Jeremiah 6

 

הָעִזוּ בְּנֵי בִניָמִן מִקֶּרֶב יְרוּשָׁלִַם וּבִתְקֹועַ תִּקְעוּ שֹׁופָר וְעַל־בֵּית הַכֶּרֶם שְׂאוּ מַשְׂאֵת כִּי רָעָה נִשְׁקְפָה   6:1 מִצָּפֹון וְשֶׁבֶר גָּדֹול׃

Jere. 6:1   “Gather yourselves, children of Benjamin,

                             from the midst of Jerusalem,

                    and sound the shofar in Tekoa,

                            and raise up a beacon on Beth-cherem,

                    for evil hovers from the north,

                            with a great destruction.”

Beth-cherem is a place or region in Judah, of which little is known with certainty.  The place will be mentioned again later in Nehemiah.

הַנָּוָה וְהַמְּעֻנָּגָה דָּמִיתִי בַּת־צִיֹּון׃   6:2

Jere. 6:2   “The beautiful and delicate one,

                             I am cutting off the daughter of Zion.”

אֵלֶיהָ יָבֹאוּ רֹעִים וְעֶדְרֵיהֶם תָּקְעוּ עָלֶיהָ אֹהָלִים סָבִיב רָעוּ אִישׁ אֶת־יָדֹו׃   6:3

Jere. 6:3   “To her would have come shepherds and their flocks:

                             They pitch their tents beside her all around;

                    they consume each his yield.”

What a beautiful image!  Peaceful!  The alternative life she, the daughter of Zion, was refusing!  Although Jeremiah is consumed with anger (v.6:11), here he seems to exhibit pathos and deep sorrow for his people.

קַדְּשׁוּ עָלֶיהָ מִלְחָמָה קוּמוּ וְנַעֲלֶה בַצָּהֳרָיִם אֹוי לָנוּ כִּי־פָנָה הַיֹּום כִּי יִנָּטוּ צִלְלֵי־עָרֶב׃   6:4

Jere. 6:4   Prepare war against her!

                            Arise and let us go up at noon!

                   Woe to us! For the day passes away.

                            For the shadows of the evening

                   will have lengthened.

קוּמוּ וְנַעֲלֶה בַלָּיְלָה וְנַשְׁחִיתָה אַרְמְנֹותֶיהָ׃   6:5

Jere. 6:5   Arise and let us go up by night,

                            and destroy her palaces!

כִּי כֹה אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות כִּרְתוּ עֵצָה וְשִׁפְכוּ עַל־יְרוּשָׁלִַם סֹלְלָה הִיא הָעִיר הָפְקַד כֻּלָּהּ עֹשֶׁק   6:6   בְּקִרְבָּהּ׃

Jere. 6:6   For thus says the Lord of hosts:

                            “Cut down her trees

                   and cast a mound up against Jerusalem.

                            It is the city being destroyed.

                   Everywhere oppression is in her midst.”

כְּהָקִיר (בְּוֵר) [בַּיִר] מֵימֶיהָ כֵּן הֵקֵרָה רָעָתָהּ חָמָס וָשֹׁד יִשָּׁמַע בָּהּ עַל־פָּנַי תָּמִיד חֳלִי וּמַכָּה׃   6:7

Jere. 6:7   “As a cistern breaks down from her water,

                            so her evil breaks her down.

                   One will regard violence and oppression in her.

                            Before Me there is always sickness and plague.”

Here we have what I consider another unnecessary correction to an alleged error.  The word in the parentheses is spelled correctly, but the vowel points (added much later than the time of the writing of the bible) are incorrect.  The only correction that might be made is to change them.  The shift to a yad is inappropriate.  Interestingly, the word in the brackets appears nowhere else in the bible.  I wonder, were the sages trying to force errors in Jeremiah’s writing?.  Indeed, he appears to have made enough of his own without their help.

הִוָּסְרִי יְרוּשָׁלִַם פֶּן־תֵּקַע נַפְשִׁי מִמֵּךְ פֶּן־אֲשִׂימֵךְ שְׁמָמָה אֶרֶץ לֹוא נֹושָׁבָה׃   6:8

Jere. 6:8   “Reform yourself, Jerusalem,

                            lest My ‘soul’ shall be alienated from you,

                    lest I shall make you desolate,

                            a land not inhabited.”

כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה צְבָאֹות עֹולֵל יְעֹולְלוּ כַגֶּפֶן שְׁאֵרִית יִשְׂרָאֵל הָשֵׁב יָדְךָ כְּבֹוצֵר עַל־סַלְסִלֹּות׃   6:9

Jere. 6:9   Thus says the Lord of hosts:

                            “Thoroughly they shall glean

                     the remnant of Israel as a vine.

                           Turn back Your hand,

                     like a grape gatherer among the shoots!”

עַל־מִי אֲדַבְּרָה וְאָעִידָה וְיִשְׁמָעוּ הִנֵּה עֲרֵלָה אָזְנָם וְלֹא יוּכְלוּ לְהַקְשִׁיב הִנֵּה דְבַר־יְהוָה הָיָה   6:10      לָהֶם לְחֶרְפָּה לֹא יַחְפְּצוּ־בֹו׃

Jere. 6:10   Among whom shall I speak

                             and give warning that they would hear?

                      Behold, so dull is their ear

                              that they are not able to give heed.

                      Behold, the word of the Lord

                             has become for a reproach to them;

                       they do not take any delight in it.

וְאֵת חֲמַת יְהוָה מָלֵאתִי נִלְאֵיתִי הָכִיל שְׁפֹךְ עַל־עֹולָל בַּחוּץ וְעַל סֹוד בַּחוּרִים יַחְדָּו כִּי־גַם־אִישׁ   6:11 עִם־אִשָּׁה יִלָּכֵדוּ זָקֵן עִם־מְלֵא יָמִים׃

Jere. 6:11   So I am filled with the anger of the Lord;

                            wearied of withholding.

                      Spill forth upon the babe in the street

                             and upon the assembly of young men alike,

                       for even a husband with a wife shall be taken,

                             old with one full of days.

וְנָסַבּוּ בָתֵּיהֶם לַאֲחֵרִים שָׂדֹות וְנָשִׁים יַחְדָּו כִּי־אַטֶּה אֶת־יָדִי עַל־יֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃   6:12

Jere. 6:12   And their houses will be turned back to others,

                              their fields and the women likewise.

                      “For I will stretch forth My hand

                              upon the inhabitants of the land,”

                      declares the Lord.

כִּי מִקְּטַנָּם וְעַד־גְּדֹולָם כֻּלֹּו בֹּוצֵעַ בָּצַע וּמִנָּבִיא וְעַד־כֹּהֵן כֻּלֹּו עֹשֶׂה שָּׁקֶר׃   6:13

Jere. 6:13   “For from their least

                              and up to their greatest

                      each of them covets gain,

                              and from a prophet

                      and up to any priest

                              each of them deals falsely.”

וַיְרַפְּאוּ אֶת־שֶׁבֶר עַמִּי עַל־נְקַלָּה לֵאמֹר שָׁלֹום שָׁלֹום וְאֵין שָׁלֹום׃   6:14

Jere. 6:14   “As they too easily heal the affliction of My people,

                              saying, ‘Peace, peace,’

                      but there is no peace.”

הֹבִישׁוּ כִּי תֹועֵבָה עָשׂוּ גַּם־בֹּושׁ לֹא־יֵבֹושׁוּ גַּם־הַכְלִים לֹא יָדָעוּ לָכֵן יִפְּלוּ בַנֹּפְלִים בְּעֵת־פְּקַדְתִּיםּ   6:15    יִכָּשְׁלוּ אָמַר יְהוָה׃

Jere. 6:15   “They shame themselves

                              when they commit abomination.

                     Though shameful, they will not be ashamed;

                               they cannot even understand blushing.

                     Therefore they shall be cast down with the fallen;

                               at the time I attend to them,

                      they will be overthrown,” says the Lord.

