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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Yirmiyahu - Jeremiah - Chapter 4

Yirmiyahu - Jeremiah - Chapter 4

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 4

1. If you return, O Israel, says the Lord, to Me, you shall return, and if you remove your detestable things from My Presence, you shall not wander.   א. אִם תָּשׁוּב יִשְׂרָאֵל | נְאֻם יְהֹוָה אֵלַי תָּשׁוּב וְאִם תָּסִיר שִׁקּוּצֶיךָ מִפָּנַי וְלֹא תָנוּד:
If you return, O Israel: with this repentance, to Me, you will return to your original glory and greatness.  
and if you remove your detestable things from My Presence: Then you shall not wander to go out in exile.  
2. And you will swear, "As the Lord lives," in truth and in justice and in righteousness, nations will bless themselves with him and boast about him.   ב. וְנִשְׁבַּעְתָּ חַי יְהֹוָה בֶּאֱמֶת בְּמִשְׁפָּט וּבִצְדָקָה וְהִתְבָּרְכוּ בוֹ גּוֹיִם וּבוֹ יִתְהַלָּלוּ:
And you will swear, “As the Lord lives,” in truth: When you swear by My name, you will swear in truth, not as now, that it is written concerning you, “And if they say, ‘As the Lord lives,’ surely they swear falsely” (5:2).  
nations will bless themselves with him: If you do so, then nations will bless themselves with Israel. Every non-Jew will say to his son, “You shall be like So-and-so the Jew.”  
boast: Heb. יתהללו, they will recite your praise. Another explanation of is יתהללו : Whoever is able to cleave to Israel will boast about the matter (porvanter in French).  
3. For so said the Lord to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem: Plow for yourself a furrow, and do not sow upon thorns.   ג. כִּי כֹה | אָמַר יְהוָֹה לְאִישׁ יְהוּדָה וְלִירוּשָׁלִַם נִירוּ לָכֶם נִיר וְאַל תִּזְרְעוּ אֶל קֹצִים:
For so said the Lord, etc. Plow for yourself a furrow: Learn from the tillers of the soil, who plow it in the summer to kill the roots of the grasses, that it should not grow thorns at the time of sowing in the winter. You, too, improve your deeds before the evil befalls you, so that your prayer should not be rejected when you cry out.  
and do not sow upon thorns: And let not your cry before Me be from amidst wickedness, but from amidst repentance, that you shall not resemble one sowing without plowing, and that turns into thorns (kardons in O.F., chardons in modern French).  
4. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord and remove the foreskins of your heart, O people of Judah and dwellers of Jerusalem, lest My anger go forth and burn with none to quench it because of the evil of your deeds.   ד. הִמֹּלוּ לַיהֹוָה וְהָסִרוּ עָרְלוֹת לְבַבְכֶם אִישׁ יְהוּדָה וְיֹשְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָם פֶּן תֵּצֵא כָאֵשׁ חֲמָתִי וּבָעֲרָה וְאֵין מְכַבֶּה מִפְּנֵי רֹעַ מַעַלְלֵיכֶם:
Circumcise yourselves to the Lord: Before My anger comes forth like fire. This is like plowing before the sowing.  
5. Tell in Judah and in Jerusalem; let it be heard and say, "Sound a shofar in the land"; cry out, assemble, and say, "Gather, and let us come into the fortified cities."   ה. הַגִּידוּ בִיהוּדָה וּבִירוּשָׁלִַם הַשְׁמִיעוּ וְאִמְרוּ תִּקְעוּ שׁוֹפָר בָּאָרֶץ קִרְאוּ מַלְאוּ וְאִמְרוּ הֵאָסְפוּ וְנָבוֹאָה אֶל עָרֵי הַמִּבְצָר:
and say, “Sound a shophar…”: Warn the inhabitants of the land that they sound the shophar to flee.  
assemble: Heb. מלאו. An expression of gathering, and there are many in the Scriptures: (Isaiah 31: 4) “Although a band of (מְלֹא) shepherds gather against him,” Also (infra 12:6) “They called after you a band (מָלֵא).” Also (Job 16: 10) “Together they gather (יתמלאוּן) against me.”  
