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Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
Jeremiah 7

 

 

Verse 1-2

In Jeremiah 10:1-2. The temple had several entrances 2 Chronicles 4:9; and the gate or door here mentioned is probably that of the inner court, where Baruch read Jeremiah‘s scroll Jeremiah 36:10. The prophet stood in the doorway, and addressed the people assembled in the outer court.

All ye of Judah - Better, literally all Judah (compare Jeremiah 26:2).


Verse 3

If the people repented, instead of being led into captivity, God would maintain their national existence. It is a promise of the continuance of an old blessing.


Verse 4

The temple of the Lord - Thrice repeated, to emphasize the rejection of the cry ever upon the lips of the false prophets. In their view the maintenance of the temple-service was a charm sufficient to avert all evil.

These - The buildings of the temple, to which Jeremiah is supposed to point. The Jews put their trust in the material buildings.


Verses 5-7

A summary of the conditions indispensable on man‘s part, before he can plead the terms of the covenant in his favor.

Jeremiah 7:6

In this place - i. e., in Jerusalem. The prophet refers to innocent blood shed there judicially. Of one such judicial murder Jehoiakim had already been guilty Jeremiah 26:23.

Jeremiah 7:7

Why then do not the Jews still possess a land thus eternally given them? Because God never bestows anything unconditionally. The land was bestowed upon them by virtue of a covenant Genesis 17:7; the Jews had broken the conditions of this covenant Jeremiah 7:5-6, and the gift reverted to the original donor.


Verse 10

We are delivered - Jeremiah accuses them of trusting in the ceremonial of the temple instead of leading holy lives. “You break,” he says, “the Ten Commandments, and then you go to the Temple; and when the service is over you say, We are delivered. We have atoned for our past actions, and may start afresh with easy minds upon a new course of wickedness.”


Verse 11

Robbers - literally, tearers, those who rob with violence. The temple was the place which sheltered them. It had been consecrated to God. Now that it harbors miscreants, must it not as inevitably be destroyed as a den of robbers would be by any righteous ruler?


Verse 12

Go ye unto my place in Shiloh - This argument roused the indignation of the people Jeremiah 26:8-9, Jeremiah 26:11. The ark, Jeremiah shows, had not always been at Jerusalem. The place first chosen, as the center of the nation‘s worship, was Shiloh, a town to the north of Bethel, situated in the powerful tribe of Ephraim (Joshua 18:1 note). The ruin of Shiloh is ascribed Psalm 78:58-64 to the idolatry which prevailed in Israel after the death of Joshua; a similar ruin due to similar causes should fall on Jerusalem Jeremiah 7:14. The site of Shiloh is identified with Seilun, the ruins of which are so insignificant as to bear out Jerome‘s remark, “At Silo, where once was the tabernacle and ark of the Lord, there can scarcely be pointed out the foundation of an altar.”

At the first - In the first stage, the first period of the existence of the Jewish commonwealth, Shiloh was to the Judges what Jerusalem subsequently was to the kings; and as the fall of Shiloh through the wickedness of Eli‘s sons marked the period when the government by Judges was to pass away, and the second stage begin; so the power of the kings perished at the fall of Jerusalem, and left the way clear for the third stage of Jewish polity, government by the scribes.


Verse 13

Rising up early and speaking - A proverbial expression for “speaking zealously and earnestly.” It is used only by Jeremiah.


Verse 15

The whole seed of Ephraim - i. e., the whole of the nine northern tribes. Their casting out was a plain proof that the possession of the symbols of God‘s presence does not secure a Church or nation from rejection, if unworthy of its privileges.


Verse 16

They had reached that stage in which men sin without any sense of guilt (see 1 John 5:16).

Neither make intercession to me - In Jeremiah 14:7-9 we have an intercessory prayer offered by Jeremiah, but not heard. The intercession of Moses prevailed with God Numbers 11:2; Numbers 14:13-20; Numbers 16:22, because the progress of the people then wins upward; the progress now was from bad to worse, and therefore in Jeremiah 15:1 we read that the intercession even of Moses and Samuel (see 1 Samuel 12:23) would profit nothing.


Verse 17

The proof of the hopeless immorality of the people is this, that they worship pagan deities

(1) generally in the cities of Judah, and not in the capital only; and

(2) publicly in the streets of Jerusalem. Such public idolatry could have been practiced only in the reign of a king like Jehoiakim.


