Internet Verse Search Commentaries Word Analysis ITL - draft

Jeremiah 25:34

Context
NETBible

Wail and cry out in anguish, you rulers! Roll in the dust, you who shepherd flocks of people! 1  The time for you to be slaughtered has come. You will lie scattered and fallen like broken pieces of fine pottery. 2 

XREF

2Ch 36:10; Ps 2:9; Isa 2:16; Isa 10:12; Isa 30:14; Isa 33:1; Jer 3:19; Jer 4:8,9; Jer 6:26; Jer 19:10-12; Jer 22:28; Jer 25:12; Jer 25:23,36; Jer 27:7; Jer 48:26; Jer 51:20-26; La 4:21; Eze 27:30,31; Eze 34:16; Eze 34:17,20; Da 11:8; Am 5:11; Jas 5:1,2

NET © Notes

tn Heb “Wail and cry out, you shepherds. Roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock.” The terms have been reversed to explain the figure.

sn The term “shepherd” has been used several times in the book of Jeremiah to refer to the leaders of the people who were responsible for taking care of their people who are compared to a flock. (See Jer 23:1-4 and the notes there.) Here the figure has some irony involved in it. It is the shepherds who are to be slaughtered like sheep. They may have considered themselves “choice vessels” (the literal translation of “fine pottery”), but they would be slaughtered and lie scattered on the ground (v. 33) like broken pottery.

tn The meaning of this line is debated. The Greek version does not have the words “lie scattered” and it reads the words “like broken pieces of fine pottery” (Heb “like choice vessels”; כִּכְלִי חֶמְדָּה, kikhli khemdah) as “like choice rams” (כְּאֵילֵי חֶמְדָּה, kÿele khemdah); i.e., “the days have been completed for you to be slaughtered and you will fall like choice rams.” The reading of the Greek version fits the context better, but is probably secondary for that very reason. The word translated “lie scattered” (תְּפוֹצָה, tÿfotsah) occurs nowhere else and the switch to the simile of “choice vessels” is rather abrupt. However, this section has been characterized by switching metaphors. The key to the interpretation and translation here is the consequential nature of the verbal actions involved. “Fall” does not merely refer to the action but the effect, i.e., “lie fallen” (cf. BDB 657 s.v. נָפַל 7 and compare Judg 3:25; 1 Sam 31:8). Though the noun translated “lie scattered” does not occur elsewhere, the verb does. It is quite commonly used of dispersing people and that has led many to see that as the reference here. The word, however, can be used of scattering other things like seed (Isa 28:25), arrows (2 Sam 22:15; metaphorical for lightning), etc. Here it follows “slaughtered” and refers to their dead bodies. The simile (Heb “ fallen like choice vessels”) is elliptical, referring to “broken pieces” of choice vessels. In this sense the simile fits in perfectly with v. 33.



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