Jeremiah 7

CHAPTER VII

Here begins another section of prophecy, ending with the ninth

chapter. It opens with exhorting to amendment of life, without

which the confidence of the Jews in their temple is declared

vain, 1-11.

God bids them take warning from the fate of their brethren the

Israelites, who had been carried away captive on account of

their sins without any regard to that sacred place, (Shiloh,)

where the ark of God once resided, 12-15.

The iniquities of Judah are so great in the sight of God that

the prophet is commanded not to intercede for the people, 16;

the more especially as they persisted in provoking God by their

idolatrous practices, 17-20.

The Jewish sacrifices, if not accompanied with obedience to the

moral law, are of no avail, 21-24.

Notwithstanding the numerous messages of mercy from the time of

the exodus, the people revolted more and more; and have added

to their other sins this horrible evil, the setting up of their

abominations in the temple of Jehovah; or, in other words, they

have encumbered the Mosaic economy, which shadowed forth the

glorious truths of Christianity, with a heterogeneous admixture

of the idolatrous, impure, and cruel rites of heathenism;

consequently, the whole land shall be utterly desolated, 25-34.

NOTES ON CHAP. VII

Verse 1. The word that came to Jeremiah] This prophecy is

supposed to have been delivered in the first year of the reign of

Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, who, far from following the example of

his pious father, restored idolatry, maintained bad priests and

worse prophets, and filled Jerusalem with abominations of all

kinds.

Verse 2. Stand in the gate of the Lord's house] There was a show

of public worship kept up. The temple was considered God's

residence; the usual ceremonies of religion restored by Josiah

were still observed; and the people were led to consider the

temple and its services as sacred things, which would be

preservatives to them in case of the threatened invasion.

Verse 4. The temple of the Lord] In the Chaldee the passage

stands thus:-"Do not trust in the words of lying prophets, which

say, Before the temple of the Lord ye shall worship; Before the

temple of the Lord ye shall sacrifice; Before the temple of the

Lord ye shall adore; thrice in the year ye shall appear before

it."

This the Targumist supposes to have been the reason why the

words are here thrice repeated. They rather seem to express the

conviction which the people had, that they should be safe while

their temple service continued; for they supposed that God would

not give it up into profane hands. But sacred places and sacred

symbols are nothing in the sight of God when the heart is not

right with him.

Verse 5. If ye throughly amend your ways] Literally, If in

making good ye fully make good your ways. God will no longer admit

of half-hearted work. Semblances of piety cannot deceive him; he

will not accept partial reformation; there must be a thorough

amendment.

Verse 9. Will ye steal, murder] Will you continue to commit such

abominations, and pretend to worship me; and thus defile the place

that is called by my name; and so make my house a den of robbers?

I have seen this,-and can you expect to escape condign

punishment? Ye shall not escape.

Verse 12. But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh] See

what I did to my tabernacle and ark formerly: after a long

residence at Shiloh, for the iniquity of the priests and the

people, I suffered it to fall into the hands of the Philistines,

and to be carried captive into their land, and to be set up in the

house of their idols. And because of your iniquities, I will deal

with you and this temple in the same way; for as I spared not

Shiloh, though my ark was there, but made it a victim of my wrath,

so will I do to Jerusalem and her temple.

Verse 15. The whole seed of Ephraim.] Taken here for all the ten

tribes, that of Ephraim being the principal.

Verse 16. Therefore pray not thou for this people] They have

filled up the measure of their iniquity, and they must become

examples of my justice. How terrible must the state of that place

be, where God refuses to pour out the spirit of supplication on

his ministers and people in its behalf!

Verse 18. The children gather wood] Here is a description of a

whole family gathered together, and acting unitedly in

idolatrous worship. 1. The children go and collect wood, and bring

it to the place of sacrifice. 2. The fathers lay it in order, and

kindle a fire. 3. The mother and her maids knead dough, make their

batch, and out of it form cakes, and bake them for the honour of

the queen of heaven; most probably the moon, though perhaps not

exclusive of the sun and planets, generally called the host of

heaven. Family worship is a most amiable and becoming thing when

performed according to truth. What a pity that so few families

show such zeal for the worship of God as those apostate Israelites

did for that of their idols!

Verse 21. Put your burnt-offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat

flesh.] I will receive neither sacrifice nor oblation from you;

therefore you may take the beasts intended for sacrifice, and slay

and eat them for your common nourishment. See Clarke on Jer 7:29.

Verse 23. This thing commanded I them-Obey my voice] It was not

sacrifices and oblations which I required of your fathers in the

wilderness, but obedience; it was to walk in that way of

righteousness which I have commanded; then I should have

acknowledged them for my people, and I should have been their God;

and then it would have been well with them. But to my commands, 1.

They hearkened not-paid no regard to my word. 2. They inclined not

the ear-showed no disposition to attend to my counsels. 3. They

walked in the imaginations of their evil heart-followed its

irregular and impure motions, rather than the holy dictates of my

Spirit. 4. They went backward and not forward. Instead of becoming

more wise, obedient, and holy, they grew more corrupt; so that

they became more profligate than their fathers.

Verse 28. Nor receiveth correction] They have profited neither

by mercies nor by judgments: blessings and corrections have been

equally lost upon them.

Verse 29. Cut off thine hair] gozzi nizrech, shear thy

nazarite. The Nazarite was one who took upon him a particular vow,

and separated himself from all worldly connexions for a certain

time, that he might devote himself without interruption to the

service of God; and during all this time no razor was to pass on

his head, for none of his hair was to be taken off. After the vow

was over, he shaved his head and beard, and returned to society.

See Nu 6:2, &c., and the notes there. Jerusalem is here

considered under the notion of a Nazarite, by profession devoted

to the service of God: but that profession was empty; it was not

accompanied with any suitable practice. God tells them here to cut

off their hair; to make no vain pretensions to holiness or

religion; to throw off the mask, and attempt no longer to impose

upon themselves and others by their hypocritical pretensions. On

the same ground he orders them, Jer 7:21, to devote to common use

the animals destined for sacrifice; and to make no more vain shows

of religion while their hearts were not right with him. Dr.

Blayney thinks the address is to the prophet, who was a Nazarite

by virtue of his office, and who was called to cut off his hair as

a token of mourning for the desolations which were coming upon his

people. That cutting off the hair was a sign of distress and

mourning may be seen, Ezr 9:3; Isa 15:2; Jer 41:5, &c.

But I think the other the more natural construction.

On high places] That the lamentation may be heard to the greater

distance.

The generation of his wrath.] Persons exposed to punishment:

used here as children of wrath, Eph 2:3.

Verse 31. Tophet-in the valley of the son of Hinnom] Tophet was

the place in that valley where the continual fires were kept up,

in and through which they consecrated their children to Moloch.

Verse 32. The valley of slaughter] The place where the

slaughtered thousands of this rebellious people shall be cast, in

order to their being burnt, or becoming food for the beasts of the

field and the fowls of the air, Jer 7:33. These words are

repeated, and their meaning more particularly explained,

Jer 19:6-15.

Verse 34. Then will I cause to cease-the voice of mirth] There

shall no longer be in Jerusalem any cause of joy; they shall

neither marry nor be given in marriage, for the land shall be

totally desolated. Such horrible sins required such a horrible

punishment. And they must be horrible, when they move God to

destroy the work of his own hands.

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