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(0.16) (Num 3:6)

tn The verb literally means “make it [the tribe] stand” (וְהַעֲמַדְתָּ אֹתוֹ, vÿhaamadtaoto). The verb is the Hiphil perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive; it will take the same imperative nuance as the form before it, but follow in sequence (“and then”). This refers to the ceremonial presentation in which the tribe would take its place before Aaron, that is, stand before him and await their assignments. The Levites will function more like a sacred guard than anything else, for they had to protect and care for the sanctuary when it was erected and when it was transported (see J. Milgrom, Studies in Levitical Terminology, 8-10).

(0.16) (Psa 90:10)

tn Heb “and their pride [is] destruction and wickedness.” The Hebrew noun רֹהַב (rohav) occurs only here. BDB 923 s.v. assigns the meaning “pride,” deriving the noun from the verbal root רהב (“to act stormily [boisterously, arrogantly]”). Here the “pride” of one’s days (see v. 9) probably refers to one’s most productive years in the prime of life. The words translated “destruction and wickedness” are also paired in Ps 10:7. They also appear in proximity in Pss 7:14 and 55:10. The oppressive and abusive actions of evil men are probably in view (see Job 4:8; 5:6; 15:35; Isa 10:1; 59:4).

(0.16) (Jer 34:1)

sn It is difficult to assign dates to passages which have no dating formulas but there is sufficient detail in this passage to show that this incident occurred sometime early in the siege of Jerusalem while Jeremiah was still free to come and go (see v. 2 and compare 37:4 and see the second study note on 32:2). The Babylonian forces blockaded Jerusalem and attacked the outlying cities, reducing them one by one until Jerusalem had no further help. According to v. 7 Azekah and Lachish in the western foothills still held out and there is evidence from some of the correspondence from Lachish at this period that help was being sought from Egypt.

(0.15) (Jer 10:19)

tn The words, “And I cried out” are not in the text. It is not altogether clear who the speaker is in vv. 19-25. The words of vv. 19-20 would best be assigned to a personified Jerusalem who laments the destruction of her city (under the figure of a tent) and the exile of her children (under the figure of children). However, the words of v. 21 which assign responsibility to the rulers do not fit well in the mouth of the people but do fit Jeremiah. The words of v. 22 are very appropriate to Jeremiah being similar to the report in 4:19-20. Likewise the words of v. 23 which appear to express man’s incapacity to control his own destiny and his resignation to the fate which awaits him in the light of v. 24 seem more appropriate to Jeremiah than to the people. There has been no indication elsewhere that the people have shown any indication of being resigned to their fate or willing to accept their punishment. Though the issue is far from resolved a majority of commentators see Jeremiah as the speaker so identifying himself with their fate that he speaks as though he were this personified figure. It is not altogether out of the question, however, that the speaker throughout is personified Jerusalem though I know of no commentator who takes that view. For those who are interested, the most thorough discussion of the issue is probably to be found in W. McKane, Jeremiah (ICC), 1:230-35, especially 233-35. Rendering the pronouns throughout as “we” and “our” alleviates some of the difficulty but some speaker needs to be identified in the introduction to allay any possible confusion. Hence I have opted for what is the majority view.

(0.12) (Jer 8:13)

tn The meaning of this line is very uncertain. A possible alternate translation is: “They have broken the laws that I gave them.” The line reads rather literally “And I gave them they passed over them.” The translation adopted treats the first expression as a noun clause (cf. GKC 488-89 §155.n) which is the subject of the following verb, i.e., “the things I gave them [contextually, the grapes, etc.] passed over from them.” The alternate translation treats the expression as a dangling object (a Hebrew casus pendens) resumed by the pronoun “them” and understands “the things that I gave them” to be the law or some related entity which is often the object of this verb (see BDB 717 s.v. עָבַר Qal.1.i). Neither of these translations is without its weakness. The weakness of the translation which has been adopted is the unusual use it assigns to the object suffix of the verb translated “pass over.” The weakness of the alternate translation is the rather abrupt and opaque introduction of a new topic of reference (i.e., the laws) into the context. On the whole the latter weakness would appear to outweigh the former. This line is missing from the Greek version and J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB]) and J. A. Thompson (Jeremiah [NICOT]) despair of giving a translation. For other possible suggestions see, W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 1:285-86.

