No grapes on the vine (Jer 8:13-8:13)

“Says Yahweh.

‘When I wanted to gather them,

There are no grapes on the vine.

There are no figs on the fig tree.

Even the leaves are withered.

What I gave them

Has passed away from them.”

Yahweh compared Judah to a vine that had no grapes, as well as a fig tree than had no figs. Even the leaves were withered up. Whatever Yahweh had given to them was gone. They were barren.

The false prophets and priests (Jer 8:10-8:12)

“Therefore I will give their wives to others.

I will give their fields to conquerors.

Because from the least to the greatest,

Everyone is greedy for unjust gain.

From prophet to priest,

Everyone deals falsely.

They have treated

The wound of my people carelessly.

Saying.

‘Peace!

Peace!’

When there is no peace.

They acted shamefully.

They committed an abomination.

Yet they were not at all ashamed.

They did not know how to blush.

Therefore they shall fall

Among those who fall.

At the time that I punish them,

They shall be overthrown.’

Says Yahweh.”

This is a copy word for word of the same thing that was found in chapter 6. Yahweh was going to give away their wives and their fields, since he is not happy about the false priests and prophets. This goes for the least of the people to the most important ones in Jerusalem. All of them were greedy for monetary gain. They were all careless with his people. They pretended that there was peace when there was no peace there. They acted shamefully, but they were not ashamed since they didn’t even know how to blush. These priests and prophets would fall with all the others, as they will be overthrown at the time of punishment.

The law and the scribes (Jer 8:8-8:9)

“How can you say?

‘We are wise.

The law of Yahweh is with us.’

When,

In fact,

The false pen of the scribes

Has made it into a lie.

The wise

Shall be put to shame.

They shall be dismayed.

They shall be taken.

They have rejected

The word of Yahweh.

What wisdom is in them?”

Jeremiah complaints against the false written interpretations of the law by the scribes. They proclaim that they are the wise ones because they understand the law of Yahweh. However, they have turned it into a lie with their false writings. They will be dismayed and put to shame. They cannot be wise if they have rejected the word of Yahweh.

The indifference of Israel (Jer 8:4 -8:7)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘You shall say to them.

When people fall,

Do they not get up again?

If they go astray,

Do they not turn back?

Why then has this people turned away?

Why are they perpetually backsliding?

They hold fast to deceit.

They have refused to return.

I have given heed.

I have listened.

But they do not speak honestly.

No man repents of wickedness.

Saying.

‘What have I done?’

All of them turn to their own course,

Like a horse

Plunging headlong into battle.

Even the stork in the heavens

Knows its times.

The turtledove

Observes the time of its coming.

The swallow

Observes the time of its coming.

The crane

Observes the time of its coming.

But my people do not know

The ordinance of Yahweh.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, points out the indifference of Israel. Most people when they fall, they get up. If they are lost, they turn back. Why are these Israelites continuing to backslide? Why do they refuse to return? They are deceitful. Yahweh was listening, but they were not speaking honestly. No one was repenting for what they had done. All of them went their own way like a horse plunging headlong into a battle. The various birds, like the stork, the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane, know when to come and go. However, the people of the Lord do not know and are indifferent to his ordinances.

The bones of the dead people (Jer 8:1-8:3)

“Says Yahweh.

‘At that time,

The bones of the kings of Judah,

The bones of its officials,

The bones of the priests,

The bones of the prophets,

The bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem

Shall be brought out of their tombs.

They shall be spread

Before the sun,

Before the moon,

Before all the host of heaven.

They have loved these heavenly bodies.

They have served them.

They have followed them.

They have inquired after them.

They have worshiped them.

Their bones shall not be gathered.

Their bones shall not be buried.

They shall be

Like dung

On the surface of the ground.

Death shall be preferred

To life

By all the remnant

That remains of this evil family

In all the places

Where I have driven them.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, speaks in ironic terms about the bones of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. The bones of all the people, whether they were the kings, the officials, the priests, the prophets, or the inhabitants of Jerusalem, would be brought out their tombs. These bones would be spread out before the sun, the moon, and the hosts of heavens. They had followed, loved, served, and worshiped these heavenly bodies. Thus their bones would not be buried, but rather scattered on the ground like dung. People would prefer death over life. This also refers to all the remaining people of this evil family, no matter where they have been driven to. Thus Yahweh has spoken about the disgrace of the people of Judah and Jerusalem.

Topheth (Jer 7:31-7:34)

“‘They go on building

The high place of Topheth.

