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lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away. Reprobate silver shall 30 men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them.
Chaps. VII.—X. Address delivered by Jeremiah at the gate of the Temple.
Chap. VII. 1—7. Safety lies not in ceremonial excellence, but in moral uprightness.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 7
that through the long continued effort to find something not dross in the nation, not only the lead but also the bellows were consumed.
the lead is consumed of the fire] There is an alternative rendering arising from various readings in the Hebrew, viz. ;—from their fire lead only; i. e. no trace of anything more valuable appears to reward the long assay.
30. Reprobate...rejected] There is a play on the words in the Hebrew. Refuse—refused.
Chaps. VII.—X. Address Delivered By Jeremiah At The
GATE OF THE TEMPLE.
Chap. VII. 1—7. Safety Lies Not In Ceremonial Excellence,
BUT iN MORAL UPRiGHTNESS.
The chief question to be answered in regard to these chapters as a whole is the date to which they are to be referred, whether to the reign of (i) Josiah or (ii) Jehoiakim. In seeking to determine this, we must at once take into consideration chap. xxvi., whose opening verses have a marked resemblance to these, and which is expressly stated (ver. 1) to have been delivered in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim. If the prophecy of that chapter therefore be merely a summarised form of that which is contained in these, no more is to be said. In favour of that later date also is urged that (a) Jeremiah seems to be now dwelling not at Anathoth but at Jerusalem, since he is told not as in (ii. 2) to * Go and cry," &c. but simply (vii. 2) to "stand in the gate of the Lord's house," &c.; (b) idolatry is represented as practised openly in the streets of Jerusalem (vii. 17) and in the Temple itself (vii. 30); (c) children are burned in the valley of Tophet in honour of Moloch (vii. 31). In favour of the earlier date it may be said that (a) these chapters are closely connected with those which precede them and which confessedly belong to the time of Josiah; (b) the agreement of chap. vii. and chap. xxvi. is by no means such as to warrant us in the belief that they are merely a full and an abbreviated report respectively of the same discourse, especially when we remember the frequency with which Jeremiah is wont to repeat himself; (c) the circumstances which immediately followed upon the threat that Jerusalem should become as Shiloh (given in chap. xxvi. 8, &c.) by no means accord with the long prophecy
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.
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
4 this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple
contained in the remainder of these chapters. The last argument seems of considerable weight. Perhaps the best conjecture on a subject which must always involve some uncertainty is that the discourse (which may well be the summary of several) belongs to the later period of Josiah's reign. Thirteen years intervened between the completion of his measures of reformation and his death. Probably towards the end of this period matters were changing rapidly for the worse, and the enmity of individuals against Jeremiah (a marked feature of the time of Jehoiakim and Zedekiah) was becoming already prominent.
The discourse has three natural divisions: (a) vii. 1—viii. 3, Rebuke for shameless idolatry and pollution of the very Temple; (i) viii. 4—ix. 22, Announcement of punishment that shall come on the people for their sin; (c) ix. 23—x. 25, Reasoning with the people on the folly of idolatry and exhortation to follow the true and only God.
2. the gate of the Lord's house] The scantiness of our knowledge as to the details of the Temple courts hinders us from going beyond a conjecture as to Jeremiah's exact position. In Herod's Temple there were seven gates connecting the inner with the outer court, viz. three on the north, three on the south, and one on the east. If this represented the state of things in Solomon's Temple, Jeremiah would probably have stood at one of these looking down upon the people who were assembled in the outer court prepared to pass in. It may have been "the new gate," that at the entry of which Baruch read the roll (xxxvi. 10) in the adjoining chamber of Gemariah in the inner (Eng. Version, "higher") court.
all ye ofJudah] all Judah. The occasion was in all probability one of the three great annual feasts or other solemn gatherings. If this discourse were spoken on such an occasion towards the end of Josiah's reign, we can easily understand- how a repetition of the first part of it (chap. xxvi.) on a recurrence of the circumstances at the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim might provoke the attack upon the prophet which immediately followed.
3. The thought is the same as that of Deut. vii. 12—15, one of the many passages of that book which influenced the language of Jeremiah.
your ways and your doings] a favourite combination with Jeremiah (compare ver. 5, iv. 18, xviii. 11, xxvi. 13, xxxv. 15), and in a less degree with Ezekiel (xiv. 22, 23, xx. 43, xxxvi. 17), see also Zech. i. 4, 6. Ways will mean rather the settled habits, doings the separate acts which go to form them.
4. lying words] those of the false prophets, who maintained that of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these. For if you throughly amend your ways and 5 your doings; if you throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; if ye oppress not the stranger, the 6 fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: then 7 will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.
8—20. Shiloh's sanctity was no protection to it, neither shall Jerusalem or its Temple save those who openly disown their God.
Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will 9
the possession of the Temple was enough. God would never suffer it to be overthrown, and thus its presence would be a kind of charm that would protect Jerusalem and its inhabitants.
The temple of the Lord] The threefold repetition is for the sake of emphasis. Compare xxii. 29 j Is. vi. 3. In this particular case however it further suggests "the energy of iteration that only belongs to Eastern fanatics " (Stanley's Jewish Church, ii. 438), and may be compared with the cry of the priests of Baal on Carmel, who "called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us" (1 Kings xviii. 26), "as the Mussulman Dervishes work themselves into a frenzy by the invocation of 'Allah, Allah I' until the words themselves are lost in inarticulate gasps " (Stanley, ii. 254).
these] the buildings of the Temple, to which Jeremiah would doubtless point his finger, as he spoke.
