Jeremiah 2:1-37

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The “word of YHWH” came to Jeremiah, revealing to him the message he needed to proclaim to the people. (2:1; see the Notes section.)

Jeremiah was to go and make a proclamation “in the ears of Jerusalem” or in the hearing of the city’s inhabitants. At the outset, he was to identify the source of the message. “This is what YHWH has said.” In the message, YHWH is represented as remembering the nation of Israel in its youth or prior to its entrance into the land of Canaan. At that time, the people had the attribute that is designated by the Hebrew word chésed. In this context, chésed may denote “loyalty” or “devotion.” The Septuagint rendering is a form of éleos, meaning “mercy” or “compassion,” and may here describe the tender feeling the people had for their God. They then had a love like that of a bride, manifesting it in an initial way when leaving Egypt under the leadership of Moses and following YHWH in the wilderness — an inhospitable and arid region where no cultivated crops grew, for no sowing was done there. In the wilderness, YHWH’s presence with his people was tangibly revealed by a column of cloud during the day and a luminous column during the night, and the movement of the column was the signal for the people to break camp and to depart. Accordingly, when following the column, the people were following YHWH in the wilderness. The Septuagint concludes with the words, “You followed the Holy One of Israel, says the Lord.” (2:2; see Exodus 13:21, 22.)

To YHWH, Israel was “holy” as his possession and sacred like the firstfruits of his harvest. (Compare Exodus 22:29; 23:19.) All who tried to consume Israel made themselves guilty, for it was comparable to eating of the firstfruits that belonged to YHWH. “Evil” or calamity came upon those who did so. (2:3; see the Notes section.)

Jeremiah called upon the people to pay attention. “Hear the word of YHWH, O house of Jacob, and all families of the house of Israel.” “House of Jacob” and “house of Israel” are parallel designations for the people of Israel, for the name of their forefather Jacob was changed to Israel after he wrestled with an angel. (2:4; see Genesis 32:24-28.)

YHWH’s message raised a rhetorical question that should have prompted the people to think seriously about their conduct. What had their ancestors found in YHWH that was unjust, providing them with a valid reason for distancing themselves from him and “walking after,” or choosing to serve, “vanity” or “worthlessness” (vanities or worthless things [LXX], idols or nonexistent deities) and thereby becoming worthless? (2:5)

Their ancestors failed to give sober consideration to YHWH’s loving care for them, choosing to turn their backs on him and to venerate nonexistent gods and goddesses. They did not say, or reflect on, anything that YHWH had done for them as a people. He had brought them out of the land of Egypt and then led them through a “land of steppe and pit,” or a desert region with deep depressions and holes that made travel hazardous. Any person or animal stumbling into the pits could be seriously injured. It was a “land of dryness and death’s shadow” or an arid land where hidden dangers lurked and one could become confused as if plunged into sudden darkness. This was not a land through which a “man” or any traveler would pass or in which any man resided. This meant that there were no paths or roads to follow and no settlements along the way where provisions could be obtained. Yet YHWH brought his people safely through this hazardous area, with their needs for food and water being met. They, however, never asked, Where is YHWH who did this for us? Instead of seeking him as their protector and helper, they forsook him and chose to venerate nonexistent deities. (2:6)

After about four decades of leading them through an arid wilderness, YHWH brought his people into the land of Canaan. This land is designated as an “orchard” (karmél) or fruitful region, where the people could “eat” or enjoy its fruit and its good things, or its desirable products. According to Deuteronomy 8:8, 9, it was a “land of wheat and barley, vines and fig trees,” pomegranates, olive trees, honey, and a land in which the people would not lack in anything. The Hebrew noun karmél also applied to a fertile mountain range in the central part of ancient Israel, and the Septuagint translator transliterated karmél as a proper noun (“I [the Lord] brought you into Carmel”). Instead of appreciating what YHWH had done for them by bringing them into a productive land, the people defiled it upon beginning to reside there. By reason of his being the Creator, YHWH owns everything. Therefore, it was his land that the Israelites defiled when they ceased to be exclusively devoted to him and began to revere false gods and goddesses and to engage in disgusting rituals to honor these nonexistent deities. The land was also YHWH’s heritage that he gave to the Israelites as their inheritance, and they made it an “abomination” with their idolatrous practices. (2:7)

