Jeremiah 8:8
New International Version
"'How can you say, "We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD," when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?

New Living Translation
“‘How can you say, “We are wise because we have the word of the LORD,” when your teachers have twisted it by writing lies?

English Standard Version
“How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie.

Berean Study Bible
How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the Law of the LORD is with us,’ when in fact the lying pen of the scribes has produced a deception?

King James Bible
How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain.

New King James Version
“How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? Look, the false pen of the scribe certainly works falsehood.

New American Standard Bible
“How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the Law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie.

NASB 1995
"How can you say, 'We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us'? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie.

NASB 1977
“How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie.

Amplified Bible
“How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us [and we are learned in its language and teachings]’? Behold, [the truth is that] the lying pen of the scribes Has made the law into a lie [a mere code of ceremonial observances].

Christian Standard Bible
“How can you claim, ‘We are wise; the law of the LORD is with us’? In fact, the lying pen of scribes has produced falsehood.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
"How can you claim, 'We are wise; the law of the LORD is with us? In fact, the lying pen of scribes has produced falsehood.

American Standard Version
How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of Jehovah is with us? But, behold, the false pen of the scribes hath wrought falsely.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
How do you say: ‘We are wise and the Law of LORD JEHOVAH is with us?’ Truly the lying pen of the Scribes is made for falsehood!

Brenton Septuagint Translation
How will ye say, We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? In vain have the scribes used a false pen.

Contemporary English Version
You say, "We are wise because we have the teachings and laws of the LORD." But I say that your teachers have turned my words into lies!

Douay-Rheims Bible
How do you say: We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? Indeed the lying pen of the scribes hath wrought falsehood.

English Revised Version
How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? But, behold, the false pen of the scribes hath wrought falsely.

Good News Translation
How can you say that you are wise and that you know my laws? Look, the laws have been changed by dishonest scribes.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
" 'How can you say that you are wise and that you have the LORD's teachings? The scribes have used their pens to turn these teachings into lies.

International Standard Version
How can you say, 'We're wise, and the Law of the LORD is with us,' when, in fact, the deceitful pen of the scribe has made it into something that deceives.

JPS Tanakh 1917
How do ye say: 'We are wise, And the Law of the LORD is with us'? Lo, certainly in vain hath wrought The vain pen of the scribes.

Literal Standard Version
How do you say, We [are] wise, "" And the Law of YHWH [is] with us? Surely, behold, it has worked falsely, "" The false pen of scribes.

NET Bible
How can you say, "We are wise! We have the law of the LORD"? The truth is, those who teach it have used their writings to make it say what it does not really mean.

New Heart English Bible
How can you say, "We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us?" But, look, the false pen of the scribes has worked falsely.

World English Bible
How do you say, We are wise, and the law of Yahweh is with us? But, behold, the false pen of the scribes has worked falsely.

Young's Literal Translation
How do ye say, We are wise, And the law of Jehovah is with us? Surely, lo, falsely it hath wrought, The false pen of scribes.

Additional Translations ...
Context
Judah's Sin and Punishment
7Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons. The turtledove, the swift, and the thrush keep their time of migration, but My people do not know the requirements of the LORD. 8How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the Law of the LORD is with us,’ when in fact the lying pen of the scribes has produced a deception? 9The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what wisdom do they really have?…

Cross References
Romans 1:22
Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools,

Job 5:12
He thwarts the schemes of the crafty, so that their hands find no success.

Job 5:13
He catches the wise in their craftiness, and sweeps away the plans of the cunning.

Jeremiah 4:22
"For My people are fools; they have not known Me. They are foolish children, without understanding. They are skilled in doing evil, but they know not how to do good."

Jeremiah 18:18
Then some said, "Come, let us make plans against Jeremiah, for the law will never be lost to the priest, nor counsel to the wise, nor an oracle to the prophet. Come, let us denounce him and pay no heed to any of his words."

Jeremiah 19:7
And in this place I will ruin the plans of Judah and Jerusalem. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, by the hands of those who seek their lives, and I will give their carcasses as food to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth.


Treasury of Scripture

How do you say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? See, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain.

We.

Job 5:12,13
He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise…

Job 11:12
For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt.

Job 12:20
He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged.

the law.

Psalm 147:19
He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.

Hosea 8:12
I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.

lo.

Matthew 15:6
And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

in vain.

Proverbs 17:6
Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.

Isaiah 10:1,2
Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; …









(8) How do ye say . . .?--The question is put to priests and prophets, who were the recognised expounders of the Law, but not to them only. The order of scribes, which became so dominant during the exile, was already rising into notice. Shaphan, to whom Hilkiah gave the re-found Book of the Law, belonged to it (2Chronicles 34:15), and the discovery of that book would naturally give a fresh impetus to their work. They were boasting of their position as the recognised instructors of the people.

