Jeremiah 11:15
What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest.
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(15) My, Judah—or, perhaps, Israel collectively—as the betrothed of Jehovah. What has she to do, what part or lot has she in that house of Jehovah which she pollutes?

Seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many.—The Hebrew is difficult, and probably corrupt. The most probable rendering is What hath my beloved to do in my house, to work it even evil devices? Thy many, i.e. (probably, as in Jeremiah 3:1), thy many lovers, and the holy flesh (i.e., her sacrifices), will they make it (the guilt of her devices) to pass away from thee? Keeping the present text of the Hebrew the latter clause would run, they shall pass away from thee, i.e., shall leave thee, as thou wert, unreconciled and unforgiven. A conjectural emendation, following the LXX., gives, will thy vows and the holy flesh remove thy evil from thee . . . The general sense is, however, clear. A religion of mere ritual-sacrifices and the like will not avail to save. The Hebrew for “lewdness” does not convey the idea which we now attach to the English word, but means primarily a plan of any kind, and then a “device” or “scheme” in a bad sense, as in Psalm 10:2; Psalm 21:11; Proverbs 14:17. Probably the translators, here, as in Acts 17:5; Acts 18:14, used the word in this more general sense. Primarily, indeed, “lewd” in Old English was simply the opposite of “learned.”

When thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest.—The clause is involved in the same difficulty as the rest of the verse. The English version is tenable, and gives an adequate meaning. By some commentators, however, the passage is rendered, referring evil to the previous sentence, Will they (vows, &c.) remove evil from thee? Then mightest thou rejoice.

Jeremiah 11:15. What hath my beloved to do in my house, &c. — “Why doth this, my chosen and peculiar people, as they love to call themselves, make their appearance before me in my house, since they have gone a whoring after several idols of the nations round about them, and thereby have disowned me, and broken the marriage contract that was between us? See note on Jeremiah 2:2. God calls the Jews his beloved people, because they called themselves so, and because they were still beloved for their fathers’ sake, Romans 11:18; and he would not cast them off utterly, for the sake of the covenant he had made with their progenitors.” — Lowth. And the holy flesh is passed from thee — “The flesh of thy sacrifices, which thou offerest up to me as an atonement for thy sins, does not at all profit thee, being rendered unacceptable to me through thy many and great provocations, in the commission of which thou continuest without remorse.” — Lowth. But the words are rendered by some, The flesh of my sanctuary shall pass from thee, and may mean, that the parts of the victims, which by the Mosaic law were the portion of the priests, should not be given to them, since the temple would be destroyed. According to this interpretation the prophet must be considered as addressing the priests, of whom there were, without doubt, many in Jerusalem. When thou doest evil, thou rejoicest — Thou gloriest in thy wickedness. Or, at a time when thou offendest most against my laws, thou exultest, and behavest as if thou didst every thing that is right.

11:11-17 Evil pursues sinners, and entangles them in snares, out of which they cannot free themselves. Now, in their distress, their many gods and many altars stand them in no stead. And those whose own prayers will not be heard, cannot expect benefit from the prayers of others. Their profession of religion shall prove of no use. When trouble came upon them, they made this their confidence, but God has rejected it. His altar shall yield them no satisfaction. The remembrance of God's former favours to them shall be no comfort under troubles; and his remembrance of them shall be no argument for their relief. Every sin against the Lord is a sin against ourselves, and so it will be found sooner or later.This passage, like Isaiah 1:12, rebukes the inconsistency of Judah's public worship of Yahweh with their private immorality and preference for idolatry. Translate it: "What hath My beloved in My house to practice guile there? The great men and the holy flesh (i. e., the sacrifices) shall pass away from thee."15. my beloved—My elect people, Judea; this aggravates their ingratitude (Jer 12:7).

lewdness with many—(Eze 16:25). Rather, "that great (or, manifold) enormity"; literally, "the enormity, the manifold"; namely, their idolatry, which made their worship of God in the temple a mockery (compare Jer 7:10; Eze 23:39) [Henderson].

holy flesh—(Hag 2:12-14; Tit 1:15), namely, the sacrifices, which, through the guilt of the Jews, were no longer holy, that is, acceptable to God. The sacrifices on which they relied will, therefore, no longer protect them. Judah is represented as a priest's wife, who, by adultery, has forfeited her share in the flesh of the sacrifices, and yet boasts of her prerogative at the very same time [Horsley].

when thou doest evil—literally, "when thy evil" (is at hand). Piscator translates, "When thy calamity is at hand (according to God's threats), thou gloriest" (against God, instead of humbling thyself). English Version is best (compare Pr 2:14).

