44:15 Then all the men who were aware that their wives were sacrificing to other gods, as well as all their wives, answered Jeremiah. There was a great crowd of them representing all the people who lived in northern and southern Egypt. 4 They answered,
44:20 Then Jeremiah replied to all the people, both men and women, who responded to him in this way. 7 44:21 “The Lord did indeed remember and call to mind what you did! He remembered the sacrifices you and your ancestors, your kings, your leaders, and all the rest of the people of the land offered to other gods 8 in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. 9
1 tn Heb “the works of your hands.” Here the phrase is qualified by the epexegetical לְ (lamed) + infinitive, לְקַטֵּר (lÿqatter, “by sacrificing [to other gods]”). For further discussion on the use of this phrase see the translator’s note on 25:6.
2 tn Heb “a curse.” For the meaning of this phrase see the translator’s note on 24:9 and see the usage in 24:9; 25:18; 26:6; 29:22.
3 tn Verses 7b-8 are all one long, complex sentence governed by the interrogative “Why.” The Hebrew text reads: “Why are you doing great harm to your souls [= “yourselves” (cf. BDB 660 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 4.b)] so as to cut off [= destroy] from yourselves man and woman, child and baby [the terms are collective singulars and are to be interpreted as plurals] from the midst of Judah so as not to leave to yourselves a remnant by making me angry with the works of your hands by sacrificing to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have come to live so as to cut off [an example of result rather than purpose after the particle לְמַעַן (lÿma’an; see the translator’s note on 25:7)] yourselves and so that you may become a curse and an object of ridicule among all the nations of the earth.” The sentence has been broken down and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style. An attempt has been made to retain an equivalent for all the subordinations and qualifying phrases.
sn What is being threatened is not the total destruction of a remnant of Judah. Jeremiah recognizes those who have been carried off to Babylon as well as other places as seeds for a new beginning (e.g., 24:5-6; 29:14; 30:3). But he denies here that any of those who have gone to Egypt and are continuing to practice idolatry will be among them. All of them will be cut off (i.e., destroyed) from the midst of Judah so that not a remnant of them will be left.
4 tn The translation is very interpretive at several key points: Heb “Then all the men who were aware that their wives were sacrificing to other gods and all their wives who were standing by, a great crowd/congregation, and all the people who were living in the land of Egypt in Pathros answered, saying.” It is proper to assume that the phrase “a great crowd” is appositional to “all the men…and their wives….” It is also probably proper to assume that the phrase “who were standing by” is unnecessary to the English translation. What is interpretive is the assumption that the “and all the people who were living in Egypt in Pathros” is explicative of “the great crowd” and that the phrase “in Pathros” is conjunctive and not appositional. Several commentaries and English versions (e.g., J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 678-79, n. 2; NJPS) assume that the phrase is descriptive of a second group, i.e., all the Jews from Pathros in Egypt (i.e., southern Egypt [see the study note on 44:1]). Those who follow this interpretation generally see this as a gloss (see Thompson, 678, n. 2, and also W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 2:279, n. 15b). It is probably better to assume that the phrase is explicative and that “all” is used in the same rhetorical way that it has been used within the chapter, i.e., “all” = representatives of all. Likewise the phrase “in Pathros” should be assumed to be conjunctive as in the Syriac translation and as suggested by BHS fn c since Jeremiah’s answer in vv. 24, 26 is directed to all the Judeans living in Egypt.
5 tc The words “And the women added” are not in the Hebrew text. They are, however, implicit in what is said. They are found in the Syriac version and in one recension of the Greek version. W. L. Holladay (Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 2:279, n. 19a) suggests that these words are missing from the Hebrew text because of haplography, i.e., that the scribe left out וַהַנָּשִׁים אָמְרוּ כִי (vahannashim ’omru khi) because his eye jumped from the ו at the beginning to the כִּי (ki) that introduced the temporal clause and left out everything in between. It is, however, just as likely, given the fact that there are several other examples of quotes which have not been formally introduced in the book of Jeremiah, that the words were not there and are supplied by these two ancient versions as a translator’s clarification.
6 tn Or “When we sacrificed and poured out drink offering to the Queen of Heaven and made cakes in her image, wasn’t it with the knowledge and approval of our husbands?” Heb “When we sacrificed to the Queen of Heaven and poured out drink offerings [for the use of לְ (lamed) + the infinitive construct to carry on the tense of the preceding verb see BDB 518 s.v. לְ 7.b(h)] to her, did we make cakes to make an image of her and pour out drink offerings apart from [i.e., “without the knowledge and consent of,” so BDB 116 s.v. בִּלְעֲדֵי b(a)] our husbands?” The question expects a positive answer and has been rendered as an affirmation in the translation. The long, complex Hebrew sentence has again been broken in two and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style.
sn According to Jer 7:18-19 it was not only with the full knowledge and approval of their husbands but also with their active participation. Most of the commentaries call attention to the fact that what is being alluded to here is that a woman’s vow had to have her husband’s conscious approval to have any validity (cf. Num 30:7-16 and see the reference to the vow in v. 17).
7 tn Heb “And Jeremiah said to all the people, to the men and to the women, namely to all the people who answered him a word.” The appositional phrases have been combined to eliminate what would be redundant to a modern reader.
8 tn The words “to other gods” are not in the text but are implicit from the context (cf. v. 17). They are supplied in the translation for clarity. It was not the act of sacrifice that was wrong but the recipient.
9 tn Heb “The sacrifices which you sacrificed in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your leaders and the people of the land, did not the