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Jeremiah 51:23

Context

51:23 I used you to smash shepherds and their flocks.

I used you to smash farmers and their teams of oxen.

I used you to smash governors and leaders.” 1 

Jeremiah 51:28

Context

51:28 Prepare the nations to do battle against her. 2 

Prepare the kings of the Medes.

Prepare their governors and all their leaders. 3 

Prepare all the countries they rule to do battle against her. 4 

Jeremiah 51:57

Context

51:57 “I will make her officials and wise men drunk,

along with her governors, leaders, 5  and warriors.

They will fall asleep forever and never wake up,” 6 

says the King whose name is the Lord who rules over all. 7 

1 tn These two words are Akkadian loan words into Hebrew which often occur in this pairing (cf. Ezek 23:6, 12, 23; Jer 51:23, 28, 57). BDB 688 s.v. סָגָן (sagan) gives “prefect, ruler” as the basic definition for the second term but neither works very well in a modern translation because “prefect” would be unknown to most readers and “ruler” would suggest someone along the lines of a king, which these officials were not. The present translation has chosen “leaders” by default, assuming there is no other term that would be any more appropriate in light of the defects noted in “prefect” and “ruler.”

2 tn See the first translator’s note on 51:27 and compare also 6:4 and the study note there.

3 tn See the translator’s note at 51:23 for the rendering of the terms here.

4 tc The Hebrew text has a confusing switch of possessive pronouns in this verse: “Consecrate the nations against her, the kings of the Medes, her governors and prefects, and all the land of his dominion.” This has led to a number of different resolutions. The LXX (the Greek version) renders the word “kings” as singular and levels all the pronouns to “his,” paraphrasing the final clause and combining it with “king of the Medes” to read “and of all the earth.” The Latin Vulgate levels them all to the third masculine plural, and this is followed by the present translation as well as a number of other modern English versions (NASB, NIV, NRSV, TEV, NCV). The ASV and NJPS understand the feminine to refer to Media, i.e., “her governors and all her prefects” and understand the masculine in the last line to be a distributive singular referring back to the lands each of the governors and prefects ruled over. This is probably correct but since governors and prefects refer to officials appointed over provinces and vassal states it amounts to much the same interpretation that the Latin Vulgate, the present translation, and other modern English versions have given.

5 sn For discussion of the terms “governors” and “leaders” see the note at Jer 51:23.

6 sn See the note at Jer 51:39.

7 tn For the title “Yahweh of armies” see the study note on Jer 2:19.



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