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Jeremiah 7:1-34

Context
Faulty Religion and Unethical Behavior Will Lead to Judgment

7:1 The Lord said to Jeremiah: 1  7:2 “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s temple and proclaim 2  this message: ‘Listen, all you people of Judah who have passed through these gates to worship the Lord. 3  Hear what the Lord has to say. 7:3 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 4  says: Change the way you have been living and do what is right. 5  If you do, I will allow you to continue to live in this land. 6  7:4 Stop putting your confidence in the false belief that says, 7  “We are safe! 8  The temple of the Lord is here! The temple of the Lord is here! The temple of the Lord is here!” 9  7:5 You must change 10  the way you have been living and do what is right. You must treat one another fairly. 11  7:6 Stop oppressing foreigners who live in your land, children who have lost their fathers, and women who have lost their husbands. 12  Stop killing innocent people 13  in this land. Stop paying allegiance to 14  other gods. That will only bring about your ruin. 15  7:7 If you stop doing these things, 16  I will allow you to continue to live in this land 17  which I gave to your ancestors as a lasting possession. 18 

7:8 “‘But just look at you! 19  You are putting your confidence in a false belief 20  that will not deliver you. 21  7:9 You steal. 22  You murder. You commit adultery. You lie when you swear on oath. You sacrifice to the god Baal. You pay allegiance to 23  other gods whom you have not previously known. 7:10 Then you come and stand in my presence in this temple I have claimed as my own 24  and say, “We are safe!” You think you are so safe that you go on doing all those hateful sins! 25  7:11 Do you think this temple I have claimed as my own 26  is to be a hideout for robbers? 27  You had better take note! 28  I have seen for myself what you have done! says the Lord. 7:12 So, go to the place in Shiloh where I allowed myself to be worshiped 29  in the early days. See what I did to it 30  because of the wicked things my people Israel did. 7:13 You also have done all these things, says the Lord, and I have spoken to you over and over again. 31  But you have not listened! You have refused to respond when I called you to repent! 32  7:14 So I will destroy this temple which I have claimed as my own, 33  this temple that you are trusting to protect you. I will destroy this place that I gave to you and your ancestors, 34  just like I destroyed Shiloh. 35  7:15 And I will drive you out of my sight just like I drove out your relatives, the people of Israel.’” 36 

7:16 Then the Lord said, 37  “As for you, Jeremiah, 38  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, 39  because I will not listen to you. 7:17 Do you see 40  what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 41  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. 42  They are also pouring out drink offerings to other gods. They seem to do all this just 43  to trouble me. 7:19 But I am not really the one being troubled!” 44  says the Lord. “Rather they are bringing trouble on themselves to their own shame! 45  7:20 So,” the Lord God 46  says, “my raging fury will be poured out on this land. 47  It will be poured out on human beings and animals, on trees and crops. 48  And it will burn like a fire which cannot be extinguished.”

7:21 The Lord said to the people of Judah, 49  “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 50  says: ‘You might as well go ahead and add the meat of your burnt offerings to that of the other sacrifices and eat it, too! 51  7:22 Consider this: 52  When I spoke to your ancestors after I brought them out of Egypt, I did not merely give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices. 7:23 I also explicitly commanded them: 53  “Obey me. If you do, I 54  will be your God and you will be my people. Live exactly the way I tell you 55  and things will go well with you.” 7:24 But they did not listen to me or pay any attention to me. They followed the stubborn inclinations of their own wicked hearts. They acted worse and worse instead of better. 56  7:25 From the time your ancestors departed the land of Egypt until now, 57  I sent my servants the prophets to you again and again, 58  day after day. 59  7:26 But your ancestors 60  did not listen to me nor pay attention to me. They became obstinate 61  and were more wicked than even their own forefathers.’”

7:27 Then the Lord said to me, 62  “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you. When you call out to them, they will not respond to you. 7:28 So tell them: ‘This is a nation that has not obeyed the Lord their God and has not accepted correction. Faithfulness is nowhere to be found in it. These people do not even profess it anymore. 63  7:29 So, mourn, 64  you people of this nation. 65  Cut off your hair and throw it away. Sing a song of mourning on the hilltops. For the Lord has decided to reject 66  and forsake this generation that has provoked his wrath!’” 67 

7:30 The Lord says, “I have rejected them because 68  the people of Judah have done what I consider evil. 69  They have set up their disgusting idols in the temple 70  which I have claimed for my own 71  and have defiled it. 7:31 They have also built places of worship 72  in a place called Topheth 73  in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that they can sacrifice their sons and daughters by fire. That is something I never commanded them to do! Indeed, it never even entered my mind to command such a thing! 74  7:32 So, watch out!” 75  says the Lord. “The time will soon come when people will no longer call those places Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom. But they will call that valley 76  the Valley of Slaughter and they will bury so many people in Topheth they will run out of room. 77  7:33 Then the dead bodies of these people will be left on the ground for the birds and wild animals to eat. 78  There will not be any survivors to scare them away. 7:34 I will put an end to the sounds of joy and gladness, or the glad celebration of brides and grooms throughout the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. For the whole land will become a desolate wasteland.”

Jeremiah 11:1-23

Context
The People Have Violated Their Covenant with God

11:1 The Lord said to Jeremiah: 79  11:2 “Hear 80  the terms of the covenant 81  I made with Israel 82  and pass them on 83  to the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. 84  11:3 Tell them that the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘Anyone who does not keep the terms of the covenant will be under a curse. 85  11:4 Those are the terms that I charged your ancestors 86  to keep 87  when I brought them out of Egypt, that place which was like an iron-smelting furnace. 88  I said at that time, 89  “Obey me and carry out the terms of the agreement 90  exactly as I commanded you. If you do, 91  you will be my people and I will be your God. 92  11:5 Then I will keep the promise I swore on oath to your ancestors to give them a land flowing with milk and honey.” 93  That is the very land that you still live in today.’” 94  And I responded, “Amen! Let it be so, 95  Lord!”

