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Jeremiah 50:17-20

Context

50:17 “The people of Israel are like scattered sheep

which lions have chased away.

First the king of Assyria devoured them. 1 

Now last of all King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has gnawed their bones. 2 

50:18 So I, the Lord God of Israel who rules over all, say: 3 

‘I will punish the king of Babylon and his land

just as I punished the king of Assyria.

50:19 But I will restore the flock of Israel to their own pasture.

They will graze on Mount Carmel and the land of Bashan.

They will eat until they are full 4 

on the hills of Ephraim and the land of Gilead. 5 

50:20 When that time comes,

no guilt will be found in Israel.

No sin will be found in Judah. 6 

For I will forgive those of them I have allowed to survive. 7 

I, the Lord, affirm it!’” 8 

Jeremiah 50:33-34

Context

50:33 The Lord who rules over all 9  says,

“The people of Israel are oppressed.

So too are the people of Judah. 10 

All those who took them captive are holding them prisoners.

They refuse to set them free.

50:34 But the one who will rescue them 11  is strong.

He is known as the Lord who rules over all. 12 

He will strongly 13  champion their cause.

As a result 14  he will bring peace and rest to the earth,

but trouble and turmoil 15  to the people who inhabit Babylonia. 16 

1 sn The king of Assyria devoured them. This refers to the devastation wrought on northern Israel by the kings of Assyria beginning in 738 b.c. when Tiglath Pileser took Galilee and the Transjordanian territories and ending with the destruction and exile of the people of Samaria by Sargon in 722 b.c.

2 tn The verb used here only occurs this one time in the Hebrew Bible. It is a denominative from the Hebrew word for “bones” (עֶצֶם, ’etsem). BDB 1126 s.v. עֶָצַם, denom Pi, define it as “break his bones.” HALOT 822 s.v. II עָצַם Pi defines it as “gnaw on his bones.”

sn If the prophecies which are referred to in Jer 51:59-64 refer to all that is contained in Jer 50–51 (as some believe), this would have referred to the disasters of 605 b.c. and 598 b.c. and all the harassment that Israel experienced from Babylon up until the fourth year of Zedekiah (594 b.c.). If on the other hand, the prophecy related there refers to something less than this final form, the destruction of 587/6 b.c. could be referred to as well.

3 tn Heb “Therefore thus says Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.” The first person is again adopted because the Lord is speaking. For this title, “Yahweh of armies,” compare 7:3 and the study note on 2:19.

4 tn Heb “their soul [or hunger/appetite] will be satisfied.”

5 sn The metaphor of Israel as a flock of sheep (v. 17) is continued here. The places named were all in Northern Israel and in the Transjordan, lands that were lost to the Assyrians in the period 738-722 b.c. All of these places were known for their fertility, for their woods and their pastures. The hills (hill country) of Ephraim formed the center of Northern Israel. Mount Carmel lies on the seacoast of the Mediterranean north and west of the hill country of Ephraim. Gilead formed the central part of Transjordan and was used to refer at times to the territory between the Yarmuk and Jabbok Rivers, at times to the territory between the Yarmuk and the Arnon Rivers, and at times for all of Israel in the Transjordan. Bashan refers to the territory north of Gilead.

6 tn Heb “In those days and at that time, oracle of the Lord, the iniquity [or guilt] of Israel will be sought but there will be none and the sins of Judah but they will not be found.” The passive construction “will be sought” raises the question of who is doing the seeking which is not really the main point. The translation has avoided this question by simply referring to the result which is the main point.

7 sn Compare Jer 31:34 and 33:8.

8 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.” In this case it is necessary to place this in the first person because this is already in a quote whose speaker is identified as the Lord (v. 18).

9 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.” For an explanation of this title see the study note on 2:19.

10 tn Heb “Oppressed are the people of Israel and the people of Judah together,” i.e., both the people of Israel and Judah are oppressed. However, neither of these renderings is very poetic. The translation seeks to achieve the same meaning with better poetic expression.

11 sn Heb “their redeemer.” The Hebrew term “redeemer” referred in Israelite family law to the nearest male relative who was responsible for securing the freedom of a relative who had been sold into slavery. For further discussion of this term as well as its metaphorical use to refer to God as the one who frees Israel from bondage in Egypt and from exile in Assyria and Babylonia see the study note on 31:11.

12 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies is his name.” For the rendering of this title see the study note on 2:19.

13 tn Or “he will certainly champion.” The infinitive absolute before the finite verb here is probably functioning to intensify the verb rather than to express the certainty of the action (cf. GKC 333 §112.n and compare usage in Gen 43:3 and 1 Sam 20:6 listed there).

14 tn This appears to be another case where the particle לְמַעַן (lÿmaan) introduces a result rather than giving the purpose or goal. See the translator’s note on 25:7 for a listing of other examples in the book of Jeremiah and also the translator’s note on 27:10.

15 tn Heb “he will bring rest to the earth and will cause unrest to.” The terms “rest” and “unrest” have been doubly translated to give more of the idea underlying these two concepts.

16 tn This translation again reflects the problem often encountered in these prophecies where the Lord appears to be speaking but refers to himself in the third person. It would be possible to translate here using the first person as CEV and NIrV do. However, to sustain that over the whole verse results in a considerably greater degree of paraphrase. The verse could be rendered “But I am strong and I will rescue them. I am the Lord who rules over all. I will champion their cause. And I will bring peace and rest to….”



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