Jeremiah 14

 

אֲשֶׁר הָיָה דְבַר־יְהוָה אֶל־יִרְמְיָהוּ עַל־דִּבְרֵי הַבַּצָּרֹות׃   14:1

Jere. 14:1   The word of the Lord that occurred to Jeremiah concerning the droughts:

אָבְלָה יְהוּדָה וּשְׁעָרֶיהָ אֻמְלְלוּ קָדְרוּ לָאָרֶץ וְצִוְחַת יְרוּשָׁלִַם עָלָתָה׃   14:2

Jere. 14:2   Judah laments and its gates languish;

                              they are dark to the ground;

                      and the outcry of Jerusalem goes up.

וְאַדִּרֵיהֶם שָׁלְחוּ (צְעֹורֵיהֶם) [צְעִירֵיהֶם] לַמָּיִם בָּאוּ עַל־גֵּבִים לֹא־מָצְאוּ מַיִם שָׁבוּ כְלֵיהֶם רֵיקָם   14:3    בֹּשׁוּ וְהָכְלְמוּ וְחָפוּ רֹאשָׁם׃

Jere. 14:3   Now the nobles send their young men for water.

                              They arrive at the pits; they find no water.

                      They return, their vessels empty.

                              They are ashamed and confused,

                      so they cover their heads.

The third word (in the parentheses) is misspelled.  It should have a yad in place of the vav.  The correct spelling is in the brackets.  Aside from that, what does Jeremiah mean that “they cover their heads?”  Did they put on kippahs?  Or did they put ashes on their heads?  Was this a mourning ritual?  In Esth.6:12 we will learn that it was a mourning custom among the Persians.

בַּעֲבוּר הָאֲדָמָה חַתָּה כִּי לֹא־הָיָה גֶשֶׁם בָּאָרֶץ בֹּשׁוּ אִכָּרִים חָפוּ רֹאשָׁם׃   14:4

Jere. 14:4   Because the earth is cracked,

                               as there has been no rain throughout the land,

                      the farmers are disconcerted;

                               they cover their heads.

כִּי גַם־אַיֶּלֶת בַּשָּׂדֶה יָלְדָה וְעָזֹוב כִּי לֹא־הָיָה דֶּשֶׁא׃   14:5

Jere. 14:5   When a hind in the field has a calf,

                                then even she leaves,

                      for there is no grass.

וּפְרָאִים עָמְדוּ עַל־שְׁפָיִם שָׁאֲפוּ רוּחַ כַּתַּנִּים כָּלוּ עֵינֵיהֶם כִּי־אֵין עֵשֶׂב׃   14:6

Jere. 14:6   And wild asses stand on barren places;

                                they breath air like dragons;

                      their eyes fail because there is no herbage.

אִם־עֲוֹנֵינוּ עָנוּ בָנוּ יְהוָה עֲשֵׂה לְמַעַן שְׁמֶךָ כִּי־רַבּוּ מְשׁוּבֹתֵינוּ לְךָ חָטָאנוּ׃   14:7

Jere. 14:7   Although our iniquities testify against us,

                                O Lord, do for the sake of Your name.

                     Surely our backslidings are many;

                                we have sinned against You.

מִקְוֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל מֹושִׁיעֹו בְּעֵת צָרָה לָמָּה תִהְיֶה כְּגֵר בָּאָרֶץ וּכְאֹרֵחַ נָטָה לָלוּן׃   14:8

Jere. 14:8   O Hope of Israel, his Savior in time of trouble,

                                why must You be like a stranger in the Land

                      or like a wayfarer stretched out for the night?

לָמָּה תִהְיֶה כְּאִישׁ נִדְהָם כְּגִבֹּור לֹא־יוּכַל לְהֹושִׁיעַ וְאַתָּה בְקִרְבֵּנוּ יְהוָה וְשִׁמְךָ עָלֵינוּ נִקְרָא   14:9            אַל־תַּנִּחֵנוּ׃

Jere. 14:9   Why must You be like one astounded,

                                like a mighty one unable to prevail?

                      But You are in our midst, O Lord,

                                and Your name is called on our behalf.

                      Do not abandon us!

כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה לָעָם הַזֶּה כֵּן אָהֲבוּ לָנוּעַ רַגְלֵיהֶם לֹא חָשָׂכוּ וַיהוָה לֹא רָצָם עַתָּה יִזְכֹּר עֲוֹנָם   14:10

וְיִפְקֹד חַטֹּאתָם׃

Jere. 14:10  Thus says the Lord to this people:

                       “Because they love to wander,

                                 they have not restrained their feet.”

