9:1 (8:23) 1 I wish that my head were a well full of water 2
and my eyes were a fountain full of tears!
If they were, I could cry day and night
for those of my dear people 3 who have been killed.
9:2 (9:1) I wish I had a lodging place in the desert
where I could spend some time like a weary traveler. 4
Then I would desert my people
and walk away from them
because they are all unfaithful to God,
a congregation 5 of people that has been disloyal to him. 6
9:3 The Lord says, 7
“These people are like soldiers who have readied their bows.
Their tongues are always ready to shoot out lies. 8
They have become powerful in the land,
but they have not done so by honest means. 9
Indeed, they do one evil thing after another 10
and do not pay attention to me. 11
9:4 Everyone must be on his guard around his friends.
He must not even trust any of his relatives. 12
For every one of them will find some way to cheat him. 13
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 14 to tell lies.
They do wrong and are unable to repent.
9:6 They do one act of violence after another,
and one deceitful thing after another. 15
They refuse to pay attention to me,” 16
says the Lord.
9:7 Therefore the Lord who rules over all says, 17
“I will now purify them in the fires of affliction 18 and test them.
The wickedness of my dear people 19 has left me no choice.
What else can I do? 20
9:8 Their tongues are like deadly arrows. 21
They are always telling lies. 22
Friendly words for their neighbors come from their mouths.
But their minds are thinking up ways to trap them. 23
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!” 24
9:10 I said, 25
“I will weep and mourn 26 for the grasslands on the mountains, 27
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, 28
“I will make Jerusalem 29 a heap of ruins.
Jackals will make their home there. 30
I will destroy the towns of Judah
so that no one will be able to live in them.”
9:12 I said, 31
“Who is wise enough to understand why this has happened? 32
Who has a word from the Lord that can explain it? 33
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. 34 9:14 Instead they have followed the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts. They have paid allegiance to 35 the gods called Baal, 36 as their fathers 37 taught them to do. 9:15 So then, listen to what I, the Lord God of Israel who rules over all, 38 say. 39 ‘I will make these people eat the bitter food of suffering and drink the poison water of judgment. 40 9:16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors 41 have known anything about. I will send people chasing after them with swords 42 until I have destroyed them.’” 43
9:17 The Lord who rules over all 44 told me to say to this people, 45
“Take note of what I say. 46
Call for the women who mourn for the dead!
Summon those who are the most skilled at it!” 47
9:18 I said, “Indeed, 48 let them come quickly and sing a song of mourning for us.
Let them wail loudly until tears stream from our own eyes
and our eyelids overflow with water.
9:19 For the sound of wailing is soon to be heard in Zion.
They will wail, 49 ‘We are utterly ruined! 50 We are completely disgraced!
For our houses have been torn down
and we must leave our land.’” 51
9:20 I said, 52
“So now, 53 you wailing women, hear what the Lord says. 54
Open your ears to the words from his mouth.
Teach your daughters this mournful song,
and each of you teach your neighbor 55 this lament.
9:21 ‘Death has climbed in 56 through our windows.
It has entered into our fortified houses.
It has taken away our children who play in the streets.
It has taken away our young men who gather in the city squares.’
9:22 Tell your daughters and neighbors, ‘The Lord says,
“The dead bodies of people will lie scattered everywhere
like manure scattered on a field.
They will lie scattered on the ground
like grain that has been cut down but has not been gathered.”’” 57
9:23 58 The Lord says,
“Wise people should not boast that they are wise.
Powerful people should not boast that they are powerful. 59
Rich people should not boast that they are rich. 60
9:24 If people want to boast, they should boast about this:
They should boast that they understand and know me.
They should boast that they know and understand
that I, the Lord, act out of faithfulness, fairness, and justice in the earth
and that I desire people to do these things,” 61
says the Lord.
9:25 The Lord says, “Watch out! 62 The time is soon coming when I will punish all those who are circumcised only in the flesh. 63 9:26 That is, I will punish the Egyptians, the Judeans, the Edomites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, and all the desert people who cut their hair short at the temples. 64 I will do so because none of the people of those nations are really circumcised in the Lord’s sight. 65 Moreover, none of the people of Israel 66 are circumcised when it comes to their hearts.” 67
10:1 You people of Israel, 68 listen to what the Lord has to say to you.
10:2 The Lord says,
“Do not start following pagan religious practices. 69
Do not be in awe of signs that occur 70 in the sky
even though the nations hold them in awe.
10:3 For the religion 71 of these people is worthless.
They cut down a tree in the forest,
and a craftsman makes it into an idol with his tools. 72
10:4 He decorates it with overlays of silver and gold.
He uses hammer and nails to fasten it 73 together
so that it will not fall over.
10:5 Such idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field.
They cannot talk.
They must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them
because they cannot hurt you.
And they do not have any power to help you.” 74
10:6 I said, 75
“There is no one like you, Lord. 76
You are great.
And you are renowned for your power. 77
10:7 Everyone should revere you, O King of all nations, 78
because you deserve to be revered. 79
For there is no one like you
among any of the wise people of the nations nor among any of their kings. 80
10:8 The people of those nations 81 are both stupid and foolish.
Instruction from a wooden idol is worthless! 82
10:9 Hammered-out silver is brought from Tarshish 83
and gold is brought from Uphaz 84 to cover those idols. 85
They are the handiwork of carpenters and goldsmiths. 86
They are clothed in blue and purple clothes. 87
They are all made by skillful workers. 88
10:10 The Lord is the only true God.
He is the living God and the everlasting King.
When he shows his anger the earth shakes.
None of the nations can stand up to his fury.
10:11 You people of Israel should tell those nations this:
‘These gods did not make heaven and earth.
They will disappear 89 from the earth and from under the heavens.’ 90
10:12 The Lord is the one who 91 by his power made the earth.
He is the one who by his wisdom established the world.
And by his understanding he spread out the skies.
10:13 When his voice thunders, 92 the heavenly ocean roars.
He makes the clouds rise from the far-off horizons. 93
He makes the lightning flash out in the midst of the rain.
He unleashes the wind from the places where he stores it. 94
10:14 All these idolaters 95 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. 96
There is no breath in any of those idols. 97
10:15 They are worthless, mere objects to be mocked. 98
When the time comes to punish them, they will be destroyed.
10:16 The Lord, who is the inheritance 99 of Jacob’s descendants, 100 is not like them.
He is the one who created everything.
And the people of Israel are those he claims as his own. 101
He is known as the Lord who rules over all.” 102
10:17 Gather your belongings together and prepare to leave the land,
you people of Jerusalem 103 who are being besieged. 104
10:18 For the Lord says, “I will now throw out
those who live in this land.
I will bring so much trouble on them
that they will actually feel it.” 105
10:19 And I cried out, 106 “We are doomed! 107
Our wound is severe!
We once thought, ‘This is only an illness.
And we will be able to bear it!’ 108
10:20 But our tents have been destroyed.
The ropes that held them in place have been ripped apart. 109
Our children are gone and are not coming back. 110
There is no survivor to put our tents back up,
no one left to hang their tent curtains in place.
10:21 For our leaders 111 are stupid.
They have not sought the Lord’s advice. 112
So they do not act wisely,
and the people they are responsible for 113 have all been scattered.
10:22 Listen! News is coming even now. 114
The rumble of a great army is heard approaching 115 from a land in the north. 116
It is coming to turn the towns of Judah into rubble,
places where only jackals live.
10:23 Lord, we know that people do not control their own destiny. 117
It is not in their power to determine what will happen to them. 118
10:24 Correct us, Lord, but only in due measure. 119
Do not punish us in anger or you will reduce us to nothing. 120
10:25 Vent your anger on the nations that do not acknowledge you. 121
Vent it on the peoples 122 who do not worship you. 123
For they have destroyed the people of Jacob. 124
They have completely destroyed them 125
and left their homeland in utter ruin.
11:1 The Lord said to Jeremiah: 126 11:2 “Hear 127 the terms of the covenant 128 I made with Israel 129 and pass them on 130 to the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. 131 11:3 Tell them that the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘Anyone who does not keep the terms of the covenant will be under a curse. 132 11:4 Those are the terms that I charged your ancestors 133 to keep 134 when I brought them out of Egypt, that place which was like an iron-smelting furnace. 135 I said at that time, 136 “Obey me and carry out the terms of the agreement 137 exactly as I commanded you. If you do, 138 you will be my people and I will be your God. 139 11:5 Then I will keep the promise I swore on oath to your ancestors to give them a land flowing with milk and honey.” 140 That is the very land that you still live in today.’” 141 And I responded, “Amen! Let it be so, 142 Lord!”
