Jeremiah 7:29
Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(29) Cut off thine hair.—Literally, as in 2Samuel 1:10; 2Kings 11:12, thy crown or diadem; but the verb determines the meaning. The word Netzer (“consecration” in the Authorised version) is applied to the unshorn locks of the Nazarite (Numbers 6:7), and from it he took his name. As the Nazarite was to shave his head if he came in contact with a corpse, as cutting the hair close was generally among Semitic races the sign of extremest sorrow (Job 1:20; Micah 1:16), so Jerusalem was to sit as a woman rejected by her husband, bereaved of her children. (Comp. the picture in Lamentations 1:1-3.) The word is applied also to the “crown” of the high priest in Exodus 29:6, the “crown” of the anointing oil in Leviticus 21:12.

O Jerusalem.—The italics show that the words are not in the Hebrew, but the insertion of some such words was rendered necessary by the fact that the verb “cut off” is in the feminine. Those who heard or read the words of the prophet, who so often spoke of “the daughter of Zion” (Jeremiah 6:2), of “the daughter of his people” (Jeremiah 6:14; Jeremiah 8:11), of “the betrothed of Jehovah” (Jeremiah 2, 3), would be at no loss to understand his meaning.

Jeremiah 7:29. Cut off thy hair, O Jerusalem — This was commonly practised in the time of great sorrow and mourning. And Jerusalem is here addressed as a woman in extreme misery, and exhorted to take upon her the habit and disposition of a mourner, and to bewail the calamities which were fallen upon her. But some have observed that the Hebrew word נזר, which we translate barely the hair, signifies something more, namely, votive, or Nazarite hair; and they think the prophet alludes to the law concerning Nazarites, (Numbers 6:9,) whereby it was ordered that, if any one should die near them, they should immediately shave off their hair. They suppose, therefore, the sense here is, that so many would be killed in Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, that if there were any Nazarites in the city, they would be all obliged on that account to shave off their hair: by which is signified that a great number of the inhabitants would be slain. And take up a lamentation on high places — Or, for the high places, as some read it; namely, where they had worshipped their idols, and offered their sacrifices, there they must now bemoan their misery. Or the words may, as some suppose, be intended to signify the cries and lamentations of the watchmen, who were placed on high towers and on hills, to observe the country around; and who are represented as seeing, on this occasion, scenes of calamity and slaughter on every side, and continually fresh subjects of alarm. For the Lord hath rejected the generation of his wrath — This sinful generation, who have so highly provoked him. As God is said to reject or cast off his people when he gives them up into the hands of their enemies, so he is said to choose them again at their restoration from captivity, Isaiah 14:1.

7:29-34 In token both of sorrow and of slavery, Jerusalem must be degraded, and separated from God, as she had been separated to him. The heart is the place in which God has chosen to put his name; but if sin has the innermost and uppermost place there, we pollute the temple of the Lord. The destruction of Jerusalem appears here very terrible. The slain shall be many; they having made it the place of their sin. Evil pursues sinners, even after death. Those who will not, by the grace of God, be cured of vain mirth, shall, by the justice of God, be deprived of all mirth. How many ruin their health and property without complaining, when engaged in Satan's service! May we learn to relish holy joys, and to sit loose to all others though lawful.Jeremiah summons the people to lament over the miserable consequences of their rejection of God. In the valley of Hinnom, where lately they offered their innocents, they shall themselves fall before the enemy in such multitudes that burial shall be impossible, and the beasts of the field unmolested shall prey upon their remains.

Jeremiah 7:29

The daughter of Zion, defiled by the presence of enemies in her sanctuary, and rejected of God, must shear off the diadem of her hair, the symbol of her consecration to God, just as the Nazarite, when defiled by contact with a corpse, was to shave his crowned head.

Take up a lamentation ... - Or, lift up a "lamentation on the bare hill-sides" Jeremiah 3:2.

29. Jeremiah addresses Jerusalem under the figure of a woman, who, in grief for her lost children, deprives her head of its chief ornament and goes up to the hills to weep (Jud 11:37, 38; Isa 15:2).

hair—flowing locks, like those of a Nazarite.

high places—The scene of her idolatries is to be the scene of her mourning (Jer 3:21).

generation of his wrath—the generation with which He is wroth. So Isa 10:6; "the people of My wrath."

Cut off thine hair; it was a usual token of sorrow among the Jews to cut off the hair, Job 1:20 Isaiah 15:2 Micah 1:16. But here he speaketh either,

1. To Jeremiah; for

O Jerusalem is not in the text; or,

2. To the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and so speaks to them as a woman, whose hair is for an ornament, 1 Corinthians 11:15. Therefore this must needs signify a higher degree of sorrow. Cutting the hair among the ancients did signify,

1. Mourning.

2. Bondage. For the cutting off the hair in servants was a token of subjection; so that this speaks Jerusalem’s mournful condition in her captivity.