11:6 The Lord said to me, “Announce all the following words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the terms of my covenant with you 96  and carry them out! 11:7 For I solemnly warned your ancestors to obey me. 97  I warned them again and again, 98  ever since I delivered them out of Egypt until this very day. 11:8 But they did not listen to me or pay any attention to me! Each one of them followed the stubborn inclinations of his own wicked heart. So I brought on them all the punishments threatened in the covenant because they did not carry out its terms as I commanded them to do.’” 99 

11:9 The Lord said to me, “The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem have plotted rebellion against me! 100  11:10 They have gone back to the evil ways 101  of their ancestors of old who refused to obey what I told them. They, too, have paid allegiance to 102  other gods and worshiped them. Both the nation of Israel and the nation of Judah 103  have violated the covenant I made with their ancestors. 11:11 So I, the Lord, say this: 104  ‘I will soon bring disaster on them which they will not be able to escape! When they cry out to me for help, I will not listen to them. 11:12 Then those living in the towns of Judah and in Jerusalem will 105  go and cry out for help to the gods to whom they have been sacrificing. However, those gods will by no means 106  be able to save them when disaster strikes them. 11:13 This is in spite of the fact that 107  the people of Judah have as many gods as they have towns 108  and the citizens of Jerusalem have set up as many altars to sacrifice to that disgusting god, Baal, as they have streets in the city!’ 109  11:14 So, Jeremiah, 110  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. 111  For I will not listen to them when they call out to me for help when disaster strikes them.” 112 

11:15 The Lord says to the people of Judah, 113 

“What right do you have to be in my temple, my beloved people? 114 

Many of you have done wicked things. 115 

Can your acts of treachery be so easily canceled by sacred offerings 116 

that you take joy in doing evil even while you make them? 117 

11:16 I, the Lord, once called 118  you a thriving olive tree,

one that produced beautiful fruit.

But I will set you 119  on fire,

fire that will blaze with a mighty roar. 120 

Then all your branches will be good for nothing. 121 

11:17 For though I, the Lord who rules over all, 122  planted you in the land, 123 

I now decree that disaster will come on you 124 

because the nations of Israel and Judah have done evil

and have made me angry by offering sacrifices to the god Baal.” 125 

A Plot Against Jeremiah is Revealed and He Complains of Injustice

11:18 The Lord gave me knowledge, that I might have understanding. 126 

Then he showed me what the people were doing. 127 

11:19 Before this I had been like a docile lamb ready to be led to the slaughter.

I did not know they were making plans to kill me. 128 

I did not know they were saying, 129 

“Let’s destroy the tree along with its fruit! 130 

Let’s remove Jeremiah 131  from the world of the living

so people will not even be reminded of him any more.” 132 

11:20 So I said to the Lord, 133 

“O Lord who rules over all, 134  you are a just judge!

You examine people’s hearts and minds. 135 

I want to see you pay them back for what they have done

because I trust you to vindicate my cause.” 136 

11:21 Then the Lord told me about 137  some men from Anathoth 138  who were threatening to kill me. 139  They had threatened, 140  “Stop prophesying in the name of the Lord or we will kill you!” 141  11:22 So the Lord who rules over all 142  said, “I will surely 143  punish them! Their young men will be killed in battle. 144  Their sons and daughters will die of starvation. 11:23 Not one of them will survive. 145  I will bring disaster on those men from Anathoth who threatened you. 146  A day of reckoning is coming for them.” 147 

1 tn Heb “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord.”

2 tn Heb “Proclaim there…” The adverb is unnecessary in English style.

3 sn That is, all those who have passed through the gates of the outer court and are standing in the courtyard of the temple.

4 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God Israel.”

sn Compare the use of similar titles in 2:19; 5:14; 6:6 and see the explanation in the study note at 2:19. In this instance the title appears to emphasize the Lord as the heavenly King who drags his disobedient vassals into court (and threatens them with judgment).

5 tn Or “Make good your ways and your actions.” J. Bright’s translation (“Reform the whole pattern of your conduct”; Jeremiah [AB], 52) is excellent.

6 tn Heb “place” but this might be misunderstood to refer to the temple.

7 tn Heb “Stop trusting in lying words which say.”

8 tn The words “We are safe!” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation for clarity.

9 tn Heb “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these (i.e., these buildings).” Elsewhere triple repetition seems to mark a kind of emphasis (cf. Isa 6:3; Jer 22:29; Ezek 21:27 [32 HT]). The triple repetition that follows seems to be Jeremiah’s way of mocking the (false) sense of security that people had in the invincibility of Jerusalem because God dwelt in the temple. They appeared to be treating the temple as some kind of magical charm. A similar feeling had grown up around the ark in the time of the judges (cf. 1 Sam 3:3) and the temple and city of Jerusalem in Micah’s day (cf. Mic 3:11). It is reflected also in some of the Psalms (cf., e.g., Ps 46, especially v. 5).

10 tn The infinitive absolute precedes the finite verb for emphasis.

11 tn Heb “you must do justice between a person and his fellow/neighbor.” The infinitive absolute precedes the finite verb for emphasis.

12 tn Heb “Stop oppressing foreigner, orphan, and widow.”

13 tn Heb “Stop shedding innocent blood.”

14 tn Heb “going/following after.” See the translator’s note at 2:5 for an explanation of the idiom involved here.

