Saturday, July 9, 2016

Jeremiah 26, meet the prophet

This is a curious story if only for the four levels of reported speech in verse 18 (Micah 3:12), not to mention the threats and counter arguments. I know very little of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Gradually we may meet them more fully. Brutality and self-interest play a role in the politics here. Yahweh, I suppose can 'repent' if he likes, but it seems odd to me, so I have him sigh when נחם occurs with Yahweh as subject. He could also be comforted, but I have used sigh, perhaps in the nature of a father who forgives his children when they fess up to their troubled lives. I am not sure I was able to teach my own children anything. There's a mystery there for sure. Here too Yahweh seems to complain of having to rise early. Now there's a ironic anthropomorphism.

By the way, I have never used the word repent in these first 340 chapters. I didn't set out to not use it (like I did soul), but there it is. I think repentance is important, but one cannot screw oneself up to do it. What one can do is turn. Turning seems an easier task. Then the one to whom we turn will give us direction. It's here in the text in the word for face, presence, or before. E.g. verses 3 and 4: Yahweh is in the presence of the evil of their practices. He instructs them to walk in the instruction that he gave in their presence. It's a face to face thing. That's why hearing and turning is Yahweh's hope for them.

There are a lot of groups of actors in this chapter, priests, prophets, nobility, the elders, the valiant of the king, the people, and children (generic).
Jeremiah 26
בְּרֵאשִׁ֗ית מַמְלְכ֛וּת יְהוֹיָקִ֥ים בֶּן־יֹאשִׁיָּ֖הוּ מֶ֣לֶךְ יְהוּדָ֑ה
הָיָה֙ הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֔ה מֵאֵ֥ת יְהוָ֖ה לֵאמֹֽר
1 In the beginning of the kingdom of Jehoiachim child of Josiah king of Judah,
there was this word from Yahweh saying,
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כֹּ֣ה ׀ אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֗ה עֲמֹד֮ בַּחֲצַ֣ר בֵּית־יְהוָה֒ וְדִבַּרְתָּ֞ עַל־כָּל־עָרֵ֣י יְהוּדָ֗ה הַבָּאִים֙ לְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֺ֣ת בֵּית־יְהוָ֔ה אֵ֚ת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוִּיתִ֖יךָ לְדַבֵּ֣ר אֲלֵיהֶ֑ם
אַל־תִּגְרַ֖ע דָּבָֽר
2 Thus says Yahweh, Stand in the court of the house of Yahweh and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship the house of Yahweh all the words that I commanded you to speak to them.
Do not subtract a word.
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אוּלַ֣י יִשְׁמְע֔וּ וְיָשֻׁ֕בוּ אִ֖ישׁ מִדַּרְכּ֣וֹ הָרָעָ֑ה
וְנִחַמְתִּ֣י אֶל־הָרָעָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָנֹכִ֤י חֹשֵׁב֙ לַעֲשׂ֣וֹת לָהֶ֔ם מִפְּנֵ֖י רֹ֥עַ מַעַלְלֵיהֶֽם
3 Maybe they will hear and turn, each from its evil way,
and I will sigh at the evil that I considered to do to them in the presence of the evil of their practices.
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וְאָמַרְתָּ֣ אֲלֵיהֶ֔ם כֹּ֖ה אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֑ה
אִם־לֹ֤א תִשְׁמְעוּ֙ אֵלַ֔י לָלֶ֙כֶת֙ בְּת֣וֹרָתִ֔י אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָתַ֖תִּי לִפְנֵיכֶֽם
4 And you say to them, Thus says Yahweh,
If you do not hear me, to walk in my instruction that I gave in your presence,
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לִשְׁמֹ֗עַ עַל־דִּבְרֵ֨י עֲבָדַ֣י הַנְּבִאִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר אָנֹכִ֖י שֹׁלֵ֣חַ אֲלֵיכֶ֑ם
וְהַשְׁכֵּ֥ם וְשָׁלֹ֖חַ וְלֹ֥א שְׁמַעְתֶּֽם
5 To hear the words of my servants the prophets that I, I sent to you,
both rising early and sending, (and you have not heard),
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וְנָתַתִּ֛י אֶת־הַבַּ֥יִת הַזֶּ֖ה כְּשִׁלֹ֑ה
וְאֶת־הָעִ֤יר הַזֹּאת֙ אֶתֵּ֣ן לִקְלָלָ֔ה לְכֹ֖ל גּוֹיֵ֥י הָאָֽרֶץ
6 Then I will make this house like Shiloh,
and this city I will make to be slighted of all the nations of the earth.
