and the people became fuel for the fire. 2
People had no compassion on one another. 3
they ate on the left, but were not satisfied.
[9:19] 2 sn The uncontrollable fire of the people’s wickedness (v. 18) is intensified by the fire of the Lord’s judgment (v. 19). God allows (or causes) their wickedness to become self-destructive as civil strife and civil war break out in the land.
[9:19] 3 tn Heb “men were not showing compassion to their brothers.” The idiom “men to their brothers” is idiomatic for reciprocity. The prefixed verbal form is either a preterite without vav (ו) consecutive or an imperfect used in a customary sense, describing continual or repeated behavior in past time.
[9:20] 4 tn Or “cut.” The verb גָּזַר (gazar) means “to cut.” If it is understood here, then one might paraphrase, “They slice off meat on the right.” However, HALOT 187 s.v. I גזר, proposes here a rare homonym meaning “to devour.”
[9:20] 6 tn Some suggest that זְרֹעוֹ (zÿro’o, “his arm”) be repointed זַרְעוֹ (zar’o, “his offspring”). In either case, the metaphor is that of a desperately hungry man who resorts to an almost unthinkable act to satisfy his appetite. He eats everything he can find to his right, but still being unsatisfied, then turns to his left and eats everything he can find there. Still being desperate for food, he then resorts to eating his own flesh (or offspring, as this phrase is metaphorically understood by some English versions, e.g., NIV, NCV, TEV, NLT). The reality behind the metaphor is the political turmoil of the period, as the next verse explains. There was civil strife within the northern kingdom; even the descendants of Joseph were at each other’s throats. Then the northern kingdom turned on their southern brother, Judah.