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Jeremiah 49:9-10


49:9 If grape pickers came to pick your grapes,

would they not leave a few grapes behind? 1 

If robbers came at night,

would they not pillage only what they needed? 2 

49:10 But I will strip everything away from Esau’s descendants.

I will uncover their hiding places so they cannot hide.

Their children, relatives, and neighbors will all be destroyed.

Not one of them will be left!

1 tn The translation of this verse is generally based on the parallels in Obad 5. There the second line has a ה interrogative in front of it. The question can still be assumed because questions can be asked in Hebrew without a formal marker (cf. GKC 473 §150.a and BDB 519 s.v. לֹא 1.a[e] and compare usage in 2 Kgs 5:26).

2 tn The tense and nuance of the verb translated “pillage” are both different than the verb in Obad 5. There the verb is the imperfect of גָּנַב (ganav, “to steal”). Here the verb is the perfect of a verb which means to “ruin” or “spoil.” The English versions and commentaries, however, almost all render the verb here in much the same way as in Obad 5. The nuance must mean they only “ruin, destroy” (by stealing) only as much as they need (Heb “their sufficiency”), and the verb is used as metonymical substitute, effect for cause. The perfect must be some kind of a future perfect; “would they not have destroyed only…” The negative question is carried over by ellipsis from the preceding lines.

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