11:6 The Lord said to me, “Announce all the following words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the terms of my covenant with you 143 and carry them out! 11:7 For I solemnly warned your ancestors to obey me. 144 I warned them again and again, 145 ever since I delivered them out of Egypt until this very day. 11:8 But they did not listen to me or pay any attention to me! Each one of them followed the stubborn inclinations of his own wicked heart. So I brought on them all the punishments threatened in the covenant because they did not carry out its terms as I commanded them to do.’” 146
11:9 The Lord said to me, “The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem have plotted rebellion against me! 147 11:10 They have gone back to the evil ways 148 of their ancestors of old who refused to obey what I told them. They, too, have paid allegiance to 149 other gods and worshiped them. Both the nation of Israel and the nation of Judah 150 have violated the covenant I made with their ancestors. 11:11 So I, the Lord, say this: 151 ‘I will soon bring disaster on them which they will not be able to escape! When they cry out to me for help, I will not listen to them. 11:12 Then those living in the towns of Judah and in Jerusalem will 152 go and cry out for help to the gods to whom they have been sacrificing. However, those gods will by no means 153 be able to save them when disaster strikes them. 11:13 This is in spite of the fact that 154 the people of Judah have as many gods as they have towns 155 and the citizens of Jerusalem have set up as many altars to sacrifice to that disgusting god, Baal, as they have streets in the city!’ 156 11:14 So, Jeremiah, 157 do not pray for these people. Do not cry out to me or petition me on their behalf. Do not plead with me to save them. 158 For I will not listen to them when they call out to me for help when disaster strikes them.” 159
11:15 The Lord says to the people of Judah, 160
“What right do you have to be in my temple, my beloved people? 161
Many of you have done wicked things. 162
Can your acts of treachery be so easily canceled by sacred offerings 163
that you take joy in doing evil even while you make them? 164
11:16 I, the Lord, once called 165 you a thriving olive tree,
one that produced beautiful fruit.
But I will set you 166 on fire,
fire that will blaze with a mighty roar. 167
Then all your branches will be good for nothing. 168
11:17 For though I, the Lord who rules over all, 169 planted you in the land, 170
I now decree that disaster will come on you 171
because the nations of Israel and Judah have done evil
and have made me angry by offering sacrifices to the god Baal.” 172
11:18 The Lord gave me knowledge, that I might have understanding. 173
Then he showed me what the people were doing. 174
11:19 Before this I had been like a docile lamb ready to be led to the slaughter.
I did not know they were making plans to kill me. 175
I did not know they were saying, 176
“Let’s destroy the tree along with its fruit! 177
Let’s remove Jeremiah 178 from the world of the living
so people will not even be reminded of him any more.” 179
11:20 So I said to the Lord, 180
“O Lord who rules over all, 181 you are a just judge!
You examine people’s hearts and minds. 182
I want to see you pay them back for what they have done
because I trust you to vindicate my cause.” 183
11:21 Then the Lord told me about 184 some men from Anathoth 185 who were threatening to kill me. 186 They had threatened, 187 “Stop prophesying in the name of the Lord or we will kill you!” 188 11:22 So the Lord who rules over all 189 said, “I will surely 190 punish them! Their young men will be killed in battle. 191 Their sons and daughters will die of starvation. 11:23 Not one of them will survive. 192 I will bring disaster on those men from Anathoth who threatened you. 193 A day of reckoning is coming for them.” 194
12:1 Lord, you have always been fair
whenever I have complained to you. 195
However, I would like to speak with you about the disposition of justice. 196
Why are wicked people successful? 197
Why do all dishonest people have such easy lives?
12:2 You plant them like trees and they put down their roots. 198
They grow prosperous and are very fruitful. 199
They always talk about you,
but they really care nothing about you. 200
12:3 But you, Lord, know all about me.
You watch me and test my devotion to you. 201
Drag these wicked men away like sheep to be slaughtered!
Appoint a time when they will be killed! 202
12:4 How long must the land be parched 203
and the grass in every field be withered?
How long 204 must the animals and the birds die
because of the wickedness of the people who live in this land? 205
For these people boast,
“God 206 will not see what happens to us.” 207
12:5 The Lord answered, 208
“If you have raced on foot against men and they have worn you out,
how will you be able to compete with horses?
And if you feel secure only 209 in safe and open country, 210
how will you manage in the thick undergrowth along the Jordan River? 211
12:6 As a matter of fact, 212 even your own brothers
and the members of your own family have betrayed you too.
Even they have plotted to do away with you. 213
So do not trust them even when they say kind things 214 to you.
12:7 “I will abandon my nation. 215
I will forsake the people I call my own. 216
I will turn my beloved people 217
over to the power 218 of their enemies.
12:8 The people I call my own 219 have turned on me
like a lion 220 in the forest.
They have roared defiantly 221 at me.
So I will treat them as though I hate them. 222
12:9 The people I call my own attack me like birds of prey or like hyenas. 223
But other birds of prey are all around them. 224
Let all the nations gather together like wild beasts.
Let them come and destroy these people I call my own. 225
12:10 Many foreign rulers 226 will ruin the land where I planted my people. 227
They will trample all over my chosen land. 228
They will turn my beautiful land
into a desolate wasteland.
12:11 They will lay it waste.
It will lie parched 229 and empty before me.
The whole land will be laid waste.
But no one living in it will pay any heed. 230
12:12 A destructive army 231 will come marching
over the hilltops in the desert.
For the Lord will use them as his destructive weapon 232
against 233 everyone from one end of the land to the other.
No one will be safe. 234
12:13 My people will sow wheat, but will harvest weeds. 235
They will work until they are exhausted, but will get nothing from it.
They will be disappointed in their harvests 236
because the Lord will take them away in his fierce anger. 237
12:14 “I, the Lord, also have something to say concerning 238 the wicked nations who surround my land 239 and have attacked and plundered 240 the land that I gave to my people as a permanent possession. 241 I say: ‘I will uproot the people of those nations from their lands and I will free the people of Judah who have been taken there. 242 12:15 But after I have uprooted the people of those nations, I will relent 243 and have pity on them. I will restore the people of each of those nations to their own lands 244 and to their own country. 12:16 But they must make sure you learn to follow the religious practices of my people. 245 Once they taught my people to swear their oaths using the name of the god Baal. 246 But then, they must swear oaths using my name, saying, “As surely as the Lord lives, I swear.” 247 If they do these things, 248 then they will be included among the people I call my own. 249 12:17 But I will completely uproot and destroy any of those nations that will not pay heed,’” 250 says the Lord.
1 sn Beginning with 9:1, the verse numbers through 9:26 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 9:1 ET = 8:23 HT, 9:2 ET = 9:1 HT, 9:3 ET = 9:2 HT, etc., through 9:26 ET = 9:25 HT. Beginning with 10:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same.
2 tn Heb “I wish that my head were water.”
3 tn Heb “daughter of my people.” For the translation given here see 4:11 and the note on the phrase “dear people” there.
4 tn Heb “I wish I had in the desert a lodging place [inn, or place to spend the night] for travelers.”
5 tn Or “bunch,” but this loses the irony; the word is used for the solemn assemblies at the religious feasts.
6 tn Heb “they are all adulterers, a congregation of unfaithful people.” However, spiritual adultery is, of course, meant, not literal adultery. So the literal translation would be misleading.
7 tn The words “The
8 tn Heb “They have readied [or strung] their tongue as their bow for lies.”
9 tn Heb “but not through honesty.”
10 tn Heb “they go from evil to evil.”
11 tn Or “do not acknowledge me”; Heb “do not know me.” But “knowing” in Hebrew thought often involves more than intellectual knowledge; it involves emotional and volitional commitment as well. For יָדַע meaning “acknowledge” see 1 Chr 28:9; Isa 29:21; Hos 2:20; Prov 3:6. This word is also found in ancient Near Eastern treaty contexts where it has the idea of a vassal king acknowledging the sovereignty of a greater king (cf. H. Huffmon, “The Treaty Background of Hebrew yada,” BASOR 181 : 31-37).
12 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).
13 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 ya’qob).
14 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.
