‘My eyes overflow with tears day and night without ceasing.[b] For my people, my dear children,[c] have suffered a crushing blow. They have suffered a serious wound.[d]
Jeremiah 14:17tn The word “Jeremiah” is not in the text but the address is to a second person singular hearer and is a continuation of 14:14, where the quote starts. The word is supplied in the translation for clarity.
Jeremiah 14:17tn Many of the English versions and commentaries render this an indirect or third person imperative, “Let my eyes overflow…,” because of the particle אַל (ʾal) introducing the phrase translated “without ceasing” (אַל־תִּדְמֶינָה, ʾal-tidmenah). However, this is undoubtedly an example where the particle introduces an affirmation that something cannot be done (cf. GKC 322 §109.e). Clear examples of this are found in Pss 41:2 (41:3 HT); 50:3; and Job 41:8 (40:32 HT). God here is again describing a lamentable situation and giving his response to it. See 14:1-6 above.sn Once again it is the Lord lamenting the plight of the people to them, rather than the people lamenting their plight to him. See 14:1-6 and the study notes on the introduction to this section and on 14:7.
Jeremiah 14:17tnHeb “virgin daughter, my people.” The last noun here is appositional to the first two (genitive of apposition). Hence it is not ‘literally’ “virgin daughter of my people.”sn This is a metaphor that occurs several times with regard to Israel, Judah, Zion, and even Sidon and Babylon. It is the poetic personification of the people, the city, or the land. Like other metaphors the quality of the comparison being alluded to must be elicited from the context. This is easy in Isa 23:12 (oppressed) and Isa 47:1 (soft and delicate), but not so easy in other places. From the nature of the context, the reference here may be to the protection the virgin was normally privileged to have, with a reminder that the people were forfeiting it by their actions. Hence God lamented for them.
Jeremiah 14:17tn This is a poetic personification. To translate with the plural “serious wounds” might mislead some into thinking of literal wounds.sn Cf. Jer 10:19 for a similar use of this metaphor.
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