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Jeremiah 31:22-23

Context

31:22 How long will you vacillate, 1 

you who were once like an unfaithful daughter? 2 

For I, the Lord, promise 3  to bring about something new 4  on the earth,

something as unique as a woman protecting a man!’” 5 

Judah Will Be Restored

31:23 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 6  says,

“I will restore the people of Judah to their land and to their towns.

When I do, they will again say 7  of Jerusalem, 8 

‘May the Lord bless you, you holy mountain,

the place where righteousness dwells.’ 9 

1 tn The translation “dilly-dally” is suggested by J. Bright, Jeremiah (AB), 276. The verb occurs only here in this stem (the Hitpael) and only one other time in any other stem (the Qal in Song 5:6). The dictionaries define it as “to turn this way and that” (cf., e.g., BDB 330 s.v. חָמַק Hithp.). In the context it refers to turning this way and that looking for the way back.

2 sn Israel’s backsliding is forgotten and forgiven. They had once been characterized as an apostate people (3:14, 22; the word “apostate” and “unfaithful” are the same in Hebrew) and figuratively depicted as an adulterous wife (3:20). Now they are viewed as having responded to his invitation (compare 31:18-19 with 3:22-25). Hence they are no longer depicted as an unfaithful daughter but as an unsullied virgin (see the literal translation of “my dear children” in vv. 4, 21 and the study note on v. 4.)

3 tn Heb “For the Lord will create.” The person has been shifted to avoid the possible confusion for some readers of a third person reference to the Lord in what has otherwise been a first person address. The verb “will create” is another one of the many examples of the prophetic perfect that have been seen in the book of Jeremiah. For the significance of the verb “create” here see the study note on “bring about something new.”

4 sn Heb “create.” This word is always used with God as the subject and refers to the production of something new or unique, like the creation of the world and the first man and woman (Gen 1:1; 2:3; 1:27; 5:1) or the creation of a new heavens and a new earth in a new age (Isa 65:17), or the bringing about of new and unique circumstances (Num 16:30). Here reference is made contextually to the new exodus, that marvelous deliverance which will be so great that the old will pale in comparison (see the first note on v. 9).

5 tn The meaning of this last line is uncertain. The translation has taken it as proverbial for something new and unique. For a fairly complete discussion of most of the options see C. Feinberg, “Jeremiah,” EBC 6:571. For the nuance of “protecting” for the verb here see BDB 686 s.v. סָבַב Po‘ 1 and compare the usage in Deut 32:10.

6 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.” See 7:3 and the study note of 2:19 for the rendering of this title and an explanation of its significance.

7 tn Heb “They [i.e., people (the indefinite plural, GKC 460 §144.g)] will again say in the land of Judah and in its cities when I restore their fortunes.” For the meaning of the idiom “to restore the fortunes” see the translator’s note on 29:14.

8 tn The words “of Jerusalem” are not in the text but it is implicit in the titles that follow. They have been supplied in the translation for clarity to aid in identifying the referent.

map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

9 sn The blessing pronounced on the city of Zion/Jerusalem by the restored exiles looks at the restoration of its once exalted state as the city known for its sanctity and its just dealing (see Isa 1:21 and Ps 122). This was a reversal of the state of Jerusalem in the time of Isaiah and Jeremiah where wickedness not righteousness characterized the inhabitants of the city (cf. Isa 1:21; Jer 4:14; 5:1; 13:27). The blessing here presupposes the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem and the temple which gave the city its sanctity.



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