New English Translation
Jeremiah Is Put on Trial as a False Prophet[a]
26 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah[b] at the beginning of the reign[c] of Josiah’s son, King Jehoiakim of Judah. 2 The Lord said, “Go stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple.[d] Speak out to all the people who are coming from the towns of Judah to worship in the Lord’s temple. Tell them everything I command you to tell them. Do not leave out a single word. 3 Maybe they will pay attention and each of them will stop living the evil way they do.[e] If they do that, then I will forgo destroying them[f] as I had intended to do because of the wicked things they have been doing.[g] 4 Tell them that the Lord says,[h] ‘You must obey me; you must live according to the way I have instructed you in my laws.[i] 5 You must pay attention to the exhortations of my servants the prophets. I have sent them to you over and over again.[j] But you have not paid any attention to them. 6 If you do not obey me,[k] then I will do to this temple what I did to Shiloh.[l] And I will make this city an example to be used in curses by people from all the nations on the earth.’”
7 The priests, the prophets, and all the people heard Jeremiah say these things in the Lord’s temple. 8 Jeremiah had just barely finished saying all the Lord had commanded him to say to all the people when all at once some[m] of the priests, the prophets, and the people grabbed him and shouted, “You deserve to die![n] 9 How dare you claim the Lord’s authority to prophesy such things! How dare you claim his authority to prophesy that this temple will become like Shiloh and that this city will become an uninhabited ruin!”[o] Then all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the Lord’s temple.
10 However, some of the officials[p] of Judah heard about what was happening[q] and they rushed up to the Lord’s temple from the royal palace. They set up court[r] at the entrance of the New Gate of the Lord’s temple.[s] 11 Then the priests and the prophets made their charges before the officials and all the people. They said,[t] “This man should be condemned to die[u] because he prophesied against this city. You have heard him do so[v] with your own ears.”
12 Then Jeremiah made his defense before all the officials and all the people.[w] “The Lord sent me to prophesy everything you have heard me say against this temple and against this city. 13 But correct the way you have been living and do what is right.[x] Obey the Lord your God. If you do, the Lord will forgo destroying you as he threatened he would.[y] 14 As to my case, I am in your power.[z] Do to me what you deem fair and proper. 15 But you should take careful note of this: If you put me to death, you will bring on yourselves and this city and those who live in it the guilt of murdering an innocent man. For the Lord has sent me to speak all this where you can hear it. That is the truth!”[aa]
16 Then the officials and all the people rendered their verdict to the priests and the prophets. They said,[ab] “This man should not be condemned to die.[ac] For he has spoken to us under the authority of the Lord our God.”[ad] 17 Then some of the elders of Judah[ae] stepped forward and spoke to all the people gathered there. They said, 18 “Micah from Moresheth[af] prophesied during the time Hezekiah was king of Judah.[ag] He told all the people of Judah, ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies[ah] says,
19 “King Hezekiah and all the people of Judah did not put him to death, did they? Did not Hezekiah show reverence for the Lord and seek the Lord’s favor?[ak] Did not[al] the Lord forgo destroying them[am] as he threatened he would? But we are on the verge of bringing great disaster on ourselves.”[an]
20 Now there was another man[ao] who prophesied as the Lord’s representative[ap] against this city and this land just as Jeremiah did. His name was Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim.[aq] 21 When King Jehoiakim and all his bodyguards[ar] and officials heard what he was prophesying,[as] the king sought to have him executed. But Uriah found out about it and fled to Egypt out of fear.[at] 22 However, King Jehoiakim sent some men to Egypt, including Elnathan son of Achbor,[au] 23 and they brought Uriah back from there.[av] They took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him executed and had his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.[aw]
Jeremiah Counsels Submission to Babylon
27 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah[az] early in the reign of Josiah’s son, King Zedekiah of Judah.[ba] 2 The Lord told me,[bb] “Make a yoke[bc] out of leather straps and wooden crossbars and put it on your neck. 3 Use it to send messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon.[bd] Send them through[be] the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to King Zedekiah of Judah. 4 Charge them to give their masters a message from me. Tell them, ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[bf] says to give your masters this message:[bg] 5 “I made the earth and the people and animals on it by my mighty power and great strength,[bh] and I give it to whomever I see fit.[bi] 6 I have at this time placed all these nations of yours under the power[bj] of my servant,[bk] King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I have even made all the wild animals subject to him.[bl] 7 All nations must serve him and his son and grandson[bm] until the time comes for his own nation to fall.[bn] Then many nations and great kings will in turn subjugate Babylon.[bo] 8 But suppose a nation or a kingdom will not be subject to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Suppose it will not submit to the yoke of servitude to[bp] him. I, the Lord, affirm that[bq] I will punish that nation. I will use the king of Babylon to punish it[br] with war,[bs] starvation, and disease until I have destroyed it.[bt] 9 So do not listen to your prophets or to those who claim to predict the future by divination,[bu] by dreams, by consulting the dead,[bv] or by practicing magic. They keep telling you, ‘You do not need to be subject to[bw] the king of Babylon.’ 10 Do not listen to them,[bx] because their prophecies are lies.[by] Listening to them will only cause you[bz] to be taken far away from your native land. I will drive you out of your country and you will die in exile.[ca] 11 Things will go better for the nation that submits to the yoke of servitude to[cb] the king of Babylon and is subject to him. I will leave that nation[cc] in its native land. Its people can continue to farm it and live in it. I, the Lord, affirm it!”’”[cd]
12 I told King Zedekiah of Judah the same thing. I said,[ce] “Submit[cf] to the yoke of servitude to[cg] the king of Babylon. Be subject to him and his people. Then you will continue to live. 13 There is no reason why you and your people should die in war[ch] or from starvation or disease.[ci] That’s what the Lord says will happen to any nation[cj] that will not be subject to the king of Babylon. 14 Do not listen to the prophets who are telling you that you do not need to serve[ck] the king of Babylon. For they are prophesying lies to you. 15 For I, the Lord, affirm[cl] that I did not send them. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. If you[cm] listen to them, I will drive you and the prophets who are prophesying lies out of the land and you will all die in exile.”[cn]
16 I also told the priests and all the people, “The Lord says, ‘Do not listen to what your prophets are saying. They are prophesying to you that[co] the valuable articles taken from the Lord’s temple will be brought back from Babylon very soon.[cp] But they are prophesying a lie to you. 17 Do not listen to them. Be subject to the king of Babylon. Then you[cq] will continue to live. Why should this city be made a pile of rubble?’”[cr] 18 I also told them,[cs] “If they are really prophets and the Lord is speaking to them,[ct] let them pray earnestly to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Let them plead with him not to let the valuable articles that are still left in the Lord’s temple, in the royal palace of Judah, and in Jerusalem be taken away[cu] to Babylon. 19 For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies[cv] has already spoken about the two bronze pillars,[cw] the large bronze basin called ‘The Sea,’[cx] and the movable bronze stands.[cy] He has already spoken about the rest of the valuable articles that are left in this city. 20 He has already spoken about these things that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon did not take away when he carried Jehoiakim’s son King Jeconiah of Judah and the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem away as captives from Jerusalem to Babylon.[cz] 21 Indeed, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[da] has already spoken[db] about the valuable articles that are left in the Lord’s temple, in the royal palace of Judah, and in Jerusalem. 22 He has said, ‘They will be carried off to Babylon. They will remain there until it is time for me to show consideration for them again.[dc] Then I will bring them back and restore them to this place.’ I, the Lord, affirm this!”[dd]
Jeremiah Confronted by a False Prophet
28 The following events occurred in that same year, early in the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah. To be more precise, it was the fifth month of the fourth year of his reign.[de] The prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, who was from Gibeon, spoke to Jeremiah[df] in the Lord’s temple in the presence of the priests and all the people:[dg] 2 “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[dh] says, ‘I will break the yoke of servitude[di] to the king of Babylon. 3 Before two years are over, I will bring back to this place everything that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took from it and carried away to Babylon. 4 I will also bring back to this place Jehoiakim’s son King Jeconiah of Judah and all the exiles who were taken to Babylon.’ Indeed, the Lord affirms,[dj] ‘I will break the yoke of servitude to the king of Babylon.’”
5 Then the prophet Jeremiah responded to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the Lord’s temple. 6 The prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do all this! May the Lord make your prophecy come true! May he bring back to this place from Babylon all the valuable articles taken from the Lord’s temple and the people who were carried into exile. 7 But listen to what I say to you and to all these people.[dk] 8 From earliest times, the prophets who preceded you and me invariably[dl] prophesied war, disaster,[dm] and plagues against many countries and great kingdoms. 9 So if a prophet prophesied[dn] peace and prosperity, it was only known that the Lord truly sent him when what he prophesied came true.”
10 The prophet Hananiah then took the yoke off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck and broke it. 11 Then he spoke up in the presence of all the people. “The Lord says, ‘In the same way I will break the yoke of servitude of all the nations to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon[do] before two years are over.’” After he heard this, the prophet Jeremiah departed and went on his way.[dp]
12 But shortly after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck, the Lord’s message came to Jeremiah. 13 “Go and tell Hananiah that the Lord says,[dq] ‘You have indeed broken the wooden yoke. But you have[dr] only succeeded in replacing it with an iron one![ds] 14 For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[dt] says, “I have put an irresistible yoke of servitude on all these nations[du] so they will serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. And they will indeed serve him. I have even given him control over the wild animals.”’”[dv] 15 Then the prophet Jeremiah told the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord did not send you! You are making these people trust in a lie.[dw] 16 So the Lord says, ‘I will most assuredly remove[dx] you from the face of the earth. You will die this very year because you have counseled rebellion against the Lord.’”[dy]
17 In the seventh month of that very same year[dz] the prophet Hananiah died.
Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles
29 The prophet Jeremiah sent a letter to the exiles Nebuchadnezzar had carried off from Jerusalem to Babylon. It was addressed to the elders who were left among the exiles, to the priests, to the prophets, and to all the other people who were exiled in Babylon.[ea] 2 He sent it after King Jeconiah, the queen mother, the palace officials,[eb] the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had been exiled from Jerusalem.[ec] 3 He sent it with Elasah son of Shaphan[ed] and Gemariah son of Hilkiah.[ee] King Zedekiah of Judah had sent these men to Babylon to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.[ef] The letter said:
4 “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[eg] says to all those he sent into exile[eh] to Babylon from Jerusalem, 5 ‘Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons and allow your daughters to get married so that they too can have sons and daughters. Grow in number; do not dwindle away. 7 Work to see that the city where I sent you as exiles enjoys peace and prosperity. Pray to the Lord for it. For as it prospers you will prosper.’
8 “For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[ei] says, ‘Do not let the prophets among you or those who claim to be able to predict the future by divination[ej] deceive you. And do not pay any attention to the dreams that you are encouraging them to dream. 9 They are prophesying lies to you and claiming my authority to do so.[ek] But I did not send them. I, the Lord, affirm it!’[el]
10 “For the Lord says, ‘Only when the seventy years of Babylonian rule[em] are over will I again take up consideration for you.[en] Then I will fulfill my gracious promise to you and restore[eo] you to your homeland.[ep] 11 For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord.[eq] ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you[er] a future filled with hope.[es] 12 When you call out to me and come to me in prayer,[et] I will hear your prayers.[eu] 13 When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul,[ev] 14 I will make myself available to you,’[ew] says the Lord.[ex] ‘Then I will reverse your plight[ey] and will regather you from all the nations and all the places where I have exiled you,’ says the Lord.[ez] ‘I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.’
15 “You say, ‘The Lord has raised up prophets of good news[fa] for us here in Babylon.’ 16 But just listen to what the Lord has to say about[fb] the king who occupies David’s throne and all your fellow countrymen who are still living in this city of Jerusalem[fc] and were not carried off into exile with you. 17 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies[fd] says, ‘I will bring war,[fe] starvation, and disease on them. I will treat them like figs that are so rotten[ff] they cannot be eaten. 18 I will chase after them with war,[fg] starvation, and disease. I will make all the kingdoms of the earth horrified at what happens to them. I will make them examples of those who are cursed, objects of horror, hissing scorn, and ridicule among all the nations where I exile them. 19 For they have not paid attention to what I said to them through my servants the prophets whom I sent to them over and over again,’[fh] says the Lord.[fi] ‘And you exiles[fj] have not paid any attention to them either,’ says the Lord.[fk] 20 ‘So pay attention to the Lord’s message,[fl] all you exiles whom I have sent to Babylon from Jerusalem.’
21 “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[fm] also has something to say about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying lies to you and claiming my authority to do so.[fn] ‘I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and he will execute them before your very eyes. 22 And all the exiles of Judah who are in Babylon will use them as examples when they put a curse on anyone. They will say, “May the Lord treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab whom the king of Babylon roasted to death in the fire!”[fo] 23 This will happen to them because they have done what is shameful[fp] in Israel. They have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives and have spoken lies while claiming my authority.[fq] They have spoken words that I did not command them to speak. I know what they have done. I have been a witness to it,’ says the Lord.”[fr]
A Response to the Letter and a Subsequent Letter
24 The Lord told Jeremiah, “Tell[fs] Shemaiah the Nehelamite[ft] 25 that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[fu] has a message for him.[fv] Tell him,[fw] ‘On your own initiative[fx] you sent a letter[fy] to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah[fz] and to all the other priests and to all the people in Jerusalem. In your letter you said to Zephaniah,[ga] 26 “The Lord has made you priest in place of Jehoiada.[gb] He has put you in charge in the Lord’s temple of controlling[gc] any lunatic[gd] who pretends to be a prophet.[ge] And it is your duty to put any such person in the stocks[gf] with an iron collar around his neck.[gg] 27 You should have reprimanded Jeremiah from Anathoth who is pretending to be a prophet among you![gh] 28 For he has even sent a message to us here in Babylon. He wrote and told us,[gi] ‘You will be there a long time. Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what they produce.’”’”[gj]
29 Zephaniah the priest read that letter to the prophet Jeremiah.[gk] 30 Then the Lord’s message came to Jeremiah: 31 “Send a message to all the exiles in Babylon. Tell them, ‘The Lord has spoken about Shemaiah the Nehelamite: “Shemaiah has spoken to you as a prophet even though I did not send him. He is making you trust in a lie.[gl] 32 Because he has done this,”[gm] the Lord says, “I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his whole family. There will not be any of them left to experience the good things that I will do for my people. I, the Lord, affirm it! For he counseled rebellion against the Lord.”’”[gn]
Introduction to the Book of Consolation
30 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah.[go] 2 “The Lord God of Israel says,[gp] ‘Write everything that I am about to tell you in a scroll.[gq] 3 For I, the Lord, affirm[gr] that the time will come when I will reverse the plight[gs] of my people, Israel and Judah,’ says the Lord. ‘I will bring them back to the land I gave their ancestors[gt] and they will take possession of it once again.’”[gu]
Israel and Judah Will Be Delivered after a Time of Deep Distress
4 So here is what the Lord has to say about Israel and Judah.[gv]
5 Yes,[gw] here is what he says:
“You hear cries of panic and of terror;
there is no peace in sight.[gx]
6 Ask yourselves this and consider it carefully:[gy]
Have you ever seen a man give birth to a baby?
Why then do I see all these strong men
grabbing their stomachs in pain like[gz] a woman giving birth?
And why do their faces
turn so deathly pale?
7 Alas, what a terrible time of trouble it is![ha]
There has never been any like it.
It is a time of trouble for the descendants of Jacob,
but some of them will be rescued out of it.[hb]
8 When the time for them to be rescued comes,”[hc]
says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,[hd]
“I will rescue you from foreign subjugation.[he]
I will deliver you from captivity.[hf]
Foreigners will then no longer subjugate them.
9 But they will be subject to[hg] the Lord their God
and to the Davidic ruler whom I will raise up as king over them.[hh]
10 So I, the Lord, tell you not to be afraid,
you descendants of Jacob, my servants.[hi]
Do not be terrified, people of Israel.
For I will rescue you and your descendants
from a faraway land where you are captives.[hj]
The descendants of Jacob will return to their land and enjoy peace.
They will be secure and no one will terrify them.[hk]
11 For I, the Lord, affirm[hl] that
I will be with you and will rescue you.
I will completely destroy all the nations where I scattered you.
But I will not completely destroy you.
I will indeed discipline you, but only in due measure.
I will not allow you to go entirely unpunished.”[hm]
The Lord Will Heal the Wounds of Judah
“Your injuries are incurable;
your wounds are severe.[hp]
13 There is no one to plead your cause.
There are no remedies for your wounds.[hq]
There is no healing for you.
14 All your allies have abandoned you.[hr]
They no longer have any concern for you.
For I have attacked you like an enemy would.
I have chastened you cruelly.
For your wickedness is so great
and your sin is so much.[hs]
15 Why do you complain about your injuries,
that your pain is incurable?
I have done all this to you
because your wickedness is so great
and your sin is so much.
16 But[ht] all who destroyed you will be destroyed.
All your enemies will go into exile.
Those who plundered you will be plundered.
I will cause those who pillaged you to be pillaged.[hu]
17 Yes,[hv] I will restore you to health.
I will heal your wounds.
I, the Lord, affirm it![hw]
For you have been called an outcast,
Zion, whom no one cares for.”
The Lord Will Restore Israel and Judah
18 The Lord says:
“I will restore the ruined houses of the descendants of Jacob.
I will show compassion on their ruined homes.[hx]
Every city will be rebuilt on its former ruins.[hy]
Every fortified dwelling will occupy its traditional site.[hz]
19 Out of those places you will hear songs of thanksgiving[ia]
and the sounds of laughter and merriment.
I will increase their number and they will not dwindle away.[ib]
I will bring them honor and they will no longer be despised.
20 The descendants of Jacob will enjoy their former privileges.
Their community will be reestablished in my favor,[ic]
and I will punish all who try to oppress them.
21 One of their own people will be their leader.
Their ruler will come from their own number.[id]
I will invite him to approach me, and he will do so.[ie]
For no one would dare approach me on his own.[if]
I, the Lord, affirm it![ig]
22 Then you will again be my people,
and I will be your God.[ih]
23 Just watch! The wrath of the Lord
will come like a storm.
Like a raging storm it will rage down
on the heads of those who are wicked.
24 The anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he has fully carried out his intended purposes.
In future days you will come to understand this.[ii]
31 At that time I will be the God of all the clans of Israel[ij]
and they will be my people.
I, the Lord, affirm it!”[ik]
Israel Will Be Restored and Join Judah in Worship
2 The Lord says:
“The people of Israel who survived
death at the hands of the enemy[il]
will find favor in the wilderness
as they journey to find rest for themselves.
3 In a faraway land[im] the Lord will manifest himself to them.
He will say to them, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love.
That is why I have continued to be faithful to you.[in]
4 I will rebuild you, my dear children Israel,[io]
so that you will once again be built up.
Once again you will take up the tambourine
and join in the happy throng of dancers.[ip]
5 Once again you will plant vineyards
on the hills of Samaria.
Those who plant them
will once again enjoy their fruit.[iq]
6 Yes, a time is coming
when watchmen[ir] will call out on the mountains of Ephraim,
“Come! Let us go to Zion
to worship the Lord our God!”’”[is]
7 Moreover,[it] the Lord says:
“Sing for joy for the descendants of Jacob.
Utter glad shouts for that foremost of the nations.[iu]
Make your praises heard.[iv]
Then say, ‘Lord, rescue your people.
Deliver those of Israel who remain alive.’[iw]
8 Then I will reply,[ix] ‘I will bring them back from the land of the north.
I will gather them in from the distant parts of the earth.
Blind and lame people will come with them,
so will pregnant women and women about to give birth.
A vast throng of people will come back here.
9 They will come back shedding tears of contrition.
I will bring them back praying prayers of repentance.[iy]
I will lead them besides streams of water,
along smooth paths where they will never stumble.[iz]
I will do this because I am Israel’s father;
Ephraim[ja] is my firstborn son.’”
10 Listen to the Lord’s message, O nations.
Proclaim it in the faraway lands along the sea.
Say, “The one who scattered Israel will regather them.
He will watch over his people like a shepherd watches over his flock.”
11 For the Lord will rescue the descendants of Jacob.
He will secure their release[jb] from those who had overpowered them.[jc]
12 They will come and shout for joy on Mount Zion.
They will be radiant with joy[jd] over the good things the Lord provides,
the grain, the fresh wine, the olive oil,
the young sheep, and the calves he has given to them.
They will be like a well-watered garden
and will not grow faint or weary any more.
13 The Lord says,[je] “At that time young women will dance and be glad.
Young men and old men will rejoice.[jf]
I will turn their grief into gladness.
I will give them comfort and joy in place of their sorrow.
14 I will provide the priests with abundant provisions.[jg]
My people will be filled to the full with the good things I provide.”
15 The Lord says:
“A sound is heard in Ramah,[jh]
a sound of crying in bitter grief.
It is the sound of Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted, because her children are gone.”[ji]
16 The Lord says to her,[jj]
“Stop crying! Do not shed any more tears.[jk]
For your heartfelt repentance[jl] will be rewarded.
Your children will return from the land of the enemy.
I, the Lord, affirm it![jm]
17 Indeed, there is hope for your posterity.[jn]
Your children will return to their own territory.
I, the Lord, affirm it![jo]
18 I have indeed[jp] heard the people of Israel[jq] say mournfully,
‘We were like a calf untrained to the yoke.[jr]
You disciplined us and we learned from it.[js]
Let us come back to you and we will do so,[jt]
for you are the Lord our God.
19 For after we turned away from you we repented.
After we came to our senses[ju] we struck our thigh in sorrow.[jv]
We are ashamed and humiliated
because of the disgraceful things we did previously.’[jw]
20 Indeed, the people of Israel are my dear children.
They are the children I take delight in.[jx]
For even though I must often rebuke them,
I still remember them with fondness.
So I am deeply moved with pity for them[jy]
and will surely have compassion on them.
I, the Lord, affirm it![jz]
21 I will say,[ka] ‘My dear children of Israel,[kb] keep in mind
the road you took when you were carried off.[kc]
Mark off in your minds the landmarks.
Make a mental note of telltale signs marking the way back.
Return, my dear children of Israel.
Return to these cities of yours.
22 How long will you vacillate,[kd]
you who were once like an unfaithful daughter?[ke]
For I, the Lord, promise[kf] to bring about something new[kg] on the earth,
something as unique as a woman protecting a man!’”[kh]
Judah Will Be Restored
23 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[ki] says,
“I will restore the people of Judah to their land and to their towns.
When I do, they will again say[kj] of Jerusalem,[kk]
‘May the Lord bless you, you holy mountain,
the place where righteousness dwells.’[kl]
24 The land of Judah will be inhabited by people who live in its towns,
as well as by farmers and shepherds with their flocks.[km]
25 I will fully satisfy the needs of those who are weary
and fully refresh the souls of those who are faint.[kn]
26 Then they will say, ‘Under these conditions I can enjoy sweet sleep
when I wake up and look around.’[ko]
Israel and Judah Will Be Repopulated
27 “Indeed, a time is coming,”[kp] says the Lord,[kq] “when I will cause people and animals to sprout up in the lands of Israel and Judah.[kr] 28 In the past I saw to it that they were uprooted and torn down, that they were destroyed and demolished and brought disaster. But now I will see to it that they are built up and firmly planted.[ks] I, the Lord, affirm it![kt]
The Lord Will Make a New Covenant with Israel and Judah
29 “When that time comes, people will no longer say, ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, but the children’s teeth have grown numb.’[ku] 30 Rather, each person will die for his own sins. The teeth of the person who eats the sour grapes will themselves grow numb.[kv]
31 “Indeed, a time is coming,” says the Lord,[kw] “when I will make a new covenant[kx] with the people of Israel and Judah.[ky] 32 It will not be like the old[kz] covenant that I made with their ancestors[la] when I delivered them[lb] from Egypt. For they violated that covenant, even though I was like a faithful husband to them,”[lc] says the Lord.[ld] 33 “But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel[le] after I plant them back in the land,”[lf] says the Lord.[lg] “I will[lh] put my law within them[li] and write it on their hearts and minds.[lj] I will be their God and they will be my people.[lk]
34 “People will no longer need to teach their neighbors and relatives to know me.[ll] For all of them, from the least important to the most important, will know me,”[lm] says the Lord. “For[ln] I will forgive their sin and will no longer call to mind the wrong they have done.”
The Lord Guarantees Israel’s Continuance
35 The Lord has made a promise to Israel.
He promises it as the one who fixed the sun to give light by day
and the moon and stars to give light by night.
He promises it as the one who stirs up the sea so that its waves roll.
His name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.[lo]
36 The Lord affirms,[lp] “The descendants of Israel will not
cease forever to be a nation in my sight.
That could only happen if the fixed ordering of the heavenly lights
were to cease to operate before me.”[lq]
37 The Lord says, “I will not reject all the descendants of Israel
because of all that they have done.[lr]
That could only happen if the heavens above could be measured
or the foundations of the earth below could all be explored,”[ls]
says the Lord.[lt]
Jerusalem Will Be Enlarged
38 “Indeed a time is coming,”[lu] says the Lord,[lv] “when the city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt as my special city.[lw] It will be built from the Tower of Hananel westward to the Corner Gate.[lx] 39 The boundary line will extend beyond that, straight west from there to the Hill of Gareb and then turn southward to Goah.[ly] 40 The whole valley where dead bodies and sacrificial ashes are thrown,[lz] and all the terraced fields[ma] out to the Kidron Valley[mb] on the east as far north[mc] as the corner of the Horse Gate,[md] will be included within this city that is sacred to the Lord.[me] The city will never again be torn down or destroyed.”
Jeremiah Buys a Field
32 In the tenth year that Zedekiah was ruling over Judah the Lord spoke to Jeremiah.[mf] That was the same as the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.
2 Now at that time,[mg] the armies of the king of Babylon were besieging Jerusalem.[mh] The prophet Jeremiah was confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse[mi] attached to the royal palace of Judah. 3 For King Zedekiah[mj] had confined Jeremiah there after he had reproved him for prophesying as he did. He had asked Jeremiah, “Why do you keep prophesying these things? Why do you keep saying that the Lord says, ‘I will hand this city over to the king of Babylon? I will let him capture it.[mk] 4 King Zedekiah of Judah will not escape from the Babylonians.[ml] He will certainly be handed over to the king of Babylon. He must answer personally to the king of Babylon and confront him face to face.[mm] 5 Zedekiah will be carried off to Babylon and will remain there until I have fully dealt with him.[mn] I, the Lord, affirm it![mo] Even if you[mp] continue to fight against the Babylonians,[mq] you cannot win.’”
6 So now, Jeremiah said, “The Lord’s message came to me,[mr] 7 ‘Hanamel, the son of your uncle Shallum, will come to you soon. He will say to you, “Buy my field at Anathoth because you are entitled[ms] as my closest relative to buy it.”’[mt] 8 And then my cousin Hanamel did come to me in the courtyard of the guardhouse in keeping with the Lord’s message. He said to me, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. Buy it for yourself since you are entitled as my closest relative to take possession of it for yourself.’ When this happened, I recognized that the Lord had indeed spoken to me. 9 So I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel. I weighed out seven ounces of silver and gave it to him to pay for it.[mu] 10 I signed the deed of purchase,[mv] sealed it, and had some men serve as witnesses to the purchase.[mw] I weighed out the silver for him on a scale. 11 There were two copies of the deed of purchase. One was sealed and contained the order of transfer and the conditions of purchase.[mx] The other was left unsealed. 12 I took both copies of the deed of purchase[my] and gave them to Baruch son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah. I gave them to him in the presence[mz] of my cousin[na] Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed of purchase, and all the Judeans who were housed in the courtyard of the guardhouse. 13 In the presence of all these people I instructed Baruch, 14 ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[nb] says, “Take these documents, both the sealed copy of the deed of purchase and the unsealed copy. Put them in a clay jar so that they may be preserved for a long time to come.”’[nc] 15 For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[nd] says, ‘Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land.’[ne]
Jeremiah’s Prayer of Praise and Bewilderment
16 “After I had given the copies of the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord, 17 ‘Oh, Sovereign Lord,[nf] you did indeed[ng] make heaven and earth by your mighty power and great strength.[nh] Nothing is too hard for you! 18 You show unfailing love to thousands.[ni] But you also punish children for the sins of their parents.[nj] You are the great and powerful God whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.[nk] 19 You plan great things and you do mighty deeds.[nl] You see everything people do.[nm] You reward each of them for the way they live and for the things they do.[nn] 20 You did miracles and amazing deeds in the land of Egypt that have had lasting effect. By this means you gained both in Israel and among humankind a renown that lasts to this day.[no] 21 You used your mighty power and your great strength to perform miracles and amazing deeds and to bring great terror on the Egyptians. By this means you brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt.[np] 22 You kept the promise that you swore on oath to their ancestors.[nq] You gave them a land flowing with milk and honey.[nr] 23 But when they came in and took possession of it, they did not obey you or live as you had instructed them. They did not do anything that you commanded them to do.[ns] So you brought all this disaster on them. 24 Even now siege ramps have been built up around the city[nt] in order to capture it. War,[nu] starvation, and disease are sure to make the city fall into the hands of the Babylonians[nv] who are attacking it.[nw] Lord,[nx] you threatened that this would happen. Now you can see that it is already taking place.[ny] 25 The city is sure to fall into the hands of the Babylonians.[nz] Yet, in spite of this,[oa] you, Sovereign Lord,[ob] have said to me, “Buy that field with silver and have the transaction legally witnessed.”’”[oc]
The Lord Answers Jeremiah’s Prayer
26 The Lord’s message came to Jeremiah: 27 “I am the Lord, the God of all humankind. There is, indeed, nothing too difficult for me.[od] 28 Therefore I, the Lord, say:[oe] ‘I will indeed hand[of] this city over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the Babylonian army.[og] They will capture it. 29 The Babylonian soldiers[oh] that are attacking this city will break into it and set it on fire. They will burn it down along with the houses where people have made me angry by offering sacrifices to the god Baal and by pouring out drink offerings to other gods on their rooftops.[oi] 30 This will happen because the people of Israel and Judah have repeatedly done what displeases me[oj] from their earliest history until now[ok] and because they[ol] have repeatedly made me angry by the things they have done.[om] I, the Lord, affirm it![on] 31 This will happen because[oo] the people of this city have aroused my anger and my wrath since the time they built it until now.[op] They have made me so angry that I am determined to remove[oq] it from my sight. 32 I am determined to do so because the people of Israel and Judah have made me angry with all their wickedness—they, their kings, their officials, their priests, their prophets, and especially the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem have done this wickedness.[or] 33 They have turned away from me instead of turning to me.[os] I tried over and over again[ot] to instruct them, but they did not listen and respond to correction.[ou] 34 They set up their disgusting idols in the temple that I have claimed for my own[ov] and defiled it. 35 They built places of worship for the god Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that they could sacrifice their sons and daughters to the god Molech.[ow] Such a disgusting practice was not something I commanded them to do. It never even entered my mind to command them to do such a thing! So Judah is certainly liable for punishment.’[ox]
36 “You and your people[oy] are right in saying, ‘War,[oz] starvation, and disease are sure to make this city fall into the hands of the king of Babylon.’[pa] But now I, the Lord God of Israel, have something further to say about this city:[pb] 37 ‘I will certainly regather my people from all the countries where I have exiled[pc] them in my anger, fury, and great wrath. I will bring them back to this place and allow them to live here in safety. 38 They will be my people, and I will be their God.[pd] 39 I will give them a single-minded purpose to live in a way that always shows respect for me. They will want to do that for[pe] their own good and the good of the children who descend from them. 40 I will make a lasting covenant[pf] with them that I will never stop doing good to them.[pg] I will fill their hearts and minds with respect for me so that[ph] they will never again turn away[pi] from me. 41 I will take delight in doing good to them. I will faithfully and wholeheartedly plant them[pj] firmly in the land.’
42 “For I, the Lord, say:[pk] ‘I will surely bring on these people all the good fortune that I am hereby promising them. I will be just as sure to do that as I have been in bringing all this great disaster on them.[pl] 43 You and your people[pm] are saying that this land will become desolate, uninhabited by either people or animals. You are saying that it will be handed over to the Babylonians.[pn] But fields[po] will again be bought in this land.[pp] 44 Fields will again be bought with silver, and deeds of purchase signed, sealed, and witnessed. This will happen in the territory of Benjamin, the villages surrounding Jerusalem, the towns in Judah, the southern hill country, the foothills,[pq] and southern Judah.[pr] For I will restore them to their land.[ps] I, the Lord, affirm it!’”[pt]
The Lord Promises a Second Time to Restore Israel and Judah
33 The Lord’s message came to Jeremiah a second time[pu] while he was still confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse. 2 “I, the Lord, do these things. I, the Lord, form the plan to bring them about.[pv] I am known as the Lord. I say to you, 3 ‘Call on me in prayer and I will answer you. I will show you great and mysterious[pw] things that you still do not know about.’ 4 For I, the Lord God of Israel, have something more to say about the houses in this city and the royal buildings of Judah that have been torn down for defenses against the siege ramps and military incursions of the Babylonians:[px] 5 ‘The defenders of the city will go out and fight with the Babylonians.[py] But they will only fill those houses and buildings with the dead bodies of the people that I will kill in my anger and my wrath.[pz] That will happen because I have decided to turn my back on[qa] this city on account of the wicked things they have done.[qb] 6 But I will most surely[qc] heal the wounds of this city and restore it and its people to health.[qd] I will show them abundant[qe] peace and security. 7 I will restore Judah and Israel[qf] and will rebuild them as they were in days of old.[qg] 8 I will purify them from all the sin that they committed against me. I will forgive all their sins that they committed in rebelling against me.[qh] 9 All the nations will hear about all the good things that I will do for them. This city will bring me fame, honor, and praise before them for the joy that I bring it. The nations will tremble in awe at all the peace and prosperity that I will provide for it.’
10 “I, the Lord, say:[qi] ‘You and your people are saying[qj] about this place, “It lies in ruins. There are no people or animals in it.” That is true. The towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem will soon be desolate, uninhabited either by people or by animals. But happy sounds will again be heard in these places. 11 Once again there will be sounds[qk] of joy and gladness and the glad celebrations of brides and grooms.[ql] Once again people will bring their thank offerings to the temple of the Lord and will say, “Give thanks to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. For the Lord is good and his unfailing love lasts forever.”[qm] For I, the Lord, affirm[qn] that I will restore the land to what it was[qo] in days of old.’[qp]
12 “I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, say:[qq] ‘This place will indeed lie in ruins. There will be no people or animals in it. But there will again be in it and in its towns sheepfolds where shepherds can rest their sheep. 13 I, the Lord, say that shepherds will once again count their sheep as they pass into the fold.[qr] They will do this in all the towns in the hill country, the foothills,[qs] the Negev,[qt] the territory of Benjamin, the villages surrounding Jerusalem, and the towns of Judah.’[qu]
The Lord Reaffirms His Covenant with David, Israel, and Levi
14 “I, the Lord, affirm:[qv] ‘The time will certainly come when I will fulfill my gracious promise concerning the nations of Israel and Judah.[qw] 15 In those days and at that time I will raise up for them a righteous descendant[qx] of David.
“‘He will do what is just and right in the land. 16 Under his rule Judah will enjoy safety[qy] and Jerusalem will live in security. At that time Jerusalem will be called “The Lord has provided us with justice.”[qz] 17 For I, the Lord, promise: “David will never lack a successor to occupy[ra] the throne over the nation of Israel.[rb] 18 Nor will the Levitical priests ever lack someone to stand before me and continually offer up burnt offerings, sacrifice cereal offerings, and offer the other sacrifices.”’”[rc]
19 The Lord’s message came to Jeremiah another time:[rd] 20 “I, the Lord, make the following promise:[re] ‘I have made a covenant with the day[rf] and with the night that they will always come at their proper times. Only if you people[rg] could break that covenant 21 could my covenant with my servant David and my covenant with the Levites ever be broken. So David will by all means always have a descendant to occupy his throne as king and the Levites will by all means always have priests who will minister before me.[rh] 22 I will make the children who follow one another in the line of my servant David very numerous. I will also make the Levites who minister before me very numerous. I will make them all as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sands that are on the seashore.’”[ri]
23 The Lord’s message came to Jeremiah another time:[rj] 24 “You have surely noticed what these people are saying, haven’t you? They are saying,[rk] ‘The Lord has rejected the two families of Israel and Judah[rl] that he chose.’ So they have little regard that my people will ever again be a nation.[rm] 25 But I, the Lord, make the following promise:[rn] ‘I have made a covenant governing the coming of day and night. I have established the fixed laws governing heaven and earth. 26 Just as surely as I have done this, so surely will I never reject the descendants of Jacob. Nor will I ever refuse to choose one of my servant David’s descendants to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Indeed,[ro] I will restore them[rp] and show mercy to them.’”
The Lord Makes an Ominous Promise to Zedekiah
34 The Lord’s message came to Jeremiah while King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was attacking Jerusalem and the towns around it with a large army. This army consisted of troops from his own army and from the kingdoms and peoples of the lands under his dominion.[rq] 2 This is what the Lord God of Israel told Jeremiah,[rr] “Go, speak to King Zedekiah of Judah. Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord has said: “Take note! I am going to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. 3 You yourself will not escape his clutches but will certainly be captured and handed over to him. You must confront the king of Babylon face to face and answer to him personally.[rs] Then you must go to Babylon.”’ 4 However, listen to the Lord’s message, King Zedekiah of Judah. This is what the Lord has said: ‘You will not die in battle or be executed.[rt] 5 You will die a peaceful death. They will burn incense at your burial just as they did at the burial of your ancestors, the former kings who preceded you.[ru] They will mourn for you, saying, “Alas, master!”[rv] Indeed, you have my own word on this.[rw] I, the Lord, affirm it!’”[rx]
6 The prophet Jeremiah told all these things to King Zedekiah of Judah in Jerusalem. 7 He did this while the army of the king of Babylon was attacking Jerusalem and the cities of Lachish and Azekah. He was attacking these cities because they were the only fortified cities of Judah that were still holding out.[ry]
The Lord Threatens to Destroy Those Who Wronged Their Slaves
8 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah after King Zedekiah had made a covenant[rz] with all the people in Jerusalem to grant their slaves their freedom. 9 Everyone was supposed to free their male and female Hebrew slaves. No one was supposed to keep a fellow Judean enslaved.[sa] 10 All the people and their leaders had agreed to this. They had agreed to free their male and female slaves and not keep them enslaved any longer. They originally complied with the covenant and freed them.[sb] 11 But later[sc] they changed their minds. They took back their male and female slaves that they had freed and forced them to be slaves again.[sd] 12 The Lord’s message came to Jeremiah,[se] 13 “The Lord God of Israel has a message for you:[sf] ‘I made a covenant with your ancestors[sg] when I brought them out of Egypt where they had been slaves.[sh] It stipulated,[si] 14 “Every seven years each of you must free any fellow Hebrews who have sold themselves to you. After they have served you for six years, you shall set them free.”[sj] But your ancestors did not obey me or pay any attention to me. 15 Recently, however, you yourselves[sk] showed a change of heart and did what is pleasing to me. You granted your fellow countrymen their freedom and you made a covenant to that effect in my presence in the house that I have claimed for my own.[sl] 16 But then you turned right around[sm] and showed that you did not honor me.[sn] Each of you took back your male and female slaves, whom you had freed as they desired, and you forced them to be your slaves again.[so] 17 So I, the Lord, say: “You have not really obeyed me and granted freedom to your neighbor and fellow countryman.[sp] Therefore, I will grant you freedom, the freedom[sq] to die in war, or by starvation, or disease. I, the Lord, affirm it![sr] I will make all the kingdoms of the earth horrified at what happens to you.[ss] 18 I will punish those people who have violated their covenant with me. I will make them like the calf they cut in two and passed between its pieces.[st] I will do so because they did not keep the terms of the covenant they made in my presence.[su] 19 I will punish the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the court officials,[sv] the priests, and all the other people of the land who passed between the pieces of the calf.[sw] 20 I will hand them over to their enemies who want to kill them. Their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals.[sx] 21 I will also hand King Zedekiah of Judah and his officials over to their enemies who want to kill them. I will hand them over to the army of the king of Babylon, even though they have temporarily withdrawn from attacking you.[sy] 22 For I, the Lord, affirm that[sz] I will soon give the order and bring them back to this city. They will fight against it and capture it and burn it down. I will also make the towns of Judah desolate so that there will be no one living in them.”’”
