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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 

Jeremiah 10:21

Context

10:21 For our leaders 7  are stupid.

They have not sought the Lord’s advice. 8 

So they do not act wisely,

and the people they are responsible for 9  have all been scattered.

Jeremiah 23:1-4

Context
New Leaders over a Regathered Remnant

23:1 The Lord says, 10  “The leaders of my people are sure to be judged. 11  They were supposed to watch over my people like shepherds watch over their sheep. But they are causing my people to be destroyed and scattered. 12  23:2 So the Lord God of Israel has this to say about the leaders who are ruling over his people: “You have caused my people 13  to be dispersed and driven into exile. You have not taken care of them. So I will punish you for the evil that you have done. 14  I, the Lord, affirm it! 15  23:3 Then I myself will regather those of my people 16  who are still alive from all the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their homeland. 17  They will greatly increase in number. 23:4 I will install rulers 18  over them who will care for them. Then they will no longer need to fear or be terrified. None of them will turn up missing. 19  I, the Lord, promise it! 20 

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).

7 tn Heb “the shepherds.”

8 tn Heb “They have not sought the Lord.”

sn The idiom translated sought the Lord’s advice quite commonly refers to inquiring for the Lord’s guidance through a prophet. See for example Exod 18:15; 1 Sam 9:9; 1 Kgs 22:8. It would not exclude consulting the law.

9 tn Heb “all their flock (or “pasturage”).”

sn This verse uses the figure of rulers as shepherds and the people they ruled as sheep. It is a common figure in the Bible. See Ezek 34 for an extended development of this metaphor.

10 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

11 sn Heb This particle once again introduces a judgment speech. The indictment is found in v. 1 and the announcement of judgment in v. 2. This leads into an oracle of deliverance in vv. 3-4. See also the note on the word “judged” in 22:13.

12 tn Heb “Woe to the shepherds who are killing and scattering the sheep of my pasture.” See the study note on 22:13 for the significance of “Sure to be judged” (Heb “Woe”) See the study note for the significance of the metaphor introduced here.

sn Verses 1-4 of ch. 23 are an extended metaphor in which the rulers are compared to shepherds and the people are compared to sheep. This metaphor has already been met with in 10:21 and is found elsewhere in the context of the Lord’s covenant with David (cf. 2 Sam 7:7-8; Ps 78:70-72). The sheep are God’s people and he is the ultimate shepherd who is personally concerned about their care (cf. Pss 23:1; 80:2). He has set rulers over them as his under-shepherds and they are responsible to him for the care of his sheep (see 22:3-4). They have been lax shepherds, allowing the sheep to be scattered and destroyed. So he will punish them. As the true shepherd of Israel he will regather his scattered flock and place new shepherds (rulers) over them. These verses lead to a promise of an ideal ruler set over an Israel which has experienced a new and better Exodus (vv. 6-8). For a more complete development of this metaphor with similar messianic and eschatological implications see Ezek 34. The metaphor has been interpreted in the translation but some of the flavor left in the simile.

13 tn Heb “about the shepherds who are shepherding my people. ‘You have caused my sheep….’” For the metaphor see the study note on the previous verse.

14 tn Heb “Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who should be shepherding my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away and you have not taken care of them. Behold I will visit upon you the evil of your deeds.” “Therefore” announces the judgment which does not come until “Behold.” It is interrupted by the messenger formula and a further indictment. The original has been broken up to conform more to contemporary English style, the metaphors have been interpreted for clarity and the connections between the indictments and the judgments have been carried by “So.”

15 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

16 tn Heb “my sheep.”

17 tn Heb “their fold.”

18 tn Heb “shepherds.”

19 tn There are various nuances of the word פָּקַד (paqad) represented in vv. 2, 4. See Ps 8:4 (8:5 HT) and Zech 10:3 for “care for/take care of” (cf. BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד Qal.A.1.a). See Exod 20:5; Amos 3:2; Jer 9:24; 11:22 for “punish” (cf. BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד Qal.A.3). See 1 Kgs 20:39 and 2 Kgs 10:19 for “be missing” (cf. BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד Niph.1).

sn There is an extended play on the Hebrew word פָּקַד which is a word with rather broad English equivalents. Here the word refers to the fault of the shepherds/rulers who have not “taken care” of the sheep/people (v. 2), the “punishment” for the evil they have done in not taking care of them (v. 2), and the fact that after the Lord assigns new shepherds/rulers over them they will be cared for in such a way that none of them “will turn up missing” (v. 4).

20 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”



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