Jeremiah 4

 

אִם־תָּשׁוּב יִשְׂרָאֵל נְאֻם־יְהוָה אֵלַי תָּשׁוּב וְאִם־תָּסִיר שִׁקּוּצֶיךָ מִפָּנַי וְלֹא תָנוּד׃   4:1

Jere. 4:1   “If you would return, O Israel,”

                            declares the Lord,

                    “you would return to Me,

                            and if you will put aside

                    your abominable things from My presence,

                            and not waver,

וְנִשְׁבַּעְתָּ חַי־יְהוָה בֶּאֱמֶת בְּמִשְׁפָּט וּבִצְדָקָה וְהִתְבָּרְכוּ בֹו גֹּויִם וּבֹו יִתְהַלָּלוּ׃   4:2

Jere. 4:2   and take an oath

                            on the ‘life’ of the Lord in truth,

                    in justice, and in righteousness,”

                            then the nations shall bless themselves by Him,

                    and in Him shall they glory.

כִּי־כֹה אָמַר יְהֹוָה לְאִישׁ יְהוּדָה וְלִירוּשָׁלִַם נִירוּ לָכֶם נִיר וְאַל־תִּזְרְעוּ אֶל־קֹוצִים׃   4:3

Jere. 4:3    For thus says the Lord

                             to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem:

                     “Till fallow ground for yourselves,

                             and you shall not sow among thorns.”

הִמֹּלוּ לַיהֹוָה וְהָסִרוּ עָרְלֹות לְבַבְכֶם אִישׁ יְהוּדָה וְיֹשְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָם פֶּן־תֵּצֵא כָאֵשׁ חֲמָתִי וּבָעֲרָה   4:4

 וְאֵין מְכַבֶּה מִפְּנֵי רֹעַ מַעַלְלֵיכֶם׃

Jere. 4:4    “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord

                             and remove the foreskins of your heart,

                    men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,

                              lest My anger may surface like a fire

                     and it burn without going out,

                             because of the evil of your endeavors.”

הַגִּידוּ בִיהוּדָה וּבִירוּשָׁלִַם הַשְׁמִיעוּ וְאִמְרוּ (ותִּקְעוּ) [תִּקְעוּ] שֹׁופָר בָּאָרֶץ קִרְאוּ מַלְאוּ וְאִמְרוּ   4:5

 וְנָבֹואָה אֶל־עָרֵי הַמִּבְצָר׃ הֵאָסְפוּ

Jere. 4:5    “Declare in Judah,

                              and proclaim and avow in Jerusalem!

                    And blow a horn throughout the land!

                              Shout, proclaim, and say,

                     ‘Assemble, and let us go

                               to the cities of fortifications!’”

Again we have an alleged error that I don’t agree with.  In the parentheses the vav prefix (translated as and, the first word in the third line) is thought to be an error.  The phrase in which the word appears is normally translated as something like “Declare in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem, and say: ‘Blow the horn ....’”  But in biblical Hebrew a verb (or two in this case, proclaim and avow) frequently follow the object they refer to (in Jerusalem).   So I believe the words can be legitimately translated as I have, putting the word normally translated as and say (or avow) before the phrase in Jerusalem.  Then the vav prefix is not an error.  If you haven’t noticed yet, it is and always has been my intention to translate the Hebrew as being correct wherever I can.

שְׂאוּ־נֵס צִיֹּונָה הָעִיזוּ אַל־תַּעֲמֹדוּ כִּי רָעָה אָנֹכִי מֵבִיא מִצָּפֹון וְשֶׁבֶר גָּדֹול׃   4:6

Jere. 4:6    “Carry a standard to Zion!

                              Gather to flee, you should not remain,

                     for I am bringing an evil from the north,

                               and a great destruction.”

עָלָה אַרְיֵה מִסֻּבְּכֹו וּמַשְׁחִית גֹּויִם נָסַע יָצָא מִמְּקֹמֹו לָשׂוּם אַרְצֵךְ לְשַׁמָּה עָרַיִךְ תִּצֶּינָה מֵאֵין יֹושֵׁב׃   4:7

Jere. 4:7    A lion arises from his thicket,

                               and a destroyer of nations is on his way,

                     gone forth from his place

                               to make your land to be desolate.