The priests should have been teaching the people to be devoted to YHWH and to set a laudable example in this respect. They, however, did not say, “Where is YHWH?” The priests did not earnestly seek him as the one whose approval and guidance they desired and whose will they wanted to do. The men who handled the law may have been scribes or copyists. They should have been thoroughly acquainted with the requirements of the law and been teaching it to the people, but they did not “know” YHWH, for they did not harmonize their life in harmony with his will and gave no evidence of wanting to do so. Their conduct distanced them from God, making them like strangers who did not know him. The “shepherds” or rulers should have been setting a good example for their subjects in being loyal to YHWH and obedient to his commands, but they transgressed against him. Prophets failed to admonish the people in the name of YHWH to abandon idolatry and to be devoted to him alone. Instead, they prophesied by Baal, a fertility deity. In the Septuagint, the proper noun Baal is transliterated as a feminine plural, either to cast shame on the distinctive Baals that were worshiped in a particular city or region or to link the name to female deities who were revered. The prophets “walked” after or pursued things that brought no profit — the nonexistent deities that could not benefit them in any way. (2:8)

In view of what the wayward people in the territory of the kingdom of Judah had done, YHWH had a case against them. Therefore, he is quoted as telling them that he would contend with them and with the “sons of their sons” or their grandchildren. The implication is that a condemnatory judgment would be rendered against them. (2:9)

To make the people think seriously about their having forsaken YHWH and adopted the worship of false gods and goddesses, they are addressed as if being advised to undertake a fact-finding mission. They are to cross over in a westward direction to the coasts of “Kittim” or Cyprus and send others eastward to Kedar (probably a region in the northwestern area of the Arabian Peninsula). In these locations, they were to see whether any of the peoples had done anything that resembled their course of abandoning YHWH. (2:10)

The rhetorical question related to the fact-finding mission is, “Has [any] nation changed [its] gods,” replacing them with the deities of other peoples? As for these “gods,” they were no gods at all. People of the various nations, even when they were conquered, did not give up their gods. They might add new deities to their existing pantheons, but it would have been inconceivable for them to replace their own gods with those of other nations. The people whom YHWH had chosen as his own, however, did just that. They “changed its glory” for that which brought no profit or was useless, choosing worthless Baal, a nonexistent god that could do nothing to benefit them, instead of remaining loyal to YHWH, the Glorious One, to whom they owed their existence as a people. (2:11)

According to certain lists of changes ancient scribes made to the text (tiqqune sopherim), the reading “its glory” (the word for “glory” followed by a third-person singular suffix [a third-person singular adjective in LXX]) is an emendation for “my glory.” If “my glory” is the original reading, this would indicate that the people exchanged the “glory,” majesty, or grandeur of the living God, the truly Glorious One, for a worthless and nonexistent deity (or deities). (2:11; compare Romans 1:23; see the Notes section.)

The response to what the “heavens” witnessed should be one of great shock. “Be appalled, O heavens, at this, bristle [with horror], be utterly devastated [possibly meaning to be aghast as if having been laid waste], says YHWH.” Translators commonly render the concluding part of the verse on the basis of an emendation (“shudder with great horror” [NIV], “shudder with sheer horror” [NAB], “shudder in utter horror” [REB]). According to the Septuagint, heaven was beside itself because of what the people had done and shuddered still more to a great extent. (2:12)

YHWH’s people had done “two evil things.” They had left YHWH, the “source of living water to hew out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Instead of remaining loyal to YHWH, the one who proved to be like a dependable spring that provided them with abundant blessings in the form of aid, guidance, and protection, (1) the people forsook him and (2) chose other means for obtaining what he had generously provided. These means brought them no benefits but were comparable to cisterns with cracked plaster from which water seeped back into the ground and which were useless as sources for needed water. Foolishly, the people began to look to nonexistent deities and alliances with foreign nations as the way in which to be secure and to prosper. (2:13)

A “slave” is in an inferior position and under the control of a master, and a boy whose parents are slaves is “born a slave” in their master’s household or is a slave from birth. This was not the situation of the Israelites, for they were a free people as servants of YHWH. His purpose for them was to continue to be free and not to be enslaved to foreign powers. Yet the circumstances of Israel had come to be like that of a slave under the control of a cruel master. This is implied with the rhetorical question, “Why then has he become booty?” Triumphant foreign powers plundered whatever was to their liking and seized survivors as their captives. (2:14)

