47:3 Fathers will hear the hoofbeats of the enemies’ horses,
the clatter of their chariots and the rumbling of their wheels.
They will not turn back to save their children
because they will be paralyzed with fear. 1
Destructive forces will come against all the foreign troops within her; 3
they will be as frightened as women! 4
Destructive forces will come against her treasures;
they will be taken away as plunder!
I used you to smash chariots and their drivers.
1 tn Heb “From the noise of the stamping of the hoofs of his stallions, from the rattling of his chariots at the rumbling of their wheels, fathers will not turn to their children from sinking of hands.” According to BDB 952 s.v. רִפָּיוֹן the “sinking of the hands” is figurative of helplessness caused by terror. A very similar figure is seen with a related expression in Isa 35:3-4. The sentence has been restructured to put the subject up front and to suggest through shorter sentences more in keeping with contemporary English style the same causal connections. The figures have been interpreted for the sake of clarity for the average reader.
2 tn Hebrew has “his” in both cases here whereas the rest of the possessive pronouns throughout vv. 35-37 are “her.” There is no explanation for this switch unless the third masculine singular refers as a distributive singular to the soldiers mentioned in the preceding verse (cf. GKC 464 §145.l). This is probably the case here, but to refer to “their horses and their chariots” in the midst of all the “her…” might create more confusion than what it is worth to be that pedantic.
3 tn Or “in the country,” or “in her armies”; Heb “in her midst.”
4 tn Heb “A sword against his horses and his chariots and against all the mixed company [or mixed multitude] in her midst and they will become like women.” The sentence had to be split up because it is too long and the continuation of the second half with its consequential statement would not fit together with the first half very well. Hence the subject and verb have been repeated. The Hebrew word translated “foreign troops” (עֶרֶב, ’erev) is the same word that is used in 25:20 to refer to the foreign peoples living in Egypt and in Exod 12:38 for the foreign people that accompanied Israel out of Egypt. Here the word is translated contextually to refer to foreign mercenaries, an identification that most of the commentaries and many of the modern English versions accept (see, e.g., J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 355; NRSV; NIV). The significance of the simile “they will become like women” has been spelled out for the sake of clarity.
5 tn Heb “horse and its rider.” However, the terms are meant as generic or collective singulars (cf. GKC 395 §123.b) and are thus translated by the plural. The same thing is true of all the terms in vv. 21-23b. The terms in vv. 20c-d, 23c are plural.