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Jeremiah 17:20-22

Context
17:20 As you stand in those places 1  announce, ‘Listen, all you people who pass through these gates. Listen, all you kings of Judah, all you people of Judah and all you citizens of Jerusalem. Listen to what the Lord says. 2  17:21 The Lord says, ‘Be very careful if you value your lives! 3  Do not carry any loads 4  in through 5  the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. 17:22 Do not carry any loads out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath day. 6  But observe the Sabbath day as a day set apart to the Lord, 7  as I commanded your ancestors. 8 

1 tn The words “As you stand there” are not in the text but are implicit in the connection. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.

2 tn Heb “Listen to the word of the Lord, kings of Judah…Jerusalem who enter through these gates.” This sentence has been restructured to avoid a long complex English sentence and to put “Listen to what the Lord says” closer to the content of what he says.

3 tn Heb “Be careful at the risk of your lives.” The expression with the preposition בְּ (bet) is unique. Elsewhere the verb “be careful” is used with the preposition לְ (lamed) in the sense of the reflexive. Hence the word “soul” cannot be simply reflexive here. BDB 1037 s.v. שָׁמַר Niph.1 understands this as a case where the preposition בְּ introduces the cost or price (cf. BDB 90 s.v. בּ III.3.a).

4 sn Comparison with Neh 13:15-18 suggests that these loads were merchandise or agricultural produce which were being brought in for sale. The loads that were carried out of the houses in the next verse were probably goods for barter.

5 tn Heb “carry loads on the Sabbath and bring [them] in through.” The two verbs “carry” and “bring in” are an example of hendiadys (see the note on “Be careful…by carrying”). This is supported by the next line where only “carry out” of the houses is mentioned.

6 tn Heb “Do not carry any loads out of your houses on the Sabbath day and do not do any work.” Translating literally might give the wrong impression that they were not to work at all. The phrase “on the Sabbath day” is, of course, intended to qualify both prohibitions.

7 tn Heb “But sanctify [or set apart as sacred] the Sabbath day.” The idea of setting it apart as something sacred to the Lord is implicit in the command. See the explicit statements of this in Exod 20:10; 31:5; 35:2; Lev 24:8. For some readers the idea of treating the Sabbath day as something sacred won’t mean much without spelling the qualification out specifically. Sabbath observance was not just a matter of not working.

8 tn Heb “fathers.”



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