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Jeremiah 2:28-29

Context

2:28 But where are the gods you made for yourselves?

Let them save you when you are in trouble.

The sad fact is that 1  you have as many gods

as you have towns, Judah.

2:29 “Why do you try to refute me? 2 

All of you have rebelled against me,”

says the Lord.

Jeremiah 4:1-2

Context

4:1 “If you, Israel, want to come back,” says the Lord,

“if you want to come back to me 3 

you must get those disgusting idols 4  out of my sight

and must no longer go astray. 5 

4:2 You must be truthful, honest and upright

when you take an oath saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives!’ 6 

If you do, 7  the nations will pray to be as blessed by him as you are

and will make him the object of their boasting.” 8 

Jeremiah 5:17-18

Context

5:17 They will eat up your crops and your food.

They will kill off 9  your sons and your daughters.

They will eat up your sheep and your cattle.

They will destroy your vines and your fig trees. 10 

Their weapons will batter down 11 

the fortified cities you trust in.

5:18 Yet even then 12  I will not completely destroy you,” says the Lord.

Jeremiah 11:13

Context
11:13 This is in spite of the fact that 13  the people of Judah have as many gods as they have towns 14  and the citizens of Jerusalem have set up as many altars to sacrifice to that disgusting god, Baal, as they have streets in the city!’ 15 

1 tn This is an attempt to render the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki, “for, indeed”) contextually.

2 sn This is still part of the Lord’s case against Israel. See 2:9 for the use of the same Hebrew verb. The Lord here denies their counter claims that they do not deserve to be punished.

3 tn Or “If you, Israel, want to turn [away from your shameful ways (those described in 3:23-25)]…then you must turn back to me.” Or perhaps, “Israel, you must turn back…Yes, you must turn back to me.”

4 tn Heb “disgusting things.”

5 tn Or possibly, “If you get those disgusting idols out of my sight, you will not need to flee.” This is less probable because the normal meaning of the last verb is “to wander,” “ to stray.”

6 tn Heb “If you [= you must, see the translator’s note on the word “do” later in this verse] swear/take an oath, ‘As the Lord lives,’ in truth, justice, and righteousness…”

7 tn 4:1-2a consists of a number of “if” clauses, two of which are formally introduced by the Hebrew particle אִם (’im) while the others are introduced by the conjunction “and,” followed by a conjunction (“and” = “then”) with a perfect in 4:2b which introduces the consequence. The translation “You must…. If you do,” was chosen to avoid a long and complicated sentence.

8 tn Heb “bless themselves in him and make their boasts in him.”

9 tn Heb “eat up.”

10 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.

11 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.

12 tn Heb “in those days.”

13 tn This is again an attempt to render the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) contextually. The nuance is a little hard to establish due to the nature of the rhetoric of the passage which utilizes the figure of apostrophe where the Lord turns from talking about Judah to addressing her directly, probably in condemnatory tones. Something like “the very idea that you should…” might best represent the mood. The כִּי is probably asseverative or intensive (cf. BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.e).

14 sn Cf. Jer 2:28.

15 tn Heb “For [or Indeed] the number of your [sing.] cities are your [sing.] gods, Judah, and the number of the streets of Jerusalem [or perhaps (your) streets, Jerusalem] you [plur.] have set up altars to the shameful thing, altars to sacrifice to Baal.” This passage involves a figure of speech where the speaker turns from describing something about someone to addressing him/her directly (a figure called apostrophe). This figure is not common in contemporary English literature or conversation and translating literally would lead to confusion on the part of some readers. Hence, the translation retains the third person in keeping with the rest of the context. The shift from singular “your cities” to plural “you have set up” is interpreted contextually to refer to a shift in addressing Judah to addressing the citizens of Jerusalem whose streets are being talked about. The appositional clause, “altars to sacrifice to Baal” has been collapsed with the preceding clause to better identify what the shameful thing is and to eliminate a complex construction. The length of this sentence runs contrary to the usual practice of breaking up long complex sentences in Hebrew into shorter equivalent ones in English. However, breaking up this sentence and possibly losing the connecting link with the preceding used to introduce it might lead to misunderstanding.



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