Jeremiah 7:12
But go you now to my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) My place which was in Shiloh.—The history of the past showed that a Temple dedicated to Jehovah could not be desecrated with impunity. Shiloh had been chosen for the centre of the worship of Israel after the conquest of Canaan (Joshua 18:1), and was reverenced as such through the whole period of the Judges. It had not, however, been a centre of light and purity. It had been defiled by wild dances of a half-idolatrous character; by deeds of shameless violence (Judges 21:19-21), and by the sins of the sons of Eli (1Samuel 2:22). And so the judgment came. It lost the presence of the ark (1Samuel 4:17; Psalm 78:58-64); its people were slaughtered by the Philistines; it fell into decay. It is possible, as the words “temple” (1Samuel 1:9; 1Samuel 3:3) and “house” (1Samuel 3:15; Judges 18:31) applied to it suggest, that substantial buildings may have gathered round the original tabernacle, and that those wasted ruins may have given a special force to Jeremiah’s allusion. It will be seen from Jeremiah 26:6; Jeremiah 26:9; Jeremiah 26:11, that it was this reference that more than anything else provoked the wrath of priest and people. They thought with a half-concealed exultation of the fate of the earlier sanctuary in Ephraim, which had given way to that of Judah. They forgot that like sins bring about like punishments, and were startled when they heard that as terrible a doom was impending over the Temple of which they boasted. It would appear from Jeremiah 41:5 that the ruin was not total, perhaps that it was still visited by pilgrims. Jerome describes it as a heap of ruins. It has been identified by modern travellers with the village of Seilun.

Jeremiah 7:12. But go ye now to Shiloh — Shiloh was the place where, upon the first coming of the Israelites into Canaan, the tabernacle, in which was the ark of God’s presence, was set up; and there it continued for a long space of time, even until the days of Samuel. It was during this period that the Israelites, as a punishment of the iniquitous and scandalous lives of the priests and people, received that signal defeat from the Philistines, when the ark of God was taken, as related 1 Samuel 4:10, &c., the pathetic description of which disaster, given by the psalmist, Psalm 78:60-64, has caused it to be generally believed, that an allusion to it was likewise designed here by Jeremiah. “But a due consideration of the context,” Blaney thinks, “will lead us rather to conclude that the prophet refers to a more recent event, the vestiges of which were still fresh to be seen. Shiloh was in the tribe of Ephraim, and this place, once so favoured and sanctified by God’s particular residence, had shared the fate of the rest of the kingdom of Israel, and was become a scene of misery and ruin. This they might literally go and see at present; and this, says God, have I done because of the wickedness of my people Israel. In which words Israel, meaning the ten tribes, is acknowledged to have been God’s people no less than Judah; and Shiloh, it is observed, had once enjoyed the same privileges, which now belonged to the temple at Jerusalem. But as God spared not Shiloh, but made it the victim of his wrath, so he says he would do to Jerusalem and her temple; and would cast off Judah for their wickedness from being his people, in like manner as he had already cast off their brethren, whom he distinguishes by the name of the children of Ephraim.”7:1-16 No observances, professions, or supposed revelations, will profit, if men do not amend their ways and their doings. None can claim an interest in free salvation, who allow themselves in the practice of known sin, or live in the neglect of known duty. They thought that the temple they profaned would be their protection. But all who continue in sin because grace has abounded, or that grace may abound, make Christ the minister of sin; and the cross of Christ, rightly understood, forms the most effectual remedy to such poisonous sentiments. The Son of God gave himself for our transgressions, to show the excellence of the Divine law, and the evil of sin. Never let us think we may do wickedness without suffering for it.Go ye unto my place in Shiloh - This argument roused the indignation of the people Jeremiah 26:8-9, Jeremiah 26:11. The ark, Jeremiah shows, had not always been at Jerusalem. The place first chosen, as the center of the nation's worship, was Shiloh, a town to the north of Bethel, situated in the powerful tribe of Ephraim (Joshua 18:1 note). The ruin of Shiloh is ascribed Psalm 78:58-64 to the idolatry which prevailed in Israel after the death of Joshua; a similar ruin due to similar causes should fall on Jerusalem Jeremiah 7:14. The site of Shiloh is identified with Seilun, the ruins of which are so insignificant as to bear out Jerome's remark, "At Silo, where once was the tabernacle and ark of the Lord, there can scarcely be pointed out the foundation of an altar."

