Jeremiah 13

 

כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה אֵלַי הָלֹוךְ וְקָנִיתָ לְּךָ אֵזֹור פִּשְׁתִּים וְשַׂמְתֹּו עַל־מָתְנֶיךָ וּבַמַּיִם לֹא תְבִאֵהוּ׃   13:1

Jere. 13:1   Thus says the Lord to me: “Go and get yourself a girdle of linen and put it about your loins, but do not let it come in water.”

וָאֶקְנֶה אֶת־הָאֵזֹור כִּדְבַר יְהוָה וָאָשִׂם עַל־מָתְנָי׃   13:2

Jere. 13:2   So I would get the girdle according to the word of the Lord and would put about my loins.

וַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהוָה אֵלַי שֵׁנִית לֵאמֹר׃   13:3

Jere. 13:3   And the word of the Lord occurred to me again saying,

קַח אֶת־הָאֵזֹור אֲשֶׁר קָנִיתָ אֲשֶׁר עַל־מָתְנֶיךָ וְקוּם לֵךְ פְּרָתָה וְטָמְנֵהוּ שָׁם בִּנְקִיק הַסָּלַע׃   13:4

Jere. 13:4   “Take the girdle that you got, that is about your loins, and arise, go to the Euphrates, and hide it there in the cleft of a rock.

There’s some uncertainty regarding the meaning of the fifth Hebrew word from the end, ht'rê'P., which I translate as to the Euphrates.  The Euphrates was about 300 miles from Anathoth, Jeremiah’s city, but a city called Perath was only about three miles from there.  So some think that 300 miles was too far for Jeremiah to walk (twice, at that -- see below), and that Perath was intended.  I see the controversy as being of little importance.  My reason is that I am fairly convinced that the events described in this part of the chapter were part of a dream or vision or of three or more dreams or visions.  I believe this because of Jeremiah’s use of first-person imperfect verbs.  These show up in vss. 13:2, 13:5, and 13:7.  And I suspect that this was his way of signifying that fact.

וָאֵלֵךְ וָאֶטְמְנֵהוּ בִּפְרָת כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֹותִי׃   13:5

Jere. 13:5   So I would go and would hide it by the Euphrates, as the Lord had commanded me.

וַיְהִי מִקֵּץ יָמִים רַבִּים וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֵלַי קוּם לֵךְ פְּרָתָה וְקַח מִשָּׁם אֶת־הָאֵזֹור אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִיךָ   13:6     לְטָמְנֹו־שָׁם׃

Jere. 13:6   Then it was, following many days, that the Lord said to me, “Arise, go to the Euphrates and take the girdle from there where I commanded you to hide it.”

וָאֵלֵךְ פְּרָתָה וָאֶחְפֹּר וָאֶקַּח אֶת־הָאֵזֹור מִן־הַמָּקֹום אֲשֶׁר־טְמַנְתִּיו שָׁמָּה וְהִנֵּה נִשְׁחַת הָאֵזֹור לֹא   13:7  יִצְלַח לַכֹּל׃

Jere. 13:7   So I would go to the Euphrates and would dig and would take the girdle from the place where I had hidden it there and behold, the girdle was spoiled.  It could not be useful for anything.

וַיְהִי דְבַר־יְהוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר׃   13:8

Jere. 13:8   Then the word of the Lord occurred to me saying,

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה כָּכָה אַשְׁחִית אֶת־גְּאֹון יְהוּדָה וְאֶת־גְּאֹון יְרוּשָׁלִַם הָרָב׃   13:9

Jere. 13:9   “Thus says the Lord:  ‘Like this shall I spoil the majesty of Judah and the great exaltation of Jerusalem.’

הָעָם הַזֶּה הָרָע הַמֵּאֲנִים לִשְׁמֹועַ אֶת־דְּבָרַי הַהֹלְכִים בִּשְׁרִרוּת לִבָּם וַיֵּלְכוּ אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים   13:10 לְעָבְדָם וּלְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֹת לָהֶם וִיהִי כָּאֵזֹור הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יִצְלַח לַכֹּל׃

Jere. 13:10   ‘This evil people, those who are refusing to heed My words, who are proceeding with stubbornness of heart, and have gone after other gods, to serve them and to bow down to them, so it shall be like this girdle that can not be useful for anything.’

