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Jeremiah 8:8-10

Context

8:8 How can you say, “We are wise!

We have the law of the Lord”?

The truth is, 1  those who teach it 2  have used their writings

to make it say what it does not really mean. 3 

8:9 Your wise men will be put to shame.

They will be dumbfounded and be brought to judgment. 4 

Since they have rejected the word of the Lord,

what wisdom do they really have?

8:10 5 So I will give their wives to other men

and their fields to new owners.

For from the least important to the most important of them,

all of them are greedy for dishonest gain.

Prophets and priests alike,

all practice deceit.

1 tn Heb “Surely, behold!”

2 tn Heb “the scribes.”

3 tn Heb “The lying pen of the scribes have made [it] into a lie.” The translation is an attempt to make the most common interpretation of this passage understandable for the average reader. This is, however, a difficult passage whose interpretation is greatly debated and whose syntax is capable of other interpretations. The interpretation of the NJPS, “Assuredly, for naught has the pen labored, for naught the scribes,” surely deserves consideration within the context; i.e. it hasn’t done any good for the scribes to produce a reliable copy of the law, which the people have refused to follow. That interpretation has the advantage of explaining the absence of an object for the verb “make” or “labored” but creates a very unbalanced poetic couplet.

4 tn Heb “be trapped.” However, the word “trapped” generally carries with it the connotation of divine judgment. See BDB 540 s.v. לָכַד Niph.2, and compare usage in Jer 6:11 for support. The verbs in the first two lines are again the form of the Hebrew verb that emphasizes that the action is as good as done (Hebrew prophetic perfects).

5 sn See Jer 6:12-15 for parallels to 8:10-12. The words of Jeremiah to the people may have been repeated on more than one occasion or have been found appropriate to more than one of his collection of messages in written and edited form. See Jer 36:4 and Jer 36:28 for reference to at least two of these collections.



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