At the first - In the first stage, the first period of the existence of the Jewish commonwealth, Shiloh was to the Judges what Jerusalem subsequently was to the kings; and as the fall of Shiloh through the wickedness of Eli's sons marked the period when the government by Judges was to pass away, and the second stage begin; so the power of the kings perished at the fall of Jerusalem, and left the way clear for the third stage of Jewish polity, government by the scribes.

12. my place … in Shiloh—God caused His tabernacle to be set up in Shiloh in Joshua's days (Jos 18:1; Jud 18:31). In Eli's time God gave the ark, which had been at Shiloh, into the hands of the Philistines (Jer 26:6; 1Sa 4:10, 11; Ps 78:56-61). Shiloh was situated between Beth-el and Shechem in Ephraim.

at the first—implying that Shiloh exceeded the Jewish temple in antiquity. But God's favor is not tied down to localities (Ac 7:44).

my people Israel—Israel was God's people, yet He spared it not when rebellious: neither will He spare Judah, now that it rebels, though heretofore it has been His people.

Shiloh; a place that did belong to the tribe of Ephraim, Psalm 78:60, compare Psalm 78:67; the situation whereof see Judges 21:19; and called God’s house, as the temple is, 1 Samuel 1:3,7: he sends them hither for an example, which had the same privileges and holiness with the temple; not to go thither locally, but to cast their thoughts back, and consider of it, that they might know that God’s presence is not tied to places, Acts 7:48.

Where I set my name at the first; where I did at first give you the token and pledges of my presence among you, when you first entered into the pleasant land, noting the antiquity of Shiloh before the temple.

What I did to it, i.e. he utterly forsook it; he did not only deliver up his people into the Philistines’ hands, but the ark also, the token of his presence, which never returned to Shiloh more; and afterwards delivered the ten tribes, wherein Shiloh was situate, into captivity to the Assyrian; see Jeremiah 7:14,15; wherein he upbraids them for their folly ill thinking that the ark or altar in the temple should any more privilege them than it did Shiloh.

For the wickedness of my people; he gives them the reason of it in these words, the wickedness of his people, and chiefly the priests, Hophni and Phinehas, Eli’s sons, 1 Samuel 2:12, &c.; and why should they think to escape, who did equal, if not exceed them? But go ye now unto my place, which was in Shiloh,.... A city in the tribe of Ephraim, on the north of Bethel, and the south of Lebonah, and not far from Shechem, Judges 21:19 here were the tabernacle, the ark and altar of the Lord, and the sacrifices; and therefore the tabernacle is called the tabernacle of Shiloh, Psalm 78:60, and here the Lord calls it his place; the place of the house of his Shechinah, as the Targum paraphrases it; and where he would have those people go; which is not to be understood locally, but of their taking this place into the consideration of their minds, and observe what was done to it, and became of it; though it was once the place where the Lord dwelt, and where his name was called formerly; as follows:

where I set my name at the first; when the children of Israel first entered into Canaan's land, the tabernacle was set up and established in Shiloh, in Joshua's time, Joshua 18:1 and there it continued to the times of Eli:

and see what I did to it, for the wickedness of my people Israel; he refused and forsook his tabernacle there; he suffered the ark, which was fetched from thence in the times of Eli, to be taken and carried captive, and that because of the sins of his people, Psalm 78:60. Jerom (m) says, in his time, the altar that was pulled down was shown, though scarce the foundations of it were to be seen. Now the Lord would have these people consider what was done to Shiloh; that though this was the first place where the tabernacle was set in the land of Canaan, and so the inhabitants of it had antiquity on their side; yet this did not secure them, nor the tribe it was in, from being rejected by the Lord, when they sinned against him; nor should the tribes of Judah and Benjamin think themselves secure because of the temple of the Lord, since they might expect he would do to them for their sins what he had done to others before.

(m) Comment. in Zeph. ch. 1. fol. 94. L. Epitaph. Paulae, fol. 59. L.

But go ye now to my place which was in Shiloh, {d} where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.

(d) Because they depended so much on the temple, which was for his promise, that he would be present and defend them where the ark was, he sends them to God's judgments against Shiloh, where the ark had remained about 300 years, and after was taken, the priests slain, and the people miserably discomfited, 1Sa 4:11, Jer 26:6.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. The central position of Shiloh (Seilûn) in Ephraim is clearly set forth in Jdg 21:19. It was the resting-place of the Ark till it was carried off in the battle of Ebenezer (1 Samuel 4:11). The destruction referred to here (and in Jeremiah 26:6; Psalm 78:60) probably followed upon that Philistine victory. At any rate thenceforward Shiloh was a place of insignificance. In Jeremiah’s time it existed as a village (ch. Jeremiah 41:5).

