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Jeremiah 50:4-6

Context

50:4 “When that time comes,” says the Lord, 1 

“the people of Israel and Judah will return to the land together.

They will come back with tears of repentance

as they seek the Lord their God. 2 

50:5 They will ask the way to Zion;

they will turn their faces toward it.

They will come 3  and bind themselves to the Lord

in a lasting covenant that will never be forgotten. 4 

50:6 “My people have been lost sheep.

Their shepherds 5  have allow them to go astray.

They have wandered around in the mountains.

They have roamed from one mountain and hill to another. 6 

They have forgotten their resting place.

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. 7 

Now last of all King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has gnawed their bones. 8 

50:18 So I, the Lord God of Israel who rules over all, say: 9 

‘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 10 

on the hills of Ephraim and the land of Gilead. 11 

50:20 When that time comes,

no guilt will be found in Israel.

No sin will be found in Judah. 12 

For I will forgive those of them I have allowed to survive. 13 

I, the Lord, affirm it!’” 14 

Jeremiah 50:33

Context

50:33 The Lord who rules over all 15  says,

“The people of Israel are oppressed.

So too are the people of Judah. 16 

All those who took them captive are holding them prisoners.

They refuse to set them free.

1 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”

2 tn Heb “and the children of Israel will come, they and the children of Judah together. They shall go, weeping as they go, and they will seek the Lord their God.” The concept of “seeking” the Lord often has to do with seeking the Lord in worship (by sacrifice [Hos 5:6; 2 Chr 11:16]; prayer [Zech 8:21, 22; 2 Sam 12:16; Isa 65:1; 2 Chr 15:4]). In Hos 7:10 it is in parallel with returning to the Lord. In Ps 69:6 it is in parallel with hoping in or trusting in the Lord. Perhaps the most helpful parallels here, however, are Hos 3:5 (in comparison with Jer 30:9) and 2 Chr 15:15 where it is in the context of a covenant commitment to be loyal to the Lord which is similar to the context here (see the next verse). The translation is admittedly paraphrastic but “seeking the Lord” does not mean here looking for God as though he were merely a person to be found.

3 tc The translation here assumes that the Hebrew בֹּאוּ (bou; a Qal imperative masculine plural) should be read בָּאוּ (bau; a Qal perfect third plural). This reading is presupposed by the Greek version of Aquila, the Latin version, and the Targum (see BHS note a, which mistakenly assumes that the form must be imperfect).

4 sn See Jer 32:40 and the study note there for the nature of this lasting agreement.

5 sn The shepherds are the priests, prophets, and leaders who have led Israel into idolatry (2:8).

6 sn The allusion here, if it is not merely a part of the metaphor of the wandering sheep, is to the worship of the false gods on the high hills (2:20, 3:2).

7 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.

8 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.

9 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.

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

11 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.

12 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.

13 sn Compare Jer 31:34 and 33:8.

14 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).

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

16 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.



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