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Jeremiah 9:20-21

Context

9:20 I said, 1 

“So now, 2  you wailing women, hear what the Lord says. 3 

Open your ears to the words from his mouth.

Teach your daughters this mournful song,

and each of you teach your neighbor 4  this lament.

9:21 ‘Death has climbed in 5  through our windows.

It has entered into our fortified houses.

It has taken away our children who play in the streets.

It has taken away our young men who gather in the city squares.’

1 tn The words “I said” are not in the text. The text merely has “Indeed, yes.” The words are supplied in the translation to indicate that the speaker is still Jeremiah though he now is not talking about the mourning woman but is talking to them. See the notes on 9:17-18 for further explanation.

2 tn It is a little difficult to explain how the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) is functioning here. W. L. Holladay (Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 1:311) may be correct in seeing it as introducing the contents of what those who call for the mourning women are to say. In this case, Jeremiah picks up the task as representative of the people.

3 tn Heb “Listen to the word of the Lord.”

sn In this context the “word of the Lord” that they are to listen for is the word of the lament that they are to teach their daughters and neighbors.

4 tn Heb “Teach…mournful song, and each woman her neighbor lady…”

5 sn Here Death is personified (treated as though it were a person). Some have seen as possible background to this lament an allusion to Mesopotamian mythology where the demon Lamastu climbs in through the windows of houses and over their walls to kill children and babies.



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