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Jeremiah, Chapter 7
Jeremiah’s Temple Sermon
Repentance the Only Hope for Israel
God commanded Jeremiah to stand in the gate of the Temple and to denounce the grievous sins and corruptions of the people, most likely on one of the great festive occasions when the crowds were thronging to the Temple.
How strange it is that the people denounced by this message are the very people of whom it might be supposed that they were the TRUE worshippers of God. The symbolism is intense in this chapter. The Temple itself was a stronghold of false priests, "a den of thieves" as Christ Jesus referred to it much later (Mat.21:13; Mk.11:17; Lk.19:46). The image is startling. Jeremiah, the TRUE preacher of God's Word, cannot get into the Temple at all. He must stand in the gate, on the steps, at the entrance!
We shall see this chapter divided: First, there is a statement of the case against Judah, coupled with a repetition of the Law of God and a ringing command for the people of God to repent of their apostasy. Then there is a further description of the people's apostasy and of their rejection of God's Word. This is followed by the announcement of God's judgment against them. Then follows an attack against the false worship of the Queen of Heaven. The prophet condemned their belief that sacrifices could be substituted for true obedience to God's Word. The chapter ends with an intense and forceful condemnation of the sacrifice of children to Molech in the Valley of Hinnom, and other evil practices.
THEME: Jeremiah delivers a warning in the gate of the LORD'S House.
In chapters 2 through 6, we saw the prophecies which Jeremiah delivered during the first five years of his ministry. As a young man about twenty years of age, he delivered some very severe predictions, condemning his people and pronouncing judgment upon them.
The prophecies in chapters 7 through 10 were given after the Law of the LORD had been discovered in the Temple during the time of cleansing ordered by the young King Josiah. Josiah was greatly concerned about his people, which revealed that he had a personal relationship with God as a young man. He and Jeremiah, being about the same age and both passionate for God, were probably friends. Hilkiah the priest, who was evidently the father of Jeremiah, is the one who found the Law of the LORD. The Temple was cleaned out and repaired and back in use, which was wonderful. Now Jeremiah stands in the gate of the LORD'S house and gives a prophecy to His people.
Confidence in the Temple is Vain (Jer.7:1-16)
Jer. 7:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, (KJV)
This prophecy is supposed to have been delivered in the first year of the reign of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, who was far from following the example of his pious father. Jehoiakim restored idolatry, preserved bad priests and worse prophets, and filled Jerusalem with abominations of all kinds
***** The prophet stood at the gate of the Temple so that the multitudes from the country might hear him. It appears that his life was threatened (Jer.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 referred to there. After Josiah's death the nation relapsed into idolatry through Jehoiakim's evil influence; the worship of Almighty God was, however, combined with it (Jer.7:4, 10). Shiloh: (Gen.49:10; Josh.18:1, 8; 18:9-10; 19:51; 21:2; 22:9, 12; Jdg.18:31; 21:12, 19, 21; 1 Sam.1:3, 9, 24; 2:14; 3:21; 4:3-4, 12; 14:3; 1 Ki.2:27; 14:2, 4; Ps.78:60; Jer.7:12, 14; 26:6, 9; 41:5).
Jer. 7:2 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. (KJV)
Stand in the gate of the LORD'S house . . . Stand in the gate, the east gate, which was the main gate; since it was the public place of going out and coming in, and where the people were accustomed to gather (Jer.26:2,10). He is said to stand, because Jeremiah was executing the office of a preacher, not a judge, where the position would have been sitting. The LORD'S House; the Temple (Jer.7:4, 10).
And proclaim there this word, and say . . . proclaim there, the place reveals the vanity of their confidence, who, although with all their provocations, yet they placed their safety in the privileges of the Temple, glorying much in that. Proclaiming means both the authority by which Jeremiah spoke, and the divulging of what he spoke plainly and boldly, which as it was in a public place, the court of the people, not the court of the priests, (from which it is distinguished, 2 Chron. 4:9). There were six gates that were in the wall of the court, three on the south side and three on the north; so it might be at some public time of the people's exiting there from all quarters (Ps.122:4-5), when all the males were to meet (Ex.23:17). The word of the LORD (Jer.2:4).
*****Stand in the gate of the LORD'S House. There are some who think this is very similar to the prophecy that is found in chapter 26 of Jeremiah. The prophecy is similar, except that it was delivered in the court of the house of the LORD . . . Jeremiah was no longer standing by the gate but had gone into the court . . . and it was given during the reign of another king. But, the message is very much the same; Jeremiah had not changed his viewpoint.
