34:14 “Every seven years each of you must free any fellow Hebrews who have sold themselves to you. After they have served you for six years, you shall set them free.” 1 But your ancestors did not obey me or pay any attention to me.
34:17 So I, the Lord, say: “You have not really obeyed me and granted freedom to your neighbor and fellow countryman. 2 Therefore, I will grant you freedom, the freedom 3 to die in war, or by starvation or disease. I, the Lord, affirm it! 4 I will make all the kingdoms of the earth horrified at what happens to you. 5
2 tn The Hebrew text has a compound object, the two terms of which have been synonyms in vv. 14, 15. G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, and T. G. Smothers (Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 189) make the interesting observation that these two terms (Heb “brother” and “neighbor”) emphasize the relationships that should have taken precedence over their being viewed as mere slaves.
3 sn This is, of course, a metaphorical and ironical use of the term “to grant freedom to.” It is, however, a typical statement of the concept of talionic justice which is quite often operative in God’s judgments in the OT (cf., e.g., Obad 15).
4 tn Heb “Oracle of the