people, they feel no remorse. 123
Even when you nearly destroy them, they refuse to be corrected.
They have become as hardheaded as a rock. 124
They refuse to change their ways. 125
They act like fools because they do not know what the Lord demands. 127
They do not know what their God requires of them. 128
and speak with them.
Surely they know what the Lord demands. 130
Surely they know what their God requires of them.” 131
Yet all of them, too, have rejected his authority
and refuse to submit to him. 132
5:6 So like a lion from the thicket their enemies will kill them.
Like a wolf from the desert they will destroy them.
Like a leopard they will lie in wait outside their cities
and totally destroy anyone who ventures out. 133
For they have rebelled so much
and done so many unfaithful things. 134
“How can I leave you unpunished, Jerusalem? 136
Your people 137 have rejected me
and have worshiped gods that are not gods at all. 138
Each of them lusts after 144 his neighbor’s wife.
5:9 I will surely punish them for doing such things!” says the Lord.
“I will surely bring retribution on such a nation as this!” 145
“March through the vineyards of Israel and Judah and ruin them. 147
But do not destroy them completely.
Strip off their branches
for these people do not belong to the Lord. 148
have been very unfaithful to me,”
says the Lord.
They have said, ‘That is not so! 151
No harm will come to us.
We will not experience war and famine. 152
The Lord has not spoken through them. 154
So, let what they say happen to them.’”
I will make the words that I put in your mouth like fire.
And I will make this people like wood
which the fiery judgments you speak will burn up.” 160
I am about to bring a nation from far away to attack you.
It will be a nation that was founded long ago
and has lasted for a long time.
It will be a nation whose language you will not know.
Its people will speak words that you will not be able to understand.
Their arrows will send you to your grave. 165
5:17 They will eat up your crops and your food.
They will kill off 166 your sons and your daughters.
They will eat up your sheep and your cattle.
They will destroy your vines and your fig trees. 167
Their weapons will batter down 168
the fortified cities you trust in.
5:18 Yet even then 169 I will not completely destroy you,” says the Lord. 5:19 “So then, Jeremiah, 170 when your people 171 ask, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all this to us?’ tell them, ‘It is because you rejected me and served foreign gods in your own land. So 172 you must serve foreigners 173 in a land that does not belong to you.’
Make it known throughout Judah.
5:21 Tell them: ‘Hear this,
you foolish people who have no understanding,
who have eyes but do not discern,
who have ears but do not perceive: 176
5:22 “You should fear me!” says the Lord.
“You should tremble in awe before me! 177
I made the sand to be a boundary for the sea,
a permanent barrier that it can never cross.
Its waves may roll, but they can never prevail.
They may roar, but they can never cross beyond that boundary.” 178
5:23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts.
They have turned aside and gone their own way. 179
“Let us revere the Lord our God.
It is he who gives us the autumn rains and the spring rains at the proper time.
It is he who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.” 181
Your sins have deprived you of my bounty.’ 183
5:26 “Indeed, there are wicked scoundrels among my people.
They lie in wait like bird catchers hiding in ambush. 184
They set deadly traps 185 to catch people.
their houses are filled with the gains of their fraud and deceit. 187
That is how they have gotten so rich and powerful. 188
There is no limit to the evil things they do. 191
They do not plead the cause of the fatherless in such a way as to win it.
They do not defend the rights of the poor.
5:29 I will certainly punish them for doing such things!” says the Lord.
“I will certainly bring retribution on such a nation as this! 192
5:30 “Something horrible and shocking
is going on in the land of Judah:
5:31 The prophets prophesy lies.
The priests exercise power by their own authority. 193
And my people love to have it this way.
But they will not be able to help you when the time of judgment comes! 194
33:15 In those days and at that time I will raise up for them a righteous descendant 195 of David.
“‘He will do what is just and right in the land.
1 tn Heb “Oracle of the
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
4 tn Heb “about the shepherds who are shepherding my people. ‘You have caused my sheep….’” For the metaphor see the study note on the previous verse.