“Young lions” roared against Israel, devastated the land and burned cities, reducing them to uninhabited ruins. During the reign of Hezekiah, the Assyrians invaded the territory of the kingdom of Judah and captured all the fortified cities, with only Jerusalem being spared on account of divine intervention. Besides the spoils of war and the captives whom his forces seized, the Assyrian monarch exacted a large tribute from King Hezekiah. (2 Kings 18:13-16; 19:32-36) The Assyrians invaded the kingdom of Judah again during the reign of Manasseh, who succeeded his father Hezekiah as king. At that time Manasseh was taken as a captive to Babylon. (2 Chronicles 33:11) Years later, when King Josiah died in a battle with the forces of Pharaoh Necho, this also had ruinous results for the kingdom. (2 Kings 23:29, 30; 2 Chronicles 35:20-24) Necho imprisoned Jehoahaz (the son of Josiah whom the people had made king), later took him as a captive to Egypt, and imposed a large fine on the realm. (2 Kings 23:30-33; 2 Chronicles 36:1-4) “Young lions” in the form of foreign powers did indeed roar against Israel and devastate the land. (2:15)

Noph (Memphis [LXX]) was once a capital of ancient Egypt. The site has been identified with ruins that lie south of modern Cairo. Tahpanhes has been linked to Tell Defneh in the Lower Delta region. The action of the “sons” or men of Noph or Memphis and Tahpanhes (Taphnas [LXX]) is described as “grazing on you, [on] the “crown of the head.” In the Hebrew text, the second person singular suffix (“you”) is feminine gender and could refer either to the nation or the capital city Jerusalem. The reference could be to the high cost an alliance with Egypt would be to the leaders (the “crown”) of the nation, with no benefit to them. Regarding the “sons” or men of Memphis and Taphnas, the Septuagint says that they “knew you and were mocking you.” (2:16)

The following rhetorical question implied that there are ruinous consequences for making alliances with a foreign power: Is “not this [what] you bring upon yourself by forsaking YHWH your God when walking [or leading] you in the way?” Failure to be faithful to YHWH and to look to him for aid, guidance, and protection would mean disaster for the nation. The reference to the “walking” or leading “in the way” could refer to YHWH’s leading the people in the wilderness after their being delivered from Egyptian enslavement. Their acts of unfaithfulness at that time could here be representative of their more recent abandonment of YHWH to follow a course contrary to his will. (2:17; see the Notes section.)

“Shihor” is understood to designate one of the eastern branches of the Nile River in the Delta region. The Septuagint rendering “Geon” applies to the Nile. To go to Egypt “to drink the waters of Shihor” would mean to form an alliance with Egypt, looking to that country’s military might to provide security. Likewise, to go to Assyria “to drink the waters of the River” (the Euphrates [“rivers” (LXX), the Euphrates and the Tigris]) would mean to seek the aid that an alliance with Assyria could provide. An alliance with Assyria would only have been possible during the reign of Josiah, for the Assyrian capital Nineveh fell to the combined forces of Babylonian king Nabopolassar and Cyraxares the Mede in the fourteenth year of Nabopolassar’s rule. Egypt and Assyria were allied against Babylon, for Pharaoh Necho led his forces into the realm of King Josiah to aid the Assyrians after the fall of Nineveh. According to the Babylonian Chronicle B.M. (British Museum) 21901, Ashur-uballit II tried to continue Assyrian rule from the city of Haran as his capital, and apparently Necho came to his aid. Josiah tried to prevent Necho from continuing his northward march and was killed in his attempt to do so. (2 Kings 23:29, 30; 2 Chronicles 35:20-24) Between three and four years later, the Babylonians under the command of Nebuchadnezzar defeated the forces of Pharaoh Necho at Carchemish. (Jeremiah 46:2) These known historical developments indicate that the prophetic message of Jeremiah would have been announced during Josiah’s reign. (2:18)

The wickedness of the people should discipline or chasten them, for they would experience the dire consequences for their wayward conduct. Their acts of apostasy or rebellion against YHWH should reprove them. This would happen when condemnatory judgment would be expressed against them. The people would then come to “know and see,” or be forced to recognize, that having forsaken YHWH is “evil and bitter.” It was evil or wicked for the nation to be disloyal to YHWH, turning away from him to pursue the veneration of nonexistent deities and to enter alliances with foreign powers in an effort to assure security. Their doing so was “bitter,” with very painful consequences for them. The Septuagint says, “Also know and see that [it was] bitter for you to forsake me, says the Lord, your God, and I had no pleasure in you, says the Lord, your God.” In the extant Hebrew text, the declaration of the “Lord, YHWH of hosts” (the God with hosts of angels in his service for the carrying out of his will and judgments) to the people is, The “fear of me” (or the reverential regard for me) is “not in you.” (2:19)

