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Jeremiah 8:18-19

Context

8:18 Then I said, 1 

“There is no cure 2  for my grief!

I am sick at heart!

8:19 I hear my dear people 3  crying out 4 

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 

1 tn The words, “Then I said” are not in the text but there is a general consensus that the words of vv. 18-19a are the words of Jeremiah. These words are supplied in the translation for clarity.

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.”

3 tn Heb “daughter of my people.” For the translation given here see 4:11 and the note on the phrase “dear people” there.

4 tn Heb “Behold the voice of the crying of the daughter of my people.”

5 tn Heb “Land of distances, i.e., of wide extent.” For parallel usage cf. Isa 33:17.

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 Lord would answer” are not in the text but are implicit from the words that follow. They are supplied in the translation for clarity. Another option would be to add “And I can just hear the Lord reply.”

8 sn The people’s cry and the Lord’s interruption reflect the same argument that was set forth in the preceding chapter. They have misguided confidence that the Lord is with them regardless of their actions and he responds that their actions have provoked him to the point of judging them. See especially 7:4 and 7:30.



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