Jeremiah 11

 

הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר הָיָה אֶל־יִרְמְיָהוּ מֵאֵת יְהוָה לֵאמֹר׃   11:1

Jere. 11:1   The word that occurred to Jeremiah from the Lord saying:

שִׁמְעוּ אֶת־דִּבְרֵי הַבְּרִית הַזֹּאת וְדִבַּרְתָּם אֶל־אִישׁ יְהוּדָה וְעַל־יֹשְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָם׃   11:2

The first word in this verse should be be designated as an error.  Somehow it was overlooked.  See my mention of it in the remarks following v.11:5 below.

Jere. 11:2   “Hear the words of this covenant and speak them to everyone of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,

וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אָרוּר הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִשְׁמַע אֶת־דִּבְרֵי הַבְּרִית   11:3

הַזֹּאת׃

Jere. 11:3   and you shall say to them:  ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel:  ‘Cursed is anyone who will not adhere to the words of this covenant

אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִי אֶת־אֲבֹותֵיכֶם בְּיֹום הֹוצִיאִי־אֹותָם מֵאֶרֶץ־מִצְרַיִם מִכּוּר הַבַּרְזֶל לֵאמֹר שִׁמְעוּ בְקֹולִי   11:4 וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹותָם כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר־אֲצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם וִהְיִיתֶם לִי לְעָם וְאָנֹכִי אֶהְיֶה לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים׃

Jere. 11:4   which I commanded your fathers at the time I extricated them from the land of Egypt, from the furnace of iron, saying:  ‘Be obedient to my voice and according to all that I shall command you, do them that you shall be My people and I shall be your God,

לְמַעַן הָקִים אֶת־הַשְּׁבוּעָה אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לַאֲבֹותֵיכֶם לָתֵת לָהֶם אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבַשׁ כַּיֹּום הַזֶּה   11:5 וָאַעַן וָאֹמַר אָמֵן יְהוָה׃

Jere. 11:5   so that I make the oath binding which I swore to your fathers to give to them a land issuing milk and honey as at this time.’”  And I answered and said, “Amen, O Lord!”

Whenever the people are being addressed in this chapter, almost all the second-person pronouns are plural. In the  preceding verses, vss. 11:4 and 11:5, and in vss. 11:6 (the imperative “Hear”) and 11:7 as well, they are all plural.  There is an odd error in v. 11:2 where the imperative “Hear” is plural although the Lord must be addressing Jeremiah.  Two exceptions to the rule I have mentioned here are in vss. 11:13 and 11:17, which I mention there.  Because of all the plurals mentioned above, according to my theory (which is well substantiated by now), the Lord is addressing each individual among the people.

ּשִׁמְעו וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֵלַי קְרָא אֶת־כָּל־הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה בְּעָרֵי יְהוּדָה וּבְחֻצֹות יְרוּשָׁלִַם לֵאמֹר   11:6     אֶת־דִּבְרֵי הַבְּרִית הַזֹּאת וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹותָם׃

Jere. 11:6   Then the Lord said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Hear the words of this covenant and do them!’

כִּי הָעֵד הַעִדֹתִי בַּאֲבֹותֵיכֶם בְּיֹום הַעֲלֹותִי אֹותָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם וְעַד־הַיֹּום הַזֶּה הַשְׁכֵּם וְהָעֵד   11:7       לֵאמֹר שִׁמְעוּ בְּקֹולִי׃

Jere. 11:7   ‘For I protested vigorously with your fathers from the time I brought them up from the land of Egypt until this time, rising early and protesting, saying, ‘Obey My voice!’

וְלֹא שָׁמְעוּ וְלֹא־הִטּוּ אֶת־אָזְנָם וַיֵּלְכוּ אִישׁ בִּשְׁרִירוּת לִבָּם הָרָע וָאָבִיא עֲלֵיהֶם אֶת־כָּל־דִּבְרֵי   11:8 הַבְּרִית־הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר־צִוִּיתִי לַעֲשֹׂות וְלֹא עָשׂוּ

Jere. 11:8   ‘But they have not obeyed, not even turned their ears, but whosoever went with the stubbornness of their evil heart, so I will bring upon them all the things of this covenant which I commanded to be done that they did not do.’”