With seeming reference to Israel’s liberation from Egyptian enslavement, the Masoretic Text represents YHWH as having broken the yoke of the people and burst their bonds. According to the Septuagint, however, the people are the ones who broke their yoke and burst their bonds, refusing to live up to the requirements of the covenant that God had concluded with their forefathers. Instead of fulfilling their covenant obligations, the people defiantly refused to serve YHWH and engaged in idolatrous practices “on every high hill and under every flourishing tree.” There they “stooped” as does a prostitute who is ready for intercourse. The Septuagint expresses the rebellious spirit of the people with the words, “I will not serve, but I will go upon every high hill and under every shady tree; there I will be spread out” (possibly meaning “released from all restraint” to engage) “in my prostitution.” (2:20)

YHWH had planted the nation as a “choice vine,” all of it “seed of truth,” pure or good seed, but the result was not what should have been expected. The nation had turned into a foreign vine, and the rhetorical question was how this could have happened. According to the Masoretic Text, the wording of the question is somewhat obscure. It literally reads, “And how have you turned to me a turning aside of the foreign vine?” In this case, translators commonly render the question in an emended form. “How then did you turn degenerate and become a wild vine?” (NRSV) “How is it you have turned into seedlings of a vine that is alien to me?” (NJB) “How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?” (NIV) “How could you turn out obnoxious to me, a spurious vine?” (NAB) “Yet now you are turned into a vine that has reverted to its wild state! (REB) “Now you produce nothing but small, rotten grapes.” (CEV) In the Septuagint, the question is, “How have you turned into bitterness — the vine, the strange one?” (2:21)

The people had polluted themselves with their idolatrous practices that included ceremonial prostitution. This defilement was of a nature that made any cleansing impossible. Even if they were to wash themselves “with alkali and use much lye,” their “guilt” would still have been a stain before YHWH. According to the Septuagint, they would be stained by their “injustices.” (2:22)

The people appear to have claimed that they had not polluted themselves by venerating Baal, but they had no valid basis for their denial. Therefore, the question directed to them was, “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled; I have not gone after the Baals’?” They may have thought that, because of their ritualistically worshiping YHWH, their involvement with the “Baals” (the various manifestations of Baal that were linked to particular locations) had not polluted them. There was no recognition on their part that a failure to be exclusively devoted to YHWH was a serious breech of their covenant obligations to him. If, however, the people were to look into “the valley” where they had been, they would “see” what they had done. This likely was the Valley of Hinnom on the south and southwest of Jerusalem. The abominable idolatrous rituals carried out at that location included child sacrifice. (Jeremiah 7:31; 19:2-6; 32:35) In being indecisive about being exclusively devoted to YHWH and then participating in the veneration of Baal and other nonexistent deities, the people were like a “swift female camel,” running a short distance in one direction and then in the opposite direction, or merely crisscrossing her own path. (2:23; see the Notes section.)

The idolatrous people were like a female onager. This animal that is “used to a wilderness” as her home will be “snuffing the wind” when “in heat,” seeking to detect the scent of a male. At this time, her craving for a mate cannot be restrained. Therefore, the question is raised, “Who can turn her back [from her pursuit]”? “All those seeking [or looking for] her will not weary themselves. In her month [or at mating time], they will find her.” The meaning of the words after the question depends on how “all those seeking” her are identified. If the reference is to people, the thought would be that they will not be tiring themselves in locating the animal. At mating time, they will find her with a mate. Another way to regard the word “all” is to consider it as applying to male onagers or wild asses. Modern translations are more specific in their wording than is the extant Hebrew text. “A wild she-donkey, at home in the desert, snuffing the breeze in desire; who can control her when she is on heat? Males need not trouble to look for her, they will find her in her month.” (NJB) “You are a female donkey sniffing the desert air, wanting to mate with just anyone. You are an easy catch!” (CEV) “A wild donkey accustomed to the desert, sniffing the wind in her craving — in her heat who can restrain her? Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves; at mating time they will find her.” (NIV) Similarly, the wayward people passionately pursued the veneration of nonexistent deities and could readily be found at sites where they engaged in abhorrent idolatrous rituals. (2:24; see the Notes section.)

