Jeremiah 8:1
At that time, said the LORD, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves:
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(1) At that time.—There is, it is obvious, no break in the discourse, and the time is therefore that of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldæans, and of the burial of the slain. Not even the dead should sleep in peace. With an awful re-iteration of the word, so as to give the emphasis as of the toll of a funeral bell, the prophet heaps clause upon clause, “the bones of the kings,” “the bones of the princes,” and so on. The motives of this desecration of the sepulchres might be either the wanton ferocity of barbarian conquerors, bent, after the manner of savage warfare, on the mutilation of the dead, or the greed of gain and the expectation of finding concealed treasures. So Hyrcanus, to the great scandal of the Jews, broke open the sepulchre of David (Joseph., Ant. vii. 15).

Jeremiah 8:1-2. At that time, &c. — The first three verses of this chapter properly belong to the preceding, and ought not to have been separated from it. They shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah — “The Chaldeans shall regard neither the living nor the dead. They shall put the living to death without remorse; and shall break open and defile the tombs of the dead, in hopes of finding riches deposited there. They shall cast them out of their sepulchres, and leave them upon the ground, without staying to collect them together, and replace them.” We learn from Josephus (Antiq, lib. 7, cap. ult.) that King Solomon laid up vast treasures in his father’s sepulchre, which remained untouched till the pontificate of Hyrcanus, who, on a public emergency, opened one of the cells, and took out at once three thousand talents of silver. And afterward Herod the Great opened another cell, out of which he also took considerable wealth. That it was no uncommon practice at the sacking of cities to open the monuments of the great, and scatter their bones abroad without concerning themselves to cover them again, the learned reader may see in Horace’s 16th Epod. Jeremiah 50:13. And they shall spread, or expose, them before the sun and the moon, &c. — The idols which they have worshipped, but which shall not be able to help them in their misery. Whom they have loved, served, walked after, sought, worshipped — The prophet multiplies words to express their extraordinary zeal in the service of their idols, and to ridicule the folly and madness of their idolatry. And they shall not be gathered, &c. — The bones which shall be thus scattered about shall not be gathered again, or laid up in their sepulchres.8:1-3 Though no real hurt can be done to a dead body, yet disgrace to the remains of wicked persons may alarm those yet alive; and this reminds us that the Divine justice and punishments extend beyond the grave. Whatever befalls us here, let us humble ourselves before God, and seek his mercy.Not the living only but the dead shall be exposed to the ruthless violence of the enemy, who will ransack the graves of the wealthier classes. CHAPTER 8

Jer 8:1-22. The Jew's Coming Punishment; Their Universal and Incurable Impenitence.

1. The victorious Babylonians were about to violate the sanctuaries of the dead in search of plunder; for ornaments, treasures, and insignia of royalty were usually buried with kings. Or rather, their purpose was to do the greatest dishonor to the dead (Isa 14:19).The calamity of the Jews, both dead and alive, Jeremiah 8:1-3. Their brutish impenitency, Jeremiah 8:4-7: Their vain boast of wisdom; their covetousness, security, impudence, Jeremiah 8:8-12. Their grievous judgments, Jeremiah 8:13-17; bewailed by the prophet, Jeremiah 8:18-22.

This chapter being a continuation of the former, he proceeds in carrying on the threatening with higher aggravations of the judgment, viz. that when the time shall come spoken of Jeremiah 7:32, the Chaldeans’ rage shall reach, not only to the living, but even against those that are in their graves, and that sparing none of any degree or quality.

They shall bring out the bones of the nobles and princes, as Manasseh and others, possibly led to it out of greediness, supposing to find great treasure in their sepulchres; of the

priests and prophets, principally the false ones, as a just judgment of God against them for deceiving the people; of the

inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their spite and fury kindled against them, as soldiers, or in contempt and ignominy: and this notes the utter desolation of the city, not only razing the walls, but turning up the very sepulchres, which were accounted sacred, and not to be violated.

At that time, saith the Lord, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah,.... That is, either the Chaldeans or the Romans would do this; for this refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, either by the former or the latter; and it is certain that Jerusalem was ploughed up by the Romans, whereby the prophecy in Micah 3:12 was accomplished; when it is highly probable the graves were dug up, and the bones of the dead brought out, and scattered abroad by way of revenge; or it may be that graves were opened, especially the graves of kings and great men, for the sake of finding treasure in them: it follows,

and the bones of his princes; of the princes of Judah:

and the bones of the priests; that sacrificed to idols:

and the bones of the prophets: the false prophets; though this might be the case of the priests and prophets of the Lord; whose bones, in this general devastation, might be exposed as well as others; which of all might be thought to be the most sacred: and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem out of their graves; high and low, rich and poor, male and female; their graves, in common, were without the city.

At that time, saith the LORD, they shall bring the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their {a} graves:

(a) The enemy for greediness will rifle your graves and lay you before those idols, who in your life you worshipped, to see if they can help you.

Jeremiah 8:1. they shall bring out] Not, apparently, with the hope of finding spoil, treasures and ornaments of value being often buried with the dead (cp. Darius’s fruitless visit to the tomb of Nitocris, Herod. I. 187), but that the objects of their former devotion might look down on the indignities to which those who had served them were subject, as a cause of painful disquiet to their shades in the unseen world.Verses 1-3. - Punishment will even overtake the sinners who have long since been deceased. Verse 1. - They shall bring out the bones. Not only shall many of the dead bodies remain unburied, but the sepulchers of those who have till now "lain in honor, each one in his house" (Isaiah 14:18), shall be violated. The inhabitants of Jerusalem meant are evidently those of the upper class, for the others were buried, with but little regard to the security of the corpses, in the valley of Kedron (2 Kings 23:6). According to some, the motive of this invasion of the chambers of the dead is avarice (comp. Herod., 1:187, Darius at the tomb of Nitocris); but the context, without excluding this view, rather suggests malice and contempt. Thus "the wrath of man" was to "praise" Jehovah (Psalm 76:10). Therefore 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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