15 tc An alternate reading for vv. 5d-6b is: “They wear themselves out doing wrong. Jeremiah, you live in the midst of deceitful people. They deceitfully refuse to take any thought of/acknowledge me.” The translation which has been adopted is based on a redivision of the lines, a redivision of some of the words, and a revocalization of some of the consonants. The MT reads literally “doing wrong they weary themselves. Your sitting in the midst of deceit; in deceit they refuse to know me” (הַעֲוֵה נִלְאוּ׃ שִׁבְתְּךָ בְּתוֹךְ מִרְמָה בְּמִרְמָה מֵאֲנוּ דַעַת־אוֹתִי). The Greek version reads literally “they do wrong and they do not cease to turn themselves around. Usury upon usury and deceit upon deceit. They do not want to know me.” This suggests that one should read the Hebrew text as שֻׁב׃ תֹּךְ בְּתוֹךְ מִרְ־מָה בְּמִרְ־מָה מֵאֲנוּ דַעַת אוֹתִי הַעֲוֵה נִלְאוּ, which translated literally yields “doing evil [= “they do evil” using the Hiphil infinitive absolute as a finite verb (cf. GKC 346 §113.ff)] they are not able [cf. KBL 468 s.v. לָאָה Niph.3 and see Exod 7:18 for parallel use] to repent. Oppression on oppression [cf. BDB 1067 s.v. תֹּךְ, II תּוֹךְ]; deceit on deceit. They refuse to know me.” This reading has ancient support and avoids the introduction of an unexpected second masculine suffix into the context. It has been adopted here along with a number of modern commentaries (cf., e.g., W. McKane, Jeremiah [ICC], 1:201) and English versions as the more likely reading.
16 tn Or “do not acknowledge me”; Heb “do not know me.” See the note on the phrase “do not take any thought of me” in 9:3.
17 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”
sn For the significance of this title see the notes at 2:19 and 7:3.
18 tn Heb “I will refine/purify them.” The words “in the fires of affliction” are supplied in the translation to give clarity to the metaphor.
19 tn Heb “daughter of my people.” For the translation given here see 4:11 and the note on the phrase “dear people” there.
20 tc Heb “For how else shall I deal because of the wickedness of the daughter of my people.” The MT does not have the word “wickedness.” The word, however, is read in the Greek version. This is probably a case of a word dropping out because of its similarities to the consonants preceding or following it (i.e., haplography). The word “wickedness” (רַעַת, ra’at) has dropped out before the words “my dear people” (בַּת־עַמִּי, bat-’ammi). The causal nuance which is normal for מִפְּנֵי (mippÿne) does not make sense without some word like this, and the combination of רַעַת מִפְּנֵי (mippÿne ra’at) does occur in Jer 7:12 and one very like it occurs in Jer 26:3.
21 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.
22 tn Heb “They speak deceit.”
23 tn Heb “With his mouth a person speaks peace to his neighbor, but in his heart he sets an ambush for him.”
24 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.
25 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.
26 tn Heb “I will lift up weeping and mourning.”
27 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.
28 tn The words “the
29 map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.
30 tn Heb “a heap of ruins, a haunt for jackals.”
31 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
32 tn Heb “Who is the wise man that he may understand this?”
33 tn Heb “And [who is the man] to whom the mouth of the
34 tn Heb “and they have not walked in it (with “it” referring to “my law”).
35 tn Heb “they have gone/followed after.” See the translator’s note at 2:5 for the idiom.
36 tn Heb “the Baals,” referring either to the pagan gods called “Baals” or the images of Baal (so NLT).
37 tn Or “forefathers,” or “ancestors.” Here the referent could be the immediate parents or, by their example, more distant ancestors.
38 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.”
sn See the study notes on 2:9 and 7:3.
39 tn Heb “Therefore, thus says the
40 tn Heb “I will feed this people wormwood and make them drink poison water.” “Wormwood” and “poison water” are not to be understood literally here but are symbolic of judgment and suffering. See, e.g., BDB 542 s.v. לַעֲנָה.
41 tn Heb “fathers.”
42 tn Heb “I will send the sword after them.” The sword here is probably not completely literal but refers to death by violent means, including death by the sword.
43 sn He will destroy them but not completely. See Jer 5:18; 30:11; 46:28.
44 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”
sn For the significance of this title see the notes at 2:19 and 7:3.
45 tn Heb “Thus says Yahweh of armies.” However, without some addition it is not clear to whom the command is addressed. The words are supplied in the translation for clarity and to help resolve a rather confusing issue of who is speaking throughout vv. 16-21. As has been evident throughout the translation, the speaker is not always indicated. Sometimes it is not even clear who the speaker is. In general the translation and the notes have reflected the general consensus in identifying who it is. Here, however, there is a good deal of confusion about who is speaking in vv. 18, 20-21. The Greek translation has the
46 tn Heb “Consider!”
47 tn Heb “Call for the mourning women that they may come and send for the wise/skilled women that they may come.” The verbs here are masculine plural, addressed to the people.
48 tn The words “And I said, ‘Indeed” are not in the text. They have been supplied in the translation to try and help clarify who the speaker is who identifies with the lament of the people.
49 tn The words “They will wail” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation to make clear that this is the wailing that will be heard.
sn The destruction is still in the future, but it is presented graphically as though it had already taken place.
50 tn Heb “How we are ruined!”
51 tn The order of these two lines has been reversed for English stylistic reasons. The text reads in Hebrew “because we have left our land because they have thrown down our dwellings.” The two clauses offer parallel reasons for the cries “How ruined we are! [How] we are greatly disgraced!” But the first line must contain a prophetic perfect (because the lament comes from Jerusalem) and the second a perfect referring to a destruction that is itself future. This seems the only way to render the verse that would not be misleading.
52 tn The words “I said” are not in the text. The text merely has “Indeed, yes.” The words are supplied in the translation to indicate that the speaker is still Jeremiah though he now is not talking about the mourning woman but is talking to them. See the notes on 9:17-18 for further explanation.
53 tn It is a little difficult to explain how the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) is functioning here. W. L. Holladay (Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 1:311) may be correct in seeing it as introducing the contents of what those who call for the mourning women are to say. In this case, Jeremiah picks up the task as representative of the people.
54 tn Heb “Listen to the word of the
sn In this context the “word of the
55 tn Heb “Teach…mournful song, and each woman her neighbor lady…”
56 sn Here Death is personified (treated as though it were a person). Some have seen as possible background to this lament an allusion to Mesopotamian mythology where the demon Lamastu climbs in through the windows of houses and over their walls to kill children and babies.
57 tn Or “‘Death has climbed…city squares. And the dead bodies of people lie scattered…They lie scattered…but has not been gathered.’ The
58 sn It is not always clear why verses were placed in their present position in the editorial process of collecting Jeremiah’s sermons and the words the
59 tn Or “Strong people should not brag that they are strong.”
60 tn Heb “…in their wisdom…in their power…in their riches.”
61 tn Or “fairness and justice, because these things give me pleasure.” Verse 24 reads in Hebrew, “But let the one who brags brag in this: understanding and knowing me that I, the
62 tn Heb “Behold!”
63 tn Heb “punish all who are circumcised in the flesh.” The translation is contextually motivated to better bring out the contrast that follows.
64 tn Heb “all those who are cut off on the side of the head who live in the desert.” KJV and some other English versions (e.g., NIV “who live in the desert in distant places”; NLT “who live in distant places”) have followed the interpretation that this is a biform of an expression meaning “end or remote parts of the [far] corners [of the earth].” This interpretation is generally abandoned by the more recent commentaries and lexicons (see, e.g. BDB 802 s.v. פֵּאָה 1 and HALOT 858 s.v. פֵּאָה 1.β). It occurs also in 25:33; 49:32.
65 tn Heb “For all of these nations are uncircumcised.” The words “I will do so” are supplied in the translation to indicate the connection with the preceding statement.
sn A contrast is drawn here between circumcision as a mere external cutting of the flesh and a sign of commitment to the covenant and the God of the covenant. The people of these nations practiced circumcision but not as a sign of the covenant. The people of Israel engaged in it as a religious practice but without any obedience to the covenant that it was a sign of or any real commitment to the
66 tn Heb “house of Israel.”
67 tn Heb “And all the house of Israel is uncircumcised of heart.”
68 tn Heb “house of Israel.”
69 tn Heb “Do not learn the way of the nations.” For this use of the word “ways” (דֶּרֶךְ, derekh) compare for example Jer 12:16 and Isa 2:6.
70 tn Heb “signs.” The words “that occur” are supplied in the translation for clarity.
sn The Hebrew word translated here “things that go on in the sky” (אֹתוֹת, ’otot) refers both to unusual disturbances such as eclipses, comets, meteors, etc., but also to such things as the changes in the position of the sun, moon, and stars in conjunction with the changes in seasons (cf. Gen 1:14). The people of Assyria and Babylonia worshiped the sun, moon, and stars, thinking that these heavenly bodies had some hold over them.
71 tn Heb “statutes.” According to BDB 350 s.v. חֻקָּה 2.b it refers to the firmly established customs or practices of the pagan nations. Compare the usage in Lev 20:23; 2 Kgs 17:8. Here it is essentially equivalent to דֶּרֶךְ (derekh) in v. 1, which has already been translated “religious practices.”