Judah’s Unfaithfulness Contrasted with the Rechabites’ Faithfulness
35 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah when Jehoiakim[ta] son of Josiah was ruling over Judah:[tb] 2 “Go to the Rechabite community.[tc] Invite them to come into one of the side rooms[td] of the Lord’s temple and offer them some wine to drink.” 3 So I went and got Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah the grandson of Habazziniah, his brothers, all his sons, and all the rest of the Rechabite community. 4 I took them to the Lord’s temple. I took them into the room where the disciples of the prophet Hanan son of Igdaliah stayed.[te] That room was next to the one where the temple officers stayed and above the room where Maaseiah son of Shallum, one of the doorkeepers[tf] of the temple, stayed. 5 Then I set cups and pitchers full of wine in front of the members of the Rechabite community and said to them, “Have some wine.”[tg] 6 But they answered, “We do not drink wine because our ancestor Jonadab son of Rechab commanded us not to. He told us, ‘You and your children must never drink wine. 7 Do not build houses. Do not plant crops. Do not plant a vineyard or own one.[th] Live in tents all your lives. If you do these things you will[ti] live a long time in the land that you wander about on.’[tj] 8 We and our wives and our sons and daughters have obeyed everything our ancestor Jonadab son of Rechab commanded us. We have never drunk wine.[tk] 9 We have not built any houses to live in. We do not own any vineyards, fields, or crops. 10 We have lived in tents. We have obeyed our ancestor Jonadab and done exactly as he commanded us.[tl] 11 But when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invaded the land we said, ‘Let’s get up and go to Jerusalem to get away from the Babylonian[tm] and Aramean armies.’ That is why we are staying here in Jerusalem.”
12 Then the Lord’s message came to Jeremiah. 13 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[tn] told him, “Go and speak to the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. Tell them,[to] ‘I, the Lord, say:[tp] “You must learn a lesson from this[tq] about obeying what I say.[tr] 14 Jonadab son of Rechab ordered his descendants not to drink wine. His orders have been carried out.[ts] To this day his descendants have drunk no wine because they have obeyed what their ancestor commanded them. But I[tt] have spoken to you over and over again,[tu] but you have not obeyed me. 15 I sent all my servants the prophets to warn you over and over again. They said, ‘Every one of you, stop doing the evil things you have been doing and do what is right.[tv] Do not pay allegiance to other gods[tw] and worship them. Then you can continue to live in this land that I gave to you and your ancestors.’ But you did not pay any attention or listen to me. 16 Yes,[tx] the descendants of Jonadab son of Rechab have carried out the orders that their ancestor gave them. But you people[ty] have not obeyed me! 17 So I, the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, say:[tz] ‘I will soon bring on Judah and all the citizens of Jerusalem all the disaster that I threatened to bring on them. I will do this because I spoke to them but they did not listen. I called out to them but they did not answer.’”’”
18 Then Jeremiah spoke to the Rechabite community, “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel[ua] says, ‘You have obeyed the orders of your ancestor Jonadab. You have followed all his instructions. You have done exactly as he commanded you.’ 19 So the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says, ‘Jonadab son of Rechab will never lack a male descendant to serve me.’”[ub]
Jehoiakim Burns the Scroll Containing the Lord’s Messages
36 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah in the fourth year[uc] that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was ruling over Judah:[ud] 2 “Get a scroll.[ue] Write on it everything I have told you to say[uf] about Israel, Judah, and all the other nations since I began to speak to you in the reign of Josiah until now.[ug] 3 Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about all the disaster I intend to bring on them, they will all stop doing the evil things they have been doing.[uh] If they do, I will forgive their sins and the wicked things they have done.”[ui]
4 So Jeremiah summoned Baruch son of Neriah. Then, Baruch wrote down in a scroll all the Lord’s words that he had told to Jeremiah[uj] as they came from his[uk] mouth. 5 Then Jeremiah told Baruch, “I am no longer allowed to go[ul] into the Lord’s temple. 6 So you go there the next time all the people of Judah come in from their towns to fast[um] in the Lord’s temple. Read out loud where all of them can hear you what I told you the Lord said, which you wrote in the scroll.[un] 7 Perhaps then they will ask the Lord for mercy and will all stop doing the evil things they have been doing.[uo] For the Lord has threatened to bring great anger and wrath against these people.”[up]
8 So Baruch son of Neriah did exactly what the prophet Jeremiah told him to do. He read what the Lord had said from the scroll in the temple of the Lord.[uq] 9 All the people living in Jerusalem and all the people who came into Jerusalem from the towns of Judah observed a fast before the Lord. The fast took place in the ninth month of the fifth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was ruling over Judah.[ur] 10 At that time Baruch went into the temple of the Lord. He stood in the entrance of the room of Gemariah the son of Shaphan who had been the royal secretary.[us] That room was in the upper court[ut] near the entrance of the New Gate.[uu] There, where all the people could hear him, he read from the scroll what Jeremiah had said.[uv]
11 Micaiah, who was the son of Gemariah and the grandson of Shaphan, heard Baruch read from the scroll everything the Lord had said.[uw] 12 He went down to the chamber of the royal secretary in the king’s palace and found all the court officials in session there. Elishama[ux] the royal secretary, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Achbor,[uy] Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other officials were seated there. 13 Micaiah told them everything he had heard Baruch read from the scroll in the hearing of the people.[uz] 14 All the officials sent Jehudi, who was the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, to Baruch. They ordered him to tell Baruch, “Come here and bring with you[va] the scroll you read in the hearing of the people.”[vb] So Baruch son of Neriah went to them, carrying the scroll in his hand.[vc] 15 They said to him, “Please sit down and read it to us.” So Baruch sat down and read it to them.[vd] 16 When they had heard it all,[ve] they expressed their alarm to one another.[vf] Then they said to Baruch, “We must certainly give the king a report about everything you have read!”[vg] 17 Then they asked Baruch, “How did you come to write all these words? Do they actually come from Jeremiah’s mouth?”[vh] 18 Baruch answered, “Yes, they came from his own mouth. He dictated all these words to me, and I wrote them down in ink on this scroll.”[vi] 19 Then the officials said to Baruch, “You and Jeremiah must go and hide. You must not let anyone know where you are.”[vj]
20 The officials put the scroll in the room of Elishama, the royal secretary, for safekeeping.[vk] Then they went to the court and reported everything[vl] to the king.[vm] 21 The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. He went and got it from the room of Elishama, the royal secretary. Then he himself[vn] read it to the king and all the officials who were standing around him. 22 Since it was the ninth month of the year, the king was sitting in his winter quarters.[vo] A fire was burning in the firepot in front of him.[vp] 23 As soon as Jehudi had read three or four columns[vq] of the scroll, the king[vr] would cut them off with a penknife[vs] and throw them on the fire in the firepot. He kept doing so until the whole scroll was burned up in the fire.[vt] 24 Neither he nor any of his attendants showed any alarm when they heard all that had been read. Nor did they tear their clothes to show any grief or sorrow.[vu] 25 The king did not even listen to Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah, who had urged him not to burn the scroll.[vv] 26 He also ordered Jerahmeel, who was one of the royal princes,[vw] Seraiah son of Azriel, and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest the scribe Baruch and the prophet Jeremiah. However, the Lord hid them.
Baruch and Jeremiah Write Another Scroll
27 The Lord’s message came to Jeremiah after the king had burned the scroll with the words Baruch had written down at Jeremiah’s dictation.[vx] 28 “Get another[vy] scroll and write on it everything[vz] that was written on the original scroll[wa] that King Jehoiakim of Judah burned. 29 Tell King Jehoiakim of Judah, ‘The Lord says, “You burned the scroll. You asked[wb] Jeremiah, ‘How dare you write in this scroll that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land and wipe out all the people and animals on it?’”[wc] 30 So the Lord says concerning King Jehoiakim of Judah, “None of his line will occupy the throne of David.[wd] His dead body will be thrown out to be exposed to scorching heat by day and frost by night.[we] 31 I will punish him and his descendants and the officials who serve him for the wicked things they have done.[wf] I will bring on them, the citizens of Jerusalem and the people of Judah, all the disaster that I told them about and that they ignored.”’”[wg] 32 Then Jeremiah got another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah. As Jeremiah dictated, Baruch wrote on this scroll everything that had been on the scroll that King Jehoiakim of Judah burned in the fire. They also added on this scroll several other messages of the same kind.[wh]
Introduction to Incidents During the Reign of Zedekiah
37 Zedekiah son of Josiah succeeded Jeconiah[wi] son of Jehoiakim as king. He was elevated to the throne of the land of Judah by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.[wj] 2 Neither he nor the officials who served him nor the people of Judah paid any attention to what the Lord said through the prophet Jeremiah.[wk]
The Lord Responds to Zedekiah’s Hope for Help
3 King Zedekiah sent[wl] Jehucal[wm] son of Shelemiah and the priest Zephaniah[wn] son of Maaseiah to the prophet Jeremiah to say, “Please pray to the Lord our God on our behalf.” 4 (Now Jeremiah had not yet been put in prison.[wo] So he was still free to come and go among the people as he pleased.[wp] 5 At that time the Babylonian forces[wq] had temporarily given up their siege against Jerusalem. They had had it under siege, but withdrew when they heard that the army of Pharaoh had set out from Egypt.[wr]) 6 The Lord’s message came to the prophet Jeremiah, 7 “This is what the Lord God of Israel has said, ‘This is what you must say to the king of Judah who sent you to seek my help.[ws] “Beware,[wt] Pharaoh’s army that was on its way to help you is about to go back home to Egypt.[wu] 8 Then the Babylonian forces[wv] will return. They will attack the city and will capture it and burn it down. 9 Moreover, I, the Lord, warn you not to deceive yourselves into thinking that the Babylonian forces[ww] will go away and leave you alone. For they will not go away.[wx] 10 For even if you were to defeat all the Babylonian forces[wy] fighting against you so badly that only wounded men were left lying in their tents, they would get up and burn this city down.”’”[wz]
Jeremiah is Charged with Deserting, Arrested, and Imprisoned
11 The following events also occurred[xa] while the Babylonian forces[xb] had temporarily withdrawn from Jerusalem because the army of Pharaoh was coming. 12 Jeremiah started to leave Jerusalem to go to the territory of Benjamin. He wanted to make sure he got his share of the property that was being divided up among his family there.[xc] 13 But he only got as far as the Benjamin Gate.[xd] There an officer in charge of the guards named Irijah,[xe] who was the son of Shelemiah and the grandson of Hananiah, stopped him. He seized Jeremiah and said,[xf] “You are deserting to the Babylonians!”[xg] 14 Jeremiah answered, “That’s a lie! I am not deserting to the Babylonians.”[xh] But Irijah would not listen to him. Irijah put Jeremiah under arrest and took him to the officials. 15 The officials were very angry[xi] with Jeremiah. They had him flogged and put in prison in the house of Jonathan, the royal secretary, which they had converted into a place for confining prisoners.[xj]
16 So[xk] Jeremiah was put in prison in a cell in the dungeon in Jonathan’s house.[xl] He[xm] was kept there for a long time. 17 Then King Zedekiah had him brought to the palace. There he questioned him privately and asked him,[xn] “Is there any message from the Lord?” Jeremiah answered, “Yes, there is.” Then he announced,[xo] “You will be handed over to the king of Babylon.”[xp] 18 Then Jeremiah asked King Zedekiah, “What crime have I committed against you, or the officials who serve you, or the people of Judah? What have I done to make you people throw me into prison?[xq] 19 Where now are the prophets who prophesied to you that[xr] the king of Babylon would not attack you or this land? 20 But now please listen, your royal Majesty,[xs] and grant my plea for mercy.[xt] Do not send me back to the house of Jonathan, the royal secretary. If you do, I will die there.”[xu] 21 Then King Zedekiah ordered that Jeremiah be committed to the courtyard of the guardhouse. He also ordered that a loaf of bread[xv] be given to him every day from the bakers’ street until all the bread in the city was gone. So Jeremiah was kept[xw] in the courtyard of the guardhouse.
Jeremiah Is Charged with Treason and Put in a Cistern to Die
38 Now Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehucal[xx] son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur[xy] son of Malkijah had heard[xz] the things that Jeremiah had been telling the people. They had heard him say, 2 “The Lord says, ‘Those who stay in this city will die in battle or of starvation or disease.[ya] Those who leave the city and surrender to the Babylonians[yb] will live. They will escape with their lives.’”[yc] 3 They had also heard him say,[yd] “The Lord says, ‘This city will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon. They will capture it.’”[ye] 4 So these officials said to the king, “This man must be put to death. For he is demoralizing[yf] the soldiers who are left in the city as well as all the other people there by these things he is saying.[yg] This[yh] man is not seeking to help these people but is trying to harm them.”[yi] 5 King Zedekiah said to them, “Very well, you can do what you want with him.[yj] For I cannot do anything to stop you.”[yk] 6 So the officials[yl] took Jeremiah and put him in the cistern[ym] of Malkijah, one of the royal princes,[yn] that was in the courtyard of the guardhouse. There was no water in the cistern, only mud. So when they lowered Jeremiah into the cistern with ropes he sank in the mud.[yo]
An Ethiopian Official Rescues Jeremiah from the Cistern
7 An Ethiopian, Ebed Melech,[yp] a court official in the royal palace, heard that Jeremiah had been put[yq] in the cistern. While the king was holding court[yr] at the Benjamin Gate, 8 Ebed Melech departed the palace and went to speak to the king. He said to him, 9 “Your royal Majesty, those men have been very wicked in all that they have done to the prophet Jeremiah. They have thrown him into a cistern and he is sure to die of starvation there because there is no food left in the city.”[ys] 10 Then the king gave Ebed Melech the Ethiopian the following order: “Take thirty[yt] men with you from here and go pull the prophet Jeremiah out of the cistern before he dies.” 11 So Ebed Melech took the men with him and went to a room under the treasure room in the palace.[yu] He got some worn-out clothes and old rags[yv] from there and let them down by ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern. 12 Ebed Melech[yw] called down to Jeremiah, “Put these rags and worn-out clothes under your armpits to pad the ropes.”[yx] Jeremiah did as Ebed Melech instructed.[yy] 13 So they pulled Jeremiah up from the cistern with ropes. Jeremiah, however, still remained confined[yz] to the courtyard of the guardhouse.
Jeremiah Responds to Zedekiah’s Request for Secret Advice
14 Some time later[za] Zedekiah sent and had Jeremiah brought to him at the third entrance[zb] of the Lord’s temple. The king said to Jeremiah, “I would like to ask you a question. Do not hide anything from me when you answer.”[zc] 15 Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I answer you, you will certainly kill me.[zd] If I give you advice, you will not listen to me.” 16 So King Zedekiah made a secret promise to Jeremiah and sealed it with an oath. He promised,[ze] “As surely as the Lord lives who has given us life and breath,[zf] I promise you this: I will not kill you or hand you over to those men who want to kill you.”[zg]
17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “The Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[zh] says, ‘You must surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon. If you do, your life will be spared[zi] and this city will not be burned down. Indeed, you and your whole family will be spared. 18 But if you do not surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, this city will be handed over to the Babylonians[zj] and they will burn it down. You yourself will not escape from them.’”[zk] 19 Then King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Judeans who have deserted to the Babylonians.[zl] The Babylonians might hand me over to them and they will torture me.”[zm] 20 Then Jeremiah answered, “You will not be handed over to them. Please obey the Lord by doing what I have been telling you.[zn] Then all will go well with you and your life will be spared.[zo] 21 But if you refuse to surrender, the Lord has shown me a vision of what will happen. Here is what I saw: 22 All the women who are left in the royal palace of Judah will be led out to the officers of the king of Babylon. They will taunt you saying:[zp]
“‘Your trusted friends misled you;
they have gotten the best of you.
Now that your feet are stuck in the mud,
they have turned their backs on you.’[zq]
23 “All your wives and your children will be turned over to the Babylonians.[zr] You yourself will not escape from them but will be captured by the[zs] king of Babylon. This city will be burned down.”[zt]
24 Then Zedekiah told Jeremiah, “Do not let anyone know about the conversation we have had.[zu] If you do, you will die.[zv] 25 The officials may hear that I have talked with you. They may come to you and say, ‘Tell us what you said to the king and what the king said to you.[zw] Do not hide anything from us. If you do, we will kill you.’[zx] 26 If they do this, tell[zy] them, ‘I was pleading with the king not to send me back to die in the dungeon of Jonathan’s house.’”[zz] 27 All the officials did indeed come and question Jeremiah.[aaa] He told them exactly what the king had instructed him to say.[aab] They stopped questioning him any further because no one had actually heard their conversation.[aac] 28 So Jeremiah remained confined[aad] in the courtyard of the guardhouse until the day Jerusalem was captured.
The Fall of Jerusalem and Its Aftermath
The following events occurred when Jerusalem was captured.[aae]
39 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came against Jerusalem with his whole army and laid siege to it. The siege began in the tenth month of the ninth year that Zedekiah ruled over Judah.[aaf] 2 It lasted until the ninth day of the fourth month of Zedekiah’s eleventh year.[aag] On that day they broke through the city walls. 3 Then Nergal Sharezer of Samgar, Nebo Sarsekim (who was a chief officer), Nergal Sharezer (who was a high official),[aah] and all the other officers of the king of Babylon came and set up quarters[aai] in the Middle Gate.[aaj] 4 When King Zedekiah of Judah and all his soldiers saw them, they tried to escape. They departed from the city during the night. They took a path through the king’s garden and passed out through the gate between the two walls.[aak] Then they headed for the rift valley.[aal] 5 But the Babylonian[aam] army chased after them. They caught up with Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho[aan] and captured him.[aao] They took him to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon at Riblah[aap] in the territory of Hamath and Nebuchadnezzar passed sentence on him there. 6 There at Riblah the king of Babylon had Zedekiah’s sons put to death while Zedekiah was forced to watch. The king of Babylon also had all the nobles of Judah put to death. 7 Then he had Zedekiah’s eyes put out and had him bound in chains[aaq] to be led off to Babylon. 8 The Babylonians[aar] burned down the royal palace, the temple of the Lord, and the people’s homes,[aas] and they tore down the wall of Jerusalem.[aat] 9 Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard,[aau] took captive the rest of the people who were left in the city. He carried them off to Babylon along with the people who had deserted to him.[aav] 10 But he[aaw] left behind in the land of Judah some of the poor people who owned nothing. He gave them fields and vineyards at that time.
11 Now King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had issued orders concerning Jeremiah. He had passed them on through Nebuzaradan, the captain of his royal guard,[aax] 12 “Find Jeremiah[aay] and look out for him.[aaz] Do not do anything to harm him,[aba] but do with him whatever he tells you.” 13 So Nebuzaradan (the captain of the royal guard), Nebushazban (who was a chief officer), Nergal Sharezer (who was a high official),[abb] and all the other officers of the king of Babylon 14 sent and had Jeremiah brought from the courtyard of the guardhouse. They turned him over to Gedaliah,[abc] the son of Ahikam and the grandson of Shaphan, to take him home with him.[abd] But Jeremiah stayed among the people.[abe]
Ebed Melech Is Promised Deliverance because of His Faith
15 [abf] Now the Lord’s message had come to Jeremiah while he was still confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse,[abg] 16 “Go[abh] and tell Ebed Melech the Nubian,[abi] ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, has said, “I will carry out against this city what I promised. It will mean disaster and not good fortune for it.[abj] When that disaster happens, you will be there to see it.[abk] 17 But I will rescue you when it happens.[abl] I, the Lord, affirm it![abm] You will not be handed over to those whom you fear.[abn] 18 I will certainly save you. You will not fall victim to violence.[abo] You will escape with your life[abp] because you trust in me. I, the Lord, affirm it!”’”[abq]
Jeremiah Is Set Free A Second Time
40 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah[abr] after Nebuzaradan the captain of the royal guard had set him free at Ramah.[abs] He had taken him there in chains[abt] along with all the people from Jerusalem and Judah who were being carried off to exile to Babylon. 2 The captain of the royal guard took Jeremiah aside and said to him, “The Lord your God threatened this place with this disaster. 3 Now he has brought it about. The Lord has done just as he threatened to do. This disaster has happened because you people sinned against the Lord and did not obey him.[abu] 4 But now, Jeremiah, today I will set you free[abv] from the chains on your wrists. If you would like to come to Babylon with me, come along and I will take care of you.[abw] But if you prefer not to come to Babylon with me, you are not required to do so.[abx] You are free to go anywhere in the land you want to go.[aby] Go wherever you choose.”[abz] 5 Before Jeremiah could turn to leave, the captain of the guard added, “Go back[aca] to Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon appointed to govern[acb] the towns of Judah. Go back and live with him[acc] among the people. Or go wherever else you choose.” Then the captain of the guard gave Jeremiah some food and a present and let him go. 6 So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah[acd] and lived there with him. He stayed there to live among the people who had been left in the land of Judah.[ace]
A Small Judean Province is Established at Mizpah
7 Now some of the officers of the Judean army and their troops had been hiding in the countryside. They heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam to govern[acf] the country. They also heard that he had been put in charge over the men, women, and children from the poorer classes of the land who had not been carried off into exile in Babylon.[acg] 8 So[ach] all these officers and their troops came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. The officers who came were Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah son of the Maacathite.[aci] 9 Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, took an oath so as to give them and their troops some assurance of safety.[acj] “Do not be afraid to submit to the Babylonians.[ack] Settle down in the land and submit to the king of Babylon. Then things will go well for you. 10 I for my part will stay at Mizpah to represent you before the Babylonians[acl] whenever they come to us. You for your part go ahead and harvest the wine, the dates, the figs,[acm] and the olive oil, and store them in jars. Go ahead and settle down in the towns that you have taken over.”[acn] 11 Moreover, all the Judeans who were in Moab, Ammon, Edom, and all the other countries heard what had happened. They heard that the king of Babylon had allowed some people to stay in Judah and that he had appointed Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, to govern them. 12 So all these Judeans returned to the land of Judah from the places where they had been scattered. They came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. Thus they harvested a large amount of wine and dates and figs.[aco]
Ishmael Murders Gedaliah and Carries Off the Judeans at Mizpah as Captives
13 Johanan, son of Kareah, and all the officers of the troops that had been hiding in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. 14 They said to him, “Are you at all aware[acp] that King Baalis of Ammon has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to kill you?” But Gedaliah son of Ahikam would not believe them. 15 Then Johanan son of Kareah spoke privately to Gedaliah there at Mizpah, “Let me go and kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah before anyone knows about it. Otherwise he will kill you[acq] and all the Judeans who have rallied around you will be scattered. Then what remains of Judah will disappear.” 16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, “Do not do that[acr] because what you are saying about Ishmael is not true.”[acs]
41 But in the seventh month[act] Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family and had been one of Zedekiah’s chief officers, came with ten of his men to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah. While they were eating a meal together with him there at Mizpah, 2 Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him stood up, pulled out their swords, and killed Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan. Thus Ishmael killed the man that the king of Babylon had appointed to govern the country. 3 Ishmael also killed all the Judeans[acu] who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah and the Babylonian[acv] soldiers who happened to be there.[acw]
4 On the day after Gedaliah had been murdered, before anyone even knew about it, 5 eighty men arrived from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria.[acx] They had shaved off their beards, torn their clothes, and cut themselves to show they were mourning.[acy] They were carrying grain offerings and incense to present at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem.[acz] 6 Ishmael son of Nethaniah went out from Mizpah to meet them. He was pretending to cry[ada] as he walked along. When he met them, he said to them, “Come with me to meet Gedaliah son of Ahikam.”[adb] 7 But as soon as they were inside the city, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the men who were with him slaughtered them and threw their bodies[adc] in a cistern. 8 But there were ten men among them who said[add] to Ishmael, “Do not kill us. For we will give you the stores of wheat, barley, olive oil, and honey we have hidden in a field.”[ade] So he spared their lives and did not kill[adf] them along with the rest.[adg] 9 Now the cistern where Ishmael threw all the dead bodies of those he had killed was a large one[adh] that King Asa had constructed as part of his defenses against King Baasha of Israel.[adi] Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled it with dead bodies.[adj] 10 Then Ishmael took captive all the people who were still left alive in Mizpah. This included the royal princesses[adk] and all the rest of the people in Mizpah that Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard, had put under the authority of Gedaliah son of Ahikam. Ishmael son of Nethaniah took all these people captive and set out to cross over to the Ammonites.
Johanan Rescues the People Ishmael Had Carried Off
11 Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers who were with him heard about all the atrocities[adl] that Ishmael son of Nethaniah had committed. 12 So they took all their troops and went to fight against Ishmael son of Nethaniah. They caught up with him near the large pool[adm] at Gibeon. 13 When all the people that Ishmael had taken captive saw[adn] Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers with him, they were glad. 14 All those people that Ishmael had taken captive from Mizpah turned and went over to Johanan son of Kareah. 15 But Ishmael son of Nethaniah managed to escape from Johanan along with eight of his men, and he went on over to Ammon.
16 Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers who were with him led off all the people who had been left alive at Mizpah. They had rescued them from Ishmael son of Nethaniah after he killed Gedaliah son of Ahikam. They led off the men, women, children, soldiers, and court officials whom they had brought away from Gibeon. 17 They set out to go to Egypt to get away from the Babylonians,[ado] but stopped at Geruth Kimham[adp] near Bethlehem. 18 They were afraid of what the Babylonians might do[adq] because Ishmael son of Nethaniah had killed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had appointed to govern the country.
The Survivors Ask the Lord for Advice but Refuse to Follow It
42 Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah[adr] and all the people of every class,[ads] went to the prophet Jeremiah. 2 They said to him, “Please grant our request[adt] and pray to the Lord your God for all those of us who are still left alive here.[adu] For, as you yourself can see, there are only a few of us left out of the many there were before.[adv] 3 Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.” 4 The prophet Jeremiah answered them, “Agreed![adw] I will indeed pray to the Lord your God as you have asked. I will tell you everything the Lord replies in response to you.[adx] I will not keep anything back from you.” 5 They answered Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not do just as[ady] the Lord your God sends you to tell us to do. 6 We will obey what the Lord our God to whom we are sending you tells us to do. It does not matter whether we like what he tells us or not. We will obey what he tells us to do so that things will go well for us.”[adz]
7 Ten days later the Lord’s message came to Jeremiah. 8 So Jeremiah summoned Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers who were with him and all the people of every class.[aea] 9 Then Jeremiah said to them, “You sent me to the Lord God of Israel to make your request known to him. Here is what he says to you:[aeb] 10 ‘If you will only stay[aec] in this land, I will build you up. I will not tear you down. I will firmly plant you.[aed] I will not uproot you. For I am filled with sorrow because of the disaster that I have brought on you. 11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon whom you now fear.[aee] Do not be afraid of him because I will be with you to save you and to rescue you from his power. I, the Lord, affirm it![aef] 12 I will have compassion on you so that he in turn will have mercy on you and allow you to return to your land.’
13 “You must not disobey the Lord your God by saying, ‘We will not stay in this land.’ 14 You must not say, ‘No, we will not stay. Instead we will go and live in the land of Egypt where we will not face war,[aeg] or hear the enemy’s trumpet calls,[aeh] or starve for lack of food.’[aei] 15 If you people who remain in Judah do that, then listen to the Lord’s message. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[aej] has said, ‘If you are so determined[aek] to go to Egypt that you go and settle there, 16 the wars you fear will catch up with you there in the land of Egypt. The starvation you are worried about will follow you there to[ael] Egypt. You will die there.[aem] 17 All the people who are determined to go and settle in Egypt will die from war, starvation, or disease. No one will survive or escape the disaster I will bring on them.’ 18 For[aen] the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[aeo] says, ‘If you go to Egypt, I will pour out my wrath on you just as I poured out my anger and wrath on the citizens of Jerusalem. You will become an object of horror and ridicule, an example of those who have been cursed and that people use in pronouncing a curse.[aep] You will never see this place again.’[aeq]
19 “The Lord has told you people who remain in Judah, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Be very sure of this: I warn you[aer] here and now.[aes] 20 You are making a fatal mistake.[aet] For you sent me to the Lord your God and asked me, ‘Pray to the Lord our God for us. Tell us what the Lord our God says, and we will do it.’[aeu] 21 This day[aev] I have told you what he said.[aew] But you do not want to obey the Lord your God by doing what he sent me to tell you.[aex] 22 So now be very sure of this: You will die from war, starvation, or disease in the place where you want to go and live.”
43 Jeremiah finished telling all the people all these things the Lord their God had sent him to tell them.[aey] 2 Then Azariah[aez] son of Hoshaiah, Johanan son of Kareah, and other arrogant men said to Jeremiah, “You are telling a lie! The Lord our God did not send you to tell us, ‘You must not go to Egypt and settle there.’ 3 But Baruch son of Neriah is stirring you up against us.[afa] He wants to hand us over to[afb] the Babylonians[afc] so that they will kill us or carry us off into exile in Babylon.” 4 So Johanan son of Kareah, all the army officers, and all the rest of the people did not obey the Lord’s command to stay in the land of Judah. 5 Instead Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers led off all the Judean remnant who had come back to live in the land of Judah from all the nations where they had been scattered.[afd] 6 They also led off all the men, women, children, and royal princesses[afe] that Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard, had left with Gedaliah,[aff] the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan; this included the prophet Jeremiah and Baruch son of Neriah. 7 They went on to Egypt[afg] because they refused to obey the Lord, and came to Tahpanhes.[afh]
Jeremiah Predicts that Nebuchadnezzar Will Plunder Egypt and Its Gods
8 At Tahpanhes the Lord’s message came to Jeremiah: 9 “Take some large stones[afi] and bury them in the mortar of the clay pavement[afj] at the entrance of Pharaoh’s residence[afk] here in Tahpanhes. Do it while the people of Judah present there are watching.[afl] 10 Then tell them,[afm] ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[afn] says, “I will bring[afo] my servant[afp] King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I will set his throne over these stones that I[afq] have buried. He will pitch his royal tent[afr] over them. 11 He will come and attack Egypt. Those who are destined to die of disease will die of disease. Those who are destined to be carried off into exile will be carried off into exile. Those who are destined to die in war will die in war.[afs] 12 He will set fire[aft] to the temples of the gods of Egypt. He will burn their gods or carry them off as captives.[afu] He will pick Egypt clean like a shepherd picks the lice from his clothing.[afv] He will leave there unharmed.[afw] 13 He will demolish the sacred pillars in the temple of the sun[afx] in Egypt and will burn down the temples of the gods of Egypt.”’”
The Lord Will Punish the Judean Exiles in Egypt for Their Idolatry
44 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah concerning[afy] all the Judeans who were living in the land of Egypt, those in Migdol, Tahpanhes, Memphis, and in the region of southern Egypt:[afz] 2 “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[aga] says, ‘You have seen all the disaster I brought on Jerusalem and all the towns of Judah. Indeed, they now lie in ruins and are deserted.[agb] 3 This happened because of the wickedness the people living there did.[agc] They made me angry[agd] by worshiping and offering sacrifices to[age] other gods whom neither they nor you nor your ancestors[agf] previously knew.[agg] 4 I sent my servants the prophets to you people over and over again[agh] warning you not to do this disgusting thing I hate.[agi] 5 But the people of Jerusalem and Judah[agj] would not listen or pay any attention. They would not stop the wickedness they were doing nor quit sacrificing to other gods.[agk] 6 So my anger and my wrath were poured out and burned like a fire through the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. That is why they have become the desolate ruins that they are today.’
7 “So now the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[agl] asks, ‘Why will you do such great harm to yourselves? Why should every man, woman, child, and baby of yours be destroyed from the midst of Judah? Why should you leave yourselves without a remnant? 8 That is what will result from your making me angry by what you are doing.[agm] You are making me angry by sacrificing to other gods here in the land of Egypt where you live. You will be destroyed for doing that! You will become an example used in curses[agn] and an object of ridicule among all the nations of the earth.[ago] 9 Have you forgotten all the wicked things that have been done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem by your ancestors, by the kings of Judah and their[agp] wives, and by you and your wives? 10 To this day your people[agq] have shown no contrition! They have not revered me nor followed the laws and statutes I commanded[agr] you and your ancestors.’
11 “Because of this, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says, ‘I am determined to bring disaster on you,[ags] even to the point of destroying all the Judeans here.[agt] 12 I will see to it that all the Judean remnant that was determined to go[agu] and live in the land of Egypt will be destroyed. Here in the land of Egypt they will fall in battle[agv] or perish from starvation. People of every class[agw] will die in war or from starvation. They will become an object of horror and ridicule, an example of those who have been cursed and that people use in pronouncing a curse.[agx] 13 I will punish those who live in the land of Egypt with war, starvation, and disease, just as I punished Jerusalem. 14 None of the Judean remnant who have come to live in the land of Egypt will escape or survive to return to the land of Judah. Though they long to return and live there, none of them shall return except a few fugitives.’”[agy]
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[agz]— 16 “We will not listen to what you claim the Lord has spoken to us![aha] 17 Instead we will do everything we vowed we would do.[ahb] We will sacrifice and pour out drink offerings to the goddess called the Queen of Heaven[ahc] just as we and our ancestors, our kings, and our leaders previously did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well off, and had no troubles.[ahd] 18 But ever since we stopped sacrificing and pouring out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven, we have been in great need. Our people have died in wars or of starvation.”[ahe] 19 The women added,[ahf] “We did indeed sacrifice and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven. But it was with the full knowledge and approval of our husbands that we made cakes in her image and poured out drink offerings to her.”[ahg]
20 Then Jeremiah replied to all the people, both men and women, who responded to him in this way:[ahh] 21 “The Lord did indeed remember and call to mind what you did! He remembered the incense you and your ancestors, your kings, your leaders, and all the rest of the people of the land offered to other gods[ahi] in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem.[ahj] 22 Finally the Lord could no longer endure your wicked deeds and the disgusting things you did. That is why your land has become the desolate, uninhabited ruin that it is today. That is why it has become a proverbial example used in curses.[ahk] 23 You have sacrificed to other gods. You have sinned against the Lord! You have not obeyed the Lord! You have not followed his laws, his statutes, and his decrees. That is why this disaster that is evident to this day has happened to you.”[ahl]
24 Then Jeremiah spoke to all the people, particularly to all the women,[ahm] “Listen to the Lord’s message, all you people of Judah who are in Egypt. 25 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, has said, ‘You women[ahn] have confirmed by your actions what you vowed with your lips! You said, “We will certainly carry out our vows to sacrifice and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven.” Well, then fulfill your vows! Carry them out!’[aho] 26 But[ahp] listen to the Lord’s message, all you people of Judah who are living in the land of Egypt: The Lord says, ‘I hereby swear by my own great name that none of the people of Judah who are living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke my name in their oaths! Never again will any of them use it in an oath saying, “As surely as the Sovereign Lord lives.”[ahq] 27 I will indeed[ahr] see to it that disaster, not prosperity, happens to them.[ahs] All the people of Judah who are in the land of Egypt will die in war or from starvation until not one of them is left. 28 Some who survive the battle will return to the land of Judah from the land of Egypt. But they will be very few indeed![aht] Then the Judean remnant who have come to live in the land of Egypt will know whose word proves true,[ahu] mine or theirs.’ 29 Moreover the Lord says,[ahv] ‘I will make something happen to prove that I will punish you in this place. I will do it so that you will know that my threats to bring disaster on you will prove true.[ahw] 30 I, the Lord, promise that[ahx] I will hand Pharaoh Hophra[ahy] king of Egypt over to his enemies who are seeking to kill him. I will do that just as surely as I handed King Zedekiah of Judah over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, his enemy who was seeking to kill him.’”
Baruch is Rebuked but also Comforted
45 The prophet Jeremiah spoke to Baruch son of Neriah while he was writing down in a scroll the words that Jeremiah spoke to him.[ahz] (This happened in the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was ruling over Judah.)[aia] 2 Jeremiah said, “The Lord God of Israel has a message for you, Baruch. 3 ‘You have said, “I feel so hopeless![aib] For the Lord has added sorrow to my suffering.[aic] I am worn out from groaning. I can’t find any rest.”’”
4 The Lord told Jeremiah,[aid] “Tell Baruch,[aie] ‘The Lord says, “I am about to tear down what I have built and to uproot what I have planted. I will do this throughout the whole earth.[aif] 5 Are you looking for great things for yourself? Do not look for such things. For I, the Lord, affirm[aig] that I am about to bring disaster on all humanity.[aih] But I will allow you to escape with your life[aii] wherever you go.”’”
Prophecies Against Foreign Nations[aij]
46 This was[aik] the Lord’s message to the prophet Jeremiah about the nations.
The Prophecy about Egypt’s Defeat at Carchemish
2 He spoke about Egypt and the army of Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt, which was encamped along the Euphrates River at Carchemish. Now this was the army that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated in the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was ruling over[ail] Judah:[aim]
3 “Fall into ranks with your shields ready![ain]
Prepare to march[aio] into battle!
4 Harness the horses to the chariots;
mount your horses!
Take your positions with helmets on;
ready[aip] your spears!
Put on the armor![aiq]
5 “What do I see?[air]
The soldiers[ais] are frightened.
They are retreating.
They are being scattered.[ait]
They have fled for refuge
without looking back.[aiu]
Terror is all around them,”[aiv] says the Lord.
6 But even the swiftest cannot get away.
Even the strongest cannot escape.[aiw]
There in the north by the Euphrates River
they have stumbled and fallen in defeat.[aix]
7 Who is this that rises like the Nile,
like its streams[aiy] turbulent at flood stage?[aiz]
8 Egypt rises like the Nile,
like its streams turbulent at flood stage.
Egypt said, ‘I will arise and cover the earth.
I will destroy cities and the people who inhabit them.’[aja]
9 Go ahead and[ajb] charge into battle, you horsemen!
Drive furiously, you charioteers!
Let the soldiers march out into battle,
those from Ethiopia and Libya who carry shields,
and those from Lydia[ajc] who are armed with the bow.[ajd]
10 But that day belongs to the Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies.[aje]
It is a day of reckoning, when he will pay back his adversaries.[ajf]
His sword will devour them until its appetite is satisfied.
It will drink its fill from their blood![ajg]
Indeed it will be a sacrifice for the Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies
in the land of the north by the Euphrates River.
11 Go up to Gilead and get medicinal ointment,[ajh]
you dear poor people of Egypt.[aji]
But it will prove useless no matter how much medicine you use;[ajj]
there will be no healing for you.
