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Jeremiah 50:26-27

Context

50:26 Come from far away and attack Babylonia! 1 

Open up the places where she stores her grain!

Pile her up in ruins! 2  Destroy her completely! 3 

Do not leave anyone alive! 4 

50:27 Kill all her soldiers! 5 

Let them be slaughtered! 6 

They are doomed, 7  for their day of reckoning 8  has come,

the time for them to be punished.”

Jeremiah 50:29-35

Context

50:29 “Call for archers 9  to come against Babylon!

Summon against her all who draw the bow!

Set up camp all around the city!

Do not allow anyone to escape!

Pay her back for what she has done.

Do to her what she has done to others.

For she has proudly defied me, 10 

the Holy One of Israel. 11 

50:30 So her young men will fall in her city squares.

All her soldiers will be destroyed at that time,”

says the Lord. 12 

50:31 “Listen! I am opposed to you, you proud city,” 13 

says the Lord God who rules over all. 14 

“Indeed, 15  your day of reckoning 16  has come,

the time when I will punish you. 17 

50:32 You will stumble and fall, you proud city;

no one will help you get up.

I will set fire to your towns;

it will burn up everything that surrounds you.” 18 

50:33 The Lord who rules over all 19  says,

“The people of Israel are oppressed.

So too are the people of Judah. 20 

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 21  is strong.

He is known as the Lord who rules over all. 22 

He will strongly 23  champion their cause.

As a result 24  he will bring peace and rest to the earth,

but trouble and turmoil 25  to the people who inhabit Babylonia. 26 

50:35 “Destructive forces will come against the Babylonians,” 27  says the Lord. 28 

“They will come against the people who inhabit Babylonia,

against her leaders and her men of wisdom.

1 tn Heb “Come against her from the end.” There is a great deal of debate about the meaning of “from the end” (מִקֵּץ, miqqets). Some follow the suggestion of F. Giesebrecht in BDB 892 s.v. קָצֶה 3 and emend the text to מִקָּצֶה (miqqatseh) on the basis of the presumed parallel in Jer 51:31 which is interpreted as “on all sides,” i.e., “from every quarter/side.” However, the phrase does not mean that in Jer 51:31 but is used as it is elsewhere of “from one end to another,” i.e., in its entirety (so Gen 19:4). The only real parallel here is the use of the noun קֵץ (qets) with a suffix in Isa 37:24 referring to the remotest part, hence something like from the end (of the earth), i.e., from a far away place. The referent “her” has been clarified here to refer to Babylonia in case someone might not see the connection between v. 25d and v. 26.

2 tn Heb “Pile her up like heaps.” Many commentators understand the comparison to be to heaps of grain (compare usage of עֲרֵמָה (’aremah) in Hag 2:16; Neh 13:15; Ruth 3:7). However, BDB 790 s.v. עֲרֵמָה is more likely correct that this refers to heaps of ruins (compare the usage in Neh 4:2 [3:34 HT]).

3 sn Compare Jer 50:21 and see the study note on 25:9.

4 tn Heb “Do not let there be to her a remnant.” According to BDB 984 s.v. שְׁאֵרִית this refers to the last remnant of people, i.e., there won’t be any survivors. Compare the usage in Jer 11:23.

5 tn Heb “Kill all her young bulls.” Commentators are almost universally agreed that the reference to “young bulls” is figurative here for the princes and warriors (cf. BDB 831 s.v. פַּר 2.f, which compares Isa 34:7 and Ezek 39:18). This is virtually certain because of the reference to the time coming for them to be punished; this would scarcely fit literal bulls. For the verb rendered “kill” here see the translator’s note on v. 21.

6 tn Heb “Let them go down to the slaughter.”

7 tn Or “How terrible it will be for them”; Heb “Woe to them.” See the study note on 22:13 and compare the usage in 23:1; 48:1.

8 tn The words “of reckoning” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

9 tn For this word see BDB 914 s.v. III רַב and compare usage in Prov 26:10 and Job 16:12 and compare the usage of the verb in Gen 49:23. Based on this evidence, it is not necessary to emend the form to רֹבִים (rovim) as many commentators contend.

10 tn Heb “for she has acted insolently against the Lord.” Once again there is the problem of the Lord speaking about himself in the third person (or the prophet dropping his identification with the Lord). As in several other places the present translation, along with several other modern English versions (TEV, CEV, NIrV), has substituted the first person to maintain consistency with the context.

11 sn The Holy One of Israel is a common title for the Lord in the book of Isaiah. It is applied to the Lord only here and in 51:5 in the book of Jeremiah. It is a figure where an attribute of a person is put as a title of a person (compare “your majesty” for a king). It pictures the Lord as the sovereign king who rules over his covenant people and exercises moral authority over them.

12 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

13 tn Heb “Behold, I am against you, proud one.” The word “city” is not in the text but it is generally agreed that the word is being used as a personification of the city which had “proudly defied” the Lord (v. 29). The word “city” is supplied in the translation for clarity.

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

15 tn The particle כִּי (ki) is probably asseverative here (so J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 739, n. 13, and cf. BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.e for other examples). This has been a common use of this particle in the book of Jeremiah.

16 tn The words “of reckoning” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

17 sn Compare v. 27.

18 tn Heb “And the proud one will fall and there will be no one to help him up. I will start a fire in his towns and it will consume all that surround him.” The personification continues but now the stance is indirect (third person) rather than direct (second person). It is easier for the modern reader who is not accustomed to such sudden shifts if the second person is maintained. The personification of the city (or nation) as masculine is a little unusual; normally cities and nations are personified as feminine, as daughters or mothers.

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

20 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.

21 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.

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

23 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).

24 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.

25 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.

26 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….”

27 tn Heb “the Chaldeans.” For explanation of the rendering see the study note on 21:4. There is no verb in this clause. Therefore it is difficult to determine whether this should be understood as a command or as a prediction. The presence of vav (ו) consecutive perfects after a similar construction in vv. 36b, d, 37c, 38a and the imperfects after “therefore” (לָכֵן, lakhen) all suggest the predictive or future nuance. However, the vav consecutive perfect could be used to carry on the nuance of command (cf. GKC 333 §112.q) but not in the sense of purpose as NRSV, NJPS render them.

sn Heb “A sword against the Chaldeans.” The “sword” here is metaphorical for destructive forces in the persons of the armies of the north (vv. 3, 9) which the Lord is marshaling against Babylon and which he has addressed by way of command several times (e.g., vv. 14, 21, 26-27, 29). Compare 46:14 and the study note there.

28 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”



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