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה עִמְדוּ עַל־דְּרָכִים וּרְאוּ וְשַׁאֲלוּ לִנְתִבֹות עֹולָם אֵי־זֶה דֶרֶךְ הַטֹּוב וּלְכוּ־בָהּ וּמִצְאוּ   6:16 לְנַפְשְׁכֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֹא נֵלֵךְ׃

Jere. 6:16   Thus says the Lord:

                              “Remain on the paths and see!

                      Then wish for the ways of old

                               -- which this is the good way

                       -- and walk on it!

                              Then you shall find rest for your souls.

                       But they said, ‘We will not follow.’”

וַהֲקִמֹתִי עֲלֵיכֶם צֹפִים הַקְשִׁיבוּ לְקֹול שֹׁופָר וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֹא נַקְשִׁיב׃   6:17

Jere. 6:17   “And I lifted up watchmen over you:

                              ‘Give heed to the sound of the shofar!’

                      But they said, ‘We will not attend.’”

לָכֵן שִׁמְעוּ הַגֹּויִם וּדְעִי עֵדָה אֶת־אֲשֶׁר־בָּם׃   6:18

Jere. 6:18   “Therefore, hear, of the nations,

                              and know, O congregation,

                     what is in them!”

שִׁמְעִי הָאָרֶץ הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי מֵבִיא רָעָה אֶל־הָעָם הַזֶּה פְּרִי מַחְשְׁבֹותָם כִּי עַל־דְּבָרַי לֹא הִקְשִׁיבוּ   6:19     וְתֹורָתִי וַיִּמְאֲסוּ־בָהּ׃

Jere. 6:19   “Hear, O earth!

                              Behold, I am bringing evil upon this people

                      -- the fruit of their thoughts

                               -- because they have not attended to My words;

                      and My teaching!  They have spurned it.”

לָמָּה־זֶּה לִי לְבֹונָה מִשְּׁבָא תָבֹוא וְקָנֶה הַטֹּוב מֵאֶרֶץ מֶרְחָק עֹלֹותֵיכֶם לֹא לְרָצֹון וְזִבְחֵיכֶם    6:20

לֹא־עָרְבוּ לִי׃

Jere. 6:20   “Of what purpose is it to Me

                               the frankincense coming from Sheba,

                      or the sweet corn from a far off land?

                              Your burnt offerings are not acceptable

                      and your sacrifices are not pleasant to Me.”

לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה הִנְנִי נֹתֵן אֶל־הָעָם הַזֶּה מִכְשֹׁלִים וְכָשְׁלוּ בָם אָבֹות וּבָנִים יַחְדָּו שָׁכֵן וְרֵעֹו   6:21

יֹאבֵדוּ) [וְאָבָדוּ]׃)

Jere. 6:21   Therefore, thus says the Lord:

                              “Behold, I am laying stumbling-blocks

                      for this people,

                              and fathers will stumble against them

                      and their sons together,

                              neighbor and his friend;

                       they shall perish.”

The word at the end of this verse, appearing in the parentheses, is thought to be in error.  The correction that the sages applied is the addition of the vav, meaning and (and removing the yad, which is now unnecessary as a result of adding the vav).  Otherwise the verse is unchanged.  If I took the correction to be valid, my translation would change from they would perish to and they would perish.  In order to reach a conclusion about the correctness of the word in question, however, assumptions have to be made one way or the other as to the intent of the verse.  Is the Lord saying (through Jeremiah) He is laying stumbling blocks, and as a result of this, they will perish?  Or is He saying they will perish regardless of the stumbling blocks (they would merely handicap their response and make their perishing more certain)? The sages apparently believed the former assumption was appropriate, but I believe it’s the latter.  I imagine that the Lord lays the stumbling blocks to prevent fathers, sons, neighbor, and friend from defending themselves appropriately against the enemy.  Stumbling blocks are not used anywhere else in the bible (with one possible exception in Ezek. 3:20) to cause people to perish, only to falter.  Yet there are nine other appearances of the term having little to do with subsequent dying as a result of the stumbling block.

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה הִנֵּה עַם בָּא מֵאֶרֶץ צָפֹון וְגֹוי גָּדֹול יֵעֹור מִיַּרְכְּתֵי־אָרֶץ׃   6:22

Jere. 6:22   Thus says the Lord:

                              “Behold, a people comes

                      from a north country,

                              and a great nation shall be roused

                      from the borders of the earth.”