12 The nations have heard of your shameful defeat.[ajk]
Your cries of distress fill[ajl] the earth.
One soldier has stumbled over another
and both of them have fallen down defeated.”[ajm]
The Lord Predicts that Nebuchadnezzar Will Attack and Plunder Egypt
13 The Lord spoke to the prophet Jeremiah about Nebuchadnezzar coming to attack the land of Egypt:[ajn]
14 “Make an announcement throughout Egypt.
Proclaim it in Migdol, Memphis, and Tahpanhes.[ajo]
‘Take your positions and prepare to do battle.
For the enemy army is destroying all the nations around you.’[ajp]
15 Why will your soldiers[ajq] be defeated?[ajr]
They will not stand because I, the Lord, will thrust[ajs] them down.
16 I will make many stumble.[ajt]
They will fall over one another in their hurry to flee.[aju]
They will say, ‘Get up!
Let’s go back to our own people.
Let’s go back to our homelands
because the enemy is coming to destroy us.’[ajv]
17 There at home they will say, ‘Pharaoh king of Egypt is just a big noise![ajw]
He has let the most opportune moment pass by.’[ajx]
18 I the King, whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,[ajy] swear this:
‘I swear as surely as I live that[ajz] a conqueror is coming.
He will be as imposing as Mount Tabor is among the mountains,
as Mount Carmel is against the backdrop of the sea.[aka]
19 Pack your bags for exile,
you inhabitants of poor dear Egypt.[akb]
For Memphis will be laid waste.
It will lie in ruins[akc] and be uninhabited.
20 Egypt is like a beautiful young cow.
But northern armies will attack her like swarms of stinging flies.[akd]
21 Even her mercenaries[ake]
will prove to be like pampered,[akf] well-fed calves.
For they too will turn and run away.
They will not stand their ground
when[akg] the time for them to be destroyed comes,
the time for them to be punished.
22 Egypt will run away, hissing like a snake,[akh]
as the enemy comes marching up in force.
They will come against her with axes
as if they were woodsmen chopping down trees.
23 The population of Egypt is like a vast, impenetrable forest.
But I, the Lord, affirm[aki] that the enemy will cut them down.
For those who chop them down will be more numerous than locusts.
They will be too numerous to count.[akj]
24 Poor dear Egypt[akk] will be put to shame.
She will be handed over to the people from the north.’”
25 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,[akl] says, “I will punish Amon, the god of Thebes.[akm] I will punish Egypt, its gods, and its kings. I will punish Pharaoh and all who trust in him.[akn] 26 I will hand them over to Nebuchadnezzar and his troops, who want to kill them. But later on, people will live in Egypt again as they did in former times. I, the Lord, affirm it!”[ako]
A Promise of Hope for Israel
27 [akp] “You descendants of Jacob, my servants,[akq] do not be afraid;
do not be terrified, people of Israel.
For I will rescue you and your descendants
from the faraway lands where you are captives.[akr]
The descendants of Jacob will return to their land and enjoy peace.
They will be secure and no one will terrify them.
- Jeremiah 26:1 sn Beginning with Jer 26 up to Jer 45, the book narrates in third person style incidents in the life of Jeremiah and prophecies (or sermons) he gave in obedience to the Lord’s commands. Baruch is the probable narrator, passing on information gleaned from Jeremiah himself. (See Jer 36:4, 18, 32; 45:1 and also 32:13-14, where it is clear that Baruch is Jeremiah’s scribe or secretary.) Chapters 26-29 contain narratives concerning reactions to Jeremiah’s prophecies and his conflict with the prophets who were prophesying that things would be all right (see, e.g., 14:14-15; 23:21).
- Jeremiah 26:1 tn The words “to Jeremiah” are not in the Hebrew text. They are added by the Old Latin (not the Vulgate) and the Syriac versions. They are implicit, however, to the narrative style, which speaks of Jeremiah in the third person (cf. vv. 7, 12). They have been supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 26:1 tn It is often thought that the term here is equivalent to a technical term in Akkadian (resh sharruti) that refers to the part of the year remaining from the death or deposing of the previous king until the beginning of the calendar year, when the new king officially ascended the throne. In this case it would refer to the part of the year between September, 609 b.c., when Jehoiakim was placed on the throne as a puppet king by Pharaoh Necho (2 Kgs 23:34-35), and April, 608 b.c., when he would have been officially celebrated as king. However, it will be suggested below, in conjunction with the textual problems in 27:1 and 28:1, that the term does not necessarily refer to this period.
- Jeremiah 26:2 sn It is generally agreed that the incident recorded in this chapter relates to the temple message that Jeremiah gave in 7:1-15. The message there is summarized here in vv. 3-6. The primary interest here is in the response to that message.
- Jeremiah 26:3 tn Heb “will turn from his wicked way.”
- Jeremiah 26:3 tn For the idiom and translation of terms involved here, see 18:8 and the translator’s note there.sn The Lord is being consistent in the application of the principle, laid down in Jer 18:7-8, that reformation of character will result in the withdrawal of the punishment of “uprooting, tearing down, destroying.” His prophecies of doom are conditional threats, open to change with change in behavior.
- Jeremiah 26:3 tn Heb “because of the wickedness of their deeds.”
- Jeremiah 26:4 tn Heb “thus says the Lord, ‘…’.” The use of the indirect quotation in the translation eliminates one level of embedded quotation to avoid confusion.
- Jeremiah 26:4 tn Heb “by walking in my law that I set before you.”sn Examples of those laws are found in Jer 7:5-6, 9. The law was summarized or epitomized in the ten commandments, which are called the “words of the covenant” in Exod 34:28, but it contained much more. However, when Israel is taken to task by God, it often relates to their failure to live up to the standards of the ten commandments (Heb “the ten words”; see Hos 4:1-3; Jer 7:9).
- Jeremiah 26:5 tn See the translator’s note on 7:13 for the idiom here.
- Jeremiah 26:6 tn 26:4-6 are all one long sentence containing a long condition with subordinate clauses (vv. 4-5) and a compound consequence in v. 6: Heb “If you will not obey me by walking in my law…by paying attention to the words of the prophets, whom…and you did not pay heed, then I will make…and I will make…” The sentence has been broken down in conformity to contemporary English style, but an attempt has been made to reflect all the subordinations in the English translation.
- Jeremiah 26:6 sn See the study note on Jer 7:13.
- Jeremiah 26:8 tn The translation again represents an attempt to break up a long, complex Hebrew sentence into equivalent English ones that conform more to contemporary English style: Heb “And as soon as Jeremiah finished saying all that…, the priests…grabbed him and said…” The word “some” has been supplied in the translation because obviously it was not all the priests and prophets, and all the people, but only some of them. There is, of course, rhetorical intent here to show that all were implicated, although all may not have actually participated. (This is a common figure called synecdoche, where all is put for a part—all for all kinds or representatives of all kinds. See E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 614-19, and compare usage in Acts 10:12; Matt 3:5.)
- Jeremiah 26:8 tn Or “You must certainly die!” The construction here is again emphatic with the infinitive preceding the finite verb (cf. Joüon 2:423 §123.h, and compare usage in Exod 21:28).
- Jeremiah 26:9 tn Heb “Why have you prophesied in the Lord’s name, saying, ‘This house will become like Shiloh, and this city will become a ruin without inhabitant?’” It is clear from the context here and in 7:1-15 that the emphasis is on “in the Lord’s name” and that the question is rhetorical. The question is not a quest for information but an accusation, a remonstrance. (For this figure see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 953-54, who calls a question like this a rhetorical question of remonstrance or expostulation. For good examples see Pss 11:1; 50:16.) For the significance of “prophesying in the Lord’s name,” see the study note on 14:14. The translation again utilizes the indirect quote to eliminate one level of embedded quotation.sn They are questioning his right to claim the Lord’s authority for what they see as a false prophecy. They believed that the presence of the Lord in the temple guaranteed their safety (7:4, 10, 14), and that the Lord could not possibly be threatening its destruction. Hence they were ready to put him to death as a false prophet, according to the law of Moses (Deut 18:20).
- Jeremiah 26:10 sn These officials of Judah were officials from the royal court. They may have included some of the officials mentioned in Jer 36:12-25. They would have been concerned about any possible “illegal” proceedings going on in the temple.
- Jeremiah 26:10 tn Heb “these things.”
- Jeremiah 26:10 tn Heb “they sat” or “they took their seats.” However, the context is one of judicial trial.sn The gateway or gate complex of an ancient Near Eastern city was often used for court assemblies (cf. Deut 21:19; 22:15; Ruth 4:1; Isa 29:21). Here the gate of the temple was used for the convening of a court to try Jeremiah for the charge of being a false prophet.
- Jeremiah 26:10 tn The translation follows many Hebrew mss and ancient versions in reading the word “house” (= temple) here. The majority of Hebrew mss do not have this word. It is, however, implicit in the construction “the New Gate of the Lord.”sn The location of the New Gate is uncertain. It is mentioned again in Jer 36:10, where it is connected with the upper (i.e., inner) court of the temple. Some equate it with the Upper Gate that Jotham rebuilt during his reign (2 Kgs 15:35; Jotham reigned from 750-735 b.c.). That gate, however, has already been referred to as the Upper Gate of Benjamin in Jer 20:2 (for more detail see the study note there) and would not likely have been called something different here.
- Jeremiah 26:11 tn Heb “the priests and prophets said to the leaders and the people….” The long sentence has been broken up to conform better with contemporary English style, and the situational context is reflected in “laid their charges.”
- Jeremiah 26:11 tn Heb “a sentence of death to this man.”
- Jeremiah 26:11 tn Heb “it.”
- Jeremiah 26:12 tn Heb “Jeremiah said to all the leaders and all the people….” See the note on the word “said” in the preceding verse.
- Jeremiah 26:13 tn Heb “Make good your ways and your actions.” For the same expression see 7:3, 5 and 18:11.
- Jeremiah 26:13 tn For the idiom and translation of terms involved here, see 18:8 and the translator’s note there.sn The Lord is being consistent in the application of the principle, laid down in Jer 18:7-8, that reformation of character will result in the withdrawal of the punishment of “uprooting, tearing down, destroying.” His prophecies of doom are conditional threats, open to change with change in behavior.
- Jeremiah 26:14 tn Heb “And I, behold, I am in your hand.” Hand is quite commonly used for “power” or “control” in biblical contexts.
- Jeremiah 26:15 tn Heb “For in truth the Lord has sent me to you to speak in your ears all these words/things.”
- Jeremiah 26:16 tn Heb “Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets…”
- Jeremiah 26:16 sn Contrast v. 11.
- Jeremiah 26:16 tn Heb “For in the name of the Lord our God he has spoken to us.” The emphasis is on “in the name of…”sn The priests and false prophets claimed that they were speaking in the Lord’s name (i.e., as his representatives and with his authority [see 1 Sam 25:9 and 1 Kgs 21:8; cf. the study note on Jer 23:27]) and felt that Jeremiah’s claims to be doing so were false (see v. 9). Jeremiah (and the Lord) charged that the opposite was the case (cf. 14:14-15; 23:21). The officials and the people, at least at this time, accepted his claims that the Lord had sent him (vv. 12, 15).
- Jeremiah 26:17 tn Heb “elders of the land.”sn The elders were important land-owning citizens, separate from the “heads” or leaders of the tribes, and were the officers and the judges. They were very influential in the judicial, political, and religious proceedings of both the cities and the state. (See, e.g., Josh 24:1; 2 Sam 19:11; 2 Kgs 23:1 for elders of Israel/Judah, and Deut 21:1-9; Ruth 4:1-2 for elders of the cities.)
- Jeremiah 26:18 sn Micah from Moresheth was a contemporary of Isaiah (compare Mic 1:1 with Isa 1:1) from the country town of Moresheth in the hill country southwest of Jerusalem. The prophecy referred to is found in Mic 3:12. This is the only time in the OT where an OT prophet is quoted verbatim and identified.
- Jeremiah 26:18 sn Hezekiah was co-regent with his father Ahaz from 729-715 b.c. and sole ruler from 715-686 b.c. His father was a wicked king who was responsible for the incursions of the Assyrians (2 Kgs 16; 2 Chr 28). Hezekiah was a godly king, noted for his religious reforms and for his faith in the Lord in the face of the Assyrian threat (2 Kgs 18-19; 2 Chr 32:1-23). The deliverance of Jerusalem in response to his prayers of faith (2 Kgs 19:14-19, 29-36) was undoubtedly well-known to the people of Jerusalem and Judah and may have been one of the prime reasons for their misplaced trust in the inviolability of Zion/Jerusalem (see Ps 46; 76), though the people of Micah’s day already believed it too (Mic 3:11).
- Jeremiah 26:18 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies.”sn For an explanation of this title for God, see the study note on 2:19.
- Jeremiah 26:18 sn Zion was first of all the citadel that David captured (2 Sam 5:6-10), then the City of David and the enclosed temple area, then the whole city of Jerusalem. It is often in poetic parallelism with Jerusalem as it is here (see, e.g., Ps 76:2; Amos 1:2).
- Jeremiah 26:18 sn There is irony involved in this statement. The text reads literally, “high places of a forest/thicket.” The “high places” were the illicit places of worship that Jerusalem was supposed to replace. Because of their sin, Jerusalem would be like one of the pagan places of worship, with no place left sacrosanct. It would even be overgrown with trees and bushes. So much for its inviolability!
- Jeremiah 26:19 tn This Hebrew idiom (חָלָה פָּנִים, khalah panim) is often explained in terms of “stroking” or “patting the face” of someone, seeking to gain his favor. It is never used in a literal sense and is found in contexts of prayer (Exod 32:11; Ps 119:158), worship (Zech 8:21-22), humble submission (2 Chr 3:12), or amendment of behavior (Dan 9:13). All were true to one extent or another of Hezekiah.
- Jeremiah 26:19 tn The interrogative he (הַ) with the negative governs all three of the verbs, the perfect and the two vav (ו) consecutive imperfects that follow it. The next clause has disjunctive word order and introduces a contrast. The question expects a positive answer.
- Jeremiah 26:19 tn For the translation of the terms involved here, see the translator’s note on 18:8.
- Jeremiah 26:19 tn Or “great harm to ourselves.” The word “disaster” (or “harm”) is the same one that has been translated “destroying” in the preceding line and in vv. 3 and 13.
- Jeremiah 26:20 sn This is a brief, parenthetical narrative about an otherwise unknown prophet who was executed for saying the same things Jeremiah did. Since it is disjunctive or parenthetical, it is unclear whether this incident happened before or after that being reported in the main narrative. It is put here to show the real danger that Jeremiah faced for saying what he did. There is nothing in the narrative about Jeremiah to show any involvement by Jehoiakim. This was a “lynch mob,” instigated by the priests and false prophets, that was stymied by the royal officials, supported by some of the elders of Judah.
- Jeremiah 26:20 tn Heb “in the name of the Lord,” i.e., as his representative and claiming his authority. See the study note on v. 16.
- Jeremiah 26:20 tn Heb “Now also a man was prophesying in the name of the Lord, Uriah son of…, and he prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah.” The long Hebrew sentence has been broken up in conformity with contemporary English style. The major emphasis is brought out by putting his prophesying first, then identifying him.
- Jeremiah 26:21 tn Heb “all his mighty men/soldiers.” It is unlikely that this included all the army. It more likely was the palace guards or royal bodyguards (see 2 Sam 23, where the same word is used of David’s elite corps).
- Jeremiah 26:21 tn Heb “his words.”
- Jeremiah 26:21 tn Heb “But Uriah heard and feared and fled and entered Egypt.”
- Jeremiah 26:22 sn Elnathan son of Achbor was one of the officials who urged Jeremiah and Baruch to hide after they heard Jeremiah’s prophecies read before them (Jer 36:11-19). He was also one of the officials who urged Jehoiakim not to burn the scroll containing Jeremiah’s prophecies (Jer 36:25). He may have been Jehoiakim’s father-in-law (2 Kgs 24:6, 8).
- Jeremiah 26:23 tn Heb “from Egypt.”sn A standard part of international treaties at this time was a stipulation of mutual extradition of political prisoners. Jehoiakim was a vassal of Pharaoh Necho (see 2 Kgs 23:34-35) and undoubtedly had such a treaty with him.
- Jeremiah 26:23 sn The burial place of the common people was the public burial grounds, distinct from the family tombs, where poor people without any distinction were buried. It was in the Kidron Valley east of Jerusalem (2 Kgs 23:6). The intent of reporting this is to show the ruthlessness of Jehoiakim.
- Jeremiah 26:24 sn Ahikam son of Shaphan was an official during the reign of Jehoiakim’s father, Josiah (2 Kgs 22:12, 14). He was also the father of Gedaliah, who became governor of Judah after the fall of Jerusalem (Jer 40:5). The particle at the beginning of the verse is meant to contrast the actions of this man with the actions of Jehoiakim. The impression created by this verse is that it took more than just the royal officials’ opinion and the elders’ warnings to keep the priests and prophets from swaying popular opinion to put Jeremiah to death.
- Jeremiah 26:24 tn Heb “Nevertheless, the hand of Ahikam son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah so that he would not be given [even more literally, “so as not to give him”] into the hand of the people to kill him.” “Hand” is often used for “aid,” “support,” “influence,” “power,” or “control.”
- Jeremiah 27:1 sn The names of Jeremiah and of Nebuchadnezzar are spelled differently in the Hebrew of chapters 27-29. That and other literary features show that these three chapters are all closely related. The events of these three chapters all take place within the space of one year (cf. 28:1; 29:1-7).
- Jeremiah 27:1 tc The reading here is based on a few Hebrew mss and the Syriac and Arabic versions. The majority of Hebrew mss and most of the versions read, “At the beginning of the reign of Josiah’s son, Jehoiakim king of Judah,” as in 26:1. The LXX does not have this whole verse. The textual difficulty of 27:1 has long been recognized. The date formula in the majority of Hebrew mss at 27:1 is contradictory both with the context of the passage, which deals with an event in the reign of Zedekiah (see vv. 3, 12, and 20, the last of which presupposes that Jeconiah, Jehoiakim’s son, has been taken captive [i.e., after the death of Jehoiakim]), and the date formula in 28:1, which refers to an event “in that same year” and then qualifies it with “early in the reign of Zedekiah.” Hence it is preferable to read “Zedekiah” here in place of “Jehoiakim,” and to explain the error in the Hebrew manuscripts as an erroneous copying of 26:1.sn If the text of 28:1 is correct, the date here would be sometime in the fourth year of Zedekiah, which would be 594/3 b.c. Zedekiah had been placed on the throne as a puppet king by Nebuchadnezzar after he deposed Zedekiah’s nephew, Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) and sent him, his family, some of the temple treasures, and some of the Judean leaders away to Babylon (2 Kgs 23:8-17). The author does not state directly why the envoys from the nations mentioned in v. 3 were in Jerusalem, but the implication is that they were there trying to interest Zedekiah in rebelling. Modern scholars have used the data here, in 28:1, and in the Babylonian Chronicles (it contains a record of major events of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign) to suggest a plausible background for such a meeting. Nebuchadnezzar had to put down an uprising in the east and quell a rebellion in Babylon itself in the two years prior to this meeting. Some “prophets” in the nation of Israel and in these other nations (see vv. 9-10) saw in these events hopes for not having to pay tribute to (i.e., submit to the yoke of) Nebuchadnezzar and were counseling rebellion. Jeremiah saw this as foolhardy and counseled otherwise. Again, there is a conflict between “prophets,” which is what this whole section (Jer 27-29) is all about.
- Jeremiah 27:2 tn There is some disjunction in the narrative of this chapter. The introduction in v. 1 presents this as a third person narrative. But afterwards the narrative is in first person, with v. 2 reading, “Thus the Lord said to me…” In vv. 12 and 16 the narrative continues in a first person report, never indicating that Jeremiah carried out the command in vv. 2-4 that introduces the Lord’s message. In vv. 12 and 16 Jeremiah tailors the message to Zedekiah, the priests, and all the people. The chapter is thus an “unedited” first person report. This may create some confusion for some readers, but it is best to leave it in first person here because of the continuation in vv. 12 and 16.
- Jeremiah 27:2 sn The yoke is a common biblical symbol of political servitude (see, e.g., Deut 28:48; 1 Kgs 12:4, 9, 10). From the context of 1 Kgs 12 it is clear that it applied to taxation and the provision of conscript labor. In international political contexts it involved the payment of heavy tribute, which was often conscripted from the citizens (see, e.g., 2 Kgs 15:19-20; 23:34-35), and the furnishing of military contingents for the sovereign’s armies (see, e.g., 2 Kgs 24:2). Jeremiah’s message here combines both a symbolic action (the wearing of a yoke) and words of explanation, as in Jer 19:1-13. (See Isa 20:1-6 for an example outside of Jeremiah.) The casting off of the yoke has been used earlier in Jer 2:20 and 5:5 to refer to Israel’s failure to remain spiritually “subject,” i.e., faithful, to God.
- Jeremiah 27:3 sn The nations of Edom, Moab, and Ammon were east of Judah. They were sometimes allies and sometimes enemies. The nations of Tyre and Sidon were on the sea coast north and west of Judah. They are best known for their maritime trade during the reign of Solomon. They were more commonly allies of Israel and Judah than enemies.
- Jeremiah 27:3 tn Heb “send by means of them” [i.e., the straps and crossbars made into a yoke] to…through.” The text is broken up in conformity with contemporary English style. Many English versions ignore the suffix on the end of “send” and find some support for this on the basis of its absence in the Lucianic Greek text. However, it is probably functioning metonymically here for the message that they see symbolized before them and that is now explained clearly to them.
- Jeremiah 27:4 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel.”sn See study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for the significance of this title.
- Jeremiah 27:4 tn Heb “Give them a charge for their masters, saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, “Thus you shall say unto your masters…”’” The sentence is broken up in conformity with contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 27:5 tn Heb “by my great power and my outstretched arm.” Again “arm” is symbolical for “strength.” Compare the similar expression in 21:5.
- Jeremiah 27:5 sn See Dan 4:17 for a similar statement.
- Jeremiah 27:6 tn Heb “have given…into the hand of.”
- Jeremiah 27:6 sn See the study note on 25:9 for the significance of the application of this term to Nebuchadnezzar.
- Jeremiah 27:6 tn Heb “I have given…to him to serve him.” The verb “give” in this syntactical situation is functioning like the Hiphil stem, i.e., as a causative. See Dan 1:9 for parallel usage. For the usage of “serve” meaning “be subject to,” compare 2 Sam 22:44 and BDB 713 s.v. עָבַד 3.sn This statement is rhetorical, emphasizing the totality of Nebuchadnezzar’s dominion. Neither here nor in Dan 2:38 is it to be understood literally.
- Jeremiah 27:7 sn This is a figure emphasizing that they will serve for a long time but not for an unlimited duration. The kingdom of Babylon lasted a relatively short time by ancient standards. It lasted from 605 b.c. when Nebuchadnezzar defeated Necho at Carchemish until the fall of Babylon in 538 b.c. There were only four rulers. Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded by his son, Evil Merodach (cf. 52:31), and two other rulers who were not descended from him.
- Jeremiah 27:7 tn Heb “until the time of his land, even his, comes.” The independent pronoun is placed here for emphasis on the possessive pronoun. The word “time” is used by substitution for the things that are done in it (compare in the NT John 2:4; 7:30; 8:20: “his hour had not yet come”).sn See Jer 25:12-14, 16.
- Jeremiah 27:7 tn Heb “him.” This is a good example of the figure of substitution where the person is put for his descendants or the nation or subject he rules. (See Gen 28:13-14 for another good example, and Acts 22:7 in the NT.)
- Jeremiah 27:8 tn Heb “put their necks in the yoke of.” See the study note on v. 2 for the figure.
- Jeremiah 27:8 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 27:8 tn Heb “The nation and/or the kingdom that will not serve him, Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put its neck in the yoke of the king of Babylon, by sword, starvation, and disease I will punish [or more literally, “visit upon”] that nation, oracle of the Lord.” The long, complex Hebrew sentence has been broken up in conformity with contemporary English style, with its figures interpreted for the sake of clarity. The particle אֵת (ʾet), the sign of the accusative, before “that will not put…” is a little unusual here. For its use to introduce a new topic (here a second relative clause), see BDB 85 s.v. אֵת 3.α.
- Jeremiah 27:8 tn Heb “with/by the sword.”
- Jeremiah 27:8 tc The verb translated “destroy” (תָּמַם, tamam) is usually intransitive in the stem of the verb used here. It is found in a transitive sense elsewhere only in Ps 64:7. BDB 1070 s.v. תָּמַם 7 emends both texts. In this case they recommend תִּתִּי (titti): “until I give them into his hand.” That reading is suggested by the texts of the Syriac and Targumic translations (see BHS fn c). The Greek translation supports reading the verb “destroy” but treats it as though it were intransitive: “until they are destroyed by his hand” (reading תֻּמָּם [tummam]). The MT here is accepted as the more difficult reading, and support is seen in the transitive use of the verb in Ps 64:7.tn Heb “I will punish that nation until I have destroyed them [i.e., its people] by his hand.” “Hand” here refers to agency. Hence, the idea is, “I will use him.”
- Jeremiah 27:9 sn Various means of divination are alluded to in the OT. For example, Ezek 21:26-27 alludes to throwing down arrows to see which way they fall and consulting the shape of the liver of slaughtered animals. Gen 44:5 alludes to reading the future through pouring liquid in a cup. The means listed in this verse were all classified as pagan and prohibited as illegitimate in Deut 18:10-14. The Lord had promised that he would speak to them through prophets like Moses (Deut 18:15, 18). But even prophets could lie. Hence, the Lord told them that the test of a true prophet was whether what he said came true or not (Deut 18:20-22). An example of false prophesying and a vindication of the true as opposed to the false will be given in the chapter that follows this.
- Jeremiah 27:9 sn An example of this is seen in 1 Sam 28.
- Jeremiah 27:9 tn The verb in this context is best taken as a negative obligatory imperfect. See IBHS 508-9 §31.4g for discussion and examples. See Exod 4:15 as an example of positive obligation.
- Jeremiah 27:10 tn The words “Don’t listen to them” have been repeated from v. 9a to pick up the causal connection between v. 9a and v. 10 that is formally introduced by a causal particle in v. 10 in the original text.
- Jeremiah 27:10 tn Heb “they are prophesying a lie.”
- Jeremiah 27:10 tn Heb “lies will result in your being taken far…” (לְמַעַן [lemaʿan] + infinitive). This is a rather clear case of the particle לְמַעַן introducing result (contra BDB 775 s.v. מַעַן note 1. There is no irony in this statement; it is a bold prediction).
- Jeremiah 27:10 tn The words “out of your country” are not in the text but are implicit in the meaning of the verb. The words “in exile” are also not in the text but are implicit in the context. These words have been supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 27:11 tn Heb “put their necks in the yoke of.” See the study note on v. 2 for the figure.
- Jeremiah 27:11 tn The words “Things will go better for” are not in the text. They are supplied contextually as a means of breaking up the awkward syntax of the original, which reads, “The nation that brings its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and subjects itself to him, I will leave it…”
- Jeremiah 27:11 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 27:12 tn Heb “I spoke to Zedekiah…according to all these words, saying.”
- Jeremiah 27:12 sn The verbs in this verse are all plural. They are addressed to Zedekiah and his royal advisers (compare 22:2).
- Jeremiah 27:12 tn Heb “put their necks in the yoke of.” See the study note on v. 2 for the figure.
- Jeremiah 27:13 tn Heb “with/by the sword.”
- Jeremiah 27:13 tn Heb “Why should you and your people die…?” The rhetorical question expects the answer made explicit in the translation, “There is no reason!”
- Jeremiah 27:13 tn Heb “…disease according to what the Lord spoke concerning the nation that…”
- Jeremiah 27:14 tn The verb in this context is best taken as a negative obligatory imperfect. See IBHS 508 §31.4g for discussion and examples. See Exod 4:15 as an example of positive obligation.
- Jeremiah 27:15 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 27:15 sn The verbs are again plural, referring to the king and his royal advisers.
- Jeremiah 27:15 tn Heb “…drive you out, and you will perish, you and the prophets who are prophesying lies.”sn For the fulfillment of this prophecy see Jer 39:5-7; 52:7-11; 2 Kgs 25:4-7.
- Jeremiah 27:16 tn Heb “don’t listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you….” The sentence has been broken up for the sake of English style, and one level of embedded quotes has been eliminated to ease complexity.
- Jeremiah 27:16 sn This refers to the valuable articles of the temple treasury that were carried off by Nebuchadnezzar four years earlier when he carried off Jeconiah, his family, some of his nobles, and some of the cream of Judean society (2 Kgs 24:10-16, especially v. 13, and see also vv. 19-20 in the verses following).
- Jeremiah 27:17 tn The imperatives with vav (ו) here and in v. 12 after another imperative are good examples of the use of the imperative to introduce a consequence. (See GKC 324-25 §110.f and see Gen 42:18. This is a common verb in this idiom.)
- Jeremiah 27:17 tn According to E. W. Bullinger (Figures of Speech, 954), both this question and the one in v. 13 are examples of rhetorical questions of prohibition: “don’t let this city be made a pile of rubble.”
- Jeremiah 27:18 tn The words “I also told them” are not in the text, but it is obvious from the fact that the Lord is spoken about in the third person in vv. 18, 19, 21 that he is not the speaker. This is part of Jeremiah’s own speech to the priests and the people (v. 16). These words are supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 27:18 tn Heb “the Lord’s message is with them.”
- Jeremiah 27:18 tn Heb “…speaking to them, let them entreat the Lord…so that the valuable articles…will not go to Babylon.” The long original sentence has been broken up for the sake of English style.
- Jeremiah 27:19 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies.” For the significance of this title see the note at 2:19.
- Jeremiah 27:19 tn The words “two bronze” are not in the text. They have been supplied in the translation to help identify the referent.sn The two bronze pillars are the two free-standing pillars at the entrance of the temple (Jakin and Boaz) described in 1 Kgs 7:15-22.
- Jeremiah 27:19 tn The words “the large bronze basin called” are not in the text. They have been supplied in the translation to help identify the referent.sn “The Sea” refers to the large basin that was mounted on twelve bronze bulls. It stood in front of the temple and contained water for the priests to bathe themselves (2 Chr 4:6; cf. Exod 30:17-21). It is described in 1 Kgs 7:23-26.
- Jeremiah 27:19 tn The words “movable bronze” are not in the text. They have been supplied in the translation to help identify the referent. See the study note for further reference.sn The bronze stands are the movable bronze stands described in 1 Kgs 7:27-37, which supported the bronze basins described in 1 Kgs 7:38-39. According to 2 Chr 4:6 the latter were used to wash the burnt offerings. The priests would have been especially concerned about the big bronze basin and the movable stands with their basins because they contributed to the priests’ and the offerings’ ritual purification, apart from which they would have had no sanctity. These articles (or furnishings in this case) were broken up, and the bronze was carried away to Babylon along with all the other bronze, silver, and gold furnishings when the temple and the city were destroyed in 587 b.c. (see 2 Kgs 25:13-15; Jer 52:17-19).
- Jeremiah 27:20 tn 27:19-20 are all one long sentence in Hebrew. It has been broken up for the sake of English style. Some of the sentences still violate contemporary English style (e.g., v. 20), but breaking them down any further would lose the focus. For further discussion see the study note on v. 21.
- Jeremiah 27:21 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel.” For the significance of this title see the note at 2:19.
- Jeremiah 27:21 sn Some of the flavor of the repetitive nature of Hebrew narrative is apparent in vv. 19-21. In the Hebrew original vv. 19-20 are all one long sentence with complex coordination and subordinations. That is, all the objects in v. 19 are objects of the one verb “has spoken about,” and the description in v. 20 is one long relative or descriptive clause. The introductory words “For the Lord…has already spoken” are repeated in v. 21 from v. 19, and reference is made to the same articles once again, only in the terms that were used in v. 18b. By this means, attention is focused for these people (here the priests and the people) on articles which were of personal concern for them, and the climax or the punch line is delayed to the end. The point being made is that the false prophets are mistaken; not only will the articles taken to Babylon not be returned “very soon,” but the Lord has said that the ones that remain will be taken there as well. They ought rather pray that the Lord will change his mind and not carry them off as well.
- Jeremiah 27:22 tn This verb is a little difficult to render here. The word is used in the sense of taking note of something and acting according to what is noticed. It is the word that has been translated several times throughout Jeremiah as “punish [someone].” Contrariwise, it can also mean to take note and “show consideration for” (or “care for;” see, e.g., Ruth 1:6). Here the nuance is positive and is further clarified by God’s actions that follow, bringing the people back and restoring them.
- Jeremiah 27:22 tn Heb “oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 28:1 tc The original text is unusually full here: Heb “And it happened in that year in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, in the fifth month, Hananiah…said to…” Many scholars see a contradiction between “in the fourth year” and “in the beginning of the reign.” These scholars point to the fact that the Greek version does not have “in that year” and “in the beginning of the reign of”; it merely reads, “in the fourth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fifth month.” These scholars generally also regard the heading at 27:1 to be unoriginal and interpret the heading in the MT here as a faulty harmonization of the original (that in the Greek version) with the erroneous one in the Hebrew of 27:1. However, it is just as possible that the Greek version in both places is an attempt to harmonize the data of 27:1 and 28:1. That is, it left out both the heading at 27:1, and “in that year” and “at the beginning of the reign of” in the heading here because it thought the data was contradictory. On the other hand, it is just as likely that no contradiction really exists here because the term “beginning of the reign” can include the fourth year. E. H. Merrill has argued that the term here refers not to the accession year (see the translator’s note on 26:1) but to the early years in general (“The ‘Accession Year’ and Davidic Chronology,” JANESCU 19 : 105-6, and cf. note 18 for bibliography on Akkadian parallels). Hence the phrase has been translated both here and in 27:1 as “early in the reign of…” For other attempts at harmonization see the discussion in G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 (WBC), 41, n. 1a.sn The dating here is very full and precise. “In that same year” ties the events here in with the messages that Jeremiah delivered to the envoys, the king and his court, and the priests and people while wearing the yoke symbolizing servitude to Nebuchadnezzar. The text wants to show that the events here transpired shortly after those in Jer 27 and that Jeremiah is still wearing the yoke. The supplying of the precise month is important because the end of the chapter will show that Jeremiah’s prophecy regarding Hananiah was fulfilled two months later. Hence Jeremiah is the true prophet, and Hananiah and the others (27:16) are false. The supplying of the year is perhaps significant because the author states in 51:59 that Zedekiah went to Babylon that same year, probably to pledge his loyalty. The suggestion lies ready to hand that the events of this chapter and the preceding one lead to his dismissal of the false prophet Hananiah’s advice and the acceptance of Jeremiah’s.
- Jeremiah 28:1 tn Heb “to me.” The rest of the chapter is all in third person narrative (see vv. 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 15). Hence, many explain the first person here as a misunderstanding of the abbreviation “to Jeremiah” (אֶל יִרְמִיָּה [ʾel yirmiyyah] = אֵלַי, [ʾelay]). It is just as likely that there is a similar kind of disjunction here that occurred in 27:1-2, only in the opposite direction. There what started out as a third person report was really a first person report. Here what starts out as a first person report is really a third person report. The text betrays both the hands of the narrator, probably Baruch, and the account-giver, Jeremiah, who dictated a synopsis of his messages and his stories to Baruch to write down (Jer 36:4, 32).
- Jeremiah 28:1 tn Heb “And it happened in that year in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, in the fifth month, Hananiah son of Azzur, the prophet, who was from Gibeon, said to me in…” The sentence has been broken up in conformity with contemporary English style and the flavor given in modern equivalent terms.
- Jeremiah 28:2 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel.” See the study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for the explanation of this title.
- Jeremiah 28:2 sn See the study note on 27:2 for this figure. Hananiah is given the same title, “the prophet,” as Jeremiah throughout the chapter, and he claims to speak with the same authority (compare v. 2a with 27:21a). He even speaks like the true prophet; the verb form “I will break” is in the “prophetic perfect,” emphasizing certitude. His message here is a contradiction of Jeremiah’s message recorded in the preceding chapter (compare especially v. 3 with 27:16, 19-22, and v. 4 with 22:24-28). The people and the priests are thus confronted with a choice of whom to believe. Who is the “true” prophet and who is the “false” one? Only fulfillment of their prophecies will prove which is which (see Deut 18:21-22).
- Jeremiah 28:4 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”sn Notice again that the “false” prophet uses the same formula and claims the same source for his message as the true prophet has (cf. 27:22).
- Jeremiah 28:7 tn Heb “Listen to this word/message which I am about to speak in your ears and the ears of all these people.”
- Jeremiah 28:8 tn The word “invariably” is not in the text but is implicit in the context and in the tense of the Hebrew verb. It is supplied in the translation for clarity and to help bring out the contrast in the next verse.
- Jeremiah 28:8 tc Many Hebrew mss read “starvation/famine,” which is the second member of a common triad, “sword, famine, and plague,” in Jeremiah. This triad occurs thirteen times in the book and undoubtedly influenced a later scribe to read “starvation [= famine]” here. For this triad see the note on 14:14. The words “disaster and plagues” are missing in the LXX.
- Jeremiah 28:9 tn The verbs in this verse are to be interpreted as iterative imperfects in past time, rather than as futures, because of the explicit contrast that is drawn between verses 8 and 9 by the emphatic syntactical construction of the verses. Both verses begin with a casus pendens construction to throw the verses into contrast: Heb “The prophets who were before me and you from ancient times, they prophesied…The prophet who prophesied peace, when the word of that prophet came true, that prophet was known that the Lord truly sent him.”
- Jeremiah 28:11 tn Heb “I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from upon the necks of all the nations.”
- Jeremiah 28:11 tn Heb “Then the prophet Jeremiah went his way.”
- Jeremiah 28:13 tn Heb “Hananiah, ‘Thus says the Lord….” The translation uses an indirect quotation here used to eliminate one level of embedded quotation.
- Jeremiah 28:13 tn The Greek version has “I have made/put” rather than “you have made/put.” This is the easier reading and is therefore rejected.
- Jeremiah 28:13 tn Heb “the yoke bars of wood you have broken, but you have made in its stead yoke bars of iron.”sn This whole incident (and the preceding one in Jer 28) is symbolic. Jeremiah’s wearing of the yoke was symbolic of the Lord’s message to submit to Babylonian authority. Hananiah’s breaking of the yoke was a prediction that that authority would not last beyond two years. By breaking the yoke he was encouraging rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar’s (and hence the Lord’s) authority (cf. 27:9, 14). However, rebelling would only result in further, harsher, more irresistible measures by Nebuchadnezzar to control such rebellion.
- Jeremiah 28:14 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel.” See the study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for this title.
- Jeremiah 28:14 tn Heb “An iron yoke I have put on the necks of all these nations.”
- Jeremiah 28:14 sn The emphasis is on the absoluteness of Nebuchadnezzar’s control. The statement is once again rhetorical and not to be taken literally. See the study note on 27:6.
- Jeremiah 28:15 tn Or “You are giving these people false assurances.”
- Jeremiah 28:16 sn There is a play on words here in Hebrew between “did not send you” and “will…remove you.” The two verbs are from the same root word in Hebrew. The first is the simple active and the second is the intensive.
- Jeremiah 28:16 sn In giving people false assurances of restoration when the Lord had already told them to submit to Babylon, Hananiah was really counseling rebellion against the Lord. What Hananiah had done was contrary to the law of Deut 13:5 and was punishable by death.
