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Jeremiah 30:6-7

Context

30:6 Ask yourselves this and consider it carefully: 1 

Have you ever seen a man give birth to a baby?

Why then do I see all these strong men

grabbing their stomachs in pain like 2  a woman giving birth?

And why do their faces

turn so deathly pale?

30:7 Alas, what a terrible time of trouble it is! 3 

There has never been any like it.

It is a time of trouble for the descendants of Jacob,

but some of them will be rescued out of it. 4 

1 tn Heb “Ask and see/consider.”

2 tn Heb “with their hands on their loins.” The word rendered “loins” refers to the area between the ribs and the thighs.

3 tn Heb “Alas [or Woe] for that day will be great.” For the use of the particle “Alas” to signal a time of terrible trouble, even to sound the death knell for someone, see the translator’s note on 22:13.

sn The reference to a terrible time of trouble (Heb “that day”) is a common shorthand reference in the prophets to “the Day of the Lord.” The “Day of the Lord” refers to a time when God intervenes in judgment against the wicked. The time referent can be either near or far, referring to something as near as the Assyrian threat in the time of Ahaz (Isa 7:18, 20, 21, 23) or as distant as the eschatological battle of God against Gog when he attacks Israel (Ezek 38:14, 18). The judgment can be against Israel’s enemies and result in Israel’s deliverance (Jer 50:30-34). At other times as here the Day of the Lord involves judgment on Israel itself. Here reference is to the judgment that the northern kingdom, Israel, has already experienced (cf., e.g., Jer 3:8) and which the southern kingdom, Judah, is in the process of experiencing and which Jeremiah has lamented over several times and even described in hyperbolic and apocalyptic terms in Jer 4:19-31.

4 tn Heb “It is a time of trouble for Jacob but he will be saved out of it.”

sn Jacob here is figurative for the people descended from him. Moreover the figure moves from Jacob = descendants of Jacob to only a part of those descendants. Not all of his descendants who have experienced and are now experiencing trouble will be saved. Only a remnant (i.e., the good figs, cf., e.g., Jer 23:3; 31:7) will see the good things that the Lord has in store for them (Jer 24:5-6). The bad figs will suffer destruction through war, starvation, and disease (cf., e.g., Jer 24:8-10 among many other references).



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