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Jeremiah 4:22

Context

4:22 The Lord answered, 1 

“This will happen 2  because my people are foolish.

They do not know me.

They are like children who have no sense. 3 

They have no understanding.

They are skilled at doing evil.

They do not know how to do good.”

Jeremiah 13:23

Context

13:23 But there is little hope for you ever doing good,

you who are so accustomed to doing evil.

Can an Ethiopian 4  change the color of his skin?

Can a leopard remove its spots? 5 

1 tn These words are not in the text but are supplied in the translation to show clearly the shift in speaker. Jeremiah has been speaking; now the Lord answers, giving the reason for the devastation Jeremiah foresees.

2 tn Heb “For….” This gives the explanation for the destruction envisaged in 4:20 to which Jeremiah responds in 4:19, 21.

3 tn Heb “They are senseless children.”

4 tn This is a common proverb in English coming from this biblical passage. For cultures where it is not proverbial perhaps it would be better to translate “Can black people change the color of their skin?” Strictly speaking these are “Cushites” inhabitants of a region along the upper Nile south of Egypt. The Greek text is responsible for the identification with Ethiopia. The term in Greek is actually a epithet = “burnt face.”

5 tn Heb “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? [Then] you also will be able to do good who are accustomed to do evil.” The English sentence has been restructured and rephrased in an attempt to produce some of the same rhetorical force the Hebrew original has in this context.



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