The avid pursuit of false gods and goddesses only brought harm to the people. It proved to be like running to the point of wearing out their sandals and becoming extremely thirsty. They should have kept their “foot from bareness,” or from becoming barefoot, and their “throat from thirst,” but they refused to do so. According to the Septuagint, the admonition was to turn their foot away from a “rough” or uneven “way” and their “throat from thirst.” Habituated to the veneration of nonexistent deities, their response was, “It is hopeless [I will be manly (LXX) or act like a man], for I have come to love strangers [foreign deities], and after them I will go.” (2:25)

The wayward course the “house of Israel” had followed was shameful. The disgrace was comparable to that of a thief when he is caught. This was the shame of the people generally and “their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets [false prophets].” In the Septuagint, the shame of the “sons [or people] of Israel” is referred to as a future event, suggesting that they would be shamed when they would be severely punished for their unfaithfulness to God. (2:26)

The people viewed the nonexistent deities that were represented by images or objects fashioned from wood and stone as actually existing. Therefore, the idolaters are portrayed as saying to a tree, “You are my father,” and to a stone, “You brought me forth” or gave birth to me. They abandoned YHWH, turning their back (literally, “neck” or “back of the neck”) to him “and not [their] face” (as persons who looked to him for guidance, aid, and safeguarding, and who desired his approval). Yet, when calamity would befall them on account of their unfaithfulness, they would cry out to YHWH, saying, “Arise and deliver us!” (2:27) At that time of distress, the fitting response would be, “Where are your gods that you made for yourself? Let them arise if they can deliver you in the time of your calamity.” There would be no shortage in the number of gods upon whom they could call, “for the number of [their] cities” corresponded to the number of their gods. The Septuagint adds, “and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem they were sacrificing to Baal.” (2:28; see the Notes section.)

The question that YHWH directed through Jeremiah to the faithless people may be rendered, “Why do you complain against me?” In the Septuagint, the question is, “Why do you speak to me?” The implication is that the people expected YHWH to deliver them from calamity and, therefore, complained or thought they had a case against him for not coming to their rescue. There was good reason for him to disregard their outcries, for “all” of them had rebelled against him, transgressing his commands. The Septuagint says, “All of you acted impiously and all of you behaved lawlessly against me, says the Lord.” (2:29)

In expression of his judgment against the faithless people, YHWH withdrew his protection from them and allowed them to suffer defeats and oppression from other nations. Yet this severe discipline did not bring them to their senses. “In vain” had YHWH “struck [their] sons.” The people “did not take discipline” or correction. Instead of paying attention to the words of the prophets YHWH sent to them, they became hostile toward them to the point of killing them. “Your sword devoured your prophets like a ravening lion.” The Septuagint adds, “and you did not fear.” They had no fear of having to face serious consequences for having killed God’s representatives. (2:30)

To impress upon the people that they had no valid reason for their unfaithfulness, YHWH used Jeremiah to raise a number of rhetorical questions, “O generation, see [or take note of] the word of YHWH, Have I been a wilderness to Israel or a land of deep darkness?” Repeatedly during the course of the history of the nation, YHWH had demonstrated himself to be the provider, protector, and deliverer of his people. He had not been like an inhospitable wilderness, a region where food and water were scarce, nor had he been like a region of darkness where hazardous conditions and attacks from men or beasts could be faced suddenly and unexpectedly. In view of the loving and caring manner in which YHWH had dealt with his people during the course of their history, the rhetorical question was, “Why do my people say, We roamed [as persons free to wander about as we please, doing what we want (we will not be dominated or lorded over [LXX]) ]; we will not come to you any longer?” The question implied that they were defiant in their rejection of YHWH and in the pursuit of idolatrous worship. They had no intention of repentantly returning to him. (2:31)

The answer to the rhetorical question is that a virgin would not “forget her ornaments, a bride her breast sashes” or ribbons. In the case of God’s people Israel, they should have regarded him as their greatest glory, the One to whom they were bound as a wife is to her husband. They, however, had forgotten him “days without number,” forsaking him to pursue nonexistent deities and to form alliances with foreign powers in an attempt to assure their security. (2:32)

Apparently the capital city Jerusalem is addressed as a woman who has gone out to seek love like a prostitute and has done so well in this base endeavor that she has even taught bad women her ways. These bad women could learn from her. A number of modern translations are more specific in conveying this basic significance than is the Hebrew text. “You pick your way so well in search of lovers; even wanton women can learn from you.” (REB) “You are so clever at finding lovers that you could give lessons to a prostitute.” (CEV) “How skillfully you plan your way to seek out love! Why, you have even taught the worst of women your ways.” (Tanakh [JPS, 1985 edition]) The Septuagint departs from the reading of the extant Hebrew text. “What good thing will you yet practice in your ways to seek love? “Not thus [will you do], but you even behaved wickedly to pollute your ways.” A number of modern translations incorporate wording that reflects elements of the Septuagint rendering. “How well you pick your way when seeking love! You who, in your wickedness, have gone by ways unclean! (NAB) “How well you set your course in pursuit of love! And so you have schooled your ways to wicked deeds.” (NJB) (2:33)

