Jeremiah 19:13
And the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, shall be defiled as the place of Tophet, because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink offerings unto other gods.
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(13) Defiled as the place of Tophet.—A difficulty affecting the construction, but not the sense, of the passage, makes the rendering as the place of Tophet the defiled preferable.

Upon whose roofs they have burned incense.—The flat roofs of Eastern houses were used, as for exercise (2Samuel 11:2) so also, as in Peter’s vision at Joppa (Acts 10:9), for prayer and meditation, and seem from Zephaniah 1:5 to have been specially chosen, as was natural, for worship addressed to the host of heaven. The two altars “on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz” (2Kings 23:12) were probably so situated. Where men had been wont to keep the holy days of the Feast of Tabernacles (Nehemiah 8:16) they had celebrated their idolatrous rites. (See Jeremiah 32:29.) So Strabo (xvi. p. 1, 131) describes the Nabathœans as worshipping the sun, and offering incense on an altar on the roof of their houses.

19:10-15 The potter's vessel, after it is hardened, can never be pieced again when it is broken. And as the bottle was broken, so shall Judah and Jerusalem be broken by the Chaldeans. No human hand can repair it; but if they return to the Lord he will heal. As they filled Tophet with the slain sacrificed to their idols, so will God fill the whole city with the slain that shall fall as sacrifices to his justice. Whatever men may think, God will appear as terrible against sin and sinners as the Scriptures state; nor shall the unbelief of men make his promise or his threatenings of no effect. The obstinacy of sinners in sinful ways, is their own fault; if they are deaf to the word of God, it is because they have stopped their ears. We have need to pray that God, by his grace, would deliver us from hardness of heart, and contempt of his word and commandments.Because of all - literally, "with reference to all," limiting the denunciation to those houses whose roofs had been defiled with altars.

Upon whose roofs they have burned incense - See 2 Kings 23:12, note.

13. shall be defiled—with dead bodies (Jer 19:12; 2Ki 23:10).

because of all the houses—Rather, (explanatory of the previous "the houses … and … houses"), "even all the houses," &c. [Calvin].

roofs—being flat, they were used as high places for sacrifices to the sun and planets (Jer 32:29; 2Ki 23:11, 12; Zep 1:5). The Nabateans, south and east of the Dead Sea, a nation most friendly to the Jews, according to Strabo, had the same usage.

Under the Judaic law, persons and places were defiled by touching dead bodies, or any unclean, filthy thing: God threateneth in this sense to defile Tophet, as it was said before it should be filled with dead bodies which should be buried or lie unburied there. He showeth that the aforementioned judgment of filling places with dead bodies should not be restrained to Tophet in the valley of Hinnom, but reach to the dwelling-houses in Jerusalem, both their kings’ houses, and the meaner subjects; the provoking cause of which should be their idolatry, which they had also brought into their dwelling-houses, for they having flat roofs, had upon them, though not burnt children in sacrifice to idols, yet poured out drink-offerings to the sun, moon, and stars, and to other idols.

And the houses of Jerusalem,.... Where the common people dwelt:

and the houses of the kings of Judah; the palaces of the king, princes, and nobles of Judah, one as well as another:

shall be defiled os Tophet; as that was defiled with the bodies and bones of the slain, and with the faith of the city brought unto it; so the houses of great and small, high and low, should be defiled with the carcasses of the slain that should lie unburied there; their houses should be their graves, and they buried in the ruins of them: or, "the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, which are defiled" (s), with the idolatries after mentioned, shall be as Tophet, places of slaughter:

because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burnt incense to all the host of heaven; the roofs of houses with the Jews were built flat; and, as they sometimes used them for prayer to the God of heaven, as Peter did, Acts 10:9; idolaters used them to burn incense on to the sun, moon, and stars; to which they were nearer, and of which they could have a clearer view upon the house tops, and therefore chose them for this purpose; and so common was this sort of idolatry, that it was practised upon most, if not all, the houses in Jerusalem; see Zephaniah 1:5;

and have poured out drink offerings unto other gods; besides the God of Israel; to Baal, and other Heathen deities.

(s) "quae pollutae sunt", Gataker.

And the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, shall be defiled as the place of Tophet, because of all the {f} houses upon whose {g} roofs they have burned incense to all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink offerings to other gods.

(f) He notes the great rage of the idolaters who left no place free from their abominations, in that they polluted their own houses with it, as we see yet among the papists.

(g) Read De 22:8.

13. upon whose roofs] Cp. Jeremiah 32:29; 2 Kings 23:12 (in which place the meaning probably is “on the roof [of the Temple]”); Zephaniah 1:5. These were used for festivals (Jdg 16:27), for conference (1 Samuel 9:25 f.), for exercise (2 Samuel 11:2), for booths at the feast of tabernacles (Nehemiah 8:16), for public announcements (Matthew 10:27), and for prayer (Acts 10:9).

14–20:6. See introd. summary to section.

