5:31 The prophets prophesy lies.
The priests exercise power by their own authority. 1
And my people love to have it this way.
But they will not be able to help you when the time of judgment comes! 2
17:11 The person who gathers wealth by unjust means
is like the partridge that broods over eggs but does not hatch them. 3
Before his life is half over he will lose his ill-gotten gains. 4
At the end of his life it will be clear he was a fool.” 5
1 tn Heb “they shall rule at their hands.” Since the word “hand” can be used figuratively for authority or mean “side” and the pronoun “them” can refer to the priests themselves or the prophets, the following translations have also been suggested: “the priests rule under their [the prophets’] directions,” or “the priests rule in league with them [the prophets].” From the rest of the book it would appear that the prophets did not exercise authority over the priests nor did they exercise the same authority over the people that the priests did. Hence it probably mean “by their own hand/power/authority.”
2 tn Heb “But what will you do at its end?” The rhetorical question implies a negative answer: “Nothing!”
3 tn The meaning of this line is somewhat uncertain. The word translated “broods over” occurs only here and Isa 34:15. It is often defined on the basis of an Aramaic cognate which means “to gather” with an extended meaning of “to gather together under her to hatch.” Many commentators go back to a Rabbinic explanation that the partridge steals the eggs of other birds and hatches them out only to see the birds depart when they recognize that she is not the mother. Modern studies question the validity of this zoologically. Moreover, W. L. Holladay contests the validity on the basis of the wording “and she does hatch them” (Heb “bring them to birth”). See W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:498, and see also P. C. Craigie, P. H. Kelley, J. F. Drinkard, Jeremiah 1-25 (WBC), 229. The point of the comparison is that the rich gather their wealth but they do not get to see the fruits of it.
4 tn The Hebrew text merely says “it.” But the antecedent might be ambiguous in English so the reference to wealth gained by unjust means is here reiterated for clarity.
5 tn Heb “he will be [= prove to be] a fool.”