כִּי כַּאֲשֶׁר יִדְבַּק הָאֵזֹור אֶל־מָתְנֵי־אִישׁ כֵּן הִדְבַּקְתִּי אֵלַי אֶת־כָּל־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת־כָּל־בֵּית יְהוּדָה   13:11 נְאֻם־יְהוָה לִהְיֹות לִי לְעָם וּלְשֵׁם וְלִתְהִלָּה וּלְתִפְאָרֶת וְלֹא שָׁמֵעוּ׃

Jere. 13:11   ‘For as the girdle would cling to the loins of a man, so have I caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me,’ says the Lord, ‘to be for a people for Me and for a name and for praise and for glory, but they do not hear.’

וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה ס כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּל־נֵבֶל יִמָּלֵא יָיִן וְאָמְרוּ אֵלֶיךָ   13:12 הֲיָדֹעַ לֹא נֵדַע כִּי כָל־נֵבֶל יִמָּלֵא יָיִן׃

Jere. 13:12   ‘So speak to them this word:  ‘Thus says the Lord, God of Israel:  ‘Every bottle shall be full of wine,’ and they shall say to you, ‘Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be full of wine?’

וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה הִנְנִי מְמַלֵּא אֶת־כָּל־יֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת וְאֶת־הַמְּלָכִים הַיֹּשְׁבִים   13:13  לְדָוִד עַל־כִּסְאֹו וְאֶת־הַכֹּהֲנִים וְאֶת־הַנְּבִיאִים וְאֵת כָּל־יֹשְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָם שִׁכָּרֹון׃

Jere. 13:13   Then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord:  ‘Behold, I am filling every inhabitant of this land and all the kings who are sitting for David upon his throne and the priests and the prophets and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with drunkenness.’

וְנִפַּצְתִּים אִישׁ אֶל־אָחִיו וְהָאָבֹות וְהַבָּנִים יַחְדָּו נְאֻם־יְהוָה לֹא־אֶחְמֹול וְלֹא־אָחוּס וְלֹא אֲרַחֵם   13:14 מֵהַשְׁחִיתָם׃

Jere. 13:14   ‘And I shall dash them one against the other, and the fathers and the sons together.’ Says the Lord, ‘I shall not spare, nor have pity, nor have mercy, so as to not destroy them.’”

שִׁמְעוּ וְהַאֲזִינוּ אַל־תִּגְבָּהוּ כִּי יְהוָה דִּבֵּר׃   13:15

Jere. 13:15   Hear and give ear!

                                You must not be arrogant!

                        For the Lord has spoken.

תְּנוּ לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם כָּבֹוד בְּטֶרֶם יַחְשִׁךְ וּבְטֶרֶם יִתְנַגְּפוּ רַגְלֵיכֶם עַל־הָרֵי נָשֶׁף וְקִוִּיתֶם לְאֹור    13:16ּ וְשָׂמָה לְצַלְמָוֶת יָשִׁית  לַעֲרָפֶל׃

Jere. 13:16   Give honor to the Lord, your God,

                                before He causes darkness,

                        and before your feet stumble

                                on the mountains of twilight.

                       While you would wait for light,

                                 it will transform to a shadow of death;

                         it will lay as a thick darkness.

וְאִם לֹא תִשְׁמָעוּהָ בְּמִסְתָּרִים תִּבְכֶּה־נַפְשִׁי מִפְּנֵי גֵוָה וְדָמֹעַ תִּדְמַע וְתֵרַד עֵינִי דִּמְעָה כִּי נִשְׁבָּה   13:17  עֵדֶר יְהוָה׃

Jere. 13:17   And if you will not heed it,

                                  in hiding places shall my soul shed tears

                        because of the pride,

                                  so that my eye weeps bitterly

                        and lets down tears,

                                  because the flock of the Lord

                        is to be taken captive.’

אֱמֹר לַמֶּלֶךְ וְלַגְּבִירָה הַשְׁפִּילוּ שֵׁבוּ כִּי יָרַד מַרְאֲשֹׁותֵיכֶם עֲטֶרֶת תִּפְאַרְתְּכֶם׃   13:18

Jere. 13:18   Say to the king and the queen,

                                   “Be humbled, sit!

                        For He shall take down your dominions,

                                   the crown of your splendor.”

עָרֵי הַנֶּגֶב סֻגְּרוּ וְאֵין פֹּתֵחַ הָגְלָת יְהוּדָה כֻּלָּהּ הָגְלָת שְׁלֹומִים׃   13:19

Jere. 13:19   The cities of the south are so closed up

                                    that there is no opening;

                        Judah is removed;

                                    all of it is removed completely.