Some make these words the words of the prophet, declaring that God (whom they suppose here called the beloved) was about to forsake the temple. Others make them the words of God, speaking of his prophet, whom he calleth his beloved; or rather, speaking of his people, whom he calleth his beloved, upon the account of his ancient union with them, and marriage to them; this seemeth most probable, and agreeth both with Jeremiah 7:9,10, and also with the usual confidence of the Jews, because of the temple of the Lord, and their formal services of God in it. My people, saith God, though I was formerly their Husband, yet have wrought lewdness with many, that is, committed idolatry with many idols; and now what have they to do more in my house, than a base strumpet which hath turned a whore hath to do in the house of her husband?

And the holy flesh is passed from thee: some by this phrase understand that God would own them no more as a holy people. Others that their circumcision was become uncircumcision. Others more probably understand it of the flesh of the sacrifices they were wont to offer; either they had been remiss in offering the sacrifices God had commanded them; or (which is more probable) the flesh of their sacrifices, being set before idols, as well as before him who was the only true God, became polluted, and was abomination to the Lord. The learned author of our English Annotations notes, that the words may very fairly be translated, and the holy flesh they shall pass away from thee; so the words import a threatening, that because they had polluted and profaned the sacrifices, God would make their sacrifices to cease.

When thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest: and this the Lord would rather do against them, because they were not only evil, but gloried in their wickedness, or at least were full of mirth and jollity as if they had done no iniquity.

What hath my beloved to do in mine house,.... These are either the words of the prophet, as Kimchi and Ben Melech think, speaking after this manner; what has God, who is my beloved, he whom my soul loves, and who loves me, to do in the sanctuary, which is my house, and not this people's, that have defiled it, to cause his Shechinah to dwell there, after so much wickedness has been committed in it? and so Cocceius interprets it of Christ the beloved Son of God, and the beloved of his church and people, withdrawing from the temple, because of the wickedness of the Jews; or they are the words of God concerning the people of the Jews, who were beloved for the Father's sake; signifying that now, because of their abominations, it was not fitting they should continue in the house of God, or have any shelter and protection there. The Jews interpret (k) this of Abraham:

seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many; that is, the congregation of Israel, or the church of the Jews, had committed idolatry with many idols; or it was not only a few of them that were guilty of this sin, but a multitude, even their great men, the princes and nobles:

and the holy flesh is passed from thee? which Kimchi and Ben Melech understand of holy and good men, who ceased from among them, were perished and gone; and Jarchi, of the circumcision of the flesh, which was neglected: but it seems best to interpret it of the flesh of sacrifices; which were either laid aside by them, or, if offered and eaten of, were of no service to them, being offered up with a wicked mind; or rather the meaning is, the time was come that these were at an end, the temple being destroyed:

when thou doest evil; the evil of sin; or "when thine evil is" (l); the evil of punishment is coming upon thee:

then thou rejoicest; instead of repenting of sin, and mourning for it, or being humbled at approaching judgments, gave themselves up to sensual lusts and pleasures; neither concerned at the one nor at the other; neither grieved for sin, nor trembled at punishment; but amidst all were brisk and jovial; though some say (m) the word has the signification of trembling; and render it, "then thou shalt tremble". The Targum of the whole is,

"What (have I to do) with this people, that was beloved before me? they have left the worship of the house of my sanctuary; they have took counsel to sin much; they mingle the flesh of abominations with the holy flesh; they shall go into captivity from thee; because of thy wickedness thou art strong.''

(k) T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 53. 2.((l) "quum adest malum tuum", Junius & Tremellius; "praesto est", Piscator; extabit, Cocceius. (m) R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 32. 1.

What hath my {k} beloved to do in my house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh {l} is passed from thee? when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest.

(k) My people of Israel whom I have greatly loved till now.

