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Jeremiah 26:1-3

Context
Jeremiah Is Put on Trial as a False Prophet 1 

26:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah 2  at the beginning of the reign 3  of Josiah’s son, King Jehoiakim of Judah. 26:2 The Lord said, “Go stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple. 4  Speak out to all the people who are coming from the towns of Judah to worship in the Lord’s temple. Tell them everything I command you to tell them. Do not leave out a single word! 26:3 Maybe they will pay attention and each of them will stop living the evil way they do. 5  If they do that, then I will forgo destroying them 6  as I had intended to do because of the wicked things they have been doing. 7 

Jeremiah 7:1-15

Context
Faulty Religion and Unethical Behavior Will Lead to Judgment

7:1 The Lord said to Jeremiah: 8  7:2 “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s temple and proclaim 9  this message: ‘Listen, all you people of Judah who have passed through these gates to worship the Lord. 10  Hear what the Lord has to say. 7:3 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 11  says: Change the way you have been living and do what is right. 12  If you do, I will allow you to continue to live in this land. 13  7:4 Stop putting your confidence in the false belief that says, 14  “We are safe! 15  The temple of the Lord is here! The temple of the Lord is here! The temple of the Lord is here!” 16  7:5 You must change 17  the way you have been living and do what is right. You must treat one another fairly. 18  7:6 Stop oppressing foreigners who live in your land, children who have lost their fathers, and women who have lost their husbands. 19  Stop killing innocent people 20  in this land. Stop paying allegiance to 21  other gods. That will only bring about your ruin. 22  7:7 If you stop doing these things, 23  I will allow you to continue to live in this land 24  which I gave to your ancestors as a lasting possession. 25 

7:8 “‘But just look at you! 26  You are putting your confidence in a false belief 27  that will not deliver you. 28  7:9 You steal. 29  You murder. You commit adultery. You lie when you swear on oath. You sacrifice to the god Baal. You pay allegiance to 30  other gods whom you have not previously known. 7:10 Then you come and stand in my presence in this temple I have claimed as my own 31  and say, “We are safe!” You think you are so safe that you go on doing all those hateful sins! 32  7:11 Do you think this temple I have claimed as my own 33  is to be a hideout for robbers? 34  You had better take note! 35  I have seen for myself what you have done! says the Lord. 7:12 So, go to the place in Shiloh where I allowed myself to be worshiped 36  in the early days. See what I did to it 37  because of the wicked things my people Israel did. 7:13 You also have done all these things, says the Lord, and I have spoken to you over and over again. 38  But you have not listened! You have refused to respond when I called you to repent! 39  7:14 So I will destroy this temple which I have claimed as my own, 40  this temple that you are trusting to protect you. I will destroy this place that I gave to you and your ancestors, 41  just like I destroyed Shiloh. 42  7:15 And I will drive you out of my sight just like I drove out your relatives, the people of Israel.’” 43 

1 sn Beginning with Jer 26 up to Jer 45 the book narrates in third person style incidents in the life of Jeremiah and prophecies (or sermons) he gave in obedience to the Lord’s commands. Baruch is the probable narrator, passing on information gleaned from Jeremiah himself. (See Jer 36:4, 18, 32; 45:1 and also 32:13-14 where it is clear that Baruch is Jeremiah’s scribe or secretary.) Chapters 26-29 contain narratives concerning reactions to Jeremiah’s prophecies and his conflict with the prophets who were prophesying that things would be all right (see, e.g., 14:14-15; 23:21).

2 tn The words “to Jeremiah” are not in the Hebrew text. They are added by the Old Latin (not the Vulgate) and the Syriac versions. They are implicit, however, to the narrative style which speaks of Jeremiah in the third person (cf. vv. 7, 12). They have been supplied in the translation for clarity.

3 tn It is often thought that the term here is equivalent to a technical term in Akkadian (reshsharruti) which refers to the part of the year remaining from the death or deposing of the previous king until the beginning of the calendar year when the new king officially ascended the throne. In this case it would refer to the part of the year between September, 609 b.c. when Jehoiakim was placed on the throne as a puppet king by Pharaoh Necho (2 Kgs 23:34-35) and April, 608 b.c. when he would have been officially celebrated as king. However, it will be suggested below in conjunction with the textual problems in 27:1 and 28:1 that the term does not necessarily refer to this period.

4 sn It is generally agreed that the incident recorded in this chapter relates to the temple message that Jeremiah gave in 7:1-15. The message there is summarized here in vv. 3-6. The primary interest here is in the response to that message.

5 tn Heb “will turn from his wicked way.”

6 tn For the idiom and translation of terms involved here see 18:8 and the translator’s note there.

sn The Lord is being consistent in the application of the principle laid down in Jer 18:7-8 that reformation of character will result in the withdrawal of the punishment of “uprooting, tearing down, destroying.” His prophecies of doom are conditional threats, open to change with change in behavior.

7 tn Heb “because of the wickedness of their deeds.”

8 tn Heb “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord.”

9 tn Heb “Proclaim there…” The adverb is unnecessary in English style.

10 sn That is, all those who have passed through the gates of the outer court and are standing in the courtyard of the temple.

11 tn Heb “Yahweh of armies, the God Israel.”

sn Compare the use of similar titles in 2:19; 5:14; 6:6 and see the explanation in the study note at 2:19. In this instance the title appears to emphasize the Lord as the heavenly King who drags his disobedient vassals into court (and threatens them with judgment).

