Matthew Poole's Commentary
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,JEREMIAH CHAPTER 7.
A call to true repentance, Jeremiah 7:1-7; and not, living in theft, murder, adultery, perjury, &c.. to trust in the outward worship and temple of God, by the example of Shiloh, Jeremiah 7:8-15. The prophet is forbid to pray for them, Jeremiah 7:16. Their idolatry, and its judgment, Jeremiah 7:17-20. Their sacrifices rejected, and obedience required, Jeremiah 7:21-28. They are called to mourn for their abominations in Tophet, and their judgments, Jeremiah 7:29-34.
See Jeremiah 1:2. This is the title of a new sermon, much of the nature of the former, which readeth to Jeremiah 10.
Stand in the gate of the LORD'S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.Stand in the gate, viz. the east gate, which was chiefly frequented; this being the public place of going out and coming in, and where the people were then wont to assemble, Jeremiah 26:2,10; and he is said to stand, because he was to execute the office of a preacher, Jeremiah 26:2, not of a judge, where the posture would rather have been sitting.
The Lord’s house; the temple, Jeremiah 7:4,10.
Proclaim there: the place notes the vanity of their confidence, who, notwithstanding all their provocations, yet placed their safety much in the privileges of the temple, glorying much in that; and the manner. proclaiming, signifies both the authority by which he spake, and the divulging of what he spake plainly and boldly, which as it was in a public place, viz. the court of the people, not the court of the priests, (from which it is distinguished, 2 Chronicles 4:9) and therefore said at these gates, viz. the several gates that were in the wall of the court, of which there were six, three on the south side and three on the north; so, possibly, it might be at some public time of the people’s resorting thither from all quarters, Psalm 122:4,5, when all the males were to meet, Exodus 23:17; see John 7:37; and therefore said,
all ye of Judah. This word; the message that I send thee with.
The word of the Lord: see Jeremiah 2:4.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.Amend your ways and your doings, i.e. mend your manners. Amending signifies both to turn from our evil works, and make our good better.
I will cause you to dwell in this place; you shall not go into captivity, implying that otherwise they should; he will continue their habitations to them from age to age, as Jeremiah 7:7. The doing of a thing in Scripture often implies the continuance of it: Leviticus 26:11,
I will set my tabernacle, i.e. I will continue it.
Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.Because this was God’s house, wherein he had promised to dwell, and that for ever, Psalm 132:13,14, they flattered themselves that he could dwell no where else, and would not depart, and certainly would not suffer the Chaldeans to destroy this, and therefore that no evil could befall them, as they promised themselves, Micah 3:11; therefore the prophet cautions them not to deceive themselves in trusting to the temple and its buildings, as the two courts, and house, and holy of holies, implied in the word these, which he doth as it were point to with his finger; (for where the prophets speak distinctly of the form of the temple, they reckon the court, where the people did sacrifice, and the holy place, or house, whereinto the priests only did enter, and the oracle, or holy of holies, wherein was the ark of the covenant, and into which only the high priest entered, and that but once a year;) which these hypocrites looked upon themselves secured by, as it were, by a treble wall, fort, or bulwark, that they could not miscarry; but he would have them to know that neither these, nor the services belonging to them, will be able to secure them, Jeremiah 7:8 Jeremiah 4:14; and it is likely their false prophets did thus persuade them, whose prophecies he calls here these
lying words; but God will have them know that he doth not choose a nation for the place’s sake, but the place for the nation’s sake; the like caution the apostle gives them, 1 Corinthians 10:2, &c. The emphasis that may be in this threefold repetition seems rather to relate to the confident and often reiterated brags and boasts of the temple that were in their mouths, than the worth and excellency of it, in regard of God’s owning it.
These; the prophet, standing in the gate at which the people entered, doth as it were point at the several buildings appertaining to the temple, viz. the courts, house, oracle, &c.
For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;He tells them, it is not their vain confidence in their privileges, and boasting of the temple, but only their serious and thorough repentance in turning to God, both in point of piety and equity, that can secure them.