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וַֽיִּשְׁמְע֛וּ הַכֹּהֲנִ֥ים וְהַנְּבִאִ֖ים וְכָל־הָעָ֑ם
אֶֽת־יִרְמְיָ֔הוּ מְדַבֵּ֛ר אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה בְּבֵ֥ית יְהוָֽה
7 And the priests and the prophets and all the people,
heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of Yahweh.
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וַיְהִ֣י ׀ כְּכַלּ֣וֹת יִרְמְיָ֗הוּ לְדַבֵּר֙ אֵ֣ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֣ה יְהוָ֔ה לְדַבֵּ֖ר אֶל־כָּל־הָעָ֑ם
וַיִּתְפְּשׂ֨וּ אֹת֜וֹ הַכֹּהֲנִ֧ים וְהַנְּבִאִ֛ים וְכָל־הָעָ֥ם לֵאמֹ֖ר מ֥וֹת תָּמֽוּת
8 And it happened that Jeremiah finished speaking all that Yahweh commanded to speak to all the people.
And the priests and the prophets and all the people arrested him, saying, To die. You will die.
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מַדּוּעַ֩ נִבֵּ֨יתָ בְשֵׁם־יְהוָ֜ה לֵאמֹ֗ר כְּשִׁלוֹ֙ יִֽהְיֶה֙ הַבַּ֣יִת הַזֶּ֔ה וְהָעִ֥יר הַזֹּ֛את תֶּחֱרַ֖ב מֵאֵ֣ין יוֹשֵׁ֑ב
וַיִּקָּהֵ֧ל כָּל־הָעָ֛ם אֶֽל־יִרְמְיָ֖הוּ בְּבֵ֥ית יְהוָֽה
9 Why have you prophesied in the name of Yahweh saying, Like Shiloh will be this house, and this city deserted, without inhabitant?
And all the people were convened against Jeremiah in the house of Yahweh.
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וַֽיִּשְׁמְע֣וּ ׀ שָׂרֵ֣י יְהוּדָ֗ה אֵ֚ת הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה וַיַּעֲל֥וּ מִבֵּית־הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ בֵּ֣ית יְהוָ֑ה
וַיֵּֽשְׁב֛וּ בְּפֶ֥תַח שַֽׁעַר־יְהוָ֖ה הֶחָדָֽשׁ
10 And the nobility of Judah heard these words and they ascended from the house of the king to the house of Yahweh,
and sat in the door of Yahweh's new gate.
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וַיֹּ֨אמְר֜וּ הַכֹּהֲנִ֤ים וְהַנְּבִאִים֙ אֶל־הַשָּׂרִ֔ים וְאֶל־כָּל־הָעָ֖ם לֵאמֹ֑ר
מִשְׁפַּט־מָ֙וֶת֙ לָאִ֣ישׁ הַזֶּ֔ה כִּ֤י נִבָּא֙ אֶל־הָעִ֣יר הַזֹּ֔את כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר שְׁמַעְתֶּ֖ם בְּאָזְנֵיכֶֽם
11 And the priests and the prophets said to the nobility and to all the people, saying,
The judgment is death to this man, for he prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your ears.