                       So the Lord is not pleased with them.

                                Now He must remember their iniquity

                        that He might attend to their sins.

The next-to-last word in the Hebrew in this verse is translated as that He might attend.  The verb is third-person imperfect and the vav prefix is non-inverting, because the phrase is a consequence of the verb translated as He must remember.

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֵלָי אַל־תִּתְפַּלֵּל בְּעַד־הָעָם הַזֶּה לְטֹובָה׃   14:11

Jere. 14:11   And the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for good on behalf of this people.”

כִּי יָצֻמוּ אֵינֶנִּי שֹׁמֵעַ אֶל־רִנָּתָם וְכִי יַעֲלוּ עֹלָה וּמִנְחָה אֵינֶנִּי רֹצָם כִּי בַּחֶרֶב וּבָרָעָב וּבַדֶּבֶר אָנֹכִי   14:12 מְכַלֶּה אֹותָם׃

Jere. 14:12   “Though they may fast, I am not listening to their entreaty, and though they may offer burnt offering and meal offering, I am not accepting them. Instead by sword and by famine and by pestilence I am consuming them.”

וָאֹמַר אֲהָהּ אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה הִנֵּה הַנְּבִאִים אֹמְרִים לָהֶם לֹא־תִרְאוּ חֶרֶב וְרָעָב לֹא־יִהְיֶה לָכֶם כִּי־שְׁלֹום   14:13 אֱמֶת אֶתֵּן לָכֶם בַּמָּקֹום הַזֶּה׃

Jere. 14:13   But I said, “Alas, Lord, O Lord, behold, the prophets are saying to them, ‘You will not see sword, and famine will not happen to you, but I will give assured peace to you in this place.’”

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֵלַי שֶׁקֶר הַנְּבִאִים נִבְּאִים בִּשְׁמִי לֹא שְׁלַחְתִּים וְלֹא צִוִּיתִים וְלֹא דִבַּרְתִּי אֲלֵיהֶם חֲזֹון   14:14 שֶׁקֶר וְקֶסֶם (וֶאֱלוּל) [וֶאֱלִיל] (וְתַרְמוּת) [וְתַרְמִית] לִבָּם הֵמָּה מִתְנַבְּאִים לָכֶם׃

Jere. 14:14   Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in My name. I did not send them and I did not command them and I did not speak to them. They are prophesying to you a false vision, and divination, and a useless thing, and the deceit of their own heart.”

לָכֵן כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה עַל־הַנְּבִאִים הַנִּבְּאִים בִּשְׁמִי וַאֲנִי לֹא־שְׁלַחְתִּים וְהֵמָּה אֹמְרִים חֶרֶב וְרָעָב לֹא   14:15 יִהְיֶה בָּאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת בַּחֶרֶב וּבָרָעָב יִתַּמּוּ הַנְּבִאִים הָהֵמָּה׃

Jere. 14:15   This being so, thus says the Lord: “As regards the prophets who are prophesying in My name, whom I do not send, yet they are saying, ‘Sword and famine will not happen in this land,’ by sword and by famine these prophets shall be destroyed.”

וְהָעָם אֲשֶׁר־הֵמָּה נִבְּאִים לָהֶם יִהְיוּ מֻשְׁלָכִים בְּחֻצֹות יְרוּשָׁלִַם מִפְּנֵי הָרָעָב וְהַחֶרֶב וְאֵין מְקַבֵּר   14:16 לָהֵמָּה הֵמָּה נְשֵׁיהֶם וּבְנֵיהֶם וּבְנֹתֵיהֶם וְשָׁפַכְתִּי עֲלֵיהֶם אֶת־רָעָתָם׃

Jere. 14:16   “And the people to whom they are prophesying shall be cast out on the streets of Jerusalem as a result of the famine and the sword, and there shall be none to bury them, them, their wives or their sons or their daughters, as I shall pour out their evil upon them.”

וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה תֵּרַדְנָה עֵינַי דִּמְעָה לַיְלָה וְיֹוםָם וְאַל־תִּדְמֶינָה כִּי שֶׁבֶר גָּדֹול   14:17 בְּתוּלַת בַּת־עַמִּי מַכָּה נַחְלָה מְאֹד׃

Jere. 14:17   “And you shall say to them this word:

                        ‘My ‘eyes’ shall send down tears night and day,

                                  and they will not cease,

                        for a great fracture

                                   is tearing the virgin asunder,

                        the daughter of My people,

                                  a very grievous blow.’”

