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Jeremiah 25:11-14

Context
25:11 This whole area 1  will become a desolate wasteland. These nations will be subject to the king of Babylon for seventy years.’ 2 

25:12 “‘But when the seventy years are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation 3  for their sins. I will make the land of Babylon 4  an everlasting ruin. 5  I, the Lord, affirm it! 6  25:13 I will bring on that land everything that I said I would. I will bring on it everything that is written in this book. I will bring on it everything that Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations. 7  25:14 For many nations and great kings will make slaves of the king of Babylon and his nation 8  too. I will repay them for all they have done!’” 9 

Jeremiah 29:11-14

Context
29:11 For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. 10  ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you 11  a future filled with hope. 12  29:12 When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, 13  I will hear your prayers. 14  29:13 When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, 15  29:14 I will make myself available to you,’ 16  says the Lord. 17  ‘Then I will reverse your plight 18  and will regather you from all the nations and all the places where I have exiled you,’ says the Lord. 19  ‘I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.’

1 tn Heb “All this land.”

2 sn It should be noted that the text says that the nations will be subject to the king of Babylon for seventy years, not that they will lie desolate for seventy years. Though several proposals have been made for dating this period, many ignore this fact. This most likely refers to the period beginning with Nebuchadnezzar’s defeat of Pharaoh Necho at Carchemish in 605 b.c. and the beginning of his rule over Babylon. At this time Babylon became the dominant force in the area and continued to be so until the fall of Babylon in 538 b.c. More particularly Judah became a vassal state (cf. Jer 46:2; 2 Kgs 24:1) in 605 b.c. and was allowed to return to her homeland in 538 when Cyrus issued his edict allowing all the nations exiled by Babylon to return to their homelands. (See 2 Chr 36:21 and Ezra 1:2-4; the application there is made to Judah but the decree of Cyrus was broader.)

3 tn Heb “that nation.”

4 tn Heb “the land of the Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for the use of the term “Chaldeans.”

5 tn Heb “I will visit upon the king of Babylon and upon that nation, oracle of the Lord, their iniquity even upon the land of the Chaldeans and I will make it everlasting ruins.” The sentence has been restructured to avoid ambiguity and to conform the style more to contemporary English.

sn Compare Isa 13:19-22 and Jer 50:39-40.

6 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

7 tn Or “I will bring upon it everything that is to be written in this book. I will bring upon it everything that Jeremiah is going to prophesy concerning all the nations.” The reference to “this book” and “what Jeremiah has prophesied against the nations” raises issues about the editorial process underlying the current form of the book of Jeremiah. As the book now stands there is no earlier reference to any judgments against Babylon or any book (really “scroll”; books were a development of the first or second century a.d.) containing them. A common assumption is that this “book” of judgment refers to the judgments against Babylon and the other nations contained at the end of the book of Jeremiah (46:1–51:58). The Greek version actually inserts the prophecies of 46:151:58 here (but in a different order) and interprets “Which (= What) Jeremiah prophesied concerning all the nations” as a title. It is possible that the Greek version may represent an earlier form of the book. At least two earlier forms of the book are known that date roughly to the period dealt with here (Compare 36:1 with 25:1 and see 36:2, 4 and 36:28, 32). Whether reference here is made to the first or second of these scrolls and whether the Greek version represents either is impossible to determine. It is not inconceivable that the referent here is the prophecies which Jeremiah has already uttered in vv. 8-12 and is about to utter in conjunction with the symbolical act that the Lord commands him to perform (vv. 15-26, 30-38) and that these are proleptic of the latter prophecies which will be given later and will be incorporated in a future book. That is the tenor of the alternate translation. The verb forms involved are capable of either a past/perfect translation or a proleptic/future translation. For the use of the participle (in the alternate translation = Heb “that is to be written”; הַכָּתוּב, hakkatuv) to refer to what is proleptic see GKC 356-57 §116.d, e, and compare usage in Jonah 1:3; 2 Kgs 11:2. For the use of the perfect to refer to a future act (in the alternate translation “is going to prophesy,” נִבָּא, nibba’) see GKC 312 §106.m and compare usage in Judg 1:2. In support of this interpretation is the fact that the first verb in the next verse (Heb “they will be subjected,” עָבְדוּ, ’ovdu) is undoubtedly prophetic [it is followed by a vav consecutive perfect; cf. Isa 5:14]). Reading the text this way has the advantage of situating it within the context of the passage itself which involves prophecies against the nations and against Babylon. Babylon is both the agent of wrath (the cup from which the nations drink, cf. 51:7) and the recipient of it (cf. v. 26). However, this interpretation admittedly does not explain the reference to “this book,” except as a proleptic reference to some future form of the book and there would be clearer ways of expressing this view if that were what was definitely intended.

