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Jeremiah 49:17-22

Context

49:17 “Edom will become an object of horror.

All who pass by it will be filled with horror;

they will hiss out their scorn

because of all the disasters that have happened to it. 1 

49:18 Edom will be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah

and the towns that were around them.

No one will live there.

No human being will settle in it,”

says the Lord.

49:19 “A lion coming up from the thick undergrowth along the Jordan 2 

scatters the sheep in the pastureland around it. 3 

So too I will chase the Edomites off their land. 4 

Then I will appoint over it whomever I choose. 5 

For there is no one like me, and there is no one who can call me to account. 6 

There is no 7  ruler 8  who can stand up against me.

49:20 So listen to what I, the Lord, have planned against Edom,

what I intend to do to 9  the people who live in Teman. 10 

Their little ones will be dragged off.

I will completely destroy their land because of what they have done. 11 

49:21 The people of the earth will quake when they hear of their downfall. 12 

Their cries of anguish will be heard all the way to the Gulf of Aqaba. 13 

49:22 Look! Like an eagle with outspread wings,

a nation will soar up and swoop down on Bozrah.

At that time the soldiers of Edom will be as fearful

as a woman in labor.” 14 

1 sn This verse is very similar to Jer 19:8 where the same judgment is pronounced on Jerusalem. For the meaning of some of the terms here (“hiss out their scorn” and “all the disasters that have happened to it”) see the notes on that verse.

2 tn See the study note on Jer 12:5 for the rendering of this term.

3 tn “The pasture-ground on the everflowing river” according to KBL 42 s.v. I אֵיתָן 1. The “everflowing river” refers to the Jordan.

4 tn Heb “Behold, like a lion comes up from the thicket of the Jordan into the pastureland of everflowing water so [reading כֵּן (ken) for כִּי (ki); or “indeed” (reading כִּי as an asseverative particle with J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 719, n. 6)] I will suddenly chase him [Edom] from upon it [the land].” The sentence has been restructured to better conform with contemporary English style and the significance of the simile drawn from the comparison has been spelled out for the sake of clarity. The form אַרְגִּיעָה (’argiah) is functioning here as an adverbial modifier in a verbal hendiadys (cf. GKC 386 §120.g).

5 tn For the use of the interrogative מִי (mi) in the sense of “whoever” and functioning like an adjective see BDB 567 s.v. מִי g and compare the usage in Prov 9:4, 16.

6 tn For the meaning of this verb in the sense of “arraign” or “call before the bar of justice” compare Job 9:19 and see BDB 417 s.v. יָעַד Hiph.

7 tn The interrogative מִי (mi) is rendered “there is no one” in each of the last three occurrences in this verse because it is used in a rhetorical question that expects the answer “no one” or “none” and is according to BDB 566 s.v. מִי f(c) equivalent to a rhetorical negative.

8 tn The word “shepherd” (רֹעֶה, roeh) has been used often in the book of Jeremiah to refer metaphorically to the ruler or leader (cf. BDB 945 s.v. I רָעָה Qal.1.d(2) and compare usage, e.g., in Jer 2:8; 23:1).

9 tn Heb “Therefore listen to the plan of the Lord which he has planned against Edom, and the purposes which he has purposed against…” The first person has again been adopted in the translation to avoid the shift from the first person address in v. 19 to the third person in v. 20, a shift that is common in Hebrew poetry, particularly Hebrew prophecy, but which is not common in contemporary English literature.

10 sn Teman here appears to be a poetic equivalent for Edom, a common figure of speech in Hebrew poetry where the part is put for the whole. “The people of Teman” is thus equivalent to all the people of Edom.

11 tn Heb “They will surely drag them off, namely the young ones of the flock. He will devastate their habitation [or their sheepfold] on account of them.” The figure of the lion among the flock of sheep appears to be carried on here where the people are referred to as a flock and their homeland is referred to as a sheepfold. It is hard, however, to carry the figure over here into the translation, so the figures have been interpreted instead. Both of these last two sentences are introduced by a formula that indicates a strong affirmative oath (i.e., they are introduced by אִם לֹא [’im lo’; cf. BDB 50 s.v. אִם 1.b(2)]). The subject of the verb “they will drag them off” is the indefinite third plural which may be taken as a passive in English (cf. GKC 460 §144.g). The subject of the last line is the Lord which has been rendered in the first person for stylistic reasons (see the translator’s note on the beginning of the verse).

12 tn Heb “The earth will quake when at the sound of their downfall.” However, as in many other places “earth” stands here metonymically for the inhabitants or people of the earth (see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 578-79, and compare usage in 2 Sam 15:23; Ps 66:4).

13 tn Heb “the Red Sea,” of which the Gulf of Aqaba formed the northeastern arm. The land of Edom once reached this far according to 1 Kgs 9:26.

14 sn Compare Jer 48:40-41 for a similar prophecy about Moab. The parallelism here suggests that Bozrah, like Teman in v. 20, is a poetic equivalent for Edom.



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