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֵלָי נִמְצָא־קֶשֶׁר בְּאִישׁ יְהוּדָה וּבְיֹשְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָם׃   11:9

Jere. 11:9   And the Lord said to me, “A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”

שָׁבוּ עַל־עֲוֹנֹת אֲבֹותָם הָרִאשֹׁנִים אֲשֶׁר מֵאֲנוּ לִשְׁמֹועַ אֶת־דְּבָרַי וְהֵמָּה הָלְכוּ אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים   11:10     אֲחֵרִים לְעָבְדָם הֵפֵרוּ בֵית־יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבֵית יְהוּדָה אֶת־בְּרִיתִי אֲשֶׁר כָּרַתִּי אֶת־אֲבֹותָם׃

Jere. 11:10   “They have turned back to the iniquities of their earliest ancestors who refused to obey My words and they went after other gods to serve them.  The house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken My covenant that I made with their fathers.”

לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה הִנְנִי מֵבִיא אֲלֵיהֶם רָעָה אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יוּכְלוּ לָצֵאת מִמֶּנָּה וְזָעֲקוּ אֵלַי וְלֹא אֶשְׁמַע   11:11 אֲלֵיהֶם׃

Jere. 11:11   Therefore, thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am bringing evil among them from which they will be unable to escape.  Though they cry out to Me, yet I will not listen to them.”

וְהָלְכוּ עָרֵי יְהוּדָה וְיֹשְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם וְזָעֲקוּ אֶל־הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר הֵם מְקַטְּרִים לָהֶם וְהֹושֵׁעַ   11:12                 ּ לֹא־יֹושִׁיעו לָהֶם בְּעֵת רָעָתָם׃

Jere. 11:12   “Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall go and cry out to the gods to which they made sacrifices, but altogether they will not save them in the time of their distress.”

כִּי מִסְפַּר עָרֶיךָ הָיוּ אֱלֹהֶיךָ יְהוּדָה וּמִסְפַּר חֻצֹות יְרוּשָׁלִַם שַׂמְתֶּם מִזְבְּחֹות לַבֹּשֶׁת מִזְבְּחֹות   11:13        לְקַטֵּר לַבָּעַל׃

Jere. 11:13   “For your gods are as many as your cities, Judah, and you have erected as many altars as the streets of Jerusalem, shameful altars, to make sacrifices to Baal.”

In this verse, the two instances of the pronoun your are singular, but the you in the second phrase is plural.  I think I can understand why this is so.  Your gods and your cities cannot refer to any one person.  No one had that many gods and no one had more than one city, so the references must be to the people as a whole, which had many idols and many cities.  The last pronoun in you have erected relates to each of the individuals who had erected the altars.  In this verse, the Hebrew is quite accurate and concise.

וְאַתָּה אַל־תִּתְפַּלֵּל בְּעַד־הָעָם הַזֶּה וְאַל־תִּשָּׂא בַעֲדָם רִנָּה וּתְפִלָּה כִּי אֵינֶנִּי שֹׁמֵעַ בְּעֵת קָרְאָם   11:14     אֵלַי בְּעַד רָעָתָם׃

Jere. 11:14   “So you may not pray on behalf of this people, so you may not lift up a supplication or prayer on their behalf, for I do not listen at the time of their cry to Me through their distress.”

מֶה לִידִידִי בְּבֵיתִי עֲשֹׂותָהּ הַמְזִמָּתָה הָרַבִּים וּבְשַׂר־קֹדֶשׁ יַעַבְרוּ מֵעָלָיִךְ כִּי רָעָתֵכִי אָז תַּעֲלֹזִי׃   11:15

Jere. 11:15   “Of what kind is My beloved’s celebration in My house?

                                 How many more devices that the holy flesh

                        should be taken away from you?

                                 Though you do your evil, yet you would rejoice.”

This verse contains some odd peculiarities in the grammar, specifically in the numbers of nouns, verbs, and adjectives.  The Hebrew phrase in the middle of the verse, ~yBêir;h' ht'M'zIm.h; %yIl_'['me Wrb.[;y: vd,qo-rf;b.W, translated in the second and third English lines, presents most of the difficulties.  The term for devices is singular, the term for many more is plural, the subject holy flesh is singular while the term for its verb should be taken away is plural.  I have experienced difficulty in trying to make sense of this anomaly, but have been unsuccessful, and so I have translated as best I could.  Here is how some other translations deal with these peculiarities:  For an example that is repeated in some bibles, “Seeing she hath wrought lewdness for many, and the hallowed flesh is passed from thee?”  As usual, I take as few liberties as possible with my translation of the Hebrew while others seem to fall back on a vivid imagination.

