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Jeremiah 50:22-25

Context

50:22 The noise of battle can be heard in the land of Babylonia. 1 

There is the sound of great destruction.

50:23 Babylon hammered the whole world to pieces.

But see how that ‘hammer’ has been broken and shattered! 2 

See what an object of horror

Babylon has become among the nations!

50:24 I set a trap for you, Babylon;

you were caught before you knew it.

You fought against me.

So you were found and captured. 3 

50:25 I have opened up the place where my weapons are stored. 4 

I have brought out the weapons for carrying out my wrath. 5 

For I, the Lord God who rules over all, 6 

have work to carry out in the land of Babylonia. 7 

1 tn The words “of Babylonia” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They have been supplied in the translation to clarify the referent.

sn The verbs in vv. 22-25 are all descriptive of the present, but all of this is really to take place in the future. Hebrew poetry has a way of rendering future actions as though they were already accomplished. The poetry of this section makes it difficult, however, to render the verbs as future, as has been done regularly in the present translation.

2 tn Heb “How broken and shattered is the hammer of all the earth!” The “hammer” is a metaphor for Babylon who was God’s war club to shatter the nations and destroy kingdoms just like Assyria is represented in Isa 10:5 as a rod and a war club. Some readers, however, might not pick up on the metaphor or identify the referent, so the translation has incorporated an identification of the metaphor and the referent within it. “See how” and “See what” are an attempt to capture the nuance of the Hebrew particle אֵיךְ (’ekh) which here expresses an exclamation of satisfaction in a taunt song (cf. BDB 32 s.v. אֵיךְ 2 and compare usage in Isa 14:4, 12; Jer 50:23).

3 tn Heb “You were found [or found out] and captured because you fought against the Lord.” The same causal connection is maintained by the order of the translation but it puts more emphasis on the cause and connects it also more closely with the first half of the verse. The first person is used because the Lord is speaking of himself first in the first person “I set” and then in the third. The first person has been maintained throughout. Though it would be awkward, perhaps one could retain the reference to the Lord by translating, “I, the Lord.”

4 tn Or “I have opened up my armory.”

5 tn Heb “The Lord has opened up his armory and has brought out the weapons of his wrath.” The problem of the Lord referring to himself in the third person (or of the prophet speaking on his behalf) is again raised here and is again resolved by using the first person throughout. The construction “weapons of my wrath” would not convey any meaning to many readers so the significance has been spelled out in the translation.

sn The weapons are the nations which God is bringing from the north against them. Reference has already been made in the study notes that Assyria is the “rod” or “war club” by which God vents his anger against Israel (Isa 10:5-6) and Babylon a hammer or war club with which he shatters the nations (Jer 50:23; 51:20). Now God will use other nations as weapons to execute his wrath against Babylon. For a similar idea see Isa 13:2-5 where reference is made to marshaling the nations against Babylon. Some of the nations that the Lord will marshal against Babylon are named in Jer 51:27-28.

6 tn Heb “the Lord Yahweh of armies.” For an explanation of this rendering and the significance of this title see the study note on 2:19.

7 tn The words “of Babylonia” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They have been supplied in the translation to clarify the referent.

sn The verbs in vv. 22-25 are all descriptive of the present but, all of this is really to take place in the future. Hebrew poetry has a way of rendering future actions as though they were already accomplished. The poetry of this section makes it difficult, however, to render the verbs as future as the present translation has regularly done.



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