“Listen and pay attention! Do not be arrogant!
For the Lord has spoken.
Do it before he brings the darkness of disaster. 3
Do it before you stumble 4 into distress
like a traveler on the mountains at twilight. 5
Do it before he turns the light of deliverance you hope for
into the darkness and gloom of exile. 6
I will weep alone because of your arrogant pride.
I will weep bitterly and my eyes will overflow with tears 8
“Tell the king and the queen mother,
‘Surrender your thrones, 12
for your glorious crowns
No one will be able to go in or out of them. 16
All Judah will be carried off into exile.
They will be completely carried off into exile.’” 17
“Look up, Jerusalem, 19 and see
the enemy 20 that is coming from the north.
Where now is the flock of people that were entrusted to your care? 21
Where now are the ‘sheep’ that you take such pride in? 22
that you, yourself, had actually prepared as such? 25
Then anguish and agony will grip you
like that of a woman giving birth to a baby. 26
‘Why have these things happened to me?
Why have I been treated like a disgraced adulteress
whose skirt has been torn off and her limbs exposed?’ 28
It is because you have sinned so much. 29
13:23 But there is little hope for you ever doing good,
you who are so accustomed to doing evil.
Can an Ethiopian 30 change the color of his skin?
Can a leopard remove its spots? 31
‘That is why I will scatter your people 33 like chaff
that is blown away by a desert wind. 34
13:25 This is your fate,
the destiny to which I have appointed you,
because you have forgotten me
and have trusted in false gods.
13:26 So I will pull your skirt up over your face
and expose you to shame like a disgraced adulteress! 35
your shameless prostitution to, and your lustful pursuit of, other gods. 37
I have seen your disgusting acts of worship 38
on the hills throughout the countryside.
You are doomed to destruction! 39
How long will you continue to be unclean?’”
1 tn The words “Then I said to the people of Judah” are not in the text but are implicit from the address in v. 15 and the content of v. 17. They are supplied in the translation for clarity to show the shift from the
3 tn The words “of disaster” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation to explain the significance of the metaphor to readers who may not be acquainted with the metaphorical use of light and darkness for salvation and joy and distress and sorrow respectively.
sn For the metaphorical use of these terms the reader should consult O. A. Piper, “Light, Light and Darkness,” IDB 3:130-32. For the association of darkness with the Day of the
4 tn Heb “your feet stumble.”
5 tn Heb “you stumble on the mountains at twilight.” The added words are again supplied in the translation to help explain the metaphor to the uninitiated reader.
6 tn Heb “and while you hope for light he will turn it into deep darkness and make [it] into gloom.” The meaning of the metaphor is again explained through the addition of the “of” phrases for readers who are unacquainted with the metaphorical use of these terms.
sn For the meaning and usage of the term “deep darkness” (צַלְמָוֶת, tsalmavet), see the notes on Jer 2:6. For the association of the term with exile see Isa 9:2 (9:1 HT). For the association of the word gloom with the Day of the
7 tn Heb “If you will not listen to it.” For the use of the feminine singular pronoun to refer to the idea(s) expressed in the preceding verse(s), see GKC 440-41 §135.p.
8 tn Heb “Tearing [my eye] will tear and my eye will run down [= flow] with tears.”
sn The depth of Jeremiah’s sorrow for the sad plight of his people, if they refuse to repent, is emphasized by the triple repetition of the word “tears” twice in an emphatic verbal expression (Hebrew infinitive before finite verb) and once in the noun.
9 tn Heb “because the
10 tn The verb is once again in the form of “as good as done” (the Hebrew prophetic perfect).
11 tn The words “The
12 tn Or “You will come down from your thrones”; Heb “Make low! Sit!” This is a case of a construction where two forms in the same case, mood, or tense are joined in such a way that one (usually the first) is intended as an adverbial or adjectival modifier of the other (a figure called hendiadys). This is also probably a case where the imperative is used to express a distinct assurance or promise. See GKC 324 §110.b and compare the usage in Isa 37:30 and Ps 110:2.
sn The king and queen mother are generally identified as Jehoiachin and his mother who were taken into captivity with many of the leading people of Jerusalem in 597
13 tn Heb “have come down.” The verb here and those in the following verses are further examples of the “as good as done” form of the Hebrew verb (the prophetic perfect).
14 tc The translation follows the common emendation of a word normally meaning “place at the head” (מַרְאֲשׁוֹת [mar’ashot] plus pronoun = מַרְאֲוֹשׁתֵיכֶם [mar’aoshtekhem]) to “from your heads” (מֵרָאשֵׁיכֶם, mera’shekhem) following the ancient versions. The meaning “tiara” is nowhere else attested for this word.
15 tn Heb “The towns of the Negev will be shut.”
16 tn Heb “There is no one to open them.” The translation is based on the parallel in Josh 6:1 where the very expression in the translation is used. Opening the city would have permitted entrance (of relief forces) as well as exit (of fugitives).
