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Jeremiah 48:3-5

Context

48:3 Cries of anguish will arise in Horonaim,

‘Oh, the ruin and great destruction!’

48:4 “Moab will be crushed.

Her children will cry out in distress. 1 

48:5 Indeed they will climb the slopes of Luhith,

weeping continually as they go. 2 

For on the road down to Horonaim

they will hear the cries of distress over the destruction. 3 

1 tc The reading here follows the Qere צְעִירֶיהָ (tsÿireha) which is the same noun found in Jer 14:3 in the sense of “servants.” Here it refers to the young ones, i.e., the children (cf. the use of the adjective BDB 859 s.v. I צָעִיר 2 and see Gen 43:33). Many of the modern commentaries and a few of the modern English versions follow the Greek version and read “their cry is heard as far as Zoar” (reading צֹעֲרָה, tsoarah; see, for example, J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 699, n. 4, and BDB 858 s.v. צֹעַר). However, that leaves the verb with an indefinite subject (the verb is active 3rd plural not passive) not otherwise identified in the preceding context. Many of the modern English versions such as NRSV, NJPS, NIV retain the Hebrew as the present translation has done. In this case the masculine plural noun furnishes a logical subject for the verb.

2 tn Or “Indeed her fugitives will…” It is unclear what the subject of the verbs are in this verse. The verb in the first two lines “climb” (יַעֲלֶה, yaaleh) is third masculine singular and the verb in the second two lines “will hear” (שָׁמֵעוּ, shameu) is third common plural. The causal particles at the beginning of the two halves of the verse suggest some connection with the preceding, so the translation assumes that the children are still the subject. In this case the singular verb would be a case of the distributive singular already referred to in the translator’s note on 46:15. The parallel passage in Isa 15:5 refers to the “fugitives” (בְּרִיחֶהָ, bÿrikheha) with the same singular verb as here and that may be the implied subject here.

sn The location of Luhith and Horonaim are uncertain, though, from their connection with Zoar in Isa 15:5, they appear to be located in southern Moab. Zoar was at the southern tip of the Dead Sea.

3 tn Heb “the distresses of the cry of destruction.” Many commentaries want to leave out the word “distresses” because it is missing from the Greek version and the parallel passage in Isa 15:5. However, it is in all the Hebrew mss and in the other early versions, and it is hard to see why it would be added here if it were not original.



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