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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Jeremiah 7

 

 

Verse 1

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

The prophet stood at the gate of the temple, in order that the multitudes from the country might hear him. His life was threatened, it appears from Jeremiah 26:1-9, for this prophecy denouncing the fate of Shiloh as about to befall the temple at Jerusalem. The prophecy given in detail here is summarily referred to there. After Josiah's death the nation relapsed into idolatry, through Jehoiakim's bad influence; the worship of Yahweh was, however, combined with it (Jeremiah 7:4; Jeremiah 7:10).


Verse 2

Stand in the gate of the LORD's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.

Stand in the gate - i:e., the gate of the court of Israel within that of the women. Those whom Jeremiah addresses came through the gate leading into the court of the women, and the gate leading, into the outer court, or court of the Gentiles ("these gates").


Verse 3

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.

Amend your ways and your doings - (Jeremiah 18:11; Jeremiah 26:13).

Cause you to dwell - permit you still to dwell.


Verse 4

Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.

The temple of the Lord ... are these. The Jews falsely thought that because their temple had been chosen by Yahweh as His special dwelling, it could never be destroyed. Precisely similar was the feeling of Israel (1 Samuel 4:3-4), that the mere presence of the ark among them, though escorted by the wicked Hophni and Phinehas, would save them, without repentance and obedience, from their enemies. Men think that ceremonial observances will supersede the need of holiness (Isaiah 48:2; Micah 3:11). The triple repetition of "The temple of Yahweh" expresses the intense confidence of the Jews (see Jeremiah 22:29, "O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord;" Isaiah 6:3, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts").

These - the temple buildings, which the prophet points to with his finger (Jeremiah 7:2. "this place").


Verse 5

For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;

For - But (Maurer).

Execute judgment - justice (Jeremiah 22:3).


Verse 6

If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:

This place - this city and land (Jeremiah 7:7).

Neither walk after other gods to your hurt - (so Jeremiah 7:19, "to the confusion of their own faces;" Proverbs 8:36).


Verse 7

Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.

Then will I cause you to dwell in this place - the apodosis to the "if ... if" (Jeremiah 7:5-6).

To dwell - to continue to dwell.

Forever and ever - joined with "to dwell," not with the words "gave to your fathers" (cf. Jeremiah 3:18; Deuteronomy 4:40).


Verse 8

Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Lying words that cannot profit. Maurer translates. 'so that you profit nothing' (see Jeremiah 7:4, "lying words;" Jeremiah 5:31).


Verse 9-10

Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;

"Will ye steal, etc., and then come and stand before me?"

Gods whom ye know not - ye have no grounds of 'knowing' that they are gods; but I have manifested my Godhead by my law, by benefits conferred, and by miracles. This aggravates their crime (Calvin). (Judges 5:8, "They chose new gods").

Verse 10. And come - And yet come (Ezekiel 23:39).

We are delivered - namely, from all impending calamities. In spite of the prophet's threats, we have nothing to fear; we have offered our sacrifices, and therefore Yahweh will 'deliver' us.

To do all these abominations - namely, those enumerated (Jeremiah 7:9). These words are not to be connected with "we are delivered," but thus: 'Is it with his design that ye come and stand before me in this house,' in order that having offered your worthless sacrifices ye may be taken into my favour, and so do all these abominations (Jeremiah 7:9) with impunity? (Maurer.)


Verse 11

Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.

Is this house ... called by my name, become a den of robbers - Do you regard my temple as being what robbers make their den namely, an asylum wherein ye may obtain impunity for your abominations? (Jeremiah 7:10.)

I have seen it - namely, that ye treat my house as if it were a den of thieves. Yahweh implies more than is expressed, 'I have seen and will punish it.' (On "this house, which is called by my name" see Isaiah 56:7, "Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people." The two passages, Isaiah 56:7, and Jeremiah 7:11, are condensed into the one sentence, as quoted by our Lord, "My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." Thus the inspiration of both prophets is attested by the Son of God, Matthew 21:13).


Verse 12

But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.

