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Jeremiah 5:3-9

Context

5:3 Lord, I know you look for faithfulness. 1 

But even when you punish these people, they feel no remorse. 2 

Even when you nearly destroy them, they refuse to be corrected.

They have become as hardheaded as a rock. 3 

They refuse to change their ways. 4 

5:4 I thought, “Surely it is only the ignorant poor who act this way. 5 

They act like fools because they do not know what the Lord demands. 6 

They do not know what their God requires of them. 7 

5:5 I will go to the leaders 8 

and speak with them.

Surely they know what the Lord demands. 9 

Surely they know what their God requires of them.” 10 

Yet all of them, too, have rejected his authority

and refuse to submit to him. 11 

5:6 So like a lion from the thicket their enemies will kill them.

Like a wolf from the desert they will destroy them.

Like a leopard they will lie in wait outside their cities

and totally destroy anyone who ventures out. 12 

For they have rebelled so much

and done so many unfaithful things. 13 

5:7 The Lord asked, 14 

“How can I leave you unpunished, Jerusalem? 15 

Your people 16  have rejected me

and have worshiped gods that are not gods at all. 17 

Even though I supplied all their needs, 18  they were like an unfaithful wife to me. 19 

They went flocking 20  to the houses of prostitutes. 21 

5:8 They are like lusty, well-fed 22  stallions.

Each of them lusts after 23  his neighbor’s wife.

5:9 I will surely punish them for doing such things!” says the Lord.

“I will surely bring retribution on such a nation as this!” 24 

Jeremiah 5:29

Context

5:29 I will certainly punish them for doing such things!” says the Lord.

“I will certainly bring retribution on such a nation as this! 25 

1 tn Heb “O Lord, are your eyes not to faithfulness?” The question is rhetorical and expects a positive answer.

2 tn Commentaries and lexicons debate the meaning of the verb here. The MT is pointed as though from a verb meaning “to writhe in anguish or contrition” (חוּל [khul]; see, e.g., BDB 297 s.v. חוּל 2.c), but some commentaries and lexicons repoint the text as though from a verb meaning “to be sick,” thus “to feel pain” (חָלָה [khalah]; see, e.g., HALOT 304 s.v. חָלָה 3). The former appears more appropriate to the context.

3 tn Heb “They made their faces as hard as a rock.”

4 tn Or “to repent”; Heb “to turn back.”

5 tn Heb “Surely they are poor.” The translation is intended to make clear the explicit contrasts and qualifications drawn in this verse and the next.

6 tn Heb “the way of the Lord.”

7 tn Heb “the judgment [or ordinance] of their God.”

8 tn Or “people in power”; Heb “the great ones.”

9 tn Heb “the way of the Lord.”

10 tn Heb “the judgment [or ordinance] of their God.”

11 tn Heb “have broken the yoke and torn off the yoke ropes.” Compare Jer 2:20 and the note there.

12 tn Heb “So a lion from the thicket will kill them. A wolf from the desert will destroy them. A leopard will watch outside their cities. Anyone who goes out from them will be torn in pieces.” However, it is unlikely that, in the context of judgment that Jeremiah has previously been describing, literal lions are meant. The animals are metaphorical for their enemies. Compare Jer 4:7.

13 tn Heb “their rebellions are so many and their unfaithful acts so numerous.”

14 tn These words are not in the text, but are supplied in the translation to make clear who is speaking.

15 tn Heb “How can I forgive [or pardon] you.” The pronoun “you” is second feminine singular, referring to the city. See v. 1.

16 tn Heb “your children.”

17 tn Heb “and they have sworn [oaths] by not-gods.”

18 tn Heb “I satisfied them to the full.”

19 tn Heb “they committed adultery.” It is difficult to decide whether literal adultery with other women or spiritual adultery with other gods is meant. The word for adultery is used for both in the book of Jeremiah. For examples of its use for spiritual adultery see 3:8, 9; 9:2. For examples of its use for literal adultery see 7:9; 23:14. The context here could argue for either. The swearing by other gods and the implicit contradiction in their actions in contrast to the expected gratitude for supplying their needs argues for spiritual adultery. However, the reference to prostitution in the next line and the reference to chasing after their neighbor’s wives argues for literal adultery. The translation opts for spiritual adultery because of the contrast implicit in the concessive clause.

20 tn There is a great deal of debate about the meaning of this word. Most of the modern English versions follow the lead of lexicographers who relate this word to a noun meaning “troop” and understand it to mean “they trooped together” (cf. BDB 151 s.v. גָּדַד Hithpo.2 and compare the usage in Mic 5:1 [4:14 HT]). A few of the modern English versions and commentaries follow the reading of the Greek and read a word meaning “they lodged” (reading ִיתְגּוֹרְרוּ [yitggorÿru] from I גּוּר [gur; cf. HALOT 177 s.v. Hithpo. and compare the usage in 1 Kgs 17:20] instead of יִתְגֹּדָדוּ [yitggodadu]). W. L. Holladay (Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 1:180) sees a reference here to the cultic practice of cutting oneself in supplication to pagan gods (cf. BDB 151 s.v. גָּדַד Hithpo.1 and compare the usage in 1 Kgs 18:28). The houses of prostitutes would then be a reference to ritual prostitutes at the pagan shrines. The translation follows BDB and the majority of modern English versions.

21 tn Heb “to a house of a prostitute.”

sn This could be a reference to cultic temple prostitution connected with the pagan shrines. For allusion to this in the OT, see, e.g., Deut 23:17 and 2 Kgs 23:7.

22 tn The meanings of these two adjectives are uncertain. The translation of the first adjective is based on assuming that the word is a defectively written participle related to the noun “testicle” (a Hiphil participle מַאֲשִׁכִים [maashikhim] from a verb related to אֶשֶׁךְ [’eshekh, “testicle”]; cf. Lev 21:20) and hence “having testicles” (cf. HALOT 1379 s.v. שָׁכָה) instead of the Masoretic form מַשְׁכִּים (mashkim) from a root שָׁכָה (shakhah), which is otherwise unattested in either verbal or nominal forms. The second adjective is best derived from a verb root meaning “to feed” (a Hophal participle מוּזָנִים [muzanim, the Kethib] from a root זוּן [zun; cf. BDB 266 s.v. זוּן] for which there is the cognate noun מָזוֹן [mazon; cf. 2 Chr 11:23]). This is more likely than the derivation from a root יָזַן ([yazan]reading מְיֻזָּנִים [mÿyuzzanim], a Pual participle with the Qere) which is otherwise unattested in verbal or nominal forms and whose meaning is dependent only on a supposed Arabic cognate (cf. HALOT 387 s.v. יָזַן).

23 tn Heb “neighs after.”

24 tn Heb “Should I not punish them…? Should I not bring retribution…?” The rhetorical questions have the force of strong declarations.

25 tn Heb “Should I not punish…? Should I not bring retribution…?” The rhetorical questions function as emphatic declarations.

sn These words are repeated from 5:9 to give a kind of refrain justifying again the necessity of punishment in the light of such sins.



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