8 tn Heb “make slaves of them.” The verb form here indicates that the action is as good as done (the Hebrew prophetic perfect). For the use of the verb rendered “makes slaves” see parallel usage in Lev 25:39, 46 (cf. BDB 713 s.v. עָבַד 3).

9 tn Heb “according to their deeds and according to the work of their hands.” The two phrases are synonymous; it would be hard to represent them both in translation without being redundant. The translation attempts to represent them by the qualifier “all” before the first phrase.

10 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

11 tn Heb “I know the plans that I am planning for you, oracle of the Lord, plans of well-being and not for harm to give to you….”

12 tn Or “the future you hope for”; Heb “a future and a hope.” This is a good example of hendiadys where two formally coordinated nouns (adjectives, verbs) convey a single idea where one of the terms functions as a qualifier of the other. For this figure see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 658-72. This example is discussed on p. 661.

13 tn Heb “come and pray to me.” This is an example of verbal hendiadys where two verb formally joined by “and” convey a main concept with the second verb functioning as an adverbial qualifier.

14 tn Or “You will call out to me and come to me in prayer and I will hear your prayers.” The verbs are vav consecutive perfects and can be taken either as unconditional futures or as contingent futures. See GKC 337 §112.kk and 494 §159.g and compare the usage in Gen 44:22 for the use of the vav consecutive perfects in contingent futures. The conditional clause in the middle of 29:13 and the deuteronomic theology reflected in both Deut 30:1-5 and 1 Kgs 8:46-48 suggest that the verbs are continent futures here. For the same demand for wholehearted seeking in these contexts which presuppose exile see especially Deut 30:2, 1 Kgs 8:48.

15 tn Or “If you wholeheartedly seek me”; Heb “You will seek me and find [me] because you will seek me with all your heart.” The translation attempts to reflect the theological nuances of “seeking” and “finding” and the psychological significance of “heart” which refers more to intellectual and volitional concerns in the OT than to emotional ones.

16 tn Heb “I will let myself be found by you.” For this nuance of the verb see BDB 594 s.v. מָצָא Niph.1.f and compare the usage in Isa 65:1; 2 Chr 15:2. The Greek version already noted that nuance when it translated the phrase “I will manifest myself to you.”

17 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

18 tn Heb “restore your fortune.” Alternately, “I will bring you back from exile.” This idiom occurs twenty-six times in the OT and in several cases it is clearly not referring to return from exile but restoration of fortunes (e.g., Job 42:10; Hos 6:11–7:1; Jer 33:11). It is often followed as here by “regather” or “bring back” (e.g., Jer 30:3; Ezek 29:14) so it is often misunderstood as “bringing back the exiles.” The versions (LXX, Vulg., Tg., Pesh.) often translate the idiom as “to go away into captivity,” deriving the noun from שְׁבִי (shÿvi, “captivity”). However, the use of this expression in Old Aramaic documents of Sefire parallels the biblical idiom: “the gods restored the fortunes of the house of my father again” (J. A. Fitzmyer, The Aramaic Inscriptions of Sefire [BibOr], 100-101, 119-20). The idiom means “to turn someone's fortune, bring about change” or “to reestablish as it was” (HALOT 1386 s.v. 3.c). In Ezek 16:53 it is paralleled by the expression “to restore the situation which prevailed earlier.” This amounts to restitutio in integrum, which is applicable to the circumstances surrounding the return of the exiles.

19 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”



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