The mother who had seven children 1 will grow faint. All the breath will go out of her. 2 Her pride and joy will be taken from her in the prime of their life. It will seem as if the sun had set while it was still day. 3 She will suffer shame and humiliation. 4 I will cause any of them who are still left alive to be killed in war by the onslaughts of their enemies,” 5 says the Lord.
|NET © Notes||
1 tn Heb “who gave birth to seven.”
2 tn The meaning of this line is debated. Some understand this line to mean “she has breathed out her life” (cf., e.g., BDB 656 s.v. נָפַח and 656 s.v. ֶנפֶשׁ 1.c). However, as several commentaries have noted (e.g., W. McKane, Jeremiah [ICC], 1:341; J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 109) it makes little sense to talk about her suffering shame and embarrassment if she has breathed her last. Both the Greek and Latin versions understand “soul” not as the object but as the subject and the idea being one of fainting under despair. This idea seems likely in light of the parallelism. Bright suggests the phrase means either “she gasped out her breath” or “her throat gasped.” The former is more likely. One might also render “she fainted dead away,” but that idiom might not be familiar to all readers.
3 tn Heb “Her sun went down while it was still day.”
sn The sun was the source of light and hence has associations with life, prosperity, health, and blessing. The premature setting of the sun which brought these seems apropos as metaphor for the loss of her children which were not only a source of joy, help, and honor. Two references where “sun” is used figuratively, Ps 84:11 (84:12 HT) and Mal 4:2, may be helpful here.
4 sn She has lost her position of honor and the source of her pride. For the concepts here see 1 Sam 2:5.
5 tn Heb “I will deliver those of them that survive to the sword before their enemies.” The referent of “them” is ambiguous. Does it refer to the children of the widow (nearer context) or the people themselves (more remote context, v. 7)? Perhaps it was meant to include both. Verse seven spoke of the destruction of the people and the killing off of the children.