Jeremiah 8:7
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
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.

New Living Translation
Even the stork that flies across the sky knows the time of her migration, as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane. They all return at the proper time each year. But not my people! They do not know the LORD's laws.

English Standard Version
Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the LORD.

New American Standard Bible
"Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush Observe the time of their migration; But My people do not know The ordinance of the LORD.

King James Bible
Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Even the stork in the sky knows her seasons. The turtledove, swallow, and crane are aware of their migration, but My people do not know the requirements of the LORD.

International Standard Version
Even the stork in the sky knows its seasons, and the dove, the swallow, and the crane observe the time for migration. But my people don't know the requirements of the LORD.

NET Bible
Even the stork knows when it is time to move on. The turtledove, swallow, and crane recognize the normal times for their migration. But my people pay no attention to what I, the LORD, require of them.

New Heart English Bible
Yes, the stork in the sky knows her appointed times; and the turtledove and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their coming; but my people do not know the LORD's law.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Even storks know when it's time to return. Mourning doves, swallows, and cranes know when it's time to migrate. But my people don't know that I, the LORD, am urging them to return.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Yea, the stork in the heaven Knoweth her appointed times; And the turtle and the swallow and the crane Observe the time of their coming; But My people know not The ordinance of the LORD.

New American Standard 1977
“Even the stork in the sky
            Knows her seasons;
            And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush
            Observe the time of their migration;
            But My people do not know
            The ordinance of the LORD.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Even the stork in the heaven knows her appointed time; and the turtle dove and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people did not know the judgment of the LORD.

King James 2000 Bible
Yea, the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times; and the turtledove and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the law of the LORD.

American King James Version
Yes, the stork in the heaven knows her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.

American Standard Version
Yea, the stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle-dove and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the law of Jehovah.

Douay-Rheims Bible
The kite in the air hath known her time: the turtle, and the swallow, and the stork have observed the time of their coming: but my people have not known the judgment of the Lord.

Darby Bible Translation
Even a stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed times, and the turtle-dove and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of Jehovah.

English Revised Version
Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the ordinance of the LORD.

Webster's Bible Translation
Yes, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.

World English Bible
Yes, the stork in the sky knows her appointed times; and the turtledove and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their coming; but my people don't know Yahweh's law.

Young's Literal Translation
Even a stork in the heavens hath known her seasons, And turtle, and swallow, and crane, Have watched the time of their coming, And -- My people have not known the judgment of Jehovah.
Study Bible
Judah's Sin and Punishment
6"I have listened and heard, They have spoken what is not right; No man repented of his wickedness, Saying, 'What have I done?' Everyone turned to his course, Like a horse charging into the battle. 7"Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush Observe the time of their migration; But My people do not know The ordinance of the LORD. 8"How can you say, 'We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us'? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie.…
Cross References
Proverbs 6:6
Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise,

Song of Solomon 2:12
The flowers have already appeared in the land; The time has arrived for pruning the vines, And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.

Isaiah 1:3
"An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master's manger, But Israel does not know, My people do not understand."

Isaiah 27:11
When its limbs are dry, they are broken off; Women come and make a fire with them, For they are not a people of discernment, Therefore their Maker will not have compassion on them. And their Creator will not be gracious to them.

Jeremiah 5:4
Then I said, "They are only the poor, They are foolish; For they do not know the way of the LORD Or the ordinance of their God.

Zechariah 5:9
Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and there two women were coming out with the wind in their wings; and they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heavens.
Treasury of Scripture

Yes, the stork in the heaven knows her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.

stork.

Proverbs 6:6-8 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise…

Isaiah 1:3 The ox knows his owner, and the donkey his master's crib: but Israel …

turtle.

Songs 2:12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds …

people.

Jeremiah 5:4 Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they …

Isaiah 1:3 The ox knows his owner, and the donkey his master's crib: but Israel …

Isaiah 5:12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in …

know.

Jeremiah 5:4,5 Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they …

(7) The stork in the heaven.--The eye of the prophet looked on nature at once with the quick observation of one who is alive to all her changes, and with the profound thought of a poet finding inner meanings in all phenomena. The birds of the air obey their instincts as the law of their nature. Israel, with its fatal gift of freedom, resists that which is its law of life. The stork arrives in Palestine in March, and leaves for the north of Europe in April or May. The Hebrew name, chasideh (literally, the pious bird), indicating its care for its young, is suggestive, as also is the phrase "in the heavens," as applied to its characteristic mode of flight. The turtle-dove appears at the approach of spring (Song Song of Solomon 2:12).

The crane and the swallow.--In the judgment of Tristram and other modern naturalists, the words should change places, and perhaps "swift" take the place of swallow. The word for "swallow" in Psalm 84:3 is different. The same combination meets us in Isaiah 38:14.

Judgment.--Better, perhaps, ordinance, the appointed rule of life which brute creatures obey and man transgresses.