15 tn Heb “going after other gods to your ruin.”

16 tn The translation uses imperatives in vv. 5-6 followed by the phrase, “If you do all this,” to avoid the long and complex sentence structure of the Hebrew sentence which has a series of conditional clauses in vv. 5-6 followed by a main clause in v. 7.

17 tn Heb “live in this place, in this land.”

18 tn Heb “gave to your fathers [with reference to] from ancient times even unto forever.”

19 tn Heb “Behold!”

20 tn Heb “You are trusting in lying words.” See the similar phrase in v. 4 and the note there.

21 tn Heb “not profit [you].”

22 tn Heb “Will you steal…then say, ‘We are safe’?” Verses 9-10 are one long sentence in the Hebrew text.

23 tn Heb “You go/follow after.” See the translator’s note at 2:5 for an explanation of the idiom involved here.

24 tn Heb “over which my name is called.” For this nuance of this idiom cf. BDB 896 s.v. קָרָא Niph.2.d(4) and see the usage in 2 Sam 12:28.

25 tn Or “‘We are safe!’ – safe, you think, to go on doing all those hateful things.” Verses 9-10 are all one long sentence in the Hebrew text. It has been broken up for English stylistic reasons. Somewhat literally it reads “Will you steal…then come and stand…and say, ‘We are safe’ so as to/in order to do…” The Hebrew of v. 9 has a series of infinitives which emphasize the bare action of the verb without the idea of time or agent. The effect is to place a kind of staccato like emphasis on the multitude of their sins all of which are violations of one of the Ten Commandments. The final clause in v. 8 expresses purpose or result (probably result) through another infinitive. This long sentence is introduced by a marker (ה interrogative in Hebrew) introducing a rhetorical question in which God expresses his incredulity that they could do these sins, come into the temple and claim the safety of his protection, and then go right back out and commit the same sins. J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB], 52) catches the force nicely: “What? You think you can steal, murder…and then come and stand…and say, ‘We are safe…’ just so that you can go right on…”

26 tn Heb “over which my name is called.” For this nuance of this idiom cf. BDB 896 s.v. קָרָא Niph.2.d(4) and see the usage in 2 Sam 12:28.

27 tn Heb “Is this house…a den/cave of robbers in your eyes?”

28 tn Heb “Behold!”

29 tn Heb “where I caused my name to dwell.” The translation does not adequately represent the theology of the Lord’s deliberate identification with a place where he chose to manifest his presence and desired to be worshiped (cf. Exod 20:25; Deut 16:2, 6, 11).

30 sn The place in Shiloh…see what I did to it. This refers to the destruction of Shiloh by the Philistines circa 1050 b.c. (cf. Ps 78:60). The destruction of Shiloh is pertinent to the argument. The presence of the tabernacle and ark of the covenant did not prevent Shiloh from being destroyed when Israel sinned. The people of Israel used the ark as a magic charm but it did not prevent them from being defeated or the ark being captured (1 Sam 4:3, 11, 21-22).

31 tn This reflects a Hebrew idiom (e.g., 7:25; 11:7; 25:3, 4), i.e., an infinitive of a verb meaning “to do something early [or eagerly]” followed by an infinitive of another verb of action. Cf. HALOT 1384 s.v. שָׁכַם Hiph.2.

32 tn Heb “I called to you and you did not answer.” The words “to repent” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation for clarity.

33 tn Heb “over which my name is called.” For this nuance of this idiom cf. BDB 896 s.v. קָרָא Niph.2.d(4) and see the usage in 2 Sam 12:28.

34 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 22, 25, 26).

35 tn Heb “I will do to this house which I…in which you put…and to this place which…as I did to Shiloh.”

36 tn Heb “the descendants of Ephraim.” However, Ephraim here stands (as it often does) for all the northern tribes of Israel.

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

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

39 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.

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

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

42 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.

43 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.

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

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

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

47 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.

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

49 tn The words “The Lord said to the people of Judah” are not in the text but are implicit in the shift in addressee between vv. 16-20 and vv. 21-26.

50 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.”

sn See the study notes on 2:19 and 7:3.

51 tn Heb “Add your burnt offerings to your [other] sacrifices and eat the meat!” See the following sn for explanation. This is an example of the rhetorical use of the imperative for a sarcastic challenge. Cf. GKC 324 §110.a; cf. Amos 4:4, “Go to Bethel and sin!”

sn All of the burnt offering, including the meat, was to be consumed on the altar (e.g., Lev 1:6-9). The meat of the other sacrifices could be eaten by the priest who offered the sacrifice and the person who brought it (e.g., Lev 7:16-18, 32). Since, however, the people of Judah were making a mockery of the sacrificial system by offering sacrifices while disobeying the law, the Lord rejected the sacrifices (cf. 6:20). Since they were violating the moral law they might as well go ahead and violate the cultic law by eating the meat dedicated to God because he rejected it anyway.

52 tn Heb “For” but this introduces a long explanation about the relative importance of sacrifice and obedience.

53 tn Verses 22-23a read in Hebrew, “I did not speak with your ancestors and I did not command them when I brought them out of Egypt about words/matters concerning burnt offering and sacrifice, but I commanded them this word:” Some modern commentators have explained this passage as an evidence for the lateness of the Pentateuchal instruction regarding sacrifice or a denial that sacrifice was practiced during the period of the wilderness wandering. However, it is better explained as an example of what R. de Vaux calls a dialectical negative, i.e., “not so much this as that” or “not this without that” (Ancient Israel, 454-56). For other examples of this same argument see Isa 1:10-17; Hos 6:4-6; Amos 5:21-25.

