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Jeremiah 27:2-4

Context
27:2 The Lord told me, 1  “Make a yoke 2  out of leather straps and wooden crossbars and put it on your neck. 27:3 Use it to send messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, 3  and Sidon. 4  Send them through 5  the envoys who have come to Jerusalem 6  to King Zedekiah of Judah. 27:4 Charge them to give their masters a message from me. Tell them, ‘The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 7  says to give your masters this message. 8 

1 tn There is some disjunction in the narrative of this chapter. The introduction in v. 1 presents this as a third person narrative. But the rest of the passage reports the narrative in first person. Thus the text reads here “Thus the Lord said to me…” In vv. 12, 16 the narrative picks up in first person report and never indicates that Jeremiah carried out the command in vv. 2-4 that introduces the message which he repeats in summary form himself to Zedekiah. The report is thus an “unedited” first person report. This may create some confusion for some readers, but it is best to leave it in first person here because of the continuation in vv. 12, 16.

2 sn The yoke is a common biblical symbol of political servitude (see, e.g., Deut 28:48; 1 Kgs 12:4, 9, 10). From the context of 1 Kgs 12 it is clear that it applied to taxation and the provision of conscript labor. In international political contexts it involved the payment of heavy tribute which was often conscripted from the citizens (see, e.g., 2 Kgs 15:19-20; 23:34-35) and the furnishing of military contingents for the sovereign’s armies (see, e.g., 2 Kgs 24:2). Jeremiah’s message here combines both a symbolic action (the wearing of a yoke) and words of explanation as in Jer 19:1-13. (See Isa 20:1-6 for an example outside of Jeremiah.) The casting off of the yoke has been used earlier in Jer 2:20, 5:5 to refer to Israel’s failure to remain spiritually “subject” or faithful to God.

3 map For location see Map1 A2; Map2 G2; Map4 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

4 sn The nations of Edom, Moab, and Ammon were east of Judah. They were sometimes allies and sometimes enemies. The nations of Tyre and Sidon were on the sea coast north and west of Judah. They are best known for their maritime trade during the reign of Solomon. They were more commonly allies of Israel and Judah than enemies.

map For the location of Sidon see Map1 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

5 tn Heb “send by means of them” [i.e., the straps and crossbars made into a yoke] to…through.” The text is broken up in conformity with contemporary English style. Many English versions ignore the suffix on the end of “send” and find some support for this on the basis of its absence in the Lucianic Greek text. However, it is probably functioning metonymically here for the message which they see symbolized before them and is now explained clearly to them.

6 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

7 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.”

sn See study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for the significance of this title.

8 tn Heb “Give them a charge to their masters saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel, “Thus you shall say unto your masters…”’” The sentence is broken up in conformity with contemporary English style.



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