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Jeremiah 44:8-12

Context
44:8 That is what will result from your making me angry by what you are doing. 1  You are making me angry by sacrificing to other gods here in the land of Egypt where you live. You will be destroyed for doing that! You will become an example used in curses 2  and an object of ridicule among all the nations of the earth. 3  44:9 Have you forgotten all the wicked things that have been done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem by your ancestors, by the kings of Judah and their 4  wives, by you and your wives? 44:10 To this day your people 5  have shown no contrition! They have not revered me nor followed the laws and statutes I commanded 6  you and your ancestors.’

44:11 “Because of this, the Lord God of Israel who rules over all says, ‘I am determined to bring disaster on you, 7  even to the point of destroying all the Judeans here. 8  44:12 I will see to it that all the Judean remnant that was determined to go 9  and live in the land of Egypt will be destroyed. Here in the land of Egypt they will fall in battle 10  or perish from starvation. People of every class 11  will die in war or from starvation. They will become an object of horror and ridicule, an example of those who have been cursed and that people use in pronouncing a curse. 12 

1 tn Heb “the works of your hands.” Here the phrase is qualified by the epexegetical לְ (lamed) + infinitive, לְקַטֵּר (lÿqatter, “by sacrificing [to other gods]”). For further discussion on the use of this phrase see the translator’s note on 25:6.

2 tn Heb “a curse.” For the meaning of this phrase see the translator’s note on 24:9 and see the usage in 24:9; 25:18; 26:6; 29:22.

3 tn Verses 7b-8 are all one long, complex sentence governed by the interrogative “Why.” The Hebrew text reads: “Why are you doing great harm to your souls [= “yourselves” (cf. BDB 660 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 4.b[6])] so as to cut off [= destroy] from yourselves man and woman, child and baby [the terms are collective singulars and are to be interpreted as plurals] from the midst of Judah so as not to leave to yourselves a remnant by making me angry with the works of your hands by sacrificing to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have come to live so as to cut off [an example of result rather than purpose after the particle לְמַעַן (lÿmaan; see the translator’s note on 25:7)] yourselves and so that you may become a curse and an object of ridicule among all the nations of the earth.” The sentence has been broken down and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style. An attempt has been made to retain an equivalent for all the subordinations and qualifying phrases.

sn What is being threatened is not the total destruction of a remnant of Judah. Jeremiah recognizes those who have been carried off to Babylon as well as other places as seeds for a new beginning (e.g., 24:5-6; 29:14; 30:3). But he denies here that any of those who have gone to Egypt and are continuing to practice idolatry will be among them. All of them will be cut off (i.e., destroyed) from the midst of Judah so that not a remnant of them will be left.

4 tn Heb “his.” This should not be viewed as a textual error but as a distributive singular use of the suffix, i.e., the wives of each of the kings of Judah (cf. GKC 464 §145.l and compare the usage in Isa 2:8; Hos 4:8).

5 tn Heb “they” but as H. Freedman (Jeremiah [SoBB], 284) notes the third person is used here to include the people just referred to as well as the current addressees. Hence “your people” or “the people of Judah.” It is possible that the third person again reflects the rhetorical distancing that was referred to earlier in 35:16 (see the translator’s note there for explanation) in which case one might translate “you have shown,” and “you have not revered.”

6 tn Heb “to set before.” According to BDB 817 s.v. פָּנֶה II.4.b(g) this refers to “propounding to someone for acceptance or choice.” This is clearly the usage in Deut 30:15, 19; Jer 21:8 and is likely the case here. However, to translate literally would not be good English idiom and “proposed to” might not be correctly understood, so the basic translation of נָתַן (natan) has been used here.

7 tn Heb “Behold I am setting my face against you for evil/disaster.” For the meaning of the idiom “to set the face to/against” see the translator’s note on 42:15 and compare the references listed there.

8 tn Heb “and to destroy all Judah.” However, this statement must be understood within the rhetoric of the passage (see vv. 7-8 and the study note on v. 8) and within the broader context of the Lord’s promises to restore the remnant who are in Babylon and those scattered in other lands (23:3; 24:5-6; 29:14; 30:3; 32:27). In this context “all Judah” must refer to all the Judeans living in Egypt whom Jeremiah is now addressing. This involves the figure of synecdoche where all does not extend to all individuals but to all that are further specified or implied (see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 616-18, and the comments in H. Freedman, Jeremiah [SoBB], 285). The “and” in front of “to destroy” is to be understood as an example of the epexegetical use of the conjunction ו (vav; see BDB 252 s.v. וַ 1.b and compare the translation of J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 260).

9 tn Heb “they set their face to go.” Compare 44:11 and 42:14 and see the translator’s note at 42:15.

10 tn Heb “fall by the sword.”

11 tn Or “All of them without distinction,” or “All of them from the least important to the most important”; Heb “From the least to the greatest.” See the translator’s note on 42:1 for the meaning of this idiom.

12 tn See the study note on 24:9 and the usage in 29:22 for the meaning and significance of this last phrase.

sn See Jer 42:18 for parallel usage.



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