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(0.35) (2Sa 8:3)

tn The MT does not have the name “Euphrates” in the text. It is supplied in the margin (Qere) as one of ten places where the Masoretes believed that something was “to be read although it was not written” in the text as they had received it. The ancient versions (LXX, Syriac Peshitta, Vulgate) include the word. See also the parallel text in 1 Chr 18:3.

(0.25) (Jer 51:42)

sn This is a poetic and figurative reference to the enemies of Babylon, the foe from the north (see 50:3, 9; 51:27-28), which has attacked Babylon in wave after wave. This same figure is used in Isa 17:12. In Isa 8:7-8 the king of Assyria (and his troops) are compared to the Euphrates, which rises up and floods over the whole land of Israel and Judah. This same figure, but with application to Babylon, is assumed in Jer 47:2-3. In Jer 46:7-8 this figure is employed in a taunt of Egypt, which had boasted that it would cover the earth like the flooding of the Nile.

(0.25) (Jer 51:32)

sn Babylon was a city covering over a thousand acres that was surrounded by two walls, the inner one 21 feet (6.3 m) thick and the outer one 11 feet (3.3 m) thick. To provide the city further security, other walls were built to its south and east, and irrigation ditches and canals to it north and east were flooded to prevent direct access. The “fords” were crossings for the Euphrates River, which ran right through the city, and for the ditches and canals. The “reed marshes” were low-lying areas around the city where reeds grew. Burning them would deprive any fugitives of places to hide and flush out any who had already escaped.

(0.25) (Jer 50:21)

sn Merathaim…Pekod. It is generally agreed that the names of these two regions were chosen for their potential for wordplay. Merathaim probably refers to a region in southern Babylon near where the Tigris and Euphrates come together before they empty into the Persian Gulf. It was known for its briny waters. In Hebrew the word would mean “double rebellion” and would stand as an epithet for the land of Babylon as a whole. Pekod refers to an Aramean people who lived on the eastern bank of the lower Tigris River. They are mentioned often in Assyrian texts and are mentioned in Ezek 23:23 as allies of Babylon. In Hebrew the word would mean “punishment.” As an epithet for the land of Babylon it would refer to the fact that Babylon was to be punished for her double rebellion against the Lord.

(0.20) (Jer 13:1)

sn The fact that the garment was not to be put in water is not explained. A possible explanation within the context is that it was to be worn continuously, not even taken off to wash it. That would illustrate that the close relationship that the Lord had with his people was continuous and indissoluble. Other explanations are that it was not to be gotten wet because (1) that would have begun the process of rotting (This assumes that the rotting was done by the water of the Euphrates. But it was buried in a crack in the rocks, not in the river itself); (2) that would have made it softer and easier to wear; or (3) that showed that the garment was new, clean, and fresh from the merchant. For this latter interpretation see J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah (NICOT), 64. For a fuller discussion of most of the issues connected with this acted-out parable see W. McKane, Jeremiah (ICC), 1:285-92. However, the reason is not explained in the text, and there is not enough evidence in the text to come to a firm conclusion, though the most likely possibility is that it was not to be taken off and washed but worn continuously.

(0.20) (Job 1:1)

sn The term Uz occurs several times in the Bible: a son of Aram (Gen 10:23), a son of Nahor (Gen 22:21), and a descendant of Seir (Gen 36:28). If these are the clues to follow, the location would be north of Syria or south near Edom. The book tells how Job’s flocks were exposed to Chaldeans, the tribes between Syria and the Euphrates (1:17), and in another direction to attacks from the Sabeans (1:15). The most prominent man among his friends was from Teman, which was in Edom (2:11). Uz is also connected with Edom in Lamentations 4:21. The most plausible location, then, would be east of Israel and northeast of Edom, in what is now North Arabia. The LXX has “on the borders of Edom and Arabia.” An early Christian tradition placed his home in an area about 40 miles south of Damascus, in Baashan at the southeast foot of Hermon.

(0.15) (Jon 1:2)

tn Heb “great city.” The adjective גָּדוֹל (gadol, “great”) can refer to a wide variety of qualities: (1) size: “large,” (2) height: “tall,” (3) magnitude: “great,” (4) number: “populous,” (5) power: “mighty,” (6) influence: “powerful,” (8) significance: “important,” (7) finance: “wealthy,” (8) intensity: “fierce,” (9) sound: “loud,” (10) age: “oldest,” (11) importance: “distinguished,” and (12) position: “chief, leading, head” (HALOT 177-78 s.v. גָּדוֹל; BDB 152-53 s.v. גָּדוֹל). The phrase עִיר־גְּדוֹלָה (’ir gedolah, “city”) may designate a city that is (1) large in size (Josh 10:2; Neh 4:7) or (2) great in power: (a) important city-state (Gen 10:12) or (b) prominent capital city (Jer 22:8). The phrase עִיר־גְּדוֹלָה (both with and without the article) is used four times in Jonah (1:2; 3:2, 3; 4:11). This phrase is twice qualified by a statement about its immense dimensions (3:3) or large population (4:11), so גָּדוֹל might denote size. However, size is not the issue in 1:2. At this time in history, Nineveh was the most powerful city in the ancient Near East as the capital of the mighty Neo-Assyrian Empire. It is likely that עִיר־גְּדוֹלָה here is the Hebrew equivalent of the Assyrian ālu rabu (“the important city” = capital city of the empire), just as מַלְכִּי רַב (malki rav, “great king”; Hos 5:13; 10:6) is the equivalent of the Assyrian malku rabu (“great king” = ruler of the empire; D. Stuart, Hosea-Jonah [WBC], 448). Perhaps the closest West Semitic parallel to הָעִיר הָגְּדוֹלָה (haʿir haggedolah) is in an Amarna letter from King Abimilki of Tyre to Amenhotep IV: “Behold, I protect Tyre, the capital city (uruSurri uru rabitu) for the king my lord” (EA 147:61-63). Hebrew constructions in which a determined noun is modified by the determined adjective הָגְּדוֹלָה (“the great…”) often denote singular, unique greatness, e.g., הַנָּהָר הָגָּדֹל (hannahar haggadol, “the great river”) = the Euphrates (Deut 1:7); הַיָּם הַגָּדוֹל (hayyam haggadol, “the great sea”) = the Mediterranean (Josh 1:4); הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל (hakkohen haggadol, “the great priest”) = the chief priest (Lev 21:10); and לָעִיר הַגְּדוֹלָה הַזֹּאת (laʿir haggedolah hazzo’t, “[to] this great city”) = this capital city (Jer 22:8). So הָעִיר הָגְּדוֹלָה may well connote “the capital city” here.

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