(0.12) (Jer 32:35)

tn Heb “They built high places to Baal which are in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to cause their sons and daughters to pass through [the fire] to Molech [a thing] which I did not command them and [which] did not go up into my heart [= “mind” in modern psychology] to do this abomination so as to make Judah liable for punishment.” For the use of the Hiphil of חָטָא (khata’) to refer to the liability for punishment see BDB s.v. חָטָא Hiph.3 and compare the usage in Deut 24:8. Coming at the end as this does, this nuance is much more likely than “cause Judah to sin” which is the normal translation assigned to the verb here. The particle לְמַעַן (lÿmaan) that precedes it is here once again introducing a result and not a purpose (compare other clear examples in 27:10, 15). The sentence has been broken down in conformity to contemporary English style and an attempt has been made to make clear that what is detestable and not commanded is not merely child sacrifice to Molech but child sacrifice in general.

(0.12) (Jer 48:1)

sn Moab was a country east of the Dead Sea whose boundaries varied greatly over time. Basically, it was the tableland between the Arnon River about halfway up the Dead Sea and the Zered River which is roughly at the southern tip of the Dead Sea. When the Israelites entered Palestine they were forbidden to take any of the Moabite territory but they did capture the kingdom of Sihon north of the Arnon which Sihon had taken from Moab. Several of the towns mentioned in the oracles of judgment against Moab here are in this territory north of the Arnon and were assigned to Reuben and Gad. Several are mentioned on the famous Moabite Stone which details how Mesha king of Moab recovered from Israel many of these cities during the reign of Joram (852-841 b.c.; cf. 2 Kgs 3:4-5). It is usually assumed that Moab submitted to Nebuchadnezzar after the battle of Carchemish and that they remained loyal to him throughout most of this period, though representatives were present at Jerusalem in 594 b.c. when plans for revolt were apparently being discussed (Jer 27:3). Moabite contingents were used by Nebuchadnezzar in 598 b.c. to harass Jehoiakim after he rebelled (2 Kgs 24:2) so they must have remained loyal at that time. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, Nebuchadnezzar conquered Moab in 582 b.c. and destroyed many of its cities.

(0.12) (Jer 50:21)

tn Heb “Smite down and completely destroy after them.” The word translated “kill” or “smite down” is a word of uncertain meaning and derivation. BDB 352 s.v. III חָרַב relates it to an Aramaic word meaning “attack, smite down.” KBL 329-30 s.v. II חָרַב sees it as a denominative from the word חֶרֶב (kherev, “sword”), a derivation which many modern commentaries accept and reflect in a translation “put to the sword.” KBL, however, gives “to smite down; to slaughter” which is roughly the equivalent of the meaning assigned to it in BDB. The word only occurs here and in v. 27 in the Qal and in 2 Kgs 3:23 in the Niphal where it means something like “attacked one another, fought with one another.” Many commentators question the validity of the word “after them” (אַחֲרֵיהֶם, ’akharehem) which occurs at the end of the line after “completely destroy.” The Targum reads “the last of them” (אַחֲרִיתָם, ’akharitam) which is graphically very close and accepted by some commentators. The present translation has chosen to represent “after them” by a paraphrase at the beginning “pursue them.”

(0.11) (Exo 16:12)

sn One of the major interpretive difficulties is the comparison between Exod 16 and Num 11. In Numbers we find that the giving of the manna was about 24 months after the Exod 16 time (assuming there was a distinct time for this chapter), that it was after the erection of the tabernacle, that Taberah (the Burning) preceded it (not in Exod 16), that the people were tired of the manna (not that there was no bread to eat) and so God would send the quail, and that there was a severe tragedy over it. In Exod 16 both the manna and the quail are given on the same day, with no mention of quail on the following days. Contemporary scholarship generally assigns the accounts to two different sources because complete reconciliation seems impossible. Even if we argue that Exodus has a thematic arrangement and “telescopes” some things to make a point, there will still be difficulties in harmonization. Two considerations must be kept in mind: 1) First, they could be separate events entirely. If this is true, then they should be treated separately as valid accounts of things that appeared or occurred during the period of the wanderings. Similar things need not be the same thing. 2) Secondly, strict chronological order is not always maintained in the Bible narratives, especially if it is a didactic section. Perhaps Exod 16 describes the initiation of the giving of manna as God’s provision of bread, and therefore placed in the prologue of the covenant, and Num 11 is an account of a mood which developed over a period of time in response to the manna. Num 11 would then be looking back from a different perspective.