72 sn This passage is dripping with sarcasm. It begins by talking about the “statutes” of the pagan peoples as a “vapor” using a singular copula and singular predicate. Then it suppresses the subject, the idol, as though it were too horrible to mention, using only the predications about it. The last two lines read literally: “[it is] a tree which one cuts down from the forest; the work of the hands of a craftsman with his chisel.”
73 tn The pronoun is plural in Hebrew, referring to the parts.
74 tn Heb “And it is not in them to do good either.”
75 tn The words “I said” are not in the Hebrew text, but there appears to be a shift in speaker. Someone is now addressing the
76 tn The form that introduces this line has raised debate. The form מֵאֵין (me’en) normally means “without” and introduces a qualification of a term expressing desolation or “so that not” and introduces a negative result (cf. BDB 35 s.v. II אַיִן 6.b). Neither of these nuances fit either this verse or the occurrence in v. 7. BDB 35 s.v. II אַיִן 6.b.γ notes that some have explained this as a strengthened form of אַיִן (’ayin) which occurs in a similar phrase five other times (cf., e.g., 1 Kgs 8:23). Though many including BDB question the validity of this solution it is probably better than the suggestion that BDB gives of repointing to מֵאַיִן (me’ayin, “whence”), which scarcely fits the context of v. 7, or the solution of HALOT 41 s.v. I אַיִן, which suggests that the מ (mem) is a double writing (dittograph) of the final consonant from the preceding word. That would assume that the scribe made the same error twice or was influenced the second time by the first erroneous writing.
77 tn Heb “Great is your name in power.”
78 tn Heb “Who should not revere you…?” The question is rhetorical and expects a negative answer.
79 tn Heb “For it is fitting to you.”
80 tn Heb “their royalty/dominion.” This is a case of substitution of the abstract for the concrete “royalty, royal power” for “kings” who exercise it.
81 tn Or “Those wise people and kings are…” It is unclear whether the subject is the “they” of the nations in the preceding verse, or the wise people and kings referred to. The text merely has “they.”
82 tn Heb “The instruction of vanities [worthless idols] is wood.” The meaning of this line is a little uncertain. Various proposals have been made to make sense, most of which involve radical emendation of the text. For some examples see J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah (NICOT), 323-24, fn 6. However, this is probably a case of the bold predication that discussed in GKC 452 §141.d, some examples of which may be seen in Ps 109:4 “I am prayer,” and Ps 120:7 “I am peace.”
83 tc Two Qumran scrolls of Jeremiah (4QJera and 4QJerb) reflect a Hebrew text that is very different than the traditional MT from which modern Bibles have been translated. The Hebrew text in these two manuscripts is similar to that from which LXX was translated. This is true both in small details and in major aspects where the LXX differs from MT. Most notably, 4QJera, 4QJerb and LXX present a version of Jeremiah about 13% shorter than the longer version found in MT. One example of this shorter text is Jer 10:3-11 in which MT and 4QJera both have all nine verses, while LXX and 4QJerb both lack vv. 6-8 and 10, which extol the greatness of God. In addition, the latter part of v. 9 is arranged differently in LXX and 4QJerb. The translation here follows MT which is supported by 4QJera.
84 tn This is a place of unknown location. It is mentioned again in Dan 10:5. Many emend the word to “Ophir” following the Syriac version and the Aramaic Targum. Ophir was famous for its gold (cf. 1 Kgs 9:28; Job 28:16).
85 tn The words “to cover those idols” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.
86 tn The words “They are” are not in the text. The text reads merely, “the work of the carpenter and of the hands of the goldsmith.” The words are supplied in the translation for clarity.
87 tn Heb “Blue and purple their clothing.”
88 sn There is an ironic pun in this last line. The Hebrew word translated “skillful workers” is the same word that is translated “wise people” in v. 7. The artisans do their work skillfully but they are not “wise.”
89 tn Aram “The gods who did not make…earth will disappear…” The sentence is broken up in the translation to avoid a long, complex English sentence in conformity with contemporary English style.
90 tn This verse is in Aramaic. It is the only Aramaic sentence in Jeremiah. Scholars debate the appropriateness of this verse to this context. Many see it as a gloss added by a postexilic scribe which was later incorporated into the text. Both R. E. Clendenen (“Discourse Strategies in Jeremiah 10,” JBL 106 : 401-8) and W. L. Holladay (Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 1:324-25, 334-35) have given detailed arguments that the passage is not only original but the climax and center of the contrast between the
sn This passage is carefully structured and placed to contrast the
91 tn The words “The
92 tn Heb “At the voice of his giving.” The idiom “to give the voice” is often used for thunder (cf. BDB 679 s.v. נָתַן Qal.1.x).
93 tn Heb “from the ends of the earth.”
94 tn Heb “he brings out the winds from his storehouses.”
95 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.
96 tn Or “nothing but a phony god”; Heb “a lie/falsehood.”
97 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.
98 tn Or “objects of mockery.”
99 tn The words “The
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
100 tn Heb “The Portion of Jacob.” “Descendants” is implied, and is supplied in the translation for clarity.
101 tn Heb “And Israel is the tribe of his possession.”
102 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.
103 map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.
104 tn Heb “you who are living in/under siege.” The pronouns in this verse are feminine singular in Hebrew. Jerusalem is being personified as a single woman. This personification carries on down through v. 19 where she speaks in the first person. It is difficult, however, to reflect this in a translation that conveys any meaning without being somewhat paraphrastic like this.
105 tn The meaning of this last line is somewhat uncertain: Heb “I will cause them distress in order that [or with the result that] they will find.” The absence of an object for the verb “find” has led to conjecture that the text is wrong. Some commentators follow the lead of the Greek and Latin versions which read the verb as a passive: “they will be found,” i.e., be caught and captured. Others follow a suggestion by G. R. Driver (“Linguistic and Textual Problems: Jeremiah,” JQR 28 [1937-38]: 107) that the verb be read not as “they will find” (יִמְצָאוּ [yimtsa’u] from מָצָא [matsa’]) but “they will be squeezed/ drained” (יִמְצוּ [yimtsu] from מָצָה [matsah]). The translation adopted assumes that this is an example of the ellipsis of the object supplied from the context (cf. E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 8-12). For a similar nuance for the verb “find” = “feel/experience” see BDB 592 s.v. מָצָא Qal.1.f and compare the usage in Ps 116:3.
106 tn The words, “And I cried out” are not in the text. It is not altogether clear who the speaker is in vv. 19-25. The words of vv. 19-20 would best be assigned to a personified Jerusalem who laments the destruction of her city (under the figure of a tent) and the exile of her children (under the figure of children). However, the words of v. 21 which assign responsibility to the rulers do not fit well in the mouth of the people but do fit Jeremiah. The words of v. 22 are very appropriate to Jeremiah being similar to the report in 4:19-20. Likewise the words of v. 23 which appear to express man’s incapacity to control his own destiny and his resignation to the fate which awaits him in the light of v. 24 seem more appropriate to Jeremiah than to the people. There has been no indication elsewhere that the people have shown any indication of being resigned to their fate or willing to accept their punishment. Though the issue is far from resolved a majority of commentators see Jeremiah as the speaker so identifying himself with their fate that he speaks as though he were this personified figure. It is not altogether out of the question, however, that the speaker throughout is personified Jerusalem though I know of no commentator who takes that view. For those who are interested, the most thorough discussion of the issue is probably to be found in W. McKane, Jeremiah (ICC), 1:230-35, especially 233-35. Rendering the pronouns throughout as “we” and “our” alleviates some of the difficulty but some speaker needs to be identified in the introduction to allay any possible confusion. Hence I have opted for what is the majority view.
107 tn Heb “Woe to me on account of my wound.” The words “woe to” in many contexts carry the connotation of hopelessness and of inevitable doom (cf. 1 Sam 4:7, 8; Isa 6:5), hence a “deadly blow.” See also the usage in 4:13, 31; 6:4 and the notes on 4:13. For the rendering of the pronoun as “we” and “our” here and in the verses to follow see the preceding note.
108 tn Some interpret this as a resignation to the punishment inflicted and translate “But I said, ‘This is my punishment and I will just need to bear it.’” This is unlikely given the meaning and usage of the word rendered “sickness” (חֳלִי, khali), the absence of the pronoun “my,” and the likelihood that the particle אַךְ means “only” not “indeed” (cf. BDB s.v. אַךְ 2.b and compare its usage in v. 24).
sn What is being referred to here is the feeling that was encouraged by the false prophets that the ill fortunes of the nation were just temporary setbacks and everything would soon get better (cf. 6:14; 8:11).
109 tn Heb “My tent has been destroyed and my tent cords have been ripped apart.” For a very similar identification of Jeremiah’s plight with the plight of the personified community see 4:20 and the notes there.