Now that the Temple has been repaired and the Book of the Law has been found, the people are returning to the Temple in droves. Coming back to the Temple was the popular thing to do, and they are talking about returning to God. Young Jeremiah hears the conversation of the people, and he gives the following message.
Plea to Amend Their Ways (Jer.7:3-11)
Jer. 7:3 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. (KJV)
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel . . . listen to what God has to say to you.
Amend your ways and your doings . . . mend your manners. Amending means both to turn from our evil works, and make our good better.
And I will cause you to dwell in this place . . . you shall not go into captivity, indicating that otherwise they would. He will continue their habitations to them from age to age, as (Jer.7:7). The doing of a thing in Scripture often implies continuing it (Lev.26:11).
Jer.7:4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these. (KJV)
Because this was God's House, where He had promised to dwell, and that being for ever (Ps.132:13-14), they flattered themselves that God could dwell nowhere else, and would not depart, and certainly would not allow the Chaldeans to destroy the Temple, and therefore that no evil could befall them (Mic.3:11). Jeremiah warns them not to deceive themselves in trusting the Temple and its two courts, and holy of holies.
The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these . . . when the prophets speak of the form of the Temple, it counts the court, where the people sacrificed, and the holy place, or house, where only the priests entered, and the holy of holies, where the Ark of the covenant was, and into which only the high priest entered, and only once a year. The emphasis that may be in this threefold repetition seems to relate to the confident and often repeated brags and boasts of the Temple, rather than the worth and excellency of it, in regard of God's owning it.
*****The Jews falsely thought that because their Temple had been chosen by God as His special dwelling, it could never be destroyed. Men think that ceremonial observances will surpass the need of holiness (Isa 48:2; Mic 3:11). The triple repetition of "the temple of the LORD" expresses the intense confidence of the Jews (Jer.22:29; Isa.6:3).
Jer. 7:5 For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; (KJV)
For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings . . . he tells them, it is not their vain confidence in their privileges, and boasting of the Temple, but only their serious and full repentance in turning to God, both in point of piety and equity, that can secure them.
If ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour . . . impartially among one another, between man and man, without favor or hatred.
Jer. 7:6 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: (KJV)
If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow . . . they are cautioned against three sins that this people were commonly addicted to, oppression, blood and idolatry; and he gives examples of the worst of oppressions, of such as God has more specially taken into His immediate protection, because these are most void of help, and most hateful to injuries: the stranger (Ex.22:21), the fatherless, and widow (Jer.7:22-24); and all three together (Deut.10:18; 27:19; Isa.10:1-2). Where God speaks of right administering of justice, He usually mentions these three, to prove the honesty and fairness of justice; and although this may more properly respect the princes and great ones, yet I think the prophet means all the people . . . then and today.
And shed not innocent blood in this place . . . not by murder, not by unrighteous sentence; this is one of those sins mentioned for which God expresses His high displeasure, and will send the Chaldeans upon them (2 Ki.24:4). This includes abortion in today’s world.
In this place; either in this city, or the whole land in general (Jer.7:3); and there he would show what a foolish thing it is that they should boast of their security in this place, and yet shed blood, which pollutes every place (Num.35:31).
Neither walk after other gods to your hurt . . . stop your idolatry and do not depart from the pure and uncorrupted worship of the LORD God, stop your superstitious and hypocritical service . . . he adds to your hurt, to show that they will be the only sufferers by it, not God (Jer.7:19). Dear one, God is not benefited or damaged by anything that we can do (Job 35:6-8).
Jer.7:7 Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. (KJV)
Then will I cause you to dwell in this place . . . then, upon the condition that you will return unto Me, only then will I establish you in the land, when I will dwell among you in this place . . . if they do not return to Him, He would not dwell with them. In this place . . . Judea, both in Jerusalem and the whole country, as the next words make clear.
In the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever . . . for ever and ever, from age to age, as your fathers did before you from the days of Joshua until now.
Jer.7:8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. (KJV)
Behold, ye trust in lying words . . . trusting in lies only builds up their own conceit in their speeches, they strengthen one another; they depend on the delusions of their false prophets (Jer.5:31; 23:26-27). They encourage themselves upon their privileges and ceremonies, which of they boast so much (Jer.7:4).