Verse 7. - The appeal to the regularity of animal instincts reminds us of Isaiah 1:3. Yea, the stork, etc. The minatory birds obey their instinct with the most unfailing regularity. Those referred to are:

(1) the stork, whose "regular and sudden return is one of the most interesting natural sights of Palestine. The expression 'stork in the heavens' refers to the immense height at which they fly during migration" (Tristram);

(2) the turtle, or turtle-dove, whose return is the sure sign of spring (Song of Solomon 2:11);

(3 and 4) the crane and the swallow, or rather, "the swift and the crane." These birds are again mentioned together in Isaiah 38:14 (the psalm of Hezekiah), where special reference is made to the penetrating quality of their note. "The whooping or trumpeting of the crane rings through the night air in spring, and the vast flocks which we noticed passing north near Beersheba were a wonderful sight." The introduction of the swallow in the Authorized Version is misleading, as that bird is not a regular migrant in Palestine. The note of the swift is a shrill scream. "No bird is more conspicuous by the suddenness of its return than the swift," is the remark of Canon Tristram, who saw large flocks passing northwards over Jerusalem, on the 12th of February ('Nat. Hist. of Bible,' p. 208). It is an interesting fact that the swift bears the same name (sus) in the vernacular Arabic as in the Hebrew of Jeremiah. The judgment; better, the law (see on Jeremiah 5:4). Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times,.... Of going and returning; for this is a bird of passage, as Pliny (d) and other naturalists observe; which goes away as winter approaches, and returns when that is over. The temperature of the air, as to heat and cold, and the natural propensity of such birds of passage to breed their young, are thought to be the incentives to change their habitation; and wonderful thing it is in nature, that they should know the proper time of their passage, what places to go to, and how to steer their course thither; and, as the above naturalist observes, they go and come in the night:

and the turtle, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the time of their coming: for these also are birds of passage; the turtle is absent in the winter, and its coming is a sign of spring, Sol 2:11, the crane, according to Aelianus (e), goes away with the stork, and returns when winter is over; and the same is observable of the swallow; hence the common saying, one swallow does not make spring; so Horace (f) uses "hirundine prima" for the beginning of spring. Where these birds retire to is not known; some think the swallows fly into Egypt and Ethiopia; but Olaus Magnus (g) says they lurk in holes, and even under water, where they hang together, and are sometimes drawn out in clusters, and being brought to the fire, and thawed, will revive and fly about.

But my people know not the judgment of the Lord; meaning not the unsearchable judgments of God, or those providential dispensations of God which are a great deep, and are not clearly discerned and known by the best of men; but either his own judgments, which are inflicted upon wicked men as punishments for sin, which yet are not taken notice of, and duly attended to, as they should be; or rather the law of God, and his revealed word, which is the rule of judgment and justice, and a declaration of righteousness, showing what is just and good, and ought to be done, which they were willingly ignorant of; or else the final and future judgment of God after death, to which all men must come, and into which every thought, word, and work, will be brought, and which day wicked men put far from them; see Isaiah 1:3.

(d) Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 23. (e) De Animal. l. 3. c. 23. (f) Ep. l. 1. Ep. 7. (g) De Ritu Gent. Septent. l. 19. c. 11. 7. The instinct of the migratory birds leads them with unfailing regularity to return every spring from their winter abodes in summer climes (So 2:12); but God's people will not return to Him even when the winter of His wrath is past, and He invites them back to the spring of His favor.

in the heaven—emphatical. The birds whose very element is the air, in which they are never at rest, yet show a steady sagacity, which God's people do not.

times—namely, of migrating, and of returning.

my people—This honorable title aggravates the unnatural perversity of the Jews towards their God.

know not, etc.—(Jer 5:4, 5; Isa 1:3).8:4-13 What brought this ruin? 1. The people would not attend to reason; they would not act in the affairs of their souls with common prudence. Sin is backsliding; it is going back from the way that leads to life, to that which leads to destruction. 2. They would not attend to the warning of conscience. They did not take the first step towards repentance: true repentance begins in serious inquiry as to what we have done, from conviction that we have done amiss. 3. They would not attend to the ways of providence, nor understand the voice of God in them, ver. 7. They know not how to improve the seasons of grace, which God affords. Many boast of their religious knowledge, yet, unless taught by the Spirit of God, the instinct of brutes is a more sure guide than their supposed wisdom. 4. They would not attend to the written word. Many enjoy abundance of the means of grace, have Bibles and ministers, but they have them in vain. They will soon be ashamed of their devices. The pretenders to wisdom were the priests and the false prophets. They flattered people in sin, and so flattered them into destruction, silencing their fears and complaints with, All is well. Selfish teachers may promise peace when there is no peace; and thus men encourage each other in committing evil; but in the day of visitation they will have no refuge to flee unto.
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