2:14 “Israel is not a slave, is he?
He was not born into slavery, was he? 1
If not, why then is he being carried off?
2:31 You people of this generation,
listen to what the Lord says.
“Have I been like a wilderness to you, Israel?
Have I been like a dark and dangerous land to you? 2
We will not come to you any more?’
continually turn away from me in apostasy?
They hold fast to their deception. 6
They refuse to turn back to me. 7
throughout the length and breadth of the land. 10
They are crying, ‘Is the Lord no longer in Zion?
Is her divine King 11 no longer there?’”
The Lord answers, 12
“Why then do they provoke me to anger with their images,
with their worthless foreign idols?” 13
There is still a physician there! 15
Why then have my dear people 16
not been restored to health? 17
12:1 Lord, you have always been fair
whenever I have complained to you. 18
However, I would like to speak with you about the disposition of justice. 19
Why are wicked people successful? 20
Why do all dishonest people have such easy lives?
‘Why have these things happened to me?
Why have I been treated like a disgraced adulteress
whose skirt has been torn off and her limbs exposed?’ 22
It is because you have sinned so much. 23
14:19 Then I said,
“Lord, 24 have you completely rejected the nation of Judah?
Do you despise 25 the city of Zion?
Why have you struck us with such force
that we are beyond recovery? 26
We hope for peace, but nothing good has come of it.
We hope for a time of relief from our troubles, but experience terror. 27
1 tn Heb “Is Israel a slave? Or is he a house born slave?” The questions are rhetorical, expecting a negative answer.
2 tn Heb “a land of the darkness of Yah [= thick or deep darkness].” The idea of danger is an added connotation of the word in this context.
3 tn Heb “my people.”
4 tn Or more freely, “free to do as we please.” There is some debate about the meaning of this verb (רוּד, rud) because its usage is rare and its meaning is debated in the few passages where it does occur. The key to its meaning may rest in the emended text (reading וְרַדְתִּי [vÿradti] for וְיָרַדְתִּי [vÿyaradti]) in Judg 11:37 where it refers to the roaming of Jephthah’s daughter on the mountains of Israel.
5 tc The text is quite commonly emended, changing שׁוֹבְבָה הָעָם (shovÿvah ha’am) to שׁוֹבָב הָעָם (shovav ha’am) and omitting יְרוּשָׁלַםִ (yÿrushalaim); this is due to the anomaly of a feminine singular verb with a masculine singular subject and the fact that the word “Jerusalem” is absent from one Hebrew
6 tn Or “to their allegiance to false gods,” or “to their false professions of loyalty”; Heb “to deceit.” Either “to their mistaken beliefs” or “to their allegiance to false gods” would fit the preceding context. The former is more comprehensive than the latter and was chosen for that reason.
7 sn There is a continuing play on the same root word used in the preceding verse. Here the words “turn away from me,” “apostasy,” and “turn back to me” are all forms from the root that was translated “go the wrong way” and “turn around” in v. 4. The intended effect is to contrast Judah’s recalcitrant apostasy with the usual tendency to try and correct one’s mistakes.
9 tn Heb “Behold the voice of the crying of the daughter of my people.”
11 tn Heb “her King” but this might be misunderstood by some to refer to the Davidic ruler even with the capitalization.
12 tn The words, “The
13 sn The people’s cry and the
14 tn Heb “balm.” The more familiar “ointment” has been used in the translation, supplemented with the adjective “medicinal.”
sn This medicinal ointment (Heb “balm”) consisted of the gum or resin from a tree that grows in Egypt and Palestine and was thought to have medicinal value (see also Jer 46:11).
15 tn Heb “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?” In this context the questions are rhetorical and expect a positive answer, which is made explicit in the translation.
sn The prophet means by this metaphor that there are still means available for healing the spiritual ills of his people, mainly repentance, obedience to the law, and sole allegiance to God, and still people available who will apply this medicine to them, namely prophets like himself.
17 tn Or more clearly, “restored to spiritual health”; Heb “Why then has healing not come to my dear people?”
sn Jeremiah is lamenting that though there is a remedy available for the recovery of his people they have not availed themselves of it.
18 tn Or “
19 tn Heb “judgments” or “matters of justice.” For the nuance of “complain to,” “fair,” “disposition of justice” assumed here, see BDB 936 s.v. רִיב Qal.4 (cf. Judg 21:22); BDB 843 s.v. צַדִּיק 1.d (cf. Ps 7:12; 11:7); BDB 1049 s.v. מִשְׁפָּט 1.f (cf. Isa 26:8; Ps 10:5; Ezek 7:27).
20 tn Heb “Why does the way [= course of life] of the wicked prosper?”
21 tn Heb “say in your heart.”
22 tn Heb “Your skirt has been uncovered and your heels have been treated with violence.” This is the generally accepted interpretation of these phrases. See, e.g., BDB 784 s.v. עָקֵב a and HALOT 329 s.v. I חָמַס Nif. The significance of the actions here are part of the metaphor (i.e., personification) of Jerusalem as an adulteress having left her husband and have been explained in the translation for the sake of readers unfamiliar with the metaphor.
23 tn The translation has been restructured to break up a long sentence involving a conditional clause and an elliptical consequential clause. It has also been restructured to define more clearly what “these things” are. The Hebrew text reads: “And if you say, ‘Why have these things happened to me?’ Because of the greatness of your iniquity your skirts [= what your skirt covers] have been uncovered and your heels have been treated with violence.”
24 tn The words, “Then I said, ‘
25 tn Heb “does your soul despise.” Here as in many places the word “soul” stands as part for whole for the person himself emphasizing emotional and volitional aspects of the person. However, in contemporary English one does not regularly speak of the “soul” in contexts such as this but of the person.
sn There is probably a subtle allusion to the curses called down on the nation for failure to keep their covenant with God. The word used here is somewhat rare (גָּעַל, ga’al). It is used of Israel’s rejection of God’s stipulations and of God’s response to their rejection of him and his stipulations in Lev 26:11, 15, 30, 43-44. That the allusion is intended is probable when account is taken of the last line of v. 21.
26 tn Heb “Why have you struck us and there is no healing for us.” The statement involves poetic exaggeration (hyperbole) for rhetorical effect.
27 tn Heb “[We hope] for a time of healing but behold terror.”
sn The last two lines of this verse are repeated word for word from 8:15. There they are spoken by the people.