- Jeremiah 28:17 sn Comparison with Jer 28:1 shows that this whole incident took place in the space of two months. Hananiah had prophesied that the captivity would be over before two years had past. However, before two months were past, Hananiah himself died in fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy of his death. His death was a validation of Jeremiah as a true prophet. The subsequent events of 588 b.c. would validate Jeremiah’s prophecies and invalidate those of Hananiah.
- Jeremiah 29:1 tn Jer 29:1-3 are all one long sentence in Hebrew containing a parenthetical insertion. The text reads, “These are the words of the letter which the prophet Jeremiah sent to the elders…people whom Nebuchadnezzar had exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon after King Jeconiah…had gone from Jerusalem, by the hand of Elasah…whom Zedekiah sent…saying, ‘Thus says the Lord…’” The sentence has been broken up for the sake of contemporary English style and clarity.
- Jeremiah 29:2 tn This term is often mistakenly understood to refer to a “eunuch.” It is clear, however, in Gen 39:1 that “eunuchs” could be married. On the other hand, it is clear from Isa 59:3-5 that some who bore this title could not have children. In this period, it is possible that the persons who bore this title were high officials like the rab saris, who was a high official in the Babylonian court (cf. Jer 39:3, 13; 52:25). For further references see HALOT 727 s.v. סָרִיס 1.c.
- Jeremiah 29:2 sn See 2 Kgs 24:14-16 and compare the study note on Jer 24:1.
- Jeremiah 29:3 sn Elasah son of Shaphan may have been the brother of Ahikam, who supported Jeremiah when the priests and the prophets in Jerusalem sought to kill Jeremiah for preaching that the temple and the city would be destroyed (cf. 26:24).
- Jeremiah 29:3 sn This individual is not the same as the Gemariah mentioned in 36:10, 11, 12, 25, who was one of the officials who sought to have the first scroll of Jeremiah’s prophecies preserved. He may, however, have been a son or grandson of the high priest during the reign of Josiah who discovered the book of the law (cf., e.g., 2 Kgs 22:8, 10) that was so instrumental in Josiah’s reforms.
- Jeremiah 29:3 sn It is unclear whether this incident preceded or followed those in the preceding chapter. It is known from 52:5-9 that Zedekiah himself had made a trip to Babylon in the same year mentioned in 28:1 and that Jeremiah had used that occasion to address a prophecy of disaster to Babylon. It is not impossible that Jeremiah sent two such disparate messages at the same time (see Jer 25:8-11, 12-14, 17-18, 26).
- Jeremiah 29:4 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel.”sn See study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for the explanation of this title.
- Jeremiah 29:4 tn Heb “I sent.” This sentence exhibits a rapid switch in person, here from the third person to the first. Such switches are common to Hebrew poetry and prophecy (cf. GKC 462 §144.p). Contemporary English, however, does not exhibit such rapid switches, and they create confusion for the careful reader. Such switches have regularly been avoided in the translation.sn Elsewhere Nebuchadnezzar is seen as the one who carried them into exile (cf. 27:20; 29:1). Here and in v. 14 the Lord is seen as the one who sends them into exile. The Lord is the ultimate cause, and Nebuchadnezzar is his agent or servant (cf. 25:9; 27:6; and notes).
- Jeremiah 29:8 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel.”sn See study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for the explanation of this title.
- Jeremiah 29:8 sn See the study notes on 27:9 for this term.
- Jeremiah 29:9 tn Heb “prophesying lies to you in my name.”sn For the significance of “in my name,” see the study notes on 14:14 and 23:27.
- Jeremiah 29:9 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 29:10 sn See the study note on Jer 25:11 for the reckoning of the seventy years.
- Jeremiah 29:10 tn See the translator’s note on Jer 27:22 for this term.
- Jeremiah 29:10 tn Verse 10 is all one long sentence in the Hebrew original: “As soon as the fullfilment to Babylon of seventy years, I will take thought of you and I will establish my gracious word to you by bringing you back to this place.” The sentence has been broken up to conform better to contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 29:10 tn Heb “this place.” The text has probably been influenced by the parallel passage in 27:22. The term appears fifteen times in Jeremiah and is invariably a reference to Jerusalem or Judah.sn See Jer 27:22 for this promise.
- Jeremiah 29:11 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 29:11 tn Heb “I know the plans that I am planning for you, oracle of the Lord, plans of well-being and not for harm, to give to you….”
- Jeremiah 29:11 tn Or “the future you hope for”; Heb “a future and a hope.” This is a good example of hendiadys, where two formally coordinated nouns (adjectives, verbs) convey a single idea because one of the terms functions as a qualifier of the other. For this figure see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 658-72. This example is discussed on p. 661.
- Jeremiah 29:12 tn Heb “come and pray to me.” This is an example of verbal hendiadys, where two verbs formally joined by “and” convey a main concept, with the second verb functioning as an adverbial qualifier.
- Jeremiah 29:12 tn Or “You will call out to me and come to me in prayer, and I will hear your prayers.” The verbs are vav consecutive perfects and can be taken either as unconditional futures or as contingent futures. See GKC 337 §112.kk and 494 §159.g, and compare the usage in Gen 44:22 for the use of the vav consecutive perfects in contingent futures. The conditional clause in the middle of 29:13 and the deuteronomic theology reflected in both Deut 30:1-5 and 1 Kgs 8:46-48 suggest that the verbs are continent futures here. For the same demand for wholehearted seeking in these contexts that presuppose exile, see especially Deut 30:2 and 1 Kgs 8:48.
- Jeremiah 29:13 tn Or “If you wholeheartedly seek me”; Heb “You will seek me and find [me] because you will seek me with all your heart.” The translation attempts to reflect the theological nuances of “seeking” and “finding” and the psychological significance of “heart,” which refers more to intellectual and volitional concerns in the OT than to emotional ones.
- Jeremiah 29:14 tn Heb “I will let myself be found by you.” For this nuance of the verb see BDB 594 s.v. מָצָא Niph.1.f, and compare the usage in Isa 65:1 and 2 Chr 15:2. The Greek version already noted that nuance when it translated the phrase as “I will manifest myself to you.”
- Jeremiah 29:14 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 29:14 tn Heb “restore your fortune.” Alternately, “I will bring you back from exile.” This idiom occurs twenty-six times in the OT and in several cases it is clearly not referring to return from exile but restoration of fortunes (e.g., Job 42:10; Hos 6:11-7:1; Jer 33:11). It is often followed as here by “regather” or “bring back” (e.g., Jer 30:3; Ezek 29:14) so it is often misunderstood as “bringing back the exiles.” The versions (LXX, Vulg., Tg., Pesh.) often translate the idiom as “to go away into captivity,” deriving the noun from שְׁבִי (shevi, “captivity”). However, the use of this expression in Old Aramaic documents of Sefire parallels the biblical idiom: “the gods restored the fortunes of the house of my father again” (J. A. Fitzmyer, The Aramaic Inscriptions of Sefire [BibOr], 100-101, 119-20). The idiom means “to turn someone’s fortune, bring about change” or “to reestablish as it was” (HALOT 1386 s.v. 3.c). In Ezek 16:53 it is paralleled by the expression “to restore the situation which prevailed earlier.” This amounts to restitutio in integrum, which is applicable to the circumstances surrounding the return of the exiles.
- Jeremiah 29:14 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 29:15 tn The words “of good news” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 29:16 tn Heb “But thus says the Lord about.” The words “just listen to what” are supplied in the translation to help show the connection with the preceding.sn Jeremiah answers their claims that the Lord has raised up prophets to encourage them that their stay will be short by referring to the Lord’s promise that the Lord’s plans are not for restoration but for further destruction.
- Jeremiah 29:16 tn The words “of Jerusalem” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation to identify the referent and avoid the possible confusion that “this city” refers to Babylon.
- Jeremiah 29:17 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies.” See the study note on 2:19 for explanation of this title.
- Jeremiah 29:17 tn Heb “the sword.”
- Jeremiah 29:17 tn The meaning of this word is somewhat uncertain. It occurs only here in the Hebrew Bible. BDB 1045 s.v. שֹׁעָר relates it to the noun “horrible thing” (translated “something shocking”) in Jer 5:30 and 23:14 and defines it as “horrid, disgusting.” HALOT 1495 s.v. שֹׁעָר relates it to the same noun and defines it as “rotten; corrupt.” That nuance is accepted here.sn Cf. Jer 24:8-10 in its context for the figure here.
- Jeremiah 29:18 tn Heb “with the sword.”
- Jeremiah 29:19 tn See the translator’s note on 7:13 for an explanation of this idiom.
- Jeremiah 29:19 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 29:19 tn The word “exiles” is not in the text. It is supplied in the translation to clarify the referent of “you.”
- Jeremiah 29:19 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 29:20 sn The shift from third person to first person is common in Hebrew poetry and prophecy but not in English style. The Lord uses “the Lord’s message” as a technical term, probably to emphasize its authority.
- Jeremiah 29:21 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel.”sn See study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for the explanation of this title.
- Jeremiah 29:21 tn Heb “prophesying lies in my name.” For an explanation of this idiom see the study notes on 14:14 and 23:27.
- Jeremiah 29:22 sn Being roasted to death in the fire appears to have been a common method of execution in Babylon. See Dan 3:6, 19-21. The famous law code of the Babylonian king Hammurabi also mandated this method of execution for various crimes a thousand years earlier. There is a satirical play on words involving their fate, “roasted them to death” (קָלָם, qalam), and the fact that that fate would become a common topic of curse (קְלָלָה, qelalah) pronounced on others in Babylon.
- Jeremiah 29:23 tn It is commonly assumed that this word is explained by the two verbal actions that follow. The word (נְבָלָה, nevalah) is rather commonly used of sins of unchastity (cf., e.g., Gen 34:7; Judg 19:23; 2 Sam 13:12), which would fit the reference to adultery. However, the word is singular and not likely to cover both actions that follow. The word is also used of the greedy act of Achan (Josh 7:15), which threatened Israel with destruction, and the churlish behavior of Nabal (1 Sam 25:25), which threatened him and his household with destruction. It is used of foolish talk in Isa 9:17 (9:16 HT) and Isa 32:6. It is possible that here it refers to a separate act, one that would have brought the death penalty from Nebuchadnezzar, i.e., the preaching of rebellion in conformity with the message of the false prophets in Jerusalem and other nations (cf. 27:9, 13). Hence it is possible that the translation should read, “This will happen because they have carried out vile rebellion in Israel. And they have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives and have spoken lies while claiming my authority. They have spoken words that I did not command them to speak.”
- Jeremiah 29:23 tn Heb “prophesying lies in my name.” For an explanation of this idiom see the study notes on 14:14 and 23:27.
- Jeremiah 29:23 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 29:24 tn The words “The Lord told Jeremiah” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation here to indicate the shift in topic and the shift in addressee (the imperative “tell” is second singular). The introduction supplied in the translation here matches that in v. 30, where the words are in the text.
- Jeremiah 29:24 tn It is unclear whether this is a family name or a place name. The word occurs nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible.
- Jeremiah 29:25 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel.”sn See study notes on 2:19 and 7:3 for the explanation of this title.
- Jeremiah 29:25 tn Heb “Tell Shemaiah the Nehelamite, ‘Thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel….” The indirect quotation is used in the translation to avoid the complexity of embedding a quotation within a quotation.
- Jeremiah 29:25 sn Jer 29:24-32 are concerned with Jeremiah’s interaction with a false prophet named Shemaiah. The narrative in this section is not in strict chronological order and is somewhat elliptical. It begins with a report of a message that Jeremiah appears to have delivered directly to Shemaiah and refers to a letter that Shemaiah sent to the priest Zephaniah, encouraging him to reprimand Jeremiah for what Shemaiah considered treasonous words in his letter to the exiles (vv. 24-28; compare v. 28 with v. 5). However, Jeremiah is in Jerusalem, and Shemaiah is in Babylon. The address must then be part of a second letter Jeremiah sent to Babylon. Following this the narrative refers to Zephaniah reading Shemaiah’s letter to Jeremiah and Jeremiah sending a further letter to the captives in Babylon (vv. 29-32). This is probably not a third letter but part of the same letter in which Jeremiah reprimands Shemaiah for sending his letter to Zephaniah (vv. 25-28; the same letter referred to in v. 29). So here is the order of events. Jeremiah sent a letter to the captives counseling them to settle down in Babylon (vv. 1-23). Shemaiah sent a letter to Zephaniah asking him to reprimand Jeremiah (vv. 26-28). After Zephaniah read that letter to Jeremiah (v. 29), Jeremiah wrote a further letter to Babylon reprimanding Shemaiah (vv. 25-28, 31) and pronouncing judgment on him (v. 32). The elliptical nature of the narrative is reflected in the fact that vv. 25-27 are part of a long causal sentence that sets forth an accusation but has no corresponding main clause or announcement of judgment. This kind of construction involves a rhetorical figure (called aposiopesis) where what is begun is not finished for various rhetorical reasons. Here the sentence that is broken off is part of an announcement of judgment that is not picked up until v. 32 after a further (though related) accusation (v. 31b).
- Jeremiah 29:25 tn Heb “In your [own] name.” See the study note on 23:27 for the significance of this idiom.
- Jeremiah 29:25 tn Heb “letters.” Though GKC 397 §124.b, n. 1 denies it, this is probably a case of the plural of extension. For a similar usage see Isa 37:14, where the plural “letters” is referred to later as an “it.” Even if there were other “letters,” the focus is on the letter to Zephaniah.
- Jeremiah 29:25 sn According to Jer 52:24 and 2 Kgs 25:18, Zephaniah son of Maaseiah was second in command to the high priest. He was the high ranking priest who was sent, along with a civic official, by Zedekiah to inquire of the Lord’s will from Jeremiah on two separate occasions (Jer 21:1; 37:3).
- Jeremiah 29:25 tn The words “In your letter you said to Zephaniah” are not in the text: Heb “you sent a letter to…, saying.” The sentence has been broken up to conform better to contemporary English style, and these words have been supplied in the translation to make the transition to the address to Zephaniah in vv. 26-28.
- Jeremiah 29:26 tn Heb “in place of Jehoiada the priest.” The word “the priest” is unnecessary to the English sentence.
- Jeremiah 29:26 tc Heb “The Lord has appointed you priest in place of the priest Jehoiada to be overseer in the house of the Lord for/over.” The translation is based on a reading presupposed by several of the versions. The Hebrew text reads, “The Lord has…to be overseers [in] the house of the Lord for/over.” The reading here follows that of the Greek, Syriac, and Latin versions in reading פָּקִיד בְּבֵית (paqid bevet) in place of פְּקִדִים בֵּית (peqidim bet). There has been a confusion of the ם (mem) and בּ (bet) and a transposition of the י (yod) and ד (dalet).
- Jeremiah 29:26 sn The Hebrew term translated lunatic applies to anyone who exhibits irrational behavior. It was used for example of David, who drooled and scratched on the city gate to convince Achish not to arrest him as a politically dangerous threat (1 Sam 21:14). It was often used contemptuously of the prophets by those who wanted to play down the significance of their words (2 Kgs 9:11; Hos 9:7, and here).
- Jeremiah 29:26 tn The verb here is a good example of what IBHS 431 §26.2f calls the estimative-declarative reflexive, where a person presents himself in a certain light. For examples of this usage see 2 Sam 13:5 and Prov 13:7.
- Jeremiah 29:26 tn See the translator’s note on 20:2 for this word, which only occurs here and in 20:2-3.
- Jeremiah 29:26 tn This word only occurs here in the Hebrew Bible. All the lexicons are agreed that it refers to a collar placed around the neck. The cognate languages are the basis for this definition (see, e.g., HALOT 958-59 s.v. צִינֹק for the most complete discussion).
- Jeremiah 29:27 tn Heb “So why have you not reprimanded Jeremiah…?” The rhetorical question functions as an emphatic assertion made explicit in the translation.
- Jeremiah 29:28 tn Heb “For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying….” The quote, however, is part of the earlier letter.
- Jeremiah 29:28 sn See v. 5.
- Jeremiah 29:29 tn Heb “in the ears of Jeremiah the prophet.”
- Jeremiah 29:31 tn Or “is giving you false assurances.”
- Jeremiah 29:32 tn Heb “Therefore.”
- Jeremiah 29:32 sn Compare the same charge against Hananiah in Jer 28:16 and see the note there. In this case, the false prophecy of Shemaiah is not given, but it likely had the same tenor, since he wants Jeremiah reprimanded for saying that the exile will be long and the people are to settle down in Babylon.
- Jeremiah 30:1 tn Compare the headings at 7:1; 11:1; 18:1; 21:1, as well as the translator’s note at those places.
- Jeremiah 30:2 tn Heb “Thus says Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel, saying….” For significance of the title “Yahweh of armies, the God of Israel,” see the note at 2:19.
- Jeremiah 30:2 tn Heb “Write all the words that I speak to you in a scroll.” The verb “that I speak” is the instantaneous use of the perfect tense (cf. GKC 311-12 §106.i or IBHS 488-89 §30.5.1d). The words that the Lord is about to speak follow in chs. 30-31.sn Reference is made here to the so-called “Book of Consolation,” which is the most extended treatment of the theme of hope or deliverance in the book. Jeremiah was called to be a prophet both of judgment (tearing down and destroying) and of deliverance (replanting and rebuilding; see Jer 1:10). Jeremiah lamented that predominantly he had to pronounce judgment, but he has periodically woven in prophecies of hope after judgment in 3:14-18; 16:14-15; 23:3-8; 24:4-7; 29:10-14, 32. The oracles of hope contained in these chapters are undated, but reference is made in them to the restoration of both Israel, which had gone into exile in Assyria in 722 b.c., and Judah, which began to be exiled in 605 and 597 b.c. Jeremiah had already written as early as the reign of Zedekiah about the exiles, who were the good figs and were to experience the “good” of restoration (24:4-7; 29:10-14), and he had spoken of the further exile of those who remained in Judah. So it is possible that these oracles fit in roughly the same time frame as chapters 27-29.
- Jeremiah 30:3 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 30:3 tn Heb “restore the fortune.” For the translation and meaning of this idiom, see the note at 29:14.
- Jeremiah 30:3 tn Heb “fathers.”
- Jeremiah 30:3 sn As the nations of Israel and Judah were united in their sin and suffered the same fate—that of exile and dispersion—(cf. Jer 3:8; 5:11; 11:10, 17), so they will ultimately be regathered from the nations and rejoined under one king, a descendant of David; and will regain possession of their ancestral lands. The prophets of both the eighth and seventh century looked forward to this ideal (see, e.g., Hos 1:11 (2:2 HT); Isa 11:11-13; Jer 23:5-6; 30:3; 33:7; Ezek 37:15-22). This has already been anticipated in Jer 3:18.
- Jeremiah 30:4 tn Heb “And these are the words/things that the Lord speaks concerning Israel and Judah.”
- Jeremiah 30:5 tn The particle כִּי (ki) is functioning here as loosely causal or epexegetical of the preceding introduction. For this usage see BDB 473-74, s.v. כִּי 3.c. This nuance borders on that of the intensive use of כִּי. See the discussion in BDB 472, s.v. כִּי note and כִּי 1.e.
- Jeremiah 30:5 tn Heb “We have heard the sound of panic and of fear, and there is no peace.” It is generally agreed that the person of the verb presupposes that this is an unintroduced quote of the people.
- Jeremiah 30:6 tn Heb “Ask and see/consider.”
- Jeremiah 30:6 tn Heb “with their hands on their loins.” The word rendered “loins” refers to the area between the ribs and the thighs.
- Jeremiah 30:7 tn Heb “Alas [or Woe] for that day will be great.” For the use of the particle “Alas” to signal a time of terrible trouble, even to sound the death knell for someone, see the translator’s note on 22:13.sn The reference to a terrible time of trouble (Heb “that day”) is a common shorthand reference in the prophets to “the Day of the Lord.” The “Day of the Lord” refers to a time when God intervenes in judgment against the wicked. The time referent can be either near or far, referring to something as near as the Assyrian threat in the time of Ahaz (Isa 7:18, 20, 21, 23) or as distant as the eschatological battle of God against Gog when he attacks Israel (Ezek 38:14, 18). The judgment can be against Israel’s enemies and result in Israel’s deliverance (Jer 50:30-34). At other times, as here, the Day of the Lord involves judgment on Israel itself. Here reference is to the judgment that the northern kingdom, Israel, has already experienced (cf., e.g., Jer 3:8) and that the southern kingdom, Judah, is in the process of experiencing. Jeremiah has lamented over it several times and even described it in hyperbolic and apocalyptic terms in Jer 4:19-31.
- Jeremiah 30:7 tn Heb “It is a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.”sn Jacob here is figurative for the people descended from him. Moreover the figure moves from Jacob, equal to descendants of Jacob, to only a part of those descendants. Not all of his descendants who have experienced and are now experiencing trouble will be saved. Only a remnant (i.e., the good figs; cf., e.g., Jer 23:3; 31:7) will see the good things that the Lord has in store for them (Jer 24:5-6). The bad figs will suffer destruction through war, starvation, and disease (cf., e.g., Jer 24:8-10, among many other references).
- Jeremiah 30:8 tn Heb “And it shall happen in that day.”sn The time for them to be rescued (Heb “that day”) is the day of deliverance from the trouble alluded to at the end of the preceding verse, not the day of trouble mentioned at the beginning. Israel (even the good figs) will still need to go through the period of trouble (cf. vv. 10-11).
- Jeremiah 30:8 tn Heb “Oracle of Yahweh of Armies.” See the study note on 2:19 for explanation of the title for God.
- Jeremiah 30:8 tn Heb “I will break his yoke from upon your neck.” For the explanation of the figure see the study note on 27:2. The shift from third person at the end of v. 7, to second person in v. 8c, d, and back to third person in v. 8e is typical of Hebrew poetry in the book of Psalms and in the prophetic books (cf., GKC 351 §114.p, and compare usage in Deut 32:15 and Isa 5:8, listed there). The present translation, like several other modern ones, has typically leveled them to the same person to avoid confusion for modern readers who are not accustomed to this poetic tradition.sn In the immediate context the reference to the yoke of their servitude to foreign domination (Heb “his yoke”) should be understood of the yoke of servitude to Nebuchadnezzar that has been referred to often in Jer 27-28 (see, e.g., 27:8, 12; 28:2, 4, 11). The end of that servitude has already been mentioned in 25:11-14 and 29:11-14. Like many other passages in the OT, it has been given a later eschatological reinterpretation in the light of subsequent bondages and lack of complete fulfillment, i.e., of restoration to the land and restoration of the Davidic monarchy.
- Jeremiah 30:8 tn Heb “I will tear off their bands.” The “bands” are the leather straps that held the yoke bars in place (cf. 27:2). The metaphor of the “yoke on the neck” is continued. The translation reflects the sense of the metaphor but not the specific referent.
- Jeremiah 30:9 tn The verb “be subject to” in this verse and “subjugate” are from the same root word in Hebrew. A deliberate contrast is drawn between the two powers that the Israelites will serve.
- Jeremiah 30:9 tn Heb “and to David their king, whom I will raise up for them.”sn The Davidic ruler whom I will raise up as king over them refers to a descendant of David who would rule over a regathered and reunited Israel and Judah. He is called “David” in Hos 3:5, Ezek 34:23-24; 37:24-25 and is referred to as a shoot or sprig of Jesse in Isa 11:1, 10, and as a “righteous branch” springing from David (the Davidic line). He is called “David” because he is from the Davidic line and because David is the type of the ideal king whom the prophets anticipated. See further the study notes on 23:5 for this ideal king and for his relation to the NT fulfillment in the person of Jesus the Christ.
- Jeremiah 30:10 tn Heb “So do not be afraid, my servant Jacob, oracle of the Lord.” Here and elsewhere in the verse the terms Jacob and Israel are poetic for the people of Israel descended from the patriarch Jacob. The terms have been supplied throughout with plural referents for greater clarity.
- Jeremiah 30:10 tn Heb “For I will rescue you from far away, your descendants from the land of their captivity.”
- Jeremiah 30:10 sn Compare the ideals of the Mosaic covenant in Lev 26:6, the Davidic covenant in 2 Sam 7:10-11, and the new covenant in Ezek 34:25-31.
- Jeremiah 30:11 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 30:11 tn The translation “entirely unpunished” is intended to reflect the emphatic construction of the infinitive absolute before the finite verb.
- Jeremiah 30:12 tn The particle כִּי (ki) here is parallel to the one in v. 5 that introduces the first oracle. See the discussion in the translator’s note there.
- Jeremiah 30:12 tn The pronouns in vv. 10-17 are second feminine singular, referring to a personified entity. That entity is identified in v. 17 as Zion, which here stands for the people of Zion.
- Jeremiah 30:12 sn The wounds to the body politic are those from incursions by the enemy from the north referred to in Jer 4:6; 6:1, over which Jeremiah and even God himself have lamented (Jer 8:21; 10:19; 14:17). The enemy from the north has been identified as Babylon and as the agent of God’s punishment of his disobedient people (Jer 1:15; 4:6; 25:9).
- Jeremiah 30:13 tc The translation of these first two lines follows the redivision of the lines suggested in NIV and NRSV. The Masoretes read, “There is no one who pleads your cause with reference to [your] wound.”sn This verse exhibits a double metaphor: an advocate pleading someone’s case (cf., Jer 5:28; 22:18) and a physician applying medicine to wounds and sores resulting from them (see, e.g., Jer 8:18 for the latter metaphor). Zion’s sins are beyond defense and the wounds inflicted upon her beyond healing. However, God himself in his own time will forgive her sins (Jer 31:34; 33:8) and heal her wounds (Jer 30:17).
- Jeremiah 30:14 tn Heb “forgotten you.”
- Jeremiah 30:14 tn Heb “attacked you like…with the chastening of a cruel one because of the greatness of your iniquity [and because] your sins are many.” The sentence has been broken down to conform to contemporary English style and better poetic scansion.
- Jeremiah 30:16 tn For the translation of this particle, which is normally translated “therefore” and often introduces an announcement of judgment, compare the usage at Jer 16:14 and the translator’s note there. Here as there it introduces a contrast, a rather unexpected announcement of salvation. For a similar use see also Hos 2:14 (2:16 HT). Recognition of this usage makes unnecessary the proposed emendation of BHS of לָכֵן כָּל (lakhen kol) to וְכָל (vekhol).
- Jeremiah 30:16 sn With the exception of the second line, there is a definite attempt at wordplay in each line to underline the principle of lex talionis on a national and political level. This principle has already been appealed to regarding the end of Babylonian sovereignty in 25:14 and 27:7.
- Jeremiah 30:17 tn Again the particle כִּי (ki) appears to be intensive rather than causal. Compare the translator’s note on v. 12. It is possible that it has an adversative sense in an implicit contrast with v. 13, which expresses these concepts in the negative (cf. BDB 474 s.v. כִּי 3.e, for this use in statements that are contextually closer to one another).
- Jeremiah 30:17 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 30:18 tn Heb “I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob and will have compassion on his habitations.” For the meaning of the idiom “restore the fortunes of,” see the translator’s note on 29:14. The “tents of Jacob” refer to their homes or houses (see BDB 14 s.v. אֹהֶל 2, and compare usage in Judg 19:9 and Mal 2:12). The word “ruined” has been supplied in the translation to show more clearly the idea of restoration of their houses on their former sites, in conformity to the concepts in the latter half of the verse.
- Jeremiah 30:18 sn Heb “on its tel.” A tel is a site where successive layers of occupation are built upon one another after the destruction or decay of the former city. The original site was not abandoned because it had been chosen for strategic purposes, such as proximity to water or ease of defense. Many modern archaeological sites have the designation “Tel” as a component of their name because of this practice.
- Jeremiah 30:18 tn Heb “according to its custom [or plan].” See BDB 1049 s.v. מִשְׁפָּט 6.d, and compare usage in 1 Sam 27:11.
- Jeremiah 30:19 tn Heb “Out of them will come thanksgiving and a sound of those who are playful.”
- Jeremiah 30:19 sn Compare Jer 29:6.
- Jeremiah 30:20 tn Heb “his children will be as in former times, and his congregation/community will be established before me.” “His” in the phrase “his children” refers to “Jacob,” who was mentioned in v. 18 in the phrase “I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob.” “His children” are thus the restored exiles. Some commentaries see the reference here to the restoration of numbers in accordance with the previous verse. However, the last line of this verse and the reference to the ruler in the following verse suggest rather restoration of the religious and political institutions to their former state. For the use of the word translated “community” (עֵדָה, ʿedah) to refer to a political congregation, as well as its normal use to denote a religious one, see 1 Kgs 12:20. For the idea of “in my favor” (i.e., under the eye and regard of) for the Hebrew phrase used here (לְפָנַי, lefanay), see BDB 817 s.v. פָּנֶה II.4.a(b).
- Jeremiah 30:21 sn The statement their ruler will come from their own number accords with the regulation in Deut 17:15. They would not be ruled by a foreign leader but by one of their own people. In v. 9 he is specifically said to come from the Davidic line. See the study note there.
- Jeremiah 30:21 sn Ordinarily this prerogative was confined to the priests and the Levites and even then under strict regulations (cf., e.g., Num 8:19; 16:10; Lev 16:10; 21:17; 22:3). Uzziah, king of Judah, violated this and suffered leprosy for having done so (2 Chr 26:16-20). It is clear, however, that both David and Solomon on occasion exercised priestly functions in the presence of the ark or the altar, which it was normally lawful for only the priests to approach (cf., e.g., 2 Sam 6:13-14; 1 Kgs 8:22, 54-55). The invited approach here is probably not for normal prerogatives of offering sacrifice or burning incense but for access to God’s special presence at special times with the purpose of consultation.
- Jeremiah 30:21 tn Heb “For who is he who would pledge his heart to draw near to me?” The question is a rhetorical one expecting the answer “no one” and is a way of expressing an emphatic negative (see BDB 566 s.v. מִי f[c]). The concept of “pledging” something refers to putting up security in guarantee of payment. Here the word is used figuratively of “putting up one’s heart [i.e., his very being (cf. BDB 524 s.v. לֵב 7, and Ps 22:26)]” for the privilege of access to God. The rhetorical question denies that any one would do that if he were not bidden by God to do so.
- Jeremiah 30:21 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 30:22 sn This was their highest privilege (cf. Exod 6:7, Lev 26:12; Jer 24:7) but also their greatest responsibility (cf. Jer 7:3; 11:4). It is a formula referring to a covenant relationship in which God pledges to protect, provide, and be present with his people and they in turn promise to be loyal and obedient to him (see Deut 26:17-18; 29:10-13).
- Jeremiah 30:24 sn Jer 30:23-24 are almost a verbatim repetition of 23:19-20. There the verses were addressed to the people of Jerusalem as a warning that the false prophets had no intimate awareness of the Lord’s plans, which were plans of destruction for wicked Israel, not plans of peace and prosperity. Here they function as further assurance that the Lord will judge the wicked nations oppressing them when he reverses their fortunes and restores them once again to the land as his special people (cf. vv. 18-22).
- Jeremiah 31:1 sn This verse repeats v. 22 but with specific reference to all the clans of Israel, i.e., to all Israel and Judah. It functions here as a transition to the next section, which will deal with the restoration of Israel (31:3-20) and Judah (31:21-25) and their reunification in the land (31:27-29) under a new covenant relation with God (31:31-37). See also the study note on 30:3 for further reference to this reunification in Jeremiah and the other prophets.
- Jeremiah 31:1 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 31:2 tn Heb “who survived the sword.”sn This refers to the remnant of northern Israel who had not been killed when Assyria conquered Israel in 722 b.c. or who had not died in exile. References to Samaria in v. 5 and Ephraim in vv. 6, 9 make clear that northern Israel is in view here.
- Jeremiah 31:3 tn The first word מֵרָחוּק (merakhoq, “distant”) can mean at a distance in location or time (2 Kgs 19:25). While built from the preposition מִן (min, “from, of, since, than”) and the adjective רָחוּק (rakhoq), “far, distant”), the pieces work as one unit and typically do not mean “from a distant place,” as is especially evident when one stands at a distance (Exod 2:4) or goes to a distant place (Isa 22:3). Both options, location and time, are possible here. Either the Lord appears at a distant place (where the exiles are), or, understanding the verb as past time, he appeared long ago. In the latter view, this is probably reminiscent of God’s appearance at Sinai, reminding the people of the eternal love he covenanted with them, on the basis of which he maintains his faithful love to and will restore them.
- Jeremiah 31:3 tn Or the translation of verses 2-3 could be, “The people of Israel who survived the onslaughts of Egypt and Amalek found favor in the wilderness as they journeyed to find rest. At that time long ago the Lord manifested himself to them. He said, ‘I have…That is why I have drawn you to myself through my unfailing kindness.’” There is debate whether the reference here is to God’s preservation of Israel during their wandering in the Sinai desert or his promise to protect and preserve them on their return through the Arabian desert on the way back from Assyria and Babylon (see e.g., Isa 42:14-16; 43:16-21; Jer 16:14-15; 23:7-8). The only finite verbs in vv. 2-3a before the introduction of the quote are perfects, which can denote either a past act or a future act viewed as certain of fulfillment (the prophetic perfect; see GKC 312-13 §106.n, and see examples in Jer 11:16; 13:17; 25:14; 28:4). The phrase at the beginning of v. 3 can either refer to temporal (cf. BDB 935 s.v. רָחוֹק 2.b, and Isa 22:11) or spatial distance (cf. BDB 935 s.v. רָחוֹק 2.a, and Isa 5:29; 59:14). The verb in the final clause in v. 3 can refer to either the extension of God’s love, as in Pss 36:10 and 109:12 (cf. HALOT 645-46 s.v. מָשַׁךְ Qal.3), or the drawing of someone to him in electing, caring love, as in Hos 11:4 (cf. BDB 604 s.v. מָשַׁךְ Qal.1). The translation has opted for the prophetic reference to future deliverance because of the preceding context, the use of מֵרָחוֹק (merakhoq) to refer to the far-off land of exile in Jer 30:10; 46:27; and 51:50, and the reference to survivors from the sword being called on to remember the Lord in that far-off land in 51:50.
- Jeremiah 31:4 tn Heb “Virgin Israel.”sn For the significance of this metaphor see the note on Jer 14:17. Here the emphasis rests on his special love and care for his people and the hint (further developed in vv. 21-22) that, though they are guilty of sin, he views them like an innocent young virgin.
- Jeremiah 31:4 sn Contrast Jer 7:34 and 25:10.
- Jeremiah 31:5 sn The terms used here refer to the enjoyment of a period of peace and stability and to the reversal of the curse (contrast, e.g., Deut 28:30). The Hebrew word translated “enjoy its fruit” is a technical one that refers to the owner of a vineyard getting to enjoy its fruit in the fifth year after it was planted, the crops of the first three years lying fallow, and those of the fourth being given to the Lord (cf. Lev 19:23-25).
- Jeremiah 31:6 sn Watchmen were stationed at vantage points to pass on warning of coming attack (Jer 6:17; Ezek 33:2, 6) or to spread the news of victory (Isa 52:8). Here reference is made to the watchmen who signaled the special times of the year, such as the new moon and festival times, when Israel was to go to Jerusalem to worship. Reference is not made to these in the Hebrew Bible, but there is a good deal of instruction regarding them in the later Babylonian Talmud.
- Jeremiah 31:6 sn Not only will Israel and Judah be reunited under one ruler (cf. 23:5-6), but they will share a unified place and practice of worship once again, in contrast to Israel using the illicit places of worship, illicit priesthood, and illicit feasts instituted by Jeroboam (1 Kgs 12:26-31) and continued until the downfall of Samaria in 722 b.c.
- Jeremiah 31:7 tn See the translator’s notes on 30:5, 12.
- Jeremiah 31:7 tn Heb “for the head/chief of the nations.” See BDB 911 s.v. רֹאשׁ 3.c, and compare usage in Ps 18:44 referring to David as the “chief” or “foremost ruler” of the nations.
- Jeremiah 31:7 tn It is unclear who the addressees of the masculine plural imperatives are in this verse. Possibly they are the implied exiles, who are viewed as in the process of returning and praying for their fellow countrymen.
- Jeremiah 31:7 tc Or “The Lord will rescue his people. He will deliver those of Israel who remain alive.” The translation used in the text follows the Hebrew: “Rescue your people, O Lord, the remnant of Israel.” The alternate translation, which is preferred by several modern English versions (e.g., REB, TEV) and a majority of modern commentaries (see, e.g., J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 569; J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 273, n. s-s), follows the reading of the Greek version and the Aramaic Targum and appears more appropriate to the context of praise presupposed by the preceding imperatives. The difference in the two readings are the omission of one vowel letter and the confusion of a final ךְ (kaf) and a וֹ (holem-vav), which are very similar in form. (The Greek presupposes הוֹשִׁיעַ יְהוָה אֶת־עַמּוֹ [hoshiaʿ yehvah ʾet ʿammo] for the Hebrew הוֹשַׁע יְהוָה אֶת־עַמְּךָ [hoshaʿ yehvah ʾet ʿammekha].) The key to a decision here is the shift from the verbs of praise to the imperative “say,” which introduces the quotation; there is a shift from praise to petition. The shift in mood is not uncommon, occurring, for example, in Pss 118:25 and 126:4; it is the shift in mood from praise for what has begun to petition for what is further desired. It is easier to explain the origin contextually of the Greek and Targum than it is the Hebrew text; thus the Greek and Targum are probably a secondary smoothing of the text (this is the decision of the D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 4:263). The mood of prayer also shows up in v. 9 and again in vv. 17-18.
- Jeremiah 31:8 tn The words “And I will reply” are not in the text, but the words of vv. 8-9 appear to be the answer to the petition at the end of v. 7. These words are supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 31:9 tn Heb “They will come with weeping; I will bring them with supplication.” The ideas of contrition and repentance are implicit from the context (cf. vv. 18-19) and are supplied for clarity.
- Jeremiah 31:9 sn Jer 31:8-9 are reminiscent of the “New Exodus” motif of Isa 40-66, which has already been referred to in Jer 16:14-15 and 23:7-8. See especially Isa 35:3-10; 40:3-5, 11; 41:17-20; 42:14-17; 43:16-21; 49:9-13. As there, the New Exodus will so outstrip the old that the old will pale in comparison and be almost forgotten (see Jer 23:7-8).
- Jeremiah 31:9 sn Ephraim was the second son of Joseph, who was elevated to a place of prominence in the family of Jacob by the patriarch’s special blessing. It was the strongest tribe in northern Israel, and Samaria lay in its territory. It is often used as a poetic parallel for Israel, as here. The poetry is not speaking of two separate entities here; it is a way of repeating an idea for emphasis. Moreover, there is no intent to show special preference for northern Israel over Judah. All Israel is metaphorically God’s son and the object of his special care and concern (Exod 4:22; Deut 32:6).
- Jeremiah 31:11 sn Two rather theologically significant metaphors are used in this verse. The Hebrew word translated “rescue” occurs in the legal sphere for paying a redemption price to secure the freedom of a person or thing (see, e.g., Exod 13:13, 15). It is used metaphorically and theologically to refer to Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage (Deut 15:15; Mic 6:4) and Babylonian exile (Isa 35:10). The word translated “secure…release” occurred in the sphere of family responsibility when a person paid the price to free an indentured relative (Lev 25:48, 49) or restore a relative’s property seized to pay a debt (Lev 25:25, 33). This word, too, could describe metaphorically and theologically Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage (Exod 6:6) or Babylonian exile (Isa 43:1-4; 44:22). These words are traditionally translated “ransom” and “redeem” and are a part of traditional Jewish and Christian vocabulary for physical and spiritual deliverance.