110 tn Heb “my children have gone from me and are no more.”
sn What is being referred to is the exile of the people of the land. This passage could refer to the exiles of 605
111 tn Heb “the shepherds.”
112 tn Heb “They have not sought the
sn The idiom translated sought the
113 tn Heb “all their flock (or “pasturage”).”
sn This verse uses the figure of rulers as shepherds and the people they ruled as sheep. It is a common figure in the Bible. See Ezek 34 for an extended development of this metaphor.
114 tn Heb “The sound of a report, behold, it is coming.”
115 tn Heb “ coming, even a great quaking.”
116 sn Compare Jer 6:22.
117 tn Heb “Not to the man his way.” For the nuance of “fate, destiny, or the way things turn out” for the Hebrew word “way” see Hag 1:5, Isa 40:27 and probably Ps 49:13 (cf. KBL 218 s.v. דֶּרֶךְ 5). For the idea of “control” or “hold in one’s power” for the preposition “to” see Ps 3:8 (cf. BDB 513 s.v. לְ 5.b[a]).
118 tn Heb “Not to a man the walking and the establishing his step.”
119 tn Heb “with justice.”
120 tn The words, “to almost nothing” are not in the text. They are implicit from the general context and are supplied by almost all English versions.
121 tn Heb “know you.” For this use of the word “know” (יָדַע, yada’) see the note on 9:3.
122 tn Heb “tribes/clans.”
123 tn Heb “who do not call on your name.” The idiom “to call on your name” (directed to God) refers to prayer (mainly) and praise. See 1 Kgs 18:24-26 and Ps 116:13, 17. Here “calling on your name” is parallel to “acknowledging you.” In many locations in the OT “name” is equivalent to the person. In the OT, the “name” reflected the person’s character (cf. Gen 27:36; 1 Sam 25:25) or his reputation (Gen 11:4; 2 Sam 8:13). To speak in a person’s name was to act as his representative or carry his authority (1 Sam 25:9; 1 Kgs 21:8). To call someone’s name over something was to claim it for one’s own (2 Sam 12:28).
124 tn Heb “have devoured Jacob.”
125 tn Or “have almost completely destroyed them”; Heb “they have devoured them and consumed them.” The figure of hyperbole is used here; elsewhere Jeremiah and God refer to the fact that they will not be completely consumed. See for example 4:27; 5:10, 18.
126 tn Heb “The word which came to Jeremiah from the
127 tn The form is a second masculine plural which is followed in the MT of vv. 2-3 by second masculine singulars. This plus the fact that the whole clause “listen to the terms of this covenant” is nearly repeated at the end of v. 3 has led many modern scholars to delete the whole clause (cf., e.g. W. McKane, Jeremiah [ICC], 1:236-37). However, this only leads to further adjustments in the rest of the verse which are difficult to justify. The form has also led to a good deal of speculation about who these others were that are initially addressed here. The juxtaposition of second plural and singular forms has a precedent in Deuteronomy, where the nation is sometimes addressed with the plural and at other times with a collective singular.
128 sn The covenant I made with Israel. Apart from the legal profession and Jewish and Christian tradition the term “covenant” may not be too familiar. There were essentially three kinds of “covenants” that were referred to under the Hebrew term used here: (1) “Parity treaties” or “covenants” between equals in which each party pledged itself to certain agreed upon stipulations and took an oath to it in the name of their god or gods (cf. Gen 31:44-54); (2) “Suzerain-vassal treaties” or “covenants” in which a great king pledged himself to protect the vassal’s realm and his right to rule over his own domain in exchange for sovereignty over the vassal, including the rendering of absolute loyalty and submission to the great king’s demands spelled out in detailed stipulations; (3) “Covenants of grant” in which a great king granted to a loyal servant or vassal king permanent title to a piece of land or dominion over a specified realm in recognition of past service. It is generally recognized that the Mosaic covenant which is being referred to here is of the second type and that it resembles in kind the ancient Near Eastern suzerain-vassal treaties. These treaties typically contained the following elements: (1) a preamble identifying the great king (cf. Exod 20:2a; Deut 1:1-4); (2) a historical prologue summarizing the great king’s past benefactions as motivation for future loyalty (cf. Exod 20:2b; Deut 1:5–4:43); (3) the primary stipulation of absolute and unconditional loyalty (cf. Exod 20:3-8; Deut 5:1–11:32); (4) specific stipulations governing future relations between the vassal and the great king and the vassal’s relation to other vassals (cf. Exod 20:22–23:33; Deut 12:1–26:15); (5) the invoking of curses on the vassal for disloyalty and the pronouncing of blessing on him for loyalty (cf. Lev 26; Deut 27-28); (6) the invoking of witnesses to the covenant, often the great king’s and the vassal’s gods (cf. Deut 30:19; 31:28 where the reference is to the “heavens and the earth” as enduring witnesses). It is also generally agreed that the majority of the threats of punishment by the prophets refer to the invocation of these covenant curses for disloyalty to the basic stipulation, that of absolute loyalty.
129 tn Heb “this covenant.” The referent of “this” is left dangling until it is further defined in vv. 3-4. Leaving it undefined in the translation may lead to confusion hence the anticipatory nature of the demonstrative is spelled out explicitly in the translation.
130 tn Heb “and speak/tell them.” However, the translation chosen is more appropriate to modern idiom.
131 tn Or “those living in Jerusalem”; Heb “inhabitants of.”
map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.
132 tn Heb “Cursed is the person who does not listen to the terms of this covenant.” “This covenant” is further qualified in the following verse by a relative clause. The form of the sentence and the qualification “my” before covenant were chosen for better English idiom and to break up a long sentence which really extends to the middle of v. 5.
133 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 5, 7, 10).
134 tn Heb “does not listen…this covenant which I commanded your fathers.” The sentence is broken up this way in conformity with contemporary English style.
135 tn Heb “out of the land of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace.”
136 tn In place of the words “I said at that time” the Hebrew text has “saying.” The sentence is again being restructured in English to avoid the long, confusing style of the Hebrew original.
137 tn Heb “Obey me and carry them out.” The “them” refers back to the terms of the covenant which they were charged to keep according to the preceding. The referent is made specific to avoid ambiguity.
138 tn The words, “If you do” are not in the text. They have been supplied in the translation to break up a long sentence consisting of an imperative followed by a consequential sentence.
139 sn Obey me and carry out the terms of the agreement…and I will be your God. This refers to the Mosaic law which was instituted at Sinai and renewed on the Plains of Moab before Israel entered into the land. The words “the terms of the covenant” are explicitly used for the Ten Commandments in Exod 34:28 and for the additional legislation given in Deut 28:69; 29:8. The formulation here is reminiscent of Deut 29:9-14 (29:10-15 HT). The book of Deuteronomy is similar in its structure and function to an ancient Near Eastern treaty. In these the great king reminded his vassal of past benefits that he had given to him, charged him with obligations (the terms or stipulations of the covenant) chief among which was absolute loyalty and sole allegiance, promised him future benefits for obeying the stipulations (the blessings), and placed him under a curse for disobeying them. Any disobedience was met with stern warnings of punishment in the form of destruction and exile. Those who had witnessed the covenant were called in to confirm the continuing goodness of the great king and the disloyalty of the vassal. The vassal was then charged with a list of particular infringements of the stipulations and warned to change his actions or suffer the consequences. This is the background for Jer 11:1-9. Jeremiah is here functioning as a messenger from the
140 tn The phrase “a land flowing with milk and honey” is very familiar to readers in the Jewish and Christian traditions as a proverbial description of the agricultural and pastoral abundance of the land of Israel. However, it may not mean too much to readers outside those traditions; an equivalent expression would be “a land of fertile fields and fine pastures.” E. W. Bullinger (Figures of Speech, 626) identifies this as a figure of speech called synecdoche where the species is put for the genus, “a region…abounding with pasture and fruits of all kinds.”
141 tn Heb “‘a land flowing with milk and honey,’ as at this day.” However, the literal reading is too elliptical and would lead to confusion.
142 tn The words “Let it be so” are not in the text; they are an explanation of the significance of the term “Amen” for those who may not be part of the Christian or Jewish tradition.
sn The word amen is found at the end of each of the curses in Deut 27 where the people express their agreement with the appropriateness of the curse for the offense mentioned.
143 tn Heb “the terms of this covenant.” However, this was a separate message and the ambiguity of “this” could still cause some confusion.
144 tn Heb “warned them…saying, ‘Obey me.’” However, it allows the long sentence to be broken up easier if the indirect quote is used.
145 tn For the explanation for this rendering see the note on 7:13.