54 tn Heb “Obey me and I will be.” The translation is equivalent syntactically but brings out the emphasis in the command.

55 tn Heb “Walk in all the way that I command you.”

56 tn Or “They went backward and not forward”; Heb “They were to the backward and not to the forward.” The two phrases used here appear nowhere else in the Bible and the latter preposition plus adverb elsewhere is used temporally meaning “formerly” or “previously.” The translation follows the proposal of J. Bright, Jeremiah (AB), 57. Another option is “they turned their backs to me, not their faces,” understanding the line as a variant of a line in 2:27.

57 tn Heb “from the day your ancestors…until this very day.” However, “day” here is idiomatic for “the present time.”

58 tn On the Hebrew idiom see the note at 7:13.

59 tc There is some textual debate about the legitimacy of this expression here. The text reads merely “day” (יוֹם, yom). BHS suggests the word is to be deleted as a dittography of the plural ending of the preceding word. The word is in the Greek and Latin, and the Syriac represents the typical idiom “day after day” as though the noun were repeated. Either יוֹם has dropped out by haplography or a ם (mem) has been left out, i.e., reading יוֹמָם (yomam, “daily”).

60 tn Or “But your predecessors…”; Heb “But they….” There is a confusing interchange in the pronouns in vv. 25-26 which has led to some leveling in the ancient versions and the modern English versions. What is involved here are four levels of referents, the “you” of the present generation (vv. 21-22a), the ancestors who were delivered from Egypt (i.e., the “they” of vv. 22b-24), the “you” of v. 25 which involves all the Israelites from the Exodus to the time of speaking, and the “they” of v. 26 which cannot be the ancestors of vv. 22-24 (since they cannot be more wicked than themselves) but must be an indefinite entity which is a part of the “you” of v. 25, i.e., the more immediate ancestors of the present generation. If this is kept in mind, there is no need to level the pronouns to “they” and “them” or to “you” and “your” as some of the ancient versions and modern English versions have done.

61 tn Heb “hardened [or made stiff] their neck.”

62 tn The words, “Then the Lord said to me” are not in the text but are implicit in the shift from the second and third person plural pronouns in vv. 21-26 and the second singular in this verse. The words are supplied in the translation for clarity.

63 tn Heb “Faithfulness has vanished. It is cut off from their lips.”

sn For the need for faithfulness see 5:1, 3.

64 tn The word “mourn” is not in the text. It is supplied in the translation for clarity to explain the significance of the words “Cut your hair and throw it away.”

sn Cf. Mic 1:16; Job 1:20 for other examples of this practice which was involved in mourning.

65 tn The words, “you people of this nation” are not in the text. Many English versions supply, “Jerusalem.” The address shifts from second masculine singular addressing Jeremiah (vv. 27-28a) to second feminine singular. It causes less disruption in the flow of the context to see the nation as a whole addressed here as a feminine singular entity (as, e.g., in 2:19, 23; 3:2, 3; 6:26) than to introduce a new entity, Jerusalem.

66 tn The verbs here are the Hebrew scheduling perfects. For this use of the perfect see GKC 312 §106.m.

67 tn Heb “the generation of his wrath.”

68 tn The words “I have rejected them” are not in the Hebrew text, which merely says “because.” These words are supplied in the translation to show more clearly the connection to the preceding.

69 tn Heb “have done the evil in my eyes.”

70 sn Compare, e.g., 2 Kgs 21:3, 5, 7; 23:4, 6; Ezek 8:3, 5, 10-12, 16. Manasseh had desecrated the temple by building altars, cult symbols, and idols in it. Josiah had purged the temple of these pagan elements. But it is obvious from both Jeremiah and Ezekiel that they had been replaced shortly after Josiah’s death. They were a primary cause of Judah’s guilt and punishment (see beside this passage, 19:5; 32:34-35).

71 tn Heb “the house which is called by my name.” Cf. 7:10, 11, 14 and see the translator’s note 7:10 for the explanation for this rendering.

72 tn Heb “high places.”

sn These places of worship were essentially open air shrines often located on hills or wooded heights. They were generally connected with pagan worship and equipped with altars of sacrifice and of incense and cult objects such as wooden poles and stone pillars which were symbols of the god and/or goddess worshiped at the sight. The Israelites were commanded to tear down these Canaanite places of worship (Num 33:52) but they did not do so, often taking over the site for the worship of Yahweh but even then incorporating some of the pagan cult objects and ritual into their worship of Yahweh (1 Kgs 12:31, 32; 14:23). The prophets were especially opposed to these places and to this kind of syncretism (Hos 10:8; Amos 7:9) and to the pagan worship that was often practiced at them (Jer 7:31; 19:5; 32:35).

73 tn Heb “the high places of [or in] Topheth.”

sn The noun Topheth is generally explained as an artificial formation of a word related to the Aramaic word for “cooking stove” combined with the vowels for the word for “shame.” Hence, Jewish piety viewed it as a very shameful act, one that was contrary to the law (see Lev 18:21; 20:2-6). Child sacrifice was practiced during the reigns of the wicked kings Ahaz and Manasseh and apparently during Jeremiah’s day (cf. 2 Kgs 16:3; 21:6; Jer 32:35).

74 tn Heb “It never entered my heart.” The words “to command such a thing” do not appear in the Hebrew but are added for the sake of clarity.

75 tn Heb “Therefore, behold!”

76 tn Heb “it will no longer be said ‘Topheth’ or ‘the Valley of Ben Hinnom’ but ‘the valley of slaughter.’

77 tn Heb “And they will bury in Topheth so there is not room.”

78 tn Heb “Their dead bodies will be food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth.”

