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Jeremiah 8:4-5

Context
Willful Disregard of God Will Lead to Destruction

8:4 The Lord said to me, 1 

“Tell them, ‘The Lord says,

Do people not get back up when they fall down?

Do they not turn around when they go the wrong way? 2 

8:5 Why, then, do these people of Jerusalem 3 

continually turn away from me in apostasy?

They hold fast to their deception. 4 

They refuse to turn back to me. 5 

1 tn The words “the Lord said to me” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation to make clear who is speaking and who is being addressed.

2 sn There is a play on two different nuances of the same Hebrew word that means “turn” and “return,” “turn away” and “turn back.”

3 tc The text is quite commonly emended, changing שׁוֹבְבָה הָעָם (shovÿvah haam) to שׁוֹבָב הָעָם (shovav haam) and omitting יְרוּשָׁלַםִ (yÿrushalaim); this is due to the anomaly of a feminine singular verb with a masculine singular subject and the fact that the word “Jerusalem” is absent from one Hebrew ms and the LXX. However, it is possible that this is a case where the noun “Jerusalem” is a defining apposition to the word “these people,” an apposition which GKC 425 §131.k calls “permutation.” In this case the verb could be attracted to the appositional noun and there would be no reason to emend the text. The MT is undoubtedly the harder reading and is for that reason to be preferred.

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

4 tn Or “to their allegiance to false gods,” or “to their false professions of loyalty”; Heb “to deceit.” Either “to their mistaken beliefs” or “to their allegiance to false gods” would fit the preceding context. The former is more comprehensive than the latter and was chosen for that reason.

5 sn There is a continuing play on the same root word used in the preceding verse. Here the words “turn away from me,” “apostasy,” and “turn back to me” are all forms from the root that was translated “go the wrong way” and “turn around” in v. 4. The intended effect is to contrast Judah’s recalcitrant apostasy with the usual tendency to try and correct one’s mistakes.



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