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Jeremiah 4:29-31

Context

4:29 At the sound of the approaching horsemen and archers

the people of every town will flee.

Some of them will hide in the thickets.

Others will climb up among the rocks.

All the cities will be deserted.

No one will remain in them.

4:30 And you, Zion, city doomed to destruction, 1 

you accomplish nothing 2  by wearing a beautiful dress, 3 

decking yourself out in jewels of gold,

and putting on eye shadow! 4 

You are making yourself beautiful for nothing.

Your lovers spurn you.

They want to kill you. 5 

4:31 In fact, 6  I hear a cry like that of a woman in labor,

a cry of anguish like that of a woman giving birth to her first baby.

It is the cry of Daughter Zion 7  gasping for breath,

reaching out for help, 8  saying, “I am done in! 9 

My life is ebbing away before these murderers!”

1 tn Heb “And you that are doomed to destruction.” The referent is supplied from the following context and the fact that Zion/Jerusalem represents the leadership which was continually making overtures to foreign nations for help.

2 tn Heb “What are you accomplishing…?” The rhetorical question assumes a negative answer, made clear by the translation in the indicative.

3 tn Heb “clothing yourself in scarlet.”

4 tn Heb “enlarging your eyes with antimony.” Antimony was a black powder used by women as eyeliner to make their eyes look larger.

5 tn Heb “they seek your life.”

6 tn The particle כִּי (ki) is more likely asseverative here than causal.

7 sn Jerusalem is personified as a helpless maiden.

8 tn Heb “spreading out her hands.” The idea of asking or pleading for help is implicit in the figure.

9 tn Heb “Woe, now to me!” See the translator’s note on 4:13 for the usage of “Woe to…”



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