79 tn Heb “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying.” The proposed translation is more in keeping with contemporary English idiom. Cf. 1:2 and 7:1 and footnotes there.

80 tn The form is a second masculine plural which is followed in the MT of vv. 2-3 by second masculine singulars. This plus the fact that the whole clause “listen to the terms of this covenant” is nearly repeated at the end of v. 3 has led many modern scholars to delete the whole clause (cf., e.g. W. McKane, Jeremiah [ICC], 1:236-37). However, this only leads to further adjustments in the rest of the verse which are difficult to justify. The form has also led to a good deal of speculation about who these others were that are initially addressed here. The juxtaposition of second plural and singular forms has a precedent in Deuteronomy, where the nation is sometimes addressed with the plural and at other times with a collective singular.

81 sn The covenant I made with Israel. Apart from the legal profession and Jewish and Christian tradition the term “covenant” may not be too familiar. There were essentially three kinds of “covenants” that were referred to under the Hebrew term used here: (1) “Parity treaties” or “covenants” between equals in which each party pledged itself to certain agreed upon stipulations and took an oath to it in the name of their god or gods (cf. Gen 31:44-54); (2) “Suzerain-vassal treaties” or “covenants” in which a great king pledged himself to protect the vassal’s realm and his right to rule over his own domain in exchange for sovereignty over the vassal, including the rendering of absolute loyalty and submission to the great king’s demands spelled out in detailed stipulations; (3) “Covenants of grant” in which a great king granted to a loyal servant or vassal king permanent title to a piece of land or dominion over a specified realm in recognition of past service. It is generally recognized that the Mosaic covenant which is being referred to here is of the second type and that it resembles in kind the ancient Near Eastern suzerain-vassal treaties. These treaties typically contained the following elements: (1) a preamble identifying the great king (cf. Exod 20:2a; Deut 1:1-4); (2) a historical prologue summarizing the great king’s past benefactions as motivation for future loyalty (cf. Exod 20:2b; Deut 1:5–4:43); (3) the primary stipulation of absolute and unconditional loyalty (cf. Exod 20:3-8; Deut 5:111:32); (4) specific stipulations governing future relations between the vassal and the great king and the vassal’s relation to other vassals (cf. Exod 20:22–23:33; Deut 12:126:15); (5) the invoking of curses on the vassal for disloyalty and the pronouncing of blessing on him for loyalty (cf. Lev 26; Deut 27-28); (6) the invoking of witnesses to the covenant, often the great king’s and the vassal’s gods (cf. Deut 30:19; 31:28 where the reference is to the “heavens and the earth” as enduring witnesses). It is also generally agreed that the majority of the threats of punishment by the prophets refer to the invocation of these covenant curses for disloyalty to the basic stipulation, that of absolute loyalty.

82 tn Heb “this covenant.” The referent of “this” is left dangling until it is further defined in vv. 3-4. Leaving it undefined in the translation may lead to confusion hence the anticipatory nature of the demonstrative is spelled out explicitly in the translation.

83 tn Heb “and speak/tell them.” However, the translation chosen is more appropriate to modern idiom.

84 tn Or “those living in Jerusalem”; Heb “inhabitants of.”

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

85 tn Heb “Cursed is the person who does not listen to the terms of this covenant.” “This covenant” is further qualified in the following verse by a relative clause. The form of the sentence and the qualification “my” before covenant were chosen for better English idiom and to break up a long sentence which really extends to the middle of v. 5.

86 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 5, 7, 10).

87 tn Heb “does not listen…this covenant which I commanded your fathers.” The sentence is broken up this way in conformity with contemporary English style.

88 tn Heb “out of the land of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace.”

89 tn In place of the words “I said at that time” the Hebrew text has “saying.” The sentence is again being restructured in English to avoid the long, confusing style of the Hebrew original.

90 tn Heb “Obey me and carry them out.” The “them” refers back to the terms of the covenant which they were charged to keep according to the preceding. The referent is made specific to avoid ambiguity.

91 tn The words, “If you do” are not in the text. They have been supplied in the translation to break up a long sentence consisting of an imperative followed by a consequential sentence.

92 sn Obey me and carry out the terms of the agreement…and I will be your God. This refers to the Mosaic law which was instituted at Sinai and renewed on the Plains of Moab before Israel entered into the land. The words “the terms of the covenant” are explicitly used for the Ten Commandments in Exod 34:28 and for the additional legislation given in Deut 28:69; 29:8. The formulation here is reminiscent of Deut 29:9-14 (29:10-15 HT). The book of Deuteronomy is similar in its structure and function to an ancient Near Eastern treaty. In these the great king reminded his vassal of past benefits that he had given to him, charged him with obligations (the terms or stipulations of the covenant) chief among which was absolute loyalty and sole allegiance, promised him future benefits for obeying the stipulations (the blessings), and placed him under a curse for disobeying them. Any disobedience was met with stern warnings of punishment in the form of destruction and exile. Those who had witnessed the covenant were called in to confirm the continuing goodness of the great king and the disloyalty of the vassal. The vassal was then charged with a list of particular infringements of the stipulations and warned to change his actions or suffer the consequences. This is the background for Jer 11:1-9. Jeremiah is here functioning as a messenger from the Lord, Israel’s great king, and charging both the fathers and the children with breach of covenant.

93 tn The phrase “a land flowing with milk and honey” is very familiar to readers in the Jewish and Christian traditions as a proverbial description of the agricultural and pastoral abundance of the land of Israel. However, it may not mean too much to readers outside those traditions; an equivalent expression would be “a land of fertile fields and fine pastures.” E. W. Bullinger (Figures of Speech, 626) identifies this as a figure of speech called synecdoche where the species is put for the genus, “a region…abounding with pasture and fruits of all kinds.”