My place which was in Shiloh - God caused His tabernacle to be set up in Shiloh in Joshua's days (Joshua 18:1; Judges 18:31) In Eli's time God gave the ark which had beet at Shiloh into the hands of the Philistines (Psalms 78:56-61, "They provoked Him to anger with their high places, and moved Him to jealousy with their graven images ... so that He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which He placed among men"). Shiloh was situated between Bethel and Shechem in Ephraim.

At the first - implying that Shiloh exceeded the Jewish temple in antiquity. But God's favour is not tied down to localities (Acts 7:48).

What I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. Israel was God's people, yet He spared it not when rebellious: neither will He spare Judah, now that it rebels, though heretofore it has been His people.


Verse 13

And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not;

Rising up early - implying unwearied earnestness in soliciting them (Jeremiah 7:25; Jeremiah 11:7; 2 Chronicles 36:15, "The Lord God of their fathers sent to them by His messengers, rising up betimes and sending").


Verse 14

Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.

The place which I gave - and I therefore can revoke the gift (for it is still mine, Leviticus 25:23, "For the land is mine for ye are strangers and sojourners with me"), now that ye fail in the only object for which I was given, the promotion of my glory.

Shiloh - as I ceased to dwell there, transferring my temple to Jerusalem; so I will cease to dwell at Jerusalem.


Verse 15

And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.

I have cast out all your brethren - children of Abraham as much as you.

Even the whole seed of Ephraim - They were superior to you in numbers and power: they were ten tribes; ye but two. 'Ephraim,' as the leading tribe, stands for the whole ten tribes (so "Israel" (i:e., the ten tribes) is said to have been removed by "the Lord out of His sight," 2 Kings 17:23; Psalms 78:67-68. "He chose not the tribe of Ephraim, but ... Judah").


Verse 16

Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.

Therefore pray not thou for this people ... When people are given up to judicial hardness of heart, intercessory prayer for them is unavailing (Jeremiah 11:14, "Pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry and prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble;" Jeremiah 15:1; Exodus 32:10, "Now therefore, let me alone" (Chaldaic version, leave off praying); 1 John 5:16).


Verse 17

Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?

Seest thou not what they do - Yahweh leaves it to Jeremiah himself to decide, is there not good reason that prayers should not be heard in behalf of such rebels?


Verse 18

The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.

The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven - not merely isolated individuals practiced idolatry: young and old, men and women, and whole families, contributed their joint efforts to promote it. O that there were the same zeal for the worship of God as there is for error (Jeremiah 44:17; Jeremiah 44:19; Jeremiah 19:13).

Cakes to the queen of heaven. Cakes were made of honey, fine flour, etc., in a round flat shape, to resemble the disc of the moon, to which they were offered. Others read [limle'ket, for limleket] as margin, 'the frame (or workmanship; or else to the worship) of heaven' - i:e., the planets generally; so Septuagint reads [hee stratia] the host; but elsewhere Septuagint translates it "queen of heaven." The Phoenicians called the moon Ahstoreth or Astarte: the wife of Baal or Moloch, the king of heaven. The male and female pair of deities symbolized the generative powers of nature: hence, arose the introduction of prostitution in the worship. The Babylonians worshipped her as Mylitta, i:e., generative. Our Monday, or Moon-day, indicates the former prevalence of moon worship (note, Isaiah 65:11).

That they may provoke me - implying design: in worshipping strange gods they seemed as if purposely to provoke Yahweh.


Verse 19

Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?

Do they provoke me to anger? saith the Lord: do they not provoke themselves in the confusion of their own faces? - Is it me that they provoke to anger? Is it not themselves? etc. (Deuteronomy 32:16; Deuteronomy 32:21; Job 35:6; Job 35:8, "If thou sinnest, what doest thou against Him? ... Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art;" Proverbs 8:36).


Verse 20

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.

Upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground. Why doth God vent His fury on these? On account of man, for whom these were created, that the sad spectacle may strike terror into him (Romans 8:20-22, "The creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope ... For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now").


Verse 21

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh.

Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices ... eat flesh - Add the former (which the law required to be wholly burnt) to the latter (which were burnt only in part), and "eat flesh," even off the holocausts or burnt offerings. As far as I am concerned, saith Yahweh, you may do with one and the other alike. I will have neither, (Isaiah 1:11, etc.)