6. Raise a standard to Zion, assemble, do not stand, for I am bringing evil from the north, and a great destruction.   ו. שְׂאוּ נֵס צִיּוֹנָה הָעִיזוּ אַל תַּעֲמֹדוּ כִּי רָעָה אָנֹכִי מֵבִיא מִצָּפוֹן וְשֶׁבֶר גָּדוֹל:
Raise a standard: to flee to Zion.  
assemble: Heb. העיזו. Comp.“Send, gather (העז)” (Exodus 9:19).  
7. A lion has come up from his thicket, and a destroyer of nations has traveled, has come forth from his place, to make your land into a waste, your cities will be desolate without an inhabitant.   ז. עָלָה אַרְיֵה מִסֻּבְּכוֹ וּמַשְׁחִית גּוֹיִם נָסַע יָצָא מִמְּקֹמוֹ לָשׂוּם אַרְצֵךְ לְשַׁמָּה עָרַיִךְ תִּצֶּינָה מֵאֵין יוֹשֵׁב:
A lion has come up: That is Nebuchadnezzar.  
from his thicket: It is customary for a lion to lie in wait in the thickets of the forest (espaises in O.F.).  
will be desolate: Heb. תצינה, an expression of desolation.  
8. Because of this, gird yourselves with sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the Lord has not turned back from us.   ח. עַל זֹאת חִגְרוּ שַׂקִּים סִפְדוּ וְהֵילִילוּ כִּי לֹא שָׁב חֲרוֹן אַף יְהֹוָה מִמֶּנּוּ:
Because of this: What is “this?” “For the fierce anger etc.” Although he spoke above concerning Nebuchadnezzar in regards to the destruction, here he returns to speak of the death of Josiah.  
for the fierce anger of the Lord etc.: Although Josiah repented wholeheartedly, it is stated concerning him. (II Kings 23:26)…“the Lord did not turn back from his great wrath… because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked Him.”  
9. And it shall be on that day, says the Lord, the heart of the king and the heart of the princes shall fail, and the priests shall be astonished and the prophets shall wonder.   ט. וְהָיָה בַיּוֹם הַהוּא נְאֻם יְהֹוָה יֹאבַד לֵב הַמֶּלֶךְ וְלֵב הַשָּׂרִים וְנָשַׁמּוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים וְהַנְּבִאִים יִתְמָהוּ:
And it shall be on that day: On the day of Josiah they will wonder why so much befell him, for they do not know that his generation did not repent properly. When he came to abolish idolatry, what did the scorners of the generation do? They would engrave an image of a pagan deity on their doors, half of it on this door and half of it on this door. When he would open it, it was not discernible, and when he went away from there, he would close it, and it would join together.  
10. And I said, "Ah, O Lord God! You have surely misled this people and Jerusalem, saying, 'You will have peace,' yet the sword has reached the soul."   י. וָאֹמַר אֲהָהּ | אֲדֹנָי יֱהֹוִה אָכֵן הַשֵּׁא הִשֵּׁאתָ לָעָם הַזֶּה וְלִירוּשָׁלִַם לֵאמֹר שָׁלוֹם יִהְיֶה לָכֶם וְנָגְעָה חֶרֶב עַד הַנָּפֶשׁ:
Surely You have misled: Heb. השא השאת (fa)tenter in O.F.), tempting, an expression like (Gen. 3:13) “The serpent misled me (השיאני),” for the false prophets prophesy for them, You will have peace.  
11. At that time it shall be said of this people: A wind has swept the rivulets in the desert [on] the way of the daughter of My people, not to winnow and not to cleanse.   יא. בָּעֵת הַהִיא יֵאָמֵר לָעָם הַזֶּה וְלִירוּשָׁלִַם רוּחַ צַח שְׁפָיִם בַּמִּדְבָּר דֶּרֶךְ בַּת עַמִּי לוֹא לִזְרוֹת וְלוֹא לְהָבַר:
of this people: Concerning this people when they are all exiled.  
has swept the rivulets: It sweeps even the fields with rivulets of water to make them into a desert. Another explanation: צח is an expression of thirst, which is translated צחותא.  
