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Jeremiah 34:12-16

Context
34:12 That was when the Lord spoke to Jeremiah, 1  34:13 “The Lord God of Israel has a message for you. 2  ‘I made a covenant with your ancestors 3  when I brought them out of Egypt where they had been slaves. 4  It stipulated, 5  34:14 “Every seven years each of you must free any fellow Hebrews who have sold themselves to you. After they have served you for six years, you shall set them free.” 6  But your ancestors did not obey me or pay any attention to me. 34:15 Recently, however, you yourselves 7  showed a change of heart and did what is pleasing to me. You granted your fellow countrymen their freedom and you made a covenant to that effect in my presence in the house that I have claimed for my own. 8  34:16 But then you turned right around 9  and showed that you did not honor me. 10  Each of you took back your male and female slaves whom you had freed as they desired, and you forced them to be your slaves again. 11 

1 tn Heb “And the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying.” This is the resumption of the introduction in v. 8 after the lengthy description of the situation that had precipitated the Lord’s message to Jeremiah. “That was when” is intended to take the reader back to v. 8.

2 tn Heb “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘…’” The style adopted here has been used to avoid a longer, more complex English sentence.

3 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 14, 15).

4 tn Heb “out of the house of bondage.”

sn This refers to the Mosaic covenant, initiated at Mount Sinai and renewed on the plains of Moab. The statement “I brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” functions as the “historical prologue” in the Ten Commandments which is the Lord’s vassal treaty with Israel in miniature. (See the study note on 11:2 and see Exod 20:2; Deut 5:6 and Exod 34:8. As such it was a motivating factor in their pledge of loyalty to him. This statement was also invoked within the law itself as a motivation for kindly treatment of slaves including their emancipation (see Deut 15:15).)

5 tn Heb “made a covenant, saying.” This was only one of several stipulations of the covenant. The form used here has been chosen as an indirect way of relating the specific stipulation that is being focused upon to the general covenant that is referred to in v. 13.

6 sn Compare Deut 15:12-18 for the complete statement of this law. Here only the first part of it is cited.

7 tn The presence of the independent pronoun in the Hebrew text is intended to contrast their actions with those of their ancestors.

8 sn This refers to the temple. See Jer 7:10, 11, 14, 30 and see the translator’s note on 7:10 and the study note on 10:25 for the explanation of the idiom involved here.

9 sn The verb at the beginning of v. 15 and v. 16 are the same in the Hebrew. They had two changes of heart (Heb “you turned”), one that was pleasing to him (Heb “right in his eyes”) and one that showed they did not honor him (Heb “profaned [or belittled] his name”).

10 sn Heb “you profaned my name.” His name had been invoked in the oath confirming the covenant. Breaking the covenant involved taking his name in vain (cf. Exod 20:7; Deut 5:11; Jer 5:2). Hence the one who bore the name was not treated with the special honor and reverence due him (see the study note on 23:27 for the significance of “name” in the OT).

11 tn Heb “and you brought them into subjection to be to you for male and female slaves.” See the translator’s note on v. 11 for the same redundant repetition which is not carried over into the contemporary English sentence.



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