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Jeremiah 48:29-30


48:29 I have heard how proud the people of Moab are,

I know how haughty they are.

I have heard how arrogant, proud, and haughty they are,

what a high opinion they have of themselves. 1 

48:30 I, the Lord, affirm that 2  I know how arrogant they are.

But their pride is ill-founded.

Their boastings will prove to be false. 3 

1 tn Heb “We have heard of the pride of Moab – [he is] exceedingly proud – of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his haughtiness, and the loftiness of his heart.” These words are essentially all synonyms, three of them coming from the same Hebrew root (גָּאָה, gaah) and one of the words being used twice (גָּאוֹן). Since the first person singular is used in the next verse, the present translation considers the “we” of this verse to refer to the plural of majesty or the plural referring to the divine council in such passages as Gen 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Isa 6:8 and has translated in the singular to avoid possible confusion of who the “we” are. Most understand the reference to be to Jeremiah and his fellow Judeans.

2 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

3 tn The meaning of this verse is somewhat uncertain: Heb “I know, oracle of the Lord,/ his arrogance and [that it is?] not true; // his boastings accomplish that which is not true.” Several of the modern English versions and commentaries redivide the verse and read something like, “I know his insolence…his boastings are false; his deeds are false (NRSV, REB).” However, the word translated “deeds” in the last line is a verb in the third person plural and can only have as its logical grammatical subject the word “boastings.” The adjective כֵּן (ken) + the negative לֹא (lo’) is evidently repeated here and applied to two different subjects “arrogance” and “boasting” to emphasize that Moab’s arrogant boasts will prove “untrue” (Cf. HALOT 459 s.v. II כֵּן 2.c for the meaning “untrue” for both this passage and the parallel one in Isa 16:6). There is some difference of opinion about the identification of the “I” in this verse. Most commentators see it as referring to the prophet. However, F. B. Huey (Jeremiah, Lamentations [NAC], 395) is probably correct in seeing it as referring to the Lord. He points to the fact that the “I” in vv. 33, 35, 38 can only refer to God. The “I know” in v. 30 also clearly has the Lord as its subject. There are other cases in the book of Jeremiah where the Lord expresses his lament over the fate of a people (cf. 14:1-6, 17-18).

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