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Jeremiah 5:6-8 New English Translation (NET Bible)

So like a lion from the thicket their enemies will kill them.
Like a wolf from the rift valley they will destroy them.
Like a leopard they will lie in wait outside their cities
and totally destroy anyone who ventures out.[a]
For they have rebelled so much
and done so many unfaithful things.[b]

The Lord asked,[c]

“How can I leave you unpunished, Jerusalem?[d]
Your people[e] have rejected me
and have worshiped gods that are not gods at all.[f]
Even though I supplied all their needs,[g] they were like an unfaithful wife to me.[h]
They went flocking[i] to the houses of prostitutes.[j]
They are like lusty, well-fed[k] stallions.
Each of them lusts after[l] his neighbor’s wife.


  1. Jeremiah 5:6 tn Heb “So a lion from the thicket will kill them. A wolf from the desert will destroy them. A leopard will watch outside their cities. Anyone who goes out from them will be torn in pieces.” However, it is unlikely that, in the context of judgment that Jeremiah has previously been describing, literal lions are meant. The animals are metaphorical for their enemies. Cf. Jer 4:7.
  2. Jeremiah 5:6 tn Heb “their rebellions are so many, and their unfaithful acts so numerous.”
  3. Jeremiah 5:7 tn These words are not in the text, but are supplied in the translation to make clear who is speaking.
  4. Jeremiah 5:7 tn Heb “How can I forgive [or pardon] you?” The pronoun “you” is second feminine singular, referring to the city. See v. 1.
  5. Jeremiah 5:7 tn Heb “your children.”
  6. Jeremiah 5:7 tn Heb “and they have sworn [oaths] by not-gods.”
  7. Jeremiah 5:7 tn Heb “I satisfied them to the full.”
  8. Jeremiah 5:7 tn Heb “they committed adultery.” It is difficult to decide whether literal adultery with other women or spiritual adultery with other gods is meant. The word for adultery is used for both in the book of Jeremiah. For examples of its use for spiritual adultery see 3:8, 9; 9:2. For examples of its use for literal adultery see 7:9; 23:14. The context here could argue for either. The swearing by other gods and the implicit contradiction in their actions in contrast to the expected gratitude for supplying their needs argues for spiritual adultery. However, the reference to prostitution in the next line and the reference to chasing after their neighbor’s wives argues for literal adultery. The translation opts for spiritual adultery because of the contrast implicit in the concessive clause.
  9. Jeremiah 5:7 tn There is a great deal of debate about the meaning of this word. Most of the modern English versions follow the lead of lexicographers who relate this word to a noun meaning “troop” and understand it to mean “they trooped together” (cf. BDB 151 s.v. גָּדַד Hithpo.2 and compare the usage in Mic 5:1 [4:14 HT]). A few of the modern English versions and commentaries follow the reading of the Greek and read a word meaning “they lodged” (reading יִתְגּוֹרְרוּ [yitgoreru] from I גּוּר [gur; cf. HALOT 177 s.v. Hithpo. and compare the usage in 1 Kgs 17:20] instead of יִתְגֹּדָדוּ [yitgodadu]). W. L. Holladay (Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 1:180) sees a reference here to the cultic practice of cutting oneself in supplication to pagan gods (cf. BDB 151 s.v. גָּדַד Hithpo.1 and compare the usage in 1 Kgs 18:28). The houses of prostitutes would then be a reference to ritual prostitutes at the pagan shrines. The translation follows BDB and the majority of modern English versions.
  10. Jeremiah 5:7 tn Heb “to a house of a prostitute.”sn This could be a reference to cultic temple prostitution connected with the pagan shrines. For allusion to this in the OT, see, e.g., Deut 23:17 and 2 Kgs 23:7.
  11. Jeremiah 5:8 tn The meanings of these two adjectives are uncertain. The translation of the first adjective is based on assuming that the word is a defectively written participle related to the noun “testicle” (a Hiphil participle מַאֲשִׁכִים [maʾashikhim] from a verb related to אֶשֶׁךְ [ʾeshekh, “testicle”]; cf. Lev 21:20) and hence “having testicles” (cf. HALOT 1379 s.v. שָׁכָה) instead of the Masoretic form מַשְׁכִּים (mashkim) from a root שָׁכָה (shakhah), which is otherwise unattested in either verbal or nominal forms. The second adjective is best derived from a verb root meaning “to feed” (a Hophal participle מוּזָנִים [muzanim, the Kethib] from a root זוּן [zun; cf. BDB 266 s.v. זוּן] for which there is the cognate noun מָזוֹן [mazon; cf. 2 Chr 11:23]). This is more likely than the derivation from a root יָזַן ([yazan]reading מְיֻזָּנִים [meyuzzanim], a Pual participle with the Qere) which is otherwise unattested in verbal or nominal forms and whose meaning is dependent only on a supposed Arabic cognate (cf. HALOT 387 s.v. יָזַן).
  12. Jeremiah 5:8 tn Heb “neighs after.”
New English Translation (NET)

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