Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7
Ordinary C46


These are the wordsA of the letterB that the prophetC JeremiahD

Notes on verse 1a

A “words” = dabar. From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
B “letter” = sepher. Perhaps from saphar (to tally or record something; to enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare). This can be writing itself or something that is written like a document, book, letter, evidence, bill, scroll, or register.
C “prophet” = nabi. This is prophet, prophecy, speaker, or someone inspired.
D “Jeremiah” = Yirmeyah. From the same as yirmeyah (Jeremiah, “the Lord loosens” or “the Lord will rise”); {from the same as remiyya (slack, idle, lazy, negligent) + Yah (a shortened form of the name of the God of Israel; God, Lord); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; God, Lord; the self-existent or eternal one); from havah (to become) or hayah (to be, become, happen)}}. This is Jeremiah, meaning “the Lord loosens” or “the Lord will rise.”

sentE from JerusalemF to the remainingG eldersH among the exiles,I

Notes on verse 1b

E “sent” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
F “Jerusalem” = Yerushalaim. From yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach) + shalam (to make amends, to be complete or sound). This is Jerusalem, dwelling of peace.
G “remaining” = yether. From yathar (to jut over, remain behind, preserve, to excel). This is a remainder or excess. It can imply abundant or superiority. Additionally, it can be cord a free-hanging rope.
H “elders” = zaqen. From the same as zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age). This is old, aged, or elder.
I “exiles” = golah. From galah (to remove, bring, carry, lead, appear, advertise; to strip someone or something bare in a negative sense; captives were typically stripped before they were sent into exile; used figuratively, in a positive sense, this word means reveal, disclose, discover). This is exile, captive, captivity, removing, or carried away.

and to the priests,J the prophets, and allK the people,L whom NebuchadnezzarM had taken into exileN from Jerusalem to Babylon.O 

Notes on verse 1c

J “priests” = kohen. This is literally the one who officiates i.e. the priest. This is where the Jewish last name “Cohen” (and its variants) comes from.
K “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
L “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
M “Nebuchadnezzar” = Nebukadnetstsar. From Akkadian Nabu-kudurri-utsur (Nebuchadnezzar; meaning “Nabu protect the king”). This is Nebuchadnezzar, a name meaning “Nebo, protect the boundary” or “Nabu, protect the king.” See
N “taken into exile” = galah. Related to “exiles” in v1. See note I above.
O “Babylon” = Babel. Perhaps from balal (to anoint, mix, overflow) OR from Akkadian Bbilim; perhaps from earlier Sumerian name Ca-dimirra (gate of god). This is Babylon or Babel. See

Thus says the LordP of hosts,Q the GodR of Israel,S to all the exiles whom I have sent into exileT from Jerusalem to Babylon: 

Notes on verse 4

P “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “Jeremiah” in v1. See note D above.
Q “hosts” = tsaba. From tsaba (to wage war, serve, assemble, fight, perform, muster, wait on). This is a large group of persons (used figuratively for a group of things). It implies a campaign literally as with army, war, warfare, battle, company, soldiers. Can also be used figuratively for hardship or for worship.
R “God” = Elohim.
S “Israel” = Yisrael. Related to “God” in v4. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (see note R above). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
T “sent into exile” = galah. Same as “taken into exile” in v1. See note N above.

BuildU housesV and liveW in them; plantX gardensY and eatZ what they produce.AA 

Notes on verse 5

U “build” = banah. This is to build, make, set up, restore, repair, or obtain children. It is to build literally or figuratively.
V “houses” = bayit. Related to “build” in v5. Probably from banah (see note U above). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
W “live” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
X “plant” = nata. To fix or fasten, establish or plant. This is planting in a literal or figurative sense.
Y “gardens” = gannah. 12x in OT. From gan (garden that is fenced in; an enclosure); from ganan (to put a hedge around – generally, protect or defend; to cover or surround). This is a garden or an orchard.
Z “eat” = akal. This is to eat, devour, burn up, or otherwise consume. It can be eating in a literal or figurative sense.
AA “what they produce” = peri. From parah (to bear fruit, grow, be fruitful, increase; bearing fruit in a literal or figurative sense). This is fruit or reward.

TakeBB wivesCC and haveDD sonsEE and daughters;FF

Notes on verse 6a

BB “take” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
CC “wives” = ishshah. From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is woman, wife, or female.
DD “have” = yalad. This is to bear or bring forth. It can mean to act as midwife or to show one’s lineage. This is often used for birth or begetting.
EE “sons” = ben. Related to “build” and “houses” in v5. From banah (see note U above). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
FF “daughters” = bat. Related to “build” and “houses” in v5 & “sons” in v6. From ben (see note EE above). This is daughter in a literal or figurative sense.

take wives for your sons, and giveGG your daughters in marriage,HH that they may bearII sons and daughters; multiplyJJ there, and do not decrease.KK 

Notes on verse 6b

GG “give” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
HH “marriage” = enosh. Related to “wives” in v6. See note CC above.
II “bear” = yalad. Same as “have” in v6. See note DD above.
JJ “multiply” = rabah. This is increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.
KK “decrease” = maat. This is diminished, decreased, reduced, insignificant. It is a broad sense of being small or becoming small. Figuratively, this can mean ineffective.

But seekLL the welfareMM of the cityNN where I have sent you into exile, and prayOO to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will findPP your welfare. 

Notes on verse 7

LL “seek” = darash. This is seek, ask, inquire, care for. Generally it means following in pursuit or following as part of a search, which implies seeking or asking. Also used specially to mean worship.
MM “welfare” = shalom. Related to “Jerusalem” in v1. From shalam (see note F above). This is completeness, soundness, welfare, favor, friend, good health. It is to be safe and figuratively well, happy, at peace, friendly. Abstractly, it includes the ideas of welfare and prosperity (not in excessive wealth, but in having enough).
NN “city” = iyr. From uwr (to awaken or wake oneself up). This can mean excitement in the sense of wakefulness or city. Properly, this is a place that is guarded. Guards kept schedules according to watches. This sense of the word would include cities as well as encampments or posts that were guarded.
OO “pray” = palal. This is to judge for oneself or in an official capacity. It can also mean to pray or make supplication, to entreat.
PP “find” = hayah. Related to “Jeremiah” in v1 & “Lord” in v4. See note D above.

Image credit: “Morning Glory” in Ruhama, Israel by “Israel Nature Photography by Ary,” 2017.

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