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וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יִרְמְיָ֙הוּ֙ אֶל־כָּל־הַשָּׂרִ֔ים וְאֶל־כָּל־הָעָ֖ם לֵאמֹ֑ר
יְהוָ֣ה שְׁלָחַ֗נִי לְהִנָּבֵ֞א אֶל־הַבַּ֤יִת הַזֶּה֙ וְאֶל־הָעִ֣יר הַזֹּ֔את אֵ֥ת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר שְׁמַעְתֶּֽם
12 And Jeremiah said to all the nobility and to all the people, saying,
Yahweh sent me to prophesy to this house and to this city all the words that you have heard.
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וְעַתָּ֗ה הֵיטִ֤יבוּ דַרְכֵיכֶם֙ וּמַ֣עַלְלֵיכֶ֔ם וְשִׁמְע֕וּ בְּק֖וֹל יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֑ם
וְיִנָּחֵ֣ם יְהוָ֔ה אֶל־הָ֣רָעָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבֶּ֖ר עֲלֵיכֶֽם
13 So now do well in your ways and in your practices and hear in the voice of Yahweh your God
and Yahweh will sigh at the evil that he designated for you.
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וַאֲנִ֖י הִנְנִ֣י בְיֶדְכֶ֑ם
עֲשׂוּ־לִ֛י כַּטּ֥וֹב וְכַיָּשָׁ֖ר בְּעֵינֵיכֶֽם
14 As for me, note me well in your hand.
Do for me what seems good and upright in your sight.
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אַ֣ךְ ׀ יָדֹ֣עַ תֵּדְע֗וּ כִּ֣י אִם־מְמִתִ֣ים אַתֶּם֮ אֹתִי֒ כִּי־דָ֣ם נָקִ֗י אַתֶּם֙ נֹתְנִ֣ים עֲלֵיכֶ֔ם וְאֶל־הָעִ֥יר הַזֹּ֖את וְאֶל־יֹשְׁבֶ֑יהָ
כִּ֣י בֶאֱמֶ֗ת שְׁלָחַ֤נִי יְהוָה֙ עֲלֵיכֶ֔ם לְדַבֵּר֙ בְּאָזְנֵיכֶ֔ם אֵ֥ת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֖ים הָאֵֽלֶּה
15 Surely you know that if you put me to death that you will assign to yourselves innocent blood and to this city and to her inhabitants,
for in truth Yahweh sent me to you to speak in your ears all these words.
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וַיֹּאמְר֤וּ הַשָּׂרִים֙ וְכָל־הָעָ֔ם אֶל־הַכֹּהֲנִ֖ים וְאֶל־הַנְּבִיאִ֑ים
אֵין־לָאִ֤ישׁ הַזֶּה֙ מִשְׁפַּט־מָ֔וֶת כִּ֗י בְּשֵׁ֛ם יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ דִּבֶּ֥ר אֵלֵֽינוּ
16 And the nobility and all the people said to the priests and to the prophets,
Not to this man is the judgment to be death, for in the name of Yahweh our God he spoke to us.
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וַיָּקֻ֣מוּ אֲנָשִׁ֔ים מִזִּקְנֵ֖י הָאָ֑רֶץ
וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ אֶל־כָּל־קְהַ֥ל הָעָ֖ם לֵאמֹֽר
17 And persons arose from the elders of the land,
and said to all the congregation of the people, saying,
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מִיכָה֙ הַמּ֣וֹרַשְׁתִּ֔י הָיָ֣ה נִבָּ֔א בִּימֵ֖י חִזְקִיָּ֣הוּ מֶֽלֶךְ־יְהוּדָ֑ה
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֶל־כָּל־עַם֩ יְהוּדָ֨ה לֵאמֹ֜ר כֹּֽה־אָמַ֣ר ׀ יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֗וֹת צִיּ֞וֹן שָׂדֶ֤ה תֵֽחָרֵשׁ֙ וִירוּשָׁלַ֙יִם֙ עִיִּ֣ים תִּֽהְיֶ֔ה וְהַ֥ר הַבַּ֖יִת לְבָמ֥וֹת יָֽעַר
18 Micah the Morashite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah,
and said to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus says Yahweh of hosts Zion will be a ploughed field and Jerusalem will be a shambles, and the hill of the house, the high places of the forest.