146 tn Heb “So I brought on them all the terms of this covenant which I commanded to do and they did not do.” There is an interesting polarity that is being exploited by two different nuances implicit in the use of the word “terms” (דִּבְרֵי [divre], literally “words”), i.e., what the
147 tn Heb “Conspiracy [a plot to rebel] is found [or exists] among the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”
148 tn Or “They have repeated the evil actions of….”
149 tn Heb “have walked/followed after.” See the translator’s note at 2:5 for the idiom.
150 tn Heb “house of Israel and house of Judah.”
151 tn Heb “Therefore, thus, says the
152 tn Heb “Then the towns of Judah and those living in Jerusalem will…”
153 tn The Hebrew construction is emphatic involving the use of an infinitive of the verb before the verb itself (Heb “saving they will not save”). For this construction to give emphasis to an antithesis, cf. GKC 343 §113.p.
154 tn This is again an attempt to render the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) contextually. The nuance is a little hard to establish due to the nature of the rhetoric of the passage which utilizes the figure of apostrophe where the
155 sn Cf. Jer 2:28.
156 tn Heb “For [or Indeed] the number of your [sing.] cities are your [sing.] gods, Judah, and the number of the streets of Jerusalem [or perhaps (your) streets, Jerusalem] you [plur.] have set up altars to the shameful thing, altars to sacrifice to Baal.” This passage involves a figure of speech where the speaker turns from describing something about someone to addressing him/her directly (a figure called apostrophe). This figure is not common in contemporary English literature or conversation and translating literally would lead to confusion on the part of some readers. Hence, the translation retains the third person in keeping with the rest of the context. The shift from singular “your cities” to plural “you have set up” is interpreted contextually to refer to a shift in addressing Judah to addressing the citizens of Jerusalem whose streets are being talked about. The appositional clause, “altars to sacrifice to Baal” has been collapsed with the preceding clause to better identify what the shameful thing is and to eliminate a complex construction. The length of this sentence runs contrary to the usual practice of breaking up long complex sentences in Hebrew into shorter equivalent ones in English. However, breaking up this sentence and possibly losing the connecting link with the preceding used to introduce it might lead to misunderstanding.
157 tn Heb “you.”
158 tn The words “to save them” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.
sn Cf. Jer 7:16 where this same command is addressed to Jeremiah.
159 tc The rendering “when disaster strikes them” is based on reading “at the time of” (בְּעֵת, bÿ’et) with a number of Hebrew
160 tn The words “The
161 tn Heb “What to my beloved [being] in my house?” The text has been restructured to avoid possible confusion by the shift from third person in the first two lines to second person in the last two lines and the lines of the following verse. The reference to Judah as his “beloved” is certainly ironic and perhaps even sarcastic.
162 tc The meaning of this line is uncertain. The text reads somewhat literally either “her doing the wicked thing the many” or “doing it, the wicked thing, the many.” The text, relationship between words, and meaning of this whole verse have been greatly debated. Wholesale emendation based on the ancient versions is common in both the commentaries and the modern English versions. Many follow the lead of the Greek version which in many cases offers a smoother reading but for that very reason may not be original. The notes that follow will explain some of these emendations but will also attempt to explain the most likely meaning of the MT which is the more difficult and probably the more original text. Since it is presumed to be the original the text will be dealt with in the notes line for line in the MT even though the emendations often relate to more than one line. For example the Greek of the first two lines reads: “Why has the beloved done abomination in my house?” This ignores the preposition before “my beloved” (לִידִידִי, lididi) and treats the form “her doing” (עֲשׂוֹתָהּ [’asotah], Qal infinitive plus suffix) as a finite verb (עָשְׂתָה [’astah], Qal perfect third feminine). The forms are similar but the Greek is smoother. Moreover, it is difficult to explain the presence of “to” in the MT if the Greek is the original. The Greek text likewise does not have the difficulty that is exhibited in the MT by the word “the many” (הָרַבִּים, harabbim). It reads a word for “vows/votive offerings” (εὐχαί [eucai] regularly = נְדָרִים [gÿdarim]) in place of the word “many” (הָרַבִּים, harabbim) and takes it as part of a compound subject of the verb in the following line meaning “take away.” However, this word is far removed graphically from that in the MT and it would be difficult to explain how the MT arose from it. The Old Latin apparently reads a word for “fat” (adipes = חֲלָבִים, khalavim) which is closer in script to the MT and would be more likely original than the Greek. However, both of these resolutions look like attempts to smooth out a difficult text. Because there is no solid support for any single reading, it is probably best to retain the MT’s “the many.” Many do retain it and take it as a second accusative of “doing it” and read “she does the wicked thing with many [i.e., many false gods],” a use of the accusative which is hard to justify. Another alternative, taking the adjective “the many” to modify the noun “the wicked thing” is sometimes suggested but is not possible because the adjective is masculine plural and the noun is feminine singular which is contrary to Hebrew style. Hence one cannot read “she has done many wicked things.” The present translation follows the suggestion in D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 4:209, that it is the subject of the infinitive construct with an object suffix which is anticipatory of the noun “wickedness” that follows (cf. GKC 425 §131.m), i.e., “the many do it, namely the wickedness” (for the meaning of the noun see BDB 273 s.v. מְזִמָּה 3.b).
163 tn The meaning of this line is also uncertain. The Hebrew text reads somewhat literally, “holy meat they pass over from upon you.” The question of the subject of the verb is the main problem here. The verb is masculine plural and the only subject available is “holy meat” which is singular, a “they” which goes back to “the many,” or a noun from the end of the preceding line which is combined with “holy meat.” The latter is the solution of the Greek version which reads “Will votive offerings [or pieces of fat (following the Old Latin)] and holy meats take away from you your wickedness?” However, that resolution has been rejected in the preceding note as smoothing out the difficulties of the first two lines. It also leaves out the כִּי (ki) at the beginning of the following line and takes the noun “your wickedness” as the object of the verb. That certainly would make for an easier reading of both this line and the next and the assumption that כִּי may not be in the text is possible because it could be explained as a double writing of the pronoun on the end of the preceding phrase “from upon you” (מֵעָלָיִךְ, me’alayikh). However, besides being the smoother reading it leaves the last line too short poetically. The solution of the UBS, Preliminary Report, 4:209 is that “they” (referring back to “the many”?) is the subject. They read: “so that they carry away from you even sacrificial flesh.” But who are “they” and “you?” Is the “they” the priests and the “you” the people? (See 1 Sam 2:10-17 for a possible parallel.) This, however, introduces too many unknowns into the text. The translation adopted is based on a revocalization of the form “from upon you” (מֵעָלָיִךְ, me’alayikh) to “your treacherous acts” (מַעֲלָיִךְ, ma’alayikh; for this noun cf. BDB 591 s.v. I מַעַל 2), a solution which is also proposed in the margin of the NJPS which reads: “Can your treacheries be canceled by sacral flesh?” For the nuance of the verb presupposed here (= be removed, cease to exist) see BDB 718 s.v. עָבַר Qal.6.c and compare usage in Job 30:15. While this solution does preserve the consonantal text and is accepted here, it should be acknowledged that there is no ancient support for it and the reading of the noun “treacheries” in place of the compound preposition “from upon” is purely speculative.
164 tn Heb “for [or when] your wickedness then you rejoice.” The meaning of this line is uncertain. The Greek version, which reads “or will you escape by these things” (presupposing a Hebrew text אִם עַל זוֹת תָּעוּזִי, ’im ’al zot ta’uzi) is far removed from the reading in the MT (אָז תַּעֲלֹזִי [’az ta’alozi]; the rest of the Hebrew line has been left out because the Greek reads it with the preceding line) and again appears to be an attempt to smooth out a difficult text. The translation retains the MT but rewords it so it makes better sense in English. The translation presupposes that the phrase “your wickedness” is the object of the verb “take joy” and the adverb “then” refers back to the offering of sacred flesh, i.e., “even then [or at that time]” as a constructio ad sensum. For a similar use of the adverb (אָז, ’az) compare Gen 13:7. For the use of כִּי (ki) meaning “that” after a question see BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.f. A possible alternative would be to read as UBS, Preliminary Report, 4:209 do: “When trouble reaches you, then will you exult?” If the text of the whole verse followed here, the more difficult text, is not the original one, the most likely alternative would be: “What right does my beloved have to be in my house? She has does wicked things [reading עָשְׂתָה מְזִמֹּת, ’ostah mÿzimot]. Can fat pieces [reading הַחֲלָבִים, hakhalavim] and sacred meat take away your wickedness from you [reading יַעֲבִרוּ מֵעָלַיִךְ רָעָתֵכִי, ya’aviru me’alayikh ra’atekhi]? [If it could] then you could rejoice.” It should be emphasized that the text of the verse is uncertain in a number of places and open to more than one interpretation. However, regardless of which text or interpretation of it is followed, the Masoretic as interpreted here, the Greek as given in the notes, or an emended text based on both, the overall meaning is much the same. Judah has done evil and the
sn For the argument of this verse compare the condemnatory questions in Jer 7:9-11.
