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And I will Make Thee a Burnt Mountain (Jer. 51 : 25) / "... ונתתיך להר שרפה" (קללת ירמיהו את בבל, נ"א, כה)
ב"צ לוריא and Ben Zion Luria
Beit Mikra: Journal for the Study of the Bible and Its World / בית מקרא: כתב-עת לחקר המקרא ועולמו
כרך כא, חוברת א (סד) (תשרי-כסלו תשל"ו), pp. 118-123
Published by: Bialik Institute, Jerusalem / מוסד ביאליק, ירושלים
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23503508
Page Count: 6
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Why did the prophet curse Babylon by personifying it as a mountain when he knew that Babylon lies in the valley? As a rule, Jeremiah's expressions reflect that which he himself saw. Where could he possibly see a volcano? In western Israel there are no active volcanos, but in trans-Jordan, in the Syrian desert and in Midian there are volcanos which were active during the historical period. Volcanic action is reflected in Biblical expressions: The Revelation on Mt. Sinai, (situated in Midian), many chapters in Psalms and in Jeremiah. In the verse under consideration, the prophet mentions the word "mountain" twice, first when he describes the sins of Babylon as he sees its many sins as a big heap, as a mountain of sins; the second time is when he curses Babylon. He conjures up a scene that he saw which impressed itself on his memory, the eruption of a volcano and the massive destruction in its wake. This is what he wishes for Babylon. Therefore we must understand the expression, "I will make thee a burnt mountain" as the Septuagint understood it: "I will make thee as a burnt mountain."
Beit Mikra: Journal for the Study of the Bible and Its World / בית מקרא: כתב-עת לחקר המקרא ועולמו © 1975 Bialik Institute, Jerusalem / מוסד ביאליק, ירושלים