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Jeremiah 9:4-5

Context

9:4 Everyone must be on his guard around his friends.

He must not even trust any of his relatives. 1 

For every one of them will find some way to cheat him. 2 

And all of his friends will tell lies about him.

9:5 One friend deceives another

and no one tells the truth.

These people have trained themselves 3  to tell lies.

They do wrong and are unable to repent.

1 tn Heb “Be on your guard…Do not trust.” The verbs are second masculine plural of direct address and there seems no way to translate literally and not give the mistaken impression that Jeremiah is being addressed. This is another example of the tendency in Hebrew style to turn from description to direct address (a figure of speech called apostrophe).

2 tn Heb “cheating, each of them will cheat.”

sn There is perhaps an intentional pun and allusion here to Gen 27:36 and the wordplay on the name Jacob there. The text here reads עָקוֹב יַעְקֹב (’aqob yaqob).

3 tn Heb “their tongues.” However, this is probably not a natural idiom in contemporary English and the tongue may stand as a part for the whole anyway.



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