165 tn Heb “The
166 tn The verb form used here is another example of a verb expressing that the action is as good as done (the Hebrew prophetic perfect).
167 tn Heb “At the sound of a mighty roar he will set fire to it.” For the shift from third person “he” to the first person “I” see the preceding note. The Hebrew use of the pronouns in vv. 16-17 for the olive tree and the people that it represents is likely to cause confusion if retained. In v. 16 the people are “you” and the olive tree is “it.” The people are again “you” in v. 17 but part of the metaphor is carried over, i.e., “he ‘planted’ you.” It creates less confusion in the flow of the passage if the metaphorical identification is carried out throughout by addressing the people/plant as “you.”
168 tn The verb here has most commonly been derived from a root meaning “to be broken” (cf. BDB 949 s.v. II רָעַע) which fits poorly with the metaphor of setting the plant on fire. Another common option is to emend it to a verb meaning “to be burned up” (בָּעַר, ba’ar). However, it is better to follow the lead of the Greek version which translates “be good for nothing” (ἠχρειώθησαν, hcreiwqhsan) and derive the verb from רָעַע (ra’a’) meaning “be bad/evil” (cf. BDB 949 and compare the nuance of the adjective from this verb in BDB 948 s.v. רַע 5).
169 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”
sn For the significance of the term see the notes at 2:19 and 7:3.
170 tn The words “in the land” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation to clarify the meaning of the metaphor.
171 tn Heb “For Yahweh of armies who planted you speaks disaster upon you.” Because of the way the term
172 tn Heb “pronounced disaster…on account of the evil of the house of Israel and the house of Judah which they have done to make me angry [or thus making me angry] by sacrificing to Baal.” The lines have been broken up in conformity with contemporary English style.
173 tn Heb “caused me to know that I might know.” Many English versions supply an unstated object “their plots” which is referred to later in the context (cf. v. 19). The presupposition of this kind of absolute ellipsis is difficult to justify and would create the need for understanding an ellipsis of “it” also after “I knew.” It is better to see a bipolar use of the verb “know” here. For the second use of the verb “know” meaning “have understanding” see BDB 394 s.v. ָידַע Qal.5.
174 tn Heb “Then you showed me their deeds.” This is another example of the rapid shift in person which is common in Jeremiah. As elsewhere, it has been resolved for the sake of avoiding confusion for the English reader by leveling the referent to the same person throughout. The text again involves an apostrophe, talking about the
175 tn Heb “against me.” The words “to kill me” are implicit from the context and are supplied in the translation for clarity.
176 tn The words “I did not know that they were saying” are not in the text. The quote is without formal introduction in the original. These words are supplied in the translation for clarity.
177 tn This word and its pronoun (לַחְמוֹ, lakhmo, “its bread”) is often emended to read “in/with its sap” = “in its prime” (either לֵחוֹ [lekho] or לֵחְמוֹ [lekhÿmo]); the latter would be more likely and the מוֹ (mo) could be explained as a rare use of the old poetic third plural suffix for the third singular; cf. GKC 258 §91.l for general use and Ps 11:7 and Job 27:23 for third singular use. Though this fits the context nicely the emendation is probably unnecessary since the word “bread” is sometimes used of other foodstuff than grain or its products (cf. BDB 537 s.v. לֶחֶם 2.a).
sn The word fruit refers contextually here to the prophecies that Jeremiah was giving, not (as some suppose) his progeny. Jeremiah was not married and had no children.
178 tn Heb “cut it [or him] off.” The metaphor of the tree may be continued, though the verb “cut off” is used also of killing people. The rendering clarifies the meaning of the metaphor.
179 tn Heb “so that his name will not be remembered any more.”
180 tn The words “So I said to the
181 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”
sn For the significance of the term see the notes at 2:19 and 7:3.
182 tn Heb “
183 tn Heb “Let me see your retribution [i.e., see you exact retribution] from them because I reveal my cause [i.e., plea for justice] to you.”
184 tn Heb “Therefore thus says the
185 tn Heb “the men of Anathoth.” However, this does not involve all of the people, only the conspirators. The literal might lead to confusion later since v. 21 mentions that there will not be any of them left alive. However, it is known from Ezra 2:23 that there were survivors.
186 tc The MT reads the 2nd person masculine singular suffix “your life,” but LXX reflects an alternative reading of the 1st person common singular suffix “my life.”
187 tn Heb “who were seeking my life, saying…” The sentence is broken up in conformity with contemporary English style.
188 tn Heb “or you will die by our hand.”
189 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”
sn For the significance of the term see the notes at 2:19 and 7:3.
190 tn Heb “Behold I will.” For the function of this particle see the translator’s note on 1:6.
191 tn Heb “will die by the sword.” Here “sword” stands contextually for “battle” while “starvation” stands for death by starvation during siege.
192 tn Heb “There will be no survivors for/among them.”
193 tn Heb “the men of Anathoth.” For the rationale for adding the qualification see the notes on v. 21.
194 tn Heb “I will bring disaster on…, the year of their punishment.”
195 tn Or “
196 tn Heb “judgments” or “matters of justice.” For the nuance of “complain to,” “fair,” “disposition of justice” assumed here, see BDB 936 s.v. רִיב Qal.4 (cf. Judg 21:22); BDB 843 s.v. צַדִּיק 1.d (cf. Ps 7:12; 11:7); BDB 1049 s.v. מִשְׁפָּט 1.f (cf. Isa 26:8; Ps 10:5; Ezek 7:27).
197 tn Heb “Why does the way [= course of life] of the wicked prosper?”
198 tn Heb “You planted them and they took root.”
199 tn Heb “they grow and produce fruit.” For the nuance “grow” for the verb which normally means “go, walk,” see BDB 232 s.v. חָלַךְ Qal.I.3 and compare Hos 14:7.
200 tn Heb “You are near in their mouths, but far from their kidneys.” The figure of substitution is being used here, “mouth” for “words” and “kidneys” for passions and affections. A contemporary equivalent might be, “your name is always on their lips, but their hearts are far from you.”
201 tn Heb “You,
sn Jeremiah appears to be complaining like Job that God cares nothing about the prosperity of the wicked, but watches his every move. The reverse ought to be true. Jeremiah shouldn’t be suffering the onslaughts of his fellow countrymen as he is. The wicked who are prospering should be experiencing punishment.
202 tn Heb “set aside for them a day of killing.”
203 tn The verb here is often translated “mourn.” However, this verb is from a homonymic root meaning “to be dry” (cf. HALOT 7 s.v. II אָבַל and compare Hos 4:3 for usage).
204 tn The words “How long” are not in the text. They are carried over from the first line.
205 tn Heb “because of the wickedness of those who live in it.”
206 tn Heb “he.” The referent is usually identified as God and is supplied here for clarity. Some identify the referent with Jeremiah. If that is the case, then he returns to his complaint about the conspirators. It is more likely, however, that it refers to God and Jeremiah’s complaint that the people live their lives apart from concern about God.
207 tc Or reading with the Greek version, “God does not see what we are doing.” In place of “what will happen to us (אַחֲרִיתֵנוּ, ’akharitenu, “our end”) the Greek version understands a Hebrew text which reads “our ways” (אָרְחוֹתֵנו, ’orkhotenu), which is graphically very close to the MT. The Masoretic is supported by the Latin and is retained here on the basis of external evidence. Either text makes good sense in the context. Some identify the “he” with Jeremiah and understand the text to be saying that the conspirators are certain that they will succeed and he will not live to see his prophecies fulfilled.
sn The words here may be an outright rejection of the
208 tn The words “The
209 tn Some commentaries and English versions follow the suggestion given in HALOT 116 s.v. II בָּטַח that a homonym meaning “to stumble, fall down” is involved here and in Prov 14:16. The evidence for this homonym is questionable because both passages can be explained on other grounds with the usual root.
210 tn Heb “a land of tranquility.” The expression involves a figure of substitution where the feeling engendered is substituted for the conditions that engender it. For the idea see Isa 32:18. The translation both here and in the following line is intended to bring out the contrast implicit in the emotive connotations connected with “peaceful country” and “thicket along the Jordan.”
211 tn Heb “the thicket along the Jordan.” The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
sn The thick undergrowth along the Jordan River refers to the thick woods and underbrush alongside the Jordan where lions were known to have lived, and hence the area was considered dangerous. See Jer 49:14; 50:44. The
212 tn This is an attempt to give some contextual sense to the particle “for, indeed” (כִּי, ki).
sn If the truth be known, Jeremiah wasn’t safe even in the context of his own family. They were apparently part of the plot by the people of Anathoth to kill him.
