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Jeremiah 25:36-38


25:36 Listen to the cries of anguish of the leaders.

Listen to the wails of the shepherds of the flocks.

They are wailing because the Lord

is about to destroy their lands. 1 

25:37 Their peaceful dwelling places will be laid waste 2 

by the fierce anger of the Lord. 3 

25:38 The Lord is like a lion who has left his lair. 4 

So their lands will certainly 5  be laid waste

by the warfare of the oppressive nation 6 

and by the fierce anger of the Lord.”

1 tn Heb “their pastures,” i.e., the place where they “shepherd” their “flocks.” The verb tenses in this section are not as clear as in the preceding. The participle in this verse is followed by a vav consecutive perfect like the imperatives in v. 34. The verbs in v. 38 are perfects but they can be and probably should be understood as prophetic like the perfect in v. 31 (נְתָנָם, nÿtanam) which is surrounded by imperfects, participles, and vav consecutive perfects.

sn Jer 25:36-38 shifts to the future as though the action were already accomplished or going on. It is the sound that Jeremiah hears in his “prophetic ears” of something that has begun (v. 29) but will find its culmination in the future (vv. 13, 16, 27, 30-35).

2 tn For this meaning of the verb used here see HALOT 217 s.v. דָּמַם Nif. Elsewhere it refers to people dying (see, e.g., Jer 49:26; 50:30) hence some see a reference to “lifeless.”

3 tn Heb “because of the burning anger of the Lord.”

4 tn Heb “Like a lion he has left his lair.”

sn The text returns to the metaphor alluded to in v. 30. The bracketing of speeches with repeated words or motifs is a common rhetorical device in ancient literature.

5 tn This is a way of rendering the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) which is probably here for emphasis rather than indicating cause (see BDB 473 s.v. כִּי 1.e and compare usage in Jer 22:22).

6 tc Heb “by the sword of the oppressors.” The reading here follows a number of Hebrew mss and the Greek version. The majority of Hebrew mss read “the anger of the oppressor.” The reading “the sword of the oppressors” is supported also by the parallel use of this phrase in Jer 46:16; 50:16. The error in the MT may be explained by confusion with the following line which has the same beginning combination (מִפְּנֵי חֲרוֹן [mippÿne kharon] confused for מִפְּנֵי חֶרֶב [mippÿne kherev]). This reading is also supported by the Targum, the Aramaic paraphrase of the OT. According to BDB 413 s.v. יָנָה Qal the feminine singular participle (הַיּוֹנָה, hayyonah) is functioning as a collective in this idiom (see GKC 394 §122.s for this phenomenon).

sn The connection between “war” (Heb “the sword”) and the wrath or anger of the Lord has already been made in vv. 16, 27 and the sword has been referred to also in vv. 29, 31. The sword is of course a reference to the onslaughts of the Babylonian armies (see later Jer 51:20-23).

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