And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung on the face of the earth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Whom they have loved . . .—Here, again, there is a peculiar characteristic emphasis in the piling up, one upon another, of verbs more or less synonymous. So far as there is a traceable order, it is from the first inward impulse prompting to idolatry to the full development of that feeling in ritual. The sun, moon, and stars shall look, not on crowds of adoring worshippers, but on the carcases of those whose love and worship, transferred from Jehovah to the host of heaven, have brought on them that terrible doom.
loved … served … after … walked … sought … worshipped—Words are accumulated, as if enough could not be said fully to express the mad fervor of their idolatry to the heavenly host (2Ki 23:5).
nor … buried—(Jer 22:19).
dung—(Jer 9:22; Ps 83:10).They shall spread them before the sun; not gather them together into charnel-houses, as we usually do out of humanity, but scatter them about as it were to be turned into dust and dung.
And the moon, and all the host of heaven, viz. all the rest of the stars, to show that they should not lie out in the day time only, but night also, before the moon and stars, Jeremiah 36:30. Their carcasses shall be cast to their idols, Leviticus 26:30 2 Kings 23:14,20; a kind of lex talionis, that as they had served and worshipped these creatures, God doth, as it were, appoint them as spectators and witnesses of his vengeance, and what contempt he pours upon them, their carcasses being brought before their idols, which will be so shameful, as if one should draw forth the adulteress with the adulterer into open view, and expose them together; and it also insinuates the inability that is in these dumb idols to help them in their misery.
Whom they have loved: this and the following term serve to express the greatness and variety of their affection and zeal in their worshipping of them, Deu 4:19 2 Kings 23:5 Jeremiah 7:18: he multiplies words, as it were implying that there can hardly be words enough to express their folly and madness, the Gentiles worshipping these creatures, not only for their beauty and lustre, but, according to their ancient philosophy, apprehending them to have been living creatures, and that all events were ordered by them.
They shall be for dung upon the face of the earth; on the superficies of it; there shall be no care taken of them, but they shall lie in the open country in the air, till they rot into dung, or dry into dust, as in the beginning of the verse; see Psalm 83:10 Jeremiah 9:22; they shall be ignominious even after death.
whom they have loved; whereas they ought to have loved the Lord their God, and him only: it means an idolatrous love of and affection for them; and not the love of them, as creatures for use and delight; otherwise the light of the sun, moon, and stars, is sweet, and their influence great; and a pleasant thing it is to behold them, and especially the former of them, the fountain of light and heat: and whom they have served; more and besides the Creator of them, whom they should have served, the Lord of hosts, and him only:
and after whom they have walked; not in a natural and literal sense, but in a religious one, as is after explained:
and whom they have sought; for advice and counsel, and by making their prayers and supplications to them:
and whom they have worshipped; by bowing the knee, or kissing the hand; by offering sacrifices, and burning incense, and putting up petitions to them; by trusting in them, and expecting good things from them; see 2 Kings 21:3,
they shall not be gathered, nor be buried: meaning not the men that should die in those times, but the bones that should be brought out of the graves; these, having been scattered about, should not be collected together again, and replaced in their sepulchres:
they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth; that is, they should lie and rot upon the face of the earth, and crumble into dust, and become dung for it; see Psalm 83:10.And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. host of heaven] Such worship was frequent, as we see from 2 Kings 17:16; 2 Kings 21:3; Zephaniah 1:5, in the time of the later kings. Cp. Jeremiah 19:13; Ezekiel 8:16.Verse 2. - And they shall spread them, etc. Not as an act of solemn mockery, for the agents are idolaters themselves, but God so overrules the passions of his unconscious instruments that no more effective ceremonial could have been devised. Whom they have loved, etc. The prophet is designedly diffuse in his description. With all their misspent zeal, these unhappy idolaters cannot even find tombs. 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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