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Jeremiah 9:25-26

Context

9:25 The Lord says, “Watch out! 1  The time is soon coming when I will punish all those who are circumcised only in the flesh. 2  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. 3  I will do so because none of the people of those nations are really circumcised in the Lord’s sight. 4  Moreover, none of the people of Israel 5  are circumcised when it comes to their hearts.” 6 

1 tn Heb “Behold!”

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

3 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.

4 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.

5 tn Heb “house of Israel.”

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



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