David A. Bosworth, «The Tears of God in the Book of Jeremiah», Vol. 94 (2013) 24-46
The article analyzes several passages in Jeremiah in which God weeps in order to understand the function of divine weeping in the book. Attention to the distribution of weeping in the book finds that God’s weeping (8,23; 9,9.17; 13,17; 14,17) gives way to divine anger and refusal to hear the petitions of the people (15,1; 16,5-7). LXX and many modern commentators have attempted to deny that God weeps in these passages. However, several texts clearly depict God weeping, and weeping deities are common in ancient Near Eastern literature.
40 DAVID A. BOSWORTH
time of need (14,19-22). YHWH desired this conversion in the weep-
ing poems (8,23; 9,9; 9,16-21), but now the petition of the people
appears to be too little too late, and YHWH reaffirms the futility of
their petition (15,1; cf. 14,11-12).
6. Jeremiah 48,32
YHWH weeps in Jer 48,32, although there is uncertainty about
whether this language is sincere. YHWH is clearly the speaker in v. 30
and v. 33b. There is no evidence of a change of speaker, so YHWH ap-
pears to lament over Moab in vv. 30-33 within a longer divine speech
encompassing the unit 48,29-39 51. Lament vocabulary in v. 31 pre-
pares for the weeping in v. 32:
Therefore I wail (lylya) over Moab,
Over all Moab I cry (q[za)
Over the people of Kir-Heres I moan (hgha).
More than weeping (ykbm)
for Jazer I weep (hkba) for you vine of Sibmah.
LXX agrees that YHWH is speaking, but changes the language to
second person so that YHWH speaks about humans wailing: â€œTherefore
wail for Moab on all sides, shout to the men of Kir-Heres of drought.
As with the weeping of Jazer I will weep for you, vine of Sibmahâ€ 52.
Interestingly, LXX allows that YHWH weeps in v. 33, but shifts the
wailing to human speakers. However, the shift from second person to
first person may suggest a change of speaker so that a human voice
weeps in LXX v. 32 in response to the divine command in LXX v.
31. The distinctively divine language of MT v. 33 (â€œI dry up the wine
from your wine vatsâ€) is not evident in LXX, which could be spoken
See FRETHEIM, Jeremiah, 601-603. ALLEN, Jeremiah, 485, thinks the
voice is human, but acknowledges that the divine interjection in v. 33 com-
plicates the issue. The issue of speakers is not complicated if YHWH speaks
throughout, which is the most common understanding of commentators, in-
cluding those who see no divine tears elsewhere in Jeremiah such as MCKANE,
Jeremiah, II, 1184; LUNDBOM, Jeremiah, III, 291.
For full comparison of the MT and LXX of Jeremiah 48, see J. WOODS,
Jeremiah 48 as Christian Scripture (Princeton Theological Monograph Series
149; Eugene, OR 2011) 23-66.
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