12–15. See introd. note on the section.Verse 12. - But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh. Jeremiah attacks this false confidence in the temple of Jerusalem, by pointing to the destruction of an earlier sanctuary, of which very little is known, indeed only so much as to give an edge to our desire for more. It is certain, from Joshua 18:1 and 1 Samuel 4:3, that the tabernacle and the ark found a resting-place at Shiloh (an Ephraimitish town to the north of Bethel), nearly the whole of the period of the judges, or more exactly between the latter days of Joshua (Joshua 18:1) and the death of Eli (1 Samuel 4:3). Manifestly, then, there must have been some sort of "house," i.e. temple, at Shiloh; a mere tent would not have been sufficient for so long a period. This presumption is confirmed by the language of Jeremiah, and by the expressions of the narrative books. The fate which the prophet is bidden to announce for the existing temple is analogous to that which fell upon "Jehovah's place in Shiloh." The latter was, therefore, not merely a deportation of the ark, such as is referred to in 1 Samuel 5. And when the narrator of the times of Samuel speaks of Eli as "sitting by the door-post of the temple of Jehovah" (1 Samuel 1:9), is it more natural to suppose t the word "temple" is here applied to the tabernacle, or that there was really a house, however rude, as sacred in the eyes of the faithful as was afterwards the splendid temple at Jerusalem? The latter view is strongly confirmed by Judges 18:31, "All the time that the house of God in Shiloh existed" (Authorized Version is misleading), and Judges 19:18, where the Levite travelling to Mount Ephraim says, "I am going to the house of Jehovah." It is no doubt strange at first sight that so little information is given us as to this central sanctuary of the true religion; but are there not other omissions (especially in the history of the judges), which are equally strange as long as we look upon the Old Testament as primarily an historical document? We do know something, however, and more than is generally suspected; for when the right translation is restored in Judges 18:31, it follows, from a comparison of this and the preceding verse, that the temple of Shiloh was destroyed simultaneously with the captivity of the northern tribes. The impression produced by this emphatic announcement of Jeremiah is revealed to us by a later passage in his book (see Jeremiah 26.). Over against such sayings Jeremiah puts that which is the indispensable condition of continued sojourn in the land. כּי, Jeremiah 7:5, after a preceding negative clause, means: but on the contrary. This condition is a life morally good, that shall show itself in doing justice, in putting away all unrighteousness, and in giving up idolatry. With אם begins a list of the things that belong to the making of one's ways and doings good. The adjunct to משׁפּט, right, "between the man and his neighbour," shows that the justice meant is that they should help one man to his rights against another. The law attached penalties to the oppression of those who needed protection - strangers, orphans, widows; cf. Exodus 22:21., Deuteronomy 24:17., Jeremiah 27:19; and the prophets often denounce the same; cf. Isaiah 1:17, Isaiah 1:23; Isaiah 10:2; Ezekiel 22:7; Zechariah 7:10; Malachi 3:5; Psalm 94:6, etc. for 'לא־ת is noteworthy, but is not a simple equivalent for it. Like ου ̓ μή, כ̓ב implies a deeper interest on the part of the speaker, and the sense here is: and ye be really determined not to shed innocent blood (cf. Ew. 320, b). Hitz.'s explanation, that אל is equal to אשׁר לא or אם לא, and that it her resumes again the now remote אם, is overturned by the consideration that אל is not at the beginning of the clause; and there is not the slightest probability in Graf's view, that the אל must have come into the text through the copyist, who had in his mind the similar clause in Jeremiah 22:3. Shedding innocent blood refers in part to judicial murders (condemnation of innocent persons), in part to violent attacks made by the kings on prophets and godly men, such as we hear of in Manasseh's case, 2 Kings 21:16. In this place (Jeremiah 7:7), i.e., first and foremost Jerusalem, the metropolis, where moral corruption had its chief seat; in a wider sense, however, it means the whole kingdom of Judah (Jeremiah 7:3 and Jeremiah 7:7). "To your hurt" belongs to all the above-mentioned transgressions of the law; cf. Jeremiah 25:7. "In the land," etc., explains "this place." "From eternity to eternity" is a rhetorically heightened expression for the promise given to the patriarchs, that God would give the land of Canaan to their posterity for an everlasting possession, Genesis 17:8; although here it belongs not to the relative clause, "that I gave," but to the principal clause, "cause you to dwell," as in Exodus 32:13.
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