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Jeremiah 27:6-11

Context
27:6 I have at this time placed all these nations of yours under the power 1  of my servant, 2  King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I have even made all the wild animals subject to him. 3  27:7 All nations must serve him and his son and grandson 4  until the time comes for his own nation to fall. 5  Then many nations and great kings will in turn subjugate Babylon. 6  27:8 But suppose a nation or a kingdom will not be subject to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Suppose it will not submit to the yoke of servitude to 7  him. I, the Lord, affirm that 8  I will punish that nation. I will use the king of Babylon to punish it 9  with war, 10  starvation, and disease until I have destroyed it. 11  27:9 So do not listen to your prophets or to those who claim to predict the future by divination, 12  by dreams, by consulting the dead, 13  or by practicing magic. They keep telling you, ‘You do not need to be 14  subject to the king of Babylon.’ 27:10 Do not listen to them, 15  because their prophecies are lies. 16  Listening to them will only cause you 17  to be taken far away from your native land. I will drive you out of your country and you will die in exile. 18  27:11 Things will go better for the nation that submits to the yoke of servitude to 19  the king of Babylon and is subject to him. I will leave that nation 20  in its native land. Its people can continue to farm it and live in it. I, the Lord, affirm it!”’” 21 

1 tn Heb “have given…into the hand of.”

2 sn See the study note on 25:9 for the significance of the application of this term to Nebuchadnezzar.

3 tn Heb “I have given…to him to serve him.” The verb “give” in this syntactical situation is functioning like the Hiphil stem, i.e., as a causative. See Dan 1:9 for parallel usage. For the usage of “serve” meaning “be subject to” compare 2 Sam 22:44 and BDB 713 s.v. עָבַד 3.

sn This statement is rhetorical, emphasizing the totality of Nebuchadnezzar’s dominion. Neither here nor in Dan 2:38 is it to be understood literally.

4 sn This is a figure that emphasizes that they will serve for a long time but not for an unlimited duration. The kingdom of Babylon lasted a relatively short time by ancient standards. It lasted from 605 b.c. when Nebuchadnezzar defeated Necho at Carchemish until the fall of Babylon in 538 b.c. There were only four rulers. Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded by his son, Evil Merodach (cf. 52:31), and two other rulers who were not descended from him.

5 tn Heb “until the time of his land, even his, comes.” The independent pronoun is placed here for emphasis on the possessive pronoun. The word “time” is used by substitution for the things that are done in it (compare in the NT John 2:4; 7:30; 8:20 “his hour had not yet come”).

sn See Jer 25:12-14, 16.

6 tn Heb “him.” This is a good example of the figure of substitution where the person is put for his descendants or the nation or subject he rules. (See Gen 28:13-14 for another good example and Acts 22:7 in the NT.)

7 tn Heb “put their necks in the yoke of.” See the study note on v. 2 for the figure.

8 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”

9 tn Heb “The nation and/or the kingdom which will not serve him, Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and which will not put its neck in the yoke of the king of Babylon, by sword, starvation, and disease I will punish [or more literally, “visit upon”] that nation, oracle of the Lord.” The long complex Hebrew sentence has been broken up in conformity with contemporary English style and the figures interpreted for the sake of clarity. The particle אֵת, the sign of the accusative, before “which will not put…” is a little unusual here. For its use to introduce a new topic (here a second relative clause) see BDB 85 s.v. אֵת 3.α.

10 tn Heb “with/by the sword.”

11 tc The verb translated “destroy” (תָּמַם, tamam) is usually intransitive in the stem of the verb used here. It is found in a transitive sense elsewhere only in Ps 64:7. BDB 1070 s.v. תָּמַם 7 emends both texts. In this case they recommend תִּתִּי (titi): “until I give them into his hand.” That reading is suggested by the texts of the Syriac and Targumic translations (see BHS fn c). The Greek translation supports reading the verb “destroy” but treats it as though it were intransitive “until they are destroyed by his hand” (reading תֻּמָּם [tummam]). The MT here is accepted as the more difficult reading and support is seen in the transitive use of the verb in Ps 64:7.

tn Heb “I will punish that nation until I have destroyed them [i.e., its people] by his hand.” “Hand” here refers to agency. Hence, “I will use him.”

12 sn Various means of divination are alluded to in the OT. For example, Ezek 21:26-27 alludes to throwing down arrows to see which way they fall and consulting the shape of the liver of slaughtered animals. Gen 44:5 alludes to reading the future through pouring liquid in a cup. The means alluded to in this verse were all classified as pagan and prohibited as illegitimate in Deut 18:10-14. The Lord had promised that he would speak to them through prophets like Moses (Deut 18:15, 18). But even prophets could lie. Hence, the Lord told them that the test of a true prophet was whether what he said came true or not (Deut 18:20-22). An example of false prophesying and the vindication of the true as opposed to the false will be given in the chapter that follows this.

13 sn An example of this is seen in 1 Sam 28.

14 tn The verb in this context is best taken as a negative obligatory imperfect. See IBHS 508-9 §31.4g for discussion and examples. See Exod 4:15 as an example of positive obligation.

15 tn The words “Don’t listen to them” have been repeated from v. 9a to pick up the causal connection between v. 9a and v. 10 that is formally introduced by a causal particle in v. 10 in the original text.

16 tn Heb “they are prophesying a lie.”

17 tn Heb “lies will result in your being taken far…” (לְמַעַן [lÿmaan] + infinitive). This is a rather clear case of the particle לְמַעַן introducing result (contra BDB 775 s.v. מַעַן note 1. There is no irony in this statement; it is a bold prediction).

18 tn The words “out of your country” are not in the text but are implicit in the meaning of the verb. The words “in exile” are also not in the text but are implicit in the context. These words have been supplied in the translation for clarity.

19 tn Heb “put their necks in the yoke of.” See the study note on v. 2 for the figure.

20 tn The words “Things will go better for” are not in the text. They are supplied contextually as a means of breaking up the awkward syntax of the original which reads “The nation which brings its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and subjects itself to him, I will leave it…”

21 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”



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