94 tn Heb “‘a land flowing with milk and honey,’ as at this day.” However, the literal reading is too elliptical and would lead to confusion.

95 tn The words “Let it be so” are not in the text; they are an explanation of the significance of the term “Amen” for those who may not be part of the Christian or Jewish tradition.

sn The word amen is found at the end of each of the curses in Deut 27 where the people express their agreement with the appropriateness of the curse for the offense mentioned.

96 tn Heb “the terms of this covenant.” However, this was a separate message and the ambiguity of “this” could still cause some confusion.

97 tn Heb “warned them…saying, ‘Obey me.’” However, it allows the long sentence to be broken up easier if the indirect quote is used.

98 tn For the explanation for this rendering see the note on 7:13.

99 tn Heb “So I brought on them all the terms of this covenant which I commanded to do and they did not do.” There is an interesting polarity that is being exploited by two different nuances implicit in the use of the word “terms” (דִּבְרֵי [divre], literally “words”), i.e., what the Lord “brings on” them, namely, the curses that are the penalty for disobedience and the stipulations that they are “to do,” that is, to carry out. The sentence is broken up this way in keeping with contemporary English style to avoid the long and complicated style of the original.

100 tn Heb “Conspiracy [a plot to rebel] is found [or exists] among the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”

101 tn Or “They have repeated the evil actions of….”

102 tn Heb “have walked/followed after.” See the translator’s note at 2:5 for the idiom.

103 tn Heb “house of Israel and house of Judah.”

104 tn Heb “Therefore, thus, says the Lord.” The person has been shifted in the translation in accordance with the difference between Hebrew and English style.

105 tn Heb “Then the towns of Judah and those living in Jerusalem will…”

106 tn The Hebrew construction is emphatic involving the use of an infinitive of the verb before the verb itself (Heb “saving they will not save”). For this construction to give emphasis to an antithesis, cf. GKC 343 §113.p.

107 tn This is again an attempt to render the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) contextually. The nuance is a little hard to establish due to the nature of the rhetoric of the passage which utilizes the figure of apostrophe where the Lord turns from talking about Judah to addressing her directly, probably in condemnatory tones. Something like “the very idea that you should…” might best represent the mood. The כִּי is probably asseverative or intensive (cf. BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.e).

108 sn Cf. Jer 2:28.

109 tn Heb “For [or Indeed] the number of your [sing.] cities are your [sing.] gods, Judah, and the number of the streets of Jerusalem [or perhaps (your) streets, Jerusalem] you [plur.] have set up altars to the shameful thing, altars to sacrifice to Baal.” This passage involves a figure of speech where the speaker turns from describing something about someone to addressing him/her directly (a figure called apostrophe). This figure is not common in contemporary English literature or conversation and translating literally would lead to confusion on the part of some readers. Hence, the translation retains the third person in keeping with the rest of the context. The shift from singular “your cities” to plural “you have set up” is interpreted contextually to refer to a shift in addressing Judah to addressing the citizens of Jerusalem whose streets are being talked about. The appositional clause, “altars to sacrifice to Baal” has been collapsed with the preceding clause to better identify what the shameful thing is and to eliminate a complex construction. The length of this sentence runs contrary to the usual practice of breaking up long complex sentences in Hebrew into shorter equivalent ones in English. However, breaking up this sentence and possibly losing the connecting link with the preceding used to introduce it might lead to misunderstanding.

110 tn Heb “you.”

111 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.

sn Cf. Jer 7:16 where this same command is addressed to Jeremiah.

112 tc The rendering “when disaster strikes them” is based on reading “at the time of” (בְּעֵת, bÿet) with a number of Hebrew mss and the versions instead of “on account of” (בְּעַד, bÿad). W. L. Holladay (Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 1:347) is probably right in assuming that the MT has been influenced by “for them” (בַעֲדָם, vaadam) earlier in the verse.

113 tn The words “The Lord says to the people of Judah” are not in the text. It is, however, clear from the words that follow that he is the speaker and Judah the addressee. The words are supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.

114 tn Heb “What to my beloved [being] in my house?” The text has been restructured to avoid possible confusion by the shift from third person in the first two lines to second person in the last two lines and the lines of the following verse. The reference to Judah as his “beloved” is certainly ironic and perhaps even sarcastic.

