Jeremiah 47:2-3

47:2 “Look! Enemies are gathering in the north like water rising in a river.

They will be like an overflowing stream.

They will overwhelm the whole country and everything in it like a flood.

They will overwhelm the cities and their inhabitants.

People will cry out in alarm.

Everyone living in the country will cry out in pain.

47:3 Fathers will hear the hoofbeats of the enemies’ horses,

the clatter of their chariots and the rumbling of their wheels.

They will not turn back to save their children

because they will be paralyzed with fear.

tn Heb “Behold! Waters are rising from the north.” The metaphor of enemy armies compared to overflowing water is seen also in Isa 8:8-9 (Assyria) and 46:7-8 (Egypt). Here it refers to the foe from the north (Jer 1:14; 4:6; etc) which is specifically identified with Babylon in Jer 25. The metaphor has been turned into a simile in the translation to help the average reader identify that a figure is involved and to hint at the referent.

tn Heb “From the noise of the stamping of the hoofs of his stallions, from the rattling of his chariots at the rumbling of their wheels, fathers will not turn to their children from sinking of hands.” According to BDB 952 s.v. רִפָּיוֹן the “sinking of the hands” is figurative of helplessness caused by terror. A very similar figure is seen with a related expression in Isa 35:3-4. The sentence has been restructured to put the subject up front and to suggest through shorter sentences more in keeping with contemporary English style the same causal connections. The figures have been interpreted for the sake of clarity for the average reader.