Between a man and his neighbour, i.e. impartially among one another, between man and man, without favour or hatred.
If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:Here they are cautioned against three sins that this people were generally addicted to, oppression, blood, and idolatry; and he instanceth in the worst of oppressions, viz. of such as God hath more especially taken into his immediate protection, because these are most void of help, and most obnoxious to injuries; the
stranger, Exodus 22:21, the
fatherless, and widow, Jeremiah 7:22-24; see them all three together, Deu 10:18 27:19: see on Isaiah 10:1,2: and where God speaks of right administering of justice, he usually makes mention of these three, to prove the integrity and impartiality of justice; and though this may more properly respect the princes and great ones, yet I conceive here the prophet doth not so restrain it.
Shed not innocent blood, either by murder or unrighteous sentence; being one of those sins in special mentioned for which God expresseth his high displeasure, and will send the Chaldeans upon them, 2 Kings 24:4.
In this place; either in this city in special, or the whole land in general; see Jeremiah 7:3; and there he would show what a foolish thing it is that they should boast of their security in this place, and yet shed blood, which pollutes every place, Numbers 35:31, &c.
Neither walk after other gods; abstain from your idolatrous courses and depart not from my pure and uncorrupted worship, unto your superstitious and hypocritical service; and he adds to
your hurt, or your own hurt, to show that they will be the only sufferers by it, not God, Jeremiah 7:19. God is neither benefited nor damaged by any thing that we can do, Job 35:6-8.
Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.Then, i.e. upon this condition, that you will return unto me, then either I will establish and fix you in the land; or, as anciently read, sachanti in kal, I will dwell, viz. amongst you in this place, otherwise not.
In this place, viz. Judea, both in Jerusalem and the whole country, as the next words manifest.
For ever and ever, i.e. from age to age, as your fathers did before you from the days of Joshua until now.
Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.Behold; take notice of it, and think of it seriously.
Ye trust in lying words; either flattering yourselves with your own conceits, whereby, in your discourses, you strengthen one another; or depending upon the delusions of your false prophets, Jeremiah 5:31 23:26,27; or rather, bolstering yourselves up upon your privileges or bare ceremonies, which you so much boast of, as Jeremiah 7:4; all which he tells them will profit them nothing.
Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;Here the prophet mentions divers of those sins in which they were notorious, they were thieves, murderers, adulterers, perjured idolaters, &c, :q.d. Can you think that this can be grateful unto me, or any whit advantageous to yourselves, to frequent my house, and yet retain these odious sins, as if I were a companion for thieves, murderers, &c.?
Gods whom ye know not; such as they had set up new, and never had any experience of, and therefore could have no reason to serve them; therefore called new gods, Deu 32:17 Judges 5:8: but of his power and goodness they had had ample proof, in their deliverance from Egypt, and the wonderful miracles and signs that God had shown them in the wilderness, and his victorious arm for them in Canaan; of which things these Jews could not be ignorant, and therefore the more inexcusable. Four of these sins respect the second table, these two last the first. The name of
Baal is here put for all idols.
And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?And come and stand before me in this house; in the temple; either as if they had done no such thing, like the whore, that wipes her mouth, and saith she hath done no wickedness, Proverbs 30:20, noting their deep hypocrisy; or else that barely this would expiate for all their abominations, as if they could make God amends for their sins by their duties; and their posture of standing notes their service, 1 Kings 10:8 Proverbs 22:29.
Which is called by my name; that is acknowledged to bc my house, and bears my name, dedicated to me.
We are delivered to do all these abominations; that is, after they had appeared before God with their sacrifices, either they thought themselves safe from all danger, and freed from God’s judgments, Malachi 3:15; or rather privileged to return to all those wickednesses again, hereby noting their impudence. See Isaiah 1:12, &c. LXX. read it, we have abstained from all these abominations, as if these were the lying words in which they trusted.
Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.Robbers, Heb. breakers through. The word is taken in a large notion for all sorts of plunderers, whether in house, Ezekiel 7:22, or field, highway-men, Daniel 11:14. Do yon look upon this house as a sanctuary and refuge for robbers and murderers? do you esteem it so, and is it so in your eyes? so the phrase is used Numbers 13:33, &c.; hereby making me an abettor of all your lewdness, Matthew 21:13; a metaphor taken from wild beasts and mischievous persons, that do both secure themselves and hide their prey in holes and caves of the earth, Psalm 10:8,9.
I have seen it: q.d. As crafty as you are, you cannot hide these things from me, nor all those workings of your thoughts about them, Psalm 10:11,13,14 Eze 18:12. He checks their foolish vain confidences, whereby they deceive themselves, Isaiah 29:15. God will not be blinded by all their vain oblations.
But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.Shiloh; a place that did belong to the tribe of Ephraim, Psalm 78:60, compare Psalm 78:67; the situation whereof see Judges 21:19; and called God’s house, as the temple is, 1 Samuel 1:3,7: he sends them hither for an example, which had the same privileges and holiness with the temple; not to go thither locally, but to cast their thoughts back, and consider of it, that they might know that God’s presence is not tied to places, Acts 7:48.
Where I set my name at the first; where I did at first give you the token and pledges of my presence among you, when you first entered into the pleasant land, noting the antiquity of Shiloh before the temple.
What I did to it, i.e. he utterly forsook it; he did not only deliver up his people into the Philistines’ hands, but the ark also, the token of his presence, which never returned to Shiloh more; and afterwards delivered the ten tribes, wherein Shiloh was situate, into captivity to the Assyrian; see Jeremiah 7:14,15; wherein he upbraids them for their folly ill thinking that the ark or altar in the temple should any more privilege them than it did Shiloh.
For the wickedness of my people; he gives them the reason of it in these words, the wickedness of his people, and chiefly the priests, Hophni and Phinehas, Eli’s sons, 1 Samuel 2:12, &c.; and why should they think to escape, who did equal, if not exceed them?
And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not;These works; either the same, or as bad, or worse than they did at Shiloh; or particularly those mentioned Jeremiah 7:9.
Rising up early; a metaphor taken from persons that are diligent in their business, they use to rise up early: q.d. I did not only speak by my prophets, but they in my name used all diligence to reclaim you, Jeremiah 11:7,8 25:3,4, calling earnestly unto you; by which he means his exhortations and menaces, which ought to have had some efficacy upon them; but you slighted, and disregarded, and would not come at my call, Proverbs 1:24. See Poole "2 Chronicles 36:15", See Poole "2 Chronicles 36:16", and See Poole "Isaiah 1:2".
Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.Therefore, because they have added this their obstinate refusing of all admonitions to the rest of their provocations,
will I do unto this house, viz. cause the consecrated things of the temple to be taken away by the hand of the Babylonians. The place, see Jeremiah 7:7, which I gave to you, viz. upon condition of your obedience, Psalm 105:44,45, and therefore may justly, upon the breach of the condition, take from you again, nay, by virtue of my sovereignty, Job 1:21.
Shiloh: see Jeremiah 7:12.
And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.You shall have my presence with and watchful eye over you no more, but I will send you into captivity to Babylon. as I did your brethren into Assyria. See on 2 Kings 17:6,18. And he terms them here
brethren, to let them know that they and Israel proceeded from the same stock, and therefore had no reason to expect but it should fare alike with them, seeing their sins were alike, 2 Kings 21:13,14, &c.
Ephraim, viz. the ten tribes, Isaiah 7:1,2, compared; called by this name often, because that was the most numerous and potent of all of them; Jeroboam their first king was of that tribe.
Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.God forbids his prophets to pray for them in any kind by any cry or intercession; or, running upon me, which shows that God is resolved to root them out, seeing he will admit of no intercession; according as he charged Moses, Exodus 32:10, and the like Jeremiah 11:14. For God had been wont to suffer himself to be prevailed with by the mediation of his servants, as of Moses, Exodus 32:11,14 Num 14:19,20; but now he would admit of no intercession. See Ezekiel 14:14,20, and Jeremiah 15:1, and the next words. This charge seems to be laid upon the prophet, partly to take off the envy of the people from him, when they knew he was commanded to do no otherwise; partly to embolden him in this unpleasing work, laying aside all compassion. But certainly the prophet did pray that God would mind his covenant in saving a remnant, though not that God would revoke his decree, and to save the body of them.
Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?q.d. How canst thou pass along the streets but thou must needs be an eye witness of their abominations, to thy no small trouble and sorrow? as Sodom was to Lot, 2 Peter 2:8; therefore how canst thou plead with me on their behalf? How canst thou either pray for them, or I pity them?
In the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem; in city and country. See Jeremiah 2:28 11:13.
The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.Here God shows how busily they are employed from the youngest to the oldest, and how industrious for their idolatry, Jeremiah 44:1-7; see Matthew 24:38; every one in the family doth somewhat towards it.
The children gather wood, or sticks; for the word is plural, and so used Numbers 15:32,33; an employment, if we understand small sticks, proper for children; if greater wood, suitable to youth, who excel in strength, and may be understood by children and young ones.
The fathers kindle the fire; they heat the oven, hearth, or stone on which they were baked.
The women knead their dough, to make cakes; prepare all the materials of which to make cakes; probably they were of some particular shape, or had some peculiar impression of some of their gods stamped upon them, like the popish wafers, some say stamped with stars, as being offered up to the host of heaven, or with some peculiar star, Amos 5:26 Acts 7:43.
To the queen of heaven; or, frame or workmanship of heaven: this is diversely interpreted; some take it for the sun, which is signified by a word of the feminine gender, Isaiah 24:23, and of a feminine use, Nahum 3:17; some for the moon; as the sun was looked upon as king, so the moon as the queen of heaven, because of the largeness of her body in which she appears, and of the light she gives, but especially by reason of the government she exerciseth over inferior bodies; others, more probably, for the whole host of heaven, Jeremiah 8:2 19:13, and so the LXX, according to which probably for their sakes they received divers stamps and impressions: they that would see more may consult the English Annotations and the Synopsis.
To pour out drink-offerings, viz. wine and other strong drinks, Exodus 29:40,41 Num 28:7. The devil is God’s ape, and taught idolaters to use the same rites and ceremonies that were used in God’s worship; therefore here these idolaters, in pouring their drinkofferings, which might seem to be blood, or at least blood mixed with them, See Poole "Psalm 16:4", imitated God’s drink-offerings, as they did his meat-offerings in their cakes, as in Le 2; by these they did furnish the table mentioned Isaiah 65:11, see there.
That they may provoke me to anger; noting rather the proper effects and consequences of their idolatries, than that they did propound to themselves such an end in doing it; but it seemed to be a kind of bidding open defiance to God, by which it appears they were all mad upon their idolatries; they were set upon it, as David’s heart was set upon the worship of God, Psalm 16:8.
Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?Do they think to grieve me, and trouble my mind? They are deceived, I am without passion, and can be without their offerings. Will not they themselves feel the smart of it? Jeremiah 7:6. Will they not procure anger to themselves, as an arrow falls on the head of him that shoots? 1 Corinthians 10:22: of the phrase see Jeremiah 3:25.
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.Mine anger; put for his revenge, by a metonymy of the cause for the effect.
My fury: this expresseth his anger boiled up to the height, Jeremiah 4:4.
Poured out; a metaphor taken from violent rains; see Jeremiah 6:11; and may in particular allude to those showers of fire that were poured out upon Sodom, Genesis 19:24.
Upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground: these particulars are enumerated to express an utter desolation and ruin; see Jeremiah 4:25; and it is threatened against those creatures which are innocent, because they were made for the use of man, partly that it might show how greatly God is offended, and that it should work upon them not only a greater fear of his judgments, but a greater shame for their sin, that they should occasion such sufferings upon the innocent creature, Romans 8:20,22.
Shall not be quenched: he follows the threatening with showing the irresistibleness of it; his resolution is not to be revoked, Jeremiah 4:4; and this is suitable to the charge he gave the prophet, Jeremiah 7:16.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh.The ironical words of one that seems to be in a great rage: Take those that are peculiar, and to be all burnt to me, 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.