Cast it away; it is not to be reserved, as sometimes men and women both do for some use; but to be cast away, and as a thing good for nought. And thus it may agree with the church’s lamentation, Lamentations 5:16; for it is not here exhorted to as a token of repentance, but as a threatening of judgments.

Take up a lamentation on high places: see Jeremiah 3:21. Lift up thy voice on high in lamentation, when thou hast thine eye or thoughts upon the high places where thou wentest a whoring from me, for which thou now goest into captivity.

The generation of his wrath; or, of his overrunning anger, as some render it, i.e. with whom he is extremely vexed, this present generation, that by their provocations have brought themselves under his wrath, Jeremiah 7:18,20, a generation destined to the wrath of God, called elsewhere the people of his curse, Isaiah 34:5, and such as the apostle calls vessels of wrath, Romans 9:22, so far as it concerns the phrase.

Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away,.... This supplement is made, because the word is feminine; and therefore cannot be directed to the prophet, but to Jerusalem, and its inhabitants; shaving the head is a sign of mourning, Job 1:20 and this is enjoined, to show that there would soon be a reason for it; wherefore it follows:

and take up a lamentation on high places: that it might be heard afar off; or because of the idolatry frequently committed in high places. The Targum is,

"pluck off the hair for thy great ones that are carried captive, and take up a lamentation for the princes:''

for the Lord hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath; a generation of men, deserving of the wrath of God, and appointed to it, on whom he determined to pour it out; of which his rejection and forsaking of them was a token: this was remarkably true of that generation in which Christ and his Acts 54ed, who disbelieved the Messiah, and had no faith in him, and spoke lying and blasphemous words concerning him; and therefore were rejected and forsaken by the Lord; and wrath came upon them to the uttermost.

Cut off thy {o} hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his {p} wrath.

(o) In sign of mourning, as in Job 1:20.

(p) Against whom he had just opportunity to pour out his wrath Mic 1:6.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
29. hair] lit. (as mg.) crown, Heb. nezer, and used of the long hair worn in fulfilment of the Nazirite’s vow (Numbers 6:7). Jerusalem must now shew by outward sign her faithlessness to her vows of loyalty to her God.

bare heights] See on ch. Jeremiah 3:2.

Verses 29-34. - Tophet, the greatest of all abominations; the beginning of the Divine retribution. Verse 29. - Cut off thine hair. The "daughter of Zion," i.e. the community of Jerusalem, is addressed; this appears from the verb being in the feminine. It is a choice expression which the prophet employs - literally, shear off thy crown (i.e. thy chief ornament). The act was to be a sign of mourning (see Job 1:20; Micah 1:16). Some think there is also a reference to the vow of the Nazarite (the word for "crown" being here nezer, which is also the word rendered in Authorized Version, "separation," i.e. "consecration," in the law of the Nazarite (Numbers 6.). But neither in this context nor anywhere else have we any support for the application of the term "Nazarite" to the people of Israel. On high places; rather, on (the) bare hills (see on Jeremiah 3:21). The generation of his wrath; i.e. on which his wrath is to be poured out (comp. Isaiah 10:6). Jeremiah 7:29Therefore the Lord has rejected the backsliding people, so that it shall perish shamefully. - Jeremiah 7:29. "Cut off thy diadem (daughter of Zion), and cast it away, and lift up a lamentation on the bald peaked mountains; for the Lord hath rejected and cast out the generation of His wrath. Jeremiah 7:30. For the sons of Judah have done the evil in mine eyes, saith Jahveh, have put their abominations in the house on which my name is named, to pollute it; Jeremiah 7:31. And have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of Benhinnom, to burn their sons and daughters in the fire; which I have not commanded, neither came it into my heart. Jeremiah 7:32. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith Jahveh, that they shall no longer say, Tophet and Valley of Benhinnom, but, The valley of slaughter; and they shall bury in Tophet for want of room. Jeremiah 7:33. And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of heaven and the beasts of the earth, with no one to fray them away. Jeremiah 7:34. And I make to cease out of the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride; for a waste shall the land become. Jeremiah 8:1. At that time, saith Jahveh, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah and the bones of his princes, the bones of the priests and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves. Jeremiah 8:2. And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, which they have loved, and which they have served, after which they have walked, and which they have sought and worshipped: they shall not be gathered nor buried; for dung upon the face of the earth shall they be. Jeremiah 8:3. And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue which is left of this evil race, in all the places whither I have driven them that are left, saith Jahveh of hosts."

