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Jeremiah 6:22-26

Context

6:22 “This is what the Lord says:

‘Beware! An army 1  is coming from a land in the north.

A mighty nation is stirring into action in faraway parts of the earth.

6:23 Its soldiers are armed with bows and spears.

They are cruel and show no mercy.

They sound like the roaring sea

as they ride forth on their horses.

Lined up in formation like men going into battle

to attack you, Daughter Zion.’” 2 

6:24 The people cry out, 3  “We have heard reports about them!

We have become helpless with fear! 4 

Anguish grips us,

agony like that of a woman giving birth to a baby!

6:25 Do not go out into the countryside.

Do not travel on the roads.

For the enemy is there with sword in hand. 5 

They are spreading terror everywhere.” 6 

6:26 So I said, 7  “Oh, my dear people, 8  put on sackcloth

and roll in ashes.

Mourn with painful sobs

as though you had lost your only child.

For any moment now 9  that destructive army 10 

will come against us.”

1 tn Heb “people.”

2 sn Jerualem is personified as a young maiden helpless before enemy attackers.

3 tn These words are not in the text, but, from the context, someone other than God is speaking and is speaking for and to the people (either Jeremiah or the people themselves). These words are supplied in the translation for clarity.

4 tn Or “We have lost our strength to do battle”; Heb “Our hands hang limp [or helpless at our sides].” According to BDB 951 s.v. רָפָה Qal.2, this idiom is used figuratively for losing heart or energy. The best example of its figurative use of loss of strength or the feeling of helplessness is in Ezek 21:12 where it appears in the context of the heart (courage) melting, the spirit sinking, and the knees becoming like water. For other examples compare 2 Sam 4:1; Zeph 3:16. In Neh 6:9 it is used literally of the builders “dropping their hands from the work” out of fear. The words “with fear” are supplied in the translation because they are implicit in the context.

5 tn Heb “For the enemy has a sword.”

6 tn Heb “Terror is all around!”

7 tn These words are not in the text but are implicit from the context.

8 tn Heb “daughter of my people.” For the translation given here see 4:11 and the translator’s note there.

9 tn Heb “suddenly.”

10 tn Heb “the destroyer.”



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