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Jeremiah 17:2

Context

17:2 Their children are always thinking about 1  their 2  altars

and their sacred poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah, 3 

set up beside the green trees on the high hills

Jeremiah 17:8

Context

17:8 They will be like a tree planted near a stream

whose roots spread out toward the water.

It has nothing to fear when the heat comes.

Its leaves are always green.

It has no need to be concerned in a year of drought.

It does not stop bearing fruit.

1 tn It is difficult to convey in good English style the connection between this verse and the preceding. The text does not have a finite verb but a temporal preposition with an infinitive: Heb “while their children remember their altars…” It is also difficult to translate the verb “literally.” (i.e., what does “remember” their altars mean?). Hence it has been rendered “always think about.” Another possibility would be “have their altars…on their minds.”

sn There is possibly a sarcastic irony involved here as well. The Israelites were to remember the Lord and what he had done and were to commemorate certain days, e.g., the Passover and the Sabbath which recalled their deliverance. Instead they resorted to the pagan altars and kept them in mind.

2 tc This reading follows many Hebrew mss and ancient versions. Many other Hebrew mss read “your” [masc. pl.].

3 sn Sacred poles dedicated to…Asherah. A leading deity of the Canaanite pantheon was Asherah, wife/sister of El and goddess of fertility. She was commonly worshiped at shrines in or near groves of evergreen trees, or, failing that, at places marked by wooden poles (Hebrew אֲשֵׁרִים [’asherim], plural). They were to be burned or cut down (Deut 7:5; 12:3; 16:21; Judg 6:25, 28, 30; 2 Kgs 18:4).



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