                     Your cities will be laid waste,

                               having no inhabitant.

עַל־זֹאת חִגְרוּ שַׂקִּים סִפְדוּ וְהֵילִילוּ כִּי לֹא־שָׁב חֲרֹון אַף־יְהֹוָה מִמֶּנּוּ׃   4:8

Jere. 4:8    Because of this put on sackcloth,

                               lament and wail,

                     for the “fury” of the “anger” of the Lord

                              will not be turned away from us.

וְהָיָה בַיֹּום־הַהוּא נְאֻם־יְהוָה יֹאבַד לֵב־הַמֶּלֶךְ וְלֵב הַשָּׂרִים וְנָשַׁמּוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים וְהַנְּבִיאִים יִתְמָהוּ׃   4:9

Jere. 4:9    “So it shall be in that day,”

                              declares the Lord,

                    “the heart of the king shall fail,

                              and the heart of the princes,

                    and the priests shall be astonished,

                              and the prophets shall be amazed.”

וָאֹמַר אֲהָהּ אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה אָכֵן הַשֵּׁא הִשֵּׁאתָ לָעָם הַזֶּה וְלִירוּשָׁלִַם לֵאמֹר שָׁלֹום יִהְיֶה לָכֶם וְנָגְעָה חֶרֶב   4:10 עַד־הַנָּפֶשׁ׃

Jere. 4:10   Then I said, “Alas, O Master, O Lord, Surely You have greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem saying, ‘Peace shall be yours,’ yet the sword will reach all the way to the soul.”

בָּעֵת הַהִיא יֵאָמֵר לָעָם־הַזֶּה וְלִירוּשָׁלִַם רוּחַ צַח שְׁפָיִים בַּמִּדְבָּר דֶּרֶךְ בַּת־עַמִּי לֹוא לִזְרֹות וְלֹוא   4:11

 לְהָבַר׃

Jere. 4:11   At that time He would say

                               about this people and about Jerusalem,

                      “A hot wind of the high places

                               in the wilderness

                       through the daughter of My people,

                               not to fan and not to cleanse,

רוּחַ מָלֵא מֵאֵלֶּה יָבֹוא לִי עַתָּה גַּם־אֲנִי אֲדַבֵּר מִשְׁפָּטִים אֹותָם׃   4:12

Jere. 4:12   a wind stronger than these shall come of Me.

                               Now again I shall declare judgments their sign.”

הִנֵּה כַּעֲנָנִים יַעֲלֶה וְכַסּוּפָה מַרְכְּבֹותָיו קַלּוּ מִנְּשָׁרִים סוּסָיו אֹוי לָנוּ כִּי שֻׁדָּדְנוּ׃   4:13

Jere. 4:13   Behold, like clouds He will arise,

                               and His chariots like a whirlwind.

                     Swifter than eagles shall be His horses.

                              Woe to us, for we are ruined.

כַּבְּסִי מֵרָעָה לִבֵּךְ יְרוּשָׁלִַם לְמַעַן תִּוָּשֵׁעִי עַד־מָתַי תָּלִין בְּקִרְבֵּךְ מַחְשְׁבֹות אֹונֵךְ׃   4:14

Jere. 4:14   Wash out the wickedness of your heart, Jerusalem,

                               so that you might be saved!

                      How long will you maintain within you

                               the designs of your iniquity?

כִּי קֹול מַגִּיד מִדָּן וּמַשְׁמִיעַ אָוֶן מֵהַר אֶפְרָיִם׃   4:15

Jere. 4:15   Yet there is the voice of a messenger from Dan

                               that is announcing trouble

                      from the hills of Ephraim.

הַזְכִּירוּ לַגֹּויִם הִנֵּה הַשְׁמִיעוּ עַל־יְרוּשָׁלִַם נֹצְרִים בָּאִים מֵאֶרֶץ הַמֶּרְחָק וַיִּתְּנוּ עַל־עָרֵי יְהוּדָה קֹולָם׃   4:16

Jere. 4:16   Make mention to the nations!