The Lord’s words here carry a measure of irony.  Instead of rain, He will send down His own tears.  But they will not provide an end to the drought, for the tears are of “sorrow” for the fate of Judah and Jerusalem.

אִם־יָצָאתִי הַשָּׂדֶה וְהִנֵּה חַלְלֵי־חֶרֶב וְאִם בָּאתִי הָעִיר וְהִנֵּה תַּחֲלוּאֵי רָעָב כִּי־גַם־נָבִיא   14:18              ּ אֶל־אֶרֶץ וְלֹא יָדָעוּ׃

Jere. 14:18   If I proceed to the field,

                                  then behold, the slain of the sword!

                       And if I enter the city,

                                  then behold, the diseases of the famine!

                       For both the prophet and the priest travel about

                                  to a land that they do not know.

Two aspects of this verse are uncertain.  First, is this a continuation of the Lord’s words from the previous verse, or are they Jeremiah’s observation of conditions prophesied?  Apparently, the famine and the sword had not yet reached a grievous state -- note the words of the false prophets in v. 14:15 -- so it is difficult to determine who is speaking.  Second, what is meant by the last portion of the verse?  What were the prophets and priests doing?  Was it Judah they did not know, or had they abandoned it and gone off to a foreign land?  I can’t believe they were to leave the country in such a dire time.  Moreover, notice what the Lord says in v. 14:16.  He observes them prophesying to the people of Jerusalem.  The words in the verse must mean that they are to be going about in a land (Judah) whose people they cared little about or whose land meant little to them.  In other words, they were failed merchants -- another bit of irony.  The word meaning travel about is closely tied to trading or trafficking.

הֲמָאֹס מָאַסְתָּ אֶת־יְהוּדָה אִם־בְּצִיֹּון גָּעֲלָה נַפְשֶׁךָ מַדּוּעַ הִכִּיתָנוּ וְאֵין לָנוּ מַרְפֵּא קַוֵּה לְשָׁלֹום וְאֵין   14:19 טֹוב וּלְעֵת מַרְפֵּא וְהִנֵּה בְעָתָה׃

Jere. 14:19   “Do You utterly reject Judah?

                                   Is it by Zion Your ‘soul’ is defiled?

                       Why do You smite us,

                                  and there is no healing for us,

                       wait for peace but there is nothing good,

                                  and for a time of healing but behold, terror.”

יָדַעְנוּ יְהוָה רִשְׁעֵנוּ עֲוֹן אֲבֹותֵינוּ כִּי חָטָאנוּ לָךְ׃   14:20

Jere. 14:20   “We confess, O Lord, our wickedness,

                                   the iniquity of our fathers.

                        Indeed we have sinned against You.”

אַל־תִּנְאַץ לְמַעַן שִׁמְךָ אַל־תְּנַבֵּל כִּסֵּא כְבֹודֶךָ זְכֹר אַל־תָּפֵר בְּרִיתְךָ אִתָּנוּ׃   14:21

Jere. 14:21   “Do not spurn, for the sake of Your name,

                                   do not dishonor the seat of Your glory.

                        Remember, do not break Your covenant with us.”

The phrase the seat (or throne) of Your glory must be a reference to the temple in Jerusalem.

הֲיֵשׁ בְּהַבְלֵי הַגֹּויִם מַגְשִׁמִים וְאִם־הַשָּׁמַיִם יִתְּנוּ רְבִבִים הֲלֹא אַתָּה־הוּא יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ וּנְקַוֶּה־לָּךְ   14:22 כִּי־אַתָּה עָשִׂיתָ אֶת־כָּל־אֵלֶּה׃

Jere. 14:22   “Are there any among the vanities

                                   of the nations that are making rains,

                        or can the heavens bestow showers?

                                   Are You not the One, O Lord, our God?

                        So we will wait for You,

                                   for You accomplish all these things.”

The last four verses, 14:19 to 14:22, must be Jeremiah’s wishful thinking.  It seems likely that he is saying the words he wishes the Jews would say either then or later when these prophesies are realized.  Despite his anger and frustration over the abominable acts of the inhabitants and their hatred of him, he still longs for their repentance and rescue from the inevitable death and destruction to come.

 

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