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18 You show unfailing love to thousands.[a] But you also punish children for the sins of their parents.[b] You are the great and powerful God whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.[c]

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  1. 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.
  2. Jeremiah 32:18 tn Heb “pays back into the bosom of their children the sin of their parents.”
  3. 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.

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