Jeremiah 7

 

הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר הָיָה אֶל־יִרְמְיָהוּ מֵאֵת יְהוָה לֵאמֹר׃   7:1

Jere. 7:1   The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,

עֲמֹד בְּשַׁעַר בֵּית יְהוָה וְקָרָאתָ שָּׁם אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה וְאָמַרְתָּ שִׁמְעוּ דְבַר־יְהוָה כָּל־יְהוּדָה הַבָּאִים   7:2  בַּשְּׁעָרִים הָאֵלֶּה לְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֹת לַיהוָה׃

Jere. 7:2   “Stand in the gate of the house of the Lord and proclaim this word there and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who are entering through these gates to worship the Lord.’”

כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הֵיטִיבוּ דַרְכֵיכֶם וּמַעַלְלֵיכֶם וַאֲשַׁכְּנָה אֶתְכֶם בַּמָּקֹום הַזֶּה׃   7:3

Jere. 7:3   Thus says the Lord of hosts, God of Israel: “Amend your ways and your deeds, that I can let you dwell in this place.”

אַל־תִּבְטְחוּ לָכֶם אֶל־דִּבְרֵי הַשֶּׁקֶר לֵאמֹר הֵיכַל יְהוָה הֵיכַל יְהוָה הֵיכַל יְהוָה הֵמָּה׃   7:4

Jere. 7:4   “Do not put your trust on words of falsehood, saying, ‘A Temple of the Lord, a Temple of the Lord, a Temple of the Lord, are these.’”

I gather from these words that the people of Judah (or the priests and Levites) had built or dedicated, of their own accord, many houses of worship throughout the land.  But Jeremiah was standing in the gates of the holy Temple in Jerusalem when he echoed these words.

כִּי אִם־הֵיטֵיב תֵּיטִיבוּ אֶת־דַּרְכֵיכֶם וְאֶת־מַעַלְלֵיכֶם אִם־עָשֹׂו תַעֲשׂוּ מִשְׁפָּט בֵּין אִישׁ וּבֵין רֵעֵהוּ׃   7:5

Jere. 7:5   “And if you completely remedy your ways and your behaviors, if you diligently advance justice between everyone and his neighbor,

גֵּר יָתֹום וְאַלְמָנָה לֹא תַעֲשֹׁקוּ וְדָם נָקִי אַל־תִּשְׁפְּכוּ בַּמָּקֹום הַזֶּה וְאַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים לֹא   7:6

 תֵלְכוּ לְרַע לָכֶם׃

Jere. 7:6   you do not oppress any stranger, orphan, or widow, and you do not shed innocent blood in this place, and do not go after other gods to please yourselves,

וְשִׁכַּנְתִּי אֶתְכֶם בַּמָּקֹום הַזֶּה בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נָתַתִּי לַאֲבֹותֵיכֶם לְמִן־עֹולָם וְעַד־עֹולָם׃   7:7

Jere. 7:7   then I will let you stay in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for from the start and up to the end.”

In the five verses, 7:3 to this one, al the second-person pronouns are plural.  So as far as I am concerned, the Lord is addressing each of the inhabitants as individuals.  The pattern continues in subsequent verses as well.

 הִנֵּה אַתֶּם בֹּטְחִים לָכֶם עַל־דִּבְרֵי הַשָּׁקֶר לְבִלְתִּי הֹועִיל׃   7:8

Jere. 7:8   “Behold, you are placing your trust upon words of falsehood for nothing but profit.”

הֲגָנֹב רָצֹחַ וְנָאֹף וְהִשָּׁבֵעַ לַשֶּׁקֶר וְקַטֵּר לַבָּעַל וְהָלֹךְ אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יְדַעְתֶּם׃   7:9

Jere. 7:9   “Stealing, murdering, and committing adultery, and swearing falsely, and offering to Baal, and going after other gods that you do not know,

וּבָאתֶם וַעֲמַדְתֶּם לְפָנַי בַּבַּיִת הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר נִקְרָא־שְׁמִי עָלָיו וַאֲמַרְתֶּם נִצַּלְנוּ לְמַעַן עֲשֹׂות אֵת    7:10

כָּל־הַתֹּועֵבֹות הָאֵלֶּה׃

Jere. 7:10   then you would come and stand before Me in this house upon which My name is called, and say, ‘We are saved,’ in order to do all these abominations?”

