11:16 I, the Lord, once called 1 you a thriving olive tree,
one that produced beautiful fruit.
But I will set you 2 on fire,
fire that will blaze with a mighty roar. 3
Then all your branches will be good for nothing. 4
11:17 For though I, the Lord who rules over all, 5 planted you in the land, 6
I now decree that disaster will come on you 7
because the nations of Israel and Judah have done evil
and have made me angry by offering sacrifices to the god Baal.” 8
11:18 The Lord gave me knowledge, that I might have understanding. 9
Then he showed me what the people were doing. 10
11:19 Before this I had been like a docile lamb ready to be led to the slaughter.
I did not know they were making plans to kill me. 11
I did not know they were saying, 12
“Let’s destroy the tree along with its fruit! 13
Let’s remove Jeremiah 14 from the world of the living
so people will not even be reminded of him any more.” 15
1 tn Heb “The
2 tn The verb form used here is another example of a verb expressing that the action is as good as done (the Hebrew prophetic perfect).
3 tn Heb “At the sound of a mighty roar he will set fire to it.” For the shift from third person “he” to the first person “I” see the preceding note. The Hebrew use of the pronouns in vv. 16-17 for the olive tree and the people that it represents is likely to cause confusion if retained. In v. 16 the people are “you” and the olive tree is “it.” The people are again “you” in v. 17 but part of the metaphor is carried over, i.e., “he ‘planted’ you.” It creates less confusion in the flow of the passage if the metaphorical identification is carried out throughout by addressing the people/plant as “you.”
4 tn The verb here has most commonly been derived from a root meaning “to be broken” (cf. BDB 949 s.v. II רָעַע) which fits poorly with the metaphor of setting the plant on fire. Another common option is to emend it to a verb meaning “to be burned up” (בָּעַר, ba’ar). However, it is better to follow the lead of the Greek version which translates “be good for nothing” (ἠχρειώθησαν, hcreiwqhsan) and derive the verb from רָעַע (ra’a’) meaning “be bad/evil” (cf. BDB 949 and compare the nuance of the adjective from this verb in BDB 948 s.v. רַע 5).
5 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies.”
sn For the significance of the term see the notes at 2:19 and 7:3.
6 tn The words “in the land” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation to clarify the meaning of the metaphor.
7 tn Heb “For Yahweh of armies who planted you speaks disaster upon you.” Because of the way the term
8 tn Heb “pronounced disaster…on account of the evil of the house of Israel and the house of Judah which they have done to make me angry [or thus making me angry] by sacrificing to Baal.” The lines have been broken up in conformity with contemporary English style.
9 tn Heb “caused me to know that I might know.” Many English versions supply an unstated object “their plots” which is referred to later in the context (cf. v. 19). The presupposition of this kind of absolute ellipsis is difficult to justify and would create the need for understanding an ellipsis of “it” also after “I knew.” It is better to see a bipolar use of the verb “know” here. For the second use of the verb “know” meaning “have understanding” see BDB 394 s.v. ָידַע Qal.5.
10 tn Heb “Then you showed me their deeds.” This is another example of the rapid shift in person which is common in Jeremiah. As elsewhere, it has been resolved for the sake of avoiding confusion for the English reader by leveling the referent to the same person throughout. The text again involves an apostrophe, talking about the
11 tn Heb “against me.” The words “to kill me” are implicit from the context and are supplied in the translation for clarity.
12 tn The words “I did not know that they were saying” are not in the text. The quote is without formal introduction in the original. These words are supplied in the translation for clarity.
13 tn This word and its pronoun (לַחְמוֹ, lakhmo, “its bread”) is often emended to read “in/with its sap” = “in its prime” (either לֵחוֹ [lekho] or לֵחְמוֹ [lekhÿmo]); the latter would be more likely and the מוֹ (mo) could be explained as a rare use of the old poetic third plural suffix for the third singular; cf. GKC 258 §91.l for general use and Ps 11:7 and Job 27:23 for third singular use. Though this fits the context nicely the emendation is probably unnecessary since the word “bread” is sometimes used of other foodstuff than grain or its products (cf. BDB 537 s.v. לֶחֶם 2.a).
sn The word fruit refers contextually here to the prophecies that Jeremiah was giving, not (as some suppose) his progeny. Jeremiah was not married and had no children.
14 tn Heb “cut it [or him] off.” The metaphor of the tree may be continued, though the verb “cut off” is used also of killing people. The rendering clarifies the meaning of the metaphor.
15 tn Heb “so that his name will not be remembered any more.”