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Jeremiah 50:28-29

Context

50:28 Listen! Fugitives and refugees are coming from the land of Babylon.

They are coming to Zion to declare there

how the Lord our God is getting revenge,

getting revenge for what they have done to his temple. 1 

50:29 “Call for archers 2  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, 3 

the Holy One of Israel. 4 

1 tn Heb “Hark! Fugitives and refugees from the land of Babylon to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, vengeance for his temple.” For the meaning “Hark!” for the noun קוֹל (qol) see BDB 877 s.v. קוֹל 1.f and compare the usage in Jer 10:22. The syntax is elliptical because there is no main verb. The present translation has supplied the verb “come” as many other English versions have done. The translation also expands the genitival expression “vengeance for his temple” to explain what all the commentaries agree is involved.

sn This verse appears to be a parenthetical exclamation of the prophet in the midst of his report of what the Lord said through him. He throws himself into the future and sees the fall of Babylon and hears the people reporting in Zion how God has destroyed Babylon to get revenge for the Babylonians destroying his temple. Jeremiah prophesied from 627 b.c. (see the study note on 1:2) until sometime after 586 b.c. after Jerusalem fell and he was taken to Egypt. The fall of Babylon occurred in 538 b.c. some fifty years later. However, Jeremiah had prophesied as early as the first year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign (605 b.c.; Jer 25:1) that many nations and great kings would come and subject Babylon, the instrument of God’s wrath – his sword against the nations – to bondage (Jer 25:12-14).

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.



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