[on] the way of the daughter of My people: That wind will come, and also, not to winnow the chaff from the threshing floor ([a] vanner in O.F.). Comp. (infra 15:7) “And I winnowed them with a sieve במזרה) (ואזרם.”  
and not to cleanse: And not to cleanse grain does it come. That is to say, not for good but for evil, to exile men [women], and children, and livestock.  
12. A full spirit of these shall come to me; now, I too will debate with them.   יב. רוּחַ מָלֵא מֵאֵלֶּה יָבוֹא לִי עַתָּה גַּם אֲנִי אֲדַבֵּר מִשְׁפָּטִים אוֹתָם:
A full spirit: of these retributions shall come to me.  
A full spirit: A full spirit, that I will not retract and not repent.  
spirit: (talant in O.F.)  
debate: Heb. משפטים, an expression of debating.  
13. Behold, like clouds he will ascend, and like the whirlwind his chariots; his steeds are swifter than eagles; woe is to us for we have been plundered.   יג. הִנֵּה | כַּעֲנָנִים יַעֲלֶה וְכַסּוּפָה מַרְכְּבוֹתָיו קַלּוּ מִנְּשָׁרִים סוּסָיו אוֹי לָנוּ כִּי שֻׁדָּדְנוּ:
and like the whirlwind: (comme tourbillon in O.F.)  
14. Cleanse your heart of evil, O Jerusalem, in order that you be saved; how long will you lodge in your midst your iniquitous thoughts?   יד. כַּבְּסִי מֵרָעָה לִבֵּךְ יְרוּשָׁלִַם לְמַעַן תִּוָּשֵׁעִי עַד מָתַי תָּלִין בְּקִרְבֵּךְ מַחְשְׁבוֹת אוֹנֵךְ:
your iniquitous thoughts: Your injustice.  
15. For a voice proclaims from Dan and announces calamity from Mt. Ephraim.   טו. כִּי קוֹל מַגִּיד מִדָּן וּמַשְׁמִיעַ אָוֶן מֵהַר אֶפְרָיִם:
For a voice proclaims from Dan: Jonathan paraphrases: “Behold the voice of the prophets prophesy about them that they will be exiled because they worshipped the calf that was in Dan, and people bringing bad tidings will come upon them because they subordinated themselves to the image that Micah erected on the mountain of the house of Ephraim.” Although the calves had already been exiled since the days of Sennacherib, their iniquity was still existing. Sin is harsh, for it destroys [lit. breaks] before it and after it; before it, since the days of Abraham, as it is stated (Gen. 14:14): “And he pursued until Dan.” As soon as he reached Dan, he grew faint [lit. his strength was weakened], for his children would, in the future, worship idols there, and after it, in the destruction of the Temple, as it is stated: “A voice proclaims from Dan.”  
and announces calamity: Heb. און, a breach.  
16. Mention on behalf of the nations, behold, announce concerning Jerusalem, besiegers are coming from a distant land, and they have given out their voice against the cities of Judah.   טז. הַזְכִּירוּ לַגּוֹיִם הִנֵּה הַשְׁמִיעוּ עַל יְרוּשָׁלִַם נֹצְרִים בָּאִים מֵאֶרֶץ הַמֶּרְחָק וַיִּתְּנוּ עַל עָרֵי יְהוּדָה קוֹלָם:
besiegers: Heb. נצרים. Those who will make a siege upon them.  
17. Like watchers of a field they are against her round about, for she has rebelled against Me, says the Lord.   יז. כְּשֹׁמְרֵי שָׂדַי הָיוּ עָלֶיהָ מִסָּבִיב כִּי אֹתִי מָרָתָה נְאֻם יְהֹוָה:
a field: like שדה, a field.  
for she has rebelled against me: She has provoked Me. Comp. (Deut. 9:24) “You have been rebellious (ממרים),” provoking.  
