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Jeremiah 17:21-27

Context
17:21 The Lord says, ‘Be very careful if you value your lives! 1  Do not carry any loads 2  in through 3  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. 4  But observe the Sabbath day as a day set apart to the Lord, 5  as I commanded your ancestors. 6  17:23 Your ancestors, 7  however, did not listen to me or pay any attention to me. They stubbornly refused 8  to pay attention or to respond to any discipline.’ 17:24 The Lord says, 9  ‘You must make sure to obey me. You must not bring any loads through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day. You must set the Sabbath day apart to me. You must not do any work on that day. 17:25 If you do this, 10  then the kings and princes who follow in David’s succession 11  and ride in chariots or on horses will continue to enter through these gates, as well as their officials and the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. 12  This city will always be filled with people. 13  17:26 Then people will come here from the towns in Judah, from the villages surrounding Jerusalem, from the territory of Benjamin, from the western foothills, from the southern hill country, and from the southern part of Judah. They will come bringing offerings to the temple of the Lord: burnt offerings, sacrifices, grain offerings, and incense along with their thank offerings. 14  17:27 But you must obey me and set the Sabbath day apart to me. You must not carry any loads in through 15  the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. If you disobey, I will set the gates of Jerusalem on fire. It will burn down all the fortified dwellings in Jerusalem and no one will be able to put it out.’”

1 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).

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.

5 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.

6 tn Heb “fathers.”

7 tn Heb “They.” The antecedent is spelled out to avoid any possible confusion.

8 tn Heb “They hardened [or made stiff] their neck so as not to.”

9 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

10 tn Heb “If you will carefully obey me by not bringing…and by sanctifying…by not doing…, then kings will….” The structure of prohibitions and commands followed by a brief “if” clause has been used to break up a long condition and consequence relationship which is contrary to contemporary English style.

11 tn Heb “who sit [or are to sit] on David’s throne.”

12 tn Heb “There will come through the gates of this city the kings and princes…riding in chariots and on horses, they and their officials…” The structure of the original text is broken up here because of the long compound subject which would make the English sentence too long. The term “princes” is often omitted as a supposed double writing of the word that follows it and looks somewhat like it (the Hebrew reads here וְשָׂרִים יֹשְׁבִים, vÿsarim yoshÿvim) or the same word which occurs later in the verse and is translated “officials” (the word can refer to either). It is argued that “princes” are never said to sit on the throne of David (translated here “follow in the succession of David”). However, the word is in all texts and versions and the concept of sitting on the throne of someone is descriptive of both past, present, and future and is even used with the participle in a proleptic sense of “the one who is to sit on the throne” (cf. Exod 11:5; 12:29).

13 tn Heb “will be inhabited forever.”

14 tn Heb “There will come from the cities of Judah and from the environs of Jerusalem and from…those bringing…incense and those bringing thank offerings.” This sentence has been restructured from a long complex original to conform to contemporary English style.

15 tn Heb “carry loads on the Sabbath and bring [them] in through.” The translation treats the two verbs “carry” and “bring in” are an example of hendiadys (see the note on “through” in 17:21).



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