הַמְעָרַת פָּרִצִים הָיָה הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר־נִקְרָא־שְׁמִי עָלָיו בְּעֵינֵיכֶם גַּם אָנֹכִי הִנֵּה רָאִיתִי נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃   7:11

Jere. 7:11   “Has this house upon which My name is called become a den of robbers in your eyes?  ‘Even I, behold, have seen,’ declares the Lord.”

כִּי לְכוּ־נָא אֶל־מְקֹומִי אֲשֶׁר בְּשִׁילֹו אֲשֶׁר שִׁכַּנְתִּי שְׁמִי שָׁם בָּרִאשֹׁונָה וּרְאוּ אֵת אֲשֶׁר־עָשִׂיתִי לֹו   7:12  מִפְּנֵי רָעַת עַמִּי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

Jere. 7:12   “Therefore, go now to My place that is in Shiloh, where I caused My name to dwell at its beginning, and see what I did to it on account of the wickedness of My people, Israel.”

Here we are again told that the Lord had instructed that the Tabernacle be erected in Shiloh before the Temple was built.  See Josh. 18:1.  Of course, by this time, the northern kingdom of Israel was only a distant memory.

וְעַתָּה יַעַן עֲשֹׂותְכֶם אֶת־כָּל־הַמַּעֲשִׂים הָאֵלֶּה נְאֻם־יְהוָה וָאֲדַבֵּר אֲלֵיכֶם הַשְׁכֵּם וְדַבֵּר וְלֹא שְׁמַעְתֶּם   7:13 וָאֶקְרָא אֶתְכֶם וְלֹא עֲנִיתֶם׃

Jere. 7:13   “So now, because of your having done all these works,” declares the Lord, “and I have spoken to you early and often but you have not heard, and I have called you but you have not answered,

וְעָשִׂיתִי לַבַּיִת אֲשֶׁר נִקְרָא־שְׁמִי עָלָיו אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם בֹּטְחִים בֹּו וְלַמָּקֹום אֲשֶׁר־נָתַתִּי לָכֶם וְלַאֲבֹותֵיכֶם   7:14  כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתִי לְשִׁלֹו׃

Jere. 7:14   so I will do to the house upon which My name is called, in which you have been trusting, and to the place that I gave to you and to your fathers, like I did to Shiloh.”

וְהִשְׁלַכְתִּי אֶתְכֶם מֵעַל פָּנָי כַּאֲשֶׁר הִשְׁלַכְתִּי אֶת־כָּל־אֲחֵיכֶם אֵת כָּל־זֶרַע אֶפְרָיִם׃   7:15

Jere. 7:15   “And I will cast you out from My face, as I cast out all your brothers, all the seed of Ephraim.”

וְאַתָּה אַל־תִּתְפַּלֵּל בְּעַד־הָעָם הַזֶּה וְאַל־תִּשָּׂא בַעֲדָם רִנָּה וּתְפִלָּה וְאַל־תִּפְגַּע־בִּי כִּי־אֵינֶנִּי שֹׁמֵעַ   7:16

אֹתָךְ׃

Jere. 7:16   “Thus now do not intercede on behalf of this people, nor lift up a cry or a prayer for them, and do not impose on Me, I will not heed you.”

הַאֵינְךָ רֹאֶה מָה הֵמָּה עֹשִׂים בְּעָרֵי יְהוּדָה וּבְחֻצֹות יְרוּשָׁלִָם׃   7:17

Jere. 7:17   “Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?”

הַבָּנִים מְלַקְּטִים עֵצִים וְהָאָבֹות מְבַעֲרִים אֶת־הָאֵשׁ וְהַנָּשִׁים לָשֹׁות בָּצֵק לַעֲשֹׂות כַּוָּנִים לִמְלֶכֶת   7:18  הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהַסֵּך נְסָכִים לֵאלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים לְמַעַן הַכְעִסֵנִי׃

Jere. 7:18   “The children are gathering wood, and the fathers are kindling the fire, and the women are kneading dough for making cakes to the queen of heaven, and pouring out drink offerings to other gods in order to provoke Me.”

הַאֹתִי הֵם מַכְעִסִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה הֲלֹוא אֹתָם לְמַעַן בֹּשֶׁת פְּנֵיהֶם׃   7:19

Jere. 7:19   “Is it Me they are provoking?” says the Lord. “Is it not themselves, because of the shamefulness of their regard?”

