Jeremiah 8

1 At that time, declares the LORD, the bones of the kings of Judah and its officers, the bones of the priests and the prophets, and the bones of the people of Jerusalem will be taken from their graves
2 and exposed to the sun, the moon, and the whole heavenly forces, which they have loved and served and which they have followed, consulted, and worshipped. Their bones won't be gathered for reburial but will become like refuse lying on the ground.
3 The survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, wherever I have scattered them, declares the LORD of heavenly forces.

Depth of Judah’s wrongdoing

4 Say to them, The LORD proclaims: When people fall down, don't they get up? When they turn aside, don't they turn back?
5 Why then does this people, rebellious Jerusalem, persistently turn away from me? They cling to deceit and refuse to return.
6 I have listened carefully but haven't heard a word of truth from them. No one regrets their wrongdoing; no one says, "What have I done?" Everyone turns to their own course, like a stallion dashing into the thick of battle.
7 Even the stork in the sky knows the seasons, and the dove, swallow, and crane return in due time. But my people don't know the LORD's ways.
8 How can you say, "We are wise; we possess the LORD's Instruction," when the lying pen of the scribes has surely distorted it?
9 The wise will be shamed and shocked when they are caught. Look, they have rejected the LORD's word; what kind of wisdom is that?
10 Therefore, I will give their wives to others and their fields to their captors. From the least to the greatest, all are eager to profit. From prophet to priest, all trade in falsehood.
11 They treat the wound of my people as if it were nothing: "All is well, all is well," they insist, when in fact nothing is well.
12 They should be ashamed of their detestable practices, but they have no shame; they don't even blush! Therefore, they will fall among the fallen and stumble when disaster arrives, declares the LORD.
13 I will put an end to them, declares the LORD; there are no grapes on the vine, no figs on the tree, only withered leaves. They have squandered what I have given them!

A lament for God’s people

14 Why are we sitting here? Come, let's go to the fortified towns and meet our doom there. The LORD our God has doomed us by giving us poisoned water to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD!
15 We longed for relief, but received none; for a time of healing, but found only terror.
16 The snorting of their horses can be heard as far as Dan; the neighing of their stallions makes the whole land tremble. They come to devour the land and everything in it, towns and people alike.
17 See, I'm sending serpents against you, vipers that you can't charm, and they will bite you, declares the LORD.
18 No healing, only grief; my heart is broken.
19 Listen to the weeping of my people all across the land: "Isn't the LORD in Zion? Is her king no longer there?" Why then did they anger me with their images, with pointless foreign gods?
20 "The harvest is past, the summer has ended, yet we aren't saved."
21 Because my people are crushed, I am crushed; darkness and despair overwhelm me.

What to do with God’s people

22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then have my people not been restored to health?

Jeremiah 8 Commentary

Chapter 8

The remains of the dead exposed. (1-3) The stupidity of the people, compared with the instinct of the brute creation. (4-13) The alarm of the invasion, and lamentation. (14-22)

Verses 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.

Verses 4-13 What brought this ruin? 1. The people would not attend to reason; they would not act in the affairs of their souls with common prudence. Sin is backsliding; it is going back from the way that leads to life, to that which leads to destruction. 2. They would not attend to the warning of conscience. They did not take the first step towards repentance: true repentance begins in serious inquiry as to what we have done, from conviction that we have done amiss. 3. They would not attend to the ways of providence, nor understand the voice of God in them, ver. ( 7 ) . They know not how to improve the seasons of grace, which God affords. Many boast of their religious knowledge, yet, unless taught by the Spirit of God, the instinct of brutes is a more sure guide than their supposed wisdom. 4. They would not attend to the written word. Many enjoy abundance of the means of grace, have Bibles and ministers, but they have them in vain. They will soon be ashamed of their devices. The pretenders to wisdom were the priests and the false prophets. They flattered people in sin, and so flattered them into destruction, silencing their fears and complaints with, All is well. Selfish teachers may promise peace when there is no peace; and thus men encourage each other in committing evil; but in the day of visitation they will have no refuge to flee unto.

Verses 14-22 At length they begin to see the hand of God lifted up. And when God appears against us, every thing that is against us appears formidable. As salvation only can be found in the Lord, so the present moment should be seized. Is there no medicine proper for a sick and dying kingdom? Is there no skilful, faithful hand to apply the medicine? Yes, God is able to help and to heal them. If sinners die of their wounds, their blood is upon their own heads. The blood of Christ is balm in Gilead, his Spirit is the Physician there, all-sufficient; so that the people may be healed, but will not. Thus men die unpardoned and unchanged, for they will not come to Christ to be saved.

Footnotes 5

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JEREMIAH 8

In this chapter the prophet goes on to denounce grievous calamities upon the people of the Jews; such as would make death more eligible than life; and that because of their idolatry, Jer 8:1-3 and also because of their heinous backslidings in other respects, and continuance in them, Jer 8:4,5 likewise their impenitence and stupidity, Jer 8:6,7 their vain conceit of themselves and their own wisdom; their false interpretation of Scripture, and their rejection of the word of God, Jer 8:8,9 their covetousness, for which it is said their wives and fields should be given to others, Jer 8:10, their flattery of the people, and their impudence, on account of which, ruin and consumption, and a blast on their vines and fig trees, are threatened, Jer 8:11-13, their consternation is described, by their fleeing to their defenced cities; by their sad disappointment in the expectation of peace and prosperity; and the near approach of their enemies; devouring their land, and all in it; who are compared to serpents and cockatrices that cannot be charmed, Jer 8:14-17 and the chapter is closed with the prophet's expressions of sorrow and concern for his people, because of their distress their idolatry had brought upon them; and because of their hopeless, and seemingly irrecoverable, state and condition, Jer 8:18-22.

Jeremiah 8 Commentaries