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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Jeremiah 8

Verses 1-3

JEREMIAH - CHAPTER 8

THE PUNISHMENT

OF A BACKSLIDING PEOPLE

Vs. 1-3: THE AWFUL PUNISHMENT OF ASTRAL WORSHIP

1. In Judah’s desolation the bones of her kings, nobles, prophets, priests, and the citizens of Jerusalem, will be exhumed and, with insult and contempt, spread out before the sun, moon and all the starry hosts.

2. Though Judah has loved, worshipped, followed, consulted, and done obeisance before these astral bodies, they, in turn, look down with cold unconcern upon the desecration of her graves.

3. Their bones will not be buried again, but will be left to decay under the sun - fertilizing the soil which they desecrated by their abominable practices.

4. Those, of this evil family, who are driven to some foreign land, and permitted to live, will come to prefer death to life; they cannot escape the wretched consequences of their SIN!

Verses 4-7

Vs. 4-7: JUDAH’S PERPETUAL BACKSLIDING CONTRARY TO NATURE

1. It is the normal, and natural, thing for a person who falls to "get up," (vs. 4; Proverbs 24:16; comp. Amos 5:2; Micah 7:8-9).

2. The Lord asks why Judah perpetually backslides (Jeremiah 5:6; Jeremiah 7:24) -holding fast to deception (Jeremiah 5:27; Jeremiah 9:6), and refusing to return to the right path.

3. Carefully observing their words and actions (Psalms 14:2; Malachi 2:10), the Lord found that no one spoke as he ought, or repented of his wickedness, (Ezekiel 22:30; Micah 7:2; comp. Revelation 9:20).

4. No one, conscious of the penalty of his terrible rebellion, stopped to exclaim: "What Have I DONE?"

5. Rather, all continue on the path of ruin - like a horse rushing madly into battle, (Job 39:21-25).

6. The people of God do not have the sense of migratory birds who, instinctively, obey the laws governing their existence, (Proverbs 6:6­8; Isaiah 1:3; Song of Solomon 2:12); they know not the law of the LORD, (vs. 7b; Jeremiah 5:4-5).

Verses 8-12

1. How can Judah boast that she is wise? or that the law of the Lord is with her? when the pen of her scribes has so perverted the law?

2. Her wise men are shamed, dismayed, trapped, (vs. 9a). It is a spurious wisdom that is claimed by anyone who has rejected the word of the Lord, (vs. 9b; Psalms 111:10; Proverbs 9:10).

3. Because of their infidelity to the truth, Judah’s wise men will lose ALL - their wives and fields being taken from them and given to conquerors.

a. From the least to the greatest of them, they have all been greedy for material gain.

b. Prophet and priest have not hesitated to deal deceitfully! 4. Jeremiah likens the religious leaders of Judah to quack physicians who brainwashed her people - assuring them of PEACE, when peace was not to be theirs! (vs. 10, 11, comp. Jeremiah 6:14) Nor were they ashamed of what they had done! (vs. 12a; comp. Jeremiah 6:15).

5. Thus, prophet and priest will fall alongside those whom their lies have deceived! (vs. 12b; Jeremiah 6:21; comp. Isaiah 9:14-16; Hosea 4:6-10; Deuteronomy 32:35).

Verses 13-17

Vs. 13-17: THE NEARNESS OF THE AVENGER

1. The destruction of the state will be as complete as its apostasy has been, (vs. 13; Jeremiah 14:12; Ezekiel 22:19-22); the Lord has no practical use for such a perverted and unfruitful instrument as Judah has become, (comp. Jeremiah 5:17; Isaiah 5:1-7; Mark 11:12-14; John 15:2; Luke 12:47 -­48; Matthew 13:10-15).

2. In one of the few responses of Judah to the prophet’s message, the people, without seeking God’s face, declare what they WILL DO! (vs. 14-15).

a. They decide to flee to their fortified cities and there await whatever is to befall them, (vs. 14; Jeremiah 35:17); in the gall of bitterness, they blame God for giving them a poisonous drink because He has arbitrarily marked them for doom, (comp. La 3:5, 19).

b. Though acknowledging that they have sinned, there is not the slightest evidence of REPENTANCE; there is disappointment, frustration and despair, but NOT REPENTANCE! (vs. 15, 11).

3. As already mentioned (Jeremiah 4:15) the enemy approaches from Dan; Judah already trembles because of the entry of his horses and the neighing of his strong ones; the prophet sees the whole land as being devoured before them, (vs. 16).

4. The Lord is sending stinging serpents among His people -adders that will not be charmed, (vs. 17).

a. God provided an antidote for their ancient fathers who were bitten by poisonous snakes in the wilderness, (Numbers 21:6-9).

b. But, these snakes symbolize an attacking army that will not be placated! (comp. Psalms 58:4-5).

Verses 18-22

Vs. 18-23: GRIEVED FOR THE HURT OF HIS PEOPLE

1. Like Isaiah before him, Jeremiah is deeply distressed by the plight of his people, (vs. 18-19; Isaiah 22:4; comp. La 1:16-17); his heart is faint and uncomforted, (23:9-12; La 5:15-18).

a. He hears the anguished cries of his people under the oppression of a far-off people, (vs. 19a; comp. Jeremiah 4:16; Jeremiah 9:16; Isaiah 39:3-7).

b. In his distress the prophet, in essence, inquires: "is the Lord no longer In Zion? Has her king DESERTED HER?" (vs. 19b; comp. Jeremiah 14:7-9).

2. The Lord Himself appears to respond, (vs. 19c): "Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven Images?"

3. It is a cry of helplessness, hopelessness and despair that is heard in verse 20: "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and WE ARE NOT saved!" (comp. Jeremiah 14:1-5).

4. The deep sorrow of the prophet’s heart is quite transparent in verse 21; for the heart of Judah he mourns and is dismayed.

5. What one observes in verse 22 and Jeremiah 9:1 is Jeremiah’s deep bereavement for the slain of Judah.

a. It is as if he cries: "O God, where ARE you? Are you not the Great Physician? Why don’t you HEAL the hurt of this people?"

b. It is evident that Jeremiah does not quite understand God’s ways; but God is in the process of teaching him, (Galatians 6:7-8).

c. Having warned them, and patiently called them to repentance, the only thing left in God’s program is a final LOVING ACT OF JUDGMENT; nor is this a declaration of abandonment! It is, rather, a final, LOVING endeavor to restore Judah to the place where He can consistently and righteously bless her.

d. Though he does not fully understand, Jeremiah faithfully delivers God’s message of warning to a "disobedient and gainsaying people," (Romans 10:21). He will be true - though it is necessary for him to STAND ALONE!

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 8". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/jeremiah-8.html. 1985.