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Jeremiah 3:1-2

Context

3:1 “If a man divorces his wife

and she leaves him and becomes another man’s wife,

he may not take her back again. 1 

Doing that would utterly defile the land. 2 

But you, Israel, have given yourself as a prostitute to many gods. 3 

So what makes you think you can return to me?” 4 

says the Lord.

3:2 “Look up at the hilltops and consider this. 5 

You have had sex with other gods on every one of them. 6 

You waited for those gods like a thief lying in wait in the desert. 7 

You defiled the land by your wicked prostitution to other gods. 8 

1 tn Heb “May he go back to her again?” The question is rhetorical and expects a negative answer.

sn For the legal background for the illustration that is used here see Deut 24:1-4.

2 tn Heb “Would the land not be utterly defiled?” The stative is here rendered actively to connect better with the preceding. The question is rhetorical and expects a positive answer.

3 tn Heb “But you have played the prostitute with many lovers.”

4 tn Heb “Returning to me.” The form is the bare infinitive which the KJV and ASV have interpreted as an imperative “Yet, return to me!” However, it is more likely that a question is intended, expressing surprise in the light of the law alluded to and the facts cited. For the use of the infinitive absolute in the place of a finite verb, cf. GKC 346 §113.ee. For the introduction of a question without a question marker, cf. GKC 473 §150.a.

5 tn Heb “and see.”

6 tn Heb “Where have you not been ravished?” The rhetorical question expects the answer “nowhere,” which suggests she has engaged in the worship of pagan gods on every one of the hilltops.

7 tn Heb “You sat for them [the lovers, i.e., the foreign gods] beside the road like an Arab in the desert.”

8 tn Heb “by your prostitution and your wickedness.” This is probably an example of hendiadys where, when two nouns are joined by “and,” one expresses the main idea and the other qualifies it.



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