                               Behold, announce concerning Jerusalem!

                      Observers are coming from a remote land,

                                and they will deliver their cry

                      against the cities of Judah.

כְּשֹׁמְרֵי שָׂדַי הָיוּ עָלֶיהָ מִסָּבִיב כִּי־אֹתִי מָרָתָה נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃   4:17

Jere. 4:17   Like keepers of a field

                               they are all around by her,

                      “because she has disobeyed Me,”

                               says the Lord.

דַּרְכֵּךְ וּמַעֲלָלַיִךְ עָשֹׂו אֵלֶּה לָךְ זֹאת רָעָתֵךְ כִּי מָר כִּי נָגַע עַד־לִבֵּךְ׃   4:18

Jere. 4:18   Your way and your endeavors

                               have brought to pass these things to you.

                     This is your wickedness.

                               Yes, it is bitter.

                      Yes, it touches as far as your heart.

As I have said, and the prophets say as well, as in this verse:  Our fortune is a consequence of our decisions and behavior, our disregard for the Lord and His Torah, and our regard only for ourselves as we feed our ego.  But when I or someone else hints at this, others cry out “Self-hatred!”  What a pity we can’t see beyond the ends of our noses.  As many have said, those who ignore history are bound to repeat it.

מֵעַי מֵעַי (אָחוּלָה) [אֹוחִילָה] קִירֹות לִבִּי הֹמֶה־לִּי לִבִּי לֹא אַחֲרִישׁ כִּי קֹול שֹׁופָר (שָׁמַעְתִּי)   4:19       [שָׁמַעַתְּ] נַפְשִׁי תְּרוּעַת מִלְחָמָה׃

Jere. 4:19   My bowels, my bowels!

                                I must tremble.  The walls of my heart!

                     My heart moans to me.

                                I must not be deaf,

                      for the sound of the horn I hear, my soul!

                               An alarm of war!

Looks like two errors in this verse.  However, the first error is included in some esoteric Hebrew, and the word assumed to be in error is changed unnecessarily to allow a translation such as writhe instead of the standard translations, twist or tremble.  I see nothing wrong with the translation I provide, so I don’t consider this word in error.  As for the second error, I believe it can also be considered to be correct.  As I’ve translated the word (I hear), which is in the fifth line of the English, its spelling is correct, and the translation makes sense.  The correction in brackets changes it into you hear.  As I see it, this correction is unnecessary.

שֶׁבֶר עַל־שֶׁבֶר נִקְרָא כִּי שֻׁדְּדָה כָּל־הָאָרֶץ פִּתְאֹם שֻׁדְּדוּ אֹהָלַי רֶגַע יְרִיעֹתָי׃   4:20

Jere. 4:20   Destruction upon destruction we shall meet,

                               for spoiled shall be all the land.

                      Soon my tent shall be spoiled,

                               suddenly my curtain.

עַד־מָתַי אֶרְאֶה־נֵּס אֶשְׁמְעָה קֹול שֹׁופָר׃   4:21

Jere. 4:21   Until when shall I see the standard,

                               hear the call of the horn?

Can you hear and imagine the anguish in Jeremiah’s wailing cry?  I can -- because I feel it too.

כִּי אֱוִיל עַמִּי אֹותִי לֹא יָדָעוּ בָּנִים סְכָלִים הֵמָּה וְלֹא נְבֹונִים הֵמָּה חֲכָמִים הֵמָּה לְהָרַע וּלְהֵיטִיב   4:22

 לֹא יָדָעוּ׃

Jere. 4:22   “But My people is foolish;

                                they do not know Me.

                     They are silly children,

                                and they are not understanding.

                     They are cunning to do evil,

                                but they do not understand to do good.”

Cunning to do evil (fifth line)?  As I read this, I believe the Lord is saying through Jeremiah, “Eager to rationalize their behavior to suit their own interests and desires.”

רָאִיתִי אֶת־הָאָרֶץ וְהִנֵּה־תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְאֶל־הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵין אֹורָם׃   4:23

Jere. 4:23   I behold the earth,

                                and lo, it is waste and void,

                     and to the heavens, their light is not.

