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15 But after I have uprooted the people of those nations, I will relent[a] and have pity on them. I will restore the people of each of those nations to their own lands[b] and to their own country. 16 But they must make sure to learn to follow the religious practices of my people.[c] Once they taught my people to swear their oaths using the name of the god Baal.[d] But then, they must swear oaths using my name, saying, “As surely as the Lord lives, I swear.”[e] If they do these things,[f] then they will be included among the people I call my own.[g] 17 But I will completely uproot and destroy any of those nations that will not pay heed,’”[h] says the Lord.

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  1. Jeremiah 12:15 tn For the use of the verb “turn” (שׁוּב, shuv) in this sense, see BDB s.v. שׁוּב Qal.6.g and compare the usage in Pss 90:13; 6:4; and Joel 2:14. It does not simply mean “again” as several of the English versions render it.
  2. Jeremiah 12:15 sn The Lord is sovereign over the nations and has allotted each of them their lands. See Deut 2:5 (Edom); 2:9 (Moab); 2:19 (Ammon). He promised to restore not only his own people Israel to their land (Jer 32:37), but also Moab (Jer 48:47) and Ammon (Jer 49:6).
  3. Jeremiah 12:16 tn Heb “the ways of my people.” For this nuance of the word “ways” compare 10:2 and the notes there.
  4. Jeremiah 12:16 tn Heb “taught my people to swear by Baal.”
  5. Jeremiah 12:16 tn The words “I swear” are not in the text but are implicit to the oath formula. They are supplied in the translation for clarity.
  6. Jeremiah 12:16 tn The words “If they do these things” are not in the text. They are part of an attempt to break up a Hebrew sentence that is long and complex into equivalent shorter sentences consistent with contemporary English style. Verse 16 in Hebrew is all one sentence with a long, complex conditional clause followed by a short consequence: “If they actually learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, ‘By the life of the Lord,’ as they taught my people to swear by Baal, then they will be built up in the midst of my people.” The translation strives to create the same contingencies and modifications by breaking up the sentence into shorter sentences in accord with contemporary English style.
  7. Jeremiah 12:16 tn Heb “they will be built up among my people.” The expression “be built up among” is without parallel. However, what is involved here is conceptually parallel to the ideas expressed in Isa 19:23-25 and Zech 14:16-19. That is, these people will be allowed to live on their own land, to worship the Lord there, and to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts. To translate literally would be meaningless or misleading for many readers.
  8. Jeremiah 12:17 tn Heb “But if they will not listen, I will uproot that nation, uprooting and destroying.” IBHS 590-91 §35.3.2d is likely right in seeing the double infinitive construction here as an intensifying infinitive followed by an adverbial infinitive qualifying the goal of the main verb, “uproot it in such a way as to destroy it.” However, to translate that way “literally” would not be very idiomatic in contemporary English. The translation strives for the equivalent. Likewise, to translate using the conditional structure of the original seems to put the emphasis of the passage in its context on the wrong point.

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