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Jeremiah 7:22-24

Context
7:22 Consider this: 1  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: 2  “Obey me. If you do, I 3  will be your God and you will be my people. Live exactly the way I tell you 4  and things will go well with you.” 7:24 But they did not listen to me or pay any attention to me. They followed the stubborn inclinations of their own wicked hearts. They acted worse and worse instead of better. 5 

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

2 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.

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

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

5 tn Or “They went backward and not forward”; Heb “They were to the backward and not to the forward.” The two phrases used here appear nowhere else in the Bible and the latter preposition plus adverb elsewhere is used temporally meaning “formerly” or “previously.” The translation follows the proposal of J. Bright, Jeremiah (AB), 57. Another option is “they turned their backs to me, not their faces,” understanding the line as a variant of a line in 2:27.



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