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Jeremiah 48:32

Context

48:32 I will weep for the grapevines of Sibmah

just like the town of Jazer weeps over them. 1 

Their branches once spread as far as the Dead Sea. 2 

They reached as far as the town of Jazer. 3 

The destroyer will ravage

her fig, date, 4  and grape crops.

1 tc Or “I will weep for the grapevines of Sibmah more than I will weep over the town of Jazer.” The translation here assumes that there has been a graphic confusion of מ (mem) with כְּ (kaf) or בְּ (bet). The parallel passage in Isa 16:9 has the preposition בְּ and the Greek version presupposes a comparative idea “as with.” Many of the modern English versions render the passage with the comparative מִן (min) as in the alternate translation, but it is unclear what the force of the comparison would be here. The verse is actually in the second person, an apostrophe or direct address to the grapevine(s) of Sibmah. However, the translation has retained the third person throughout because such sudden shifts in person are uncommon in contemporary English literature and retaining the third person is smoother. The Hebrew text reads: “From/With the weeping of Jazer I will weep for you, vine of Sibmah. Your tendrils crossed over the sea. They reached unto the sea of Jazer. Upon your summer fruit and your vintage [grape harvest] the destroyer has fallen.”

2 tn Heb “crossed over to the Sea.”

3 tn Or “reached the sea of Jazer.” The Sea is generally taken to be a reference to the Dead Sea. The translation presupposes that the word “sea” is to be omitted before “Jazer.” The word is missing from two Hebrew mss, from the parallel passage in Isa 16:8, and from the Greek version. It may have arisen from a mistaken copying of the same word in the preceding line.

sn Though there is some doubt about the precise location of these places, Sibmah is generally considered to have been located slightly north and west of Heshbon and Jazer further north toward the border of Ammon not far from the city of Amman. Most commentators see the reference here (and in the parallel in Isa 16:8) to the spread of viticulture westward and northward from the vineyards of Sibmah. G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, and T. G. Smothers (Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 318-19), however, see the reference rather to the spread of trade in wine westward beyond the coast of the Mediterranean and eastward into the desert.

4 tn Heb “her summer fruit.” See the translator’s note on 40:10 for the rendering here. According to BDB 657 s.v. נָפַל Qal.4.a, the verb means to “fall upon” or “attack” but in the context it is probably metonymical for attack and destroy.



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