5 tn Heb “Therefore, thus says the
6 tn Heb “Oracle of the
7 tn Heb “my sheep.”
8 tn Heb “their fold.”
9 tn Heb “shepherds.”
10 tn There are various nuances of the word פָּקַד (paqad) represented in vv. 2, 4. See Ps 8:4 (8:5 HT) and Zech 10:3 for “care for/take care of” (cf. BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד Qal.A.1.a). See Exod 20:5; Amos 3:2; Jer 9:24; 11:22 for “punish” (cf. BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד Qal.A.3). See 1 Kgs 20:39 and 2 Kgs 10:19 for “be missing” (cf. BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד Niph.1).
sn There is an extended play on the Hebrew word פָּקַד which is a word with rather broad English equivalents. Here the word refers to the fault of the shepherds/rulers who have not “taken care” of the sheep/people (v. 2), the “punishment” for the evil they have done in not taking care of them (v. 2), and the fact that after the
11 tn Heb “Oracle of the
12 tn Heb “Oracle of the
13 tn Heb “Behold the days are coming.”
14 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
15 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).
16 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).
17 tn Heb “In his days [= during the time he rules].”
18 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’).
19 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.
20 tn Heb “his name will be called ‘The
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
21 tn Heb “Oracle of the
22 tn Heb “Behold the days are coming.”
23 tn Heb “descendants of the house of Israel.”
24 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.
25 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.
26 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).
27 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
28 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.
29 tn Heb “wine has passed over him.”
30 tn Heb “wine because of the
sn The way the
32 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.
34 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).
35 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
36 tn Heb “Oracle of the
38 tn Heb “Oracle of the
39 tn The words “The
42 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.
44 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.)
45 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.
46 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
47 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”
sn See the study note on 2:19 for explanation of this title.
48 tn Heb “Therefore, thus says the
49 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.
50 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.
51 sn A word that derives from this same Hebrew word is used in v. 11 at the beginning of the
52 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”
sn See the study note on 2:19 for explanation of this title.
53 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.
54 tn Heb “They tell of a vision of their own heart [= mind] not from the mouth of the
55 tn The translation reflects an emphatic construction where the infinitive absolute follows a participle (cf. GKC 343 §113.r).
56 tc The translation follows the Greek version. The Hebrew text reads, “who reject me, ‘The
58 tn Or “has been the
59 tn The form here is a jussive with a vav of subordination introducing a purpose after a question (cf. GKC 322 §109.f).
60 tc Heb “his word.” In the second instance (“what he has said” at the end of the verse) the translation follows the suggestion of the Masoretes (Qere) and many Hebrew
61 tn Heb “Behold!”
62 tn The syntax of this line has generally been misunderstood, sometimes to the point that some want to delete the word wrath. Both here and in 30:23 where these same words occur the word “anger” stands not as an accusative of attendant circumstance but an apposition, giving the intended referent to the figure. Comparison should be made with Jer 25:15 where “this wrath” is appositional to “the cup of wine” (cf. GKC 425 §131.k).
63 tn The translation is deliberate, intending to reflect the repetition of the Hebrew root which is “swirl/swirling.”
64 tn Heb “until he has done and until he has carried out the purposes of his heart.”
65 tn Heb “in the latter days.” However, as BDB 31 s.v. אַחֲרִית b suggests, the meaning of this idiom must be determined from the context. Sometimes it has remote, even eschatological, reference and other times it has more immediate reference as it does here and in Jer 30:23 where it refers to the coming days of Babylonian conquest and exile.
66 tn The translation is intended to reflect a Hebrew construction where a noun functions as the object of a verb from the same root word (the Hebrew cognate accusative).
67 tn Heb “Yet they ran.”
sn The image is that of a messenger bearing news from the king. See 2 Sam 18:19-24; Jer 51:31; Isa 40:9; 52:7; Hab 2:2 (the tablet/scroll bore the message the runner was to read to the intended recipients of his message). Their message has been given in v. 17 (see notes there for cross references).