- Jeremiah 31:11 tn Heb “from the hand/power of the one too strong for him.”
- Jeremiah 31:12 tn Reading a Qal perfect from the root II נָהַר (nahar; so KBL 509 s.v., and HALOT 639 s.v.) rather than I נָהַר (so BDB 625 s.v.).
- Jeremiah 31:13 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.” This phrase has been brought up to the beginning of v. 13 from the end of v. 14 to introduce the transition from third person description by Jeremiah to first person address by the Lord.
- Jeremiah 31:13 tc The translation follows the reading of the LXX (Greek version). The Hebrew reads, “will dance and be glad, young men and old men together.” The Greek version presupposes a Qal imperfect of a rare verb (יַחְדּוּ [yakhdu] from the verb חָדָה [khadah]; see BDB 292 s.v. II חָדָה Qal), as opposed to the Hebrew text, which reads a common adverb יַחְדָּו (yakhdav). The consonantal text is the same, but the vocalization is different. There are no other examples of the syntax of the adverb used this way (i.e., of a compound subject added to a third subject), and the vocalization of the Hebrew text can be explained on the basis of a scribe misvocalizing the text based on his greater familiarity with the adverb.
- Jeremiah 31:14 tn Heb “I will satiate the priests with fat.” However, the word translated “fat” refers literally to the fat ashes of the sacrifices (see Lev 1:16; 4:2 and cf. BDB 206 s.v. דֶּשֶׁן 2). The word is used more abstractly for “abundance” or “rich food” (see Job 36:16 and BDB 206 s.v. דֶּשֶׁן 1). The people and the priests were prohibited from eating the fat (Lev 7:23-24).
- Jeremiah 31:15 sn Ramah is a town in Benjamin approximately five miles (8 km) north of Jerusalem. It was on the road between Bethel and Bethlehem. Traditionally, Rachel’s tomb was located near there at a place called Zelzah (1 Sam 10:2). Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, had been very concerned about having children because she was barren (Gen 30:1-2). So she went to great lengths to have them (Gen 30:3, 14-15, 22-24). She was the grandmother of Ephraim and Manasseh, which were two of the major tribes in northern Israel. Here Rachel is viewed metaphorically as weeping for her “children,” the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh, who had been carried away into captivity in 722 b.c.
- Jeremiah 31:15 tn Or “gone into exile” (cf. v. 16), though some English versions take this as meaning “dead” (e.g., NCV, CEV, NLT), presumably in light of Matt 2:18.
- Jeremiah 31:16 tn The words “to her” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 31:16 tn Heb “Refrain your voice from crying and your eyes from tears.”
- Jeremiah 31:16 tn Heb “your work.” Contextually her “work” refers to her weeping and refusing to be comforted, that is, signs of genuine repentance (v. 15).
- Jeremiah 31:16 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 31:17 tn For this nuance for the Hebrew word אַחֲרִית (ʾakharit) see BDB 31 s.v. אַחֲרִית d and compare usage in Psalms 37:38 and 109:13. Others translate “your future,” but the “future” lies with the return of her descendants, her posterity.
- Jeremiah 31:17 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 31:18 tn The use of “indeed” is intended to reflect the infinitive absolute, which precedes the verb for emphasis (see IBHS 585-86 §35.3.1f).
- Jeremiah 31:18 tn Heb “Ephraim.” See the study note on 31:9. The more familiar term is used, with the term “people” added to it, and plural pronouns replace first person singular ones throughout the verse to aid understanding.
- Jeremiah 31:18 tn Heb “like an untrained calf.” The metaphor is that of a calf that has never been broken to bear the yoke (cf. Hos 4:16; 10:11).sn Jer 2:20 and 5:5 already referred to Israel’s refusal to bear the yoke of loyalty and obedience to the Lord’s demands. Here Israel expresses that she has learned from the discipline of exile and is ready to bear his yoke.
- Jeremiah 31:18 tn The verb here is from the same root as the preceding and is probably an example of the “tolerative Niphal,” i.e., “I let myself be disciplined/I responded to it.” See IBHS 389-90 §23.4g and note the translation of some of the examples there, especially Isa 19:22 and 65:1.
- Jeremiah 31:18 tn Heb “Bring me back in order that I may come back.” For the use of the plural pronouns see the marginal note at the beginning of the verse. The verbs “bring back” and “come back” are from the same root in two different verbal stems. In the context they express the idea of spiritual repentance and restoration of relationship, not physical return to the land. (See BDB 999 s.v. שׁוּב Hiph.2.a for the first verb and 997 s.v. Qal.6.c for the second.) For the use of the cohortative to express purpose after the imperative, see GKC 320 §108.d or IBHS 575 §34.5.2b.sn There is a wordplay on several different nuances of the same Hebrew verb in vv. 16-19. The Hebrew verb שׁוּב (shuv) refers both to their turning away from God (v. 19) and to their turning back to him (v. 18). It is also the word that is used for their return to their homeland (vv. 16-17).
- Jeremiah 31:19 tn For this meaning of the verb see HAL 374 s.v. יָדַע Nif 5 or W. L. Holladay, Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon, 129. REB translates, “Now that I am submissive,” relating the verb to a second root meaning “be submissive.” (See HALOT 375 s.v. II יָדַע and J. Barr, Comparative Philology and the Text of the Old Testament, 19-21, for evidence for this verb. Other passages cited with this nuance are Judg 8:16; Prov 10:9; Job 20:20.)
- Jeremiah 31:19 sn This was a gesture of grief and anguish (cf. Ezek 21:12 [21:17 HT]). The modern equivalent is “to beat the breast.”
- Jeremiah 31:19 tn Heb “because I bear the reproach of my youth.” For the plural referents see the note at the beginning of v. 18.sn The expression the disgraceful things we did in our earlier history refers to the disgrace that accompanied the sins that Israel committed in her earlier years before she learned the painful lesson of submission to the Lord through the discipline of exile. For earlier references to the sins of her youth (i.e., in her earlier years as a nation) see 3:24-25; 22:21; 32:29. At the time that these verses were written, neither northern Israel or Judah had expressed the kind of contrition voiced in vv. 18-19. As one commentator notes, the words here are both prophetic and instructive.
- Jeremiah 31:20 tn Heb “Is Ephraim a dear son to me or a child of delight?” For the substitution of Israel for Ephraim and the plural pronouns for the singular, see the note on v. 18. According to BDB 210 s.v. הֲ 1.c the question is rhetorical, having the force of an impassioned affirmation. See 1 Sam 2:27 and Job 41:9 (41:1 HT) for parallel usage.
- Jeremiah 31:20 tn Heb “my stomach churns for him.” The parallelism shows that this refers to pity or compassion.
- Jeremiah 31:20 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 31:21 tn The words “I will say” are not in the text. They are supplied in the translation to mark the transition from the address about Israel in a response to Rachel’s weeping (vv. 15-20) to a direct address to Israel that is essentially the answer to Israel’s prayer of penitence (cf. G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 121.)sn The Lord here invites Israel to stop dilly-dallying and prepare themselves to return because he is prepared to do something new and miraculous.
- Jeremiah 31:21 tn Heb “Virgin Israel.” For the significance see the study note on 31:3.
- Jeremiah 31:21 tn Heb “Set your mind to the highway, the way which you went.” The phrase “the way you went” has been translated as “the road you took when you were carried off” to help the reader see the reference to the exile implicit in the context. The verb “which you went” is another example of the old second feminine singular, which the Masoretes typically revocalize (Kethib הָלָכְתִּי [halakhti]; Qere הָלָכְתְּ [halakhet]). The vocative has been supplied in the translation at the beginning to help make the transition from third person reference to Ephraim/Israel in the preceding to second person in the following and to identify the referent of the imperatives. Likewise, this line has been moved to the front to show that the reference to setting up sign posts and landmarks is not literal but figurative, referring to making a mental note of the way they took when carried off so that they can easily find their way back. Lines three and four in the Hebrew text read, “Set up sign posts for yourself; set up guideposts/landmarks for yourself.” The word translated “telltale signs marking the way” occurs only here. Though its etymology and precise meaning are unknown, all the lexicons agree in translating it as “sign post” or something similar, based on the parallelism.
- Jeremiah 31:22 tn The translation “dilly-dally” is suggested by J. Bright, Jeremiah (AB), 276. The verb occurs only here in this stem (the Hitpael) and only one other time in any other stem (the Qal in Song 5:6). The dictionaries define it as “to turn this way and that” (cf., e.g., BDB 330 s.v. חָמַק Hithp.). In the context it refers to turning this way and that looking for the way back.
- Jeremiah 31:22 sn Israel’s backsliding is forgotten and forgiven. They had once been characterized as an apostate people (3:14, 22; the word “apostate” and “unfaithful” are the same in Hebrew) and figuratively depicted as an adulterous wife (3:20). Now they are viewed as having responded to his invitation (compare 31:18-19 with 3:22-25). Hence they are no longer depicted as an unfaithful daughter but as an unsullied virgin (see the literal translation of “my dear children” in vv. 4, 21 and the study note on v. 4.)
- Jeremiah 31:22 tn Heb “For the Lord will create.” The person has been shifted to avoid the possible confusion for some readers of a third person reference to the Lord in what has otherwise been a first person address. The verb “will create” is another one of the many examples of the prophetic perfect that have been seen in the book of Jeremiah. For the significance of the verb “create” here, see the study note on “bring about something new.”
- Jeremiah 31:22 sn Heb “create.” This word is always used with God as the subject and refers to the production of something new or unique, like the creation of the world and the first man and woman (Gen 1:1; 2:3; 1:27; 5:1), the creation of a new heavens and a new earth in a new age (Isa 65:17), or the bringing about of new and unique circumstances (Num 16:30). Here reference is made contextually to the new exodus, that marvelous deliverance which will be so great that the old will pale in comparison (see the first note on v. 9).
- Jeremiah 31:22 tn The meaning of this last line is uncertain. The translation has taken it as proverbial for something new and unique. For a fairly complete discussion of most of the options see C. Feinberg, “Jeremiah,” EBC 6:571. For the nuance of “protecting” for the verb here see BDB 686 s.v. סָבַב Po‘ 1 and compare the usage in Deut 32:10.
- Jeremiah 31:23 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel.” See 7:3 and the study note of 2:19 for the rendering of this title and an explanation of its significance.
- Jeremiah 31:23 tn Heb “They [i.e., people (the indefinite plural, GKC 460 §144.g)] will again say in the land of Judah and in its cities when I restore their fortunes.” For the meaning of the idiom “to restore the fortunes” see the translator’s note on 29:14.
- Jeremiah 31:23 tn The words “of Jerusalem” are not in the text, but the idea is implicit in the titles that follow. The words have been supplied in the translation for clarity, to aid in identifying the referent.
- Jeremiah 31:23 sn The blessing pronounced on the city of Zion/Jerusalem by the restored exiles looks at the restoration of its once exalted state as the city known for its sanctity and its just dealing (see Isa 1:21 and Ps 122). This was a reversal of the state of Jerusalem in the time of Isaiah and Jeremiah, where wickedness, not righteousness, characterized the inhabitants of the city (cf. Isa 1:21; Jer 4:14; 5:1; 13:27). The blessing here presupposes the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem and the temple, which gave the city its sanctity.
- Jeremiah 31:24 tn The translation “those who move about with their flocks” is based on an emendation of the Hebrew text that reads a third plural Qal perfect (נָסְעוּ, naseʿu) as a masculine plural Qal participle in the construct (נֹסְעֵי, noseʿe), as suggested in BHS. For the use of the construct participle before a noun with a preposition, see GKC 421 §130.a. It is generally agreed that three classes of people are referred to here: townspeople, farmers, and shepherds. But the syntax of the Hebrew sentence is a little awkward: “And they [i.e., “people” (the indefinite plural, GKC 460 §144.g)] will live in it, Judah and all its cities [an apposition of nearer definition (GKC 425-26 §131.n)], [along with] farmers and those who move about with their flocks.” The first line refers awkwardly to the townspeople, and the other two classes are added asyndetically (i.e., without the conjunction “and”).
- Jeremiah 31:25 tn The verbs here again emphasize that the actions are as good as done (i.e., they are prophetic perfects; cf. GKC 312-13 §106.n).sn For the concept here compare Jer 31:12, where the promise was applied to northern Israel. This represents the reversal of the conditions that would characterize the exiles according to the covenant curse of Deut 28:65-67.
- Jeremiah 31:26 tn Or “When I, Jeremiah, heard this, I woke up and looked around. My sleep had been very pleasant.” The text is somewhat enigmatic. It has often been explained as an indication that Jeremiah had received this communication (30:3-31:26) while in a prophetic trance (compare Dan 10:9). However, there is no other indication that this is a vision or a vision report. G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, and T. G. Smothers (Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 124, 128-29) suggest that this is a speech of the restored (and refreshed) exiles like that which is formally introduced in v. 23. The speech here, however, is not formally introduced. This interpretation is also reflected in TEV and CEV. It is accepted here as fitting the context better and demanding less presuppositions. The Hebrew text reads literally, “Upon this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was sweet to me.” Keown, Scalise, and Smothers have the best discussion of these two options as well as several other options.
- Jeremiah 31:27 tn Heb “Behold days are coming!” The particle “Behold” is probably used here to emphasize the reality of a fact. See the translator’s note on 1:6.sn This same expression is found in the introduction to the Book of Consolation (Jer 30:1-3) and in the introduction to the promise of a new covenant (31:31). In all three passages it is emphasized that the conditions apply to both Israel and Judah. The Lord will reverse their fortunes and restore them to their lands (30:3), increase their numbers and build them up (31:27-28), and make a new covenant with them involving forgiveness of sins (31:31-34).
- Jeremiah 31:27 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 31:27 tn Heb “Behold, the days are coming and [= when] I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of people and of animals.” For the significance of the metaphor see the study note.sn The metaphor used here presupposes that drawn in Hos 2:23 (2:25 HT), which is in turn based on the wordplay with Jezreel (meaning “God sows”) in Hos 2:22. The figure is that of plant seed in the ground that produces a crop; here what are sown are the “seeds of people and animals.” For a similar picture of the repopulating of Israel and Judah, see Ezek 36:10-11. The promise here reverses the scene of devastation that Jeremiah had depicted apocalyptically and hyperbolically in Jer 4:23-29 as judgment for Judah’s sins.
- Jeremiah 31:28 tn Heb “Just as I watched over them to uproot and to tear down, to destroy and demolish and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant.” The words here repeat those of 1:10 and 1:12.
- Jeremiah 31:28 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 31:29 tn This word only occurs here and in the parallel passage in Ezek 18:2 in the Qal stem and in Eccl 10:10 in the Piel stem. In the latter passage it refers to the bluntness of an ax that has not been sharpened. Here the idea is of the “bluntness” of the teeth, not from having ground them down due to the bitter taste of sour grapes, but from the fact that they have lost their “edge,” “bite,” or “sharpness” because they are numb from the sour taste. For this meaning for the word see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 2:197.sn This is a proverbial statement that is also found in Ezek 18:2. It served to articulate the complaint that the present generation was suffering for the accrued sins of their ancestors (cf. Lam 5:7) and that the Lord was hence unjust (Ezek 18:25, 29). However, Jeremiah had repeatedly warned his own generation that they were as guilty or even more so than their ancestors. The ancestors were indeed guilty of sin, but the present generation had compounded the problem by their stubborn refusal to turn back to God despite repeated warnings from the prophets, and hence God would withhold judgment no longer (cf. especially Jer 16:10-13 and compare Jer 7:24-34; 9:12-16 (9:11-15 HT); 11:1-13).
- Jeremiah 31:30 sn The Lord answers their charge by stating that each person is responsible for his own sin and will himself bear the consequences. Ezek 18 has a more extended treatment of this and shows that it extends not just to the link between parents and children but to that between former and future behavior of the same individual. To a certain extent the principle articulated here is anticipatory of the statement in v. 34 that refers to the forgiveness of former sins.
- Jeremiah 31:31 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 31:31 tn Or “a renewed covenant” (also in vv. 22-23).
- Jeremiah 31:31 tn Heb “the house of Israel and the house of Judah.”
- Jeremiah 31:32 tn The word “old” is not in the text but is implicit in the use of the word “new.” It is supplied in the translation for greater clarity.
- Jeremiah 31:32 tn Heb “fathers.”sn This refers to the Mosaic covenant, which the nation entered into with God at Sinai and renewed on the plains of Moab. The primary biblical passages explicating this covenant are Exod 19-24 and the book of Deuteronomy; see as well the study note on Jer 11:2 for the form this covenant took and its relation to the warnings of the prophets. The renewed document of Deuteronomy was written down, and provisions were made for periodic public reading and renewal of commitment to it (Deut 31:9-13). Josiah had done this after the discovery of the book of the law (which was either Deuteronomy or a synopsis of it) early in the ministry of Jeremiah (2 Kgs 23:1-4; the date would be near 622 b.c., shortly after Jeremiah began prophesying in 627 [see the note on Jer 1:2]). But it is apparent from Jeremiah’s confrontation with Judah after that time that the commitment of the people was only superficial (cf. Jer 3:10). The prior history of the nations of Israel and Judah and Judah’s current practice involved persistent violation of this covenant despite repeated prophetic warnings that God would punish them for it (see especially Jer 7, 11). Because of that, Israel had been exiled (cf., e.g., Jer 3:8), and now Judah was threatened with the same (cf., e.g., Jer 7:15). Jer 30-31 look forward to a time when both Israel and Judah will be regathered, reunited, and under a new covenant that includes the same stipulations but with a different relationship (v. 32).
- Jeremiah 31:32 tn Heb “when I took them by the hand and led them out.”
- Jeremiah 31:32 tn Or “I was their master.” See the study note on 3:14.sn The metaphor of Yahweh as husband and Israel as wife has been used already in Jer 3 and is implicit in the repeated allusions to idolatry as spiritual adultery or prostitution. The best commentary on the faithfulness of God to his “husband-like” relation is seen in the book of Hosea, especially in Hos 1-3.
- Jeremiah 31:32 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 31:33 tn Heb “with the house of Israel.” All commentators agree that the term here refers to both the whole nation, which was divided into the house of Israel and the house of Judah in v. 30.
- Jeremiah 31:33 tn Heb “after those days.” Commentators are generally agreed that this refers to the return from exile and the repopulation of the land referred to in vv. 27-28 and not to something subsequent to the time mentioned in v. 30. This is the sequencing that is also presupposed in other new covenant passages such as Deut 30:1-6; Ezek 11:17-20; 36:24-28.
- Jeremiah 31:33 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 31:33 tn Heb “‘But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after these days:’ says the Lord, ‘I will….’” The sentence has been reworded and restructured to avoid the awkwardness of the original style.
- Jeremiah 31:33 tn Heb “in their inward parts.” The Hebrew word here refers to the seat of the thoughts, emotions, and decisions (Jer 9:8 [9:7 HT]). It is essentially synonymous with “heart” in Hebrew psychological terms.
- Jeremiah 31:33 tn The words “and minds” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation to bring the English psychology more into line with the Hebrew, where the “heart” is the center both of knowing/thinking/reflecting and deciding/willing.sn Two contexts are relevant for understanding this statement. The first context is the Mosaic covenant, which was characterized by a law written on stone tablets (e.g., Exod 32:15-16; 34:1, 28; Deut 4:13; 5:22; 9:10) or in a “book” or “scroll” (Deut 31:9-13). This material could be lost (cf. 2 Kgs 22:8), forgotten (Hos 4:6), ignored (Jer 6:19; Amos 4:2), or altered (Jer 8:8). The second context is the repeated fault that Jeremiah has found with their stubborn (3:17; 7:24; 9:14; 11:8; 13:10; 16:12; 18:12; 23:17), uncircumcised (4:4; 9:26), and desperately wicked hearts (4:4; 17:9). Radical changes were necessary to get the people to obey the law from the heart and not just pay superficial or lip service to it (3:10; 12:2). Deut 30:1-6 and Ezek 11:17-20 with 36:24-28 speak of these radical changes. The Lord will remove the “foreskin” of their heart and give them a circumcised heart, or take away their “stony” heart and give them a new heart. With this heart they will be able to obey his laws, statutes, ordinances, and commands (Deut 30:8; Ezek 11:20; 36:27). The new covenant does not entail a new law; it is essentially the same law that Jeremiah has repeatedly accused them of rejecting or ignoring (6:19; 9:13; 16:11; 26:4; 44:10). What does change is their inner commitment to keep it. Jeremiah has already referred to this in Jer 24:7 and will refer to it again in Jer 32:39.
- Jeremiah 31:33 sn Cf. Jer 24:7; 30:22; 31:1; see the study note on 30:2.
- Jeremiah 31:34 tn Heb “teach…, saying, ‘Know the Lord.’” The indirect quote has been chosen for stylistic reasons, i.e., to better parallel the following line.sn As mentioned in the translator’s note on 9:3 (9:2 HT), “knowing” God in covenant contexts like this involves more than just an awareness of who he is (9:23 [9:22 HT]). It involves an acknowledgment of his sovereignty and wholehearted commitment to obedience to him. This is perhaps best seen in the parallelisms in Hos 4:1 and 6:6, where “the knowledge of God” is parallel with faithfulness and steadfast love and in the context of Hos 4 refers to obedience to the Lord’s commands.
- Jeremiah 31:34 sn This statement should be understood against a broader background. In Jer 8:8-9 class distinctions were drawn, and certain people were considered to have more awareness and responsibility for knowing the law. In Jer 5:1-5 and 9:3-9 the sinfulness of Israel was seen to be universal across these class distinctions, and no trust was to be placed in friends, neighbors, or relatives because all without distinction had cast off God’s yoke (i.e., refused to submit themselves to his authority).
- Jeremiah 31:34 tn The Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) that introduces this clause refers not just to the preceding clause (i.e., that all will know the Lord) but to all of vv. 31-34a (See BDB 474 s.v. כִּי 3.c).
- Jeremiah 31:35 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies.” See the study note on 2:19 for this title. In the Hebrew text the verse reads, “Thus says the Lord, who provides the sun for light by day, the fixed ordering of the moon and stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar, whose name is Yahweh of armies, ‘…’” (In Hebrew Lord is the same word as Yahweh.) The hymnic introduction to the quote, which does not begin until v. 36, has been broken down to avoid a long, awkward sentence in English. The word “said” has been translated “made a promise” to reflect the nature of the content in vv. 36-37. The first two lines of the Hebrew poetry are a case of complex or supplementary ellipsis, where the complete idea of “providing/establishing the fixed laws” is divided between the two lines (cf. E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 110-13). The necessity for recombining the ellipsis is obvious from reference to the fixed ordering in the next verse. (Some commentators prefer to delete the word as an erroneous glossing of the word in the following line (see, e.g., J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 277, n. y).
- Jeremiah 31:36 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 31:36 tn Heb “‘If these fixed orderings were to fail to be present before me,’ oracle of the Lord, ‘then the seed of Israel could cease from being a nation before me forever [or more literally, “all the days”].’” The sentence has been broken up to conform more to modern style. The connection has been maintained by reversing the order of condition and consequence and still retaining the condition in the second clause. For the meaning of “cease to operate” for the verb מוּשׁ (mush), compare the usage in Isa 54:10; Ps 55:11 (55:12 HT); and Prov 17:13, where what is usually applied to persons or things is applied to abstract things like this (see HALOT 506 s.v. II מוּשׁ Qal for general usage).
- Jeremiah 31:37 sn This answers Jeremiah’s question in 14:19.
- Jeremiah 31:37 tn Heb “If the heavens above could be measured or the foundations of the earth below be explored, then also I could reject all the seed of Israel for all they have done.”
- Jeremiah 31:37 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 31:38 tc The words “is coming” (בָּאִים, baʾim) are not in the written text (Kethib) but are supplied in the margin (Qere) in several Hebrew mss and in the versions. It is part of the idiom that also occurs in vv. 27, 31.sn On this idiom compare vv. 27, 31.
- Jeremiah 31:38 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 31:38 tn Heb “the city will be built to [or for] the Lord.” The words “of Jerusalem” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They have been supplied in the translation for clarity. However, the word occurs in a first person speech, so the translation has accommodated the switch in person as it has in a number of other places (compare also NIV, TEV, ICV).
- Jeremiah 31:38 tn The word “westward” is not in the text but is supplied in the translation to give some orientation.sn The Tower of Hananel is referred to in Neh 3:1; 12:39; Zech 14:10. According to the directions given in Neh 3, it was in the northern wall, perhaps in the northeast corner, north of the temple mount. The Corner Gate is mentioned again in 2 Kgs 14:13; 2 Chr 25:23; 26:9; Zech 14:10. It is generally agreed to have been in the northwest corner of the city.
- Jeremiah 31:39 tn The words “west” and “southward” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation to give some orientation.sn The location of the Hill of Gareb and the place called Goah are not precisely known. However, it has been plausibly suggested from the other localities mentioned that the Hill of Gareb is the hill west of the Hinnom Valley mentioned in Josh 15:8. The location of Goah is generally placed south of that near the southwest corner of the Hinnom Valley, which is referred to in the next verse (Jer 31:40).
- Jeremiah 31:40 sn It is generally agreed that this refers to the Hinnom Valley, which was on the southwestern and southern side of the city. The people of Jerusalem had burned their children as sacrifices here. The Lord had said that there would be so many dead bodies here when he punished them that they would be unable to bury all of them (cf. Jer 7:31-32). The reference in v. 40 may be to those dead bodies and to the ashes of the cremated victims. This defiled place would be included within the holy city.
- Jeremiah 31:40 tc The translation here follows the Qere and a number of Hebrew mss in reading שְׁדֵמוֹת (shedemot) for the otherwise unknown word שְׁרֵמוֹת (sheremot), which may exhibit the common confusion of ר (resh) and ד (dalet). The fields of Kidron are mentioned also in 2 Kgs 23:4 as the place where Josiah burned the cult objects of Baal.
- Jeremiah 31:40 sn The Kidron Valley is the valley that joins the Hinnom Valley in the southeastern corner of the city and runs northward on the east side of the city.
- Jeremiah 31:40 tn The words “on the east” and “north” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation to give orientation.
- Jeremiah 31:40 sn The Horse Gate is mentioned in Neh 3:28 and is generally considered to have been located midway along the eastern wall just south of the temple area.
- Jeremiah 31:40 tn The words “will be included within this city that is” are not in the text. The text merely says that “The whole valley…will be sacred to the Lord.” These words have been supplied in the translation because they are really implicit in the description of the whole area as being included within the new city plan, not just the Hinnom and terraced fields as far as the Kidron Valley.sn The area that is here delimited is larger than any of the known boundaries of Jerusalem during the OT period. Again, this refers to the increase in population of the restored community (cf. 31:27).
- Jeremiah 32:1 tn Heb “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of…” See 7:1; 11:1; 18:1; 21:1; 30:1 for this same formula.sn The dating formulas indicate that the date was 588/87 b.c. Zedekiah had begun to reign in 598/97, and Nebuchadnezzar had begun to reign in 605/604 b.c. The dating of Nebuchadnezzar’s rule here includes the partial year before he was officially crowned on New Year’s day. See the translator’s note on 25:1 for the method of dating a king’s reign.
- Jeremiah 32:2 sn Jer 32:2-5 are parenthetical, giving the background for the actual report of what the Lord said in v. 7. The background is significant because it shows that Jeremiah was predicting the fall of the city and the kingdom and was being held prisoner for doing so. Despite this pessimistic outlook, the Lord wanted Jeremiah to demonstrate his assurance of the future restoration (which has been the topic of the two preceding chapters) by buying a field as a symbolic indicator that the Israelites would again one day regain possession of their houses, fields, and vineyards (vv. 15, 44). (For other symbolic acts with prophetic import see Jer 13, 19.)
- Jeremiah 32:2 sn According to Jer 39:1 the siege began in Zedekiah’s ninth year (i.e., in 589/88 b.c.). It had been interrupted while the Babylonian army was occupied with fighting against an Egyptian force that had invaded Judah. During this period of relaxed siege Jeremiah had attempted to go to his hometown in Anathoth to settle some property matters, had been accused of treason, and been thrown into a dungeon (37:11-15). After appealing to Zedekiah, he had been moved from the dungeon to the courtyard of the guardhouse connected to the palace (37:21), where he remained confined until Jerusalem was captured in 587/86 b.c. (38:28).
- Jeremiah 32:2 tn Heb “the courtyard of the guarding” or “place of guarding.” This expression occurs only in the book of Jeremiah (32:2, 8, 12; 33:1; 37:21; 38:6, 12, 28; 39:14, 15) and in Neh 3:25. It is not the same as an enclosed prison, which is where Jeremiah was initially confined (37:15-16; literally a “house of imprisoning” [בֵּית הָאֵסוּר, bet haʾesur] or “house of confining” [בֵּית הַכֶּלֶא, bet hakkeleʾ]). It is said to have been in the palace compound (32:2) near the citadel or upper palace (Neh 3:25). Though it was a place of confinement (32:2; 33:1; 39:15), Jeremiah was able to receive visitors, e.g., his cousin Hanamel (32:8) and the scribe Baruch (32:12), and conduct business there (32:12). According to 32:12 other Judeans were also housed there. A cistern of one of the royal princes, Malkijah, was located in this courtyard, so this is probably not a “prison compound,” as NJPS interpret, but a courtyard adjacent to a guardhouse or guard post (so G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 151, and compare Neh 12:39, where reference is made to a Gate of the Guard/Guardhouse), used here for housing political prisoners who did not deserve death or solitary confinement, as some of the officials thought Jeremiah did.
- Jeremiah 32:3 tn Heb “Zedekiah king of Judah.”
- Jeremiah 32:3 tn The translation represents an attempt to break up a very long Hebrew sentence with several levels of subordination and embedded quotations and also an attempt to capture the rhetorical force of the question “Why…?” which is probably an example of what E. W. Bullinger (Figures of Speech, 953-54) calls a rhetorical question of expostulation or remonstrance (cf. the note on 26:9 and also the question in 36:29; in all three of these cases NJPS translates, “How dare you…?” which captures the force nicely). The Hebrew text reads, “For Zedekiah king of Judah had confined him, saying, ‘Why are you prophesying, saying, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold I am giving this city into the hands of the king of Babylon and he will capture it’”?’”
- Jeremiah 32:4 tn Heb “The Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for further explanation.
- Jeremiah 32:4 tn Heb “his [Zedekiah’s] mouth will speak with his [Nebuchadnezzar’s] mouth, and his eyes will see his eyes.” The verbs here are an obligatory imperfect and its vav consecutive perfect equivalent. (See IBHS 508-9 §31.4g for discussion and examples of the former and IBHS 528 §32.2.1d, n. 16, for the latter.)
- Jeremiah 32:5 tn This is the verb (פָּקַד, paqad) that has been met with several times in the book of Jeremiah, most often in the ominous sense of “punish” (e.g., 6:15; 11:22; 23:24), but also in the good sense of “resume concern for” (e.g., 27:22; 29:10). Here it is obviously in the ominous sense, referring to his imprisonment and ultimate death (52:11).sn Cf. Jer 34:2-3 for this same prophecy. The incident in Jer 34:1-7 appears to be earlier than this one. Here Jeremiah is confined to the courtyard of the guardhouse; there he appears to have freedom of movement.
- Jeremiah 32:5 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 32:5 sn The pronouns are plural here, referring to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Jeremiah had counseled that they surrender (cf. 27:12; 21:8-10) because they could not succeed against the Babylonian army, even under the most favorable circumstances (37:3-10).
- Jeremiah 32:5 tn Heb “The Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for further explanation.
- Jeremiah 32:6 sn This verse resumes the narrative introduction in v. 1, which was interrupted by the long parenthetical note about historical background. There is again some disjunction in the narrative (compare the translator’s notes on 27:2 and 28:1). What was begun as a biographical (third person) narrative turns into an autobiographical (first person) narrative until v. 26, where the third person is again resumed. Again this betrays the hand of the narrator, Baruch.
- Jeremiah 32:7 tn Heb “your right.” The term מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat) here and in v. 8 refers to legal entitlement to the option to purchase a property (BDB 1049 s.v. מִשְׁפָּט 5; cf. Deut 21:17).
- Jeremiah 32:7 sn Underlying this request are the laws of redemption of property spelled out in Lev 25:25-34 and illustrated in Ruth 4:3-4. Under these laws, if a property owner became impoverished and had to sell his land, the nearest male relative had the right and duty to buy it so that it would not pass out of the use of the extended family. The land, however, would not actually belong to Jeremiah because in the Year of Jubilee it reverted to its original owner. All Jeremiah was actually buying was the right to use it (Lev 25:13-17). Buying the field, thus, did not make any sense (thus Jeremiah’s complaint in v. 25) other than the fact that the Lord intended to use Jeremiah’s act as a symbol of a restored future in the land.
- Jeremiah 32:9 tn Heb “I weighed out the money [more literally, “silver”] for him, seventeen shekels of silver.”sn Coins were not in common use until the postexilic period. Payment in gold and silver was made by cutting off pieces of silver or gold and weighing them in a beam balance using standard weights as the measure. A shekel weighed approximately 0.4 ounce or 11.4 grams. The English equivalents are only approximations.
- Jeremiah 32:10 tn The words “of purchase” are not in the text but are implicit. The qualification is spelled out explicitly in vv. 11-13. These words are supplied in the translation for clarity. An alternative translation would be, “I put the deed in writing.” However, since the same idiom כָּתַב בְּסֵפֶר (katav besefer) is used later in v. 12 with respect to the witnesses, it is likely that it merely refers to signing the document.
- Jeremiah 32:10 tn The words “to the purchase” are not in the text but are implicit in the idiom “I had some witnesses serve as witness.” The words are supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 32:11 tn There is some uncertainty about the precise meaning of the phrases translated “the order of transfer and the regulations.” The translation follows the interpretation suggested by J. Bright, Jeremiah (AB), 237; J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah (NICOT), 586, n. 5; and presumably BDB 349 s.v. חֹק 7, which defines the use of חֹק (khoq) here as “conditions of the deed of purchase.”
- Jeremiah 32:12 tn Heb “the deed, the purchase.” This is a case of apposition of species in place of the genitive construction (cf. GKC 423 §131.b and compare the usage in Exod 24:5).
- Jeremiah 32:12 tn Heb “I took the deed of purchase, both that which was sealed [and contained] the order and the regulations and that which was open [i.e., unsealed], and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch…in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and in the presence of…and in the presence of….” It is awkward to begin a sentence with “I took…” without finishing the thought, and the long qualifiers in v. 12 make that sentence too long. The sentence is broken up in accordance with contemporary English style. The reference to the “deed of purchase” in v. 12 should be viewed as a plural consisting of both written and sealed copies, as is clear from v. 11 and also v. 14. Part of the confusion is due to the nature of this document that consisted of a single papyrus scroll, half of which was rolled up and sealed and half of which was left “opened” or unsealed. J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB], 237-38) is probably incorrect in assuming that the copies were duplicate, since the qualification “containing the order of transfer and the regulations” is only applied to the appositional participle, “the sealed one [or copy].”sn Aramaic documents from a slightly later period help us understand the nature of such deeds. The document consisted of a single papyrus sheet divided in half. One half contained all the particulars and was tightly rolled up, bound with strips of cloth or thread, sealed with wax upon which the parties affixed their seal, and signed by witnesses. The other copy consisted of an abstract and was left loosely rolled and unsealed (i.e., open to be consulted at will). If questions were raised about legality of the contract, then the sealed copy could be unsealed and consulted.
- Jeremiah 32:12 tc The translation follows a number of Hebrew mss and the Greek and Syriac versions in reading “the son of my uncles (= my cousin; בֶּן דֹּדִי, ben dodi).” The majority of Hebrew mss do not have the word “son of (בֶּן).”
- Jeremiah 32:14 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel.” For this title see 7:3 and the study notes on 2:19.
- Jeremiah 32:14 tn Heb “many days.” See BDB s.v. יוֹם 5.b for this usage.
- Jeremiah 32:15 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel.” For this title see 7:3 and the study notes on 2:19.
- Jeremiah 32:15 sn The significance of the symbolic act performed by Jeremiah, as explained here, was a further promise (see the “again” statements in 31:4, 5, 23 and the “no longer” statements in 31:12, 29, 34, 40) of future restoration beyond the destruction implied in vv. 3-5. After the interruption of exile, normal life of buying and selling of fields, etc. would again be resumed, and former property rights would be recognized.
- Jeremiah 32:17 tn Heb “Lord Yahweh.” For an explanation of the rendering here see the study note on 1:6.sn The parallel usage of this introduction in Jer 1:6; 4:10; 14:13 shows that though this prayer has a lengthy introductory section of praise in vv. 17-22, this prayer is really one of complaint or lament.
- Jeremiah 32:17 tn This is an attempt to render the Hebrew particle normally translated “behold.” See the translator’s note on 1:6 for the usage of this particle.
- Jeremiah 32:17 tn Heb “by your great power and your outstretched arm.” See 21:5; 27:5; and the marginal note on 27:5 for this idiom.
- Jeremiah 32:18 tn Or “to thousands of generations.” In Exod 20:5-6; Deut 5:9-10; Exod 34:7 the contrast between showing steadfast love to “thousands” and the limitation of punishing the third and fourth generation of children for their parents’ sins has suggested to many commentators and translators (cf., e.g., NRSV, TEV, NJPS) that reference here is to “thousands of generations.” The statement is, of course, rhetorical, emphasizing God’s great desire to bless as opposed to the reluctant necessity of punishing. It is part of the attributes of God spelled out in Exod 34:6-7.
- Jeremiah 32:18 tn Heb “pays back into the bosom of their children the sin of their parents.”
- Jeremiah 32:18 tn Heb “Nothing is too hard for you who show…and who punishes…the great [and] powerful God whose name is Yahweh of Armies, [you who are] great in counsel…whose eyes are open…who did signs…” Jer 32:18-22 is a long series of relative clauses introduced by participles or relative pronouns (vv. 18-20a) followed by second person vav consecutive imperfects carrying on the last of these relative clauses (vv. 20b-22). This is typical of hymnic introductions to hymns of praise (cf., e.g., Ps 136), but it is hard to sustain the relative subordination that all goes back to the suffix on “hard for you.” The sentences have been broken up, but the connection with the end of v. 17 has been sacrificed for conformity to contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 32:19 tn Heb “[you are] great in counsel and mighty in deed.”
- Jeremiah 32:19 tn Heb “your eyes are open to the ways of the sons of men.”
- Jeremiah 32:19 tn Heb “giving to each according to his way [= behavior/conduct] and according to the fruit of his deeds.”