6. If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow] The Mosaic Law was strong in its denunciation of such conduct; Exod. xxii. 21, &c.; Deut. xxiv. 17, &c.
shed not innocent blood] by oppression, by judicial murders, e.g. that of Urijah by Jehoiakim (chap. xxvi. 23), which may be among those here referred to, although it had probably not yet taken place.
in this place] in Jerusalem, as shewn in ver. 7.
to your hurt] These words belong to the whole of the verse.
7. The land was given them, conditionally on their observing their part of the covenant, as "an everlasting possession" (Gen. xvii. 8). The last words of the verse however, if we follow the arrangement of the Hebrew stops, belong, not to "gave," but to "dwell in."
8—20. Shiloh's Sanctity Was No Protection To It, Neither Shall Jerusalem Or Its Temple Save Those Who Openly Disown Their God.
8. that cannot profit] Or perhaps, so that ye profit not.
ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods
10 whom ye know not; and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are de
11 livered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your
12 eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord. 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 wicked
13 ness of my people Israel. And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spake unto you,
9. Will ye steaT\ Stealing, &c. All the verbs are in the infinitive in the original, a mood which is used when the object is to present the action itself in the strongest light. See the like usage in xxxii. 33; Is. xxi. 5. The prophet follows an order almost the exact converse of that in the Decalogue, to '' walk after other gods" being a breach of the first commandment, and the words "whom ye know not" an allusion to the words introductory to the whole in Exodus xx., "I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage."
10. We are delivered] We are by the discharge of this religious formality set free for a return to wickedness. That this is the sense of the Hebrew words, according to Jeremiah's use of them, is abundantly shewn by Graf in his notes on this passage.
11. den of robbers] a place of retreat in the intervals between acts of violence. This verse is alluded to (in connexion with Is. lvi. 7) in Matt, xxi. 13, and the parallel passages (Mark xi. 17 and Luke xix. 46).
12. Shiloh] A town of Ephraim and in a central position in the land. For this reason doubtless among others it was chosen by Joshua as the resting place of the ark and tabernacle. It was a considerable town in the time of the judges (Judg. xx. 47- compared with xxi. 17, 19, 23). It fell into grievous idolatry (Ps. lxxviii. 58, &c.), and hence its fate, viz. loss of the ark in the last days of Eli (1 Sam. iv.) and capture with attendant cruelties on the part of the Philistines. It thenceforward was a place of utter insignificance. Jeroboam passed it by when setting up calves for his worship. In Jeremiah's time it existed as a small village "(chap. xli. 5). St Jerome (Comm. on Zeph. i. 14) remarks, "At Silo, where once was the tabernacle and ark of the Lord, there can scarcely be pointed out the foundation of an altar." It is the modern village of Scilun, about half way between Jerusalem and Nablous. "A Tell, or moderate hill, rises from an uneven plain, surrounded by other higher hills, except a narrow valley on the south, which hill would naturally be chosen as the principal site of the town. The tabernacle may have been pitched on this eminence, where it would be a conspicuous object on every side. The ruins found there at present are very inconsiderable." Sm. Biol. Diet. Art. Shiloh.
rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; therefore will I do unto 14 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. And I will cast you out of my is sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. Therefore pray not thou for this people, 16 neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee. Seest thou not 17 what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers 18 kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offer
13. rising up early and speaking] This phrase either as here or with slight variations is frequent with Jeremiah (ver. 25, xi. 7, xxv. 3, 4, xxvi. 5, xxix. 19, xxxii. 33, xxxv. 14, 15, xliv. 4), while not occurring elsewhere.
14. unto this house] to the Temple and its precincts where Jeremiah and his hearers were standing. This had been the fate not of the Tabernacle only but of the buildings adjacent. That there were such we see from the history in 1 Sam. i—iii.
15. all your brethren] Not only Shiloh, but the whole northern kingdom was an illustration of the consequences of unfaithfulness.
Ephraim] stands for the whole of the northern tribes, as being the leading one amongst them : so in Is. vii. 2, and often elsewhere.
16. pray not thou] Another way of shewing the people to what a pitch their wickedness had come. So in chap. xiv. 7, &c. when Jeremiah does intercede, the prayer is refused (ver. 11), and in chap. xv. 1 even the intercession of Moses and Samuel it is declared would be of no avail, although earlier in the history, and therefore before they had become utterly depraved, Moses had more than once interceded with success (Numb. xi. 2, xiv. 19, xvi. 22).
17. The Lord reminds the prophet of facts, which prevent prayer from being any longer listened to on behalf of the people.
18. Both sexes and all ages unite in the public dishonouring of God's name by shameless idolatries.
cakes] The Hebrew word has a foreign appearance, as though the things signified were introduced from without, like the form of idolatry of which they made a part. Bread mixed with oil or roasted herbs (Suidas), cakes containing pine-seeds and raisins (Theodoret), malted grain, a species of confection called in Egypt Neideh (De Sacy), are three of the opinions as to their nature. "These cakes were probably like those which were offered in Athens at the full moon in the middle of the month Munychion to Artemis as the moon goddess; they were shaped like the full moon and had lights stuck in them." Graf.
the queen of heaven] If we take the Heb. reading from which the