69 tn The words “Do you people think” at the beginning of this verse and “Do you really think” at the beginning of the next verse are not in the text but are a way of trying to convey the nature of the rhetorical questions which expect a negative answer. They are also a way of trying to show that the verses are still connected with the preceding discussion addressed to the people (cf. 23:16, 20).
70 tn Heb “Am I a god nearby and not a god far off?” The question is sometimes translated as though there is an alternative being given in v. 23, one that covers both the ideas of immanence and transcendence (i.e., “Am I only a god nearby and not also a god far off?”). However, the hey interrogative (הַ) at the beginning of this verse and the particle (אִם, ’im) at the beginning of the next show that the linkage is between the question in v. 23 and that in v. 24a. According to BDB 210 s.v. הֲ 1.d both questions in this case expect a negative answer.
sn The thought that is expressed here must be viewed against the background of ancient Near Eastern thought where gods were connected with different realms, e.g., Baal, the god of wind, rain, and fertility, Mot, the god of drought, infertility, and death, Yam, the god of the sea and of chaos. Moreover, Baal was worshiped in local manifestations as the Baal of Peor, Baal of Gad, etc. Hence, Baal is sometimes spoken of in the singular and sometimes in the plural. The
71 tn Heb “Oracle of the
72 tn Heb “Oracle of the
73 tn The words “Don’t you know” are not in the text. They are a way of conveying the idea that the question which reads literally “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” expects a positive answer. They follow the pattern used at the beginning of the previous two questions and continue that thought. The words are supplied in the translation for clarity.
74 tn Heb “Oracle of the
75 tn The words, “The
76 sn To have had a dream was not an illegitimate means of receiving divine revelation. God had revealed himself in the past to his servants through dreams (e.g., Jacob [Gen 31:10-11] and Joseph [Gen 37:6, 7, 9]) and God promised to reveal himself through dreams (Num 12:6; Joel 2:28 [3:1 HT]). What was illegitimate was to use the dream to lead people away from the
78 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.
79 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.
81 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.”
82 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).
83 tn Heb “Oracle of the
84 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.
85 tn Heb “Is it not like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” See preceding note.
86 tn Heb “Oracle of the
87 tn Heb “Oracle of the
88 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
89 tn Heb “Oracle of the
90 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
91 tn Heb “Oracle of the
92 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.
93 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.
94 tn Heb “Oracle of the
95 tn The words “The
96 tn The meaning of vv. 33-40 is debated. The translation given here follows the general direction of NRSV and REB rather than that of NIV and the related direction taken by NCV and God’s Word. The meaning of vv. 33-40 are debated because of (1) the ambiguity involved in the word מָשָּׂא (masa’), which can mean either “burden” (as something carried or weighing heavily on a person; see, e.g., Exod 23:5; Num 4:27; 2 Sam 15:33; Ps 38:4) or “oracle” (of doom; see, e. g., Isa 13:1; Nah 1:1); (the translation is debated due to etymological concerns), (2) the ambiguity of the line in v. 36 which has been rendered “For what is ‘burdensome’ really pertains rather to what a person himself says” (Heb “the burden is to the man his word”), and (3) the text in v. 33 of “you are the burden.” Many commentaries see a wordplay on the two words “burden” and “oracle” which are homonyms. However, from the contrasts that are drawn in the passage, it is doubtful whether the nuance of “oracle” ever is in view. The word is always used in the prophets of an oracle of doom or judgment; it is not merely revelation of God which one of the common people would have been uttering (contra NIV). Jeremiah never uses the word in that sense nor does anyone else in the book of Jeremiah.
sn What is in view here is the idea that the people consider Jeremiah’s views of loyalty to God and obedience to the covenant “burdensome.” I.e., what burdensome demands is the
97 tc The translation follows the Latin and Greek versions. The Hebrew text reads “What burden [i.e., burdensome message]?” The syntax of “what message?” is not in itself objectionable; the interrogative can function as an adjective (cf. BDB 552 s.v. מָה 1.a[a]). What is objectionable to virtually all the commentaries and lexicons is the unparalleled use of the accusative particle in front of the interrogative and the noun (see, e.g., BDB 672 s.v. III מָשָּׂא and GKC 365-66 §117.m, n. 3). The emendation only involves the redivision and revocalization of the same consonants: אֶת־מַה־מַשָּׂא (’et-mah-masa’) becomes אַתֶּם הַמָּשָּׂא (’atem hammasa’). This also makes a much more natural connection for the vav consecutive perfect that follows (cf. GKC 334 §112.x and compare Isa 6:7; Judg 13:3).