- Jeremiah 32:20 tn Or “You did miracles and amazing deeds in the land of Egypt. And you continue to do them until this day both in Israel and among mankind. By this means you have gained a renown…” The translation here follows the syntactical understanding reflected also in NJPS. The Hebrew text reads, “You did miracles and marvelous acts in the land of Egypt until this day and in Israel and in mankind, and you made for yourself a name as this day.” The majority of English versions and commentaries understand the phrases “until this day and in Israel and in mankind” to be an elliptical sentence with the preceding verb and objects supplied, as reflected in the alternate translation. However, the emphasis on the miraculous deeds in Egypt in this section, both before and after this elliptical phrase, and the dominant usage of the terms “signs and wonders” to refer to the plagues and other miraculous signs in Egypt, call this interpretation into question. The key here is understanding “both in Israel and in mankind” as an example of a casus pendens construction (a dangling subject, object, or other modifier) before a conjunction introducing the main clause (cf. GKC 327 §111.h and 458 §143.d and compare the usage in Jer 6:19; 33:24; 1 Kgs 15:13). This verse is the topic sentence, which is developed further in v. 21, and initiates a narrative history of the distant past that continues until v. 22b, where reference is made to the long history of disobedience that has led to the present crisis.
- Jeremiah 32:21 tn Heb “You brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and with wonders and with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with great terror.” For the figurative expressions involved here see the marginal notes on 27:5. The sentence has been broken down to better conform to contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 32:22 tn Heb “fathers.”
- Jeremiah 32:22 tn For an alternative translation of the expression “a land flowing with milk and honey,” see the translator’s note on 11:5.
- Jeremiah 32:23 tn Or “They did not do everything that you commanded them to do.” This is probably a case where the negative (לֹא, loʾ) negates the whole category indicated by “all” (כָּל, kol; see BDB 482 s.v. כֹּל 1.e(c) and compare usage in Deut 12:16 and 28:14). Jeremiah has repeatedly emphasized that the history of Israel since their entry into the land has been one of persistent disobedience and rebellion (cf., e.g. 7:22-26; 11:7-8). The statement, of course, is somewhat hyperbolical, as all categorical statements of this kind are.
- Jeremiah 32:24 tn Heb “Siege ramps have come up to the city to capture it.”
- Jeremiah 32:24 tn Heb “sword.”
- Jeremiah 32:24 tn Heb “The Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for further explanation.
- Jeremiah 32:24 tn Heb “And the city has been given into the hands of the Chaldeans, who are fighting against it, because of the sword, starvation, and disease.” The verb “has been given” is one of those perfects that view the action as good as done (the perfect of certainty or prophetic perfect).
- Jeremiah 32:24 tn The word “Lord” is not in the text but is supplied in the translation as a reminder that it is he who is being addressed.
- Jeremiah 32:24 tn Heb “And what you said has happened, and, behold, you see it.”
- Jeremiah 32:25 tn Heb “The Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for further explanation.
- Jeremiah 32:25 tn Heb “And you, Lord Yahweh, have said to me, ‘Buy the field for…,’ even though the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians.” The sentence has been broken up and the order reversed for English stylistic purposes. For the rendering “is sure to fall into the hands of,” see the translator’s note on the preceding verse.
- Jeremiah 32:25 tn Heb “Lord Yahweh.” For the rendering of this title see the study note on 1:6.
- Jeremiah 32:25 tn Heb “call in witnesses to witness.”
- Jeremiah 32:27 tn Heb “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” The question is rhetorical expecting an emphatic negative answer (cf. E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 949, citing the parallel in Gen 18:14). The Hebrew particle “Behold” (הִנֵּה, hinneh) introduces the grounds for this rhetorical negative (cf. T. O. Lambdin, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew, 170, §135 ), i.e., “Since I am the Lord, the God of all mankind, there is indeed nothing too hard for me [or is there anything too hard for me?].”sn This statement furnishes the grounds both for the assurance that the city will indeed be delivered over to Nebuchadnezzar (vv. 28-29a) and that it will be restored and repopulated (vv. 37-41). This can be seen from the parallel introductions in v. 28: “Therefore the Lord says” and “Now therefore the Lord says.” As the creator of all and God of all mankind, he has the power and authority to do with his creation what he wishes (cf. Jer 27:5-6).
- Jeremiah 32:28 tn Heb “Thus says the Lord.” However, the speech has already been introduced as first person, so the first person style has been retained for smoother narrative style.
- Jeremiah 32:28 tn Heb “Behold, I will give this city into the hand of…”
- Jeremiah 32:28 tn Heb “The Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for further explanation.
- Jeremiah 32:29 tn Heb “The Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for further explanation.
- Jeremiah 32:29 sn Cf. Jer 19:13.
- Jeremiah 32:30 tn Heb “that which is evil in my eyes.” For this idiom see BDB 744 s.v. עַיִן 3.c and compare usage in 18:10.
- Jeremiah 32:30 tn Heb “from their youth.”sn Cf. Jer 3:24-25 and 11:21. The nation is being personified, and reference is made to her history from the time she left Egypt onward (cf. 2:2).
- Jeremiah 32:30 tn Heb “the people of Israel.” However, since “people of Israel” has been used in the preceding line for the northern kingdom as opposed to the kingdom of Judah, it might lead to confusion to translate literally. Moreover, the pronoun “they” accomplishes the same purpose.
- Jeremiah 32:30 tn Heb “by the work of their hands.” See the translator’s note on 25:6 and the parallelism in 25:14 for this rendering rather than referring it to the making of idols as in 1:16 and 10:3.
- Jeremiah 32:30 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 32:31 tn The statements in vv. 28-29 regarding the certain destruction of the city are motivated by three parallel causal clauses in vv. 30a, 30b and 31, the last of which extends through subordinate and coordinate clauses until the end of v. 35. An attempt has been made to bring out this structure by repeating the idea “This/it will happen” in front of each of these causal clauses in the English translation.
- Jeremiah 32:31 tn Heb “from the day they built it until this day.”sn The Israelites did not in fact “build” Jerusalem. They captured it from the Jebusites in the time of David. This refers perhaps to the enlarging and fortifying of the city after it came into the hands of the Israelites (2 Sam 5:6-10).
- Jeremiah 32:31 tn Heb “For this city has been to me for a source of my anger and my wrath from the day they built it until this day, so as remove it.” The preposition לְ (lamed) with the infinitive (Heb “so as to remove it”; לַהֲסִירָהּ, lahasirah) expresses degree (cf. R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 37, §199, and compare usage in 2 Sam 13:2).
- Jeremiah 32:32 tn Heb “remove it from my sight 32:32 because of all the wickedness of the children of Israel and the children of Judah that they have done to make me angry, they, their kings, their officials, their priests, and their prophets, and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” The sentence has been broken up in conformity with contemporary English style, and an attempt has been made to preserve the causal connections.
- Jeremiah 32:33 tn Heb “they have turned [their] backs to me, not [their] faces.” Compare the same idiom in 2:27.
- Jeremiah 32:33 tn For the idiom involved here see the translator’s note on 7:13. The verb that introduces this clause is a Piel infinitive absolute that is functioning in place of the finite verb (see, e.g., GKC 346 §113.ff and compare usage in Jer 8:15 and 14:19. This grammatical point means that the versions cited in BHS fn a may not be reading a different text after all, but may merely be interpreting the form as syntactically equivalent to a finite verb, as the present translation has done.).sn This refers to God teaching them through the prophets whom he has sent, as indicated by the repeated use of this idiom elsewhere in 7:13, 25; 11:7; 25:3, 4; 26:5, 19.
- Jeremiah 32:33 tn Heb “But they were not listening so as to accept correction.”
- Jeremiah 32:34 tn Heb “the house that is called by my name” (cf. 7:10, 11, 14, and see the translator’s note on 7:10 for the explanation for this rendering).
- Jeremiah 32:35 sn Cf. Jer 7:30-31; 19:5; and the study notes on 7:30. The god Molech is especially associated with the practice of child sacrifice (Lev 18:21; 20:2-5; 2 Kgs 23:10). In 1 Kgs 11:7 this god is identified as the god of the Ammonites, who is also called Milcom in 1 Kgs 11:5 and 2 Kgs 23:13. Child sacrifice, however, was not confined to this god; it was also made to the god Baal (Jer 19:5) and to other idols that the Israelites had set up (Ezek 16:20-21). Yet this behavior was strictly prohibited in Israel (Lev 18:21; 20:2-5; Deut 12:31; 18:10). It was this practice, as well as other pagan rites that Manasseh had instituted in Judah, that ultimately led to Judah’s demise (2 Kgs 24:3-4). Though Josiah tried to root these pagan traditions (2 Kgs 23:4-14) out of Judah, he could not do so. The people had only made a pretense of following his reforms; their hearts were still far from God (Jer 3:10; 12:2).
- Jeremiah 32:35 tn Heb “They built high places to Baal, which are in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, to cause their sons and daughters to pass through [the fire] to Molech, [a thing] which I did not command them and [which] did not go up into my heart [= “mind” in modern psychology], to do this abomination so as to make Judah liable for punishment.” For the use of the Hiphil of חָטָא (khataʾ) to refer to the liability for punishment, see BDB s.v. חָטָא Hiph.3 and compare the usage in Deut 24:8. Coming at the end as this does, this nuance is much more likely than “cause Judah to sin,” which is the normal translation assigned to the verb here. The particle לְמַעַן (lemaʿan) that precedes it is here once again introducing a result and not a purpose (compare other clear examples in 27:10, 15). The sentence has been broken down in conformity to contemporary English style, and an attempt has been made to make clear that what is detestable and not commanded is not merely child sacrifice to Molech but child sacrifice in general.
- Jeremiah 32:36 tn Heb “you.” However, the pronoun is plural and is addressed to more people than just Jeremiah (v. 26). It includes Jeremiah and those who have accepted his prophecy of doom.
- Jeremiah 32:36 tn Heb “sword.”
- Jeremiah 32:36 sn Cf. Jer 32:24, 28. In 32:24 this is Jeremiah’s statement just before he expresses his perplexity about the Lord’s command to buy the field of his cousin in spite of the certainty of the city’s demise. In 32:28 it is the Lord’s affirmation that the city will indeed fall. Here, the Lord picks up Jeremiah’s assessment only to add a further prophesy (vv. 37-41) of what is just as sure to happen (v. 42). This is the real answer to Jeremiah’s perplexity. Verses 28-35 are an assurance that the city will indeed be captured and a reiteration again of the reason for its demise. The structures of the two introductions in v. 28 and v. 36 are parallel and flow out of the statement that the Lord is God of all mankind and nothing is too hard for him (neither destruction nor restoration [cf. 1:10]).
- Jeremiah 32:36 tn Heb “And now, therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city, which you [masc. pl.] are saying has been given [prophetic perfect = will be given] into the hand of the king of Babylon through sword, starvation, and disease.” The translation attempts to render the broader structure mentioned in the study note and break the sentence down in a way conforming more to contemporary English style and leading into speech that does not begin until the next verse. As in verse 28, the third person introduction has been changed to first person for smoother narrative style in a first person speech (i.e., vv. 27-44 are all the Lord’s answer to Jeremiah’s prayer). The words “right in” added to “are saying” are intended to reflect the connection between v. 28 and the statement here (which is a repetition of v. 24). That is, God does not deny that Jeremiah’s assessment is correct; he affirms it but has something further to say in answer to Jeremiah’s prayer.
- Jeremiah 32:37 tn Though some of the people have already been exiled (in 605 and 597 b.c.), some have not yet been exiled at the time this prophecy is given (see study note on v. 1 for the date).
- Jeremiah 32:38 sn The covenant formula setting forth the basic relationship is reinstituted along with a new covenant (v. 40). See also 24:7; 30:22; 31:1; and the study note on 30:22.
- Jeremiah 32:39 tn Heb “I will give to them one heart and one way to [= in order that they may] fear me all the days for good to them.” The phrase “one heart” refers both to unanimity of will and accord (cf. 1 Chr 12:38 [12:39 HT]; 2 Chr 30:12) and to singleness of purpose or intent (cf. Ezek 11:19 and see BDB 525 s.v. לֵב 4, where reference is made to “inclinations, resolutions, and determinations of the will”). The phrase “one way” refers to one way of life or conduct (cf. BDB 203 s.v. דֶּרֶךְ 6.a, where reference is made to moral action and character), a way of life that is further qualified by the goal of showing “fear, reverence, respect” for the Lord. The Hebrew sentence has been broken up to avoid a long complex sentence in English, which is contrary to contemporary English style. However, an attempt has been made to preserve all the connections of the original.sn Other passages also speak about “single-minded purpose” (Heb “one heart”) and “living in a way that shows respect for me.” Deut 30:6-8 talks of a circumcised heart that will love him, obey him, and keep his commands. Ezek 11:20-21 mentions the removal of a stony heart and the giving of a single-minded, “fleshy” heart and a new spirit that will follow his decrees and keep his laws. Ezek 36:26-27 describes the removal of a stony heart and the giving of a new, “fleshy” heart; a new spirit; and an infusion of God’s own spirit so that they will be able to follow his decrees and keep his laws. Jer 24:7 promises the giving of a (new) heart so that they might “know” him. And Jer 31:33 tells of God writing his law on their hearts. All this shows that there is a new motivation and a new enablement for fulfilling the old stipulations, especially that of whole-hearted devotion to him (cf. Deut 6:4-6).
- Jeremiah 32:40 tn Heb “an everlasting covenant.” For the rationale for the rendering “agreement” and the nature of the biblical covenants, see the study note on 11:2.sn For other references to the lasting (or everlasting) nature of the new covenant, see Isa 55:3; 61:8; Jer 50:5; Ezek 16:60; 37:26. The new covenant appears to be similar to the ancient Near Eastern covenants of grant, whereby a great king gave a loyal vassal a grant of land or dynastic dominion over a realm in perpetuity in recognition of past loyalty. The right to such was perpetual as long as the great king exercised dominion, but the actual enjoyment could be forfeited by individual members of the vassal’s dynasty. The best example of such an covenant in the OT is the Davidic covenant, where the dynasty was given perpetual right to rule over Israel. Individual kings might be disciplined and their right to enjoy dominion taken away, but the dynasty still maintained the right to rule (see 2 Sam 23:5; Ps 89:26-37; and especially 1 Kgs 11:23-39). The new covenant appears to be the renewal of God’s promises to Abraham always to be the God of his descendants and to have his descendants as his special people (Gen 17:7), something they appear to have forfeited by their disobedience (see Hos 1:9). However, under the new covenant he promises never to stop doing them good and grants them a new heart, a new spirit, the infusion of his own spirit, and the love and reverence necessary to keep from turning away from him. The new covenant is not based on their past loyalty but on his gracious forgiveness and his gifts.
- Jeremiah 32:40 tn Or “stop being gracious to them” or “stop blessing them with good”; Heb “turn back from them to do good to them.”
- Jeremiah 32:40 tn Or “I will make them want to fear and respect me so much that”; Heb “I will put the fear of me in their hearts.” However, as has been noted several times, “heart” in Hebrew is more the center of volition (and intellect) than the center of emotions as it is in English. Both translations are intended to reflect the difference in psychology.
- Jeremiah 32:40 tn The words “never again” are not in the text but are implicit from the context and are supplied not only by this translation but by a number of others.
- Jeremiah 32:41 tn Heb “will plant them in the land with faithfulness with all my heart and with all my soul.” The latter expressions are, of course, anthropomorphisms (see Deut 6:5).
- Jeremiah 32:42 tn Heb “For thus says the Lord.” See the translator’s notes on 32:27, 36.
- Jeremiah 32:42 tn Heb “As I have brought all this great disaster on these people, so I will bring upon them all the good fortune that I am promising them.” The translation has broken down the longer Hebrew sentence to better conform to English style.sn See the same guarantee in Jer 31:27.
- Jeremiah 32:43 tn Heb “you.” However, the pronoun is plural and is addressed to more people than just Jeremiah (v. 26). It includes Jeremiah and those who have accepted his prophecy of doom.
- Jeremiah 32:43 tn Heb “The Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for further explanation.
- Jeremiah 32:43 tn The noun is singular with the article, but it is a case of the generic singular (cf. GKC 406 §126.m).
- Jeremiah 32:43 tn Heb “Fields will be bought in this land of which you [masc. pl.] are saying, ‘It will be desolate [a perfect of certainty or prophetic perfect], without man or beast; it will be given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’” The original sentence has been broken down to better conform to contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 32:44 sn The foothills (שְׁפֵלָה, shephelah) are the region between the Judean hill country and the Mediterranean coastal plain.
- Jeremiah 32:44 tn Heb “They will buy fields with silver and write in the deed and seal [it] and have witnesses witness [it] in the land of Benjamin, in the environs of Jerusalem, in the towns in Judah, in the towns in the hill country, in the towns in the Shephelah, and in the towns in the Negev.” The long Hebrew sentence has again been restructured to better conform to contemporary English style. The indefinite “they will buy” is treated as a passive. It is followed by three infinitive absolutes that substitute for the finite verb (cf. GKC 345 §113.y). Such substitution is a common stylistic feature of the book of Jeremiah.sn For the geographical districts mentioned here compare Jer 17:26.
- Jeremiah 32:44 tn Or “I will reverse their fortunes.” For this idiom see the translator’s note on 29:14 and compare the usage in 29:14; 30:3, 18; 31:23.
- Jeremiah 32:44 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 33:1 sn The introductory statement here ties this incident in with the preceding chapter, which was the first time that the Lord spoke to him about the matters discussed here. There is no indication of how much time passed between the two incidents, though it appears that the situation has worsened somewhat (cf. v. 4).
- Jeremiah 33:2 tn Or “I, the Lord, made the earth. I formed it in such a way as to firmly establish it”; Heb “Thus says the Lord who makes/does it, the Lord who forms it to establish it, whose name is the Lord.” It is unclear what the antecedent of “it” is. The Greek version supplies the object “the earth.” However, as D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 4:269, notes, this is probably a smoothing of a text that had no object other than the pronoun. No other text or version has an object other than the pronoun. It could be argued that “the earth” is to be understood as the intended referent from other contexts within the book of Jeremiah (Jer 10:12, 16; 51:15) where these verbs refer to the Lord as creator, and from the prior context in 32:17, where the Lord’s power as creator is the basis for the assertion that nothing is too hard for him. This is the object that is supplied in a number of modern English versions and commentaries. However, the use of the feminine singular pronoun in other contexts to refer to an indefinite reality that is spelled out in the preceding or following context (cf. 2 Kgs 19:25; Isa 22:11; 37:26; 44:7) lends credence to the suggestion by the committee for The Hebrew Old Testament Project that the pronoun refers to the work or plan of the Lord, a view that is reflected in the NJPS and has been adopted here. For the use of the verb “form” here in the sense of “plan,” see BDB 427 s.v. יָצַר 2.b and compare the usage in Isa 22:11 and 37:26. The best discussion of options is given in G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 (WBC), 169-70, who see the pronoun referring ahead to the great and hidden things of v. 3. As in several other cases, our translation has opted for a first person introduction, rather than the third person of the original, because the Lord himself is speaking.
- Jeremiah 33:3 tn This passive participle or adjective is normally used to describe cities or walls as “fortified” or “inaccessible.” All the lexicons, however, agree in seeing it used here metaphorically of “secret” or “mysterious” things, things that Jeremiah could not know apart from the Lord’s revelation. G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, and T. G. Smothers (Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 170) make the interesting observation that the word is used here in a context in which the fortifications of Jerusalem are about to fall to the Babylonians; the fortified things in God’s secret counsel fall through answer to prayer.
- Jeremiah 33:4 tn Heb “the sword.” The figure has been interpreted for the sake of clarity.
- Jeremiah 33:5 tn Heb “The Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for further explanation.
- Jeremiah 33:5 sn This refers to the tearing down of buildings within the city to strengthen the wall or to fill gaps in it which had been created by the Babylonian battering rams. For a parallel to this during the siege of Sennacherib in the time of Hezekiah, see Isa 22:10 and 2 Chr 32:5. These torn-down buildings were also used as burial mounds for those who died in the fighting or through starvation and disease during the siege. The siege prohibited them from taking the bodies outside the city for burial, and leaving them in their houses or in the streets would have defiled them.
- Jeremiah 33:5 tn Heb “Because I have hidden my face from.” The modern equivalent for this gesture of rejection is “to turn the back on.” See Ps 13:1 for comparable usage. The perfect is to be interpreted as a perfect of resolve (cf. IBHS 488-89 §30.5.1d and compare the usage in Ruth 4:3).
- Jeremiah 33:5 tn The translation and precise meaning of vv. 4-5 are uncertain at a number of points due to some difficult syntactical constructions and some debate about the text and meaning of several words. The text reads more literally, “33:4 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah that have been torn down on account the siege ramps and the sword 33:5 going to fight the Chaldeans and to fill them [the houses] with the dead bodies of the men whom I have killed in my anger and in my wrath, and on account of all whose wickedness I have hidden my face from this city.” There are two difficult syntactical forms (1) the participle at the beginning of v. 5, “going [or those going] to fight” (בָּאִים, baʾim), and (2) the infinitive plus suffix that introduces the next clause, “and to fill them” (וּלְמַלְאָם, ulemalʾam). The translation has interpreted the former as a verbal use of the participle with an indefinite subject “they” (= the defenders of Jerusalem who have torn down the buildings; cf. GKC 460-61 §144.i for this point of grammar). The conjunction plus preposition plus infinitive construct have been interpreted as equivalent to a finite verb (cf. IBHS 611 §36.3.2a, i.e., “and they will fill them [the houses and buildings of v. 4]”). Adopting the Greek text of these two verses would produce a smoother reading. It reads, “For thus says the Lord concerning the houses of this city and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which have been pulled down for mounds and fortifications to fight against the Chaldeans and to fill it [should be “them”] with the corpses of men whom I smote in my anger and my wrath, and I turned away my face from them [rather than from “this city” of the Hebrew text] for all their wickedness: Behold I will…” The Greek does not have the problem with the participle because it has seen it as part of a word meaning fortification. This also eliminates the problem with the infinitive because it is interpreted as parallel with “to fight.” That is, the defenders used these torn-down buildings for defensive fortifications and for burial places. It would be tempting to follow this reading. However, there is no graphically close form for “fortification” that would explain how the more difficult בָּאִים הֶחָרֶב (hekharev baʾim) of the Hebrew text arose, and there is doubt whether סֹלְלוֹת (solelot) can refer to a defense mound. W. L. Holladay (Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 2:221, 225) has suggested reading הַחֲרַכִּים (hakharakim) in place of הֶחָרֶב (hekharev) in the technical sense of “crenels,” the gaps between the raised portion on top of the wall (which raised portion he calls “merlons” and equates with סֹלְלוֹת, solelot). He does not see בָּאִים (baʾim) as part of the original text, choosing rather to see it as a gloss. His emendation and interpretation, however, have been justly criticized as violating the usage of both סֹלְלוֹת, which is elsewhere “siege mound,” and חֲרַכִּים (kharakim), which elsewhere refers only to the latticed opening of a window (Song 2:9). Until a more acceptable explanation of how the difficult Hebrew text could have arisen from the Greek, the Hebrew should be retained, though it is admittedly awkward. G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, and T. G. Smothers (Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 166, 172) have perhaps the best discussion of the issues and the options involved here.
- Jeremiah 33:6 tn Heb “Behold, I am healing.” For usage of the particle “behold” to indicate certainty, see the translator’s note on 1:6. These are the great and hidden things that the Lord promised to reveal. The statements in v. 5 have been somewhat introductory. See the usage of הִנְנִי (hineni) after the introductory “Thus says the Lord” in Jer 32:28, 37.
- Jeremiah 33:6 sn Cf. Jer 30:17. Jerusalem is again being personified, and her political and spiritual well-being are again in view.
- Jeremiah 33:6 tn The meaning and text of this word are questioned by KBL 749 s.v. עֲתֶרֶת. However, KBL also emends both occurrences of the verb from which BDB 801 s.v. עֲתֶרֶת derives this noun. BDB is more likely correct in seeing this and the usage of the verb in Prov 27:6 and Ezek 35:13 as Aramaic loan words from a root meaning to be rich (equivalent to the Hebrew עָשַׁר, ʿashar).
- Jeremiah 33:7 tn Heb “I will reverse [or restore] the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel.” For this idiom see the translator’s note on Jer 29:14 and see the usage in 30:3, 18; 31:23; 32:44.
- Jeremiah 33:7 tn This phrase simply means “as formerly” (BDB 911 s.v. רִאשׁוֹן 3.a). The reference to the “as formerly” must be established from the context. See the usage in Judg 20:32; 1 Kgs 13:6; Isa 1:26.sn God offered to reunify Israel and Judah in the state they enjoyed before the division after Solomon. Cf. Jer 3:18; 30:3; 31:27 and see the study note on 30:3.
- Jeremiah 33:8 sn Cf. Jer 31:34; Ezek 36:25, 33.
- Jeremiah 33:10 tn Heb “Thus says the Lord.” For the first person rendering see the translator’s note at the end of v. 2.sn The phrase here is parallel to that in v. 4 and introduces a further amplification of the “great and mysterious things” of v. 3.
- Jeremiah 33:10 tn Heb “You.” However, the pronoun is plural as in 32:36, 43. See the translator’s note on 32:36.
- Jeremiah 33:11 tn Heb “33:10 Thus says the Lord, ‘There will again be heard in this place of which you are saying [masc. pl.], “It is a ruin without people and without animals,” [that is] in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, which are desolate without people and without inhabitants and without animals, 33:11 the sound of….” The long, run-on sentence in Hebrew has been broken down to better conform with contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 33:11 sn What is predicted here is a reversal of the decimation caused by the Babylonian conquest that had been threatened in 7:34; 16:9; 25:10.
- Jeremiah 33:11 sn This is a common hymnic introduction to both individual songs of thanksgiving (e.g., Ps 118:1) and communal songs of thanksgiving (e.g., Ps 136, where it is a liturgical refrain accompanying a recital of Israel’s early history and the Lord’s continuing providence).
- Jeremiah 33:11 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 33:11 tn Or “I will restore the fortunes of the land.”sn See the study note on Jer 29:18 and compare 29:14; 30:3, 18; 31:23; 32:44; 33:7 for the meaning and usage of this idiom. The promise here repeats that in 33:7.
- Jeremiah 33:11 tn This phrase simply means “as formerly” (BDB 911 s.v. רִאשׁוֹן 3.a). The reference to the “as formerly” must be established from the context. See the usage in Judg 20:32; 1 Kgs 13:6; Isa 1:26.sn This refers to the reunification of Israel and Judah to the state that they were before the division after Solomon. Cf. Jer 3:18; 30:3; 31:27; see the study note on 30:3.
- Jeremiah 33:12 tn Heb “Thus says Yahweh of Armies.” For the explanation for the first person introduction see the translator’s notes on 33:2, 10. Verses 4, 10, and 12 introduce three oracles, all fulfilling the Lord’s promise to Jeremiah to show him “great and mysterious things that you still do not know about” (33:2).
- Jeremiah 33:13 sn Heb “Sheep will again pass under the hands of the counter.” This appears to be a reference to counting the sheep to make sure that none was missing as they returned to the fold. See the same idiom in Lev 27:32 and in the metaphor in Ezek 20:37.
- Jeremiah 33:13 tn The foothills (שְׁפֵלָה, shephelah) are the transition region between the hill country and the coastal plains.
- Jeremiah 33:13 sn The Negev is the area of central, southern Judah, south of the hill country and Beer Sheba and west of the rift valley.
- Jeremiah 33:13 sn Cf. Jer 32:44.
- Jeremiah 33:14 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.” For the first person form of address see the translator’s notes on vv. 2, 10, and 12.
- Jeremiah 33:14 sn This refers at the very least to the promises of Jer 23:5-6, 7-8; 30:3; 31:27, 31, where the same formula, “The time will certainly come” (Heb “Behold, the days are coming”), occurs. Reference may also be to the promises through the earlier prophets of what is alluded to here, i.e., restoration of Israel and Judah under a Davidic ruler and revival of the offerings (cf. Hos 1:10-11; 3:4-5; Amos 9:11-12; Isa 11:1-5, 10-16; Jer 30:9, 21 for the former, and Jer 31:14; 33:11 for the latter).
- Jeremiah 33:15 tn Heb “sprig” or “shoot.”sn For the meaning of this term and its significance in biblical prophecy, see the study note on 23:5.
- Jeremiah 33:16 tn For the translation of this term in this context see the parallel context in 23:6 and consult the translator’s note there.
- Jeremiah 33:16 tn Heb “And this is what will be called to it: ‘The Lord our righteousness.’”sn For the significance of this title see the study note on the parallel text in 23:6. Other titles by which Jerusalem is to be known are found in Isa 62:2-4; Jer 3:17; Ezek 48:35; Zech 8:3, emphasizing that the Lord takes up his relation with it once again, dwells in it, delights in it, and finds it faithful once more (cf. Isa 1:26). In 23:6 the title is applied to the Davidic ruler that the Lord will raise up over them, who will do what is just and right. God’s vindication of the city by its restoration after exile and his provision of this just ruler over it are the probable source for the title.
- Jeremiah 33:17 tn Heb “a man shall not be cut off to David [i.e., belonging to the Davidic line] sitting on the throne of the house of Israel.”
- Jeremiah 33:17 sn It should be noted once again that the reference is to all Israel, not just to Judah (cf. Jer 23:5-6; 30:9).
- Jeremiah 33:18 tn Heb “And to the Levites, the priests [= the Levitical priests, the apposition in place of the adjective], there will not be cut off a man from before me who offers up burnt offering, sacrifices a cereal offering, or makes a sacrifice, all the days.”
- Jeremiah 33:19 tn Or perhaps “further.” This may be a continuation of “the second time” (see v. 1).
- Jeremiah 33:20 tn Heb “Thus says the Lord.” However, the Lord is speaking, so the first person introduction has again been adopted. The content of the verse shows that it is a promise to David (vv. 21-22) and the Levites based on a contrary-to-fact condition (v. 20). See, further, the translator’s note at the end of the next verse for explanation of the English structure adopted here.
- Jeremiah 33:20 tn The word יוֹמָם (yomam) is normally an adverb meaning “daytime, by day, daily.” However, here, in v. 25, and in Jer 15:9 it means “day, daytime” (cf. BDB 401 s.v. יוֹמָם 1).
- Jeremiah 33:20 tn Heb “you.” The pronoun is plural as in 32:36, 43 and 33:10.
- Jeremiah 33:21 tn The very complex and elliptical syntax of the original Hebrew of vv. 20-21 has been broken down to better conform with contemporary English style. The text reads somewhat literally (after the addition of a couple of phrases which have been left out by ellipsis): “Thus says the Lord, ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night so that there is not to be daytime and night in their proper time, then also my covenant can be broken with my servant David so that there is not to him a son reigning upon his throne, and also [my covenant can be broken] with the Levites [so there are not] priests who minister to me.” The two phrases in brackets are elliptical, the first serving double duty for the prepositional phrase “with the Levites” as well as “with David” and the second serving double duty with the noun “priests,” which parallels “a son.” The noun “priests” is not serving here as appositional because that phrase is always “the priests, the Levites,” never “the Levites, the priests.”sn This refers to a reaffirmation of the Davidic covenant (cf., e.g., 2 Sam 7:11-16, 25-29; Ps 89:3-4, 19-29) and God’s covenant with the Levites (cf. Num 25:10-13; Mal 2:4-6; Deut 32:8-11).
- Jeremiah 33:22 tn Heb “Just as the stars in the sky cannot be numbered and the sand on the seashore cannot be measured, so I will greatly increase [or multiply] the seed of my servant David and the Levites who minister before me.” The word “seed of” does not carry over to the “the Levites” as a noun governing two genitives because “the Levites” has the accusative marker in front of it. The sentence has been broken down in conformity with contemporary English style.sn Context makes it clear that what is in view is an innumerable line of descendants from the righteous ruler that the Lord raises up over Israel and Judah after their regathering and restoration to the land. What is in view, then, is a reinstitution or reinstatement of the Davidic covenant of grant, the perpetual right of the Davidic dynasty to rule over the nation of Israel for all time (see also v. 26). This is guaranteed by the creation order, which is the object of both God’s creative decree (Gen 1:14-19) and his covenant with Noah after the flood (Gen 8:22). (For further discussion on the nature of a covenant of grant see the study note on 32:40.) The rejection of the lines of Jehoiakim (36:30) and Jeconiah (22:30) and the certain captivity and death of Zedekiah (32:4) may have called into question the continuance of the Davidic promise, which always had a certain conditional nature to it (cf. 1 Kgs 2:4; 8:25; 9:5). This promise and this guarantee show that the covenant of grant still stands and will ultimately find its fulfillment. Because this promise never found its fulfillment after the return from exile, it is left to the NT to show how it is fulfilled (cf., e.g., Matt 1:1-17, where it is emphasized that Jesus is the son [and heir] of both Abraham and David).
- Jeremiah 33:23 tn Or perhaps “further.” This may be a continuation of “the second time” (see vv. 1, 19).
- Jeremiah 33:24 tn Heb “Have you not seen what this people have said, saying.” The question is rhetorical and expects a positive answer. The sentence has been broken in two to better conform with contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 33:24 tn Heb “The two families which the Lord chose, he has rejected them.” This is an example of an object prepositioned before the verb and resumed by a redundant pronoun to throw emphasis of focus on it (called casus pendens in the grammars; cf. GKC 458 §143.d). Some commentators identify the “two families” as those of David and Levi mentioned in the previous verses, and some identify them as the families of the Israelites and of David mentioned in the next verse. However, the next clause in this verse and the emphasis on the restoration and regathering of Israel and Judah in this section (cf. 33:7, 14) show that the reference is to Israel and Judah (see also 30:3, 4; 31:27, 31 and 3:18).
- Jeremiah 33:24 tn Heb “and my people [i.e., Israel and Judah] they disdain [or look down on] from being again a nation before them.” Some take the phrase “before them” as an estimation, a mental view (cf. BDB s.v. פָּנֶה II.4.a[g]). See BDB s.v. עוֹד 1.a[b] or 1.b for the usage of עוֹד [ʿod] here). “They” of “they disdain” are the surrounding Gentile nations.
- Jeremiah 33:25 tn Heb “Thus says the Lord.” See the translator’s note at the beginning of v. 20 for the style adopted here. Here the promise is in v. 26, following the contrary-to-fact condition in v. 25. The Hebrew text of vv. 25-26 reads, “Thus says the Lord, “If I have not established my covenant with day and night, statutes of heaven and earth, also the seed of Jacob and David my servant I could reject, from taking from his seed rulers over the seed of Abraham…” The syntax of the original is a little awkward because it involves the verbs “establish” and “reject” governing different objects, the first governing “my covenant,” with “statutes” in apposition, and the second governing two dissimilar objects, “the seed of Jacob” and “my servant David from taking [so as not to take].” The translation has sought to remove these awkward syntactical constructions and also break down the long, complex original sentence in such a way as to retain its original intent, i.e., the guarantee of the continuance of the seed of Jacob and of the rule of a line of David’s descendants over them, based on the fixed order of God’s creation decrees.
- Jeremiah 33:26 tn The Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) is probably intensive here as it has been on a number of occasions in the book of Jeremiah (see BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.e for the category).
- Jeremiah 33:26 tn Or “I will make them prosperous once again,” or “I will bring them back from captivity.”sn For the meaning of this idiom see the translator’s note on Jer 29:14 and compare the usage in 29:14; 30:3, 18; 31:23; 32:44; 33:7, 11. Restoration has been the emphasis in this section, which is called by some commentators “The Book of Consolation.” Jeremiah’s emphasis up until chapters 30-33 had been on judgment, but he was also called to be the prophet of restoration (cf. Jer 1:10). Promises of restoration, though rare up to this point, have, however, occurred on occasion (see, e.g., Jer 3:18; 23:5-7; 24:6-7; 29:10-14).
- Jeremiah 34:1 tn Heb “The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord while Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army and all the kingdoms of the earth under the dominion of his hand and all the peoples were fighting against Jerusalem and against all its towns, saying….” The sentence is obviously too long and the qualifiers obviously too ill-defined to translate literally. This same introductory formula has occurred in 7:1; 11:1; 18:1; 21:1; 30:1; 32:1, but without such a long introductory phrase. It is generally agreed that the phrase “all the peoples” should be seen as a parallel term to “all the kingdoms” under the qualifying “under the dominion of his hand/control,” and what is referred to are contingent forces supplied by these vassal kingdoms and peoples under the terms of their vassal treaties with Nebuchadnezzar. Some of the nature of the make-up of these forces may be seen from a reference to Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite, and Ammonite raiders in the earlier attacks on Jerusalem during the reign of Jehoiakim (2 Kgs 24:2).sn It is difficult to assign dates to passages that have no dating formulas, but there is sufficient detail in this passage to show that this incident occurred sometime early in the siege of Jerusalem while Jeremiah was still free to come and go (see v. 2, compare 37:4, and see the second study note on 32:2). The Babylonian forces blockaded Jerusalem and attacked the outlying cities, reducing them one by one until Jerusalem had no further help. According to v. 7, Azekah and Lachish in the western foothills still held out, and there is evidence from some of the correspondence from Lachish at this period that help was being sought from Egypt.
- Jeremiah 34:2 tn Heb “told him”; the referent (Jeremiah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 34:3 tn Heb “Your eyes will see the eyes of the king of Babylon, and his mouth will speak with your mouth.” For this same idiom in reverse order, see 32:4 and consult the translator’s note there for the obligatory nuance given to the verbs.sn For the fulfillment of this see Jer 52:7-11.
- Jeremiah 34:4 tn Heb “by the sword.”sn The idea is violent death, either by battle, execution, or murder. Zedekiah was captured, had to witness the execution of his sons, had his eyes put out, and was taken to Babylon, where he died after a lengthy imprisonment (Jer 52:10-11).
- Jeremiah 34:5 tn Heb “And like the burning [of incense] for your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so will they burn [incense] for you.” The sentence has been reversed for easier style and the technical use of the terms interpreted.sn For the custom referred to compare 2 Chr 16:14 and 21:19.
- Jeremiah 34:5 sn The intent of this oracle may have been to contrast the fate of Zedekiah with that of Jehoiakim, who was apparently executed, went unmourned, and was left unburied (contrast Jer 22:18-19).
- Jeremiah 34:5 tn Heb “For [or Indeed] I myself have spoken [this] word.”
- Jeremiah 34:5 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 34:7 tn Heb “And the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and against all the cities of Judah that were left, [namely] against Lachish and Azekah, for they alone were left of the cities of Judah as fortified cities.” The intent of this sentence is to serve as a circumstantial sentence to v. 6 (= “while the army…”). That thought is picked up by “he did this while….” The long, complex sentence in v. 7 has been divided in two, with qualifying material moved to create shorter English sentences in conformity with contemporary style.
- Jeremiah 34:8 tn Or “agreement.” See the study note on 11:2 for discussion.sn There are no details regarding the nature of this covenant, but it was probably a parity covenant in which the people agreed to free their slaves in exchange for some concessions from the king (see the study note on 11:2 for more details on the nature of ancient Near-Eastern covenants). More details about this covenant are given in vv. 15, 18-19, where it is said to have been made before the Lord in the temple and to have involved passing between the pieces of a cut-up calf. Hence it entailed their swearing an oath invoking the Lord’s name (cf. Gen 21:23; 31:51-53; 1 Sam 20:42) and pronouncing self-maledictory curses for a fate similar to that of the dead calf if they failed to keep the oath. (This latter practice is illustrated in treaty documents from the ancient Near East and is reflected in the covenant ceremony in Gen 15:8-16.)
