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Jeremiah 9:9-14

Context

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!” 1 

The Coming Destruction Calls For Mourning

9:10 I said, 2 

“I will weep and mourn 3  for the grasslands on the mountains, 4 

I will sing a mournful song for the pastures in the wilderness

because they are so scorched no one travels through them.

The sound of livestock is no longer heard there.

Even the birds in the sky and the wild animals in the fields

have fled and are gone.”

9:11 The Lord said, 5 

“I will make Jerusalem 6  a heap of ruins.

Jackals will make their home there. 7 

I will destroy the towns of Judah

so that no one will be able to live in them.”

9:12 I said, 8 

“Who is wise enough to understand why this has happened? 9 

Who has a word from the Lord that can explain it? 10 

Why does the land lie in ruins?

Why is it as scorched as a desert through which no one travels?”

9:13 The Lord answered, “This has happened because these people have rejected my laws which I gave them. They have not obeyed me or followed those laws. 11  9:14 Instead they have followed the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts. They have paid allegiance to 12  the gods called Baal, 13  as their fathers 14  taught them to do.

1 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.

2 tn The words “I said” are not in the text, but there is general agreement that Jeremiah is the speaker. Cf. the lament in 8:18-9:1. These words are supplied in the translation for clarity. Some English versions follow the Greek text which reads a plural imperative here. Since this reading would make the transition between 9:10 and 9:11 easier it is probably not original but a translator’s way of smoothing over a difficulty.

3 tn Heb “I will lift up weeping and mourning.”

4 tn Heb “for the mountains.” However, the context makes clear that it is the grasslands or pastures on the mountains that are meant. The words “for the grasslands” are supplied in the translation for clarity.

5 tn The words “the Lord said” are not in the text, but it is obvious from the content that he is the speaker. These words are supplied in the translation for clarity.

6 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

7 tn Heb “a heap of ruins, a haunt for jackals.”

8 tn The words, “I said” are not in the text. It is not clear that a shift in speaker has taken place. However, the words of the verse are very unlikely to be a continuation of the Lord’s threat. It is generally assumed that these are the words of Jeremiah and that a dialogue is going on between him and the Lord in vv. 9-14. That assumption is accepted here.

9 tn Heb “Who is the wise man that he may understand this?”

10 tn Heb “And [who is the man] to whom the mouth of the Lord has spoken that he may explain it?”

11 tn Heb “and they have not walked in it (with “it” referring to “my law”).

12 tn Heb “they have gone/followed after.” See the translator’s note at 2:5 for the idiom.

13 tn Heb “the Baals,” referring either to the pagan gods called “Baals” or the images of Baal (so NLT).

14 tn Or “forefathers,” or “ancestors.” Here the referent could be the immediate parents or, by their example, more distant ancestors.



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