98 tn The meaning “cast you away” is questioned by some because the word is regularly used of “forsaking” or “abandoning” (see, e.g., Jer 7:29; 12:7; 15:6). However, it is clearly use of “casting down” or “throwing away” in Ezek 29:5; 32:4 and that meaning is virtually assured in v. 39 where the verb is combined with the phrase “from my presence” which is elsewhere used in rejection contexts with verbs like “send away,” “throw out,” or “remove” (see BDB 819 s.v. פָּנֶה II.8.a). This is another example of the bracketing effect of a key word and should be rendered the same in the two passages. Moreover, it fits in nicely with the play on “burden” here.
99 tn Heb “Oracle of the
100 tn Heb “burden of the
101 tn Heb “And the prophet or the priest or the people [common person] who says, ‘The burden of the
102 tn The words “So, I, Jeremiah tell you” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation for clarity to show that it is he who is addressing the people, not the
103 tn This line is sometimes rendered as a description of what the people are doing (cf. NIV). However, repetition with some slight modification referring to the prophet in v. 37 followed by the same kind of prohibition that follows here shows that what is being contrasted is two views toward the
104 tn Heb “burden of the
105 tn Heb “the burden.”
106 tn Heb “The burden is [or will be] to a man his word.” There is a good deal of ambiguity regarding how this line is to be rendered. For the major options and the issues involved W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:651-52 should be consulted. Most of them are excluded by the observation that מַשָּׂא probably does not mean “oracle” anywhere in this passage (see note on v. 33 regarding the use of this word). Hence it does not mean “every man’s word becomes his oracle” as in NIV or “for that ‘burden’ [= oracle] is what he entrusts to the man of his word” (W. McKane, Jeremiah [ICC], 1:600-601). The latter is also ruled out by the fact that the antecedent of “his” on “his word” is clearly the word “man” in front of it. This would be the only case where the phrase “man of his word” occurs. There is also no textual reason for repointing the noun with the article as the noun with the interrogative to read “For how can his word become a burden to anyone?” There are, of course, other options but this is sufficient to show that the translation has been chosen after looking at other alternatives.
108 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”
sn See the study note on 2:19 for the explanation of the significance of this title.
sn As noted in v. 35 the prophet is Jeremiah. The message is directed against the prophet, priest, or common people who have characterized his message as a “burden from the
110 tn The translation of v. 38 and the first part of v. 39 represents the restructuring of a long and complex Hebrew sentence: Heb “But if you say, ‘The burden of the
111 tc The translation follows a few Hebrew
112 tn Heb “throw you and the city that I gave you and your fathers out of my presence.” The English sentences have been broken down to conform to contemporary English style.
113 tn These words are not in the text, but since the words at the end are obviously those of the
114 tn It is not clear who is being addressed here. The verbs are plural so they are not addressed to Jeremiah per se. Since the passage is talking about the people of Jerusalem, it is unlikely they are addressed here except perhaps rhetorically. Some have suggested that the heavenly court is being addressed here as in Job 1:6-8; 2:1-3. It is clear from Jer 23:18, 22; Amos 3:7 that the prophets had access to this heavenly counsel through visions (cf. 1 Kgs 22:19-23), so Jeremiah could have been privy to this speech through that means. Though these are the most likely addressee, it is too presumptuous to supply such an explicit addressee without clearer indication in the text. The translation will just have to run the risk of the probable erroneous assumption by most English readers that the addressee is Jeremiah.
116 tn Heb “who does justice and seeks faithfulness.”