- Jeremiah 34:9 tn Heb “after King Zedekiah made a covenant…to proclaim liberty to them [the slaves mentioned in the next verse] so that each would send away free his male slave and his female slave, the Hebrew man and the Hebrew woman, so that a man would not do work by them, by a Judean, his brother [this latter phrase is explicative of “them” because it repeats the preposition in front of “them”].” The complex Hebrew syntax has been broken down into shorter English sentences, but an attempt has been made to retain the proper subordinations.sn Through economic necessity some of the poorer people of the land had on occasion to sell themselves or their children to wealthier Hebrew landowners. The terms of their servitude were strictly regulated under Hebrew law (cf. Exod 21:2-11; Lev 25:39-55; Deut 15:12-18). In brief, no Hebrew was to serve a fellow Hebrew for any longer than six years. In the seventh year he or she was to go free. The period could even be shortened if the Year of Jubilee intervened, since all debts were to be canceled, freedom restored, and indentured property returned in that year. Some see the covenant here coming in conjunction with such a Jubilee year, since it involved the freedom of all slaves, regardless of how long they had served. Others see this covenant as paralleling an old Babylonian practice of a king declaring liberty for slaves and canceling all debts, generally at the beginning of his reign (but also at other significant times within it) in order to ingratiate himself with his subjects.
- Jeremiah 34:10 tn Heb “And they complied, [that is] all the leaders and all the people who entered into the covenant that they would each let his male slave and his female slave go free so as not to hold them in bondage any longer; they complied and let [them] go.” The verb “they complied” (Heb “they hearkened”) is repeated at the end after the lengthy description of the subject. This is characteristic of Hebrew style. The translation has resolved the complex sentence by turning the relative clauses modifying the subject into independent sentences describing the situational background before mention of the main focus: “they had complied and let them go.”
- Jeremiah 34:11 sn Most commentators are agreed that the incident referred to here occurred during the period of relief from the siege provided by the Babylonians going off to fight against the Egyptians, who were apparently coming to Zedekiah’s aid (compare vv. 21-22 with 37:5, 7). The freeing of the slaves had occurred earlier, under the crisis of the siege, while the people were more responsive to the Lord due to the threat of destruction (cf. v. 15).
- Jeremiah 34:11 tn Heb “they had brought them into subjection for male and female slaves.” However, the qualification of “male and female” is already clear from the preceding and is unnecessary to the English sentence.
- Jeremiah 34:12 sn This is the resumption of the introduction in v. 8 after the lengthy description of the situation that had precipitated the Lord’s message to Jeremiah.
- Jeremiah 34:13 tn Heb “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘…’” The style adopted here has been used to avoid a longer, more complex English sentence.
- Jeremiah 34:13 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 14, 15).
- Jeremiah 34:13 tn Heb “out of the house of bondage.”sn This refers to the Mosaic covenant, initiated at Mount Sinai and renewed on the plains of Moab. The statement “I brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” functions as the “historical prologue” in the Ten Commandments, which is the Lord’s vassal treaty with Israel in miniature. (See the study note on 11:2 and see Exod 20:2; Deut 5:6; Exod 34:8. As such, it was a motivating factor in their pledge of loyalty to him. This statement was also invoked within the law itself as a motivation for kindly treatment of slaves, including their emancipation [see Deut 15:15].)
- Jeremiah 34:13 tn Heb “made a covenant, saying.” This was only one of several stipulations of the covenant. The form used here has been chosen as an indirect way of relating the specific stipulation that is being focused upon to the general covenant that is referred to in v. 13.
- Jeremiah 34:14 sn Cf. Deut 15:12-18 for the complete statement of this law. Here only the first part of it is cited.
- Jeremiah 34:15 tn The presence of the independent pronoun in the Hebrew text is intended to contrast their actions with those of their ancestors.
- Jeremiah 34:15 sn This refers to the temple. See Jer 7:10, 11, 14, 30 and see the translator’s note on 7:10 and the study note on 10:25 for the explanation of the idiom involved here.
- Jeremiah 34:16 sn The verbs at the beginning of v. 15 and v. 16 are the same in the Hebrew. The people had two changes of heart (Heb “you turned”), one that was pleasing to him (Heb “right in his eyes”) and one that showed they did not honor him (Heb “profaned [or belittled] his name”).
- Jeremiah 34:16 sn Heb “you profaned my name.” His name had been invoked in the oath confirming the covenant. Breaking the covenant involved taking his name in vain (cf. Exod 20:7; Deut 5:11; Jer 5:2). Hence the one who bore the name was not treated with the special honor and reverence due him (see the study note on 23:27 for the significance of “name” in the OT).
- Jeremiah 34:16 tn Heb “and you brought them into subjection to be to you for male and female slaves.” See the translator’s note on v. 11 for the same redundant repetition, which is not carried over into the contemporary English sentence.
- Jeremiah 34:17 tn The Hebrew text has a compound object, the two terms of which have been synonyms in vv. 14, 15. G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, and T. G. Smothers (Jeremiah 26-52 [WBC], 189) make the interesting observation that these two terms (Heb “brother” and “neighbor”) emphasize the relationships that should have taken precedence over their being viewed as mere slaves.
- Jeremiah 34:17 sn This is, of course, a metaphorical and ironical use of the term “to grant freedom to.” It is, however, a typical statement of the concept of talionic justice that is quite often operative in God’s judgments in the OT (cf., e.g., Obad 15).
- Jeremiah 34:17 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 34:17 sn Cf. Jer 15:4; 24:9; 29:18.
- Jeremiah 34:18 sn See the study note on v. 8 for explanation and parallels.
- Jeremiah 34:18 tn There is a little confusion in the syntax of this section because the nominal phrase “the calf” does not have any accompanying conjunction or preposition to show how it relates to the rest of the sentence. KJV treats it and the following words as though they were a temporal clause modifying “covenant which they made.” The majority of modern English versions and commentaries, however, understand it as a second accusative after the verb + object “I will make the men.” This fits under the category of what GKC 375 §118.r calls an accusative of comparison (compare usage in Isa 21:8; Zech 2:8). Stated baldly, it reads, “I will make the people…the calf.” This is more forceful than the formal use of the noun + preposition כּ (kaf; “like”), just as metaphors are generally more forceful than similes. The whole verse is one long, complex sentence in Hebrew: “I will make the men who broke my covenant [referring to the Mosaic covenant containing the stipulation to free slaves after six years] [and] who did not keep the terms of the covenant that they made before me [referring to their agreement to free their slaves] [like] the calf which they cut in two and passed between its pieces.” The sentence has been broken down into shorter sentences in conformity with contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 34:19 tn For the rendering of this term see the translator’s note on 29:2.
- Jeremiah 34:19 tn This verse is not actually a sentence in the Hebrew original but is a pre-positioned object to the verb in v. 20, “I will hand them over.” This construction is called casus pendens in the older grammars and is used to call attention to a subject or object (cf. GKC 458 §143.d and compare the usage in 33:24). The same nondescript “I will punish” that was used to resolve the complex sentence in the previous verse has been chosen to introduce the objects here before the more specific “I will hand them over” in the next verse.
- Jeremiah 34:20 sn See this same phrase in Jer 7:33; 16:4; 19:7.
- Jeremiah 34:21 tn Heb “And Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials I will give into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives and into the hands of the army of the king of Babylon that has gone up from against them.” The last two “and into the hand” phrases are each giving further explication of “their enemies” (the conjunction is explicative [cf. BDB 252 s.v. וְ 1.b]). The sentence has been broken down into shorter English sentences in conformity with contemporary English style.sn This refers to the relief offered by the withdrawal of the Babylonian troops to fight against the Egyptians, who were coming to Zedekiah’s aid (cf. 37:5, 7, 11).
- Jeremiah 34:22 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 35:1 sn The introductory statement here shows that this incident is earlier than those in Jer 32-34, which all take place in the reign of Zedekiah. Jehoiakim ruled from 609/8 b.c. until 598/97 b.c., and his brother Zedekiah followed him after a brief reign of three months by Jehoiakim’s son, who was captured by Nebuchadnezzar and taken to Babylon. Zedekiah ruled from 598/7 b.c. until the kingdom fell in 587/86. This chapter, out of chronological order, provides an illustration to emphasize the contrast between covenant infidelity (Jer 34; 35:12-17) and fidelity. The Rechabites' faithfulness to the commands of their progenitor showed the obedience that God as the Father of Israel expected from his children. This is thus another one of those symbolic acts in Jeremiah that have significance for the message of the book (compare Jer 13, 19). This incident likely took place during the time that people living in the countryside like the Rechabites were forced to take shelter in the fortified cities because of the raiding parties that Nebuchadnezzar had sent against Jehoiakim after he had rebelled against him in 603 b.c. (compare v. 11 and Jer 4:5 with 2 Kgs 24:1-2).
- Jeremiah 35:1 tn Heb “The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the days of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, saying.”
- Jeremiah 35:2 tn Heb “the house of the Rechabites.” “House” is used here in terms of “household” or “family” (cf. BDB 109 s.v. בַּיִת 5.a, b).sn Nothing is known about the Rechabite community other than what is said about them in this chapter. From vv. 7-8 it appears that they were a nomadic tribe that had resisted settling down and taking up farming. They had also agreed to abstain from drinking wine. Most scholars agree in equating the Jonadab son of Rechab mentioned as the leader who had instituted these strictures with the Jonadab who assisted Jehu in his religious purge of Baalism following the reign of Ahab (2 Kgs 10:15, 23-24). If this is the case, the Rechabites followed these same rules for almost 250 years, because Jehu’s purge of Baalism and the beginning of his reign was in 841 b.c., and the incident here took place some time after Jehoiakim’s rebellion in 603 b.c. (see the study note on v. 1).
- Jeremiah 35:2 sn This refers to one of the rooms built on the outside of the temple that were used as living quarters for the priests and for storage rooms (cf. Neh 13:4-5; 1 Kgs 6:5; 1 Chr 28:12; 2 Chr 31:11 and compare Ezek 41:1-14).
- Jeremiah 35:4 tn Heb “the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah, the man of God.” The reference to “sons” and to “man of God” fits the usage of these terms elsewhere to refer to prophets and their disciples (see BDB 43-44 s.v. אֱלֹהִים 3(b) and compare usage in 2 Kgs 4:40 for the former and BDB 121 s.v. בֵּן 7.a and compare the usage in 2 Kgs 4:38 for the latter).
- Jeremiah 35:4 sn According to Jer 52:24 and 2 Kgs 25:18, there were three officers who carried out this duty. It was their duty to guard the entrance of the temple to keep people out that did not belong there, such as those who were foreigners or ritually unclean (see 2 Kgs 12:9 and compare Ps 118:19-20).
- Jeremiah 35:5 tn Heb “Drink wine.”
- Jeremiah 35:7 tn Heb “Don’t plant a vineyard, and it shall not be to you [= and you shall/must not have one].”
- Jeremiah 35:7 tn Heb “Don’t…and don’t…but live…in order that you might….”
- Jeremiah 35:7 sn Heb “where you are sojourning.” The terms “sojourn” and “sojourner” referred to a person who resided in a country not his own, without the rights and privileges of citizenship as a member of a nation, state, or principality. In the ancient Near East such people were dependent on the laws of hospitality, rather than the laws of state, for protection and provision of legal rights. Perhaps the best illustration of this is Abraham, who “sojourned” among the Philistines and the Hittites in Canaan and was dependent upon them for grazing and water rights and for a place to bury his wife (cf. Gen 20-24). What is described here is the typical lifestyle of a nomadic tribe.
- Jeremiah 35:8 tn Heb “We have not drunk wine all our days.” Actually, vv. 8b-9a are a series of infinitive constructs plus the negative לְבִלְתִּי (levilti) that explain the particulars of how they have obeyed, i.e., by not drinking wine…and by not building….” The more direct declarative statement is used here to shorten the sentence and is more in keeping with contemporary style.
- Jeremiah 35:10 tn Heb “We have obeyed and done according to all that our ancestor Jonadab commanded us.”
- Jeremiah 35:11 tn Heb “Chaldean.” For explanation see the study note on 21:4.
- Jeremiah 35:13 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel.” For this title see 7:3 and the study note on 2:19.
- Jeremiah 35:13 tn Heb “35:12 And the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, “Go and say…‘Will you not learn…’”’” The use of the indirect introduction has been chosen here, as in 34:1-2, to try to cut down on the confusion created by embedding quotations within quotations.
- Jeremiah 35:13 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 35:13 tn The words “from this” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They have been supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.
- Jeremiah 35:13 tn Heb “Will you not learn a lesson…?” The rhetorical question here has the force, made explicit in the translation, of an imperative.
- Jeremiah 35:14 tn Heb “The words of Jonadab son of Rechab, that he commanded his descendants not to drink wine, have been carried out.” (For the construction of the accusative of subject after a passive verb illustrated here see GKC 388 §121.b.) The sentence has been broken down and made more direct to better conform to contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 35:14 tn The vav (ו) plus the independent pronoun before the verb is intended to mark a sharp contrast. It is difficult, if not impossible, to render this in English other than as “But I.”
- Jeremiah 35:14 tn On this idiom (which occurs again in the following verse) see the translator’s note on 7:13 and compare its use in 7:13, 25; 11:7; 25:3, 4; 26:5; 29:19; 32:33; 35:14, 15; 44:9.
- Jeremiah 35:15 tn Heb “Turn, each of you, from his [= your] wicked way and make good your deeds.” Cf. 18:11, where the same idiom occurs with the added term of “make good your ways.”
- Jeremiah 35:15 tn Heb “Don’t go after/follow other gods.” See the translator’s note on 2:5 for an explanation of the idiom and see 11:10; 13:10; 25:6 for the same idiom.
- Jeremiah 35:16 tn This is an attempt to represent the particle כִּי (ki), which is probably not really intensive here (cf. BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.e) but is one of those causal uses of כִּי that BDB discusses on 473-74 s.v. כִּי 3.c, where the cause is really the failure of the people of Judah and Jerusalem to listen/obey. That is, the causal particle is at the beginning of the sentence so as not to interrupt the contrast drawn.
- Jeremiah 35:16 tn Heb “this people.” However, the speech is addressed to the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem, so the second person is retained in English. In addition to the stylistic difference that Hebrew exhibits in the rapid shifts between persons (second to third and third to second, which have repeatedly been noted and documented from GKC 462 §144.p), there may be a subtle rhetorical reason for the shift here. The shift from direct address to indirect address that characterizes this verse and the next may reflect the Lord’s rejection of the people he is addressing. A similar shift takes place in Wisdom’s address to the simpleminded, fools, and mockers in Prov 1:28-32 after the direct address of 1:22-27.
- Jeremiah 35:17 tn Heb “Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Armies, the God of Israel.” For the title see 7:13 and the study note on 2:19. The first person address is again used in the translation because this whole section is a speech from the Lord (see vv. 12-13).
- Jeremiah 35:18 tn Heb “Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel.” For this title, which occurs again in the following verse, see the notes on 7:3 and the study note on 2:19.
- Jeremiah 35:19 tn Heb “There shall not be cut to Jonadab son of Rechab a man standing before me all the days.” For the first part of this idiom see 33:17-18, where it is applied to David always having a descendant to occupy the throne and the Levites always having priests to offer up sacrifices. For the latter part of the idiom, “to stand before,” referring to service, see BDB 764 s.v. עָמַד 1.e and compare the usage in 1 Kgs 1:2; 2 Kgs 3:14; Jer 15:19; Deut 10:8. As comparison with those passages will show, it refers to attending on or serving a superior, a king, or the Lord. It is used of both prophets (e.g., 1 Kgs 17:1) and priests (e.g., Deut 10:8) serving the Lord. Its most common use is to refer to priestly service. The nature of the service is not further defined in this case, though several of the commentaries point out a Mishnaic tradition that the Rechabites later were given the function of bringing wood for the altar.
- Jeremiah 36:1 sn The fourth year that Jehoiakim…was ruling over Judah would have been 605/4 b.c. Jehoiakim began his rule in 609/8 b.c. after his father Josiah was killed by Pharaoh Necho at Megiddo. Necho had installed him as puppet king in place of his brother Jehoahaz, who was deposed by Necho after a reign of only three months (2 Kgs 23:31-35). According to Jer 46:2, that was the year in which Nebuchadnezzar defeated Jehoiakim’s suzerain Necho at Carchemish. That was also the year that Jerusalem came under attack and submitted to Babylonian control after a brief siege (Dan 1:1; see the study note on 25:1 for the reason for the difference in the dating between Jer 25:1; 36:2; and Dan 1:1). These events confirmed what Jeremiah had been saying about the foe from the north (4:6; 6:1; 15:12) and would have provided the impetus for the hopes that the people would repent if they were reminded about what Jeremiah had been saying.
- Jeremiah 36:1 tn Heb “This word came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah the king of Judah, saying.”
- Jeremiah 36:2 sn Heb “a roll [or scroll] of a document.” Scrolls consisted of pieces of leather or parchment sewn together and rolled up on wooden rollers. The writing was written from right to left and from top to bottom in columns, and the scroll unrolled from the left roller and rolled onto the right one as the scroll was read. The scroll varied in length depending on the contents. This scroll was probably not all that long since it was read three times in a single day (vv. 10-11, 15-16, 21-23).
- Jeremiah 36:2 sn The intent is hardly that of giving a verbatim report of everything that the Lord had told him to say or of everything that he had actually said. What the scroll undoubtedly contained was a synopsis of Jeremiah’s messages as constructed from his memory.
- Jeremiah 36:2 sn This refers to the messages that Jeremiah delivered during the last eighteen years of Josiah, the three-month reign of Jehoahaz, and the first four years of Jehoiakim’s reign (the period between Josiah’s thirteenth year [cf. 1:2] and the fourth year of Jehoiakim [v. 1]). The exact content of this scroll is unknown since many of the messages in the present book are undated. It is also not known what relation this scroll had to the present form of the book of Jeremiah, since this scroll was destroyed and another one written that contained more than this one did (cf. v. 32). Since Jeremiah continued his ministry down to the fall of Jerusalem in 587/6 b.c. (1:2) and beyond (cf. Jer 40-44), much more was added to those two scrolls even later.
- Jeremiah 36:3 tn Heb “will turn each one from his wicked way.”
- Jeremiah 36:3 tn Heb “their iniquity and their sin.”sn The offer of withdrawal of punishment for sin is consistent with the principles of Jer 18:7-8 and the temple sermon delivered early in the reign of this king (cf. 26:1-3; 7:5-7).
- Jeremiah 36:4 tn Heb “him.”
- Jeremiah 36:4 tn Heb “Jeremiah’s.”
- Jeremiah 36:5 tn Heb “I am restrained; I cannot go into.” The word “restrained” is used elsewhere in Jeremiah of his being confined to the courtyard of the guardhouse (33:1; 39:15). However, that occurred only later during the tenth year of Zedekiah (Jer 32:1-2), and Jeremiah appears here to be free to come and go as he pleases (vv. 19, 26). The word is used in the active voice of the Lord preventing Sarah from having a baby (Gen 16:2). The probable nuance here is “I am prevented/debarred” from being able to go. No reason is given why he was prevented/debarred. It has been plausibly suggested that he was prohibited from going into the temple any longer because of the scathing sermon he delivered there earlier (Jer 26:1-3; 7:1-15).
- Jeremiah 36:6 sn Regular fast days were not a part of Israel’s religious calendar. Rather, fast days were called on special occasions, i.e., in times of drought or a locust plague (Joel 1:14; 2:15), during a military crisis (2 Chr 20:3), or after defeat in battle (1 Sam 31:13; 2 Sam 1:12). A fast day was likely chosen for the reading of the scroll because the people would be more mindful of the crisis they were in and be in more of a repentant mood. The events referred to in the study note on v. 1 would have provided the basis for Jeremiah’s anticipation of a fast day when the scroll could be read.
- Jeremiah 36:6 tn Heb “So you go and read from the scroll that you have written from my mouth the words of the Lord in the ears of the people in the house of the Lord on a fast day, and in that way [for the explanation of this rendering see below] you will be reading them in the ears of all Judah [= the people of Judah] who come from their towns [i.e., to the temple to fast].” Again the syntax of the original is awkward, separating several of the qualifying phrases from the word or phrase they are intended to modify. In most of the “literal” English versions the emphasis on “what the Lord said” tends to get lost, and it looks like two separate groups are to be addressed rather than one. The intent of the phrase is to define who the people are who will hear; the וַ that introduces the clause is explicative (BDB 252 s.v. וַ 1.b), and the גַּם (gam) is used to emphasize the explicative “all Judah who come in from their towns” (cf. BDB 169 s.v. גַּם 2). If some force were to be given to the “literal” rendering of that particle here, it would be “actually.” This is the group that is to be addressed according to v. 3. The complex Hebrew sentence has been restructured to include all the relevant information in more comprehensible and shorter English sentences.
- Jeremiah 36:7 tn Heb “will turn each one from his wicked way.”
- Jeremiah 36:7 tn Heb “For great are the anger and the wrath that the Lord has spoken against this people.” The translation uses the more active form, which is more in keeping with contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 36:8 tn Heb “And Baruch son of Neriah did according to all that the prophet Jeremiah commanded him with regard to reading from the scroll the words of the Lord in the temple of the Lord.” The sentence has been broken down and the modifiers placed where they belong to better conform to contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 36:9 tn There is some debate about the syntax of the words translated “All the people living in Jerusalem and all the people who came into Jerusalem from the towns in Judah.” As the sentence is structured in Hebrew, it looks like these words are the subject of “proclaim a fast.” However, most commentaries point out that the people themselves would hardly proclaim a fast; they would be summoned to fast (cf. 1 Kgs 21:9, 12; Jonah 3:7). Hence many see these words as the object of the verb, which has an impersonal subject “they.” This is most likely unless, as J. Bright thinks (Jeremiah [AB], 180), the word “proclaim” is used in a looser sense as “observed.” The translation has chosen to follow this latter tack rather than use the impersonal (or an equivalent passive) construction in English. For a similar problem see Jonah 3:5, which precedes the official proclamation in 3:7. Jeremiah's Hebrew text reads, “In the fifth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month they proclaimed a fast before the Lord, all the people in Jerusalem and all the people who came from the cities of Judah into Jerusalem.” The sentence has been broken down and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style.sn Judging from v. 22, this was one of the winter months, meaning that the reckoning is based on the calendar that starts with April rather than the one that starts with September (Nisan to Nisan rather than Tishri to Tishri). The ninth month would have been Kislev, which corresponds roughly to December. According to Babylonian historical records, this is the same year and the same month when Ashkelon was captured and sacked. The surrender of Jerusalem and the subsequent looting of the temple in the previous year (Dan 1:1), and the return of the menacing presence of Nebuchadnezzar in the near vicinity, were probably the impetus for the fast.
- Jeremiah 36:10 sn Shaphan had been the royal secretary under Jehoiakim’s father’s rule. During the course of his official duties the book of the law had been discovered, and he had read it and reported its contents to Josiah, who instituted sweeping reforms on the basis of his obedience to it. (See 2 Kgs 22 and note especially vv. 3, 8, 10.) If the Shaphan mentioned in 22:14 is the same person as this, Gemariah would have been the brother of the man who spoke up on Jeremiah’s behalf when the priests and prophets sought to have him killed.
- Jeremiah 36:10 sn It is generally agreed that this is the same as the inner court mentioned in 1 Kgs 6:36 and 7:12. It is called “upper” here because it stood above (cf. 1 Kgs 7:12) the outer court where all the people were standing.
- Jeremiah 36:10 sn The New Gate is the same gate where Jeremiah had been accused of falsely claiming the Lord’s authority for his “treasonous” prophecies, according to 26:10-11. See the study note on 26:10 for more details about the location of this gate.
- Jeremiah 36:10 tn The syntax of the original is complicated due to all the qualifying terms: Heb “And Baruch read from the scroll the words of Jeremiah in the house of the Lord in (i.e., in the entrance of) the room of Gemariah, son of Shaphan the scribe, in the upper court at the entrance of the New Gate in the house of the Lord in the ears of all the people.” The sentence has been broken down and restructured to contain all the same information in shorter English sentences that better conform with contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 36:11 tn Heb “Micaiah son of Gemariah son of Shaphan heard all the words of the Lord from upon the scroll.” The words “heard Baruch read” are implicit from the context and are supplied in the translation for smoothness.
- Jeremiah 36:12 sn If, as many believe, this man was the same as the Elishama mentioned in Jer 41:1 and 2 Kgs 25:25, he was also a member of the royal family.
- Jeremiah 36:12 sn This man has already been mentioned in Jer 26:22 as the official who was sent to Egypt to extradite the prophet Uriah, whom Jehoiakim had executed. Though he was instrumental in the death of that prophet, he appears to have been favorably disposed to Jeremiah, or at least impressed by the seriousness of his messages, because he is one of the officials who urged Baruch and Jeremiah to hide (v. 19), and he counseled Jehoiakim not to burn the scroll (v. 25).
- Jeremiah 36:13 tn Heb “Micaiah reported to them all the words that he heard when Baruch read from the scroll in the ears of the people.”
- Jeremiah 36:14 tn Heb “in your hand.”
- Jeremiah 36:14 tn The original has another example of a pre-positioned object (called casus pendens in the grammars; cf. GKC 458 §143.b), which is intended to focus attention on “the scroll.” The Hebrew sentence reads: “The scroll that you read from it in the ears of the people, take it and come.” Any attempt to carry over this emphasis into the English translation would be awkward. Likewise, the order of the two imperatives has been reversed as more natural in English.
- Jeremiah 36:14 tn Heb “So Baruch son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand and went to them.” The clause order has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Jeremiah 36:15 tn Or “‘to us personally’…to them personally”; Heb “‘in our ears’…in their ears.” Elsewhere this has been rendered “in the hearing of” or “where they could hear.” All three of those idioms sound unnatural in this context. The mere personal pronoun seems adequate.
- Jeremiah 36:16 tn Heb “all the words.”
- Jeremiah 36:16 tn According to BDB 808 s.v. פָּחַד Qal.1 and 40 s.v. אֶל 3.a, this is an example of the “pregnant” use of a preposition, where an implied verb has to be supplied in the translation to conform the normal range of the preposition with the verb that is governing it. The Hebrew text reads: “they feared unto one another.” BDB translates “they turned in dread to each other.” The translation adopted seems more appropriate in this context.
- Jeremiah 36:16 tn Heb “We must certainly report to the king all these things.” Here the word דְּבָרִים (devarim) must mean “things” (cf. BDB 183 s.v. דָּבָר IV.3) rather than “words,” because a verbatim report of all the words in the scroll is scarcely meant. The present translation has chosen to use, instead of the indefinite “things,” a form that suggests a summary report of all the matters spoken about in the scroll.
- Jeremiah 36:17 tn Or “Did Jeremiah dictate them to you?” The words “Do they actually come from Jeremiah’s mouth?” assume that the last phrase (מִפִּיו, mippiv) is a question, either without the formal he (הֲ) interrogative (see GKC 473 §150.a and compare usage in 1 Sam 16:4 and Prov 5:16), or with a letter supplied from the end of the preceding word (single writing of a letter following the same letter [haplography]; so the majority of modern commentaries). The word is missing in the Greek version. The presence of this same word at the beginning of the answer in the next verse suggests that this was a question (probably without the he [הֲ] interrogative, to make it more emphatic), since the common way to answer affirmatively is to repeat the emphatic word in the question (cf. GKC 476 §150.n and compare usage in Gen 24:58). The intent of the question is to make sure that these were actually Jeremiah’s words, not Baruch’s own creation (cf. Jer 43:2-3 for a similar suspicion).
- Jeremiah 36:18 tn The verbal forms emphasize that each word came from his mouth. The first verb is an imperfect, which emphasizes repeated action in past time, and the second verb is a participle, which emphasizes ongoing action. However, it is a little awkward to try to express this nuance in contemporary English. Even though it is not reflected in the translation, it is noted here for future reference.
- Jeremiah 36:19 tn The verbs here are both direct imperatives, but it sounds awkward in contemporary English to say, “You and Jeremiah, go and hide.” The same force is accomplished by phrasing the statement as strong advice.
- Jeremiah 36:20 tn Heb “they deposited.” For the usage of the verb here see BDB 824 s.v. פָּקַד Hiph.2.b and compare the usage in Jer 37:21, where it is used for “confining” Jeremiah in the courtyard of the guardhouse.
- Jeremiah 36:20 tn Heb “all the matters.” Cf. the translator’s note on v. 16.
- Jeremiah 36:20 tn Both here and in the next verse the Hebrew has “in the ears of” before “the king” (and also before “all the officials”). As in v. 15, these words are not represented in the translation due to the awkwardness of the idiom in contemporary English (see the translator’s note on v. 15).
- Jeremiah 36:21 tn Heb “and Jehudi read it.” However, Jehudi has been the subject of the preceding; so it would be awkward in English to use the personal subject. The translation has chosen to bring out the idea that Jehudi himself read it by using the reflexive.
- Jeremiah 36:22 tn Heb “in the autumn house.” Commentators are agreed that this was not a separate building or palace but the winter quarters in the palace.sn Larger houses, including the palace, were two-storied buildings with a lower quarters better insulated for the cold of winter and an upper quarters better ventilated to provide cool in the summer. Since this was the ninth month (December), the king had taken up residence in the lower, warmer quarters, which were equipped with a portable fire pot or brazier to keep him warm.
- Jeremiah 36:22 tc Heb “the fire in the firepot was burning before him.” The translation assumes that the word “fire” (אֵשׁ, ʾesh) has dropped out after the particle אֶת (ʾet) because of the similar beginnings of the two words. The word “fire” is found in the Greek, Syriac, and Targumic translations according to BHS. The particle אֵת should be retained rather than dropped as an erroneous writing of אֵשׁ. Its presence is to be explained as use of the sign of the accusative to introduce a new subject (cf. BDB 85 s.v. אֶת 3.α and compare the usage in 27:8; 38:16 [in the Kethib]; and 45:4).
- Jeremiah 36:23 tn Heb “doors.” This is the only time the word “door” is used in this way, but all the commentaries and lexicons agree that it means “columns.” The meaning is figurative based on the similarity of shape.
- Jeremiah 36:23 tn Heb “he.” The majority of commentaries and English versions are agreed that “he” is the king. However, since a penknife (Heb “a scribe’s razor”) is used to cut the columns off, it is possible that Jehudi himself did it. However, even if Jehudi himself did it, he was acting on the king’s orders.
- Jeremiah 36:23 sn Heb “a scribe’s razor.” There is some irony involved here since a scribe’s razor normally trimmed the sheets to be sewn together, scraped them in preparation for writing, and erased errors. What was normally used to prepare the scroll served to destroy it.
- Jeremiah 36:23 tn Heb “until the whole scroll was consumed upon the fire that was in the fire pot.”
- Jeremiah 36:24 tn Heb “Neither the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words were afraid or tore their clothes.” The sentence was broken into two shorter sentences to better conform to English style, and some terms were explained (e.g., tore their clothes) for the sake of clarity.sn There are some interesting wordplays and contrasts involved here. The action of the king and his attendants should be contrasted with that of the officials who heard the same things read (v. 16). The king and his officials did not tear their garments in grief and sorrow; instead the king cut up the scroll (the words “tear” and “cut off” are the same in Hebrew [קָרַע, qaraʿ]). Likewise, the actions of Jehoiakim and his attendants are to be contrasted with those of his father Josiah, who some twenty or more years earlier tore his clothes in grief and sorrow (2 Kgs 22:11-20) and led the people in renewing their commitment to the covenant (2 Kgs 23:1-3). That was what the Lord had hoped would happen when the king and the people heard the warnings of Jeremiah (Jer 36:2-3). Instead, Jehoiakim expressed his contempt for God's word by destroying the scroll.
- Jeremiah 36:25 tn Heb “And also Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah urged [or had urged] the king not to burn the scroll, but he did not listen to them.” The translation attempts to lessen the clash in chronological sequencing with the preceding. This sentence is essentially a flashback to a time before the scroll was totally burned (v. 23).
- Jeremiah 36:26 tn Heb “the son of the king.” Many of the commentaries express doubt that this actually refers to Jehoiakim’s own son. Jehoiakim was only about thirty at this time, and one of his sons would not have been old enough to have been in such a position of authority. The same doubt is expressed about the use of this term in 38:6 and in 1 Kgs 22:26. Rather than referring to the king's own son, the term can indicate a member of the royal family.
- Jeremiah 36:27 tn Heb “from the mouth of Jeremiah.”
- Jeremiah 36:28 tn Heb “Return, take another.” The verb “return” is used in the sense of repetition: “take again” (cf. BDB 998 s.v. שׁוּב Qal.8). The idea is already contained in “Get another,” so most modern English versions do not represent it.
- Jeremiah 36:28 tn Heb “all the former words/things.”
- Jeremiah 36:28 tn Heb “first [or former] scroll.”
- Jeremiah 36:29 tn Or “In essence you asked.” For explanation see the translator’s note on the end of the verse.
- Jeremiah 36:29 tn Heb “You burned this scroll, saying, ‘Why did you write on it, saying, “The king of Babylon will certainly come [the infinitive absolute before the finite verb expresses certainty here, as several places elsewhere in Jeremiah] and destroy this land and exterminate from it both man and beast”?’” The sentence raises several difficulties for translating literally. The “you” in “why did you write” is undefined, though it obviously refers to Jeremiah. The gerund “saying” that introduces ‘Why did you write’ does not fit very well with “you burned the scroll.” Gerunds of this sort are normally explanatory. Lastly, there is no indication in the narrative that Jehoiakim ever directly asked Jeremiah this question. In fact, he had been hidden out of sight so Jehoiakim couldn’t confront him. The question is presented rhetorically, expressing Jehoiakim’s thoughts or intents and giving the rational for burning the scroll, i.e., he questioned Jeremiah’s right to say such things. The translation has attempted to be as literal as possible without resolving some of these difficulties. One level of embedded quotes has been eliminated for greater simplicity. For the rendering of “How dare you” for the interrogative “why do you,” see the translator’s note on 26:9.
- Jeremiah 36:30 sn This prophecy was not “totally” fulfilled because his son Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) did occupy the throne for three months (2 Kgs 23:8). However, his rule was negligible, and after his capitulation and exile to Babylon, he himself was promised that neither he nor his successors would occupy the throne of David (cf. Jer 22:30 and see the study notes on 22:24, 30).
- Jeremiah 36:30 sn Compare the more poetic prophecy in Jer 22:18-19 and see the study note on 22:19.
- Jeremiah 36:31 tn Heb “for their iniquity.”
- Jeremiah 36:31 tn Heb “all the disaster which I spoke to them about but they did not listen to [or obey].” HALOT, s.v. דבר, Piel.4, shows that the verb can mean “speak about.” Compare usage at Gen 19:21 and Ruth 4:1.
- Jeremiah 36:32 tn Heb “And he wrote upon it from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah burned in the fire. And many words like these were added to them besides [or further].” The translation uses the more active form in the last line because of the tendency in contemporary English style to avoid the passive. It also uses the words “everything” for “all the words” and “messages” for “words.” Those are legitimate usages of these phrases, and they avoid the mistaken impression that Jeremiah repeated verbatim either the words on the former scroll or the messages that he had delivered during the course of the preceding twenty-three years.
- Jeremiah 37:1 tn Heb “Coniah.” For explanation of the rendering here see the translator’s note on 22:24.
- Jeremiah 37:1 tn Heb “And Zedekiah son of Josiah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah, ruled as king instead of Coniah son of Jehoiakim.” The sentence has been restructured and simplified to better conform to contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 37:2 sn These two verses (37:1-2) are introductory to chs. 37-38 and aim to characterize Zedekiah and his regime as disobedient, just as Jehoiakim and his regime had been (Jer 36:27; cf. 2 Kgs 24:19-20). This characterization is important because Zedekiah is portrayed in the incidents that follow in 37-38 as seeking the Lord’s help or seeking a word from the Lord. However, though he did send to inquire of Jeremiah three times, he did not pay attention to the warnings he received in reply and so was ultimately responsible for the fall of Jerusalem (Jer 39). As elsewhere in this book, Jeconiah’s reign is passed over in silence because it was negligible, and Jeremiah did not wish to legitimize the hopes of many in Israel and Babylon that Jeconiah would return from exile and resume rule over Judah (see further the study notes on 22:24, 30 and 36:30).
- Jeremiah 37:3 sn This is the second of two delegations that Zedekiah sent to Jeremiah to ask him to pray for a miraculous deliverance. Both of them occurred against the background of the siege of Jerusalem instigated by Zedekiah’s rebelling against Nebuchadnezzar and sending to Egypt for help (cf. Ezek 17:15). The earlier delegation (21:1-2) was sent before Nebuchadnezzar had clamped down on Jerusalem, for the Judean forces at that time were still fighting against the Babylonian forces in the open field (see 21:4 and the translator’s note there). Here the siege has been lifted because the Babylonian troops have heard a report that the Egyptian army is on its way into Palestine to give Judeans the promised aid (vv. 5, 7). The request is briefer here than in 21:2, but the intent is no doubt the same (see also the study note on 21:2).
- Jeremiah 37:3 sn Jehucal was one of the officials who later sought to have Jeremiah put to death for what they considered treason (38:1-4).
- Jeremiah 37:3 sn The priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, a member of the earlier delegation (21:2), was the chief of security in the temple to whom the Babylonian false prophet wrote a letter complaining that Jeremiah should be locked up for his treasonous prophecies (29:25-26). See the study notes on 21:2 and 29:25 for further details.
- Jeremiah 37:4 sn This statement anticipates v. 15. Verses 3-4 are parenthetical to the narrative thread, which is picked up in v. 5. They provide background information necessary for understanding the situation at the time the delegation comes to Jeremiah.
- Jeremiah 37:4 tn The words “as he pleased” are not in the text but are implicit in the idiom, both in Hebrew and in English. They have been supplied in the translation for clarity and the sake of English idiom.
- Jeremiah 37:5 tn Heb “the Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for the rendering “Babylonian.” The word “forces” is supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 37:5 tn Heb “And the army of Pharaoh had set out from Egypt, and the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard a report about them, and they went up from besieging them.” The sentence has been restructured and reworded to give greater emphasis to the most pertinent fact, i.e., that the siege had been temporarily lifted. The word “temporarily” is not in the text but is implicit from the rest of the context. It is supplied in the translation here to better show that the information in vv. 4-5 is all parenthetical, providing a background for the oracle that will follow. For the meaning “given up their siege against” (Heb “had taken themselves away from against”) see BDB 749 s.v. עָלָה Niph.1.c(2); 759 s.v. עַל IV.2.b.sn The Pharaoh referred to here is Pharaoh Hophra, who is named in Jer 44:30. He ruled from 589-570 b.c. Shortly after he began to rule, Zedekiah was enticed by some of the officials in his court to appeal to him for aid. This act of rebellion quickly brought Nebuchadnezzar’s wrath, and he invaded Judah, blockading Jerusalem and reducing the fortified cities of Judah one by one. According to Jer 39:1, the siege began in Zedekiah’s ninth year (589/88 b.c.) and lasted until his eleventh year, when Jerusalem fell (587/86 b.c.). The army of Pharaoh likely came sometime during 588 b.c.
- Jeremiah 37:7 tn Heb “to seek me.” The verb דָּרַשׁ (darash) could imply “inquiring” to gain information about what will happen, including a prophetic oracle (cf. 1 Kgs 14:5; 2 Kgs 8:8), but could also denote “seeking help” from someone (cf. Isa 31:1; 2 Chr 16:12; 20:3), perhaps via prayer (see v. 3). Both may be involved here, as a praying prophet might receive a message from the Lord.
- Jeremiah 37:7 tn Heb “Take note.” The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) here calls attention to a warning and syntactically sets up the following participle to indicate the near future (“is about to”).