לָכֵן כֹּה־אָמַ אֲדֹנָי יְהֹוִה הִנֵּה אַפִּי וַחֲמָתִי נִתֶּכֶת אֶל־הַמָּקֹום הַזֶּה עַל־הָאָדָם וְעַל־הַבְּהֵמָה וְעַל־עֵץ   7:20  הַשָּׂדֶה וְעַל־פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה וּבָעֲרָה וְלֹא תִכְבֶּה׃

Jere. 7:20   Therefore, thus says my Master, the Lord:  “Behold, My ‘anger’ and My ‘fury’ shall be poured forth at this place, upon human, and upon the beasts, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the land.  And it shall burn and not be quenched.”

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עֹלֹותֵיכֶם סְפוּ עַל־זִבְחֵיכֶם וְאִכְלוּ בָשָׂר׃   7:21

Jere. 7:21   Thus says the Lord of hosts, God of Israel: “Add your burnt offerings upon your sacrifices, and eat flesh!”

כִּי לֹא־דִבַּרְתִּי אֶת־אֲבֹותֵיכֶם וְלֹא צִוִּיתִים בְּיֹום (הֹוצִיא) [הֹוצִיאִי] אֹותָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם עַל־דִּבְרֵי    7:22

עֹולָה וָזָבַח׃

Jere. 7:22   “For I did not command your fathers and I did not charge them on the day of bringing them out from the land of Egypt about burnt offering or sacrifice,

We have in this verse another indicated error that I don’t completely accept.  I translate the word in question as bringing ... out.  The correction changes the translation to My bringing ... out.  Color me wrong (or ignorant), but I don’t see that one phrase is more illuminating or accurate than the other.  Thus I accept the word allegedly in error without correction.

כִּי אִם־אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה צִוִּיתִי אֹותָם לֵאמֹר שִׁמְעוּ בְקֹולִי וְהָיִיתִי לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ־לִי   7:23  לְעָם וַהֲלַכְתֶּם בְּכָל־הַדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר אֲצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם לְמַעַן יִיטַב לָכֶם׃

Jere. 7:23   but only this thing I commanded them, saying, ‘Listen to My voice, and I will be for you for God and you will be for Me for a people, and walk in all the ways that I will command you so that it will be good for you.’”

Now what can v. 7:22 mean?  Why does the Lord say “... I did not command your fathers ....”?  Can this be true?  Is the book of Leviticus and even Numbers concerning sacrifices not from the Lord?  Is this a possibility?  I can’t say with certainty, and I don’t think anyone else can either, but it surely casts some doubt in my mind about the source of the commandments regarding sacrifices.  We must remember that sacrifices were an accepted practice from earliest times.  Could they have been a carryover from the past, even for Abraham?  Oh my!

וְלֹא שָׁמְעוּ וְלֹא־הִטּוּ אֶת־אָזְנָם וַיֵּלְכוּ בְּמֹעֵצֹות בִּשְׁרִרוּת לִבָּם הָרָע וַיִּהְיוּ לְאָחֹור וְלֹא לְפָנִים׃   7:24

Jere. 7:24   “But they did not listen, and they did not incline their ear, but they went by their own counsels with stubbornness of their evil heart, so they went backward and not forward,

לְמִן־הַיֹּום אֲשֶׁר יָצְאוּ אֲבֹותֵיכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם עַד הַיֹּום הַזֶּה וָאֶשְׁלַח אֲלֵיכֶם אֶת־כָּל־עֲבָדַי   7:25

  הַנְּבִיאִים יֹום הַשְׁכֵּם וְשָׁלֹחַ׃

Jere. 7:25   from the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, though I sent all My servants, the prophets, to you every day early and often,

וְלֹוא שָׁמְעוּ אֵלַי וְלֹא הִטּוּ אֶת־אָזְנָם וַיַּקְשׁוּ אֶת־עָרְפָּם הֵרֵעוּ מֵאֲבֹותָם׃   7:26

Jere. 7:26   yet they did not listen to Me and they did not turn their ear, as they made their neck stiff.  They were worse than their fathers.”

וְדִבַּרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם אֶת־כָּל־הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וְלֹא יִשְׁמְעוּ אֵלֶיךָ וְקָרָאתָ אֲלֵיהֶם וְלֹא יַעֲנוּכָה׃   7:27

Jere. 7:27   “So you shall speak to them all these words though they will not listen to you, and you shall call to them though they will not answer.”

וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם זֶה הַגֹּוי אֲשֶׁר לֹוא־שָׁמְעוּ בְּקֹול יְהוָה אֱלֹהָיו וְלֹא לָקְחוּ מוּסָר אָבְדָה הָאֱמוּנָה   7:28

 וְנִכְרְתָה מִפִּיהֶם׃

Jere. 7:28   “Then you shall say to them,

                      ‘This is the nation that has not listened

                              to the voice of the Lord, its God,

                      and did not use discipline.

                              Faithfulness has perished,

                      and has been removed from their mouth.’”

גָּזִּי נִזְרֵךְ וְהַשְׁלִיכִי וּשְׂאִי עַל־שְׁפָיִם קִינָה כִּי מָאַס יְהוָה וַיִּטֹּשׁ אֶת־דֹּור עֶבְרָתֹו׃   7:29

Jere. 7:29   “Cut off your Nazarite hair

                              and throw it away,

                     and take up a lamentation upon high hills,

                              for the Lord has rejected

                     and forsaken the generation of His ‘wrath.’”

כִּי־עָשׂוּ בְנֵי־יְהוּדָה הָרַע בְּעֵינַי נְאֻום־יְהוָה שָׂמוּ שִׁקּוּצֵיהֶם בַּבַּיִת אֲשֶׁר־נִקְרָא־שְׁמִי עָלָיו לְטַמְּאֹו׃   7:30

Jere. 7:30   “For the children of Judah have done what is evil in My eyes,” declares the Lord.  “They have set their detestable things in the house upon which My name is called, to defile it.”

וּבָנוּ בָּמֹות הַתֹּפֶת אֲשֶׁר בְּגֵיא בֶן־הִנֹּם לִשְׂרֹף אֶת־בְּנֵיהֶם וְאֶת־בְּנֹתֵיהֶם בָּאֵשׁ אֲשֶׁר לֹא צִוִּיתִי   7:31

 וְלֹא עָלְתָה עַל־לִבִּי׃

Jere. 7:31   “And they have built the high places of the Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters by fire, which I did not command and it did not come up on My ‘mind.’”

לָכֵן הִנֵּה־יָמִים בָּאִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה וְלֹא־יֵאָמֵר עֹוד הַתֹּפֶת וְגֵיא בֶן־הִנֹּם כִּי אִם־גֵּיא הַהֲרֵגָה וְקָבְרוּ   7:32

 מֵאֵין מָקֹום׃ בְתֹפֶת

Jere. 7:32   “Therefore, behold, the time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when it shall not be called the Topheth any more, or the Valley of the son of Hinnom, but only the Valley of Slaughter, as they shall bury in the Topheth because of having no space.”

The Topheth is understood to mean valley of fire.  The word translates to inferno. This scene will be mentioned again in Chapter 19.  I presume that burials in the Topheth were not acceptable to Jerusalem’s inhabitants, so this would be a dire prediction to them.

                                                                                                                         [Return to Jere. 19:6]

וְהָיְתָה נִבְלַת הָעָם הַזֶּה לְמַאֲכָל לְעֹוף הַשָּׁמַיִם וּלְבֶהֱמַת הָאָרֶץ וְאֵין מַחֲרִיד׃   7:33

Jere. 7:33   “And the carcasses of this people shall be for food for the birds of the skies and for the beasts of the land, and there shall be none frightened.”

I presume the phrase there shall be none frightened can be interpreted in two ways.  It might refer to the animals feeding on the carcasses not being afraid because there were no humans left to frighten them away.  Or it could refer to the humans, none of whom had survived, so there were none left to be frightened.  I prefer the former, because it allows for the possibility that some humans had survived but had fled the scene.

וְהִשְׁבַּתִּי מֵעָרֵי יְהוּדָה וּמֵחֻצֹות יְרוּשָׁלִַם קֹול שָׂשֹׂון וְקֹול שִׂמְחָה קֹול חָתָן וְקֹול כַּלָּה כִּי לְחָרְבָּה   7:34 תִּהְיֶה הָאָרֶץ׃

Jere. 7:34   “And I shall make the sound of joy to cease from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem, and the sound of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, because the land shall be for a desolation.”

 

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