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Jeremiah 27:5-8

Context
27:5 “I made the earth and the people and animals on it by my mighty power and great strength, 1  and I give it to whomever I see fit. 2  27:6 I have at this time placed all these nations of yours under the power 3  of my servant, 4  King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I have even made all the wild animals subject to him. 5  27:7 All nations must serve him and his son and grandson 6  until the time comes for his own nation to fall. 7  Then many nations and great kings will in turn subjugate Babylon. 8  27:8 But suppose a nation or a kingdom will not be subject to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Suppose it will not submit to the yoke of servitude to 9  him. I, the Lord, affirm that 10  I will punish that nation. I will use the king of Babylon to punish it 11  with war, 12  starvation, and disease until I have destroyed it. 13 

1 tn Heb “by my great power and my outstretched arm.” Again “arm” is symbolical for “strength.” Compare the similar expression in 21:5.

2 sn See Dan 4:17 for a similar statement.

3 tn Heb “have given…into the hand of.”

4 sn See the study note on 25:9 for the significance of the application of this term to Nebuchadnezzar.

5 tn Heb “I have given…to him to serve him.” The verb “give” in this syntactical situation is functioning like the Hiphil stem, i.e., as a causative. See Dan 1:9 for parallel usage. For the usage of “serve” meaning “be subject to” compare 2 Sam 22:44 and BDB 713 s.v. עָבַד 3.

sn This statement is rhetorical, emphasizing the totality of Nebuchadnezzar’s dominion. Neither here nor in Dan 2:38 is it to be understood literally.

6 sn This is a figure that emphasizes that they will serve for a long time but not for an unlimited duration. The kingdom of Babylon lasted a relatively short time by ancient standards. It lasted from 605 b.c. when Nebuchadnezzar defeated Necho at Carchemish until the fall of Babylon in 538 b.c. There were only four rulers. Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded by his son, Evil Merodach (cf. 52:31), and two other rulers who were not descended from him.

7 tn Heb “until the time of his land, even his, comes.” The independent pronoun is placed here for emphasis on the possessive pronoun. The word “time” is used by substitution for the things that are done in it (compare in the NT John 2:4; 7:30; 8:20 “his hour had not yet come”).

sn See Jer 25:12-14, 16.

8 tn Heb “him.” This is a good example of the figure of substitution where the person is put for his descendants or the nation or subject he rules. (See Gen 28:13-14 for another good example and Acts 22:7 in the NT.)

9 tn Heb “put their necks in the yoke of.” See the study note on v. 2 for the figure.

10 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”

11 tn Heb “The nation and/or the kingdom which will not serve him, Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and which will not put its neck in the yoke of the king of Babylon, by sword, starvation, and disease I will punish [or more literally, “visit upon”] that nation, oracle of the Lord.” The long complex Hebrew sentence has been broken up in conformity with contemporary English style and the figures interpreted for the sake of clarity. The particle אֵת, the sign of the accusative, before “which will not put…” is a little unusual here. For its use to introduce a new topic (here a second relative clause) see BDB 85 s.v. אֵת 3.α.

12 tn Heb “with/by the sword.”

13 tc The verb translated “destroy” (תָּמַם, tamam) is usually intransitive in the stem of the verb used here. It is found in a transitive sense elsewhere only in Ps 64:7. BDB 1070 s.v. תָּמַם 7 emends both texts. In this case they recommend תִּתִּי (titi): “until I give them into his hand.” That reading is suggested by the texts of the Syriac and Targumic translations (see BHS fn c). The Greek translation supports reading the verb “destroy” but treats it as though it were intransitive “until they are destroyed by his hand” (reading תֻּמָּם [tummam]). The MT here is accepted as the more difficult reading and support is seen in the transitive use of the verb in Ps 64:7.

tn Heb “I will punish that nation until I have destroyed them [i.e., its people] by his hand.” “Hand” here refers to agency. Hence, “I will use him.”



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