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Jeremiah 25:16

Context
25:16 When they have drunk it, they will stagger to and fro 1  and act insane. For I will send wars sweeping through them.” 2 

Jeremiah 50:38

Context

50:38 A drought will come upon her land;

her rivers and canals will be dried up. 3 

All of this will happen because her land is filled with idols. 4 

Her people act like madmen because of 5  those idols they fear. 6 

Jeremiah 51:7

Context

51:7 Babylonia had been a gold cup in the Lord’s hand.

She had made the whole world drunk.

The nations had drunk from the wine of her wrath. 7 

So they have all gone mad. 8 

1 tn There is some debate about the meaning of the verb here. Both BDB 172 s.v. גָּעַשׁ Hithpo and KBL 191 s.v. גָּעַשׁ Hitpol interpret this of the back and forth movement of staggering. HALOT 192 s.v. גָּעַשׁ Hitpo interprets it as vomiting. The word is used elsewhere of the up and down movement of the mountains (2 Sam 22:8) and the up and down movement of the rolling waves of the Nile (Jer 46:7, 8). The fact that a different verb is used in v. 27 for vomiting would appear to argue against it referring to vomiting (contra W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 1:674; it is “they” that do this not their stomachs).

2 tn Heb “because of the sword that I will send among them.” Here, as often elsewhere in Jeremiah, the sword is figurative for warfare which brings death. See, e.g., 15:2. The causal particle here is found in verbal locutions where it is the cause of emotional states or action. Hence there are really two “agents” which produce the effects of “staggering” and “acting insane,” the cup filled with God’s wrath and the sword. The sword is the “more literal” and the actual agent by which the first agent’s action is carried out.

3 tc Heb “a drought against her waters and they will dry up.” Several of the commentaries and modern English versions accept the emendation proposed by BHS and read here “sword” (חֶרֶב [kherev] in place of חֹרֶב [khorev], the change of only one vowel) in keeping with the rest of the context. According to BHS this reading is supported by the Lucianic and Hexaplaric recensions of the LXX (the Greek version) and the Syriac version. In this case the drying up of the waters (of the canals) is attributed to neglect brought about by war conditions. However, it is just as likely that these versions are influenced by the repetition of the word “sword” as the Hebrew and the other versions are influenced by the concept of “drying up” of the waters to read “drought.” Hence the present translation, along with the majority of modern English versions, retains the Hebrew “drought.”

4 tn Heb “for it is a land of idols.” The “for,” however, goes back to the whole context not just to the preceding prediction (cf. BDB 473-74 s.v. כִּי 1.c and compare usage in Isa 21:6 listed there).

5 tc Or “Her people boast in.” This translation is based on the reading of the majority of Hebrew mss which read יִתְהֹלָלוּ (yitholalu; cf. usage in Jer 46:9 and see also 25:16; 51:7). Two Hebrew mss and the versions read יִתְהַלָּלוּ (yithallalu; cf. usage in Jer 4:2; 9:23, 24 and Ps 97:7 where a parallel expression is found with “idols”). The reading is again basically the difference in one Hebrew vowel. All of the modern commentaries consulted and all the modern English versions except NEB, REB follow the Hebrew text here rather than the versions.

6 tn Heb “by the terrors.” However, as HALOT 40 s.v. אֵימָה indicates these are “images that cause terror” (a substitution of the effect for the cause). The translation of this line follows the interpretation of the majority of modern English versions and all the commentaries consulted. NIV, NCV, and God’s Word reflect a different syntax, understanding the subject to be the idols just mentioned rather than “her people” which is supplied here for the sake of clarity (the Hebrew text merely says “they.”) Following that lead, one could render “but those idols will go mad with terror.” This makes excellent sense in the context which often refers to effects (vv. 36b, d, 37c, 38b) of the war that is coming. However, that interpretation does not fit as well with the following “therefore/so,” which basically introduces a judgment or consequence after an accusation of sin.

7 tn The words “of her wrath” are not in the Hebrew text but are supplied in the translation to help those readers who are not familiar with the figure of the “cup of the Lord’s wrath.”

sn The figure of the cup of the Lord’s wrath invoked in Jer 25:15-29 is invoked again here and Babylon is identified as the agent through which the wrath of the Lord is visited on the other nations. See the study note on 25:15 for explanation and further references.

8 tn Heb “upon the grounds of such conditions the nations have gone mad.”



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