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Jeremiah 25:32-34 New English Translation (NET Bible)

32 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says,
‘Disaster will soon come on one nation after another.[a]
A mighty storm of military destruction[b] is rising up
from the distant parts of the earth.’
33 Those who have been killed by the Lord at that time
will be scattered from one end of the earth to the other.
They will not be mourned over, gathered up, or buried.[c]
Their dead bodies will lie scattered over the ground like manure.
34 Wail and cry out in anguish, you rulers!
Roll in the dust, you who shepherd flocks of people![d]
The time for you to be slaughtered has come.
You will lie scattered and fallen like broken pieces of fine pottery.[e]


  1. Jeremiah 25:32 tn Heb “will go forth from nation to nation.”
  2. Jeremiah 25:32 tn The words “of military destruction” have been supplied in the translation to make the metaphor clear. The metaphor has shifted from that of God as a lion, to God as a warrior, to God as a judge, to God as the author of the storm winds of destruction. sn For the use of this word in a literal sense see Jonah 1:4. For its use to refer to the wrath of the Lord that will rage over the wicked, see Jer 23:19 and 30:23. Here it refers to the mighty Babylonian army that will come bringing destruction over all the known world. The same prophecy has just been given under the figure of the nations drinking the wine of God’s wrath (vv. 15-29).
  3. Jeremiah 25:33 sn The intent here is to emphasize the large quantity of those who are killed—there will be too many to insure proper mourning rites and proper burial.
  4. Jeremiah 25:34 tn Heb “Wail and cry out, you shepherds. Roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock.” The terms have been reversed to explain the figure.sn The term “shepherd” has been used several times in the book of Jeremiah to refer to the leaders of the people, who were responsible for taking care of their people, who are compared to a flock. (See Jer 23:1-4 and the notes there.) Here the figure has some irony involved in it. It is the shepherds who are to be slaughtered like sheep. They may have considered themselves “choice vessels” (the literal translation of “fine pottery”), but they would be slaughtered and lie scattered on the ground (v. 33) like broken pottery.
  5. Jeremiah 25:34 tn The meaning of this line is debated. The Greek version does not have the words “lie scattered,” and it reads the words “like broken pieces of fine pottery” (Heb “like choice vessels”; כִּכְלִי חֶמְדָּה, kikhli khemdah) as “like choice rams” (כְּאֵילֵי חֶמְדָּה, keʾele khemdah); i.e., “the days have been completed for you to be slaughtered, and you will fall like choice rams.” The reading of the Greek version fits the context better but is probably secondary for that very reason. The word translated “lie scattered” (תְּפוֹצָה, tefotsah) occurs nowhere else, and the switch to the simile of “choice vessels” is rather abrupt. However, this section has been characterized by switching metaphors. The key to the interpretation and translation here is the consequential nature of the verbal actions involved. “Fall” does not merely refer to the action but the effect, i.e., “lie fallen” (cf. BDB 657 s.v. נָפַל 7 and compare Judg 3:25; 1 Sam 31:8). Though the noun translated “lie scattered” does not occur elsewhere, the verb does. It is quite commonly used of dispersing people, and that has led many to see that as the reference here. The word, however, can be used of scattering other things like seed (Isa 28:25), arrows (2 Sam 22:15; metaphorical for lightning), etc. Here it follows “slaughtered” and refers to their dead bodies. The simile (Heb “ fallen like choice vessels”) is elliptical, referring to “broken pieces” of choice vessels. In this sense the simile fits in perfectly with v. 33.
New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.


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