117 tn Heb “squares. If you can find…if there is one person…then I will…”
118 tn Heb “forgive [or pardon] it.”
119 tn Heb “Though they say, ‘As surely as the
120 tc The translation follows many Hebrew
tn Heb “Surely.”
121 tn Heb “they swear falsely.”
122 tn Heb “O
123 tn Commentaries and lexicons debate the meaning of the verb here. The MT is pointed as though from a verb meaning “to writhe in anguish or contrition” (חוּל [khul]; see, e.g., BDB 297 s.v. חוּל 2.c), but some commentaries and lexicons repoint the text as though from a verb meaning “to be sick,” thus “to feel pain” (חָלָה [khalah]; see, e.g., HALOT 304 s.v. חָלָה 3). The former appears more appropriate to the context.
124 tn Heb “They made their faces as hard as a rock.”
125 tn Or “to repent”; Heb “to turn back.”
126 tn Heb “Surely they are poor.” The translation is intended to make clear the explicit contrasts and qualifications drawn in this verse and the next.
127 tn Heb “the way of the
128 tn Heb “the judgment [or ordinance] of their God.”
129 tn Or “people in power”; Heb “the great ones.”
130 tn Heb “the way of the
131 tn Heb “the judgment [or ordinance] of their God.”
133 tn Heb “So a lion from the thicket will kill them. A wolf from the desert will destroy them. A leopard will watch outside their cities. Anyone who goes out from them will be torn in pieces.” However, it is unlikely that, in the context of judgment that Jeremiah has previously been describing, literal lions are meant. The animals are metaphorical for their enemies. Compare Jer 4:7.
134 tn Heb “their rebellions are so many and their unfaithful acts so numerous.”
135 tn These words are not in the text, but are supplied in the translation to make clear who is speaking.
137 tn Heb “your children.”
138 tn Heb “and they have sworn [oaths] by not-gods.”
139 tn Heb “I satisfied them to the full.”
140 tn Heb “they committed adultery.” It is difficult to decide whether literal adultery with other women or spiritual adultery with other gods is meant. The word for adultery is used for both in the book of Jeremiah. For examples of its use for spiritual adultery see 3:8, 9; 9:2. For examples of its use for literal adultery see 7:9; 23:14. The context here could argue for either. The swearing by other gods and the implicit contradiction in their actions in contrast to the expected gratitude for supplying their needs argues for spiritual adultery. However, the reference to prostitution in the next line and the reference to chasing after their neighbor’s wives argues for literal adultery. The translation opts for spiritual adultery because of the contrast implicit in the concessive clause.
141 tn There is a great deal of debate about the meaning of this word. Most of the modern English versions follow the lead of lexicographers who relate this word to a noun meaning “troop” and understand it to mean “they trooped together” (cf. BDB 151 s.v. גָּדַד Hithpo.2 and compare the usage in Mic 5:1 [4:14 HT]). A few of the modern English versions and commentaries follow the reading of the Greek and read a word meaning “they lodged” (reading ִיתְגּוֹרְרוּ [yitggorÿru] from I גּוּר [gur; cf. HALOT 177 s.v. Hithpo. and compare the usage in 1 Kgs 17:20] instead of יִתְגֹּדָדוּ [yitggodadu]). W. L. Holladay (Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 1:180) sees a reference here to the cultic practice of cutting oneself in supplication to pagan gods (cf. BDB 151 s.v. גָּדַד Hithpo.1 and compare the usage in 1 Kgs 18:28). The houses of prostitutes would then be a reference to ritual prostitutes at the pagan shrines. The translation follows BDB and the majority of modern English versions.
142 tn Heb “to a house of a prostitute.”
