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Jeremiah 50:23-24

Context

50:23 Babylon hammered the whole world to pieces.

But see how that ‘hammer’ has been broken and shattered! 1 

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. 2 

1 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).

2 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.”



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