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Jeremiah 33:20-21

Context
33:20 “I, Lord, make the following promise: 1  ‘I have made a covenant with the day 2  and with the night that they will always come at their proper times. Only if you people 3  could break that covenant 33:21 could my covenant with my servant David and my covenant with the Levites ever be broken. So David will by all means always have a descendant to occupy his throne as king and the Levites will by all means always have priests who will minister before me. 4 

1 tn Heb “Thus says the Lord.” However, the Lord is speaking so the first person introduction has again been adopted. The content of the verse shows that it is a promise to David (vv. 21-22) and the Levites based on a contrary to fact condition (v. 20). See further the translator’s note at the end of the next verse for explanation of the English structure adopted here.

2 tn The word יוֹמָם (yomam) is normally an adverb meaning “daytime, by day, daily.” However, here and in v. 25 and in Jer 15:9 it means “day, daytime” (cf. BDB 401 s.v. יוֹמָם 1).

3 tn Heb “you.” The pronoun is plural as in 32:36, 43; 33:10.

4 tn The very complex and elliptical syntax of the original Hebrew of vv. 20-21 has been broken down to better conform with contemporary English style. The text reads somewhat literally (after the addition of a couple of phrases which have been left out by ellipsis): “Thus says the Lord, ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night so that there is not to be daytime and night in their proper time then also my covenant can be broken with my servant David so that there is not to him a son reigning upon his throne [and also my covenant can be broken] with the Levites [so there are not] priests who minister to me.” The two phrases in brackets are elliptical, the first serving double duty for the prepositional phrase “with the Levites” as well as “with David” and the second serving double duty with the noun “priests” which parallels “a son.” The noun “priests” is not serving here as appositional because that phrase is always “the priests, the Levites,” never “the Levites, the priests.”

sn This refers to a reaffirmation of the Davidic covenant (cf., e.g., 2 Sam 7:11-16, 25-29; Ps 89:3-4, 19-29) and God’s covenant with the Levites (cf. Num 25:10-13; Mal 2:4-6; Deut 32:8-11).



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