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Yeremia 44:11-14


44:11 “Because of this, the Lord God of Israel who rules over all says, ‘I am determined to bring disaster on you, 1  even to the point of destroying all the Judeans here. 2  44:12 I will see to it that all the Judean remnant that was determined to go 3  and live in the land of Egypt will be destroyed. Here in the land of Egypt they will fall in battle 4  or perish from starvation. People of every class 5  will die in war or from starvation. They will become an object of horror and ridicule, an example of those who have been cursed and that people use in pronouncing a curse. 6  44:13 I will punish those who live in the land of Egypt with war, starvation, and disease just as I punished Jerusalem. 44:14 None of the Judean remnant who have come to live in the land of Egypt will escape or survive to return to the land of Judah. Though they long to return and live there, none of them shall return except a few fugitives.’” 7 

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[44:11]  1 tn Heb “Behold I am setting my face against you for evil/disaster.” For the meaning of the idiom “to set the face to/against” see the translator’s note on 42:15 and compare the references listed there.

[44:11]  2 tn Heb “and to destroy all Judah.” However, this statement must be understood within the rhetoric of the passage (see vv. 7-8 and the study note on v. 8) and within the broader context of the Lord’s promises to restore the remnant who are in Babylon and those scattered in other lands (23:3; 24:5-6; 29:14; 30:3; 32:27). In this context “all Judah” must refer to all the Judeans living in Egypt whom Jeremiah is now addressing. This involves the figure of synecdoche where all does not extend to all individuals but to all that are further specified or implied (see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 616-18, and the comments in H. Freedman, Jeremiah [SoBB], 285). The “and” in front of “to destroy” is to be understood as an example of the epexegetical use of the conjunction ו (vav; see BDB 252 s.v. וַ 1.b and compare the translation of J. Bright, Jeremiah [AB], 260).

[44:12]  3 tn Heb “they set their face to go.” Compare 44:11 and 42:14 and see the translator’s note at 42:15.

[44:12]  4 tn Heb “fall by the sword.”

[44:12]  5 tn Or “All of them without distinction,” or “All of them from the least important to the most important”; Heb “From the least to the greatest.” See the translator’s note on 42:1 for the meaning of this idiom.

[44:12]  6 tn See the study note on 24:9 and the usage in 29:22 for the meaning and significance of this last phrase.

[44:12]  sn See Jer 42:18 for parallel usage.

[44:14]  7 tn Heb “There shall not be an escapee or a survivor to the remnant of Judah who came to sojourn there in the land of Egypt even to return to the land of Judah which they are lifting up their souls [= “longing/desiring” (BDB 672 s.v. נָשָׂא Piel.2)] to return to live there; for none shall return except fugitives.” The long, complex Hebrew original has been broken up and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style. Another possible structure would be “None of the Judean remnant who have come to live in the land of Egypt will escape or survive. None of them will escape or survive to return to the land of Judah where they long to return to live. Indeed (emphatic use of כִּי [ki]; cf. BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.e) none of them shall return except a few fugitives.” This verse is a good example of rhetorical hyperbole where a universal negative does not apply to absolutely all the particulars. Though the Lord denies at the outset that any will escape or survive the punishment of vv. 12-13 to return to Judah, he says at the end that a few fugitives will return (the two words for fugitive are from the same root and mean the same thing). (E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 618-19, might classify this as a synecdoche of genus where a universal negative does not deny particularity.) That this last statement is not a gloss or an afterthought is supported by what is said later in v. 28.

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