Lo, certainly . . .--Better, Verily, lo! the lying pen of the scribes hath made it (i.e., the Law) as a lie. The pen was the iron stylus made for engraving on stone or metal. The meaning of the clause is clear. The sophistry of men was turning the truth of God into a lie, and emptying it of its noblest meaning. Already, as in other things, so here, in his protest against the teaching of the scribes, with their traditional and misleading casuistry, Jeremiah appears as foreshadowing the prophet of Nazareth (Matthew 5:20-48; Matthew 23:2-26).

Verse 8. - How do ye say, We are wise? Jeremiah is evidently addressing the priests and the prophets, whom he so constantly described as among the chief causes of Judah's ruin (comp. Ver. 10; Jeremiah 2:8, 26; Jeremiah 4:9; Jeremiah 5:31), and who, in Isaiah's day, regarded it as an unwarrantable assumption on the part of that prophet to pretend to instruct them in their duty (Isaiah 28:9). The law of the Lord is with us. "With us;" i.e. in our hands and mouths. (comp. Psalm 1:16). The word torah, commonly rendered" Law," is ambiguous, and a difference of opinion as to the meaning of this verse is inevitable. Some think these self-styled "wise" men reject Jeremiah's counsels on the ground that they already have the divinely given Law in a written form (comp. Romans 2:17-20), and that the Divine revelation is complete. Others that torah here, as often elsewhere in the prophets (e.g. Isaiah 1:10; Isaiah 8:16; Isaiah 42:4), simply means "instruction," or "direction," and describes the authoritative counsel given orally by the priests (Deuteronomy 17:11) and prophets to those who consulted them on points of ritual and practice respectively. The usage of Jeremiah himself favors the latter view (see Jeremiah 2:8; Jeremiah 18:18; and especially Jeremiah 26:4, 5, where "to walk in my Torah" is parallel to "to hearken to the words of my servants the prophets." The context equally points in this direction. The most natural interpretation, then, is this: The opponents of Jeremiah bade him keep his exhortations to himself, seeing that they themselves were wise and the divinely appointed teachers of the people. To this Jeremiah replies, not (as the Authorized Version renders) Lo, certainly in vain made he it, etc.; but, Yea, behold I for a lie hath it wrought - the lying pen of the scribes (so Authorized Version, margin). Soferim (scribes) is the term proper to all those who practiced the art of writing (sefer); it included, therefore, presumably at least, most, if not all, of the priests and prophets of whom Jeremiah speaks. There are indications enough that the Hebrew literature was not entirely confined to those whom we look up to as the inspired writers, and it is perfectly credible that the formalist priests and false prophets should have availed themselves of the pen as a means of giving greater currency to their teaching. Jeremiah warns his hearers to distrust a literature which is in the set-vice of false religious principles - a warning which prophets in the wider sense of the term ('The Liberty of Prophesyings') still have but too much occasion to repeat, tit is right, however, to mention another grammatically possible rendering, which is adopted by those who suppose torah in the preceding clause to mean the Mosaic Law: "Yea, behold, the lying pen of the scribes hath made (it) into a lie;" i.e. the professional interpreters of the Scriptures called scribes have, by their groundless comments and inferences, made the Scriptures (especially the noblest part, the Law) into a lie, so that it has ceased to represent the Divine will and teaching. The objections to this are:

(1) the necessity of supplying an object to the verb - the object would hardly have been omitted where its emission renders the meaning of the clause so doubtful;

(2) that this view attributes to the word soferim a meaning which only became prevalent in the time of Ezra (comp. Ezra 7:6, 11).]

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
How
אֵיכָ֤ה (’ê·ḵāh)
Interjection
Strong's 349: How?, how!, where

can you say,
תֹֽאמְרוּ֙ (ṯō·mə·rū)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - second person masculine plural
Strong's 559: To utter, say

‘We
אֲנַ֔חְנוּ (’ă·naḥ·nū)
Pronoun - first person common plural
Strong's 587: We

are wise,
חֲכָמִ֣ים (ḥă·ḵā·mîm)
Adjective - masculine plural
Strong's 2450: Wise

and the law
וְתוֹרַ֥ת (wə·ṯō·w·raṯ)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - feminine singular construct
Strong's 8451: Direction, instruction, law

of the LORD
יְהוָ֖ה (Yah·weh)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's 3068: LORD -- the proper name of the God of Israel

is with us?’
אִתָּ֑נוּ (’it·tā·nū)
Preposition | first person common plural
Strong's 854: Nearness, near, with, by, at, among

But in fact,
אָכֵן֙ (’ā·ḵên)
Adverb
Strong's 403: Firmly, surely, but

the lying
לַשֶּׁ֣קֶר (laš·še·qer)
Preposition-l, Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 8267: Deception, disappointment, falsehood

pen
עֵ֖ט (‘êṭ)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 5842: A stylus, marking stick

of the scribes
סֹפְרִֽים׃ (sō·p̄ə·rîm)
Noun - masculine plural
Strong's 5608: To count, recount, relate

has produced
עָשָׂ֔ה (‘ā·śāh)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 6213: To do, make

a deception.
שֶׁ֥קֶר (še·qer)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 8267: Deception, disappointment, falsehood


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OT Prophets: Jeremiah 8:8 How do you say We are wise (Jer.)
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