Thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat flesh.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Put your burnt offerings.—i.e., “Add one kind of sacrifice to another. Offer the victim, and then partake of the sacrificial feast. All is fruitless, unless there be the true conditions of acceptance, repentance, and holiness.”Jeremiah 7:21-28. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel — And let Israel hear when their God speaks — Put your burnt-offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh — The burnt-offerings, after they were flayed, were to be consumed wholly upon the altar, Leviticus 1:9; whereas, in the sacrifices of the peace-offerings, only the fat was to be burned upon the altar; part of the remainder belonging to the priests, and the rest being the portion of the offerer, to be eaten with his friends in a kind of religious feast. But here the prophet tells the Jews that they may eat the flesh of their burnt-offerings as well as that of their peace-offerings; that he was equally regardless of the one and the other, and would have nothing to do with them; and that he would never accept offerings from people of so disobedient and refractory a disposition; that to be acceptable to him they must be presented with an humble and obedient mind. “This leads plainly to the interpretation of the next verses, which are by no means to be taken separately, as if God had not required burnt-offerings and sacrifices at all; but that he did not insist so much upon them as on obedience to the commands of the moral law; or, at least, that the former derived all their efficacy from the latter.” See note on 1 Samuel 15:22. “Sacrifices,” says Dr. Waterland, on this passage, “which were but part of duty, are here opposed to entire and universal obedience. Now the thing which God required, and chiefly insisted upon, was universal righteousness, and not partial obedience, which is next to no obedience, because not performed upon a true principle of obedience. God does not deny that he had required sacrifices: but he had primarily and principally required obedience, which included sacrifices and all other instances of duty as well as that: and he would not accept of such lame service as those sacrifices amounted to; for that was paying him part only in lieu of the whole. Or we may say, that sacrifices, the out-work, are here opposed to obeying God’s voice; that is, the shadow is opposed to the substance, apparent duty to real hypocrisy, and empty show to sincerity and truth. Sacrifices separate from true holiness, or from a sincere love of God, were not the service which God required; for hypocritical services are no services, but abominations in his sight: he expected, he demanded, religious devout sacrifices; while his people brought him only outside compliments, to flatter him; empty formalities, to affront and dishonour him. These were not the things which God spake of, or commanded: the sacrifices he spake of were pure sacrifices, to be offered up with a clean and upright heart. Those he required, and those only he would accept of as real duty and service.”Jeremiah 7:21-28 is the Haphtarah (lesson) from the prophets, after the Parashah, Leviticus 6-8, or Lesson from the Law. The selection of such a Haphtarah shows that the Jews thoroughly understood that their sacrifices were not the end of the Law, but a means for spiritual instruction. Leviticus 1:9, and put them to your own of what kind soever; eat them, and do what you will with them, I will have none of them; take it all and fill your own bellies, for you sacrifice not to me, but to yourselves. See Hosea 9:4, where their meat-offerings are called in scorn meat for their life to nourish their bodies.
Unto your sacrifices; that part of your sacrifices which you are allowed to eat; they are but as profane food; do not you think to be sanctified by them, because I accept them not.
put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh; that is, add one offering to another; offer every kind of sacrifice, and, when you have done, eat the flesh of them yourselves; for that is all the advantage that comes by them; they are not acceptable to me, as Jarchi observes, therefore why should you lose them? burnt offerings were wholly consumed, and nothing was left of them to eat; but of other sacrifices there were, particularly the peace offerings; which the Jewish commentators think are here meant by sacrifices; and therefore the people are bid to join them together, that they might have flesh to eat; which was all the profit arising to them by legal sacrifices. The words seem to be sarcastically spoken; showing the unacceptableness of legal sacrifices to God, when sin was indulged, and the unprofitableness of them to men.Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21. Add your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices] Burnt offerings were consumed whole, while of sacrifices certain portions were reserved to be eaten by the priest and the offerer. Accordingly the sense here is either (i) appropriate for your own use the offerings of which ye now consume the whole: I care not, for whether ye do this or not ye are breaking a higher law; or (ii) add one sacrifice to another. Multiply your victims ad libitum. They have no sanctity, as offered by your guilty hands, but are merely so much flesh.
In (i), which is the preferable explanation, the reference is to the fact that sacrifices were an occasion of feasting. Turn what ought to be your most solemn act of worship into a mere opportunity for self-indulgence.
21–28. See introd. note on the section.Verses 21-28. - Jeremiah dispels the illusion that God's claims are satisfied by a merely formal service. Verse 21. - Put your burnt offerings, etc. Throw all your sacrifices into a mass, and eat them at your pleasure. Ye have my perfect permission, for they are of no religions value. According to the Law, the burnt offerings were to be entirely consumed by fire, while the other sacrifices were mostly eaten by the offerers and by their friends. There is a touch of contempt in the phrase, eat flesh; they are merely pieces of flesh, and ye may eat them. Deuteronomy 29:27; and with the second clause cf. 2 Kings 17:20. The whole seed of Ephraim is the ten tribes.
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