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Jeremiah 49:3

Context

49:3 Wail, you people in Heshbon, because Ai in Ammon is destroyed.

Cry out in anguish, you people in the villages surrounding 1  Rabbah.

Put on sackcloth and cry out in mourning.

Run about covered with gashes. 2 

For your god Milcom will go into exile

along with his priests and officials. 3 

1 tn Or “you women of Rabbah”; Heb “daughters of Rabbah.” It is difficult to tell whether the word “daughters” is used here in the same sense that it has in v. 2 (see the translator’s note there) or in the literal sense of “daughters.” The former has been preferred because the cities themselves (e.g., Heshbon) are called to wail in the earlier part of the verse and the term “daughters” has been used in the previous verse of the surrounding villages.

2 tc Or “Run back and forth inside the walls of your towns.” Or “slash yourselves with gashes.” The meaning of this line is uncertain. The Hebrew text reads “run back and forth among the walls.” The word “run back and forth” is generally taken as a Hitpolel of a verb that means to “go about” in the Qal and to “go back and forth” in the Polel (cf. BDB 1002 s.v. I שׁוּט). The noun that follows in the Hebrew means “wall, hedge” and is quite commonly modified by the noun צֹאן (tson, “sheep”) referring to sheepfolds (cf., e.g., Num 32:36; 1 Sam 24:3). But the phrase “run back and forth among the sheepfolds” yields little meaning here. In Ps 89:40 (89:41 HT) the word “wall” is used in parallelism with fortified cities and refers to the walls of the city. That is the sense that is assumed in one of the alternate translations with the words “of your towns” being supplied in the translation for clarification. However, that figure is a little odd in a context which speaks of mourning rites. Hence, some emend the word “walls” (גְּדֵרוֹת, gÿderot) to “gashes” (גְּדֻדוֹת, gÿdudot), a word that has occurred in a similar context in Jer 48:37. That would involve only the common confusion of ר and ד. That is the reading adopted here and fits the context nicely. NRSV appears to go one step further and read the verb as a Hitpolel from a root that is otherwise used only as a noun to mean “whip” or “scourge.” NRSV reads “slash yourselves with whips” which also makes excellent sense in the context but is not supported by any parallel use of the verb.

3 sn Compare Jer 48:7 and the study note there.



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