18. Your way and your deeds have done these to you. This is [because of] your evil that it is bitter, that it has reached to your heart.   יח. דַּרְכֵּךְ וּמַעֲלָלַיִךְ עָשׂוּ אֵלֶּה לָךְ זֹאת רָעָתֵךְ כִּי מָר כִּי נָגַע עַד לִבֵּךְ:
have done these to you: To do these to you.  
19. My bowels, my bowels! I writhe in pain. The walls of my heart! My heart stirs within me. I cannot be silent, for you, my soul, have heard the sound of the shofar, the alarm of war.   יט. מֵעַי | מֵעַי אוֹחִילָה קִירוֹת לִבִּי הֹמֶה לִּי לִבִּי לֹא אַחֲרִישׁ כִּי קוֹל שׁוֹפָר שָׁמַעַתְּ נַפְשִׁי תְּרוּעַת מִלְחָמָה:
I writhe in pain: Heb. אוחילה. An expression of writhing in pain (חיל) and shuddering.  
the walls of my heart!: (ettancon in O. F.), blocking wall, perhaps from late Latin, intimus, innermost.  
you, my soul, have heard: From behind the curtain of heaven the ridings of the sound of the alarm of war reached me.  
20. Destruction upon destruction has occurred, for the entire land has been plundered; suddenly my tents have been plundered, in a moment my curtains.   כ. שֶׁבֶר עַל שֶׁבֶר נִקְרָא כִּי שֻׁדְּדָה כָּל הָאָרֶץ פִּתְאוֹם שֻׁדְּדוּ אֹהָלַי רֶגַע יְרִיעֹתָי:
Destruction upon destruction: The destruction of Jerusalem upon the exile of Jeconiah.  
in a moment my curtains: In a moment my curtains were plundered.  
21. How long will I see the standard, will I hear the sound of the shofar?   כא. עַד מָתַי אֶרְאֶה נֵּס אֶשְׁמְעָה קוֹל שׁוֹפָר:
How long will I see: these groups carrying the standard to come to wage war.  
22. For My people are foolish, they know Me not; they are foolish children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but they know not to do good.   כב. כִּי | אֱוִיל עַמִּי אוֹתִי לֹא יָדָעוּ בָּנִים סְכָלִים הֵמָּה וְלֹא נְבוֹנִים הֵמָּה חֲכָמִים הֵמָּה לְהָרַע וּלְהֵיטִיב לֹא יָדָעוּ:
23. I saw the earth, and behold, it was void and unformed, and the heavens, and they had no light.   כג. רָאִיתִי אֶת הָאָרֶץ וְהִנֵּה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְאֶל הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵין אוֹרָם:
24. I saw the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro.   כד. רָאִיתִי הֶהָרִים וְהִנֵּה רֹעֲשִׁים וְכָל הַגְּבָעוֹת הִתְקַלְקָלוּ:
moved to and fro: Heb. התקלקלו, they were uprooted and cast out of their place. Menahem associates it with: “He shakes the arrows to and fro (קלקל) ” (Ezek. 21:26).  
25. I saw, and behold, there were no people, and all the fowl of the heavens wandered away.   כה. רָאִיתִי וְהִנֵּה אֵין הָאָדָם וְכָל עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם נָדָדוּ:
26. I saw, and behold, the fruitful field became a desert, and all its cities were destroyed because of the Lord, because of His fierce anger.   כו. רָאִיתִי וְהִנֵּה הַכַּרְמֶל הַמִּדְבָּר וְכָל עָרָיו נִתְּצוּ מִפְּנֵי יְהֹוָה מִפְּנֵי חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ:
and behold, the fruitful field: The land, planted with all good like a forest, has become like a desert. The Midrash Aggadah states: “I saw the mountains” These are the Patriarchs. “And all the hills” These are the Matriarchs. That is to say that their merit was depleted. “There were no people” This refers to Moses, about whom it is said: “humbler than all the people” (Num. 12:3).“And behold the Karmel” This is Elijah.  