That cannot profit . . . all which he tells them will profit them nothing.
Jer. 7:9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; (KJV)
Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely . . . Jeremiah mentions several of the sins in which they were notorious, they were thieves, murderers, adulterers and liars. Will you continue to commit such vile abominations and pretend to worship God? Will you continue to defile the place that is called by God’s Name, thus making God’s House a den of robbers? I have seen all this, so how can they expect to escape punishment? They shall not escape!
And burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not . . . gods whom they did not know, and never had any experience of, and therefore could have no reason to serve them . . . therefore called new gods (Deut.32:17; Jdg.5:8). Baal is here put for all their idols.
Jer. 7:10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? (KJV)
And come and stand before me in this house . . . in the Temple; as if they had done no such thing, like the whore that wipes her mouth, and says she had done no wickedness (Pro.30:20), stating their deep dishonesty . . . as if they could make amends with God for their sins by their duties. Their standing notes their service (1 Ki.10:8; Pro.22:29).
Which is called by my name . . . the Temple was known to be God’s House, bearing God’s Name and dedicated to Him.
We are delivered to do all these abominations . . . after they had come before God with their sacrifices, they thought they were safe from all danger and were freed from God's judgments (Mal.3:15). Did they think they were privileged to return to their wickedness again after offering their sacrifice? This notes their disrespectful boldness (Jer.7:8-10; Isa.1:12-15; 59:2-3).
Jer. 7:11 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. (KJV)
Is this house, which is called by my name . . . the Temple was known to be God’s Holy House, bearing God’s Name and dedicated to Him.
Become a den of robbers in your eyes? . . . robbers here means all kinds of thieves, whether in house (Ex.20:15; Isa.61:8; Eze.22:29-30;), or field, highway-men (Dan.11:14). Did they look upon the Temple as a sanctuary and refuge for robbers and murderers? Did they so regard it so, thus making the LORD a partner of all their uncleanness (Mat.21:13); a symbol taken from wild beasts and criminals that secure themselves and hide their prey in holes and caves of the earth (Ps.10:8-9; 17:12).
Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD . . . God had seen all their wickedness. As crafty as they were, they could not hide these things from the LORD, nor all those workings of their thoughts about them, Ps 10:11, 13-14; Eze.18:12. He checks their foolish vain confidences, by which they deceive themselves (Isa.29:15). God will not be blinded by all their vain sacrifices
Jer. 7:12 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. (KJV)
But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh . . . Shiloh was a place that belonged to the tribe of Ephraim and was called God's House, as the Temple is (Ps.78:60, 67; Jdg.21:19; 1Sa 1:3, 7). He sends them there for an example, which had the same privileges and holiness as the Temple. They were not to go there literally, but were to think back and consider it, that they might know that God's Presence is not tied to places (Acts 7:48).
Where I set my name at the first . . . Shiloh was where the LORD first gave them the token and pledges of His Presence among them, when they first entered into the pleasant land, stating the distant past of Shiloh, before the Temple.
And see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel . . . the LORD utterly forsook Shiloh . . . He not only delivered His people into the Philistines' hands, but the Ark also, the token of His Presence, which never returned to Shiloh again. And after that He delivered the ten tribes, where Shiloh was situated, into captivity to the Assyrian (Jer. 7:14-15); where He rebukes them for their folly . . . thinking wrongly that the Ark or Altar in the Temple should be any more privilege to them than it did Shiloh. The wickedness of His people, mainly the priests, Hophni and Phinehas, Eli's sons (1 Sam. 2:12; 4:4, 11) . . . why would they think they could escape, who did just as bad, and possibly had exceeded them?
Jer. 7:13 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; (KJV)
And now, because ye have done all these works . . . these works . . . the same, or as bad, or worse than they did at Shiloh (Jer.7:9).
And I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking . . . rising up early is symbolic of people that work hard in their business.
But ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not . . . the LORD not only spoke by His prophets, but they in His Name really tried to regain them (Jer.11:7; 25:3-4), calling earnestly to them, which should have had some effectiveness upon them; but they scorned, disregarded and would not come at God’s call (2 Chron.36:15-16; Pro.1:24; Isa.1:2).
Jer. 7:14 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. (KJV)
Therefore . . . because they have added this their stubborn refusal of all warnings to the rest of their provocations,
Will I do unto this house . . . I will cause the consecrated things of the Temple to be taken away by the hand of the Babylonians.
And unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers . . . the place (Jer.7:7), which I gave to you, on the condition that you obey (Ps.105:44-45). Therefore I may rightly, upon the breach of the condition, take from you again, nay, by virtue of God’s sovereignty (Job 1:21).
As I have done to Shiloh . . . Shiloh (Jer.7:12).
Jer. 7:15 And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. (KJV)
And I will cast you out of my sight . . . they shall no longer have God’s Presence and watchful Eye over them anymore, and God will send them into captivity to Babylon.
As I have cast out all your brethren . . . just as I did your brethren into Assyria (2 Ki. 17:6, 18). The LORD terms them here brethren, to let them know that they and Israel proceeded from the same stock, so they had no reason not to expect that it would not be the same with them, seeing their sins were the same (2 Ki.21:13-14).
Even the whole seed of Ephraim . . . Ephraim, the ten tribes (Isa.7:1-2), called by this name often, because that was the most numerous and potent of all of them. Jeroboam their first king was of that tribe.
Judgment for Idolatry (Jer.7:16-31)
Jer. 7:16 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. (KJV)
Therefore pray not thou for this people . . . God forbids His prophets to pray for them in any way, by any cry or intercession, which shows that God is determined to root them out, seeing He will hear no intercession; just as He charged Moses (Ex.32:10; Jer.11:14; 15:1). For God had been accustomed to allow Himself to be prevailed upon by the mediation of His servants, as of Moses (Ex.32:11, 14; Nu 14:19-20) . . . but here, He would allow no intercession (Eze.14:14, 20; Jer.15:1). This command seems to be laid upon Jeremiah, to encourage him in this unpleasing work, laying aside all compassion. But I am sure that the prophet did pray that God would remember His covenant in saving a remnant.
*****No observances, professions or supposed revelations will profit, if the people do not amend their ways and their doings. None can claim an interest in free salvation, who allow themselves to practice known sin, or live neglecting known duty. They really thought that the Temple they disrespected and belittled would protect them. But all who continue in sin because the grace of God has abounded, make Christ Jesus the minister of sin; and the cross of Christ, when rightly understood, forms the most effective remedy to such deadly feelings. The Son of God gave Himself for our transgressions, to show the excellence of the Divine Law, and the evil of sin. Anyone who thinks that they can sin against Almighty God without suffering for it is a fool!
The Provocation by Persisting in Idolatry (Jer.7:17-20)
Jer. 7:17 Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? (KJV)
The LORD asks Jeremiah, don’t you see what these people do? God seems to leave it to Jeremiah himself to decide . . . is there not a good reason why prayers should not be heard in behalf of such rebels?
In the next verse, God shows how busy they are . . . from the youngest to the oldest, and how hard they work for their idolatry (Jer.44:1-7; Mat. 24:38). Everyone in the family did something to help in it.
Jer. 7:18 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. (KJV)
The children gather wood . . . or sticks (Num.15:32-33); probably small sticks for children, bigger wood for the youth who were stronger. This may be understood as children and young ones.
The fathers kindle the fire . . . they heat the oven, hearth, or stone on which they were baked.
And the women knead their dough . . . to make cakes; possibly they were of some specific shape, or had a special imprint of some of their gods stamped, or stamped with stars, as being offered up to the host of heaven or some star in particular (Am.5:26; Ac 7:43).
To make cakes to the queen of heaven . . . to the queen of heaven . . . this is differently interpreted . . . some think it is the sun, which is meant by a word of the feminine gender (Isa.24:23), and of a feminine use (Nah.3:17); some think it is the moon; as the sun was looked upon as king, so the moon is the queen of heaven, because of the size of her body in which she appears, and of the light she gives, but especially by reason of the control she has over inferior bodies; still others, for the whole host of heaven (Jer. 8:2; 19:13). Because of this, they probably had various stamps and impressions.
And to pour out drink offerings unto other gods . . . drink-offerings, wine and other strong drinks (Ex.29:40-41; Num.28:7). The devil is God's enemy, teaching idolaters to use the same rites and ceremonies that were used in the worship of God; so these idolaters, in pouring their drink offerings, which might be blood (Ps.16:4), imitated God's drink offerings, just as they did His meat-offerings in their cakes (Lev.2:1-16); by these they furnished the table mentioned (Isa.65:11).