143 tn The meanings of these two adjectives are uncertain. The translation of the first adjective is based on assuming that the word is a defectively written participle related to the noun “testicle” (a Hiphil participle מַאֲשִׁכִים [ma’ashikhim] from a verb related to אֶשֶׁךְ [’eshekh, “testicle”]; cf. Lev 21:20) and hence “having testicles” (cf. HALOT 1379 s.v. שָׁכָה) instead of the Masoretic form מַשְׁכִּים (mashkim) from a root שָׁכָה (shakhah), which is otherwise unattested in either verbal or nominal forms. The second adjective is best derived from a verb root meaning “to feed” (a Hophal participle מוּזָנִים [muzanim, the Kethib] from a root זוּן [zun; cf. BDB 266 s.v. זוּן] for which there is the cognate noun מָזוֹן [mazon; cf. 2 Chr 11:23]). This is more likely than the derivation from a root יָזַן ([yazan]reading מְיֻזָּנִים [mÿyuzzanim], a Pual participle with the Qere) which is otherwise unattested in verbal or nominal forms and whose meaning is dependent only on a supposed Arabic cognate (cf. HALOT 387 s.v. יָזַן).
144 tn Heb “neighs after.”
145 tn Heb “Should I not punish them…? Should I not bring retribution…?” The rhetorical questions have the force of strong declarations.
146 tn These words to not appear in the Hebrew text but have been added in the translation for the sake of clarity to identify the implied addressee.
147 tn Heb “through her vine rows and destroy.” No object is given but “vines” must be implicit. The word for “vineyards” (or “vine rows”) is a hapax legomenon and its derivation is debated. BDB 1004 s.v. שּׁוּרָה repoints שָׁרוֹתֶיהָ (sharoteha) to שֻׁרוֹתֶיהָ (shuroteha) and relates it to a Mishnaic Hebrew and Palestinian Aramaic word meaning “row.” HALOT 1348 s.v. שּׁוּרָה also repoints to שֻׁרוֹתֶיהָ and relates it to a noun meaning “wall,” preferring to see the reference here to the walled terraces on which the vineyards were planted. The difference in meaning is minimal.
148 tn Heb “for they do not belong to the
149 tn Heb “the house of Israel and the house of Judah.”
150 tn Heb “have denied the
151 tn Or “he will do nothing”; Heb “Not he [or it]!”
152 tn Heb “we will not see the sword and famine.”
153 tn Heb “will be wind.”
sn There is a wordplay on the Hebrew word translated “wind” (רוּחַ, ruakh) which also means “spirit.” The prophets spoke by inspiration of the Spirit of the
154 tc Heb “the word is not in them.” The MT has a highly unusual form here, the Piel perfect with the definite article (הַדִּבֵּר, haddibber). It is undoubtedly best to read with the LXX (Greek version) and one Hebrew
155 tn Heb “Therefore.”
sn Here the emphasis appears to be on the fact that the
157 tn The words, “to me” are not in the text but are implicit in the connection. They are supplied in the translation for clarification.
158 tn Heb “you have spoken.” The text here דַּבֶּרְכֶם (dabberkhem, “you have spoken”) is either a case of a scribal error for דַּבֶּרָם (dabberam, “they have spoken”) or an example of the rapid shift in addressee which is common in Jeremiah.
159 tn Heb “this word.”
160 tn Heb “like wood and it [i.e., the fire I put in your mouth] will consume them.”
161 tn Heb “oracle of the
162 tn Heb “Behold!”
163 tn Heb “house of Israel.”
164 tn Heb “All of them are mighty warriors.”
165 tn Heb “his quiver [is] an open grave.” The order of the lines has been reversed to make the transition from “nation” to “their arrows” easier.
166 tn Heb “eat up.”
167 tn Or “eat up your grapes and figs”; Heb “eat up your vines and your fig trees.”
sn It was typical for an army in time of war in the ancient Near East not only to eat up the crops but to destroy the means of further production.
168 tn Heb “They will beat down with the sword.” The term “sword” is a figure of speech (synecdoche) for military weapons in general. Siege ramps, not swords, beat down city walls; swords kill people, not city walls.
169 tn Heb “in those days.”
170 tn The word, “Jeremiah,” is not in the text but the second person address in the second half of the verse is obviously to him. The word is supplied in the translation here for clarity.
