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Jeremiah 9:8-9

Context

9:8 Their tongues are like deadly arrows. 1 

They are always telling lies. 2 

Friendly words for their neighbors come from their mouths.

But their minds are thinking up ways to trap them. 3 

9:9 I will certainly punish them for doing such things!” says the Lord.

“I will certainly bring retribution on such a nation as this!” 4 

1 tc This reading follows the Masoretic consonants (the Kethib, a Qal active participle from שָׁחַט, shakhat). The Masoretes preferred to read “a sharpened arrow” (the Qere, a Qal passive participle from the same root or a homonym, meaning “hammered, beaten”). See HALOT 1354 s.v. II שָׁחַט for discussion. The exact meaning of the word makes little difference to the meaning of the metaphor itself.

2 tn Heb “They speak deceit.”

3 tn Heb “With his mouth a person speaks peace to his neighbor, but in his heart he sets an ambush for him.”

4 tn Heb “Should I not punish them…? Should I not bring retribution…?” The rhetorical questions function as emphatic declarations.

sn See 5:9, 29. This is somewhat of a refrain at the end of a catalog of Judah’s sins.



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