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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 7

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary


Jeremiah 7-10. A new section begins here, containing prophecies presumably uttered in the earlier years of Jehoiakim (608– 604), except Jeremiah 10:1-16 *.

Verses 1-15

Jeremiah 7:1-15 . The Temple Sermon.— The prophet is sent to the gate of the Temple, to rebuke the false confidence of Yahweh’ s worshippers in the possession of this block of buildings (“ these” , Jeremiah 7:4). Yahweh desires social justice ( Jeremiah 7:6), moral conduct ( Jeremiah 7:9), and wholehearted worship; otherwise the security inspired by the fact that the Temple belongs to Him ( Jeremiah 7:10, note mg.) is utterly baseless. Yahweh will not permit His Temple to become like some cave which shelters robbers ( Jeremiah 7:11; cf. Matthew 21:13), but will destroy it as He destroyed that of Shiloh, and will banish Judah as He banished the northern tribes (Ephraim) from His land. The confidence in the possession of the Temple which is here rebuked was a natural outcome of the reformation under Josiah (2 Kings 22 f.), which made it the only centre of worship; the remarkable deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib in 701 ( 2 Kings 19:35) had also contributed to the belief that the city was inviolable. The effect of the prophet’ s words in denouncing this sense of security is described in Jeremiah 26, which refers to the same occasion, i.e. soon after 608 B.C.

Jeremiah 7:6 . Stranger denotes the settled foreigner; cf. Deuteronomy 1:16, etc.

Jeremiah 7:12 . Shiloh: in Ephraim, with Eli as its priest (1 Samuel 1-3), and the Ark as its pride; it was probably destroyed by the Philistines after the victory described in 1 Samuel 4:10 ff.; cf. 1 Samuel 7:1 *, Psalms 78:60.

Jeremiah 7:15 . Omit the first “ all” , with LXX.

Verses 16-20

Jeremiah 7:16-20 . The Worship of Astarte.— The prophet is forbidden to intercede for a people who are even now worshipping other gods, to their own deserved ruin. The cult (p. 99) described in Jeremiah 7:18 (and more fully in Jeremiah 44:15-30) is that of Ashtoreth (Astarte), “ the queen of heaven” , i.e. the planet Venus, who was worshipped under the name of Ishtar by the Babylonians ( 1 Kings 11:5 *). A similar offering of cakes (p. 99) by women to the Virgin Mary, practised by an Arabian sect, is the continuation of this (EBi. col. 3993).

Jeremiah 7:18 . Cf. the drink-offering in the worship of Yahweh ( Numbers 15:5 ff.).— provoke to anger, here and elsewhere, should be “ vex.”

Verses 21-28

Jeremiah 7:21-28 . Obedience Necessary, not Sacrifice.— Yahweh scornfully tells these formal worshippers to eat even the burnt-offering (wholly offered to God), as well as the peace-offering (which was eaten by the worshippers, except the blood and portions of the fat); both are mere “ flesh,” without sacrificial value in the hands of the disobedient. In the desert days He asked for obedience, not sacrifice; but Israel has refused it, notwithstanding the continued ministry of the prophets, nor will Jeremiah’ s own message be heard.

Jeremiah 7:22 f. clearly show that the Pentateuch in its present form was not known to Jeremiah ( cf. Amos 5:25), for the Priestly Code lays the greatest stress on sacrifice as Divinely prescribed from the beginning.

Jeremiah 7:28. Read as both mgg.

Verses 29-34

Jeremiah 7:29 to Jeremiah 8:3 . Mourning for Judah’ s Dead.— Let Jerusalem mourn, and raise a dirge on the heights (where she sinned by her idolatry), because of the near approach of the punishment for the desecration of Yahweh’ s house, and for the offering of human sacrifice, which Yahweh never ordered. The land shall be full of corpses ( Jeremiah 7:32 mg.) , and all joy shall cease. The valley of Hinnom shall be renamed “ Slaughter” , and burials will have to be made even in the (unclean) Topheth. Even those who have died previously shall be dishonoured by exposure to the sun, moon, and stars, which they have worshipped, whilst the living shall wish themselves dead.

Jeremiah 7:29 . The hair was shorn, as a mourning custom; cf. Micah 1:16, Job 1:20.

Jeremiah 7:31 . the valley of the son of Hinnom: Heb. “ Gç -ben-Hinnom,” whence “ Gehenna” ( Mark 9:43 *); near Jerusalem, but exact site disputed. Recent excavations have shown the frequency of the sacrifice of children in Palestine, a practice which is condemned in Deuteronomy 18:10; it is probable that such sacrifices were offered to Yahweh as “ king” (Melek), i.e. that “ Molech” in this connexion is a title, rather than a proper name. For what is known of this Molech cult, see EBi, “ Molech,” and cf. Micah 6:7, Genesis 22:13, Exodus 13:13, Leviticus 8:21 *, 2 Kings 16:3; 2 Kings 21:6; 2 Kings 23:10, Deuteronomy 12:31, Jeremiah 19:5, Ezekiel 20:26.*— Topheth: 2 Kings 23:10; supposed to be the Aramaic word for “ fireplace” , revocalised to suggest “ bosheth” , i.e. “ shame” , a word sometimes substituted for “ Baal” ( 1 Samuel 14:47-51 *, 1 Kings 16:32 *)

Jeremiah 8:2 . the host of heaven: ( Genesis 2:1 *) as in Deuteronomy 4:19, etc., with reference to Assyrio-Babylonian star worship. The significance of this dishonourable treatment of the dead lies in the belief that the shades in Sheol suffer with their bodies; an enemy’ s ghost is still vulnerable through his corpse ( Job 14:22 *).

Jeremiah 8:3. Omit “ which remain” , with LXX and Syr.

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Jeremiah 7". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/jeremiah-7.html. 1919.
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