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Jeremiah 44:24-25

Context

44:24 Then Jeremiah spoke to all the people, particularly to all the women. 1  “Listen to what the Lord has to say all you people of Judah who are in Egypt. 44:25 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all says, ‘You women 2  have confirmed by your actions what you vowed with your lips! You said, “We will certainly carry out our vows to sacrifice and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven.” Well, then fulfill your vows! Carry them out!’ 3 

1 tn Heb “and to all the women.” The “and” (ו, vav) is to be explained here according to BDB 252 s.v. וַ 1.a. The focus of the address that follows is on the women. See the translator’s note on the next verse.

2 tn Or “You and your wives.” The text and referent here is uncertain because of the confusing picture that the alternation of pronouns presents in this verse. Three of the main verbs are second feminine plurals and one of them is second masculine plural. All the pronominal suffixes on the nouns are second masculine plurals. The Hebrew text reads: “You [masc. pl.] and your [masc. pl.] wives have spoken [2nd fem. pl.; תְּדַבֵּרְנָה, tÿdabberÿnah] with your [masc. pl.] mouth and you have fulfilled [masc. pl.; מִלֵּאתֶם, milletem] with your [masc. pl.] hands, saying, ‘We [common gender] will certainly carry out….’ Indeed fulfill [2nd fem. pl.; תָּקִימְנָה, taqimnah] your [masc. pl.] vows and indeed carry out [2nd fem. pl.; תַעֲשֶׂינָה, taasenah] your [masc. pl.] vows.” Older commentaries, such as K&D 22:165, explain the feminine verbs as a matter of the women being the principle subject. Most all modern commentaries (e.g., J. A. Thompson, J. Bright, W. L. Holladay, and G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers) follow the reading of the Greek version which reads “you women” (= אַתֵּנָה הַנָּשִּׁים, [’attenah hannashim]) in place of “you and your wives” (אַתֶּם וּנְשֵׁיכֶם, ’attem unÿshekhem) in the Hebrew. None of them, however, explain the use of the 2nd masc. plurals here. This is possibly a case where the masculine forms are used in the place of the feminine due to the dislike of Hebrew to use the feminine plural forms (cf. GKC 459 §144.a and 466 §145.t). This seems all the more probable when 2nd fem. pl. verbs are qualified by nouns with 2nd masc. pl. suffixes. The translation here follows this interpretation of the masc. pl. forms and reads “you women” with the Greek version in place of “you and your wives” and sees the referents throughout as the women.

3 tn Heb “Carry out your vows!”

sn The commands here are, of course, sarcastic and not meant to be taken literally.



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