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
5 tn Heb “For this is what the
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.”