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Jeremiah 2:13


2:13 “Do so because my people have committed a double wrong:

they have rejected me,

the fountain of life-giving water, 1 

and they have dug cisterns for themselves,

cracked cisterns which cannot even hold water.”

Jeremiah 2:17-18


2:17 You have brought all this on yourself, Israel, 2 

by deserting the Lord your God when he was leading you along the right path. 3 

2:18 What good will it do you 4  then 5  to go down to Egypt

to seek help from the Egyptians? 6 

What good will it do you 7  to go over to Assyria

to seek help from the Assyrians? 8 

1 tn It is difficult to decide whether to translate “fresh, running water” which the Hebrew term for “living water” often refers to (e.g., Gen 26:19; Lev 14:5), or “life-giving water” which the idiom “fountain of life” as source of life and vitality often refers to (e.g., Ps 36:9; Prov 13:14; 14:27). The contrast with cisterns, which collected and held rain water, suggests “fresh, running water,” but the reality underlying the metaphor contrasts the Lord, the source of life, health, and vitality, with useless idols that cannot do anything.

2 tn Heb “Are you not bringing this on yourself.” The question is rhetorical and expects a positive answer.

3 tn Heb “at the time of leading you in the way.”

4 tn Heb “What to you to the way.”

5 tn The introductory particle וְעַתָּה (vÿattah, “and now”) carries a logical, not temporal, connotation here (cf. BDB 274 s.v. עַתָּה 2.b).

6 tn Heb “to drink water from the Shihor [a branch of the Nile].” The reference is to seeking help through political alliance with Egypt as opposed to trusting in God for help. This is an extension of the figure in 2:13.

7 tn Heb “What to you to the way.”

8 tn Heb “to drink water from the River [a common designation in biblical Hebrew for the Euphrates River].” This refers to seeking help through political alliance. See the preceding note.

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