That is in the valley of the son of Hinnom.

They burn their sons in the fire.

They burn their daughters in the fire.

I did not command this.

It did not come into my mind.

Thus the days are surely coming.’

Says Yahweh.

‘It will no more be called Topheth.

It will no more be called

The valley of the son of Hinnom.

But it will be called

The valley of Slaughter.

They will bury in Topheth,

Until there is no room.

The corpses of this people

Will be food

For the birds of the air,

For the animals of the earth.

No one will frighten them away.

I will bring to an end

The sound of mirth with gladness.

I will bring to an end

The voice of the bridegroom

From the cities of Judah.

I will bring to an end

The voice of the bride

From the streets of Jerusalem.

The land shall become a waste.’”

Topheth was a place in Jerusalem where the ancient Canaanites worshipped. Human sacrifices and children were offered to the god Moloch or Baal by burning them alive. It was in the Gehinnom area that later became Gehenna or even a symbol for hell itself. It may have been a place for the burning of rubbish, although there is no archeological evidence of this. King Josiah (640-609 BCE) in his religious reform may have ended the practice of sacrificing and burning children. However, Yahweh says that he never commanded or thought about this sacrificing of children. Thus this Topheth would not exist any longer, because it will become known for dead bodies after slaughters, where the birds and animals would feed on them. There will be no more mirth or gladness for the bride or bridegroom in the cities of Judah or on the streets of Jerusalem.

Cut your hair off (Jer 7:29-7:30)

“Cut off your hair!

Throw it away!

Raise a lamentation

On the bare heights!

Yahweh has rejected

The generation

That provoked his wrath.

Yahweh has forsaken

The generation

That provoked his wrath.

The people of Judah

Have done evil in my sight.’

Says Yahweh.

‘They have set their abominations

In the house

That is called by my name.

They defile it.’”

Yahweh wanted Jeremiah to go into mourning by cutting off his hair. He should get rid of his hair and lament from the heights because Yahweh, in his wrath, has rejected and forsaken this generation. The people of Judah, in specific, have done evil in the sight of Yahweh. They have placed abominations of false idol gods in his house. Thus they have defiled the Temple.

They will not listen (Jer 7:27-7:28)

“So you shall speak

All these words to them.

But they will not listen to you.

You shall call to them,

But they will not answer you.

You shall say to them.

‘This is the nation

That did not obey

The voice of Yahweh,

Their God.

They did not accept discipline.

Truth has perished.

Truth is cut off from their lips.”

Yahweh told Jeremiah what to say. However, he warned Jeremiah that the Israelites would not listen to him either. He would call to them but they would not respond to him. Yahweh told him to tell them that they were a nation that did not obey the voice of Yahweh, their God. They would not accept any kind of discipline because truth had perished and was no longer coming from their lips.

The disobedience of their ancestors (Jer 7:24-7:26)

“However their ancestors

Did not obey.

They did not

Incline their ears.

But in the stubbornness

Of their evil will,

They walked

In their own counsels.

They looked backward

Rather than forward.

From the day

That your ancestors came out

Of the land of Egypt

To this day,

I have persistently sent

All my servants,

The prophets,

To them,

Day after day.

Yet they did not listen to me.

They did not pay attention.

But stiffened their necks.

They did worse

Than their ancestors.”

Yahweh points out to Jeremiah that their ancestors did not obey God’s commands. They did not listen because they were stubborn in their evil ways. They relied on their own counsels, looking backward rather than forward. Yet since the day that they left Egypt, Yahweh has sent his prophet servants to them on a daily basis. However, they still have not listened or paid attention. Instead they stiffened their necks and were more disobedient than their ancestors.

The command to their ancestors (Jer 7:21-7:23)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices!

Eat the flesh!

In the day that I brought your ancestors

Out of the land of Egypt,

I did not speak to them

Concerning burnt offerings

With sacrifices.

But this command

I gave them.

‘Obey my voice!

I will be your God!

You shall be my people!

Walk only in the ways

That I command you!

Thus it may be well with you.’”

Yahweh, the God of Israel, via Jeremiah, reminded the Israelites of the original command that he gave to their ancestors. Although now they were making burnt offerings and sacrifices, he had not said anything to their ancestors about these sacrifices. However, the Torah has many sayings about burnt offerings. He had commanded their ancestors to obey his voice. He would be their God and they would be his people. However, they had to walk in the ways that he commanded them to do so. If they did this, everything would be all right with them.