115 tc The meaning of this line is uncertain. The text reads somewhat literally either “her doing the wicked thing the many” or “doing it, the wicked thing, the many.” The text, relationship between words, and meaning of this whole verse have been greatly debated. Wholesale emendation based on the ancient versions is common in both the commentaries and the modern English versions. Many follow the lead of the Greek version which in many cases offers a smoother reading but for that very reason may not be original. The notes that follow will explain some of these emendations but will also attempt to explain the most likely meaning of the MT which is the more difficult and probably the more original text. Since it is presumed to be the original the text will be dealt with in the notes line for line in the MT even though the emendations often relate to more than one line. For example the Greek of the first two lines reads: “Why has the beloved done abomination in my house?” This ignores the preposition before “my beloved” (לִידִידִי, lididi) and treats the form “her doing” (עֲשׂוֹתָהּ [’asotah], Qal infinitive plus suffix) as a finite verb (עָשְׂתָה [’astah], Qal perfect third feminine). The forms are similar but the Greek is smoother. Moreover, it is difficult to explain the presence of “to” in the MT if the Greek is the original. The Greek text likewise does not have the difficulty that is exhibited in the MT by the word “the many” (הָרַבִּים, harabbim). It reads a word for “vows/votive offerings” (εὐχαί [eucai] regularly = נְדָרִים [gÿdarim]) in place of the word “many” (הָרַבִּים, harabbim) and takes it as part of a compound subject of the verb in the following line meaning “take away.” However, this word is far removed graphically from that in the MT and it would be difficult to explain how the MT arose from it. The Old Latin apparently reads a word for “fat” (adipes = חֲלָבִים, khalavim) which is closer in script to the MT and would be more likely original than the Greek. However, both of these resolutions look like attempts to smooth out a difficult text. Because there is no solid support for any single reading, it is probably best to retain the MT’s “the many.” Many do retain it and take it as a second accusative of “doing it” and read “she does the wicked thing with many [i.e., many false gods],” a use of the accusative which is hard to justify. Another alternative, taking the adjective “the many” to modify the noun “the wicked thing” is sometimes suggested but is not possible because the adjective is masculine plural and the noun is feminine singular which is contrary to Hebrew style. Hence one cannot read “she has done many wicked things.” The present translation follows the suggestion in D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 4:209, that it is the subject of the infinitive construct with an object suffix which is anticipatory of the noun “wickedness” that follows (cf. GKC 425 §131.m), i.e., “the many do it, namely the wickedness” (for the meaning of the noun see BDB 273 s.v. מְזִמָּה 3.b).

116 tn The meaning of this line is also uncertain. The Hebrew text reads somewhat literally, “holy meat they pass over from upon you.” The question of the subject of the verb is the main problem here. The verb is masculine plural and the only subject available is “holy meat” which is singular, a “they” which goes back to “the many,” or a noun from the end of the preceding line which is combined with “holy meat.” The latter is the solution of the Greek version which reads “Will votive offerings [or pieces of fat (following the Old Latin)] and holy meats take away from you your wickedness?” However, that resolution has been rejected in the preceding note as smoothing out the difficulties of the first two lines. It also leaves out the כִּי (ki) at the beginning of the following line and takes the noun “your wickedness” as the object of the verb. That certainly would make for an easier reading of both this line and the next and the assumption that כִּי may not be in the text is possible because it could be explained as a double writing of the pronoun on the end of the preceding phrase “from upon you” (מֵעָלָיִךְ, mealayikh). However, besides being the smoother reading it leaves the last line too short poetically. The solution of the UBS, Preliminary Report, 4:209 is that “they” (referring back to “the many”?) is the subject. They read: “so that they carry away from you even sacrificial flesh.” But who are “they” and “you?” Is the “they” the priests and the “you” the people? (See 1 Sam 2:10-17 for a possible parallel.) This, however, introduces too many unknowns into the text. The translation adopted is based on a revocalization of the form “from upon you” (מֵעָלָיִךְ, mealayikh) to “your treacherous acts” (מַעֲלָיִךְ, maalayikh; for this noun cf. BDB 591 s.v. I מַעַל 2), a solution which is also proposed in the margin of the NJPS which reads: “Can your treacheries be canceled by sacral flesh?” For the nuance of the verb presupposed here (= be removed, cease to exist) see BDB 718 s.v. עָבַר Qal.6.c and compare usage in Job 30:15. While this solution does preserve the consonantal text and is accepted here, it should be acknowledged that there is no ancient support for it and the reading of the noun “treacheries” in place of the compound preposition “from upon” is purely speculative.

117 tn Heb “for [or when] your wickedness then you rejoice.” The meaning of this line is uncertain. The Greek version, which reads “or will you escape by these things” (presupposing a Hebrew text אִם עַל זוֹת תָּעוּזִי, ’imal zot tauzi) is far removed from the reading in the MT (אָז תַּעֲלֹזִי [’az taalozi]; the rest of the Hebrew line has been left out because the Greek reads it with the preceding line) and again appears to be an attempt to smooth out a difficult text. The translation retains the MT but rewords it so it makes better sense in English. The translation presupposes that the phrase “your wickedness” is the object of the verb “take joy” and the adverb “then” refers back to the offering of sacred flesh, i.e., “even then [or at that time]” as a constructio ad sensum. For a similar use of the adverb (אָז, ’az) compare Gen 13:7. For the use of כִּי (ki) meaning “that” after a question see BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.f. A possible alternative would be to read as UBS, Preliminary Report, 4:209 do: “When trouble reaches you, then will you exult?” If the text of the whole verse followed here, the more difficult text, is not the original one, the most likely alternative would be: “What right does my beloved have to be in my house? She has does wicked things [reading עָשְׂתָה מְזִמֹּת, ’ostah mÿzimot]. Can fat pieces [reading הַחֲלָבִים, hakhalavim] and sacred meat take away your wickedness from you [reading יַעֲבִרוּ מֵעָלַיִךְ רָעָתֵכִי, yaaviru mealayikh raatekhi]? [If it could] then you could rejoice.” It should be emphasized that the text of the verse is uncertain in a number of places and open to more than one interpretation. However, regardless of which text or interpretation of it is followed, the Masoretic as interpreted here, the Greek as given in the notes, or an emended text based on both, the overall meaning is much the same. Judah has done evil and the Lord rejects their superficial attempts to placate him through ritual without change of behavior. The particulars are different; the point is the same.

sn For the argument of this verse compare the condemnatory questions in Jer 7:9-11.

118 tn Heb “The Lord once called you….” This is another example of the rapid shift in person that is common to Hebrew style which is not common in English and could lead to confusion for some readers. Here and in the verses that follow the person has been shifted to first person for consistency in English.

119 tn The verb form used here is another example of a verb expressing that the action is as good as done (the Hebrew prophetic perfect).

