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Jeremiah 2:8

Context

2:8 Your priests 1  did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’ 2 

Those responsible for teaching my law 3  did not really know me. 4 

Your rulers rebelled against me.

Your prophets prophesied in the name of the god Baal. 5 

They all worshiped idols that could not help them. 6 

1 tn Heb “The priests…the ones who grasp my law…the shepherds…the prophets…they…”

2 sn See the study note on 2:6.

3 tn Heb “those who handle my law.”

sn The reference is likely to the priests and Levites who were responsible for teaching the law (so Jer 18:18; cf. Deut 33:10). According to Jer 8:8 it could possibly refer to the scribes who copied the law.

4 tn Or “were not committed to me.” The Hebrew verb rendered “know” refers to more than mere intellectual knowledge. It carries also the ideas of emotional and volitional commitment as well intimacy. See for example its use in contexts like Hos 4:1; 6:6.

5 tn Heb “by Baal.”

6 tn Heb “and they followed after those things [the word is plural] which do not profit.” The poetic structure of the verse, four lines in which a distinct subject appears at the beginning followed by a fifth line beginning with a prepositional phrase and no distinct subject, argues that this line is climactic and refers to all four classes enumerated in the preceding lines. See W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:88-89. There may be a play or pun in the Hebrew text on the name for the god Baal (בַּעַל, baal) and the verb “cannot help you” (Heb “do not profit”) which is spelled יַעַל (yaal).



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