Jeremiah 8:1
At that time, saith 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). Jeremiah 8:1But even then the judgment has not come to a height. Even sinners long dead must yet bear the shame of their sins. "At that time" points back to "days come" in Jeremiah 7:32. The Masoretes wished to have the ו before יוציאוּ deleted, apparently because they took it for ו consec. But it here stands before the jussive, as it does frequently, e.g., Jeremiah 13:10, Exodus 12:3. They will take the bones of the kings, princes, priests, and prophets, the rulers and leaders of the people (cf. Jeremiah 2:26), and the bones of the other inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves, and spread them out before the sun, the moon, and the stars, i.e., expose them under the open sky to the influence of the heavenly bodies, so that they shall rot away, become "dung on the face of the earth." The worst dishonour that could be done to the dead, a just return in kind for their worship of sun, moon, and stars: cf. Exodus 7:18; 2 Kings 21:5; 2 Kings 23:11. This worship the prophet describes in its various stages: "Inclination of the heart, the act of devoting and dedicating themselves to the service, the frequenting of gods' sanctuary in order to worship and to obtain oracles; while he strives to bring out in strong relief the contrast between the zeal of their service and the reward they get by it" (Hitz.). They shall not be gathered, i.e., for burial: cf. 2 Samuel 21:13.; 1 Samuel 31:13. The dead shall suffer this at the hands of enemies despoiling the land. The reason for so doing was, as Jerome observes, the practice of burying ornaments and articles of value along with the dead. Seeking for such things, enemies will turn up the graves (cf. acts of this kind the case of Ibn Chaldun, in Sylv. de Sacy, Abdollat. p. 561), and, in their hatred and insolence, scatter the bones of the dead all about.
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