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Jeremiah 7:16-20

Context

7:16 Then the Lord said, 1  “As for you, Jeremiah, 2  do not pray for these people! Do not cry out to me or petition me on their behalf! Do not plead with me to save them, 3  because I will not listen to you. 7:17 Do you see 4  what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 5  7:18 Children are gathering firewood, fathers are building fires with it, and women are mixing dough to bake cakes to offer to the goddess they call the Queen of Heaven. 6  They are also pouring out drink offerings to other gods. They seem to do all this just 7  to trouble me. 7:19 But I am not really the one being troubled!” 8  says the Lord. “Rather they are bringing trouble on themselves to their own shame! 9  7:20 So,” the Lord God 10  says, “my raging fury will be poured out on this land. 11  It will be poured out on human beings and animals, on trees and crops. 12  And it will burn like a fire which cannot be extinguished.”

1 tn The words “Then the Lord said” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation for clarity.

2 tn Heb “As for you.” The personal name Jeremiah is supplied in the translation for clarity.

3 tn The words “to save them” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

4 tn Or “Just look at…” The question is rhetorical and expects a positive answer.

5 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

6 tn The form for “queen” is unusual. It is pointed (מְלֶכֶת [mÿlekhet] instead of מַלְכַּת [malkat]) as though the Masoretes wanted to read the word for “work” (מְלֶאכֶת [mÿlekhet]), i.e., the “hosts of,” a word that several Hebrew mss read and an understanding the LXX reflects. The other ancient and modern versions generally, however, accept it as a biform for the word “queen.”

sn The Queen of Heaven is probably a reference to the goddess known as Ishtar in Mesopotamia, Anat in Canaan, Ashtoreth in Israel. She was the goddess of love and fertility. For further discussion, see G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 (WBC), 266-68.

7 tn Heb “to provoke me.” There is debate among grammarians and lexicographers about the nuance of the Hebrew particle לְמַעַן (lÿmaan). Some say it always denotes purpose, while others say it may denote either purpose or result, depending on the context. For example, BDB 775 s.v. לְמַעַן note 1 says that it always denotes purpose, never result, but that sometimes what is really a result is represented ironically as though it were a purpose. That explanation fits nicely here in the light of the context of the next verse. The translation is intended to reflect some of that ironic sarcasm.

8 tn Heb “Is it I whom they provoke?” The rhetorical question expects a negative answer which is made explicit in the translation.

9 tn Heb “Is it not themselves to their own shame?” The rhetorical question expects a positive answer which is made explicit in the translation.

10 tn Heb “Lord Yahweh.” The translation follows the ancient Jewish tradition of substituting the Hebrew word for God for the proper name Yahweh.

11 tn Heb “this place.” Some see this as a reference to the temple but the context has been talking about what goes on in the towns of Judah and Jerusalem and the words that follow, meant as a further explanation, are applied to the whole land.

12 tn Heb “the trees of/in the field and the fruit of/in the ground.”



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