ט (Tet) Her city gates have fallen 1 to the ground; he smashed to bits 2 the bars that lock her gates. 3 Her king and princes were taken into exile; 4 there is no more guidance available. 5 As for her prophets, they no longer receive 6 a vision from the Lord.
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1 tn Heb “have sunk down.” This expression, “her gates have sunk down into the ground,” is a personification, picturing the city gates descending into the earth, as if going down into the grave or the netherworld. Most English versions render it literally (KJV, RSV, NRSV, NASB, NIV, NJPS); however, a few paraphrases have captured the equivalent sense quite well: “Zion’s gates have fallen facedown on the ground” (CEV) and “the gates are buried in rubble” (TEV).
2 tn Heb “he has destroyed and smashed her bars.” The two verbs אִבַּד וְשִׁבַּר (’ibbad vÿshibbar) form a verbal hendiadys that emphasizes the forcefulness of the destruction of the locking bars on the gates. The first verb functions adverbially and the second retains its full verbal sense: “he has smashed to pieces.” Several English versions render this expression literally and miss the rhetorical point: “he has ruined and broken” (RSV, NRSV), “he has destroyed and broken” (KJV, NASB), “he has broken and destroyed” (NIV). The hendiadys has been correctly noted by others: “smashed to pieces” (TEV, CEV) and “smashed to bits” (NJPS).
3 tn Heb “her bars.” Since the literal “bars” could be misunderstood as referring to saloons, the phrase “the bars that lock her gates” has been used in the present translation.
4 tn Heb “are among the nations.”
5 tn Heb “there is no torah” or “there is no Torah” (אֵין תּוֹרָה, ’en torah). Depending on whether תּוֹרָה (torah, “instruction, law”) is used in parallelism with the preceding or following line, it refers to (1) political guidance that the now-exiled king had formerly provided or (2) prophetic instruction that the now-ineffective prophets had formerly provided (BDB 434 s.v. תּוֹרָה 1.b). It is possible that the three lines are arranged in an ABA chiastic structure, exploiting the semantic ambiguity of the term תּוֹרָה (torah, “instruction”). Possibly it is an oblique reference to the priests’ duties of teaching, thus introducing a third group of the countries leaders. It is possible to hear in this a lament in reference to the destruction of Torah scrolls that may have been at the temple when it was destroyed.
6 tn Heb “they cannot find.”