(l) Meaning, that they offer not in the temple to God, but on the altars of Baal and the idols and so rejoiced in their wickedness.

15. The MT. is not really intelligible. It can be approximately corrected from LXX (as in the mg.). Gi. (so Du. and Erbt), quotes Irenaeus (IV. 32), who has adipes, fat pieces, a rendering which can be obtained by a fairly easy change in the consonants of the word in MT. The Hebrew noun which he thus adopts is used several times (e.g. Leviticus 8:26) of the fat of sacrifices. The weak part of the LXX reading lies in the last clause, where, although the sense given by them is better, the rendering involves considerable change in the Hebrew.

my beloved] Judah; so ch. Jeremiah 12:7.

15–17. See summary at commencement of section.

Verse 15. - What hath my beloved to do in mine house? "My beloved" is evidently the Jewish people, who in Jeremiah 12:7 is called "the dearly beloved of my soul." The Divine Speaker expresses surprise that one who has now so poor a claim to the title of "my beloved" should appear in his holy house. It is spoken in the spirit of that earlier revelation of Isaiah, "When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to trample my courts?" (Isaiah 1:12). The Jews, it would seem, came to the temple to pray, but their prayer is not accepted, because it is associated with unholy practices. They thought by formal prayers and sacrifices to pay off their debt to the Deity, and so be free to go on with their old devices (as in Jeremiah 7:15). This seems the best view of the difficult words which follow, but it implies a correction of the certainly ungrammatical rendering of the Authorized Version - seeing she hath wrought lewdness - into to work the wicked device. But here begins the most obscure part of the verse. With many cannot be right; for "with" has nothing corresponding to it in the Hebrew; the word in the original simply means "the many," and as it is immediately followed by a noun in the singular with "and," and a verb in the plural, it is plain that it must (if correctly read) be part of the subject of the latter. The Septuagint, however, has a different reading, which may very well be correct, and out of which the received Hebrew reading may easily have grown - "Can vows and holy [i.e. hallowed] flesh remove from thee thy wickedness [or perhaps, 'thy calamity']?" The connection thus becomes easy. "Vows and holy flesh" (i.e. the flesh of sacrifices, Haggai 2:12), naturally go together; the only other possible way of taking the passage (assuming the correctness of the 'received text) - " the great ones and the holy flesh shall pass away from thee" - is obviously inadmissible. "Vows and sacrifices," however, precisely express the true association of ideas. A man made a vow, and he generally paid it in the form of a sacrifice. But, inquires Jehovah, "Can such vows and such Victims please God, and expiate thy wickedness [or, 'avert thy calamity']? Then thou mightest rejoice." The latter words are not, indeed, more exact than those of the Authorized Version, but are in accordance with grammar, and suit the preceding question. It is not certain, however, that the text is right here; the Septuagint has η} τούτοις διαφεύξῃ. (Notice that Keil, conservative to a fault in matters affecting the received text, agrees with the above correction, which is also adopted by Ewald, Hitzig, and Graf.) Jeremiah 11:15Neither entreaty on their behalf nor their hypocritical worship will avert judgment. - Jeremiah 11:14. "But thou, pray not for this people, neither lift up for them cry or prayer; for I hear them not in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble. Jeremiah 11:15. What would my beloved in my house? they who practise guile? Shall vows and holy flesh remove they calamity from thee? then mayest thou exult. Jeremiah 11:16. A green olive, fair for its goodly fruit, Jahveh called thy name; with the noise of great tumult He set fire to it, and its branches brake. Jeremiah 11:17. And Jahveh of hosts, that planted thee, hath decreed evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah which they themselves have done, to provoke me, in that they have offered odours to Baal."

