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Jeremiah 9:23-26

Context

9:23 1 The Lord says,

“Wise people should not boast that they are wise.

Powerful people should not boast that they are powerful. 2 

Rich people should not boast that they are rich. 3 

9:24 If people want to boast, they should boast about this:

They should boast that they understand and know me.

They should boast that they know and understand

that I, the Lord, act out of faithfulness, fairness, and justice in the earth

and that I desire people to do these things,” 4 

says the Lord.

9:25 The Lord says, “Watch out! 5  The time is soon coming when I will punish all those who are circumcised only in the flesh. 6  9:26 That is, I will punish the Egyptians, the Judeans, the Edomites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, and all the desert people who cut their hair short at the temples. 7  I will do so because none of the people of those nations are really circumcised in the Lord’s sight. 8  Moreover, none of the people of Israel 9  are circumcised when it comes to their hearts.” 10 

1 sn It is not always clear why verses were placed in their present position in the editorial process of collecting Jeremiah’s sermons and the words the Lord spoke to him (see Jer 36:4, 32 for reference to two of these collections). Here it is probable that vv. 23-26 were added as a further answer to the question raised in v. 12.

2 tn Or “Strong people should not brag that they are strong.”

3 tn Heb “…in their wisdom…in their power…in their riches.”

4 tn Or “fairness and justice, because these things give me pleasure.” Verse 24 reads in Hebrew, “But let the one who brags brag in this: understanding and knowing me that I, the Lord, do faithfulness, justice, and righteousness in the earth for/that I delight in these.” It is uncertain whether the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) before the clause “I delight in these things” is parallel to the כִּי introducing the clause “that I, the Lord, act…” or causal giving the grounds for the Lord acting the way he does. In the light of the contrasts in the passage and the emphasis that Jeremiah has placed on obedience to the covenant and ethical conduct in conjunction with real allegiance to the Lord not mere lip service, it is probable that the clauses are parallel. For the use of כִּי to introduce clauses of further definition after a direct object as here see GKC 365 §117.h and see BDB 393 s.v. יָדַע Qal.1.a. For parallels to the idea of Yahweh requiring these characteristics in people see Hos 6:6, Mic 6:8.

5 tn Heb “Behold!”

6 tn Heb “punish all who are circumcised in the flesh.” The translation is contextually motivated to better bring out the contrast that follows.

7 tn Heb “all those who are cut off on the side of the head who live in the desert.” KJV and some other English versions (e.g., NIV “who live in the desert in distant places”; NLT “who live in distant places”) have followed the interpretation that this is a biform of an expression meaning “end or remote parts of the [far] corners [of the earth].” This interpretation is generally abandoned by the more recent commentaries and lexicons (see, e.g. BDB 802 s.v. פֵּאָה 1 and HALOT 858 s.v. פֵּאָה 1.β). It occurs also in 25:33; 49:32.

8 tn Heb “For all of these nations are uncircumcised.” The words “I will do so” are supplied in the translation to indicate the connection with the preceding statement.

sn A contrast is drawn here between circumcision as a mere external cutting of the flesh and a sign of commitment to the covenant and the God of the covenant. The people of these nations practiced circumcision but not as a sign of the covenant. The people of Israel engaged in it as a religious practice but without any obedience to the covenant that it was a sign of or any real commitment to the Lord.

9 tn Heb “house of Israel.”

10 tn Heb “And all the house of Israel is uncircumcised of heart.”



TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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