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FRAMEWORKS: Jeremiah 8: Ongoing warnings at the Temple


[Preliminary Comment: This chapter brings yet another chilling picture of the terrible spiritual state of Jerusalem and Judah and the destruction that will follow. As you read observe the spiritual blindness that clearly existed in the people and, like Jeremiah perhaps [in v.18-22] catch something of the awfulness of what is about to happen.]



v.1-3 A powerful condemnatory judgment of the end result

v.1  ‘“At that time, declares the Lord, the bones of the kings and officials of Judah, the bones of the priests and prophets, and the bones of the people of Jerusalem will be removed from their graves.

v.2  They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served and which they have followed and consulted and worshipped. They will not be gathered up or buried, but will be like dung lying on the ground.

v.3  Wherever I banish them, all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, declares the Lord Almighty.”

[Comment: The end result of the Lord's impending judgment is graphically displayed – even the graveyards of Jerusalem will be torn apart by what is coming.]



v.4,5 Why cannot Jerusalem get up and return to the Lord?

v.4  ‘Say to them, “This is what the Lord says:

‘“When people fall down, do they not get up?
    When someone turns away, do they not return?
v.5  Why then have these people turned away?
    Why does Jerusalem always turn away?


v.5b-7 The are incapable of letting go their unrighteousness
They cling to deceit;
    they refuse to return.
v.6  I have listened attentively,
    but they do not say what is right.
None of them repent of their wickedness,
    saying, ‘What have I done?'
Each pursues their own course
    like a horse charging into battle.
v.7  Even the stork in the sky
    knows her appointed seasons,
and the dove, the swift and the thrush
    observe the time of their migration.
But my people do not know
    the requirements of the Lord.


[Comment: You would think, looking at how people usually react to warnings, that this people would turn back to God but none of them do.]



v.8 You are deceived about your wisdom by you lying scribes

v.8  ‘“How can you say, ‘We are wise,
    for we have the law of the Lord,'
when actually the lying pen of the scribes
    has handled it falsely?

v.9 Rejecting God's word means you have no wisdom

v.9  The wise will be put to shame;
    they will be dismayed and trapped.
Since they have rejected the word of the Lord,
    what kind of wisdom do they have?
v.10  Therefore I will give their wives to other men
    and their fields to new owners.


[Comment: There is total deception within the hearts of this people who think they are so wise but even the scribes, who should know better, are ignorant of the spirit of God's Law and have thus led the people astray, and the result will be mayhem when the enemy army comes.]



v.10b-12 Your deceit will result in your downfall

From the least to the greatest,
    all are greedy for gain;
prophets and priests alike,
    all practise deceit.
v.11  They dress the wound of my people
    as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,' they say,
    when there is no peace.
v.12  Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
    No, they have no shame at all;
    they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
    they will be brought down when they are punished,
says the Lord.


[Comment: There is a repetition of an earlier condemnation [repeating 6:13-15] where deceit has led this people so astray they don't even know right from wrong. Thus judgment will come and they will fall.]



v.13 Your very land will be stripped by the enemy

v.13  ‘“I will take away their harvest,
declares the Lord.
    There will be no grapes on the vine.
There will be no figs on the tree,
    and their leaves will wither.
What I have given them
    will be taken from them.”'


v.14 Get to a place of so-called safety for the enemy comes

v.14  Why are we sitting here?
    Gather together!
Let us flee to the fortified cities
    and perish there!
For the Lord our God has doomed us to perish
    and given us poisoned water to drink,
    because we have sinned against him.

[Comment: The enemy is coming to strip the land so the one hoping to be a survivor should flee for a safe place – if such a place exists – because God will judge this people.]



v.15 Instead of peace you will only know terror

v.15  We hoped for peace
    but no good has come,
for a time of healing
    but there is only terror.

v.16 The sound of invasion is in the air

v.16  The snorting of the enemy's horses
    is heard from Dan;
at the neighing of their stallions
    the whole land trembles.
They have come to devour
    the land and everything in it,
    the city and all who live there.


v.17 The enemy troops will not be controlled or hypnotized by you

v.17  ‘See, I will send venomous snakes among you,
    vipers that cannot be charmed,
    and they will bite you,'
declares the Lord.


[Comment: There is no hope, peace will not be held onto for the sounds of war are in the air and the enemy, who cannot be held back, is coming to destroy.]



v.18-22 Jeremiah anguishes

v.18  You who are my Comforter in sorrow,
    my heart is faint within me.
v.19  Listen to the cry of my people
    from a land far away:
‘Is the Lord not in Zion?
    Is her King no longer there?'

‘Why have they aroused my anger with their images,
    with their worthless foreign idols?'

v.20  ‘The harvest is past,
    the summer has ended,
    and we are not saved.'

v.21  Since my people are crushed, I am crushed;
    I mourn, and horror grips me.
v.22  Is there no balm in Gilead?
    Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no healing
    for the wound of my people?


[Comment: It is one thing to receive and bring such a word as has come so far in this chapter, it is another to remain unmoved. The prophet anguishes over the reality of what he sees is coming.]



Continue to Chapter 9