We have already, in Jeremiah 7:16, met with the declaration that the Lord will not accept any intercession for the covenant-breaking people (Jeremiah 11:14); the termination of this verse differs slightly in the turn to takes. - בּעד רעתם the ancient commentators have almost unanimously rendered: tempore mali eorum, as if they had read בּעת (this is, in fact, the reading of some codd.); but hardly on sufficient grounds. בּעד gives a suitable sense, with the force of the Greek ἀμφί, which, like the German um, passes into the sense of wegen, as the English about passes into that of concerning. - In Jeremiah 11:15-17 we have the reason why the Lord will hear neither the prophet's supplication nor the people's cry in their time of need. Jeremiah 11:15 is very obscure; and from the Masoretic text it is hardly possible to obtain a suitable sense. "The beloved" of Jahveh is Judah, the covenant people; cf. Deuteronomy 33:12, where Benjamin is so called, and Jeremiah 12:7, where the Lord calls His people ידידוּת נפשׁי. "What is to my beloved in my house?" i.e., what has my people to do in my house - what does it want there? "My house" is the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, as appears from the mention of holy flesh in the second clause. The main difficulty lies in the words עשׂותהּ המזמּתה הרבּים. Hitz. takes עשׂותהּ to be the subject of the clause, and makes the suffix point back to ידידי, which, as collective, is to be construed generis faem.: what should the accomplishment of his plans be to my beloved in my house? But as adverse to this we must note, a. the improbability of ידיד as used of the people being feminine; b. the fact that even if we adopt Hitz.'s change of המזמּתה into המזמּות, yet the latter word does not mean plans or designs to bring offerings. The phrase is clearly to be taken by itself as a continuation of the question; and the suffix to be regarded, with Ew., Umbr., etc., as pointing, in the Aramaic fashion, to the object following: they who practise guile. מזמּה, a thinking out, devising, usually of hurtful schemes, here guile, as in Psalm 139:20; Job 21:27. What is meant is the hypocrisy of cloaking their apostasy from God by offering sacrifices in the temple, of concealing their idolatry and passing themselves off as worshippers of Jahve. On the form מזמּתה, see Ew. 173, g, Gesen. 80, Rem. 2,f. הרבּים makes no sense. It belongs manifestly to the words which follow; for it can neither be subject to עשׂותהּ, nor can it be joined to המזמּתה as its genitive. The lxx render: μὴ εὐχαὶ καὶ κρέα ἅγια ἀφελοῦσιν ἀπὸ σοῦ τὰς κακίας σου; and following this, Dathe, Dahl., Ew., Hitz. hold הנדרים to be the original reading. On the other hand, Maur., Graf, and Ng. think we should read הרנּים (after Psalm 32:7) or הרנּים myinirah, crying, loud supplication; on the ground of Buxtorf's hint, Anticrit. p. 661, that probably the Alexandrians had הרבּים in their text, but, changing the ב for נ, read הרנים. We must make our choice between these two conjectures; for even if הרבּים did not stand in the codex used by the Alexandrians, it cannot have been the original word. The form רנּים is, indeed, sufficiently attested by רנּי פלט, Psalm 32:7; but the meaning of exultation which it has there is here wholly out of place. And we find no case of a plural to רנּה, which means both exultation and piteous, beseeching cry (e.g., Jeremiah 7:16). So that, although רנּה is in the lxx occasionally rendered by δέησις (Jeremiah 11:14; Jeremiah 14:12, etc.) or προσευχή (1 Kings 8:28), we prefer the conjecture הנדרים; for "vow" is in better keeping with "holy flesh," i.e., flesh of sacrifice, Haggai 2:12, since the vow was generally carried out by offering sacrifice. - Nor do the following words, 'יעברוּ מעליך וגו, convey any meaning, without some alteration. As quoted above, they may be translated: shall pass away from thee. But this can mean neither: they shall be torn from thee, nor: they shall disappoint thee. And even if this force did lie in the words, no statement can begin with the following כּי רעתכי gniwollo. If this be a protasis, the verb is wanting. We shall have to change it, after the manner of the lxx, to יעברוּ מעליכי רעתכי: shall vows and holy flesh (sacrifice) avert thine evil from thee? For the form יעברוּ as Hiph. cf. ידרכוּ, Jeremiah 9:2. "Thine evil" with the double force: thy sin and shame, and the disaster impending, i.e., sin and (judicial) suffering. There is no occasion for any further changes. אז, rendered ἤ by the lxx, and so read או by them, may be completely vindicated: then, i.e., if this were the case, if thou couldst avert calamity by sacrifice, then mightest thou exult. Thus we obtain the following as the sense of the whole verse: What mean my people in my temple with their hypocritical sacrifices? Can vows and offerings, presented by you there, avert calamity from you? If it could be so, well might you shout for joy.

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