What is a…

also known as: parapet

a low protective wall along the edge of a roof, designed as a safety feature

These parapet walls or balustrades (a railing supported by balusters) surrounded the flat roofs of the houses of the Israelites, as required by a special law (Deuteronomy 22:8 KJV).

The New King James Version, the NASB and ESV call it “a parapet for your roof.”

When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, so that you will not bring bloodguilt on your house if anyone falls from it. —Deuteronomy 22:8 NASB

Use in Jeremiah 5:10

Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy;
but make not a full end:
take away her battlements;
for they are not the LORD’s. —Jeremiah 5:10 KJV

In the above King James translation of Jeremiah 5:10, “battlements” seems to refer to the parapet of a city wall. These were used as a defensive position, plus a safety feature. The context is speaking of Jerusalem’s Godlessness, and the chapter opens with the words…

“Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem,
And look now and take note” —Jeremiah 5:1 NASB

The Hebrew word is נְטִ֣ישׁוֹתֶ֔יהָ (transliteration: netishah) which means branches or a vine tendril (as an offshoot). So this verse is metaphor, and “branches” is the word used in this verse by all modern Bible translations.

The New King James Version (NKJV) translates this verse as…

Go up on her walls and destroy,
But do not make a complete end.
Take away her branches,
For they are not the LORD’s.

The New American Standard Bible (NASB) says,

Go up through her vine rows and destroy,
But do not execute a complete destruction;
Strip away her branches,
For they are not the LORD’s.

NavPress’ The Message tries to “recapture the Word in the words we use today.”

“Go down the rows of vineyards and rip out the vines,
but not all of them. Leave a few.
Prune back those vines!
That growth didn’t come from God! —Jeremiah 5:10 The Message

Article Version: August 30, 2017