On the “skirts” of Jerusalem (personified as a woman) were found the blood stains from the “souls of innocent poor ones,” of those who were unable to defend themselves from having their blood spilled. They were not guilty of any crime that could have resulted in death. They had not broken into houses at night and been killed by their occupants. (Compare Exodus 22:2.) The Septuagint rendering suggests that these “souls” were the children who were sacrificed to Baal. “And on your hands was found the blood of innocent souls. Not in break-in did I find them, but at every oak.” (2:34)

Although having incurred bloodguilt, Jerusalem is represented as saying, “I am innocent,” and expecting God’s anger to be turned away from her. YHWH, however, purposed to enter into a legal case against her for saying, “I have not sinned.” (2:35)

The “changing” of Jerusalem’s “way” or course relates to turning to different foreign powers as sources for assuring security. In the Hebrew text, the phrase regarding the changing of her way has wording that is somewhat obscure. This accounts for a variety of meanings in the renderings of modern translations. “How you cheapen yourself, by changing your course! (Tanakh [JPS, 1985 edition]) “Why do you so lightly change your course?” (REB) “How lightly you gad about, changing your ways.” (NRSV) “How frivolously you undertake a change of course!” (NJB) “How very base you have become in changing your course.” (NAB) “Why do you go about so much, changing your ways?” (NIV) The alliance with Assyria brought only ruinous consequences for Jerusalem and the entire realm of the kingdom of Judah. It was an alliance that proved to be a cause for shame or bitter disappointment. Likewise, the alliance with Egypt (Mizraim) would in no way benefit the nation, but Egypt would be a power of which Jerusalem (as representing the whole realm) would become ashamed on account of not being helped in any way. According to the Septuagint, Jerusalem would be shamed or humiliated by Egypt as she had been by Assyria. (2:36; see the Notes section.)

One’s placing the hands upon one’s head was a gesture of shame, pain, and mourning. This is what the people would experience because of having put their trust in Egypt for aid. Their doing so constituted a forsaking of YHWH as their helper and deliverer. Therefore, YHWH rejected those in whom Jerusalem (as representing the people of the kingdom of Judah) put her trust. Jerusalem would not prosper or have success by them (the Egyptians). (2:37; see the Notes section.)

Notes

The words of verse 1 in the extant Hebrew text are not found in the Septuagint.

Verse 3 in the Hebrew text, ends with the words, “utterance of YHWH [says the Lord (LXX)].”

The wording of the Septuagint in the first part of verse 11 may be rendered, “Will nations exchange their gods? And these are not gods.”

In verse 17, the Septuagint does not including a reference to God’s leading “in the way.” It reads, “Has not your forsaking me done these things to you? says the Lord your God.”

In verse 23, the Septuagint does not mention a female camel. It says, “See your ways in the burial place and know [recognize or acknowledge] what you have done. In the evening, her voice cried out.” The reference to the burial place could be to the one where the bodies of sacrificed children were buried. Based on the context, Baal (feminine gender in Greek) is crying out in the evening. Possibly the evening was the time when certain abominable rituals were carried out, and so Baal is here represented as calling out for the rituals to begin. The next words (“her ways”) are part of the sentence that is completed in verse 24.

Verse 24 in the Septuagint is worded in a way that does not seem to fit “Baal” (feminine gender). It may be that the translator had a defective Hebrew text here or had a problem in understanding it. “Her ways she widened over waters of a desert. She was driven by the desires of her soul; she was delivered up. Who will turn her back? All those seeking her will not tire [themselves]. In her humiliation, they will find her.”

Regarding the feminine gender of “Baal” in verse 28 of the Septuagint, see verse 8.

In verse 36 of the Septuagint, the introductory question is, “What did you despise so much as to repeat your ways?” Perhaps the thought is that Jerusalem had great contempt for the right course and ended up repeating the error of entering an alliance with a foreign power.

In the Septuagint, the concluding phrase of verse 37 is, “for the Lord has rejected your hope, and you will not have success in it.”