That they may provoke me to anger . . . stating the proper effects and results of their idolatry, it seemed to be open defiance to God, for it seems they all were crazy when it came to their idolatry . . . they were set upon it, just as David's heart was set upon the worship of God (Ps.16:1).
Jer. 7:19 Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? (KJV)
Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD . . . do they think they deceive me, do they think I cannot do without their offerings. Will not they themselves feel the smart of it? (Jer.7:6).
Do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? . . . will they not bring anger on themselves, like when an arrow falls on the head of him that shoots? (1 Cor.10:22; Jer.3:25).
Jer. 7:20 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. (KJV)
Therefore thus saith the LORD GOD . . . it would be wise for them to listen!
Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place . . . His anger is His wrath . . . poured out expresses His fury reaching the boiling point (Jer.4:4), and is also a symbol of violent rains (Jer.6:11); and may in particular refer to those showers of fire that were poured out upon Sodom (Gen.19:24).
Upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground . . .not only on all people and animals, but upon the trees of the field, and all the fruit of the ground . . . these are listed to express the utter desolation and ruin (Jer.4:25). It is threatened against creatures which are innocent, because they were made for the use of man, partly that it might show how much God is offended, and that it should bring to them not only a greater fear of his judgments, but greater shame for their sin (Rom. 8:20, 22).
And it shall burn, and shall not be quenched . . . He follows the threats with showing that His resolution shall not be revoked (Jer.4:4). This is similar to the charge God gave the prophet in Jer. 7:16.
God Justifies His Dealings with Them (Jer.7:21-28)
Jer. 7:21 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. (KJV)
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel . . . the One and Only TRUE God!
Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh . . . the sarcastic words of the LORD, being in a great rage. I will not receive your sacrifice or oblation from you, so you should take the animals intended for sacrifice, slay and eat them for your food (Jer.7:29).
Jer. 7:22 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: (KJV)
This is not contradicting the divine obligation of the legal sacrifices . . . but, God did not require sacrifices, unless they were combined with moral obedience (Ps. 50:8; Ps.51:16-17). The greater 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 (Ex.25:21; Deut.31:24-26; 2 Chron.6:11; Heb.9:4). God desired mercy not sacrifice (1 Sam.15:22; Hos.6:6). The meager sacrifice was not so much what God commanded . . . as the sincere submission and obedience to His will, is what gives the sacrifice all its virtue
Jer. 7:23 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. (KJV)
But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice . . . it was not sacrifices and oblations which God required of their fathers in the wilderness, it was obedience . . . it was to walk in that way of righteousness which He had commanded.
That it may be well unto you . . . he shows what would be the good effect of their obedience (Ex.15:26; De 5:29, 33), which implies that their sufferings are from their disobedience, as it is expressed in the next verse.
Jer. 7:24 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. (KJV)
To God’s commands:
1. They hearkened not . . . they paid no attention to God’s Word.
2. They inclined not their ear . . . paid no attention to God’s counsels.
3. They walked in the imaginations of their evil heart . . . they followed its impure indications, rather than the Holy commands of His Spirit.
4. They went backward, not forward. Instead of becoming more wise, obedient and holy, they grew more immoral; so that they became more reckless than their fathers.
Jer. 7:25 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: (KJV)
God seems to rebuke them with their stock . . . they came from a stubborn kind, their very fathers were so before them, and they continued in their rebelliousness (Neh.9:16-17). They did not just now start to be rebellious, it had always been their practice . . . never ceasing from the time their fathers came out of Egypt to the days of Jeremiah.
I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets . . . God tells them what care He had taken to tell them of their duty and happiness, not just once or twice, but sending messengers to them constantly, from first to last (2 Chron.36:15; Neh.9:29-30; Amos 2:10-11). See Jer.7:13; 25:3-4. God’s church has never lacked teachers, for He had raised them up and were sent by God.
Jer. 7:26 Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers. (KJV)
In Jer.7:22, He said, your fathers; here He says, their fathers; the change to the third person marks His growing alienation from them. He no longer addresses them, as it would be a waste of words in the case of such hardened rebels.
What their fathers had done was bad enough, but they were so far from reforming, that they did worse than their fathers (Jdg.2:19; Jer.9:3). Worse than their fathers implies that each generation was worse than the one before, they seemed determined on sliding back. Finally, in 616 B.C. God permitted them to go into captivity; then, in A.D. 70, after trying them again as a nation for 500 years, He allowed them to be dispersed throughout the earth, where they have been for over 1900 years.
