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Jeremiah 10:14-16

Context

10:14 All these idolaters 1  will prove to be stupid and ignorant.

Every goldsmith will be disgraced by the idol he made.

For the image he forges is merely a sham. 2 

There is no breath in any of those idols. 3 

10:15 They are worthless, mere objects to be mocked. 4 

When the time comes to punish them, they will be destroyed.

10:16 The Lord, who is the inheritance 5  of Jacob’s descendants, 6  is not like them.

He is the one who created everything.

And the people of Israel are those he claims as his own. 7 

He is known as the Lord who rules over all.” 8 

1 tn Heb “Every man.” But in the context this is not a reference to all people without exception but to all idolaters. The referent is made explicit for the sake of clarity.

2 tn Or “nothing but a phony god”; Heb “a lie/falsehood.”

3 tn Heb “There is no breath in them.” The referent is made explicit so that no one will mistakenly take it to refer to the idolaters or goldsmiths.

4 tn Or “objects of mockery.”

5 tn The words “The Lord who is” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation for clarity. For the significance of the words that follow them see the study note that follows.

sn The phrase the portion of Jacob’s descendants, which is applied to God here, has its background in the division of the land where each tribe received a portion of the land of Palestine except the tribe of Levi whose “portion” was the Lord. As the other tribes lived off what their portion of the land provided, the tribe of Levi lived off what the Lord provided, i.e., the tithes and offerings dedicated to him. Hence to have the Lord as one’s portion is to have him provide for all one’s needs (see Ps 16:5 in the context of vv. 2, 6 and Lam 3:24 in the context of vv. 22-23).

6 tn Heb “The Portion of Jacob.” “Descendants” is implied, and is supplied in the translation for clarity.

7 tn Heb “And Israel is the tribe of his possession.”

8 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies is his name.”

sn For this rendering of the name for God and its significance see 2:19 and the study note there.



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