The bellows blow fiercely to burn away the lead with fire, but the refining goes on in vain; the wicked are not purged out.
The bellows blow fiercely, The lead is consumed by the fire; In vain the refining goes on, But the wicked are not separated.
The bellows blow fiercely. The refining fire grows hotter. But it will never purify and cleanse them because there is no purity in them to refine.
Refining fires are cranked up to white heat, but the ore stays a lump, unchanged. It's useless to keep trying any longer. Nothing can refine evil out of them.
The blower is blowing strongly, the lead is burned away in the fire: they go on heating the metal to no purpose, for the evil-doers are not taken away.
The bellows blow fiercely, the lead is consumed by the fire; in vain the refining goes on, for the wicked are not removed.
The bellows blow fiercely, The lead is consumed by the fire; The smelter refines in vain, For the wicked are not drawn off.
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|NET © Notes||
1 tn Heb “The bellows blow fiercely; the lead is consumed by the fire.” The translation tries to clarify a metaphor involving ancient metallurgy. In the ancient refining process lead was added as a flux to remove impurities from silver ore in the process of oxidizing the lead. Jeremiah says that the lead has been used up and the impurities have not been removed. The translation is based on the recognition of an otherwise unused verb root meaning “blow” (נָחַר [nakhar]; cf. BDB 1123 s.v. I חָרַר and HALOT 651 s.v. נָחַר) and the Masoretes’ suggestion that the consonants מאשׁתם be read מֵאֵשׁ תַּם (me’esh tam) rather than as מֵאֶשָּׁתָם (me’eshatam, “from their fire”) from an otherwise unattested noun אֶשָּׁה (’eshah).
2 tn Heb “The refiner refines them in vain.”