Verse 22

For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:

For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices - not contradicting the divine obligation of the legal sacrifices. But, "I did not require sacrifices, unless combined with moral obedience (Psalms 50:8; Psalms 51:16-17, "Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise"). The superior claim of the moral above the positive precepts of the law was marked by the ten commandments having been delivered first, and by the two tables of stone being deposited alone in the ark (Deuteronomy 5:6; Hebrews 9:4; Exodus 25:16). The negative in Hebrew often supplies the want of the comparative: not excluding the thing denied, but only implying the prior claim of the thing set in opposition to it (Hosea 6:6). "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice" (1 Samuel 15:22.) Love to God is the supreme end, external observances only means toward that end. 'The mere sacrifice was not so much what I commanded, as the sincere submission to my, will, which gives to the sacrifice all its virtue' (Magee, 'Atonement,' note 57).


Verse 23

But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.

But this thing commanded I them - (Exodus 15:26; Exodus 19:5).


Verse 24

But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.

Hearkened not - they did not give even a partial hearing to me (Psalms 81:11-12).

Imagination - rather, as margin, 'the stubbornness.'

Backward ... - (Jeremiah 2:27, "They have turned their back unto me, and not their face;" Jeremiah 32:33; Hosea 4:16, "Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer").


Verse 25

Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them:

Rising up early - (Jeremiah 7:13).


Verse 26

Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.

Hardened their neck - (Deuteronomy 31:27 "I know ... thy stiff neck;" Isaiah 48:4, "Thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;" Acts 7:51).

Worse than their fathers - (Jeremiah 16:12). In Jeremiah 7:22. He had said, "your fathers;" here He says, "their fathers;" the change to the third person marks growing alienation from them. He no longer addresses themselves, as it would be a waste of words in the case of such hardened rebels.


Verse 27

Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee.

Therefore - rather, 'Though thou speak ... yet they will not hearken' (Maurer) (Ezekiel 2:7, "Thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear"). A trial to the prophet's faith; though he knew his warnings would be unheeded, still was to give them in obedience to God.


Verse 28

But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.

Thou shalt say unto them - i:e., in reference to them.

A nation , [ hagowy (Hebrew #1471)] - the word usually applied to the Gentile nations is here applied to the Jews, as being cast off and classed by God among the Gentiles.

Nor receiveth correction - (Jeremiah 5:3).

Truth is perished - (Jeremiah 9:3 "They bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth").


Verse 29

Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath.

Cut off thine hair. Jeremiah addresses "Jerusalem" under the figure of a woman, who, in grief for her lost children, deprives her head of its chief ornament, and goes up to the hills to weep (as Jephthah's daughter did, Judges 11:37-38; Isaiah 15:2, "He is gone up to the high places to weep").

Hair , [ nizreek (Hebrew #5145)] - flowing locks, like those of a Nazarite (Numbers 6:19). The Nazarites were one of Jerusalem's glories. Hence, they are mentioned, after the prophecy here had been actually fulfilled, among the subjects of Jerusalem's bitterest regrets. "Her Nazarites were purer than snow," etc., Lamentations 4:7.

High places - the scene of her idolatries is to be the scene of her mourning (Jeremiah 3:21).

Generation of his wrath - the generation with which He is wroth. So Isaiah 10:6, "the people of my wrath." Generation of his wrath - the generation with which He is wroth. So Isaiah 10:6, "the people of my wrath."


Verse 30

For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.

Set their abominations in the house - (Jeremiah 32:34; 2 Kings 21:4; 2 Kings 21:7, "He (Manasseh) built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. ... And he set a graven image of the grove

... in the house;" 2 Kings 23:4; Ezekiel 8:5-14).


Verse 31

And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.

High places of Tophet - the altars (Horsley) of Tophet; erected to Moloch, on the heights along the south of the valley facing Zion.

Burn their sons - (Psalms 106:38).

Commanded them not - put for, 'I forbad expressly (Deuteronomy 17:3; Deuteronomy 12:31). See Jeremiah 2:23; Isaiah 30:33; remarks.