Jer. 7:27 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. (KJV)
Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them . . . Jeremiah is to try to wake them up! God shows that there is nothing lacking on His part; for even with all their perverseness, yet God still warns them by His prophet, which will leave them even more inexcusable (Eze.2:5, 7).
But they will not hearken to thee . . . this was something needed by the prophet, that he be assured that he shall speak to them in vain. The LORD explains to him beforehand, partly for Jeremiah's sake, that he should not be discouraged, but be more encouraged, even though he saw no success (Eze.2:7); and partly for the people's sake, that being foretold of their stubbornness, they might consider their sins and repent.
Thou shalt also call unto them, but they will not answer thee . . . this shows their further wickedness, that they were not only deaf to God's message by His prophet, but even though he cried loud, followed one urging after another, yet they would make no return unto it.
*****God knew that Israel would not listen to Jeremiah when He sent him; He also knew that they would not listen to him, nor answer His call through this servant, but He resolved to give them every possible opportunity to return to Him.
Jer. 7:28 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. (KJV)
This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God . . . this is spoken in a way of contempt. This nation was more sinful than the heathens, although they profess themselves a peculiar people to God (Ex.19:5; Deut.14:2; 26:18; Tit.2:14; 1 Pet.2:9), yet here they are numbered among the Gentiles.
Nor receiveth correction . . . they refuse to be instructed (Jer.2:30; 5:3), refusing to submit their necks to the yoke (1 Ki.12:11, 14), which was the basis of all their rebellion.
Truth is perished, and is off from their mouth . . . there is no trusting, no believing them in anything they say or do; they have no honesty, loyalty or truth. They did not profit by God’s mercies nor by His judgments . . . both God’s blessings and corrections have been equally lost upon them.
*****God shows that obedience was required of them . . . and us! That which God commanded was, Hearken diligently to the voice of the LORD Thy God. This warning is a Promise from the LORD and is very encouraging to those who obey! Those who allow God's will to rule their life . . . His favor shall give them peace! God was displeased with disobedience . . . then and now! Dear one, we today, understand the Gospel as little as the Jews then, understood the Law, if we think that the Sacrifice of Christ lessens our obligation to obey.
God Threatens Vengeance (Jer.7:29-34)
Jer. 7:29 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. (KJV)
Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem . . . to cut off hair was a symbol of sorrow among the Jews (Job 1:20; Isa.15:2; Mic.1:16). This speaks Jerusalem's mournful condition in her captivity.
And cast it away . . . it is not to be reserved, but to be cast away, as a thing good for nothing. This may agree with the church's lamentation (Lam.5:16); for it is not to be as a token of repentance, but as a threat of judgment.
And take up a lamentation on high places . . . lift up thy voice on high in lamentation (Jer.3:21), because when they had their eye or thoughts on the high places where they went a whoring from God . . . for which they would now go into captivity.
For the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath . . . he LORD’S overflowing wrath was caused by their provocations (Jer.7:18, 20), a generation destined to the wrath of God, called elsewhere the people of My curse (Isa.34:5), and the apostle Paul calls vessels of wrath (Rom.9:22).
Jer. 7:30 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. (KJV)
For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD . . either Judah's posterity (Josh.14:6), or Judah's inhabitants, which are often called their children (Jer. 2:1-37; 16:1-21). In my sight . . . even though they do not see their sin, God sees it, and they shall know that it is in His sight, and that it greatly angers Him.
They have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it . . . here He states one of their worst abominations, which had made them grow to a great height of wickedness. It was bad enough to have their idols and fallacies all over the hills and groves, and in private in their own houses (Isa.57:6-8; Jer.19:13); but now they brought them into God's House, as Manasseh did (2 Ki.21:4) . . . God had only one House in the world (2 Chron.36:14; Jer.32:31; Eze.43:8).
Jer.7:31 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. (KJV)
And they have built the high places of Tophet . . . high places of Tophet (Isa.30:33). Tophet comes from Toph, which means a drum, because they beat drums to obstruct the noise of their children's terrifying screams, when they burned them in sacrifice upon the altars to Moloch (Amos 5:26; Acts 7:43), called here, high places,
Which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom . . . Tophet was located in a pleasant valley near Jerusalem, a place in possessed by the children of one Hinnom (Josh.15:8).
