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The Lord Laments That He Has No Choice But to Judge Them

The Lord says,[a]

“These people are like soldiers who have readied their bows.
Their tongues are always ready to shoot out lies.[b]
They have become powerful in the land,
but they have not done so by honest means.[c]
Indeed, they do one evil thing after another[d]
and do not pay attention to me.[e]
Everyone must be on his guard around his friends.
He must not even trust any of his relatives.[f]
For every one of them will find some way to cheat him.[g]
And all his friends will tell lies about him.
One friend deceives another
and no one tells the truth.
These people have trained themselves[h] to tell lies.
They do wrong and are unable to repent.

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Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 9:3 tn The words “The Lord says” have been moved up from the end of the verse to make clear that a change in speaker has occurred.
  2. Jeremiah 9:3 tn Heb “They have readied [or strung] their tongue as their bow for lies.”
  3. Jeremiah 9:3 tn Heb “but not through honesty.”
  4. Jeremiah 9:3 tn Heb “they go from evil to evil.”
  5. Jeremiah 9:3 tn Or “do not acknowledge me”; Heb “do not know me.” But “knowing” in Hebrew thought often involves more than intellectual knowledge; it involves emotional and volitional commitment as well. For יָדַע (yadaʿ) meaning “acknowledge” see 1 Chr 28:9; Isa 29:21; Hos 2:20; Prov 3:6. This word is also found in ancient Near Eastern treaty contexts where it has the idea of a vassal king acknowledging the sovereignty of a greater king (cf. H. Huffmon, “The Treaty Background of Hebrew yada,” BASOR 181 [1966]: 31-37).
  6. Jeremiah 9:4 tn Heb “Be on your guard…Do not trust.” The verbs are second masculine plural of direct address and there seems no way to translate literally and not give the mistaken impression that Jeremiah is being addressed. This is another example of the tendency in Hebrew style to turn from description to direct address (a figure of speech called apostrophe).
  7. Jeremiah 9:4 tn Heb “cheating, each of them will cheat.”sn There is perhaps an intentional pun and allusion here to Gen 27:36 and the wordplay on the name Jacob there. The text here reads עָקוֹב יַעְקֹב (ʿaqob yaʿqob).
  8. Jeremiah 9:5 tn Heb “their tongues.” However, this is probably not a natural idiom in contemporary English, and the tongue may stand as a part for the whole anyway.

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