4:31 In fact, 1 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 2 gasping for breath,
reaching out for help, 3 saying, “I am done in! 4
My life is ebbing away before these murderers!”
6:24 The people cry out, 5 “We have heard reports about them!
We have become helpless with fear! 6
Anguish grips us,
agony like that of a woman giving birth to a baby!
1 tn The particle כִּי (ki) is more likely asseverative here than causal.
2 sn Jerusalem is personified as a helpless maiden.
3 tn Heb “spreading out her hands.” The idea of asking or pleading for help is implicit in the figure.
4 tn Heb “Woe, now to me!” See the translator’s note on 4:13 for the usage of “Woe to…”
5 tn These words are not in the text, but, from the context, someone other than God is speaking and is speaking for and to the people (either Jeremiah or the people themselves). These words are supplied in the translation for clarity.
6 tn Or “We have lost our strength to do battle”; Heb “Our hands hang limp [or helpless at our sides].” According to BDB 951 s.v. רָפָה Qal.2, this idiom is used figuratively for losing heart or energy. The best example of its figurative use of loss of strength or the feeling of helplessness is in Ezek 21:12 where it appears in the context of the heart (courage) melting, the spirit sinking, and the knees becoming like water. For other examples compare 2 Sam 4:1; Zeph 3:16. In Neh 6:9 it is used literally of the builders “dropping their hands from the work” out of fear. The words “with fear” are supplied in the translation because they are implicit in the context.