120 tn Heb “At the sound of a mighty roar he will set fire to it.” For the shift from third person “he” to the first person “I” see the preceding note. The Hebrew use of the pronouns in vv. 16-17 for the olive tree and the people that it represents is likely to cause confusion if retained. In v. 16 the people are “you” and the olive tree is “it.” The people are again “you” in v. 17 but part of the metaphor is carried over, i.e., “he ‘planted’ you.” It creates less confusion in the flow of the passage if the metaphorical identification is carried out throughout by addressing the people/plant as “you.”

121 tn The verb here has most commonly been derived from a root meaning “to be broken” (cf. BDB 949 s.v. II רָעַע) which fits poorly with the metaphor of setting the plant on fire. Another common option is to emend it to a verb meaning “to be burned up” (בָּעַר, baar). However, it is better to follow the lead of the Greek version which translates “be good for nothing” (ἠχρειώθησαν, hcreiwqhsan) and derive the verb from רָעַע (raa’) meaning “be bad/evil” (cf. BDB 949 and compare the nuance of the adjective from this verb in BDB 948 s.v. רַע 5).

122 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

sn For the significance of the term see the notes at 2:19 and 7:3.

123 tn The words “in the land” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation to clarify the meaning of the metaphor.

124 tn Heb “For Yahweh of armies who planted you speaks disaster upon you.” Because of the way the term Lord of armies has been rendered this sentence has been restructured to avoid confusion in English style.

125 tn Heb “pronounced disaster…on account of the evil of the house of Israel and the house of Judah which they have done to make me angry [or thus making me angry] by sacrificing to Baal.” The lines have been broken up in conformity with contemporary English style.

126 tn Heb “caused me to know that I might know.” Many English versions supply an unstated object “their plots” which is referred to later in the context (cf. v. 19). The presupposition of this kind of absolute ellipsis is difficult to justify and would create the need for understanding an ellipsis of “it” also after “I knew.” It is better to see a bipolar use of the verb “know” here. For the second use of the verb “know” meaning “have understanding” see BDB 394 s.v. ָידַע Qal.5.

127 tn Heb “Then you showed me their deeds.” This is another example of the rapid shift in person which is common in Jeremiah. As elsewhere, it has been resolved for the sake of avoiding confusion for the English reader by leveling the referent to the same person throughout. The text again involves an apostrophe, talking about the Lord to addressing him.

128 tn Heb “against me.” The words “to kill me” are implicit from the context and are supplied in the translation for clarity.

129 tn The words “I did not know that they were saying” are not in the text. The quote is without formal introduction in the original. These words are supplied in the translation for clarity.

130 tn This word and its pronoun (לַחְמוֹ, lakhmo, “its bread”) is often emended to read “in/with its sap” = “in its prime” (either לֵחוֹ [lekho] or לֵחְמוֹ [lekhÿmo]); the latter would be more likely and the מוֹ (mo) could be explained as a rare use of the old poetic third plural suffix for the third singular; cf. GKC 258 §91.l for general use and Ps 11:7 and Job 27:23 for third singular use. Though this fits the context nicely the emendation is probably unnecessary since the word “bread” is sometimes used of other foodstuff than grain or its products (cf. BDB 537 s.v. לֶחֶם 2.a).

sn The word fruit refers contextually here to the prophecies that Jeremiah was giving, not (as some suppose) his progeny. Jeremiah was not married and had no children.

131 tn Heb “cut it [or him] off.” The metaphor of the tree may be continued, though the verb “cut off” is used also of killing people. The rendering clarifies the meaning of the metaphor.

132 tn Heb “so that his name will not be remembered any more.”

133 tn The words “So I said to the Lord” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity to show the shift in address.

134 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

sn For the significance of the term see the notes at 2:19 and 7:3.

135 tn HebLord of armies, just judge, tester of kidneys and heart.” The sentence has been broken up to avoid a long and complex English sentence. The translation is more in keeping with contemporary English style. In Hebrew thought the “kidneys” were thought of as the seat of the emotions and passions and the “heart” was viewed as the seat of intellect, conscience, and will. The “heart” and the “kidneys” are often used figuratively for the thoughts, emotions, motives, and drives that are thought to be seated in them.

136 tn Heb “Let me see your retribution [i.e., see you exact retribution] from them because I reveal my cause [i.e., plea for justice] to you.”

137 tn Heb “Therefore thus says the Lord.” This phrase is anticipatory of the same phrase at the beginning of v. 22 and is introductory to what the Lord says about them. The translation seeks to show the connection of the “therefore” which is sometimes rather loose (cf. BDB 487 s.v. כֵּן 3.d[b]) with the actual response which is not given until v. 22.

138 tn Heb “the men of Anathoth.” However, this does not involve all of the people, only the conspirators. The literal might lead to confusion later since v. 21 mentions that there will not be any of them left alive. However, it is known from Ezra 2:23 that there were survivors.

139 tc The MT reads the 2nd person masculine singular suffix “your life,” but LXX reflects an alternative reading of the 1st person common singular suffix “my life.”

140 tn Heb “who were seeking my life, saying…” The sentence is broken up in conformity with contemporary English style.

141 tn Heb “or you will die by our hand.”

142 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”

sn For the significance of the term see the notes at 2:19 and 7:3.

143 tn Heb “Behold I will.” For the function of this particle see the translator’s note on 1:6.

144 tn Heb “will die by the sword.” Here “sword” stands contextually for “battle” while “starvation” stands for death by starvation during siege.

145 tn Heb “There will be no survivors for/among them.”

146 tn Heb “the men of Anathoth.” For the rationale for adding the qualification see the notes on v. 21.

147 tn Heb “I will bring disaster on…, the year of their punishment.”



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