- Jeremiah 37:7 tn Heb “will go back to its land, Egypt.”
- Jeremiah 37:8 tn Heb “the Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for the rendering “Babylonian.” The word “forces” is supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 37:9 tn Heb “the Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for the rendering “Babylonian.” The word “forces” is supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 37:9 tn Heb “Thus says the Lord, ‘Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chaldeans will surely go away from against us,” because they will not go away.’” The first person, “I, the Lord,” has been used because the whole of vv. 7-8 has been a quote from the Lord, and it would be confusing to go back and start a separate quote. The use of indirect rather than direct quotation avoids proliferation of quote marks at the end and the possible confusion that creates.
- Jeremiah 37:10 tn Heb “all the army of the Chaldeans.” For the rendering “Babylonian” in place of Chaldean, see the study note on 21:4.
- Jeremiah 37:10 tn The condition here is, of course, purely hypothetical, and the consequence is a poetic exaggeration. The intent is to assure Zedekiah that there is absolutely no hope of the city being spared.
- Jeremiah 37:11 tn The words “The following events also occurred” are not in the text. They are a way to introduce the incidents recorded in 37:11-21 without creating a long, complex sentence in English as the Hebrew does. The Hebrew of vv. 11-12a reads, “And it was/happened while the army of the Chaldeans had taken themselves up from against Jerusalem because of Pharoah's army, Jeremiah set out from Jerusalem to go to the land of Benjamin to take part…” For the rendering “temporarily withdrawn from Jerusalem,” see the translator’s note on v. 5. The words “was coming” are not in the text either but are implicit and have been supplied in the translation for clarity and smooth English.
- Jeremiah 37:11 tn Heb “the Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for the rendering “Babylonian.” The word “forces” is supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 37:12 tn The meaning of this last sentence is somewhat uncertain. The Hebrew expression here occurs nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible, and its meaning is debated. The verb is pointed as a shortened form of the Hiphil infinitive construct of חָלַק (khalaq; see GKC 148 §53.q for explanation of the phenomenon and other examples). There are, however, no other examples of the use of this verb in the Hiphil. BDB 324 s.v. חָלַק Hiph defines it as “receive a portion,” explains it as a denominative from חֵלֶק (kheleq, “portion”), but says that the form is dubious. KBL s.v. חָלַק Hif defines it as “take part in dividing,” but that does not fit the prepositional phrase that follows (מִשָּׁם, misham, “from there”) as well as “to receive a portion.” The Greek version did not understand this of dividing property but of conducting business. Later revisions of the Greek and the Latin version, however, did understand it of “taking a share.” The translation of BDB has been expanded to better reflect the probable situation. For the noun עַם (ʿam) with the meaning of “family,” compare the usage in Job 18:19. For a fuller discussion of the probable situation, see J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah (NICOT), 633-34.sn Though some commentators disagree, this transaction should not be viewed as subsequent to the transaction recorded in Jer 32 and seen as an attempt to take possession of a field that he had already bought. The transaction in Jer 32 took place sometime later after he had been confined to the courtyard of the guardhouse (compare 32:2 with 37:21) and involved his buying a near relative’s field. The word used here refers to “getting one’s own share” (compare 1 Sam 30:24 and Josh 15:13; see also Mic 2:4), not taking possession of someone else’s. “There” refers to the territory of Benjamin just mentioned, but more specifically to Jeremiah’s hometown, Anathoth (cf. 1:1).
- Jeremiah 37:13 sn The Benjamin Gate would have been a gate in the northern wall leading out toward the territory of Benjamin. It is mentioned only here, in Jer 38:7, and in Zech 14:10.
- Jeremiah 37:13 sn Nothing further is known about Irijah. It is generally agreed that the Hananiah mentioned here is not the same as the false prophet of the same name whom Jeremiah confronted approximately six years earlier (28:1, 5, 10, 15).
- Jeremiah 37:13 tn Heb “And he was in the gate of Benjamin, and there was an officer of the guard whose name [more literally, and his name] was Irijah…and he seized the prophet Jeremiah, saying.” The sentence has been broken down and simplified to better conform with contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 37:13 tn Heb “the Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for explanation.sn Irijah’s charge was based on the suspicion that Jeremiah was following his own counsel to the people to surrender to the Babylonians if they wanted to save their lives (Jer 21:9).
- Jeremiah 37:14 tn Heb “the Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for explanation.
- Jeremiah 37:15 sn The officials mentioned here are not the same as those mentioned in Jer 36:12, most of whom were favorably disposed toward Jeremiah, or at least regarded what he said with enough trepidation to try to protect him and preserve the scroll containing his messages (36:16, 19, 24). All those officials had been taken into exile with Jeconiah in 597 b.c. (2 Kgs 24:14).
- Jeremiah 37:15 tn Heb “for they had made it into the house of confinement.” The causal particle does not fit the English sentence very well, and “house of confinement” needs some explanation. Some translate this word “prison,” but that creates redundancy with the earlier word translated “prison” (בֵּית הָאֵסוּר, bet haʾesur, “house of the band/binding”), which is more closely related to the concept of prison (cf. אָסִיר, ʾasir, “prisoner”). It is clear from the next verse that Jeremiah was confined in a cell in the dungeon of this place.
- Jeremiah 37:16 tn The particle כִּי (ki) here is probably temporal, introducing the protasis to the main clause in v. 17 (cf. BDB 473 s.v. כִּי 2.a). However, that would make the translation too long. The present translation, “So,” does what several modern English versions do here, though there are no parallels listed for this nuance in the lexicons.
- Jeremiah 37:16 tn Heb “Jeremiah came into the house of the pit [= “dungeon,” BDB 92 s.v. בּוֹר 4 and compare usage in Gen 40:15 and 41:14] and into the cells [this word occurs only here; it is defined on the basis of the cognate languages (cf. BDB 333 s.v. חָנוּת)].” The sentence has been restructured and some words supplied in the translation to better relate it to the preceding context.
- Jeremiah 37:16 tn Heb “Jeremiah.” But the proper name is somewhat redundant and unnecessary in a modern translation.
- Jeremiah 37:17 tn Heb “Then King Zedekiah sent and brought him, and the king asked him privately [or more literally, in secret] and said.”
- Jeremiah 37:17 tn Heb “Then he said.”
- Jeremiah 37:17 sn Jeremiah’s answer, even under duress, was the same that he had given Zedekiah earlier. (See Jer 34:3 and see the study note on 34:1 for the relative timing of these two incidents.)
- Jeremiah 37:18 tn Heb “What crime have I committed against you, or your servants, or this people that you [masc. pl.] have put me in prison?” Some of the terms have been expanded for clarification, and the sentence has been broken in two to better conform with contemporary English style. The masculine plural is used here because Zedekiah is being addressed as representative of the whole group previously named.
- Jeremiah 37:19 tn Heb “And where are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you or against this land?’” The indirect quote has been used in the translation because of its simpler, more direct style.
- Jeremiah 37:20 tn Heb “My lord, the king.”
- Jeremiah 37:20 tn Heb “let my plea for mercy fall before you.” That is, let it come before you and be favorably received (= granted; by metonymical extension).
- Jeremiah 37:20 tn Or “So that I will not die there,” or “or I will die there”; Heb “and I will not die there.” The particle that introduces this clause (וְלֹא) regularly introduces negative purpose clauses after the volitive sequence (אַל [ʾal] + jussive here) according to GKC 323 §109.g. However, purpose and result clauses in Hebrew (and Greek) are often indistinguishable. Here the clause is more in the nature of a negative result.
- Jeremiah 37:21 tn Heb “And/Then King Zedekiah ordered, and they committed Jeremiah to [or deposited…in] the courtyard of the guardhouse and they gave to him a loaf of bread.” The translation has been structured the way it has to avoid the ambiguous “they,” which is the impersonal subject, which is sometimes rendered as passive in English (cf. GKC 460 §144.d). This text also has another example of the vav (ו) + infinitive absolute continuing a finite verbal form (וְנָתֹן [venaton] = “and they gave”; cf. GKC 345 §113.y and see Jer 32:44 and 36:23).
- Jeremiah 37:21 tn Heb “stayed,” “remained,” “lived.”
- Jeremiah 38:1 tn The name is spelled “Jucal” in the Hebrew text here rather than “Jehucal” as in Jer 37:3. The translation uses the same spelling throughout so that the English reader can identify these as the same individual.sn Jehucal was a member of the delegation sent to Jeremiah by Zedekiah in Jer 37:3.
- Jeremiah 38:1 sn Pashhur was a member of the delegation sent to Jeremiah in 21:2. For the relative sequence of these two delegations, see the study note on 21:1.
- Jeremiah 38:1 tn J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB], 226, 30) is probably correct in translating the verbs here as pluperfects and explaining that these words are prophecies Jeremiah uttered before his arrest, not prophecies of his delivered to the people by intermediaries he sent while confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse. For the use of the vav consecutive + imperfect to denote the pluperfect, see the discussion and examples in IBHS 552-53 §33.2.3a and see the usage in Exod 4:19. The words that are cited in v. 2 are those recorded in 21:9 on the occasion of the first delegation, and those in v. 3 are those recorded in 21:10; 34:2; 37:8; 32:28, all except the last delivered before Jeremiah was confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse.
- Jeremiah 38:2 tn Heb “by sword, by starvation, or by disease.”
- Jeremiah 38:2 tn Heb “those who go out to the Chaldeans.” For the rendering “Babylonians” for “Chaldeans,” see the study note on 21:4.
- Jeremiah 38:2 tn Heb “his life will be to him for spoil, and he will live.” For the meaning of this idiom see the study note on 21:9. The words “and he will live” have been left out of the translation because they are redundant after “will live” and “they will escape with their lives.”sn See Jer 21:9 for this prophecy.
- Jeremiah 38:3 tn The words “They had also heard him say” are not in the Hebrew text but are in the translation for clarity, to eliminate any confusion possible if no introduction preceded a literal translation: “Thus says the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 38:3 sn See Jer 21:10; 32:28; 34:2; 37:8 for this same prophecy. Jeremiah had repeatedly said this or words to the same effect.
- Jeremiah 38:4 tn Heb “weakening the hands of.” For this idiom see BDB 951 s.v. רָפָה Pi. and compare the usage in Isa 13:7 and Ezek 21:7 (21:12 HT).
- Jeremiah 38:4 tn Heb “by saying these things.”
- Jeremiah 38:4 tn The Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) has not been rendered here because it is introducing a causal clause parallel to the preceding one. The rendering “For” might be misunderstood as a grounds for the preceding statement. To render “And” or “Moreover” sounds a little odd here. If the particle must be represented, “Moreover” is perhaps the best translation.
- Jeremiah 38:4 tn Or “is not looking out for these people’s best interests but is really trying to do them harm”; Heb “is not seeking the welfare [or “well-being”; Hebrew shalom] of this people but [their] harm [more literally, evil].”
- Jeremiah 38:5 tn Heb “Behold, he is in your hands [= power/control].”
- Jeremiah 38:5 tn Heb “For the king cannot do a thing with/against you.” The personal pronoun “I” is substituted in the English translation due to differences in style. Hebrew style often uses the third person or the title in speaking of oneself, but English rarely, if ever, does. Compare the common paraphrasis of “your servant” for “I” in Hebrew (cf. BDB 714 s.v. עֶבֶד 6 and see 1 Sam 20:7, 8). Also, see Pss 61:6-7 (61:7 HT) and 63:11 (63:12 HT), where the king is praying for himself as “the king.” For the meaning of יָכֹל (yakhol) as “to be able to do anything,” see BDB 407 s.v. יָכֹל 1.g.
- Jeremiah 38:6 tn Heb “they.”
- Jeremiah 38:6 sn A cistern was a pear-shaped pit with a narrow opening. Cisterns were cut or dug in the limestone rock and lined with plaster to prevent seepage. They were used to collect and store rainwater or water carried up from a spring.
- Jeremiah 38:6 tn Heb “the son of the king.” See the translator’s note on Jer 36:26 for the rendering here.
- Jeremiah 38:6 tn Heb “And they let Jeremiah down with ropes, and in the cistern there was no water, only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud.” The clauses have been reordered and restructured to create a more natural and smoother order in English.
- Jeremiah 38:7 sn This individual, Ebed Melech, is mentioned only here. Later he will be promised deliverance from destruction when the city falls because he had shown trust in God (see Jer 39:16-18).
- Jeremiah 38:7 tn Heb “Ebed Melech, the Cushite, a man, an eunuch/official, and he was [= who was; a circumstantial clause] in the house of the king, heard that they had put Jeremiah…” The passive construction “Jeremiah had been put” was chosen to avoid the indefinite subject “they” or the addition of “the officials.” For the translation of סָרִיס (saris) as “official” here rather than “eunuch,” see the translator’s note on 29:2 and see also the usage in 34:19. For the translation of “Cushite” as Ethiopian, see the study note on 13:23.
- Jeremiah 38:7 tn Heb “And the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate.” This clause is circumstantial to the following clause, thus signifying, “while the king was…” Most commentators agree that the reference to sitting in the gate here likely refers to the same kind of judicial context that has been posited for 26:10 (see the translator’s note there for further references). Hence the translation renders “sitting” with the more technical “holding court” to better reflect the probable situation.
- Jeremiah 38:9 tn Heb “Those men have made evil all they have done to the prophet Jeremiah in that they have thrown him into the cistern, and he will die of starvation in the place where he is because there is no more food in the city.” The particle אֵת (ʾet) before “they have thrown” (אֵת אֲשֶׁר הִשְׁלִיכוּ, ʾet ʾasher hishlikhu) is explanatory or further definition of “all they have done to” (i.e., the particle is repeated for apposition). The verb form “and he is sure to die” is an unusual use of the vav (ו) consecutive + imperfect that the grammars see as giving a logical consequence without a past nuance (cf. GKC 328 §111.l and IBHS 557-58 §33.3.1f).sn “Because there isn’t any food left in the city” is rhetorical exaggeration; the food did not run out until just before the city fell. Perhaps the intent is to refer to the fact that there was no food in the city for people so confined (i.e., in solitary confinement).
- Jeremiah 38:10 tc Some modern English versions (e.g., NRSV, REB, TEV) and commentaries read “three” on the basis that thirty men would not be necessary for the task (cf. J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 231). But cisterns could be 15 to 20 feet deep. Though the difference in “three” and “thirty” involves minimal emendation (שְׁלֹשָׁה [sheloshah] for שְׁלֹשִׁים [sheloshim]), there is no textual or versional evidence for it except one Hebrew ms. The number could also have been large to prevent officials from hindering Ebed Melech in accomplishing the task.
- Jeremiah 38:11 tn Heb “went into the palace to under the treasury.” Several of the commentaries (e.g., J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 227; J. A. Thompson, Jeremiah [NICOT], 639, n. 6) emend the prepositional phrase “to under” (אֶל תַּחַת, ʾel takhat) to the noun “wardrobe” plus the preposition “to” (אֶל מֶלְתַחַת, ʾel meltakhat). This is a plausible emendation, which would suggest an historical loss of מֶל (mel) due to its similarity with the אֶל (ʾel) that precedes it. However, no textual or versional evidence supports such a reading, and the compound preposition is not in itself objectionable (cf. BDB 1066 s.v. תַּחַת III.1.a). The Greek version reads “the part underground” (representing a Hebrew Vorlage of אֶל תַּחַת הָאָרֶץ, ʾel takhat haʾarets) in place of אֶל תַּחַת הָאוֹצָר (ʾel takhat haʾotsar). The translation follows the Hebrew text but adds the word “room” for the sake of English style.
- Jeremiah 38:11 tn Heb “worn-out clothes and worn-out rags.”
- Jeremiah 38:12 tn Heb “Ebed Melech the Ethiopian.” The words “the Ethiopian” seem unnecessary and are not repeated in the translation because he has already been identified as such in vv. 7, 10.
- Jeremiah 38:12 tn Heb “under the joints of your arms under the ropes.” The two uses of “under” have different orientations and are best reflected by “between your armpits and the ropes” or “under your armpits to pad the ropes.”
- Jeremiah 38:12 tn Or “Jeremiah did so.” The alternate translation is what the text reads literally.
- Jeremiah 38:13 tn Heb “Jeremiah remained/stayed in the courtyard of the guardhouse.” The translation is meant to better reflect the situation; i.e., Jeremiah was released from the cistern but still had to stay in the courtyard of the guardhouse.
- Jeremiah 38:14 tn The words “Some time later” are not in the text but are a way of translating the conjunction “And” or “Then” that introduces this narrative.
- Jeremiah 38:14 sn The precise location of this entrance is unknown since it is mentioned nowhere else in the OT. Many commentators equate this with the “king’s outer entry” (mentioned in 2 Kgs 16:18), which appears to have been a private entryway between the temple and the palace.
- Jeremiah 38:14 tn The words “when you answer” are not in the text but are implicit in the connection. They are supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness of style.
- Jeremiah 38:15 tn Or “you will most certainly kill me, won’t you?” Heb “Will you not certainly kill me?” The question is rhetorical and expects a positive answer. In situations like this BDB s.v. לֹא 4.b(β) says that הֲלֹא (haloʾ) “has a tendency to become little more than an affirmative particle, declaring with some rhetorical emphasis what is, or might be, well known.” The idea of certainty is emphasized here by the addition of the infinitive absolute before the finite verb (Joüon 2:422 §123.e).
- Jeremiah 38:16 tn Heb “So King Zedekiah secretly swore an oath to Jeremiah, saying.”
- Jeremiah 38:16 tn Heb “who has made this life/soul/ breath [נֶפֶשׁ, nefesh] for us.” The Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ refers to the living, breathing substance of a person that constitutes his very life (cf. BDB 659 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 1; 3).
- Jeremiah 38:16 tn Heb “who are seeking your life.”
- Jeremiah 38:17 tn Heb “Yahweh, the God of Armies, the God of Israel.” Cf. 7:3 and 35:17 and see the study note on 2:19.
- Jeremiah 38:17 tn Heb “Your life/soul will live.” The quote is a long condition-consequence sentence with compound consequential clauses. It reads, “If you will only go out to the officers of the king of Babylon, your soul [= you yourself; BDB 660 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 4.a] will live, and this city will not be burned with fire, and you and your household will live.” The sentence has been broken down and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style. The infinitive absolute in the condition emphasizes the one condition, i.e., going out or surrendering (cf. Joüon 2:423 §123.g, and compare usage in Exod 15:26). For the idiom “go out to” = “surrender to,” see the full idiom in 21:9, “go out and fall over to,” which is condensed in 38:2 to “go out to.” The expression here is the same as in 38:2.
- Jeremiah 38:18 tn Heb “Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for explanation.
- Jeremiah 38:18 tn Heb “will not escape from their hand.”sn Zedekiah held out this hope of escape until the end. He tried to escape but was unsuccessful (cf. 39:4-5).
- Jeremiah 38:19 tn Heb “Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for explanation.
- Jeremiah 38:19 tn Or “and they will badly abuse me.” For the usage of this verb in the situation presupposed, see Judg 19:25 and 1 Sam 31:4.
- Jeremiah 38:20 tn Heb “Please listen to the voice of the Lord with regard to what I have been telling you.” For the idiom “listen to the voice” = “obey,” see BDB 1034 s.v. שָׁמַע 1.m. Obedience here is expressed by following the advice in the qualifying clause, i.e., “what I have been telling you.”
- Jeremiah 38:20 tn Heb “your life [or you yourself] will live.” Cf. v. 17 and the translator’s note there for the idiom.
- Jeremiah 38:22 tn Heb “And they will say.” The words “taunt you” are supplied in the translation to give the flavor of the words that follow.
- Jeremiah 38:22 tn Heb “The men of your friendship incited you and prevailed over you. Your feet are sunk in the mud. They turned backward.” The term “men of your friendship” (cf. BDB 1023 s.v. שָׁלוֹם 5.a) is used to refer to Jeremiah’s “so-called friends” in 20:10, to the trusted friend who deserted the psalmist in Ps 41:10, and to the allies of Edom in Obad 7. According to most commentators it refers here to the false prophets and counselors who urged the king to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar. The verb translated “misled” is a verb that often refers to inciting or instigating someone to do something, frequently with negative connotations (so BDB 694 s.v. סוּת Hiph.2). It is generally translated “deceive” or “mislead” in 2 Kgs 18:32 and 2 Chr 32:11, 15. Here it refers to the fact that his pro-Egyptian counselors induced him to rebel. They proved too powerful for him and prevailed on him (יָכֹל לְ, yakhol le; see BDB 408 s.v. יָכֹל 2.b) to follow a policy that would prove detrimental to him, his family, and the city. The phrase “your feet are sunk in the mud” is figurative for being entangled in great difficulties (so BDB 371 s.v. טָבַע Hoph and compare the usage in the highly figurative description of trouble in Ps 69:2 [69:3 HT]).sn The taunt song here refers to the fact that Zedekiah had been incited into rebellion by pro-Egyptian nobles in his court. They prevailed on him to seek aid from the new Egyptian Pharaoh in 589 b.c. while withholding tribute from Nebuchadnezzar. This led to the downfall of the city, which is depicted in Jeremiah’s vision from the standpoint of its effects on the king himself and his family.
- Jeremiah 38:23 tn Heb “Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for explanation.
- Jeremiah 38:23 tn Heb “you yourself will not escape from their hand but will be seized by [caught in] the hand of the king of Babylon.” Neither use of “hand” is natural to the English idiom.
- Jeremiah 38:23 tc This translation follows the reading of the Greek version and a few Hebrew mss. The majority of the Hebrew mss read, “and you will burn down this city.” This reading is accepted by the majority of modern commentaries and English versions. Few of the commentaries, however, bother to explain the fact that the particle אֶת (ʾet), which normally marks the accusative object, is functioning here as the subject. For this point of grammar see BDB 85 s.v. I אֵת 1.b. Or this may be another case where אֵת introduces a new subject (see BDB 85 s.v. אֵת 3.α and see usage in 27:8; 36:22).
- Jeremiah 38:24 tn Heb “about these words.”
- Jeremiah 38:24 tn Or “so that you will not die.” Or “or you will die.” See the similar construction in 37:20 and the translator’s note there.sn This is probably not a threat that the king himself will kill Jeremiah, but a premonition that if the pro-Egyptian party that was seeking to kill Jeremiah found out about the conversation, they would go ahead and kill Jeremiah (cf. 38:2-4).
- Jeremiah 38:25 tn The phrase “and what the king said to you” is actually at the end of the verse, but most commentators see it as also under the governance of “tell us,” and many commentaries and English versions move the clause forward for the sake of English style as has been done here.
- Jeremiah 38:25 tn Or “lest we kill you”; Heb “and we will not kill you,” which, as stated in the translator’s note on 37:20, introduces a negative purpose (or result) clause. See 37:20 and 38:24 for parallel usage.
- Jeremiah 38:26 tn Verses 25-26 form a long compound-complex conditional sentence. The condition is found in v. 25 and contains a long quote. The consequence is found in v. 26 and contains another long quote. The Hebrew sentence literally reads: “And if the officials hear that I have talked with you and they come to you and say to you, ‘Please tell us what you said to the king—do not hide from us, and we will not kill you [so that we will not kill you]—and [tell us] what the king said to you,’ then tell them.” The sentence has been broken up to better conform with contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 38:26 tn Heb “I was causing to fall [= presenting] my petition before the king not to send me back to Jonathan’s house to die there.” The phrase “dungeon of” is supplied in the translation to help the reader connect this petition with Jeremiah’s earlier place of imprisonment, where the officials had put him with every intention of letting him die there (37:15-16, 20).sn See Jer 37:15-16, 20.
- Jeremiah 38:27 tn Heb “All the officials came to Jeremiah and questioned him.”
- Jeremiah 38:27 tn Heb “And he reported to them according to all these words that the king had commanded.”
- Jeremiah 38:27 tn Heb “And they were silent from him because the word/matter [i.e., the conversation between Jeremiah and the king] had not been heard.” According to BDB 578 s.v. מִן 1.a the preposition “from” is significant in this construction, implying a verb of motion. That is, “they were [fell] silent [and turned away] from him.”
- Jeremiah 38:28 tn Heb “And Jeremiah stayed/remained in the courtyard of the guardhouse…” The translation once again intends to reflect the situation. Jeremiah had a secret meeting with the king at the third entrance to the temple (v. 14). After the conversation with the king, he was returned to the courtyard of the guardhouse (cf. v. 13), where the officials came to question him (v. 27). He was not sent back to the dungeon in Jonathan’s house, as he feared, but was left confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse.
- Jeremiah 38:28 tc The precise meaning of this line and its relation to the context are somewhat uncertain. This line is missing from the Greek and Syriac versions and from a few Hebrew mss. Some English versions and commentaries omit it as a double writing of the final words of the preceding line (see, e.g., REB; W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 2:268). Others see it as misplaced from the beginning of 39:3 (see, e.g., NRSV, TEV, J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 245). The clause probably does belong syntactically with 39:3 (i.e., כַּאֲשֶׁר [kaʾasher] introduces a temporal clause that is resumed by the vav consecutive on וַיָּבֹאוּ (vayyavoʾu; see BDB 455 s.v. כַּאֲשֶׁר 3), but it should not be moved there because there is no textual evidence for doing so. The intervening verses are to be interpreted as parenthetical, giving the background for the events that follow (see, e.g., the translation in D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 4:280). The chapter is not so much concerned with describing how Jerusalem fell as it is with contrasting the fate of Zedekiah, who disregarded the word of the Lord, with the fates of Jeremiah and his benefactor Ebed Melech. Without actually moving the line before 39:3a, the best way to treat it is as a heading, as has been done here.
- Jeremiah 39:1 sn 2 Kgs 25:1 and Jer 52:4 give the more precise date of the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year, which would have been Jan 15, 588 b.c. The reckoning is based on the calendar that begins the year in the spring (Nisan = March/April).
- Jeremiah 39:2 sn According to modern reckoning, that would have been July 18, 586 b.c. The siege thus lasted almost a full eighteen months.
- Jeremiah 39:3 tn English versions and commentaries differ on the number of officials named here and the exact spelling of their names. For a good discussion of the options see F. B. Huey, Jeremiah, Lamentations (NAC), 341, n. 71. Most commentaries follow the general lead of J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB], 243), as the present translation has done here. However, the second name is not emended on the basis of v. 13, as Bright does, nor is the second Nergal Sharezer regarded as the same man as the first and the information on the two combined, as he does. The first Nergal Sharezer is generally identified, on the basis of Babylonian records, as the man who usurped the throne from Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Awel Marduk, or Evil Merodach as he is known in the OT (Jer 52:31; 2 Kgs 25:27). The present translation renders the two technical Babylonian terms “Rab Saris” (only in Jer 39:3, 13; 2 Kgs 18:17) and “Rab Mag” (only in Jer 39:3, 13) as “chief officer” and “high official,” without knowing precisely what offices they held. This has been done to give the modern reader some feeling of their high position without specifying exactly what their precise positions were (i.e., the generic has been used for the [unknown] specific).
- Jeremiah 39:3 tn Heb “sat.” The precise meaning of this phrase is not altogether clear, but J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB], 243) is undoubtedly correct in assuming that it had to do with setting up a provisional military government over the city.
- Jeremiah 39:3 tn The Hebrew style here is typically full or redundant, giving a general subject first and then listing the specifics. The Hebrew text reads: “Then all the officers of the king of Babylon came and sat in the Middle Gate, Nergal Sharezer…and all the rest of the officers of the king of Babylon.” In the translation the general subject has been eliminated and the list of the “real” subjects used instead; this eliminates the dashes or commas typical of some modern English versions.sn The location of the Middle Gate is uncertain since it is mentioned nowhere else in the OT.
- Jeremiah 39:4 sn The king’s garden is mentioned again in Neh 3:15 in conjunction with the pool of Siloam and the stairs that go down from the City of David. This would have been in the southern part of the city near the Tyropean Valley. The location agrees with the reference to the “two walls,” which were probably the walls on the eastern and western hills.
- Jeremiah 39:4 sn The rift valley (עֲרָבָה, ʿaravah) extends from Galilee along the Jordan River and descends to the Gulf of Aqaba. In this context the men head to the Jordan Valley near Jericho, intending to escape across the river to Moab or Ammon. It appears from 40:14 and 41:15 that the Ammonites were known to harbor fugitives from the Babylonians.
- Jeremiah 39:5 tn Heb “The Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for explanation.
- Jeremiah 39:5 tn The plural form of עֲרָבָה (ʿaravah, rift valley) refers to the sloping plains of the rift valley basin north of the Dead Sea, in this case west of the Jordan in the vicinity of the Jericho (HALOT 880 s.v.). See the note at Num 21:1.
- Jeremiah 39:5 sn 2 Kgs 25:5 and Jer 52:8 mention that the soldiers all scattered from him. That is why the text focuses on Zedekiah here.
- Jeremiah 39:5 sn Riblah was a strategic town on the Orontes River in Syria at a crossing of the major roads between Egypt and Mesopotamia. Pharaoh Necho had earlier received Jehoahaz there, putting him in chains (2 Kgs 23:33) prior to taking him captive to Egypt. There Nebuchadnezzar had set up his base camp for conducting his campaigns against the Palestinian states, and now he was sitting in judgment on prisoners brought to him.
- Jeremiah 39:7 tn Heb “fetters of bronze.” The more generic “chains” is used in the translation because “fetters” is a word unfamiliar to most modern readers.
- Jeremiah 39:8 tn Heb “Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4 for explanation.
- Jeremiah 39:8 tc The reading here is based on an emendation following the parallels in Jer 52:13 and 2 Kgs 25:9. The Hebrew text here does not have “the temple of the Lord” and reads merely “house of the people.” The text here is probably corrupt. It reads וְאֶת בֵּית הָעָם (veʾet bet haʿam, “and the house of the people”), which many explain as a collective use of בַּיִת (bayit). However, no parallels are cited by any of the commentaries, grammars, or lexicons for such a use. It is more likely that the words יְהוָה וְאֶת־בָּתֵּי (yehvah veʾet bate) have fallen out of the text due to similar beginnings. The words וְאֶת בֵּית יהוה (veʾet bet yhwh) are found in the parallel texts cited above. The Greek version is no help here because vv. 4-13 are omitted, probably due to the similarities in ending of vv. 3 and 13 (i.e., homoioteleuton of מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל, melekh bavel).
- Jeremiah 39:8 sn According to the parallels in 2 Kgs 25:8-9 and Jer 52:12-13, this occurred almost a month after the wall was breached and Zedekiah was caught in flight. The destruction took place under the direction of Nebuzaradan, the captain of the king’s special guard who is mentioned in the next verse.
- Jeremiah 39:9 tn For the meaning of this phrase see BDB 371 s.v. טַבָּח 2 and compare the usage in Gen 39:1.
- Jeremiah 39:9 tc The translation is based on an emendation of the text which leaves out “the rest of the people who were left” as a double writing of the same phrase at the beginning of the verse. Some commentators emend the phrase “the rest of the people who were left” (וְאֵת יֶתֶר הָעָם הַנִּשְׁאָרִים, veʾet yeter haʿam hannishʾarim) to “the rest of the craftsmen who were left” (וְאֵת יֶתֶר הָאָמוֹן הַנִּשְׁאָרִים, veʾet yeter haʾamon hannishʾarim) on the basis of the parallel in Jer 52:15 (which does not have הַנִּשְׁאָרִים, hannishʾarim). However, it is easier to explain the phrase as a dittography of the phrase at the beginning (which is exactly the same except הָעִיר [haʿir] follows it). The text is redundant because it refers twice to the same group of people. The Hebrew text reads, “And the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had deserted to him and the rest of the people Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, carried into exile to Babylon.” The text has also been divided up to create two shorter sentences that better conform with contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 39:10 tn Heb “Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard.” However, the subject is clear from the preceding, and contemporary English style would normally avoid repeating the proper name and title.
- Jeremiah 39:11 tn Heb “And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon commanded concerning Jeremiah by the hand of Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, saying.” Since Nebuchadnezzar is at Riblah (v. 6), and Nebuzaradan and the other officers named in the next verse are at Jerusalem, the vav consecutive imperfect should again be translated as a pluperfect (see 38:2 and the translator’s notes there for explanation). For the meaning of “through” or “through the agency of” for the phrase בְּיַד (beyad), see BDB 391 s.v. יָד 5.d. The sentence has been broken up to better conform with contemporary English style.
- Jeremiah 39:12 tn Heb “Get [or fetch] him.” The referent is supplied for clarity.
- Jeremiah 39:12 tn Or “take care of him”; Heb “set your eyes on him.” For the meaning of this idiom see BDB 963 s.v. שִׂים 2.c and compare 24:6, where the phrase “for good” is added.
- Jeremiah 39:12 tn Heb “Don’t do anything evil [= harmful] to him.”
- Jeremiah 39:13 tn See the translator’s notes on 39:3, 9 for the names and titles here.
- Jeremiah 39:14 sn Gedaliah. This is the first reference to this individual, whom Nebuchadnezzar appointed governor over the people who were left to live in Judah (cf. 40:5; 2 Kgs 25:22). His father was the man who spoke up for Jeremiah when he was accused of being a false prophet by some of the priests and prophets (26:24). His grandfather was the royal secretary under Josiah who brought the discovery of the book of the law to Josiah’s attention, read it to him, and was involved in helping Josiah institute his reforms (2 Kgs 22:8-10).
- Jeremiah 39:14 tn Heb “to bring him into the house.” However, it is unclear whether “the house” refers to Jeremiah’s house or to Gedaliah’s. The fact that Nebuzaradan later offers Jeremiah the option of going back to Gedaliah (40:5) suggests it is Gedaliah’s house, where Jeremiah would be looked out for in accord with Nebuchadnezzar’s command (v. 12).
- Jeremiah 39:14 tn Many translate this last clause as a conclusion or summary remark, “So Jeremiah stayed…” However, it is better to translate it as an adversative because it probably refers to the fact that, rather than staying with Gedaliah in the governor’s residence, Jeremiah stayed among the people. That is how he wound up being led off as a prisoner to Ramah. See further the study note on 40:1. According to IBHS 550 §33.2.1d, the vav (ו) consecutive can have either of these values (see examples 11 and 12 for the adversative or contrastive nuance).
- Jeremiah 39:15 sn Jer 39:15-18. This incident is out of chronological order (see Jer 38:7-13). It is placed here either from a desire not to interrupt the sequence of events centering on Jeremiah’s imprisonment and release (38:14-39:14), or to contrast God’s care and concern for the faithful (Ebed-Melech who, though a foreigner, trusted in God) with his harsh treatment of the faithless (Zedekiah who, though informed of God’s will, was too weak-willed to carry it out in the face of opposition by his courtiers).
- Jeremiah 39:15 tn Heb “Now the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah while he…saying.” The form of this clause is disjunctive, showing that it does not follow the preceding events in either chronological or logical sequence. For a discussion of the form and function of such disjunctive clauses, see IBHS 650-52 §39.2.3. This example most closely fits the description and function of example 12, Ruth 4:18, 21-22 on p. 652.
- Jeremiah 39:16 sn Even though Jeremiah was confined to the courtyard of the guardhouse, he was still free to entertain visitors (32:2, 8). Moreover, Ebed Melech was an official attached to the royal court and would have had access to the courtyard of the guardhouse (38:7, 13). Jeremiah would not have had to leave the courtyard of the guardhouse to “go and tell” him something.
- Jeremiah 39:16 tn Heb “Cushite”; traditional “Ethiopian” invites confusion with modern Ethiopia, whereas this term refers to Nubia, a kingdom up the Nile to the south of Egypt.
- Jeremiah 39:16 tn Heb “Behold, I will bring to pass my words against this city for evil/disaster and not for good/good fortune.” For the form of the verb מֵבִי ([mevi] Kethib, מֵבִיא [meviʾ] Qere), see GKC 206-7 §74.k, where the same form is noted for the Kethib in 2 Sam 5:2; 1 Kgs 21:21; Jer 19:15, all of which occur before a word beginning with א (ʾalef). For the nuance “carry out” (or “bring to pass”), see BDB 99 s.v. בּוֹא Hiph.2.b.
- Jeremiah 39:16 tn Heb “And they [= my words for disaster] will come to pass [= happen] before you on that day [i.e., the day that I bring them to pass/carry them out].”
- Jeremiah 39:17 tn Heb “But I will rescue you on that day” (referring to the same day mentioned in the preceding verse).
- Jeremiah 39:17 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 39:17 sn Some commentators see this as a reference to the princes from whose clutches Ebed-Melech delivered Jeremiah (38:7-13). However, it is clear that in this context it refers to those that he would fear when the Lord brought about the threatened disaster, i.e., the Babylonians who were already attacking the city.
- Jeremiah 39:18 sn Heb “you will not fall by the sword.” In the context this would include death in battle and execution as a prisoner of war.
- Jeremiah 39:18 tn Heb “your life will be to you for spoil.” For the meaning of this idiom see the study note on 21:9 and compare the usage in 21:9; 38:2; 45:4.
- Jeremiah 39:18 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 40:1 tn Heb “The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord.” This phrase regularly introduces the Lord’s directions to Jeremiah that immediately follow (cf. 7:1; 11:1; 18:1; 30:1; 34:1; 35:1). In 21:1 and 44:1 it introduces a word of the Lord that Jeremiah communicates to others. However, no directions to Jeremiah follow here, nor does any oracle that Jeremiah passes on to the people. Some commentators explain this as a heading parallel to that in 1:1-3 (which refers to messages and incidents in the life of Jeremiah up to the fall of Jerusalem), introducing the oracles that Jeremiah delivered after the fall of Jerusalem. However, no oracles follow until 42:9. It is possible that the intervening material supplies background data for the oracle that is introduced in 42:7. An analogy to this structure, but in a much shorter form, may be found in 34:8-12. Another possible explanation is that the words of the captain of the guard in vv. 2-3 are to be seen as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah. In that case, it would be a rather ironical confirmation of what Jeremiah had been saying all along. If it seems strange that a pagan soldier would say these words, it should be remembered that foreign soldiers knew through their intelligence sources what kings and prophets were saying (cf. Isa 36:7), and it is not unusual for God to speak through pagan prophets (cf. Balaam’s oracles, e.g. Num 23:7-10) or even a dumb animal (e.g., Balaam’s donkey [Num 22:28, 30]). Given the penchant for the use of irony in the book of Jeremiah, this is the most likely explanation. For further discussion on this view see G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 (WBC), 235-36.
- Jeremiah 40:1 sn Some commentators see the account of Jeremiah’s release here in 40:1-6 as an alternate and contradictory account to that of Jeremiah’s release in 39:11-14. However, most commentators see them as complementary and sequential. Jeremiah had been released from the courtyard of the guardhouse on orders of the military tribunal there shortly after Nebuzaradan got to Jerusalem and passed on Nebuchadnezzar’s orders to them. He had been released to the custody of Gedaliah, who was to take him back to the governor’s residence and look after him there. However, Jeremiah remained in Jerusalem among the people. He was mistakenly rounded up with them and led off as a prisoner to be deported with the rest of the exiles. However, when he got to Ramah, which was a staging area for deportees, Nebuzaradan recognized him among the prisoners and released him a second time.
- Jeremiah 40:1 tn Heb “when he took him and he was in chains.” The subject is probably Nebuzaradan or the indefinite third singular (GKC 460 §144.d). The Kethib of the word for בָּאזִקִּים (baʾziqqim