1:14 Then the Lord said, “This means 1 destruction will break out from the north on all who live in the land.
Run for safety! Do not delay!
For I am about to bring disaster out of the north.
It will bring great destruction. 3
6:1 “Run for safety, people of Benjamin!
Get out of Jerusalem! 4
Sound the trumpet 5 in Tekoa!
Light the signal fires at Beth Hakkerem!
For disaster lurks 6 out of the north;
it will bring great destruction. 7
“Look up, Jerusalem, 9 and see
the enemy 10 that is coming from the north.
Where now is the flock of people that were entrusted to your care? 11
Where now are the ‘sheep’ that you take such pride in? 12
2 tn Heb “Raise up a signal toward Zion.”
3 tn Heb “out of the north, even great destruction.”
4 tn Heb “Flee for safety, people of Benjamin, out of the midst of Jerusalem.”
sn Compare and contrast Jer 4:6. There people in the outlying areas were warned to seek safety in the fortified city of Jerusalem. Here they are told to flee it because it was about to be destroyed.
5 tn Heb “ram’s horn,” but the modern equivalent is “trumpet” and is more readily understandable.
6 tn Heb “leans down” or “looks down.” This verb personifies destruction leaning/looking down from its window in the sky, ready to attack.
7 tn Heb “[It will be] a severe fracture.” The nation is pictured as a limb being fractured.
sn This passage is emotionally charged. There are two examples of assonance or wordplay in the verse: “sound” (Heb tiq’u, “blow”), which has the same consonants as “Tekoa” (Heb uvitqoa’), and “signal fire,” which comes from the same root as “light” (Heb sÿ’u mas’et, “lift up”). There is also an example of personification where disaster is said to “lurk” (Heb “look down on”) out of the north. This gives a sense of urgency and concern for the coming destruction.
9 tn The word “Jerusalem” is not in the Hebrew text. It is added in the Greek text and is generally considered to be the object of address because of the second feminine singular verbs here and throughout the following verses. The translation follows the consonantal text (Kethib) and the Greek text in reading the second feminine singular here. The verbs and pronouns in vv. 20-22 are all second feminine singular with the exception of the suffix on the word “eyes” which is not reflected in the translation here (“Look up” = “Lift up your eyes”) and the verb and pronoun in v. 23. The text may reflect the same kind of alternation between singular and plural that takes place in Isa 7 where the pronouns refer to Ahaz as an individual and his entourage, the contemporary ruling class (cf., e.g., Isa 7:4-5 [singular], 9 [plural], 11 [singular], 13-14 [plural]). Here the connection with the preceding may suggest that it is initially the ruling house (the king and the queen mother), then Jerusalem personified as a woman in her role as a shepherdess (i.e., leader). However, from elsewhere in the book the leadership has included the kings, the priests, the prophets, and the citizens as well (cf., e.g., 13:13). In v. 27 Jerusalem is explicitly addressed. It may be asking too much of some readers who are not familiar with biblical metaphors to understand an extended metaphor like this. If it is helpful to them, they may substitute plural referents for “I” and “me.”
10 tn The word “enemy” is not in the text but is implicit. It supplied in the translation for clarity.
sn On the phrase the enemy that is coming from the north see Jer 1:14-15; 4:6; 6:1, 22; 10:22.
11 tn Heb “the flock that was given to you.”
12 tn Heb “the sheep of your pride.” The word “of your people” and the quotes around “sheep” are intended to carry over the metaphor in such a way that readers unfamiliar with the metaphor will understand it.