To burn their sons and their daughters in the fire . . . this was a most inhuman practice of burning their children to Moloch, not only their sons, but also their daughters. They did this specifically against the command and warning of God (Deut.18:10); having learned it from the heathen (Deut.12:30-31). They imitated the Samaritans where those of every nation made gods of their own (2 Ki. 17:29-31).
Which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart . . . they were always so far from God’s approval, and what they did was deeply hated by God’s Heart (Jer.3:16; 32:35). In today’s world, it is abortion that is hated by Almighty God!
*****Tophet, in the valley of the son of Hinnom . . . was the place in that valley where the continual fires were kept up, in and through which they sacrificed their children to Moloch. In today’s world, people are still sacrificing their children to Moloch. BEWARE!!!
Jer.7:32 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. (KJV)
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD . . . listen to what He says.
That it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom . . . the meaning is, they shall get a name from another occasion, that shall suit them as well, for the great slaughter that shall be made there, in and about Jerusalem, and therefore called the valley of slaughter, coming from the result of slaughter; as Judas's field was called Aceldama (Acts 1:19), being a place to bury the slain, as the next words show.
For they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place . . . the massacre shall be so great upon that spot by the Chaldeans, that they shall bury as many as the place will hold, and the rest of the bodies shall be thrown in heaps above ground to rot . . . for to lie unburied is often considered a curse on such. To bury the dead is considered sacred, and a important symbol of the resurrection: but to those that are slain in and about Jerusalem, at the siege and taking of it, shall be carried to Tophet to be buried, because there shall be no burying-places left around Jerusalem, or that valley shall be filled until there is no place for more. It shall be so polluted, that no thoughts of holiness may remain in it; for a dead carcass under the law was unclean; and that which before was a valley of pleasure and great delight, and they had dedicated to God, shall now be a valley of slaughter.
*****The valley of slaughter . . . the place where the slaughtered thousands of this rebellious people shall be cast, to either be burned, or to become food for the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air (Jer.7:33; Eze.39:4, 18-20; Rev.19:17-19). These words are repeated, and their meaning much better explained in: Jer. 19:6-15 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter. 7 And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives: and their carcases will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth. 8 And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof. 9 And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them. 10 Then shalt thou break the bottle in the sight of the men that go with thee, 11 And shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again: and they shall bury them in Tophet, till there be no place to bury. 12 Thus will I do unto this place, saith the LORD, and to the inhabitants thereof, and even make this city as Tophet: 13 And the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, shall be defiled as the place of Tophet, because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink offerings unto other gods. 14 Then came Jeremiah from Tophet, whither the LORD had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of the LORD'S house; and said to all the people, 15 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words. (KJV)
Jer. 7:33 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. (KJV)
And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven . . . The birds of prey shall feed on them, being exposed in open view for lack of burial (Jer.19:7).
And for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away . . . none shall scare the animals away, because of the enemy's presence (Deut.28:26).
Jer.7:34 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. (KJV)
Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth . . . all kinds and degrees of laughter shall cease (Rev.18:22-23), all places shall be filled with lamentations and woe; their singing shall be turned into crying; all comfort and peace shall be gone, which is to be understood here.
The voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate . . . for the land shall be desolate; there shall be such an utter devastation that there shall be no season or place for these things (Isa.64:10-11; Jer.25:10). Marrying shall cease, without which mankind cannot subsist, there shall be utter desolation.
*****Symbolic of sorrow and of slavery, Jerusalem would be degraded and separated from God, as she had separated herself from Him. Such horrible sins as they committed required a horrible punishment. The heart is the place where God has chosen to put His Name; but IF sin has the uppermost place there, we pollute the Temple of the LORD (Rom.12:1; 2 Cor.3:16-17; 6:15). The destruction of Jerusalem appears to be terrible. Those killed shall be many; they having made it the place of their sin. Evil follows sinners, even after death (Rev.20:15). Those who will not, by the grace of God be cured of vain entertainment, shall, by the justice of God, be deprived of all joy and peace. There are millions that ruin their health and property when they give in to Satan's temptations and forget about God completely. May we all learn to enjoy good, moral joys, and stay away from all that would be in disobedience to God. Even though many things are lawful, they could well bring down the God’s wrath on you. BEWARE!!! Such horrible sins as they committed demanded a horrible punishment from God. And dear one, those sins had to be horrible, when they move God to destroy the work of His own Hands. There is most definitely a lesson here for us today. Please consider this.
Book of Jeremiah
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