The Lord says:
Deliver those who have been robbed from those 4 who oppress them.
Otherwise, my wrath will blaze out against you.
It will burn like a fire that cannot be put out
because of the evil that you have done. 5
‘You boast, “No one can swoop down on us.
No one can penetrate into our places of refuge.” 9
21:14 But I will punish you as your deeds deserve,’
says the Lord. 10
‘I will set fire to your palace;
it will burn up everything around it.’” 11
3 sn The kings of Israel and Judah were responsible for justice. See Pss 122:5. The king himself was the final court of appeals judging from the incident of David with the wise woman of Tekoa (2 Sam 14), Solomon and the two prostitutes (1 Kgs 3:16-28), and Absalom’s attempts to win the hearts of the people of Israel by interfering with due process (2 Sam 15:2-4). How the system was designed to operate may be seen from 2 Chr 19:4-11.
4 tn Heb “from the hand [or power] of.”
5 tn Heb “Lest my wrath go out like fire and burn with no one to put it out because of the evil of your deeds.”
6 tn Or “Listen, Jerusalem, you…”; Heb text of v. 21a-b reads, “Behold I am against you [fem. sg.], O inhabitant [fem. sg.] of the valley [and of] the rock of the plain, oracle of the
7 tn Heb “I am against you.”
8 tn Heb “oracle of the
9 tn Heb “Who can swoop…Who can penetrate…?” The questions are rhetorical and expect a negative answer. They are rendered as negative affirmations for clarity.
sn What is being expressed here is the belief in the inviolability of Zion/Jerusalem carried to its extreme. Signal deliverances of Jerusalem such as those experienced under Jehoshaphat (2 Chr 20) and Hezekiah (Isa 37:36-37) in the context of promises to protect it (Isa 31:4-5; 37:33-35; 38:6) led to a belief that Zion was unconquerable. This belief found expression in several of Israel’s psalms (Pss 46, 48, 76) and led to the mistaken assumption that God would protect it regardless of how the people treated God or one another. Micah and Jeremiah both deny that (cf. Mic 3:8-12; Jer 21:13-14).
10 tn Heb “oracle of the
11 tn Heb “I will set fire in its forest and it will devour its surroundings.” The pronouns are actually third feminine singular going back to the participle “you who sit enthroned above the valley.” However, this is another example of those rapid shifts in pronouns typical of the biblical Hebrew style which are uncommon in English. They have regularly been leveled to the same person throughout in the translation to avoid possible confusion for the English reader.