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Jeremiah 31:36-37

Context

31:36 The Lord affirms, 1  “The descendants of Israel will not

cease forever to be a nation in my sight.

That could only happen if the fixed ordering of the heavenly lights

were to cease to operate before me.” 2 

31:37 The Lord says, “I will not reject all the descendants of Israel

because of all that they have done. 3 

That could only happen if the heavens above could be measured

or the foundations of the earth below could all be explored,” 4 

says the Lord. 5 

1 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

2 tn Heb “‘If these fixed orderings were to fail to be present before me,’ oracle of the Lord, ‘then the seed of Israel could cease from being a nation before me forever (or more literally, “all the days”).’” The sentence has been broken up to conform more to modern style. The connection has been maintained by reversing the order of condition and consequence and still retaining the condition in the second clause. For the meaning of “cease to operate” for the verb מוּשׁ (mush) compare the usage in Isa 54:10; Ps 55:11 (55:12 HT); Prov 17:13 where what is usually applied to persons or things is applied to abstract things like this (see HALOT 506 s.v. II מוּשׁ Qal for general usage).

3 sn This answers Jeremiah’s question in 14:19.

4 tn Heb “If the heavens above could be measured or the foundations of the earth below be explored, then also I could reject all the seed of Israel for all they have done.”

5 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”



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