New English Translation
9 Hammered-out silver is brought from Tarshish[a]
and gold is brought from Ufaz[b] to cover those idols.[c]
They are the handiwork of carpenters and goldsmiths.[d]
They are clothed in blue and purple clothes.[e]
They are all made by skillful workers.[f]
10 The Lord is the only true God.
He is the living God and the everlasting King.
When he shows his anger the earth shakes.
None of the nations can stand up to his fury.
11 You people of Israel should tell those nations this:
‘These gods did not make heaven and earth.
They will disappear[g] from the earth and from under the heavens.’[h]
- Jeremiah 10:9 tc Two Qumran scrolls of Jeremiah (4QJera and 4QJerb) reflect a Hebrew text that is very different than the traditional MT from which modern Bibles have been translated. The Hebrew text in these two manuscripts is similar to that from which LXX was translated. This is true both in small details and in major aspects where the LXX differs from MT. Most notably, 4QJera, 4QJerb and LXX present a version of Jeremiah about 13% shorter than the longer version found in MT. One example of this shorter text is Jer 10:3-11 in which MT and 4QJera both have all nine verses, while LXX and 4QJerb both lack vv. 6-8 and 10, which extol the greatness of God. In addition, the latter part of v. 9 is arranged differently in LXX and 4QJerb. The translation here follows MT, which is supported by 4QJera.
- Jeremiah 10:9 tn This is a place of unknown location. It is mentioned again in Dan 10:5. Many emend the word to “Ophir” following the Syriac version and the Aramaic Targum. Ophir was famous for its gold (cf. 1 Kgs 9:28; Job 28:16).
- Jeremiah 10:9 tn The words “to cover those idols” are not in the text but are implicit from the context. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 10:9 tn The words “They are” are not in the text. The text reads merely, “the work of the carpenter and of the hands of the goldsmith.” The words are supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 10:9 tn Heb “Blue and purple their clothing.”
- Jeremiah 10:9 sn There is an ironic pun in this last line. The Hebrew word translated “skillful workers” is the same word that is translated “wise people” in v. 7. The artisans do their work skillfully but they are not “wise.”
- Jeremiah 10:11 tn Aram “The gods who did not make…earth will disappear…” In conformity with contemporary English style, the sentence is broken up in the translation to avoid a long, complex English sentence.
- Jeremiah 10:11 tn This verse is in Aramaic. It is the only Aramaic sentence in Jeremiah. Scholars debate the appropriateness of this verse to this context. Many see it as a gloss added by a postexilic scribe that was later incorporated into the text. Both R. E. Clendenen (“Discourse Strategies in Jeremiah 10, ” JBL 106 : 401-8) and W. L. Holladay (Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 1:324-25, 334-35) have given detailed arguments that the passage is not only original but the climax and center of the contrast between the Lord and idols in vv. 2-16. God gives Israel a message for the nations in the lingua franca of the time. Holladay shows that the passage is a very carefully constructed chiasm (see accompanying study note). This fact argues that “these” at the end is the subject of the verb “will disappear,” not an attributive adjective modifying heaven. He also makes a very good case that the verse is poetry and not the prose that it is rendered in the majority of modern English versions.sn This passage is carefully structured and placed to contrast the Lord, who is living and eternal (v. 10) and made the heavens and earth (v. 12), with the idols, who did not and will disappear. It also has a very careful, concentric structure in the original text where “the gods” is balanced by “these,” “heavens” by “from under the heavens,” and “the earth” by “from the earth.” In the very center, “did not make” is balanced and contrasted by “will disappear.” The structure is further reinforced by the sound play/wordplay between “did not make” (Aram לָא עֲבַדוּ [laʾ ʿavadu]) and “will disappear” (Aram יֵאבַדוּ [yeʾvadu]). This is the rhetorical climax of Jeremiah’s sarcastic attack on the folly of idolatry.