“Oh, the feeling in the pit of my stomach! 2
I writhe in anguish.
Oh, the pain in my heart! 3
My heart pounds within me.
I cannot keep silent.
For I hear the sound of the trumpet; 4
the sound of the battle cry pierces my soul! 5
so that the whole land lies in ruins.
I see our 7 tents suddenly destroyed,
4:21 “How long must I see the enemy’s battle flags
and hear the military signals of their bugles?” 10
1 tn The words “I said” are not in the text. They are used to mark the shift from the
2 tn Heb “My bowels! My bowels!”
3 tn Heb “the walls of my heart!”
4 tn Heb “ram’s horn,” but the modern equivalent is “trumpet” and is more readily understandable.
5 tc The translation reflects a different division of the last two lines than that suggested by the Masoretes. The written text (the Kethib) reads “for the sound of the ram’s horn I have heard [or “you have heard,” if the form is understood as the old second feminine singular perfect] my soul” followed by “the battle cry” in the last line. The translation is based on taking “my soul” with the last line and understanding an elliptical expression “the battle cry [to] my soul.” Such an elliptical expression is in keeping with the elliptical nature of the exclamations at the beginning of the verse (cf. the literal translations of the first two lines of the verse in the notes on the words “stomach” and “heart”).
6 tn The words, “I see” are not in the text here or at the beginning of the third line. They are supplied in the translation to show that this is Jeremiah’s vision of what will happen as a result of the invasion announced in 4:5-9, 11-17a.
7 tn Heb “my.” This is probably not a reference to Jeremiah’s own tents since he foresees the destruction of the whole land. Jeremiah so identifies with the plight of his people that he sees the destruction of their tents as though they were his very own. It would probably lead to confusion to translate literally and it is not uncommon in Hebrew laments for the community or its representative to speak of the community as an “I.” See for example the interchange between first singular and first plural pronouns in Ps 44:4-8.
8 tn Heb “my.”
9 tn It is not altogether clear what Jeremiah intends by the use of this metaphor. In all likelihood he means that the defenses of Israel’s cities and towns have offered no more resistance than nomads’ tents. However, in light of the fact that the word “tent” came to be used generically for a person’s home (cf. 1 Kgs 8:66; 12:16), it is possible that Jeremiah is here referring to the destruction of their homes and the resultant feeling of homelessness and loss of even elementary protection. Given the lack of certainty the present translation is rather literal here.
10 tn Heb “the sound of ram’s horns,” but the modern equivalent is “bugles” and is more readily understandable.