For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:Some would argue from hence that sacrifices were at first an invention of men, as papists and Socinians; and because they should not be used to idols, God gave way for the introducing them into his worship; but it is evident in Scripture that they have been of Divine institution ever since Adam, Genesis 4:3,4. As to the meaning of the words, God doth not condemn them, or deny them, save only comparatively in respect of obedience, not so much these as obeying his commands, 1 Samuel 15:22 Hosea 6:6, i.e. mercy rather than sacrifice. Negatives are often put for comparatives, Genesis 45:8 Exodus 16:8 John 5:45. Hence the Hebrew is, the matter of burnt-offerings; for sacrifices were not instituted for themselves, but for other uses, and to be signs of faith in his promises, and obedience to his commands, as in the next verse, where the condition, promise, and end are all set down.
But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.This thing, or word, which is the rule by which all obedience is to be tried, viz. what commands, every thing else being but mere superstition.
That it may be well unto you: he shows what would be the good effect of their obedience, Exodus 15:26 Deu 5:29,33, which implies that their sufferings are from their perverseness, as it is expressed in the next verse.
But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.Nor inclined their ear: it notes something of a higher degree of non-attention than bare not hearkening, viz. their not listening that they might obey what they hear, Jeremiah 7:26 11:8, noting not only their slightness, but their stiffness.
The imagination, or stubbornness. See Jeremiah 3:17.
Went backward, and not forward, like restive beasts; see Jeremiah 2:27; a sign of their contempt; implying either,
1. They were worse by their admonitions and corrections, and so nothing did thrive with them. Or,
2. From the very first they have gone further and further from me, as Jeremiah 7:25,26.
3. Or else depending upon their outward services, they set not my commands before their eyes, but cast my true worship behind their backs, Matthew 23:23.
Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them:God seems to upbraid them with their stock, they came of a perverse kind, their very fathers were so before them, and they have continued in their perverseness, Nehemiah 9:16,17; they did not now begin to be rebellious, but it had been their practice all along; never ceasing from the time their fathers came out of Egypt to the days of Jeremiah.
I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets; God tells them what care he had taken to inform them in their duty and happiness, not once or twice, but sending messengers to them seasonably and constantly, from first to last, 2 Chronicles 36:15 Nehemiah 9:29,30 Am 2:10,11. See Poole "Jeremiah 7:13", and See Poole "Jeremiah 25:3", See Poole "Jeremiah 25:4", &c. The church of God hath never wanted teachers raised up and sent by God.
Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.Their fathers had done bad enough, but they were so far from reforming, that they did worse than their fathers, Judges 2:19, Jeremiah 9:3; and whereas he had said before your fathers, now changing the person he saith
their fathers, as it were in great displeasure turning away from them to the prophet, as one speaking, but in vain, to such a stupid people.
Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee.Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them, viz. revive upon them all that thou hast been speaking to them from me these forty years and upwards. Whereby God shows that there is nothing wanting on his part; for notwithstanding all their perverseness, yet he still warns them by his prophet, which will leave them the more inexcusable, Ezekiel 2:5,7.
But they will not hearken to thee: this must needs be a great trial to the prophet, that he is assured that he shall speak to them in vain. But this God acquaints him with beforehand, partly for Jeremiah’s sake, that he should not be discouraged, but the more emboldened, though he saw no success, Ezekiel 2:7; and partly for the people’s sake, that being foretold of their obstinacy, they might bethink themselves and repent, if yet there might be hope, Lamentations 3:29.
Thou shalt also call unto them, but they will not answer thee: this shows their further refractoriness, that were not only deaf to God’s message by his prophet, but though he cried loud, followed one exhortation with another, yet they would make no return unto it.
But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the Lord their God; spoke in a way of contempt: q.d. A nation more than heathenish; though they profess themselves a peculiar people to me, yet to be numbered among the Gentiles.
Nor receiveth correction, i.e. answer not the ends of correction, viz. to be instructed, Jeremiah 5:3, and submit their necks to the yoke, which laid the foundation of all their rebellion.