זַיִת רַעֲןָן יְפֵה פְרִי־תֹאַר קָרָא יְהוָה שְׁמֵךְ לְקֹול הֲמוּלָּה גְדֹלָה הִצִּית אֵשׁ עָלֶיהָ וְרָעוּ דָּלִיֹּותָיו׃   11:16

Jere. 11:16   A beautiful luxuriant fruit-adorned olive tree,

                                 the Lord called your name.

                        To a sound of great roaring,

                                 He has kindled a fire upon her

                        and its branches are shattered.

וַיהוָה צְבָאֹות הַנֹּוטֵעַ אֹותָךְ דִּבֶּר עָלַיִךְ רָעָה בִּגְלַל רָעַת בֵּית־יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבֵית יְהוּדָה אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ   11:17  לָהֶם לְהַכְעִסֵנִי לְקַטֵּר לַבָּעַל׃

Jere. 11:17   So the Lord of hosts, Who planted you, pronounces evil against you because of the evil of the house of Israel and the house of Judah that they have done to themselves, “provoking Me by sacrificing to Baal.”

Here the two second-person pronouns are singular as Jeremiah appears to be addressing the people as a whole.

וַיהוָה הֹודִיעַנִי וָאֵדָעָה אָז הִרְאִיתַנִי מַעַלְלֵיהֶם׃   11:18

Jere. 11:18   And the Lord gave me knowledge and I knew it;

                        at that time He showed me their practices,

וַאֲנִי כְּכֶבֶשׂ אַלּוּף יוּבַל לִטְבֹוחַ וְלֹא־יָדַעְתִּי כִּי־עָלַי חָשְׁבוּ מַחֲשָׁבֹות נַשְׁחִיתָה עֵץ בְּלַחְמֹוּ   11:19           וְנִכְרְתֶנּו מֵאֶרֶץ חַיִּים וּשְׁמֹו לֹא־יִזָּכֵר עֹוד׃

Jere. 11:19   that I, like a docile lamb being lead to slaughter,

                               and I did not know that

                        they had planned schemes against me

                                – “Let us destroy the tree and its seed

                        and cut him off from the land of the living

                                that his name will no more be remembered.”

וַיהוָה צְבָאֹות שֹׁפֵט צֶדֶק בֹּחֵן כְּלָיֹות וָלֵב אֶרְאֶה נִקְמָתְךָ מֵהֶם כִּי אֵלֶיךָ גִּלִּיתִי אֶת־רִיבִי׃   11:20

Jere. 11:20   But, O Lord of hosts, righteous Judge,

                                Tester of restraints and passions,

                        may I see Your vengeance on them,

                                 for I have made known my cause to You.

לָכֵן כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה עַל־אַנְשֵׁי עֲנָתֹות הַמְבַקְשִׁים אֶת־נַפְשְׁךָ לֵאמֹר לֹא תִנָּבֵא בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה וְלֹא   11:21  תָמוּת בְּיָדֵנוּ׃

Jere. 11:21   Therefore, thus says the Lord about the men of Anathoth who desire your life, saying, “Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord that you do not die by our hand!”

Anathoth is the birthplace of Jeremiah.

לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות הִנְנִי פֹקֵד עֲלֵיהֶם הַבַּחוּרִים יָמֻתוּ בַחֶרֶב בְּנֵיהֶם וּבְנֹותֵיהֶם יָמֻתוּ   11:22

בָּרָעָב׃

Jere. 11:22   Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts:

                        “Behold, I am attending to them.

                                 The young men shall die by the sword;

                         their sons and their daughters shall die by famine.”

וּשְׁאֵרִית לֹא תִהְיֶה לָהֶם כִּי־אָבִיא רָעָה אֶל־אַנְשֵׁי עֲנָתֹות שְׁנַת פְּקֻדָּתָם׃   11:23

Jere. 11:23   “Then there shall not be a remnant,

                                  for I shall bring adversity on the men of Anathoth,

                        the year of their reckoning.”

 

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