רָאִיתִי הֶהָרִים וְהִנֵּה רֹעֲשִׁים וְכָל־הַגְּבָעֹות הִתְקַלְקָלוּ׃   4:24

Jere. 4:24   I behold the mountains,

                                 and lo, they are trembling,

                     and all the hills undulate.

רָאִיתִי וְהִנֵּה אֵין הָאָדָם וְכָל־עֹוף הַשָּׁמַיִם נָדָדוּ׃   4:25

Jere. 4:25   I look, and lo,

                              there is no man,

                     and all the birds of the skies

                              have flown away.

רָאִיתִי וְהִנֵּה הַכַּרְמֶל הַמִּדְבָּר וְכָל־עָרָיו נִתְּצוּ מִפְּנֵי יְהוָה מִפְּנֵי חֲרֹון אַפֹּו׃   4:26

Jere. 4:26   I look, and lo,

                               fruitful fields are wilderness,

                     and all his cities are thrown down

                               before the Lord,

                     because of the ferocity of His anger.

כִּי־כֹה אָמַר יְהוָה שְׁמָמָה תִהְיֶה כָּל־הָאָרֶץ וְכָלָה לֹא אֶעֱשֶׂה׃   4:27

Jere. 4:27   For thus says the Lord:

                                “Desolate shall be all the land,

                      but I will not make a complete end.”

עַל־זֹאת תֶּאֱבַל הָאָרֶץ וְקָדְרוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם מִמָּעַל עַל כִּי־דִבַּרְתִּי זַמֹּתִי וְלֹא נִחַמְתִּי וְלֹא־אָשׁוּב מִמֶּנָּה׃   4:28

Jere. 4:28   “Over this the earth shall mourn,

                                and the heavens shall be black from on high,

                     because what I have spoken, I have devised.

                                And I have not repented,

                     and I will not turn back from it.”

מִקֹּול פָּרָשׁ וְרֹמֵה קֶשֶׁת בֹּרַחַת כָּל־הָעִיר בָּאוּ בֶּעָבִים וּבַכֵּפִים עָלוּ כָּל־הָעִיר עֲזוּבָה וְאֵין־יֹושֵׁב    4:29

בָּהֵן אִישׁ׃

Jere. 4:29   From the sound of horsemen

                                and carriers of the bow

                      every city flees.

                                They go into the thickets,

                      and they climb into the rocks.

                                Every city is forsaken,

                      and there is no person dwelling in them.

וְאַתִּי) [וְאַתְּ] שָׁדוּד מַה־תַּעֲשִׂי כִּי־תִלְבְּשִׁי שָׁנִי כִּי־תַעְדִּי עֲדִי־זָהָב כִּי־תִקְרְעִי בַפּוּךְ עֵינַיִךְ לַשָּׁוְא    4:30

מָאֲסוּ־בָךְ עֹגְבִים נַפְשֵׁךְ יְבַקֵּשׁוּ׃

Jere. 4:30   So you will be despoiled.

                                What will you do?

                     Though you would put on scarlet,

                                 though you would adorn yourself with golden ornaments,

                      though you would enlarge your eyes with paint,

                                 in vain would you make yourself fair.

                      Lovers have disdain for you;

                                 they will seek your life.

Here in this verse we have another error, again of the same kind we have seen before, an incorrect yad suffix.  The correction is in the brackets.  Incidentally, you may not see the first right parenthesis at the beginning of the Hebrew. 

כִּי קֹול כְּחֹולָה שָׁמַעְתִּי צָרָה כְּמַבְכִּירָה קֹול בַּת־צִיֹּון תִּתְיַפֵּחַ תְּפָרֵשׂ כַּפֶּיהָ אֹוי־נָא לִי כִּי־עָיְפָה   4:31     נַפְשִׁילְהֹרְגִים׃

Jere. 4:31   For I hear the voice as of a woman in labor,

                                 of anguish as in the birth of the first child.

                        It is the voice of the daughter of Zion.

                                 She will gasp for breath, stretch out her hands:

                        “Oh, woe is me!  For my soul faints at the murderers.”

 

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