קֶשֶׁת וְכִידֹון יַחֲזִיקוּ אַכְזָרִי הוּא וְלֹא יְרַחֵמוּ קֹולָם כַּיָּם יֶהֱמֶה וְעַל־סוּסִים יִרְכָּבוּ עָרוּךְ כְּאִישְׁ   6:23    לַמִּלְחָמָה עָלַיִךְ בַּת־צִיֹּון׃

Jere. 6:23   “Bow and spear shall be seized;

                              it is cruel but they shall have no compassion.

                     Their thunder shall be like the sea,

                             and they shall ride atop horses,

                      set in array, as a man, for war against you,

                             O daughter of Zion.”

שָׁמַעְנוּ אֶת־שָׁמְעֹו רָפוּ יָדֵינוּ צָרָה הֶחֱזִיקַתְנוּ חִיל כַּיֹּולֵדָה׃   6:24

Jere. 6:24   We perceive his fame;

                              our hands have become feeble.

                      Anguish overcomes us,

                              pain, like a woman delivering.

אַל־ (תֵּצְאִי) [תֵּצְאוּ] הַשָּׂדֶה וּבַדֶּרֶךְ אַל־ (תֵּלֵכִי) [תֵּלֵכוּ] כִּי חֶרֶב לְאֹיֵב מָגֹור מִסָּבִיב׃   6:25

Jere. 6:25   You should not travel the field,

                              or walk on the highway.

                      For the enemy’s sword

                               -- terror -- is all around.

Here again we have two indicated errors in this verse that appear in the two sets of parentheses.  The words are verbs translated as You should ... travel and or walk.  They are both feminine singular in form.  The sages assumed they should be masculine plural, and so corrected them (in the brackets).  I’m pretty convinced they were mistaken.  In the next verse, the daughter of my people is addressed.  And I believe she is the subject of the two verbs in this verse.

בַּת־עַמִּי חִגְרִי־שָׂק וְהִתְפַּלְּשִׁי בָאֵפֶר אֵבֶל יָחִיד עֲשִׂי לָךְ מִסְפַּד תַּמְרוּרִים כִּי פִתְאֹם יָבֹא הַשֹּׁדֵד   6:26

 עָלֵינוּ׃

Jere. 6:26   O daughter of my people, put on sackcloth,

                               and wallow in ashes!

                      Prepare yourself to mourn an only son,

                               a lamentation most bitter.

                      For suddenly the destroyer shall come upon us.

I believe the only son mentioned here is Israel.

בָּחֹון נְתַתִּיךָ בְעַמִּי מִבְצָר וְתֵדַע וּבָחַנְתָּ אֶת־דַּרְכָּם׃   6:27

Jere. 6:27   “I have made you a tower among My people,

                                a fortress, that you may know, and try their way.”

כֻּלָּם סָרֵי סֹורְרִים הֹלְכֵי רָכִיל נְחֹשֶׁת וּבַרְזֶל כֻּלָּם מַשְׁחִיתִים הֵמָּה׃   6:28

Jere. 6:28   All of them are backsliding rebels,

                               passers of slander;

                      brass and iron, all of them;

                                they are corrupters.

נָחַר מַפֻּחַ (מֵאִשְׁתַּם) [מֵאֵשׁ] [תַּם] עֹפָרֶת לַשָּׁוְא צָרַף צָרֹוף וְרָעִים לֹא נִתָּקוּ׃   6:29

Jere. 6:29   Fierce is the bellows;

                                melted is the lead.

                      In vain does the Founder refine,

                                as the wicked are not separated.

The word appearing in the parentheses should not be one Hebrew word.  It is composed of an adjective and a noun, melted and lead.  There is no other obvious way it can be interpreted.  The correct words appear in the two sets of brackets.

כֶּסֶף נִמְאָס קָרְאוּ לָהֶם כִּי־מָאַס יְהוָה בָּהֶם׃   6:30

Jere. 6:30   “Cast-off silver” they call them,

                                for the Lord has given up on them.

 

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