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Jeremiah 4:23-28

Context

4:23 “I looked at the land and saw 1  that it was an empty wasteland. 2 

I looked up at the sky, and its light had vanished.

4:24 I looked at the mountains and saw that they were shaking.

All the hills were swaying back and forth!

4:25 I looked and saw that there were no more people, 3 

and that all the birds in the sky had flown away.

4:26 I looked and saw that the fruitful land had become a desert

and that all of the cities had been laid in ruins.

The Lord had brought this all about

because of his blazing anger. 4 

4:27 All this will happen because the Lord said, 5 

“The whole land will be desolate;

however, I will not completely destroy it.

4:28 Because of this the land will mourn

and the sky above will grow black. 6 

For I have made my purpose known 7 

and I will not relent or turn back from carrying it out.” 8 

1 tn Heb “I looked at the land and behold...” This indicates the visionary character of Jeremiah’s description of the future condition of the land of Israel.

2 tn Heb “formless and empty.” This is a case of hendiadys (two nouns joined by “and” both describe the same thing): one noun retains its full nominal force, the other functions as an adjective. The words תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ (tohu vavohu) allude to Gen 1:2, hyperbolically picturing a reversal of creation and return to the original precreation chaos.

3 tn Heb “there was no man/human being.”

4 tn Heb “because of the Lord, because of his blazing anger.”

5 tn Heb “For this is what the Lord said,”

6 sn The earth and the heavens are personified here and depicted in the act of mourning and wearing black clothes because of the destruction of the land of Israel.

7 tn Heb “has spoken and purposed.” This is an example of hendiadys where two verbs are joined by “and” but one is meant to serve as a modifier of the other.

8 tn Heb “will not turn back from it.”



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