Verse 18

Children … fathers … women - All members of the family take part in this idolatry.

Cakes - Probably very similar to those offered at Athens to Artemis.

To the queen of heaven - A Persian and Assyrian deity, who was supposed to symbolize a quality possessed by moonlight of giving to nature its receptive power, as the sun represented its quickening power. The moon thus became generally the symbol of female productiveness, and was worshipped as such at Babylon. Disgraceful usages to which every woman was obliged once to submit formed part of her worship.


Verse 19

Do they not provoke … - literally, Is it not themselves (“that they provoke”) to the shame of their faces?


Verse 20

Upon man, and upon beast - All creation in some mysterious way shares in man‘s fall and restoration Romans 8:19-22.


Verse 21

The meaning is, Increase your sacrifices as you will. Acid burnt-offering to peace-offerings. All is in vain as long as you neglect the indispensable requirements of obedience and moral purity. Eat flesh is equivalent to sacrifice. The flesh of animals offered in sacrifice was usually eaten by the offerers, and this meal was regarded as a symbol of reconciliation. God and man partook of the same victim, and so were made friends. This passage Jeremiah 7:21-28 is the Haphtarah (lesson) from the prophets, after the Parashah, Leviticus 68, or Lesson from the Law. The selection of such a Haphtarah shows that the Jews thoroughly understood that their sacrifices were not the end of the Law, but a means for spiritual instruction.


Verse 23

Obey … - These words are not found verbatim in the Pentateuch, but are a sum mary of its principles. Sacrifice is never the final cause of the covenant, but always obedience (Exodus 19:5-6; Leviticus 11:45. Compare Amos 5:25 (taken in conjunction with Joshua 5:2-7) proves that the ceremonial law was not observed during the 40 years‘ wandering in the wilderness. A thing so long in abeyance in the very time of its founder, could not be of primary importance.

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Verse 24

Imagination - Better, as in the margin.

And went backward - literally, as in the margin; i. e., they turned their back upon Me to follow their own devices.


Verse 27

Rather, Though thou … yet etc.


Verse 28

A nation - The “nation.” Israel holds so unique a position among all nations that for it to disobey God is marvelous.

Truth … - Fidelity to God. Though they have the name of Yahweh often upon their lips and swear by Him Jeremiah 5:2, yet it is only profession without practice.


Verses 29-33

Jeremiah summons the people to lament over the miserable consequences of their rejection of God. In the valley of Hinnom, where lately they offered their innocents, they shall themselves fall before the enemy in such multitudes that burial shall be impossible, and the beasts of the field unmolested shall prey upon their remains.

Jeremiah 7:29

The daughter of Zion, defiled by the presence of enemies in her sanctuary, and rejected of God, must shear off the diadem of her hair, the symbol of her consecration to God, just as the Nazarite, when defiled by contact with a corpse, was to shave his crowned head.

Take up a lamentation … - Or, lift up a “lamentation on the bare hill-sides” Jeremiah 3:2.

Jeremiah 7:30

They have set their abominations … - Probably a reference to the reign of the fanatic Manasseh, in whose time the worship of Astarte and of the heavenly bodies was the established religion of the land 2 Kings 21:3-5, and even the temple was used for idolatrous services. The people had never heartily accepted Josiah‘s reformation.

Jeremiah 7:31

The high places - Here, probably, not natural hills, but artificial mounts, on which the altars were erected.

Tophet (marginal reference note) is not here a proper name; as applied to Baal-worship the term is not an ordinary one, but almost unique to Jeremiah. Comparing this verse with Jeremiah 19:5; Jeremiah 32:35, it will be found that Baal is in those passages substituted for Tophet. Just as it is the practice of the prophets to substitute “Bosheth, shame,” for Baal (see Jeremiah 3:24), so here Jeremiah uses “Tophet, an object of abhorrence” (compare Job 17:6 note), in just the same way.

Valley of the son of Hinnom - See Joshua 15:8 note.

To burn … - The children were not burned alive, but slain first Ezekiel 16:21.

Jeremiah 7:32

The valley of slaughter - Where they killed their helpless children, there shall they be slaughtered helplessly by their enemies.

Till there be no place - Rather, for want of room elsewhere.


Verse 34

Silence and desolation are to settle upon the whole land.

 


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 7:4". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/jeremiah-7.html. 1870.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, August 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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