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Jeremiah 9:12-16

Context

9:12 I said, 1 

“Who is wise enough to understand why this has happened? 2 

Who has a word from the Lord that can explain it? 3 

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. 4  9:14 Instead they have followed the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts. They have paid allegiance to 5  the gods called Baal, 6  as their fathers 7  taught them to do. 9:15 So then, listen to what I, the Lord God of Israel who rules over all, 8  say. 9  ‘I will make these people eat the bitter food of suffering and drink the poison water of judgment. 10  9:16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors 11  have known anything about. I will send people chasing after them with swords 12  until I have destroyed them.’” 13 

1 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 Lord’s threat. It is generally assumed that these are the words of Jeremiah and that a dialogue is going on between him and the Lord in vv. 9-14. That assumption is accepted here.

2 tn Heb “Who is the wise man that he may understand this?”

3 tn Heb “And [who is the man] to whom the mouth of the Lord has spoken that he may explain it?”

4 tn Heb “and they have not walked in it (with “it” referring to “my law”).

5 tn Heb “they have gone/followed after.” See the translator’s note at 2:5 for the idiom.

6 tn Heb “the Baals,” referring either to the pagan gods called “Baals” or the images of Baal (so NLT).

7 tn Or “forefathers,” or “ancestors.” Here the referent could be the immediate parents or, by their example, more distant ancestors.

8 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel.”

sn See the study notes on 2:9 and 7:3.

9 tn Heb “Therefore, thus says the Lord…” The person is shifted from third to first to better conform with English style.

10 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.

11 tn Heb “fathers.”

12 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.

13 sn He will destroy them but not completely. See Jer 5:18; 30:11; 46:28.



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