New English Translation
27 How long will they go on plotting[a] to make my people forget who I am[b] through the dreams they tell one another? That is just as bad as what their ancestors[c] did when they forgot who I am by worshiping the god Baal.[d] 28 Let the prophet who has had a dream go ahead and tell his dream. Let the person who has received my message report that message faithfully. What is like straw cannot compare to what is like grain![e] I, the Lord, affirm it![f] 29 My message is like a fire that purges dross.[g] It is like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces.[h] I, the Lord, so affirm it![i]Read full chapter
- Jeremiah 23:27 tn The relation of the words to one another in v. 26 and the beginning of v. 27 has created difficulties for translators and commentators. The proper solution is reflected in the NJPS. Verses 26-27 read somewhat literally, “How long is there in the hearts of the prophets who are prophesying the lie and [in the hearts of] the prophets of the delusions of their [own] heart the plotting to cause my people to forget my name…” Most commentaries complain that the text is difficult and that there is no subject for “is there.” However, the long construct qualification “in the hearts of” has led to the lack of observation that the proper subject is “the plotting to make my people forget.” There are no exact parallels, but Jer 14:22 and Neh 5:5 follow the same structure. The “How long” precedes the other means of asking a question for the purpose of emphasis (cf. BDB 210 s.v. הֲ 1.b, and compare, for example, the usage in 2 Sam 7:7). There has also been a failure to see that “the prophets of the delusion of…” is a parallel construct noun after “heart of.” Stripping the syntax down to its barest minimum and translating literally, the sentence would read, “How long will the plotting…continue in the hearts of the prophets who…and [in hearts of] the prophets of…” The sentence has been restructured in the translation to conform to contemporary English style, but attempt has been made to maintain the same subordinations.
- Jeremiah 23:27 tn Heb “my name.”sn In the OT, the “name” reflected the person’s character (cf. Gen 27:36; 1 Sam 25:25) or his reputation (Gen 11:4; 2 Sam 8:13). To speak in someone’s name was to act as his representative or carry his authority (1 Sam 25:9; 1 Kgs 21:8). To call one’s name over something was to claim it for one’s own (2 Sam 12:28). Hence, here to forget God’s name is equivalent to forgetting who he is in his essential character (cf. Exod 3:13-15; 6:3; 34:5-7). By preaching lies they had obliterated part of his essential character and caused people to forget who he really was.
- Jeremiah 23:27 tn Heb “fathers” (also in v. 39).
- Jeremiah 23:27 tn Heb “through Baal.” This is an elliptical expression for the worship of Baal. See 11:17; 12:16; and 19:5 for other references to the people’s relation to Baal. There is a deliberate paralleling in the syntax here between “through their dreams” and “through Baal.”
- Jeremiah 23:28 tn Heb “What to the straw with [in comparison with] the grain?” This idiom represents an emphatic repudiation or denial of relationship. See, for example, the usage in 2 Sam 16:10 and note BDB 553 s.v. מָה 1.d(c).
- Jeremiah 23:28 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”
- Jeremiah 23:29 tn Heb “Is not my message like a fire?” The rhetorical question expects a positive answer that is made explicit in the translation. The words “that purges dross” are not in the text but are implicit to the metaphor. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Jeremiah 23:29 tn Heb “Is it not like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” See preceding note.
- Jeremiah 23:29 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”