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Jeremiah 31:33

Context
31:33 “But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel 1  after I plant them back in the land,” 2  says the Lord. 3  “I will 4  put my law within them 5  and write it on their hearts and minds. 6  I will be their God and they will be my people. 7 

Jeremiah 36:29

Context
36:29 Tell King Jehoiakim of Judah, ‘The Lord says, “You burned the scroll. You asked 8  Jeremiah, ‘How dare you write in this scroll that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land and wipe out all the people and animals on it?’” 9 

1 tn Heb “with the house of Israel.” All commentators agree that the term here refers to both the whole nation which was divided into the house of Israel and the house of Judah in v. 30.

2 tn Heb “after those days.” Commentators are generally agreed that this refers to the return from exile and the repopulation of the land referred to in vv. 27-28 and not to something subsequent to the time mentioned in v. 30. This is the sequencing that is also presupposed in other new covenant passages such as Deut 30:1-6; Ezek 11:17-20; 36:24-28.

3 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

4 tn Heb “‘But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after these days:’ says the Lord, ‘I will….’” The sentence has been reworded and restructured to avoid the awkwardness of the original style.

5 tn Heb “in their inward parts.” The Hebrew word here refers to the seat of the thoughts, emotions, and decisions (Jer 9:8 [9:7 HT]). It is essentially synonymous with “heart” in Hebrew psychological terms.

6 tn The words “and minds” is not in the text but is supplied in the translation to bring the English psychology more into line with the Hebrew where the “heart” is the center both of knowing/thinking/reflecting and deciding/willing.

sn Two contexts are relevant for understanding this statement. First is the context of the first or old covenant which was characterized by a law written on stone tablets (e.g., Exod 32:15-16; 34:1, 28; Deut 4:13; 5:22; 9:10) or in a “book” or “scroll” (Deut 31:9-13) which could be lost (cf. 2 Kgs 22:8), forgotten (Hos 4:6), ignored (Jer 6:19; Amos 4:2), or altered (Jer 8:8). Second is the context of the repeated fault that Jeremiah has found with their stubborn (3:17; 7:24; 9:14; 11:8; 13:10; 16:12; 18:12; 23:17), uncircumcised (4:4; 9:26), and desperately wicked hearts (4:4; 17:9). Radical changes were necessary to get the people to obey the law from the heart and not just pay superficial or lip service to it (3:10; 12:2). Deut 30:1-6; Ezek 11:17-20; 36:24-28 speak of these radical changes. The Lord will remove the “foreskin” of their heart and give them a circumcised heart, or take away their “stony” heart and give them a new heart. With this heart they will be able to obey his laws, statutes, ordinances, and commands (Deut 30:8; Ezek 11:20; 36:27). The new covenant does not entail a new law; it is the same law that Jeremiah has repeatedly accused them of rejecting or ignoring (6:19; 9:13; 16:11; 26:4; 44:10). What does change is their inner commitment to keep it. Jeremiah has already referred to this in Jer 24:7 and will refer to it again in Jer 32:39.

7 sn Compare Jer 24:7; 30:22; 31:1 and see the study note on 30:2.

8 tn Or “In essence you asked.” For explanation see the translator’s note on the end of the verse.

9 tn Heb “You burned this scroll, saying, ‘Why did you write on it, saying, “The king of Babylon will certainly come [the infinitive absolute before the finite verb expresses certainty here as several places elsewhere in Jeremiah] and destroy this land and exterminate from it both man and beast.”’” The sentence raises several difficulties for translating literally. I.e., the “you” in “why did you write” is undefined, though it obviously refers to Jeremiah. The gerund “saying” that introduces ‘Why did you write’ does not fit very well with “you burned the scroll.” Gerunds of this sort are normally explanatory. Lastly, there is no indication in the narrative that Jehoiakim ever directly asked Jeremiah this question. In fact, he had been hidden out of sight so Jehoiakim couldn’t confront him. The question is presented rhetorically, expressing Jehoiakim’s thoughts or intents and giving the rational for burning the scroll, i.e., he questioned Jeremiah’s right to say such things. The translation has attempted to be as literal as possible without resolving some of these difficulties. One level of embedded quotes has been eliminated for greater simplicity. For the rendering of “How dare you” for the interrogative “why do you” see the translator’s note on 26:9.



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