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Jeremiah 22:20-23

Context
Warning to Jerusalem

22:20 People of Jerusalem, 1  go up to Lebanon and cry out in mourning.

Go to the land of Bashan and cry out loudly.

Cry out in mourning from the mountains of Moab. 2 

For your allies 3  have all been defeated.

22:21 While you were feeling secure I gave you warning. 4 

But you said, “I refuse to listen to you.”

That is the way you have acted from your earliest history onward. 5 

Indeed, you have never paid attention to me.

22:22 My judgment will carry off all your leaders like a storm wind! 6 

Your allies will go into captivity.

Then you will certainly 7  be disgraced and put to shame

because of all the wickedness you have done.

22:23 You may feel as secure as a bird

nesting in the cedars of Lebanon.

But oh how you 8  will groan 9  when the pains of judgment come on you.

They will be like those of a woman giving birth to a baby. 10 

1 tn The words “people of Jerusalem” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation to clarify the referent of the imperative. The imperative is feminine singular and it is generally agreed that personified Zion/Jerusalem is in view. The second feminine singular has commonly been applied to Jerusalem or the people of Judah throughout the book. The reference to allies (v. 20, 22) and to leaders (v. 22) make it very probable that this is the case here too.

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

2 tn Heb “from Abarim.” This was the mountain range in Moab from which Moses viewed the promised land (cf. Deut 32:49).

3 tn Heb “your lovers.” For the usage of this term to refer to allies see 30:14 and a semantically similar term in 4:30.

sn If the passages in this section are chronologically ordered, this refers to the help that Jehoiakim relied on when he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar.

4 tn Heb “I spoke to you in your security.” The reference is to the sending of the prophets. Compare this context with the context of 7:25. For the nuance “security” for this noun (שַׁלְוָה, shalvah) rather than “prosperity” as many translate see Pss 122:7; 30:6 and the related adjective (שָׁלֵו, shalev) in Jer 49:31; Job 16:2; 21:23.

5 tn Heb “from your youth.” Compare the usage in 2:2; 3:24 and compare a similar idea in 7:25.

6 tn Heb “A wind will shepherd away all your shepherds.” The figures have all been interpreted in the translation for the sake of clarity. For the use of the word “wind” as a metaphor or simile for God’s judgment (using the enemy forces) see 4:11-12; 13:24; 18:17. For the use of the word “shepherd” to refer to rulers/leaders 2:8; 10:21; and 23:1-4. For the use of the word “shepherd away” in the sense of carry off/drive away see BDB 945 s.v. רָעָה 2.d and compare Job 20:26. There is an obvious wordplay involved in two different senses of the word “shepherd,” one referring to their leaders and one referring to the loss of those leaders by the wind driving them off. There may even be a further play involving the word “wickedness” which comes from a word having the same consonants. If the oracles in this section are chronologically ordered this threat was fulfilled in 597 b.c. when many of the royal officials and nobles were carried away captive with Jehoiachin (see 2 Kgs 24:15) who is the subject of the next oracle.

7 tn The use of the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) is intensive here and probably also at the beginning of the last line of v. 21. (See BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.e.)

8 tn Heb “You who dwell in Lebanon, you who are nested in its cedars, how you….” The metaphor has been interpreted for the sake of clarity. The figure here has often been interpreted of the people of Jerusalem living in paneled houses or living in a city dominated by the temple and palace which were built from the cedars of Lebanon. Some even interpret this as a reference to the king who has been characterized as living in a cedar palace, in a veritable Lebanon (cf. vv. 6-7, 14 and see also the alternate interpretation of 21:13-14). However, the reference to “nesting in the cedars” and the earlier reference to “feeling secure” suggests that the figure is rather like that of Ezek 31:6 and Dan 4:12. See also Hab 2:9 where a related figure is used. The forms for “you who dwell” and “you who are nested” in the literal translation are feminine singular participles referring again to personified Jerusalem. (The written forms of these participles are to be explained as participles with a hireq campaginis according to GKC 253 §90.m. The use of the participle before the preposition is to be explained according to GKC 421 §130.a.)

9 tn The verb here should be identified as a Niphal perfect of the verb אָנַח (’anakh) with the א (aleph) left out (so BDB 336 s.v. חָנַן Niph and GKC 80 §23.f, n. 1). The form is already translated that way by the Greek, Latin, and Syriac versions.

10 sn This simile has already been used in Jer 4:31; 6:24 in conjunction with Zion/Jerusalem’s judgment.



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