213 tn Heb “they have called after you fully”; or “have lifted up loud voices against you.” The word “against” does not seem quite adequate for the preposition “after.” The preposition “against” would be Hebrew עַל (’al). The idea appears to be that they are chasing after him, raising their voices along with those of the conspirators to have him killed.
214 tn Heb “good things.” See BDB 373 s.v. II טוֹב 2 for this nuance and compare Prov 12:25 for usage.
215 tn Heb “my house.” Or “I have abandoned my nation.” The word “house” has been used throughout Jeremiah for both the temple (e.g., 7:2, 10), the nation or people of Israel or of Judah (e.g. 3:18, 20), or the descendants of Jacob (i.e., the Israelites, e.g., 2:4). Here the parallelism argues that it refers to the nation of Judah. The translation throughout vv. 5-17 assumes that the verb forms are prophetic perfects, the form that conceives of the action as being as good as done. It is possible that the forms are true perfects and refer to a past destruction of Judah. If so, it may have been connected with the assaults against Judah in 598/7
216 tn Heb “my inheritance.”
217 tn Heb “the beloved of my soul.” Here “soul” stands for the person and is equivalent to “my.”
218 tn Heb “will give…into the hands of.”
219 tn See the note on the previous verse.
220 tn Heb “have become to me like a lion.”
221 tn Heb “have given against me with her voice.”
222 tn Or “so I will reject her.” The word “hate” is sometimes used in a figurative way to refer to being neglected, i.e., treated as though unloved. In these contexts it does not have the same emotive connotations that a typical modern reader would associate with hate. See Gen 29:31, 33 and E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 556.
223 tn Or “like speckled birds of prey.” The meanings of these words are uncertain. In the Hebrew text sentence is a question: “Is not my inheritance to me a bird of prey [or] a hyena/a speckled bird of prey?” The question expects a positive answer and so is rendered here as an affirmative statement. The meaning of the word “speckled” is debated. It occurs only here. BDB 840 s.v. צָבוּעַ relates it to another word that occurs only once in Judg 5:30 which is translated “dyed stuff.” HALOT 936 s.v. צָבוּעַ relates a word found in the cognates meaning “hyena.” This is more likely and is the interpretation followed by the Greek which reads the first two words as “cave of hyena.” This translation has led some scholars to posit a homonym for the word “bird of prey” meaning “cave” which is based on Arabic parallels. The metaphor would then be of Israel carried off by hyenas and surrounded by birds of prey. The evidence for the meaning “cave” is weak and would involve a wordplay of a rare homonym with another word that is better known. For a discussion of the issues see J. Barr, Comparative Philology and the Text of the Old Testament, 128-29, 153.
224 tn Heb “Are birds of prey around her?” The question is again rhetorical and expects a positive answer. The birds of prey are of course the hostile nations surrounding her. The metaphor involved in these two lines may be interpreted differently. I.e., God considers Israel a proud bird of prey (hence the word for speckled) but one who is surrounded and under attack by other birds of prey. The fact that the sentences are divided into two rhetorical questions speaks somewhat against this.
225 tn Heb “Go, gather all the beasts of the field [= wild beasts]. Bring them to devour.” The verbs are masculine plural imperatives addressed rhetorically to some unidentified group (the heavenly counsel?) Cf. the notes on 5:1 for further discussion. Since translating literally would raise question about who the commands are addressed to, they have been turned into passive third person commands to avoid confusion. The metaphor has likewise been turned into a simile to help the modern reader. By the way, the imperatives here implying future action argue that the passage is future and that it is correct to take the verb forms as prophetic perfects.
226 tn Heb “Many shepherds.” For the use of the term “shepherd” as a figure for rulers see the notes on 10:21.
227 tn Heb “my vineyard.” To translate literally would presuppose an unlikely familiarity of this figure on the part of some readers. To translate as “vineyards” as some do would be misleading because that would miss the figurative nuance altogether.
sn The figure of Israel as God’s vine and the land as God’s vineyard is found several times in the Bible. The best known of these is the extended metaphor in Isa 5:1-7. This figure also appears in Jer 2:20.
228 tn Heb “my portion.”
229 tn For the use of this verb see the notes on 12:4. Some understand the homonym here meaning “it [the desolated land] will mourn to me.” However, the only other use of the preposition עַל (’al) with this root means “to mourn over” not “to” (cf. Hos 10:5). For the use of the preposition here see BDB 753 s.v. עַל II.1.b and compare the use in Gen 48:7.
230 tn Heb “But there is no man laying it to heart.” For the idiom here see BDB 525 s.v. לֵב II.3.d and compare the usage in Isa 42:25; 47:7.
sn There is a very interesting play on words and sounds in this verse that paints a picture of desolation and the pathos it evokes. Part of this is reflected in the translation. The same Hebrew word referring to a desolation or a waste (שְׁמֵמָה, shÿmemah) is repeated three times at the end of three successive lines and the related verb is found at the beginning of the fourth (נָשַׁמָּה, nashammah). A similar sounding word is found in the second of the three successive lines (שָׁמָהּ, shamah = “he [they] will make it”). This latter word is part of a further play because it is repeated in a different form in the last line (שָׁם, sham = “laying”); they lay it waste but no one lays it to heart. There is also an interesting contrast between the sorrow the
231 tn Heb “destroyers.”
232 tn Heb “It is the
233 tn Heb “For a sword of the
234 tn Heb “There is no peace to all flesh.”
235 sn Invading armies lived off the land, using up all the produce and destroying everything they could not consume.
236 tn The pronouns here are actually second plural: Heb “Be ashamed/disconcerted because of your harvests.” Because the verb form (וּבֹשׁוּ, uvoshu) can either be Qal perfect third plural or Qal imperative masculine plural many emend the pronoun on the noun to third plural (see, e.g., BHS). However, this is the easier reading and is not supported by either the Latin or the Greek which have second plural. This is probably another case of the shift from description to direct address that has been met with several times already in Jeremiah (the figure of speech called apostrophe; for other examples see, e.g., 9:4; 11:13). As in other cases the translation has been leveled to third plural to avoid confusion for the contemporary English reader. For the meaning of the verb here see BDB 101 s.v. בּוֹשׁ Qal.2 and compare the usage in Jer 48:13.
237 tn Heb “be disappointed in their harvests from the fierce anger of the
238 tn Heb “Thus says the
239 tn Heb “my wicked neighbors.”
240 tn Heb “touched.” For the nuance of this verb here see BDB 619 s.v. נָגַע Qal.3 and compare the usage in 1 Chr 16:22 where it is parallel to “do harm to” and Zech 2:8 where it is parallel to “plundered.”
241 tn Heb “the inheritance which I caused my people Israel to inherit.” Compare 3:18.
242 tn Heb “I will uproot the house of Judah from their midst.”
sn There appears to be an interesting play on the Hebrew word translated “uproot” in this verse. In the first instance it refers to “uprooting the nations from upon their lands,” i.e., to exiling them. In the second instance it refers to “uprooting the Judeans from the midst of them,” i.e., to rescue them.
243 tn For the use of the verb “turn” (שׁוּב, shuv) in this sense, see BDB s.v. שׁוּב Qal.6.g and compare the usage in Pss 90:13; 6:4; Joel 2:14. It does not simply mean “again” as several of the English versions render it.
244 sn The
245 tn Heb “the ways of my people.” For this nuance of the word “ways” compare 10:2 and the notes there.
246 tn Heb “taught my people to swear by Baal.”
247 tn The words “I swear” are not in the text but are implicit to the oath formula. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.
248 tn The words “If they do this” are not in the text. They are part of an attempt to break up a Hebrew sentence which is long and complex into equivalent shorter sentences consistent with contemporary English style. Verse 16 in Hebrew is all one sentence with a long complex conditional clause followed by a short consequence: “If they carefully learn the ways of my people to swear by name, ‘By the life of the
249 tn Heb “they will be built up among my people.” The expression “be built up among” is without parallel. However, what is involved here is conceptually parallel to the ideas expressed in Isa 19:23-25 and Zech 14:16-19. That is, these people will be allowed to live on their own land, to worship the
250 tn Heb “But if they will not listen, I will uproot that nation, uprooting and destroying.” IBHS 590-91 §35.3.2d is likely right in seeing the double infinitive construction here as an intensifying infinitive followed by an adverbial infinitive qualifying the goal of the main verb, “uproot it in such a way as to destroy it.” However, to translate that way “literally” would not be very idiomatic in contemporary English. The translation strives for the equivalent. Likewise, to translate using the conditional structure of the original seems to put the emphasis of the passage in its context on the wrong point.