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Jeremiah 14:18 New English Translation (NET Bible)

18 If I go out into the countryside,
I see those who have been killed in battle.
If I go into the city,
I see those who are sick because of starvation.[a]
For both prophet and priest—
they go peddling in the land
but they are not humbled.’”[b]


  1. Jeremiah 14:18 tn The word “starvation” has been translated “famine” elsewhere in this passage. It is the word that refers to hunger. The “starvation” here may be war induced and not simply that which comes from famine per se. “Starvation” will cover both.
  2. Jeremiah 14:18 tn The meaning of these last two lines is somewhat uncertain. The keys are the two verbs סָחַר (sakhar) and יָדַע (yadaʿ). סָחַר (sakhar) most commonly occurs as a participle meaning “trader” or “merchant.” As a finite verb (only elsewhere in Gen 34:10, 21; 42:34) it seems to refer to “trading; doing business,” though DCH understands it only as “traveling around” and proposes “wander” in this verse. The common verb יָדַע (yadaʿ) means “to know.” Among homophonous roots DCH includes יָדַע II (yadaʿ) meaning “be quiet, at rest; be submissive” (cf. Job 21:19; Prov 5:6; Hos 9:7; Isa 45:4). The primary options in the first portion are that they “wander about” or “trade” “throughout the land.” In the second portion they “do not rest,” “are not humbled,” “are not submissive (to the Lord),” or “are ignorant.” Whether they wander without rest, have turned tradesmen without submitting to the Lord, or treat their religious duties as items for trade while ignorant of what God really says, the point is that they are absent from their proper duties of teaching the people to know God. The current translation sees the priests and prophets as disadvantaged, forced into peddling, yet still not humbled so as to return to God. The text has been interpreted to mean that priest and prophet have gone into exile, “journeying into” (cf., e.g., BDB 695 s.v. סָחַר Qal.1). This seems unlikely since it would suppose that the people are in hardship because of a punishment that has happened to their religious leaders, rather than for the failure of their leaders. (On the failure of the prophets and priests see 2:8; 5:13; 6:13; 8:10.) See also W. McKane, Jeremiah (ICC), 1:330-31 for a more thorough discussion of the issues.
New English Translation (NET)

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