“There is no cure 2 for my grief!
I am sick at heart!
throughout the length and breadth of the land. 5
They are crying, ‘Is the Lord no longer in Zion?
Is her divine King 6 no longer there?’”
The Lord answers, 7
“Why then do they provoke me to anger with their images,
with their worthless foreign idols?” 8
and still we have not been delivered.’
I go about crying and grieving. I am overwhelmed with dismay. 13
There is still a physician there! 15
Why then have my dear people 16
not been restored to health? 17
and my eyes were a fountain full of tears!
If they were, I could cry day and night
for those of my dear people 20 who have been killed.
2 tn The meaning of this word is uncertain. The translation is based on the redivision and repointing of a word that occurs only here in the MT and whose pattern of formation is unparalleled in the Hebrew Bible. The MT reads מַבְלִיגִיתִי (mavligiti) which BDB provisionally derives from a verb root meaning “to gleam” or “to shine.” However, BDB notes that the text is dubious (cf. BDB 114 s.v. מַבְלִיגִית). The text is commonly emended to מִבְּלִי גְּהֹת (mibbÿli gÿhot) which is a Qal infinitive from a verb meaning “to heal” preceded by a compound negative “for lack of, to be at a loss for” (cf., e.g., HALOT 514 s.v. מַבְלִיגִית and 174 s.v. גּהה). This reading is supported by the Greek text which has an adjective meaning “incurable,” which is, however, connected with the preceding verse, i.e., “they will bite you incurably.”
4 tn Heb “Behold the voice of the crying of the daughter of my people.”
6 tn Heb “her King” but this might be misunderstood by some to refer to the Davidic ruler even with the capitalization.
7 tn The words, “The
8 sn The people’s cry and the
9 tn The words “They say” are not in the text; they are supplied in the translation to make clear that the lament of the people begun in v. 19b is continued here after the interruption of the
10 tn Heb “Harvest time has passed, the summer is over.”
sn This appears to be a proverbial statement for “time marches on.” The people appear to be expressing their frustration that the
12 tn Heb “Because of the crushing of the daughter of my people I am crushed.”
13 tn Heb “I go about in black [i.e., mourning clothes]. Dismay has seized me.”
14 tn Heb “balm.” The more familiar “ointment” has been used in the translation, supplemented with the adjective “medicinal.”
sn This medicinal ointment (Heb “balm”) consisted of the gum or resin from a tree that grows in Egypt and Palestine and was thought to have medicinal value (see also Jer 46:11).
15 tn Heb “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?” In this context the questions are rhetorical and expect a positive answer, which is made explicit in the translation.
sn The prophet means by this metaphor that there are still means available for healing the spiritual ills of his people, mainly repentance, obedience to the law, and sole allegiance to God, and still people available who will apply this medicine to them, namely prophets like himself.
17 tn Or more clearly, “restored to spiritual health”; Heb “Why then has healing not come to my dear people?”
sn Jeremiah is lamenting that though there is a remedy available for the recovery of his people they have not availed themselves of it.
18 sn Beginning with 9:1, the verse numbers through 9:26 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 9:1 ET = 8:23 HT, 9:2 ET = 9:1 HT, 9:3 ET = 9:2 HT, etc., through 9:26 ET = 9:25 HT. Beginning with 10:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same.
19 tn Heb “I wish that my head were water.”