Verse 32

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place.

Valley of slaughter - so named because of the great slaughter of the Jews about to take place at Jerusalem; a just retribution of their sin in slaying their children to Moloch in Tophet.

No place - no room, namely, to bury in, so many shall be those slain by the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 19:11; Ezekiel 6:5).


Verse 33

And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away.

Fray - scare or frighten (this verse is quoted from Deuteronomy 28:26). Typical of the last great battle between the Lord's host and the apostasy, wherein "the fowls of the air" are represented as about to feast and be "filled with the flesh of captains ... mighty men ... horses ... and all men, both free and bond, both small and great" (Revelation 19:17-18; Revelation 19:21).


Verse 34

Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate.

Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth ... - referring to the joyous songs and music with which the bride and bridegroom were escorted in the procession to the home of the latter from that of the former; a custom still prevalent in the East (Jeremiah 16:9; Isaiah 24:7-8; Revelation 18:23, "The voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee").

Remarks:

(1) It has been the fatal mistake of men in all ages of the world to suppose that outward services will stand instead of inward holiness and righteousness of heart and life. The natural man would gladly compound for obedience, with sacrifice (Jeremiah 7:22-23). But God's indispensable requirement is, "Amend your ways and your doings, and trust not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these." No mere shibboleth of a creed, however evangelical, no possession of religious privileges, however highly-favoured we be in respect to them, will ensure the continuance of God's favour, without unfeigned repentance and faith working by love.

(2) It is the height at once of hypocrisy and self-deceit to present ourselves before God as His true worshippers, while at heart we serve the idols of lust and mammon, and sacrifice at their shrine the obligations of honesty, chastity, purity, honour, and truth. None can claim an interest in free salvation who habit ually practice known sin, or willfully neglect known duty. To continue in sin that grace may abound (Romans 6:1), and to frequent church ordinances, while disobeying God's laws, is virtually to make Christ the minister of sin, and to treat the Lord's "house of prayer" as if it were "a den of robbers" (Jeremiah 7:11).

(3) God sees us, and will take most accurate account of our conduct as compared with our professions (Jeremiah 7:11.) He spared not the tabernacle of Shiloh, because of Israel's wickedness: nor did the temple of Jerusalem, hallowed though it was by so many sacred associations, and so long regarded as the spiritual glory of Judah, escape the stroke of His righteous displeasure against the Jews. Twice it was reared, and twice it fell, a monument to testify to all generations that the greater are men's spiritual privileges, the weightier will be their condemnation, when they presume upon those privileges as giving them a guarantee of security in sin (Jeremiah 7:12-15).

(4) There is a point at which intercession for transgr essors ceaseth, and nothing remains but a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation (Hebrews 10:27). The longer the sinner perseveres in sinning in the face of light, and in spite of God's unwearied entreaties by His ministers "rising early and sending them" (Jeremiah 7:13), the nearer the sinner verges to that awful point. It is not God, but himself that the transgressor "hurts" (Jeremiah 7:6), and "provokes to the confusion of his own face" (Jeremiah 7:19), when he hardens himself against God's love. He brings down alike on himself and on all that is connected with him the fury of God's burning wrath, which "shall not be quenched" (Jeremiah 7:20).

(5) It is a great trial of the faith of ministers to have to go on speaking the message of God to those who "will not hearken" (Jeremiah 7:27). Such are the hearers who are unchanged and unhumbled by "correction" (Jeremiah 7:28), and from whose mouth truth is cut off and perished. Wheresoever the heart which is designed to be consecrated to the Lord has lying vanities enshrined in it, the temple of the Lord is polluted (Jeremiah 7:30).

(6) The scene of the sinner's abominations shall be the scene also of his utter destruction (Jeremiah 7:31-33). All things are tending toward that last great consummation, when "the voice of mirth" (Jeremiah 7:34), shall cease forever from among the ungodly, and they shall be a prey to never-ending torments. Let us learn to live in and for Christ now; so shall we forever be with Christ in the world to come.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 7:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/jeremiah-7.html. 1871-8.

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Monday, September 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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