Verse 13. - The houses of the kings of Judah; i.e. the palaces and other buildings which together made up the king's house (Jeremiah 22:6). Shall he defiled as the place of Tophet. This is one of the few places in which the Authorized Version has allowed itself to interfere with the received text; for the Hebrew has "which are defiled," etc. The common reading, in fact, seems untranslatable. Because of all the houses; rather, even all the houses. Jeremiah 19:13In Jeremiah 19:6-13 the threatened punishment is given again at large, and that in two strophes or series of ideas, which explain the emblematical act with the pitcher. The first series, Jeremiah 19:6-9, is introduced by בּקּותי, which intimates the meaning of the pitcher; and the other, Jeremiah 19:10-13, is bound up with the breaking of the pitcher. But both series are, Jeremiah 19:6, opened by the mention of the locality of the act. As Jeremiah 19:5 was but an expansion of Jeremiah 7:31, so Jeremiah 19:6 is a literal repetition of Jeremiah 7:32. The valley of Benhinnom, with its places for abominable sacrifices (תּפת, see on Jeremiah 7:32), shall in the future be called Valley of Slaughter; i.e., at the judgment on Jerusalem it will be the place where the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah will be slain by the enemy. There God will make void (בּקּותי, playing on בּקבּק), i.e., bring to nothing; for what is poured out comes to nothing; cf. Isaiah 19:3. There they shall fall by the sword in such numbers that their corpses shall be food for the beasts of prey (cf. Jeremiah 7:33), and the city of Jerusalem shall be frightfully ravaged (Jeremiah 19:8, cf. Jeremiah 18:16; Jeremiah 25:9, etc.). מכּתה (plural form of suffix without Jod; cf. Ew. 258, a), the wounds she has received. - In Jeremiah 19:9 is added yet another item to complete the awful picture, the terrible famine during the siege, partly taken from the words of Deuteronomy 28:53. and Leviticus 26:29. That this appalling misery did actually come about during the last siege by the Chaldeans, we learn from Lamentations 4:10. - The second series, Jeremiah 19:10-13, is introduced by the act of breaking the pitcher. This happens before the eyes of the elders who have accompanied Jeremiah thither: to them the explanatory word of the Lord is addressed. As the earthen pitcher, so shall Jerusalem - people and city - be broken to pieces; and that irremediably. This is implied in: as one breaks a potter's vessel, etc. (הרפה for הרפא). The next clause: and in Tophet they shall bury, etc., is omitted by the lxx as a repetition from Jeremiah 7:32, and is object to by Ew., Hitz., and Graf, as not being in keeping with its context. Ew. proposes to insert it before "as one breaketh;" but this transposition only obscures the meaning of the clause. It connects very suitably with the idea of the incurable breaking in sunder. Because the breaking up of Jerusalem and its inhabitants shall be incurable, shall be like the breaking of a pitcher dashed into countless fragments, therefore there will be lack of room in Jerusalem to bury the dead, and the unclean places of Tophet will need to be used for that purpose. With this the further thought of Jeremiah 19:12 and Jeremiah 19:13 connects simply and suitably. Thus (as had been said at Jeremiah 19:11) will I do unto this place and its inhabitants, ולתת, and that to make the city as Tophet, i.e., not "a mass of sherds and rubbish, as Tophet now is" (Graf); for neither was Tophet then a rubbish-heap, nor did it so become by the breaking of the pitcher. But Josiah had turned all the place of Tophet in the valley of Benhinnom into an unclean region (2 Kings 23:10). All Jerusalem shall become an unclean place like Tophet. This is put in so many words in Jeremiah 19:13 : The houses of Jerusalem shall become unclean like the place Tophet, namely, all houses on whose roofs idolatry has been practised. The construction of הטּמאים causes some difficulty. The position of the word at the end disfavours our connecting it with the subject בּתּי, and so does the article, which does not countenance its being taken as predicate. To get rid of the article, J. D. Mich. and Ew. sought to change the reading into תּפתּה טמאים, after Isaiah 30:33. But תּפתּה means a Tophet-like place, not Tophet itself, and so gives no meaning to the purpose. No other course is open than to join the word with "the place Tophet:" like the place Tophet, which is unclean. The plural would then be explained less from the collective force of מקום than from regard to the plural subject. "All the houses" opens a supplementary definition of the subject: as concerning all houses; cf. Ew. 310, a. On the worship of the stars by sacrifice on the housetops, transplanted by Manasseh to Jerusalem, see the expos. of Zephaniah 1:5 and 2 Kings 21:3. 'והסּך, coinciding literally with Jeremiah 7:18; the inf. absol. being attached to the verb. finit. of the former clause (Ew. 351, c.). - Thus far the word of the Lord to Jeremiah, which he was to proclaim in the valley of Benhinnom. - The execution of the divine commission is, as being a matter of course, not expressly recounted, but is implied in Jeremiah 19:14 as having taken place.
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