NETNew English Translation
29 The earth will tremble and writhe in agony.#sn The figure here is common in the poetic tradition of the Lord going forth to do battle against his foes and the earth’s reaction to it is compared to a person trembling with fear and writhing in agony, agony like that of a woman in labor (cf. Judg 5:4; Nah 1:2-5; Hab 3:1-15 [especially v. 6]).
For the Lord will carry out his plan.
He plans to make the land of Babylonia#tn Heb “For the plans of the Lord have been carried out to make the land of Babylon…” The passive has been turned into an active and the sentence broken up to better conform with contemporary English style. For the meaning of the verb קוּם (qum) in the sense used here see BDB 878 s.v. קוּם 7.g and compare the usage in Prov 19:21 and Isa 46:10.
a wasteland where no one lives.#tn The verbs in this verse and v. 30 are all in the past tense in Hebrew, in the tense that views the action as already as good as done (the Hebrew prophetic perfect). The verb in v. 31a, however, is imperfect, viewing the action as future; the perfects that follow are all dependent on that future. Verse 33 looks forward to a time when Babylon will be harvested and trampled like grain on the threshing floor and the imperatives imply a time in the future. Hence the present translation has rendered all the verbs in vv. 29-30 as future.
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