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Jeremiah 7:18-19

Context
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. 1  They are also pouring out drink offerings to other gods. They seem to do all this just 2  to trouble me. 7:19 But I am not really the one being troubled!” 3  says the Lord. “Rather they are bringing trouble on themselves to their own shame! 4 

1 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.

2 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.

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

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



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