27. For so says the Lord: All the land shall be a desolation, but I will not make an end.   כז. כִּי כֹה אָמַר יְהֹוָה שְׁמָמָה תִהְיֶה כָּל הָאָרֶץ וְכָלָה לֹא אֶעֱשֶׂה:
but I will not make an end: of its inhabitants, for I will leave over refugees who will go into exile.  
28. For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above shall darken, for that which I spoke as I had planned, I did not regret and I will not turn back from it.   כח. עַל זֹאת תֶּאֱבַל הָאָרֶץ וְקָדְרוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם מִמָּעַל עַל כִּי דִבַּרְתִּי זַמֹּתִי וְלֹא נִחַמְתִּי וְלֹא אָשׁוּב מִמֶּנָּה:
shall mourn: Shall be destroyed.  
I planned: Heb. זמתי, an expression of thought.  
for that which I spoke: i.e., this retribution, and I will fulfill it.  
and I will not turn back: And I will not repent to think good thoughts about them.  
29. From the voice of the riders and the archers, the entire city they came into the thickets, and they ascended among the boulders; every city is deserted, and no people are living in them.   כט. מִקּוֹל פָּרָשׁ וְרֹמֵה קֶשֶׁת בֹּרַחַת כָּל הָעִיר בָּאוּ בֶּעָבִים וּבַכֵּפִים עָלוּ כָּל הָעִיר עֲזוּבָה וְאֵין יוֹשֵׁב בָּהֵן אִישׁ:
archers: Heb. רמה קשת, lit. bow shooters. Comp.“Cast (רמה) into the sea” (Exodus 15:1).  
they came into the thickets: Into the thick forests, a place intertwined with thorns, to hide.  
and they ascended among the boulders: Heb. ובכפים. סלע, a rock, is translated into Aramaic as בכפיא.  
30. And you, despoiled one, what can you do that you wear crimson, that you adorn yourself with golden ornaments, that you enlarge your eye with paint? In vain you beautify yourself; lovers despise you, they seek your life.   ל. וְאַתְּ שָׁדוּד מַה תַּעֲשִׂי כִּי תִלְבְּשִׁי שָׁנִי כִּי תַעְדִּי עֲדִי זָהָב כִּי תִקְרְעִי בַפּוּךְ עֵינַיִךְ לַשָּׁוְא תִּתְיַפִּי מָאֲסוּ בָךְ עֹגְבִים נַפְשֵׁךְ יְבַקֵּשׁוּ:
that you wear crimson: to beautify yourself and to gain clemency before the plunderer.  
that you enlarge… with paint: Heb. תקרעי. An expression of tearing, for the paint appears as widening the opening of the eye. So have I heard, and Menahem did not differentiate in the group of קרע.  
paint: Heb. בפוך, an expression of a blue paint.  
lovers: Heb. עגבים, those who jest with the women with various types of adultery. Comp. (Ezekiel 23:20) “She lusted (ותעגבה) for concubinage with them.”  
they seek your life: They seek to kill you.  
31. For a voice like [that of] a travailing woman I heard, in pain as a woman bearing her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion who will wail, will break her hands. "Woe is to me, for my soul is faint before the murderers."   לא. כִּי קוֹל כְּחוֹלָה שָׁמַעְתִּי צָרָה כְּמַבְכִּירָה קוֹל בַּת צִיּוֹן תִּתְיַפֵּחַ תְּפָרֵשׂ כַּפֶּיהָ אוֹי נָא לִי כִּי עָיְפָה נַפְשִׁי לְהֹרְגִים:
like a woman bearing her first child: Heb. כמבכירה, like a woman bearing her first child, the beginning of her birth.  
who will wail: Heb. תתיפח, she will wail and cry out with sighs (konpljjnt in O.F:). Comp.“who speak (ויפח) violence” (Psalms 27:12), an expression of speech.  
“Woe is to me…”: This is what she says.  
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