12 tn Or “Make good your ways and your actions.” J. Bright’s translation (“Reform the whole pattern of your conduct”; Jeremiah [AB], 52) is excellent.

13 tn Heb “place” but this might be misunderstood to refer to the temple.

14 tn Heb “Stop trusting in lying words which say.”

15 tn The words “We are safe!” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation for clarity.

16 tn Heb “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these (i.e., these buildings).” Elsewhere triple repetition seems to mark a kind of emphasis (cf. Isa 6:3; Jer 22:29; Ezek 21:27 [32 HT]). The triple repetition that follows seems to be Jeremiah’s way of mocking the (false) sense of security that people had in the invincibility of Jerusalem because God dwelt in the temple. They appeared to be treating the temple as some kind of magical charm. A similar feeling had grown up around the ark in the time of the judges (cf. 1 Sam 3:3) and the temple and city of Jerusalem in Micah’s day (cf. Mic 3:11). It is reflected also in some of the Psalms (cf., e.g., Ps 46, especially v. 5).

17 tn The infinitive absolute precedes the finite verb for emphasis.

18 tn Heb “you must do justice between a person and his fellow/neighbor.” The infinitive absolute precedes the finite verb for emphasis.

19 tn Heb “Stop oppressing foreigner, orphan, and widow.”

20 tn Heb “Stop shedding innocent blood.”

21 tn Heb “going/following after.” See the translator’s note at 2:5 for an explanation of the idiom involved here.

22 tn Heb “going after other gods to your ruin.”

23 tn The translation uses imperatives in vv. 5-6 followed by the phrase, “If you do all this,” to avoid the long and complex sentence structure of the Hebrew sentence which has a series of conditional clauses in vv. 5-6 followed by a main clause in v. 7.

24 tn Heb “live in this place, in this land.”

25 tn Heb “gave to your fathers [with reference to] from ancient times even unto forever.”

26 tn Heb “Behold!”

27 tn Heb “You are trusting in lying words.” See the similar phrase in v. 4 and the note there.

28 tn Heb “not profit [you].”

29 tn Heb “Will you steal…then say, ‘We are safe’?” Verses 9-10 are one long sentence in the Hebrew text.

30 tn Heb “You go/follow after.” See the translator’s note at 2:5 for an explanation of the idiom involved here.

31 tn Heb “over which my name is called.” For this nuance of this idiom cf. BDB 896 s.v. קָרָא Niph.2.d(4) and see the usage in 2 Sam 12:28.

32 tn Or “‘We are safe!’ – safe, you think, to go on doing all those hateful things.” Verses 9-10 are all one long sentence in the Hebrew text. It has been broken up for English stylistic reasons. Somewhat literally it reads “Will you steal…then come and stand…and say, ‘We are safe’ so as to/in order to do…” The Hebrew of v. 9 has a series of infinitives which emphasize the bare action of the verb without the idea of time or agent. The effect is to place a kind of staccato like emphasis on the multitude of their sins all of which are violations of one of the Ten Commandments. The final clause in v. 8 expresses purpose or result (probably result) through another infinitive. This long sentence is introduced by a marker (ה interrogative in Hebrew) introducing a rhetorical question in which God expresses his incredulity that they could do these sins, come into the temple and claim the safety of his protection, and then go right back out and commit the same sins. J. Bright (Jeremiah [AB], 52) catches the force nicely: “What? You think you can steal, murder…and then come and stand…and say, ‘We are safe…’ just so that you can go right on…”

33 tn Heb “over which my name is called.” For this nuance of this idiom cf. BDB 896 s.v. קָרָא Niph.2.d(4) and see the usage in 2 Sam 12:28.

34 tn Heb “Is this house…a den/cave of robbers in your eyes?”

35 tn Heb “Behold!”

36 tn Heb “where I caused my name to dwell.” The translation does not adequately represent the theology of the Lord’s deliberate identification with a place where he chose to manifest his presence and desired to be worshiped (cf. Exod 20:25; Deut 16:2, 6, 11).

37 sn The place in Shiloh…see what I did to it. This refers to the destruction of Shiloh by the Philistines circa 1050 b.c. (cf. Ps 78:60). The destruction of Shiloh is pertinent to the argument. The presence of the tabernacle and ark of the covenant did not prevent Shiloh from being destroyed when Israel sinned. The people of Israel used the ark as a magic charm but it did not prevent them from being defeated or the ark being captured (1 Sam 4:3, 11, 21-22).

38 tn This reflects a Hebrew idiom (e.g., 7:25; 11:7; 25:3, 4), i.e., an infinitive of a verb meaning “to do something early [or eagerly]” followed by an infinitive of another verb of action. Cf. HALOT 1384 s.v. שָׁכַם Hiph.2.

39 tn Heb “I called to you and you did not answer.” The words “to repent” are not in the text but are supplied in the translation for clarity.

40 tn Heb “over which my name is called.” For this nuance of this idiom cf. BDB 896 s.v. קָרָא Niph.2.d(4) and see the usage in 2 Sam 12:28.

41 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 22, 25, 26).

42 tn Heb “I will do to this house which I…in which you put…and to this place which…as I did to Shiloh.”

43 tn Heb “the descendants of Ephraim.” However, Ephraim here stands (as it often does) for all the northern tribes of Israel.



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