(0.11) (Lev 17:11)

sn This verse is a well-known crux interpretum for blood atonement in the Bible. The close association between the blood and “the soul/life [נֶפֶשׁ] of the flesh [בָּשָׂר, basar]” (v. 11a) begins in Gen 9:2-5 (if not Gen 4:10-11), where the Lord grants man the eating of meat (i.e., the “flesh” of animals) but also issues a warning: “But flesh [בָּשָׂר] with its soul/life [נֶפֶשׁ], [which is] its blood, you shall not eat” (cf. G. J. Wenham, Genesis [WBC], 1:151 and 193). Unfortunately, the difficulty in translating נֶפֶשׁ consistently (see the note on v. 10 above) obscures the close connection between the (human) “person” in v. 10 and “the life” (of animals, 2 times) and “your (human) lives” in v. 11, all of which are renderings of נֶפֶשׁ. The basic logic of the passage is that (a) no נֶפֶשׁ should eat the blood when he eats the בָּשָׂר of an animal (v. 10) because (b) the נֶפֶשׁ of בָּשָׂר is identified with the blood that flows through and permeates it (v. 11a), and (c) the Lord himself has assigned (i.e., limited the use of) animal blood, that is, animal נֶפֶשׁ, to be the instrument or price of making atonement for the נֶפֶשׁ of people (v. 11b). See the detailed remarks and literature cited in R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 2:693-95, 697-98.

(0.11) (Jer 9:17)

tn Heb “Thus says Yahweh of armies.” However, without some addition it is not clear to whom the command is addressed. The words are supplied in the translation for clarity and to help resolve a rather confusing issue of who is speaking throughout vv. 16-21. As has been evident throughout the translation, the speaker is not always indicated. Sometimes it is not even clear who the speaker is. In general the translation and the notes have reflected the general consensus in identifying who it is. Here, however, there is a good deal of confusion about who is speaking in vv. 18, 20-21. The Greek translation has the Lord speaking throughout with second plural pronouns in vv. 18, 21 and the absence of the first line in v. 22. It would be hard to explain how the MT arose if it were the original text. Critical commentators such as J. Bright, W. Holladay, and W. McKane resolve the issue by dropping out the introductory formula in v. 17 and the first line of v. 22 and assigning the whole lament to Jeremiah. It seems obvious from the first plural pronouns and the content of v. 18 (and probably v. 21 as well) and the fact that the Lord is referred to in other than the first person in v. 20 that he is not the speaker of those verses. I have attempted to resolve the issue by having Jeremiah report the Lord’s command in v. 17 and have the rest of the speech be essentially that of Jeremiah. It should be admitted, however, that the issue is far from resolved. Most English versions simply ignore the problem. The GNB (= TEV) is a rare exception.

(0.08) (Jer 20:7)

tn The translation is admittedly interpretive but so is every other translation that tries to capture the nuance of the verb rendered here “coerced.” Here the Hebrew text reads: “You [ – ]ed me and I let myself be [ – ]ed. You overpowered me and prevailed.” The value one assigns to [ – ] is in every case interpretive based on what one thinks the context is referring to. The word is rendered “deceived” or “tricked” by several English versions (see, e.g., KJV, NASB, TEV, ICV) as though God had misled him. It is rendered “enticed” by some (see, e.g., NRSV, NJPS) as though God had tempted him with false hopes. Some go so far as to accuse Jeremiah of accusing God of metaphorically “raping” him. It is true that the word is used of “seducing” a virgin in Exod 22:15 and that it is used in several places to refer to “deceiving” someone with false words (Prov 24:28; Ps 78:36). It is also true that it is used of “coaxing” someone to reveal something he does not want to (Judg 14:15; 16:5) and of “enticing” someone to do something on the basis of false hopes (1 Kgs 22:20-22; Prov 1:10). However, it does not always have negative connotations or associations. In Hos 2:14 (2:16 HT) God “charms” or “woos” Israel, his estranged ‘wife,’ into the wilderness where he hopes to win her back to himself. What Jeremiah is alluding to here is crucial for translating and interpreting the word. There is no indication in this passage that Jeremiah is accusing God of misleading him or raising false hopes; God informed him at the outset that he would encounter opposition (1:17-19). Rather, he is alluding to his call to be a prophet, a call which he initially resisted but was persuaded to undertake because of God’s persistence (Jer 1:7-10). The best single word to translate ‘…’ with is thus “persuaded” or “coerced.” The translation spells out the allusion explicitly so the reader is not left wondering about what is being alluded to when Jeremiah speaks of being “coerced.” The translation “I let you do it” is a way of rendering the Niphal of the same verb which must be tolerative rather than passive since the normal passive for the Piel would be the Pual (See IBHS 389-90 §23.4g for discussion and examples.). The translation “you overcame my resistance” is based on allusion to the same context (1:7-10) and the parallel use of חָזַק (khazaq) as a transitive verb with a direct object in 1 Kgs 16:22.



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