171 tn The MT reads the second masculine plural; this is probably a case of attraction to the second masculine plural pronoun in the preceding line. An alternative would be to understand a shift from speaking first to the people in the first half of the verse and then speaking to Jeremiah in the second half where the verb is second masculine singular. E.g., “When you [people] say, “Why…?” then you, Jeremiah, tell them…”
172 tn Heb “As you left me and…, so you will….” The translation was chosen so as to break up a rather long and complex sentence.
173 sn This is probably a case of deliberate ambiguity (double entendre). The adjective “foreigners” is used for both foreign people (so Jer 30:8; 51:51) and foreign gods (so Jer 2:25; 3:13). See also Jer 16:13 for the idea of having to serve other gods in the lands of exile.
174 sn The verbs are second plural here. Jeremiah, speaking for the
175 tn Heb “in the house of Jacob.”
176 tn Heb “they have eyes but they do not see, they have ears but they do not hear.”
177 tn Heb “Should you not fear me? Should you not tremble in awe before me?” The rhetorical questions expect the answer explicit in the translation.
178 tn Heb “it.” The referent is made explicit to avoid any possible confusion.
179 tn The words, “their own way” are not in the text but are implicit and are supplied in the translation for clarity.
180 tn Heb “say in their hearts.”
181 tn Heb “who keeps for us the weeks appointed for harvest.”
182 tn Heb “have turned these things away.”
183 tn Heb “have withheld the good from you.”
184 tn The meaning of the last three words is uncertain. The pointing and meaning of the Hebrew word rendered “hiding in ambush” is debated. BDB relates the form (כְּשַׁךְ, kÿshakh) to a root שָׁכַךְ (shakhakh), which elsewhere means “decrease, abate” (cf. BDB 1013 s.v. שָׁכַךְ), and notes that this is usually understood as “like the crouching of fowlers,” but they say this meaning is dubious. HALOT 1345 s.v. I שׁוֹר questions the validity of the text and offers three proposals; the second appears to create the least textual modification, i.e., reading כְּשַׂךְ (kesakh, “as in the hiding place of (bird catchers)”; for the word שַׂךְ (sakh) see HALOT 1236 s.v. שׂךְ 4 and compare Lam 2:6 for usage. The versions do not help. The Greek does not translate the first two words of the line. The proposal given in HALOT is accepted with some hesitancy.
185 tn Heb “a destroying thing.”
186 tn The words, “that have been caught” are not in the text but are implicit in the comparison.
188 tn Heb “therefore they have gotten great and rich.”
189 tn These words are not in the text but are supplied in the translation to show that this line is parallel with the preceding.
190 tn The meaning of this word is uncertain. This verb occurs only here. The lexicons generally relate it to the word translated “plate” in Song 5:14 and understand it to mean “smooth, shiny” (so BDB 799 s.v. I עֶשֶׁת) or “fat” (so HALOT 850 s.v. II עֶשֶׁת). The word in Song 5:14 more likely means “smooth” than “plate” (so TEV). So “sleek” is most likely here.
191 tn Heb “they cross over/transgress with respect to matters of evil.”
sn There is a wordplay in the use of this word which has twice been applied in v. 22 to the sea not crossing the boundary set for it by God.
192 tn Heb “Should I not punish…? Should I not bring retribution…?” The rhetorical questions function as emphatic declarations.
sn These words are repeated from 5:9 to give a kind of refrain justifying again the necessity of punishment in the light of such sins.
193 tn Heb “they shall rule at their hands.” Since the word “hand” can be used figuratively for authority or mean “side” and the pronoun “them” can refer to the priests themselves or the prophets, the following translations have also been suggested: “the priests rule under their [the prophets’] directions,” or “the priests rule in league with them [the prophets].” From the rest of the book it would appear that the prophets did not exercise authority over the priests nor did they exercise the same authority over the people that the priests did. Hence it probably mean “by their own hand/power/authority.”
194 tn Heb “But what will you do at its end?” The rhetorical question implies a negative answer: “Nothing!”
195 tn Heb “sprig” or “shoot.”
sn For the meaning of this term and its significance in biblical prophecy see the study note on 23:5.