17 sn The statements are poetic exaggerations (hyperbole), as most commentaries note. Even in the exile of 587
19 tn The word “Jerusalem” is not in the Hebrew text. It is added in the Greek text and is generally considered to be the object of address because of the second feminine singular verbs here and throughout the following verses. The translation follows the consonantal text (Kethib) and the Greek text in reading the second feminine singular here. The verbs and pronouns in vv. 20-22 are all second feminine singular with the exception of the suffix on the word “eyes” which is not reflected in the translation here (“Look up” = “Lift up your eyes”) and the verb and pronoun in v. 23. The text may reflect the same kind of alternation between singular and plural that takes place in Isa 7 where the pronouns refer to Ahaz as an individual and his entourage, the contemporary ruling class (cf., e.g., Isa 7:4-5 [singular], 9 [plural], 11 [singular], 13-14 [plural]). Here the connection with the preceding may suggest that it is initially the ruling house (the king and the queen mother), then Jerusalem personified as a woman in her role as a shepherdess (i.e., leader). However, from elsewhere in the book the leadership has included the kings, the priests, the prophets, and the citizens as well (cf., e.g., 13:13). In v. 27 Jerusalem is explicitly addressed. It may be asking too much of some readers who are not familiar with biblical metaphors to understand an extended metaphor like this. If it is helpful to them, they may substitute plural referents for “I” and “me.”
20 tn The word “enemy” is not in the text but is implicit. It supplied in the translation for clarity.
sn On the phrase the enemy that is coming from the north see Jer 1:14-15; 4:6; 6:1, 22; 10:22.
21 tn Heb “the flock that was given to you.”
22 tn Heb “the sheep of your pride.” The word “of your people” and the quotes around “sheep” are intended to carry over the metaphor in such a way that readers unfamiliar with the metaphor will understand it.
23 tn Or perhaps more rhetorically equivalent, “Will you not be surprised?”
24 tn The words “The
25 tn Or “to be rulers.” The translation of these two lines is somewhat uncertain. The sentence structure of these two lines raises problems in translation. The Hebrew text reads: “What will you do when he appoints over you [or punishes you (see BDB 823 s.v. פָּקַד Qal.B.2 for the former, Qal.A.3 for the latter)] and you, yourself, taught them over you friends [or chiefs (see BDB 48 s.v. I אַלּוּף 2 and Ps 55:13 for the former and BDB 49 s.v. II אַלּוּף and Exod 15:15 for the latter)] for a head.” The translation assumes that the clause “and you, yourself, taught them [= made them accustomed, i.e., “prepared”] [to be] over you” is parenthetical coming between the verb “appoint” and its object and object modifier (i.e., “appointed over you allies for rulers”). A quick check of other English versions will show how varied the translation of these lines has been. Most English versions seem to ignore the second “over you” after “you taught them.” Some rearrange the text to get what they think is a sensible meaning. For a fairly thorough treatment see W. McKane, Jeremiah (ICC), 1:308-10.
sn What is being alluded to here is the political policy of vacillating alliances through which Judah brought about her own downfall, allying herself first with Assyria, then Egypt, then Babylon, and then Egypt again. See 2 Kgs 23:29–24:7 for an example of this policy and the disastrous consequences.
26 tn Heb “Will not pain [here = mental anguish] take hold of you like a woman giving birth.” The question is rhetorical expecting a positive answer.
27 tn Heb “say in your heart.”
28 tn Heb “Your skirt has been uncovered and your heels have been treated with violence.” This is the generally accepted interpretation of these phrases. See, e.g., BDB 784 s.v. עָקֵב a and HALOT 329 s.v. I חָמַס Nif. The significance of the actions here are part of the metaphor (i.e., personification) of Jerusalem as an adulteress having left her husband and have been explained in the translation for the sake of readers unfamiliar with the metaphor.
29 tn The translation has been restructured to break up a long sentence involving a conditional clause and an elliptical consequential clause. It has also been restructured to define more clearly what “these things” are. The Hebrew text reads: “And if you say, ‘Why have these things happened to me?’ Because of the greatness of your iniquity your skirts [= what your skirt covers] have been uncovered and your heels have been treated with violence.”
30 tn This is a common proverb in English coming from this biblical passage. For cultures where it is not proverbial perhaps it would be better to translate “Can black people change the color of their skin?” Strictly speaking these are “Cushites” inhabitants of a region along the upper Nile south of Egypt. The Greek text is responsible for the identification with Ethiopia. The term in Greek is actually a epithet = “burnt face.”
31 tn Heb “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? [Then] you also will be able to do good who are accustomed to do evil.” The English sentence has been restructured and rephrased in an attempt to produce some of the same rhetorical force the Hebrew original has in this context.
32 tn The words, “The
33 tn Heb “them.” This is another example of the rapid shift in pronouns seen several times in the book of Jeremiah. The pronouns in the preceding and the following are second feminine singular. It might be argued that “them” goes back to the “flock”/“sheep” in v. 20, but the next verse refers the fate described here to “you” (feminine singular). This may be another example of the kind of metaphoric shifts in referents discussed in the notes on 13:20 above. Besides, it would sound a little odd in the translation to speak of scattering one person like chaff.
35 tn Heb “over your face and your shame will be seen.” The words “like a disgraced adulteress” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation to explain the metaphor. See the notes on 13:22.
36 tn Heb “Jerusalem.” This word has been pulled up from the end of the verse to help make the transition. The words “people of” have been supplied in the translation here to ease the difficulty mentioned earlier of sustaining the personification throughout.
37 tn Heb “[I have seen] your adulteries, your neighings, and your shameless prostitution.” The meanings of the metaphorical references have been incorporated in the translation for the sake of clarity for readers of all backgrounds.
sn The sentence is rhetorically loaded. It begins with three dangling objects of the verb all describing their adulterous relationship with the false gods under different figures and which are resumed later under the words “your disgusting acts.” The Hebrew sentence reads: “Your adulteries, your neighings, your shameful prostitution, upon the hills in the fields I have seen your disgusting acts.” This sentence drips with explosive disgust at their adulterous betrayal.
39 tn Heb “Woe to you!”