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הֶהָמֵ֣ת הֱ֠מִתֻהוּ חִזְקִיָּ֨הוּ מֶֽלֶךְ־יְהוּדָ֜ה וְכָל־יְהוּדָ֗ה הֲלֹא֮ יָרֵ֣א אֶת־יְהוָה֒ וַיְחַל֙ אֶת־פְּנֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה וַיִּנָּ֣חֶם יְהוָ֔ה אֶל־הָרָעָ֖ה אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֣ר עֲלֵיהֶ֑ם
וַאֲנַ֗חְנוּ עֹשִׂ֛ים רָעָ֥ה גְדוֹלָ֖ה עַל־נַפְשׁוֹתֵֽינוּ
19 To death? Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death? Did he not fear Yahweh and entreated before Yahweh and did Yahweh sigh at the evil that he designated for them?
So we would do great evil to ourselves.
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וְגַם־אִ֗ישׁ הָיָ֤ה מִתְנַבֵּא֙ בְּשֵׁ֣ם יְהוָ֔ה אֽוּרִיָּ֙הוּ֙ בֶּֽן־שְׁמַעְיָ֔הוּ מִקִּרְיַ֖ת הַיְּעָרִ֑ים
וַיִּנָּבֵ֞א עַל־הָעִ֤יר הַזֹּאת֙ וְעַל־הָאָ֣רֶץ הַזֹּ֔את כְּכֹ֖ל דִּבְרֵ֥י יִרְמְיָֽהוּ
20 And moreover, a man there was who prophesied in the name of Yahweh, Uriah child of Shemaiah, from Qiryath- Ha-Yearim,
and he prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah.
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וַיִּשְׁמַ֣ע הַמֶּֽלֶךְ־יְ֠הוֹיָקִים וְכָל־גִּבּוֹרָ֤יו וְכָל־הַשָּׂרִים֙ אֶת־דְּבָרָ֔יו וַיְבַקֵּ֥שׁ הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ הֲמִית֑וֹ
וַיִּשְׁמַ֤ע אוּרִיָּ֙הוּ֙ וַיִּרָ֔א וַיִּבְרַ֖ח וַיָּבֹ֥א מִצְרָֽיִם
21 And the king Jehoiachim heard and all his valiant ones and all the nobility his words, and the king sought to put him to death,
and Uriah heard and he feared, and he ran away and came to Egypt.
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וַיִּשְׁלַ֞ח הַמֶּ֧לֶךְ יְהוֹיָקִ֛ים אֲנָשִׁ֖ים מִצְרָ֑יִם
אֵ֣ת אֶלְנָתָ֧ן בֶּן־עַכְבּ֛וֹר וַאֲנָשִׁ֥ים אִתּ֖וֹ אֶל־מִצְרָֽיִם
22 And the king Jehoiachim sent men to Egypt,
Elnathan child of Acbor, and soldiers with him to Egypt.
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וַיּוֹצִ֨יאוּ אֶת־אוּרִיָּ֜הוּ מִמִּצְרַ֗יִם וַיְבִאֻ֙הוּ֙ אֶל־הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ יְהוֹיָקִ֔ים וַיַּכֵּ֖הוּ בֶּחָ֑רֶב
וַיַּשְׁלֵךְ֙ אֶת־נִבְלָת֔וֹ אֶל־קִבְרֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י הָעָֽם
23 And they brought Uriah out from Egypt and brought him to the king Jehoiachim, and struck him by the sword,
and cast his corpse into the tombs of the children of the people.
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אַ֗ךְ יַ֚ד אֲחִיקָ֣ם בֶּן־שָׁפָ֔ן הָיְתָ֖ה אֶֽת־יִרְמְיָ֑הוּ
לְבִלְתִּ֛י תֵּת־אֹת֥וֹ בְיַד־הָעָ֖ם לַהֲמִיתֽוֹ
24 But the hand of Ahiqam child of Shaphan was with Jeremiah,
so as to prevent his being executed by the hand of the people.
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