Truth is perished, and is off from their mouth; there is no trusting or believing them in any thing they say or do; no veracity or fidelity, but perfidious both to God and men, being all filed with hypocrisy, lies, and deceits.
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.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,
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.
For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.The children of Judah; either Judah’s posterity, Joshua 14:6, or Judah’s inhabitants, which are often called their children; so Jeremiah 2 16. In my sight, i.e. though they will not see it, yet I see it, and they shall know that it is in my sight, i.e. that it displeaseth me.
They have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name: here he instanceth in one species of their abominations for all the rest, whereby it appears they were grown to a great height of impiety. It was not enough to have their idols and superstitions abroad in the hills and groves, nor in private in their own houses, Isaiah 57:6-8 Jeremiah 19:13; but they must bring them into God’s house, as Manasseh did, 2 Kings 21:4; God having but one house in the world, as it were, to confront him, 2 Chronicles 36:14 Jeremiah 32:31 Ezekiel 43:8.
And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.High places of Tophet; See Poole "Isaiah 30:33". It comes from Toph, that signifies a drum, because they did beat drums to hinder the noise of their children’s screeches, when they burnt them in sacrifice upon the altars, called here, high places, to Moloch, which is also called Melchom.
Which is in the valley of the son on Hinnom: Tophet was situate in a pleasant valley near Jerusalem, a place in the possession of the children of one Hinnom, Joshua 15:8, watered by the river of Siloe.
To burn their sons and their daughters in the fire: this most inhuman practice of burning their children, even their own bowels, to Moloch, not their sons only, but their daughters, who were most tender, the did expressly against the command and caution of God; See Poole "Deu 18:10"; having learned it of the heathen, Deu 12:30,31, the devil commanding them so to do by his oracles. They took pattern from the Samaritans where those of every nation make gods of their own, 2 Kings 17:29-31.
Neither came it into my heart; which was always so far from my approving, that I never let it come into my thought or debate, whether I should or not; or which I abhorred from my heart: he speaks herein after the manner of men: see Jeremiah 3:16 32:35
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place.It shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom: they were called so after this, and are known by those names to this day; but the meaning is, they shall acquire a name from another occasion, that shall suit them as well, viz. for the great slaughter that shall be made there, or rather thereabouts, in and about Jerusalem, and therefore called
the valley of slaughter, from the effect of slaughter; as Judas’s field was called Aceldama, Acts 1:19, being a place for burying of the slain, as the next words show.
They shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place; either there shall be so great a slaughter made upon that spot by the Chaldeans, that they shall bury as many as the place will contain, and the rest of the carcasses they shall throw on heaps, to rot above ground; for to lie unburied is frequently used as a curse on such, the burying of the dead being accounted as a thing sacred, and a significant symbol of the resurrection: or those that are slain in and about Jerusalem, at the siege and taking of it, shall be carried thither to be buried, either because there shall be no burying-places left about Jerusalem, or that valley shall be filled till there be no place for more, that hereby it may be so polluted, that no thoughts of holiness may remain in it; for a dead carcass under the law was unclean; and that which before was a valley of pleasure and great delight, and they had dedicated to God, shall now be a valley of slaughter.
And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away.The birds and beasts of prey shall feed on them, being exposed to open view for want of interment, Jeremiah 19:7,
and none shall fray them away; ( a piece of humanity that even nature itself teacheth;) either by reason of the enemy’s presence, for fear of whom they durst not; or rather, because there will be none left to do it: and this is reckoned among the curses, Deu 28:26.
Then will I cause to cease from 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 the land shall be desolate.All kind and degrees of mirth shall cease, Revelation 18:23, all places shall be filled with lamentations and woe; their singing shall be turned into sighing; they shall lay aside all things that are for the comfort of Human society, which is to be understood in this expression.
For the land shall be desolate; there shall be such an utter devastation, that there shall be neither season nor place for these things, Isaiah 64:10,11 Jer 25:10: where marrying shall cease, without which mankind cannot subsist, there must needs be desolation.