 שְׂאִי) [שְׂאוּ] עֵינֵיכֶם (וּרְאִי) [וּרְאוּ] הַבָּאִים מִצָּפֹון אַיֵּה הָעֵדֶר נִתַּן־לָךְ צֹאן תִּפְאַרְתֵּךְ׃   13:20

Jere. 13:20   Lift up your eyes

                                    and see who are entering from the north!

                       Where are the flocks entrusted to you,

                                    the sheep of your splendor?

There are supposed to be two errors in this verse, in the words in parentheses (please forgive that the first right parenthesis is missing).  Traditionally these words are changed from imperative feminine singular to imperative masculine plural as shown in the brackets.  But I’m not at all certain that I agree with this assessment.  I imagine the assumption of these errors is supported by the masculine plural pronoun in the word for your eyes, which would require masculine plural imperatives.  However, in examining other verses in this chapter, I notice that Jeremiah uses the same kinds of second-person feminine singular verbs and pronouns elsewhere as well.  In fact, after using the masculine plural in two verses until this verse and once more in v.13:23, he starts using the feminine singular beginning with the next verse, and continues to use it for four other verses, vss. 13:22, 13:25, 13:26, ad 13:27.  So I believe the feminine singular was actually intended in this verse, and the error is in the word for your eyes:  It should be feminine singular instead of masculine plural.

מַה־תֹּאמְרִי כִּי־יִפְקֹד עָלַיִךְ וְאַתְּ לִמַּדְתְּ אֹתָם עָלַיִךְ אַלֻּפִים לְרֹאשׁ הֲלֹוא חֲבָלִים יֹאחֱזוּךְ כְּמֹו    13:21  אֵשֶׁת לֵדָה׃

Jere. 13:21   What will you say

                                  when He reckons with you

                        and you have taught them to be chiefs over you, to lead?

                                  Shall not pangs seize you as a woman in travail?

I suspect that the pronoun them in the third line refers to those “entering from the north” (in v. 13:20).

וְכִי תֹאמְרִי בִּלְבָבֵךְ מַדּוּעַ קְרָאֻנִי אֵלֶּה בְּרֹב עֲוֹנֵךְ נִגְלוּ שׁוּלַיִךְ נֶחְמְסוּ עֲקֵבָיִךְ׃   13:22

Jere. 13:22   And when you will say in your heart,

                                  “Why have these things befallen me?”

                        Because of the greatness of your iniquity

                                  your skirts have been uncovered,

                         your heels have been struck.

הֲיַהֲפֹךְ כּוּשִׁי עֹורֹו וְנָמֵר חֲבַרְבֻּרֹתָיו גַּם־אַתֶּם תּוּכְלוּ לְהֵיטִיב לִמֻּדֵי הָרֵעַ׃   13:23

Jere. 13:23   Can an Ethiopian transform his skin,

                                or a leopard its spots?

                        Neither are you able to do good,

                                you disciples of evil.

וַאֲפִיצֵם כְּקַשׁ־עֹובֵר לְרוּחַ מִדְבָּר׃   13:24

Jere. 13:24   “So I shall disperse them as chaff

                                carried before the wind of the pasture.”

זֶה גֹורָלֵךְ מְנָת־מִדַּיִךְ מֵאִתִּי נְאֻם־יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר שָׁכַחַתְּ אֹותִי וַתִּבְטְחִי בַּשָּׁקֶר׃   13:25

Jere. 13:25  “This is your lot,

                                the portion of your measures from Me,”

                       says the Lord,

                                “because you have forsaken Me

                       and trust in falsehood.”

וְגַם־אֲנִי חָשַׂפְתִּי שׁוּלַיִךְ עַל־פָּנָיִךְ וְנִרְאָה קְלֹונֵךְ׃   13:26

Jere. 13:26   “So I also draw up your skirt

                                 over your face

                        to expose your shamefulness,

נִאֻפַיִךְ וּמִצְהֲלֹותַיִךְ זִמַּת זְנוּתֵךְ עַל־גְּבָעֹות בַּשָּׂדֶה רָאִיתִי שִׁקּוּצָיִךְ אֹוי לָךְ יְרוּשָׁלִַם לֹא תִטְהֲרִי   13:27 אַחֲרֵי מָתַי עֹד׃

Jere. 13:27   your adulteries and your neighings,

                                the wickedness of your harlotry

                        upon the hills in the fields.

                                I see your abominations.

                        Woe is you, Jerusalem!

                               You can not be made clean.

                        After how much longer again!”

As I see it, Jeremiah reveals in this verse what all the previous feminine singular verbs and pronouns refer to -- Jerusalem.

 

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