In these verses the judgment of Jeremiah 7:20 is depicted in all its horror, and the description is introduced by a call upon Zion to mourn and lament for the evil awaiting Jerusalem and the whole land. It is not any particular woman that is addressed in Jeremiah 7:29, but the daughter of Zion (cf. Jeremiah 6:23), i.e., the capital city personified as a woman, as the mother of the whole people. Cut off נזרך, thy diadem. There can be no doubt that we are by this to understand the hair of the woman; but the current opinion, that the words simply and directly means the hair, is without foundation. It means crown, originally the diadem of the high priest, Exodus 29:6; and the transference of the same word to the hair of the head is explained by the practice of the Nazarites, to wear the hair uncut as a mark of consecration to the Lord, Numbers 6:5. The hair of the Nazarite is called in Numbers 6:7 the consecration (נזר) of his God upon his head, as was the anointing oil on the head of the high priest, Leviticus 21:12. In this sense the long hair of the daughter of Zion is called her diadem, to mark her out as a virgin consecrated to the Lord. Cutting off this hair is not only in token of mourning, as in Job 1:20; Micah 1:16, but in token of the loss of the consecrated character. The Nazarite, defiled by the sudden occurrence of death near to his person, was bound to cut off his long hair, because by this defilement his consecrated hair had been defiled; and just so must the daughter of Zion cut off her hair and cast it from her, because by her sins she had defiled herself, and must be held as unconsecrate. Venema and Ros. object to this reference of the idea to the consecrated hair of the Nazarite: quod huc non quadrat, nec in faeminis adeo suetum erat; but this objection is grounded on defective apprehension of the meaning of the Nazarite's vow, and on misunderstanding of the figurative style here employed. The allusion to the Nazarite order, for the purpose of representing the daughter of Zion as a virgin consecrated to the Lord, does not imply that the Nazarite vow was very common amongst women. Deprived of her holy ornament, Zion is to set up a lament upon bare hill-tops (cf. Jeremiah 3:21), since the Lord has rejected or cast out (Jeremiah 7:30) the generation that has drawn His wrath down on it, because they have set idols in the temple in which He has revealed His glory, to profane it. The abominations are the image of Asherah which Manasseh set up in the temple, and the altars he had built to the host of heaven in both the courts (2 Kings 21:5, 2 Kings 21:7). Besides the desecration of the temple of the Lord by idolatry, Jeremiah mentions in Jeremiah 7:31, as an especially offensive abomination, the worship of Moloch practised in the valley of Benhinnom. Here children were burnt to this deity, to whom Manasseh had sacrificed his son, 2 Kings 21:6. The expression "high altars of Tophet" is singular. In the parallel passages, where Jeremiah repeats the same subject, Jeremiah 19:5 and Jeremiah 32:35, we find mentioned instead high altars of Baal; and on this ground, Hitz. and Graf hold התפת in our verse to be a contemptuous name for Baal Moloch. תּפת is not derived from the Persian; nor is it true that, as Hitz. asserts, it does not occur till after the beginning of the Assyrian period, since we have it in Job 17:6. It is formed from תּוּף, to spit out, like נפת from נוּף; and means properly a spitting out, then that before or on which one spits (as in Job 17:6), object of deepest abhorrence. It is transferred to the worship of Moloch here and Jeremiah 19:6, Jeremiah 19:13., and in 2 Kings 23:10. In the latter passage the word is unquestionably used for the place in the valley of Benhinnom where children were offered to Moloch. So in Jeremiah 19:6, Jeremiah 19:13 (the place of Tophet), and Jeremiah 19:14; and so also, without a doubt, in Jeremiah 7:32 of the present chapter. There is no valid reason for departing from this well-ascertained local signification; "high altars of the Tophet" may perfectly well be the high altars of the place of abominable sacrifices. With the article the word means the ill-famed seat of the Moloch-worship, situated in the valley of Ben or Bne Hinnom, to the south of Jerusalem. Hinnom is nomen propr. of a man of whom we know nothing else, and בּן( בּני הנּום) is not an appellative: son of sobbing, as Hitz., Graf, Bttcher explain (after Rashi), rendering the phrase by "Valley of the weepers," or "of groaning, sobbing," with reference to the cries of the children slain there for sacrifices. For the name Ben-hinnom is much older than the Moloch-worship, introduced first by Ahaz and Manasseh. We find it in Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16, in the topographical account of the boundaries of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. As to Moloch-worship, see on Leviticus 18:21 and Ezekiel 16:20. At the restoration of the public worship of Jahveh, Josiah had extirpated Moloch-worship, and had caused the place of the sacrifice of abominations in the valley of Ben-hinnom to be defiled (2 Kings 23:20); so that it is hardly probable that it had been again restored immediately after Josiah's death, at the beginning of Jehoiakim's reign. Nor does the present passage imply this; for Jer. is not speaking of the forms of idolatry at that time in favour with the Jews, but of the abominations they had done. That he had Manasseh's doings especially in view, we may gather from Jeremiah 15:4, where the coming calamities are expressly declared to be the punishment for Manasseh's sins. Neither is it come into my heart, i.e., into my mind, goes to strengthen: which I have not commanded.

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