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Jeremiah 7:21-23

Context

7:21 The Lord said to the people of Judah, 1  “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 2  says: ‘You might as well go ahead and add the meat of your burnt offerings to that of the other sacrifices and eat it, too! 3  7:22 Consider this: 4  When I spoke to your ancestors after I brought them out of Egypt, I did not merely give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices. 7:23 I also explicitly commanded them: 5  “Obey me. If you do, I 6  will be your God and you will be my people. Live exactly the way I tell you 7  and things will go well with you.”

1 tn The words “The Lord said to the people of Judah” are not in the text but are implicit in the shift in addressee between vv. 16-20 and vv. 21-26.

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

sn See the study notes on 2:19 and 7:3.

3 tn Heb “Add your burnt offerings to your [other] sacrifices and eat the meat!” See the following sn for explanation. This is an example of the rhetorical use of the imperative for a sarcastic challenge. Cf. GKC 324 §110.a; cf. Amos 4:4, “Go to Bethel and sin!”

sn All of the burnt offering, including the meat, was to be consumed on the altar (e.g., Lev 1:6-9). The meat of the other sacrifices could be eaten by the priest who offered the sacrifice and the person who brought it (e.g., Lev 7:16-18, 32). Since, however, the people of Judah were making a mockery of the sacrificial system by offering sacrifices while disobeying the law, the Lord rejected the sacrifices (cf. 6:20). Since they were violating the moral law they might as well go ahead and violate the cultic law by eating the meat dedicated to God because he rejected it anyway.

4 tn Heb “For” but this introduces a long explanation about the relative importance of sacrifice and obedience.

5 tn Verses 22-23a read in Hebrew, “I did not speak with your ancestors and I did not command them when I brought them out of Egypt about words/matters concerning burnt offering and sacrifice, but I commanded them this word:” Some modern commentators have explained this passage as an evidence for the lateness of the Pentateuchal instruction regarding sacrifice or a denial that sacrifice was practiced during the period of the wilderness wandering. However, it is better explained as an example of what R. de Vaux calls a dialectical negative, i.e., “not so much this as that” or “not this without that” (Ancient Israel, 454-56). For other examples of this same argument see Isa 1:10-17; Hos 6:4-6; Amos 5:21-25.

6 tn Heb “Obey me and I will be.” The translation is equivalent syntactically but brings out the emphasis in the command.

7 tn Heb “Walk in all the way that I command you.”



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